Life And Letters Of Maria Edgeworth/Volume 2/Letter 8

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To MISS LUCY EDGEWORTH.

CALAIS, Dec. 5, 1820.

It is a great satisfaction to me, my dear Lucy, to feel that we are now so much nearer to you, and that before I finish this little note we shall be still nearer to you in the same United Kingdom, so that in eight days we can have an answer to questions about you; what a difference from the three long weeks we used to wait at Geneva.

And now, my dear Lucy, I must employ you to break to my mother an important secret. Choose a proper time for speaking to her on the subject, when she is not very busy, when her mind is at ease, that is, when you are pretty well. My aunts and Honora may be in the room, if you think proper. Begin by saying that I know both my mother and Lovell are so kind and have such confidence in me that I am sure they will not hastily object to the introduction of a new person into the family, though they may perhaps feel a little surprised at hearing of my having actually decided upon such a measure without writing first to consult them. I have actually brought with me from Paris, and intend, unless I am actually forbidden, to bring with me to Edgeworthstown, a French washerwoman. I cannot expect that Lovell should build a house for her, though I know he has long had it in contemplation to build a laundry; but my little French woman does not require a house, she can live in our house, if he and my mother, and my aunts please, and I will engage that she shall give no sort of trouble, and shall cost nothing. She is a sourde et muette, an elderly woman with a very good countenance, always cheerful, and going on with her own business without minding other people's. She was recommended to me by Madame François Delessert, and has lived for some time in their family, much liked by all, especially by the children, for whom she washed constantly, till one of her legs was hurt, so that she cannot work now quite as well as formerly. But still she washed so as to give general satisfaction. Fanny and Harriet like her washing, and I am sure my aunts will like it and her very much; and I think she might, till some other place be found for her, sleep in my mother's dressing-room.

And here, my dear Lucy, I beg you will pause and hear what everybody says about this washerwoman and this plan.

And after five minutes given to deliberation, go on and say, that if no better place can be found for my washerwoman, she may stand on my mother's chimney-piece![1]

No more nonsense at present.


Footnotes[edit]

  1. A pretty little French toy given by Madame François Delessert.