Life And Letters Of Maria Edgeworth/Volume 2/Letter 20

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EASTON GREY, Nov. 22, 1821.

Lady Catherine Bisset came with her two little nieces to call upon us, and Fanny won little Lady Mary-Rose's heart, partly by means of some Madeira and Portuguese figures from the chimney-piece, which she ranged on the table for her amusement, and partly by a whiz-gig, which Fanny plays to admiration.

And what is a whiz-gig? If you do not know, you must wait till I send you one.

Lady Catherine, when no one was seeing or looking, laid her hand on my arm most affectionately, and looking up in my face, said, "Do you know I have been half my life trying to be your good French governess. I love her."

We went to see her at her cottage, near her brother, Lord Suffolk's, and saw many curiosities from Ceylon, made entertaining to us by the comments and anecdotes of Captain Fenwick, who had been years at Ceylon. On our return we stopped to see Malmesbury Abbey—beautifully placed; the height of the arch sublime.

BOWOOD, Nov. 26.

We were fortunate enough to find Lord and Lady Lansdowne just returned from their tour. They looked at the Pyrenees, but they could not go into Spain, for the yellow fever rages there. A cordon of troops prevent any travellers who might be disposed to brave the danger of the fever, and fire if any attempt is made to pass. Lady Lansdowne would quite satisfy you by her love of the Italian women. Here are Miss Vernon, and Miss Fox, Lord Holland's sister, and Miss Fox, Lord Holland's daughter, and Mr. Ogden, the widower of that beautiful and extraordinary lady whom we met here three years ago. He has a great deal of cool, grave, gentlemanly humour, and has been amusing us with an account of his visit to Bowles, the poet, yesterday, and his musical sheep-bells and his susceptibility to criticism and his credulity. He wrote with all the simplicity of egotism to Murray to desire him, whenever any one who came into his shop was seen to look into the review of his controversy with Lord Byron on Pope, to pop into his hand his pamphlet by way of antidote.

Miss Vernon and Miss Fox are both very agreeable, and Miss Fox, [1] the young lady, beautiful, timid, and charming.


  1. Mary Elizabeth, who married, 1830, the third Lord Lilford.