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Chapter 22:

  • Edgeworthtown.
  • -- English lakes.-York. -- Doncaster. -- Wentworth house.


August 21.—We set out pretty early this morning to make a visit, by invitation, to the Edgeworths, at Edgeworthtown, sixty-five English miles from Dublin. . . . The whole country we passed through was like a succession of prairies, so little inequality was there in the surface, and it was only at rare intervals we even saw any tolerably sized hills in the horizon. Nor were the objects on the road more various. . . . . The ruins of an old castle of the Leinsters, at Maynooth, two mounds, which were probably burial-places of the aborigines, a good many ruined churches, and a good many villages, some very squalid and wretched, and some as comfortable as the poorer Scotch hamlets, were all we noticed. . . . .

At last we approached the house. There was no mistaking it. We had seen none such for a long time. It is spacious, with an ample veranda, and conservatory covering part of its front quite beautifully, and situated in a fine lawn of the richest green, interspersed with clumps of venerable oaks and beeches. As we drove to the door Miss Edgeworth came out to meet us,—a small, short, spare lady of about sixty-seven, with extremely frank and kind manners, and who always looks straight into your face with a pair of mild, deep gray eyes, whenever she speaks to you. With her characteristic directness, she did not take us into the library until she had told us that we should find there Mrs. Alison of Edinburgh, and her aunt, Miss Sneyd,1 a person very old and infirm; and that the only other persons constituting the family were Mrs. Edgeworth,2 Miss

1 Aunt by courtesy, since Miss Maria Edgeworth was the only surviving child of the first Mrs. Edgeworth, a Miss Elers; while Miss Sneyd was sister to the second and third wives of Richard Lovell Edgeworth.

2 Fourth wife of Mr. Edgeworth, Miss Beaufort, sister of Sir Francis Beaufort.

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