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[427] Honora Edgeworth,1 and Dr. Alison, a physician, and son of the author on ‘Taste.’ Having thus put us en pays de connaissance, she carried us into the library. It is quite a large room, full of books, and every way comfortable as a sitting-room. We had not been there five minutes before we were, by her kindness and vivacity, put completely at our ease, a sensation which we do not seem likely to lose during our visit. Soon after we were seated and had become a little acquainted with Mrs. Alison,—who is a daughter of the famous Dr. Gregory,—the rest of the party came in from a drive.

Mrs. Edgeworth—who is of the Beaufort family—seems about the age of her more distinguished step-daughter, and is somewhat stout, but very active, intelligent, and accomplished, having apparently the whole care of the household, and adding materially, by her resources in the arts and in literature, to its agreeableness2. . . . .

It is plain they make a harmonious whole, and by those who visited here when the family was much larger, and composed of the children of all the wives of Mr. Edgeworth, with their connections produced by marriage, so as to form the most heterogeneous relationships, I am told there was always the same very striking union and agreeable intercourse among them all, to the number sometimes of fifteen or twenty. . . .

After sitting about an hour in the library. . . . we went to dress, and punctually at half past 6 were summoned by the bell to dinner. . . . . At half past 8 we rejoined the ladies in the library, which seems to be the only sitting-room; at nine we had tea and coffee, and at half past 10 went to bed. . .. . What has struck me most today in Miss Edgeworth herself, is her uncommon quickness of perception, her fertility of allusion, and the great resources of fact which a remarkable memory supplies to her, combined into a whole which I can call nothing else but extraordinary vivacity. She certainly talks quite as well as Lady Delacour or Lady Davenant, and much in the style of both of them, though more in that of Lady Davenant. . . .

August 22.—It has been a rainy day to-day, the first, properly so,

1 Daughter of the third Mrs. Edgeworth.

2 In her note of invitation, though writing to strangers, Miss Edgeworth said to Mr. Ticknor: ‘The sooner you can come to us, if I might suggest, the better, because Mrs. Edgeworth is now at home with us,. . . . as you would find this house much more agreeable when she is at home; and in truth you never could see it to advantage, or see things as they really are in this family, unless when she makes part of it, and when she is at the head of it.’

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