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[428] that we have had since we left Liverpool, nearly two months ago. I was heartily glad of it, for it prevented all talk of driving into a country essentially flat and uninteresting, and kept us in the most interesting and agreeable society. We did not really separate during the whole day, from breakfast, at nine, until bedtime, half after eleven. The whole time was passed in the library, except the breakfast, which was protracted to an hour's length by sitting round the table; lunch, which is really the dinner of most people;. . . . and dinner itself, from half past 6 to half past 8.

Miss Edgeworth's conversation was always ready, and as full of vivacity and variety as I can imagine. It was, too, no less full of good-nature. She was disposed to defend everybody, even Lady Morgan, as far as she could, though never so far as to be unreasonable; and in her intercourse with her family she was quite delightful, referring constantly to Mrs. Edgeworth, who seems to be the authority in all matters of fact, and most kindly repeating jokes to her infirm aunt, Miss Sneyd, who cannot hear them, and who seems to have for her the most unbounded affection and admiration.

About herself, as an author, she seems to have no reserve or secrets. She spoke with great kindness and pleasure of a letter I brought to her from Mr. Peabody,1 explaining some passage in his review of ‘Helen,’ which had troubled her from its allusion to her father; ‘but,’ she added, ‘nobody can know what I owe to my father; he advised and directed me in everything; I never could have done anything without him. These are things I cannot be mistaken about, though other people can,—I know them.’ As she said this, the tears stood in her eyes, and her whole person was moved.

Of ‘Helen,’ she said that it was a recent conception altogether, first imagined about two years before it was printed. The Collingwoods, she said, were a clumsy part of it; she put them in, thinking to make something of them, but was disappointed, and there they stuck, she could not get them out again. Many parts of it were much altered; two only were printed just as they were first put on paper, with hardly the correction of a word,—Lady Davenant's conversation with Helen in the pony phaeton, and Lady Cecilia's conversation with Helen towards the end, telling her all that had happened during their separation. These two portions she said she dictated to her sister Lucy, whom she represented to be a person of sure taste. She dictated these particular passages because, as they

1 Rev. William O. B. Peabody. The article appeared in the ‘North American Review,’ No. 84, July, 1834.

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