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To Miss Maria Edgeworth, Edgeworthtown.

Althorp Park, Northampton, May 20, 1838.
my dear Miss Edgeworth,—It is seldom the lot of a letter to give so much pleasure and so much pain as did the one we have quite lately received from you,—so much pleasure from the kindness it expresses toward us and our children, in the renewal of your invitation to Ireland, and the words in which you renew it,—so much pain because we cannot accept it.1 It is truly a grief to us; and I do not feel sure you had a right to make it so heavy; and yet I would not, for much, part with one of the kind phrases that constitute its weight. The fact is, we have talked a great deal about another visit to Ireland, which with us is another name for Edgeworthtown. When we first had the happiness of seeing you, we felt pretty sure of it; for we thought then we should remain four years in Europe. But of late we have changed our purpose. Mrs. Ticknor, for whose health I came abroad, has long been quite well and strong. My eldest daughter, who is now fifteen, needs to be at home, where she is destined to live, and cannot have what the French call une existence complete any longer in lands of strangers. The youngest cannot be anything but a plaything while she is all the time in hotels, and at five she must begin to be something more serious. And I feel, myself, that I have duties to perform which are not on this side the great waters. So we are going home. I will not even disguise from you that some of us are very anxious to do so, and even a little homesick withal. But still we leave many things, many friends behind us to regret, and when I say that there is not, among them all, anything we shall more regret than not being able to make you another visit at Edgeworthtown, I shall only repeat what was our first remark at Rome when we began to talk of shortening our absence, and what we have repeated

1 We give a part of the letter from Miss Edgeworth, to which the above is an answer:

We are very eager, very anxious, to see you again at our own home, retired and homely as it is. You flattered us you were happy here during the two short days you gave us. O, pray! pray! come to us again before you go from our world forever,—at least, from me forever. Consider my age! and Mrs. Mary Sneyd begs you to consider her. I trust you will . . . . . Be pleased, my dear friends, to like or to love us all as much as ever you can, and pray prove to us that you will take as much trouble to come to Edgeworthtown, after having become acquainted with us, as you took when you only knew the authorship part of

Your affectionate friend,

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Northampton (Massachusetts, United States) (1)

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May 20th, 1838 AD (1)
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