Her correspondence with Emily Eden covered a period of thirty years. Her letters describe her life with all its Irish and English fun and misery, her adventures and difficulties, the bringing into the world her eleven children, and her efforts to educate them on a dwindling income. Sir Guy Campbell and Lord Auckland both died in Pamela lived to be seventy-three, and Emily to be seventy-two; they died in I wish you would tell me what to say to him just now, for he looks as if he wanted some one to talk to him. Mary and George 10 are so busy at chess, and Mama is so interested in the Anarchie de Pologne , 11 and I am so tormented by a real, large, green, crawling caterpillar which has found its way to the table and keeps hunting me round it, I have not presence of mind enough left to make out one topic.
You perhaps may not know that she [Sarah] is going to change her character to that of a good-natured shilly-shally fellow. She is also thoroughly to understand politics, and is studying Junius, and for want of better society is to get into great habits of intimacy with me. If we were not to change our characters sometimes, there would be rather a sameness in our lives.
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George is going to Dropmore and Shottesbrook, but will return home to receive the Colviles, stay here a week longer, and then go for six weeks to Melbury. He will be a great loss to us, and I cannot but look forward with dread to the long evenings, which used to be so happy, and which will seem so lonely without Him , 13 who enlivened them so much. Good-bye, my dearest Sister. Do not trouble yourself to answer my letters, as a letter to any part of this family does as well for the rest.
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The baby is wonderfully well. It sounds as if we were going to play Puss in the Corner on a grand scale, but I shall be glad to get back to my corner again…. Mary has grown so fat she can scarcely waddle about, and flatters herself she is looking very well. I remain ever your aff. I am in a fever, which should be called the decent fever, till I can get four dozen made just exactly like it. Mary has been very busy preparing for her journey, and desires her love to you, and is very much obliged to you for the use of your necklace, bracelet, etc.
She has not heard from Miss Milbanke lately, but we hear that Lord Byron is going to be a good boy, and will never be naughty no more, and he is really and truly writing a new version of the Psalms! Well, I am glad you have got a little gaiety at last.
As for us here, we are as merry as grigs, and as active as flies, and as chatty as the maids. We eat and drink, and work and walk, and shoot and hunt, and talk and laugh, all day long — and I expect my pretty master, you would like the eating and drinking the best of all. Such luncheons! We have been trying the new experiment of burning clay for manure, and have not above half succeeded — and we have just found an old book, 80 years old, which gives a full and detailed account of what all the wiseacres are all making an outcry about as a new discovery, and as the practice has not been adopted, we are beginning to suspect that its merits are a little exaggerated.
Give my love to all, Vansittart and all, and so good-night, my old boy, for I must go to bed. Your affec. What beautiful similes! Mary looked very smart, her coat was covered with grey vandykes, which does not sound pretty, but looked very well, and her hat of course matched it exactly. She says they did not arrive at Shottesbrook 18 till late, as they went round and round the place several times before the postboy could find the entrance….
We heard from Morton 19 the other day, a long account of his gaieties. He has been showing Oxford to the Feildings, and the Meerveldts 20 what a difficult word to spell , and then was invited to go to Middleton with them, where he met the Worcesters, Cowpers, Eustons, and the Duke of Devonshire. We are rather in dread of his return, and to find him grown very fine, which will be an unlucky turn to take….
Ever your affec. You must be contented with some extracts. Feilding, 22 who walks about disturbing us all. She brought down a great book full of verses and epigrams, that she is collecting all over the world and gathered chiefly at Middleton; she let few of them be read, and screamed and pulled away the book every three minutes in case we should see more than we ought.
It seems to be the fashion collecting these things, for Captain Feilding says it was quite ridiculous to see Lady Jersey 24 and Lady Cowper, and Lady E. Lady Lansdowne 25 looked prettier than ever last night, and is the kindest, most pleasing-mannered person I ever saw. I saw her little girl 26 for a moment, and it seems to be a pretty little thing; the boy 27 is exactly like Lord Lansdowne, but is never to be seen, and I only met the little Feildings 28 once on the stairs since I came here. We are much too learned to think of children.
She walks with Lansdowne and talks learnedly — I do not know what about. Lord Lansdowne gives his whole heart and mind to any little game, or whatever he is about, and it is really quite amusing to see him fretting and arguing, and reasoning and labouring, at this Crambo, as if it was a matter of the greatest importance.
It is certainly rather fretting, but it is as good a way of passing a long evening as another. I had advanced so far in copying, and was just thinking how nicely and quickly I had done it, when the post arrived, and brought a letter from Mary of nine quarto pages thickly written, and so amusing. But you must not see it to-day — you little thing — this is quite enough for once.
Your affectionate sister,. MY DEAR EMILY, I am living in a state of great fright about the event of my message by the last post, and if the key is not found, you must not be much astonished at seeing me arrive either with or without Mary on Tuesday; but I do not like to settle anything about this fussy, provoking scrapey piece of business till I hear from you and from Dyer to-morrow. I am as pleased as Punch with the American peace.
We have nothing yet to succeed Whishaw.
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To console us for not having you, we have an Emily here who has something of the fooley in her, but she unluckily is a dullfooley. I send you a copy of verses written by Sir C. Mary is quite reviving to-night, and is making a deuce of a noise, and be hanged to her. My love to my Mother and all. Yours very affectionately,. There is an immense breakfast for people to go in and out to, a large luncheon which stands two hours on the table, a very long dinner, and a regular supper, which altogether takes up half the day.
There are a quantity of children here, and all very nice ones seemingly. Lady Theresa Strangways 36 would be really a dear little thing, if Lady G. Murray 37 would not talk and teaze one so about her stomach and teeth. Murray is in greater beauty than ever, and happier than anybody I ever saw. She has two sons here. Mary seems quite delighted with her visit to Melbury, and even nearly reconciled to quitting Bowood, which she was very sorry to do. Sir George Paul, 39 nearly eighty years old, is very much struck with her, she says, and when she goes to the pianoforte puts on his spectacles, and sits opposite her, gazing on her beautiful countenance with great satisfaction.
He drank two glasses of wine with her at dinner, and all the other ladies insisted on his drinking one with them, that they might at least have half as much done for them as was done for Mary.
We are all in doubt whether to like Sir G. Paul best or Mr. Whishaw, a lawyer, about ten years younger, but with only one leg. But the poor man, George says, was terribly smitten, and if they had staid but two days longer at Bowood, it would have come to a happy conclusion. Lady Ilchester wrote to Mamma, to know whether she was to let this flirtation go on, as it does at present…. George writes in good spirits, and seems delighted with his tour and with Melbury, which is the pleasantest place he knows.
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