Letter to Miss Robinson, August 15th, 1783

<TEI xmlns="http://www.tei-c.org/ns/1.0"> <teiHeader> <fileDesc> <titleStmt> <!-- The next 6 lines are the title statement.--> <title xml:id="Id_what">Letter to <persName ref="Id_who">Fanny Robinson</persName>,<placeName ref="Id_where">Cranford</placeName> <date when-custom="yyyy-mm-dd">1783-08-15</date></title> <author>Maria Edgeworth</author> <editor ref="Id_who">Hilary Havens</editor> <sponsor><orgName>Maria Edgeworth Letters Project</orgName></sponsor> <sponsor>Wake Forest University, University of Tennessee, Xavier University</sponsor> <principal>Jessica Richard, Hilary Havens, Robin Runia</principal> <respStmt> <resp>Transcription and coding by</resp> <persName ref="Id_who">Hilary Havens</persName> <!-- List all transcribers or coders here, editors and students alike, <persName> by <persName>.--> <persName ref="Id_who"><!--name here--></persName><!-- If you're the last person interacting with the file, enter your name last on the list --> </respStmt> </titleStmt> <editionStmt> <edition>First digital edition in TEI, date: <date when-custom="yyyy-mm-dd">2019-11-19</date>.</edition> <edition>Part of the letter was previously published in <hi rend="italic">Maria Edgeworth's Letters from Ireland</hi>, ed. Valerie Pakenham (Dublin: Lilliput Press, 2017), pp. 28-29</edition> <respStmt><resp>Photo credit: </resp><orgName ref= "Id_who">Huntington Library</orgName></respStmt> <respStmt><<resp><idno>Huntington_Edgeworth_HM28589_001.jpg</idno></resp></respStmt> </editionStmt> <publicationStmt> <authority>Maria Edgeworth Letters Project</authority> <date>2013</date> <availability> <p>Reproduced by courtesy of the <orgName ref="#Huntington">Huntington Library</orgName>.</p> <licence>Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License</licence> </availability> </publicationStmt> <seriesStmt> <title>Maria Edgeworth Letters Project</title> </seriesStmt> <sourceDesc> <msDesc> <!-- This section of the header identifies the original manuscript source. --> <msIdentifier> <repository>Huntington Library</repository> <collection>Maria Edgeworth Papers</collection> <!-- Change to reflect correct ms. collection. --> <idno>HM 28589</idno> </msIdentifier> <head>Letter from Maria Edgeworth to Fanny Robinson, <placeName>Edgeworthstown, Ireland, </placeName><date when="1783-08-15">August 15, 1783</date> </head> <physDesc><p>Partial seal, "Mullingar" postmark, "Free <hi rend="underline">Peterborough</hi> Kettering" in another hand, two thirds of page four obliterated </p> </physDesc> </msDesc> </sourceDesc> </fileDesc> <profileDesc> <correspDesc> <correspAction type="sent"> <persName>Maria Edgeworth</persName> </correspAction> <correspAction type="received"> <persName>Fanny Robinson</persName> </correspAction> </correspDesc> </profileDesc> <encodingDesc> <editorialDecl><!--Where Edgeworth uses nonstandard spelling and hyphenation of words, transcriber-coders should use TEI elements “choice," “sic," and “reg" to encode both Edgeworth’s spelling and the regular international standard of Oxford English spelling, following the first listed spelling in the Oxford English Dictionary. --> <p>Edgeworth’s spelling and punctuation are retained in transcription, except where a word is split at the end of a line and the beginning of the next in a manuscript. The long s and ligatured forms are silently emended.</p> </editorialDecl> </encodingDesc> <revisionDesc> <change when="yyyy-mm-dd" who="Id_who"><!--Brief description of what you did here.--></change> </revisionDesc> </teiHeader> <text> <body> <div type="letter"> <pb n="1" facs="Huntington_Edgeworth_HM28589_001.jpg"/> <opener> <dateline><Edgeworth’s Town – August 15th.> <name type="place" ref="Id_where">Edgeworthstown<</name> <date when="1783-08-15">August 15, {1783}</date>. </dateline> </opener> <p> I am the more obliged to you my dear <persName>Miss Robinson</persName> for your kind letter, as I believe according to all Etiquette, ancient & modern (though I am not well versed in either) that it was my duty to have prevented you; indeed I am ashamed... - But let the past speak for itself, and I will speak for the future ndash mdash dash</p> <p>So, there have been wonderful revolutions in <placeName>Wimpole Street</placeName><note type="footnote"><location>London?</location></note>; the <allusion>rebel Angel<persName></persName></allusion> <allusion>“is fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen”, Fallen from the blest abodes”</allusion><note type="footnote">An allusion to <author>Alexander Pope</author>'s <title><hi rend="italic">An Essay on Man</hi></title>: Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes, | Men would be angels, angels would be gods. | Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell, | Aspiring to be angels, men rebel (1.125-28)</note> ndash ndash But seriously how does poor <persName>M<sup>rs.</sup><choice>Mrs.</choice> Devis</persName>, <persName>Miss Morison</persName>, & <persName>Miss E Devis</persName> do? All s-. s-. s-w<note type="footnote">The meaning of these letters and abbreviations is unclear.</note> I hope ndash ndash This present day, being <date>Tuesday the Nineteenth</date><choice><date>1783-08-19</date></choice> (though to spare myself the labor of looking into my <sic>Almanach</sic><choice>Almanack</choice> I dated my letter the <date>15th.</date><choice><date>1783-08-15</date></choice>) is one of the hottest we have had this Summer, but I defy the <allusion>Sun & all its wicked Works</allusion> for, I am seated in a shady arbor, on the Stump of an old Tree, with my desk upon my knees, the Sun Shining</p> <pb n="2" facs="Huntington_Edgeworth_HM28589_002.jpg"/> <p>upon every Object around me, but not daring or not deigning to shine upon me: Do not you envy me? or if you are as happy don’t you sympathise with me? – But perhaps you are insensible to the heat -- I am sure you must be if you could sit baking in a play house, to see <persName>Mrs. Siddons</persName><note type="footnote">Sarah Siddons</note></p> <p><del>It</del> is the utmost I would do to see <persName>Miss Burney</persName><note type="footnote"><persName>Frances Burney</persName></note> for I am not, as you seem to be, <persName>Siddons</persName> mad, having only seen a likeness of her in a Review, which fortunately did not infect me – You are acquainted with <persName>Miss Burney</persName> pray tell me all you know of her, -- and more – I read <del>her Book</del>, <title>Evelina</title> over twice, once with the malicious view of discovering <add>its faults</add> but alas before I had read it half through I forgot my intention, <del><xxxxx 5-8 words></del> - <persName type="fict" subtype="ext" ref="#a4">Lord Orville</persName> is a man after my own heart – his character did not want a title to give it dignity; that is saying a great deal for the Hero, but when I say that the Heroine thought so too, perhaps I say still more for her – it was the <add>character of</add> <hi rend="underline">Man</hi> & not the <hi rend="underline">Lord</hi> she loved - Why then did <persName>Miss Burney</persName> give him a title? was it to recommend him to titled Readers? If so she did either their Taste, or her Book, great Injustice - And, (if I may be so bold to say it) her young female <hi rend="underline">Plebeian</hi></p> <pb n="3" facs="Huntington_Edgeworth_HM28589_003.jpg"/> <p>admirers some Injury – for I cannot help thinking that raising their hopes & Expectations above, what in the ordinary course of things they are likely to attain, <hi rend="underline">is</hi> doing them an injury – It is preparing <add>for them</add> Disappointment & Ennui at least -</p> <p><persName type="fict" subtype="ext" ref="#a4">Evelina</persName> had no title & but small Fortune, but she married an Earl! – Will no conclusions be drawn from this? will no hopes be raised? Can an improbable event be brought about by probable means, without lessening our <add>Opinion</add> of its probability? – Even connecting the idea of every thing that is amiable in a Husband with the ideas of a Lord & a Coronet is, I should think, hurtful – But perhaps <persName>Miss Burney</persName> had reasons to counterbalance these which have not occurred to me ----</p> <p>As for the Book you are so kind to enquire about Alas it was only an humble, and I am sorry to add an unsuccessful translation of – <persName>Madame de Genlis</persName> <title>Letters</title> – I had just finished the third Volume, when a rival translation appeared in all its Glory – One volume however is printed & my <add>father</add> thinks of compressing the two others into one & publishing it in <location>Dublin</location> – But I believe I ought to say nothing more to you about it, as <persName>Lady Robinson</persName> objects to your reading it; for your consolation however, know, that I am under a similar prohibition with regard to Cecilia – which</p> <pb n="4" facs="Huntington_Edgeworth_HM28589_004.jpg"/> <p>of us has most curiosity & which Book deserves it best we can neither of us decide; having each read but one – To be sure if I might judge from <persName>Miss Burney’s</persName> <title>Evelina</title> I should think.....But you may say the same of <persName>Madame de Genlis’s</persName> <title>Theàtre</title> – so that I cannot even have the Satisfaction of claiming</p> <p>“Preeminence in Disappointment”</p> <p><del rend="crossout"><xxxxx 2/3 page></del></p> <pb n="5" facs="Huntington_Edgeworth_HM28589_005.jpg"/> <p>Now we are talking of Théatre’s<choice>Theatres</choice> did you ever <unclear>meet</unclear> with <persName>Mercier’s</persName><choice>Louis Sebastien Mercier</choice><note type="footnote"><title>Du Theatre, Ou Nouvel Essai Sur L'Art Dramatique</title> (1773)</note>? I am sure you would be very much pleased with it – Poor Man! in some of his Works he has taken a liberty which is allowed only to British Subjects, that of finding fault with Government and he has suffered for it <add>severely</add> for it is said that he is in the <place>Bastille</place><note type="footnote"><location>Paris</location></note> - A French Author’s pen I should think could not run very freely while he had a <foreign xml:lang="fr">lèttre de cachèt</foreign><note type="footnote">Arrest warrant signed by the king</note> hanging over his Head -</p> <p>Pray have you ever read <persName>Boccace<choice>Boccaccio</choice></persName><note type="footnote">Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375)</note>? – In <persName>Dryden’s<choice>Dryden</choice></persName> fable’s<choice>fables</choice><note type="footnote"><title>Fables, Ancient and Modern</title> (1700)</note> there are two very elegant little Poems <hi rend="underline">from <persName>Boccace<choice>Boccaccio</choice></persName></hi>; I wish you could be so good to look over them, if you do not recollect them & send me word whether they are translations or Imitations: for my father has not <persName>Boccace<choice>Boccaccio</choice></persName>, nor am I likely to meet with it</p> <p><title>Theodore and Honoria</title> – and – <title>Cimon & Iphigenia</title> are their Titles – What easy sprightly letters <persName>Grey’s<choice>Gray</choice></persName><note type="footnote">Thomas Gray</note> are published by <persName>Mason</persName><note>William Mason's <title>The poems of Mr. Gray. To which are prefixed Memoirs of his life and writings</title> (1775)</note><unclear>!</unclear> I daresay you have seen them – they are not the stiff performances of an Author, written under the rod of Criticism and under the <hi rend="underline"><foreign xml:lang="fr">Pressentiment</foreign></hi><note type="footnote">presentiment</note> that they would be published as Author’s letters usually are – All that I have ever seen of <persName>Pope’s<choice>Pope</choice></persName><note type="footnote">Possibly <title>Letters of Mr. Alexander Pope, And Several of his Friends</title> (1737)</note> gave me that idea; the Style is too correct to be free & the Wit is too labored to be pleasing – Don’t you think so? – You hear I am asking you trifling questions across the <location>British Channel</location> with as little Ceremony as if you were in the same Room with me – I hope you will transport me, (or at least my</p> <pb n="6" facs="Huntington_Edgeworth_HM28589_006.jpg"/> <p>Ideas, in return to <location>Cranford</location>; Aye and keep them there too for a good Quarter of an hour -</p> <p>NB) (I allow a Quarter of an hour to read four Pages –)</p> <p>If I should meet <persName>Miss Burney</persName> there <unclear>,</unclear> I should be compleately<choice>completely</choice> happy – if you can find any means of procuring for me the honor of her Corespondance<choice>Correspondence</choice> you will do me a particular favor – You will wonder that I, who am not apt to enter into Corespondancies<choice>Correspondences</choice> sh<sup>d</sup>.<choice>should</choice> be so very eager about <add>a</add> Lady’s<choice>Lady</choice> whom I have never seen - Why to tell you the truth if there is any faith to be given to <persName>Pope’s<choice>Pope</choice></persName> prophecy</p> <p>“Those best shall paint it who shall feel it most”<note type="footnote">An allusion to the final line of Pope's <title>Eloisa to Abelard</title>, "He best can paint 'em, who shall feel 'em most."</note></p> <p>if there be any resemblance between her own character & her amiable <persName type="fict" subtype="ext" ref="#a4">Evelina’s</persName>, I should not only be <hi rend="underline">desirous</hi> but <hi rend="underline">ambitious</hi> of her friendship – I expect everything but impossibilities from <hi rend="underline">your</hi> Activity and Friendship, indeed I am afraid you will think I expect <add>even</add> those -</p> <p>You are very good to remember a trifling Request I made you a twelvemonth ago about a plan of <location>Cranford</location>; If your drawing does not discourage me I will endeavor to make a Sketch of <location>Edgeworth’s Town</location> for you -</p> <p>Give my love and a kiss to <persName>Miss Penelope</persName> I do not know whether it was her own Eyes, or her being your Sister which prepossessed me in her favor – You may each of you attribute it to which Cause you please, for I am sure they both had their Effect --</p> <p>I am ashamed to say that I had almost forgotten to thank you for the very pretty Copy of Verses you sent me – The ideas I think are <pb n="7" facs="Huntington_Edgeworth_HM28589_007.jpg"/> <p>very poetical, the Rhymes sometimes cramp them – the knack of Rhyming however may be readily acquired by practice; poetical genius never can – Any present of that kind you send me will always be particularly agreeable to me ---</p> <p>Oh I must not forget to beg you will thank <persName>Miss Hartley</persName> for remembering me – But, entre nous, I confess I had rather hear it from you than from her, for I have no rage for spinning a letter out of nothing every three weeks by way of helping up a correspondance<choice>correspondence</choice> with a person whom I shall probably never see, nay perhaps, never <add>particularly</add> wish <unclear>to</unclear> see during the whole course of my life – So don’t hurry yourself to send her my direction, by way of doing <hi rend="underline">me</hi> a favor, as if she should write to me I am in <sic>in</sic> politeness bound to write again -</p> <p>Do you ever hear from <persName>Miss Cave</persName>? I hope she is very well – I suppose by this time a friend of our’s has left off writing to <hi rend="underline">“beg you’ll excuse a short letter”</hi> – Don’t forget <persName>Miss Burney</persName> and beleive<choice>believe</choice> me to be</p> <closer> My dear Miss Robinson,<lb/> Yours Affectionately<lb/> <persName>Maria Edgeworth</persName> - </closer> <postscript> <p>I beg my best Respects to <persName>Lady Robinson</persName> – though I have not the honor of being known either to her Ladyship or the rest of your family I take the liberty of enquiring after them & hope for your sake that they are all well – however I claim acquaintance with your Sister, if she will give me leave & should <unclear>be</unclear> very happy to receive as many lines from her as you <del>can</del> leave room for in your letters -</p> </postscript> <pb n="8" facs="Huntington_Edgeworth_HM28589_008.jpg"/> <closer> <address> <!--Include any text written on the address leaf; use a separate "addrLine" for each line and indicate line breaks. --> <addrLine>To <stamp><location>Mullingar</location></stamp></addrLine> <addrLine>Miss Robinson</addrLine> <addrLine><location>Cranford</location></addrLine> <addrLine>free</addrLine> <addrLine><hi rend="underline"><location>Peterborough</location></hi> <location>Kettering</location></addrLine> </address> </closer> </div> </body> <back> </back> </text> </TEI>