Famous Women.


_The next volumes in the Famous Women Series will be_:


ANNE BRADSTREET. By Helen Campbell.

_Already published_:

GEORGE ELIOT. By Miss Blind.

EMILY BRONTE. By Miss Robinson.

GEORGE SAND. By Miss Thomas.

MARY LAMB. By Mrs. Gilchrist

MARGARET FULLER. By Julia Ward Howe.


[Illustration: FAMOUS WOMEN]







_Copyright, 1883_, BY ROBERTS BROTHERS.



Though many notices of Miss Edgeworth have appeared from time to time,

nothing approaching to a Life of her has been published in this country.

As I have had the good fortune to have access to an unpublished memoir

of her, written by her stepmother, as well as to a large number of her

private letters, I am enabled to place what I hope is at least an

authentic biography before the reader. Besides much kindness received

from the members of Miss Edgeworth's family, I have also to acknowledge

my obligations for help afforded in the preparation of this little book

to Mrs. George Ticknor and Miss Ticknor of Boston, U. S. A., Mrs. Le

Breton, Sir Henry Holland, Bart., the Rev. Canon Holland, the Rev. Dr.

Sadler and Mr. F. Y. Edgeworth.

H. Z.

LONDON, August, 1883.



























TO 1825 214


1826 TO 1834 237






Too many memoirs begin with tradition; to trace a subject _ab ovo_ seems

to have a fatal attraction for the human mind. It is not needful to

retrace so far in speaking of Miss Edgeworth; but, for a right

understanding of her life and social position, it is necessary to say

some words about her ancestry. Of her family and descent she might well

be proud, if ancestry alone, apart from the question whether those

ancestors of themselves merit the admiration of their descendants, be a

legitimate source of pride. The Edgeworths, originally established, it

is believed, at Edgeworth, now Edgeware, in Middlesex, would appear to

have settled in Ireland in the sixteenth century. The earliest of whom

we have historical record is Roger Edgeworth, a monk, who followed in

the footsteps of his sovereign, Henry VIII., both by being a defender

of the faith and by succumbing to the bright eyes of beauty, for whose

sake he finally renounced Catholicism and married. His sons, Edward and

Francis; went to Ireland. The elder brother, Edward, became Bishop of

Down and Connor, and died without issue. It was the younger, Francis,

who founded the house of Edgeworth of Edgeworthstown; and ever since

Edgeworthstown, in the county of Longford, Ireland, has remained in the

possession of the family whence it derived its name. The Edgeworths soon

became one of the most powerful families in the district, and

experienced their full share of the perils and vicissitudes of the

stormy period that apparently ended with the victories of William III.

Most members of the family seem to have been gay and extravagant, living

in alternate affluence and distress, and several of Maria Edgeworth's

characters of Irish squires are derived from her ancestors. The family

continued Protestant--the famous Abbe Edgeworth was a convert--and Maria

Edgeworth's great-grandfather was so zealous in the reformed cause as to

earn for himself the sobriquet of "Protestant Frank." His son married a

Welsh lady, who became the mother of Richard Lovell Edgeworth, a man who

will always be remembered as the father of his daughter. He was,

however, something more than this; and as the lives of the father and

daughter were throughout so intimately interwoven, a brief account of

his career is needful for a comprehension of hers.

Richard Lovell Edgeworth was born at Bath in 1744, and spent his early

years partly in England, partly in Ireland, receiving a careful

education. In his youth he was known as "a gay philosopher," in the days

when the word philosopher was still used in its true sense of a lover of

wisdom. Light-hearted and gay, good-humored and self-complacent;

possessed of an active and cultivated mind, just and fearless, but

troubled with neither loftiness nor depth of feeling, Richard Lovell

Edgeworth was nevertheless a remarkable personage, when the time at

which he lived is taken into account. He foresaw much of the progress

our own century has made, clearly indicated some of its features, and

actually achieved for agriculture and industry a multitude of

inventions, modest as far as the glory of the world attaches to them,

but none the less useful for the services they render. Many of his

ideas, rejected as visionary and impracticable when he first promulgated

them, have now become the common property of mankind. He was no mere

theorist; when he had established a theory he loved to put it into

practice, and as his theories ranged over many and wide fields, so did

his experiments. Even in late life, when most persons care only to

cultivate repose, he threw himself, with all the ardor of youth, into

schemes of improvement for the good of Ireland; for he was sincerely

devoted to her true welfare, and held in contempt the mock patriotism

that looks only to popularity. In early life he sowed a certain quantity

of wild oats, the result of the super-abundant animal spirits that

distinguished him, and at the age of sixteen contracted a mock-marriage,

which his father found needful to have annulled by a process of law.

After this escapade he was entered at Corpus Christi, Oxford, as a

gentleman commoner. During his residence he became intimate with the

family of Mr. Elers, a gentleman of German descent, who resided at Black

Bourton, and was father to several pretty girls. Mr. Elers had

previously warned the elder Edgeworth against introducing into his home

circle the gay and gallant Richard, remarking that he could give his

daughters no fortunes that would make them suitable matches for this

young gentleman. Mr. Edgeworth, however, turned a deaf ear to the

warning, and the result was that the collegian became so intimate at the

house, and in time so entangled by the court he had paid to one of the

daughters, that, although he had meanwhile seen women he liked better,

he could not honorably extricate himself. In later life he playfully

said: "Nothing but a lady ever did turn me aside from my duty." He

certainly was all his days peculiarlysusceptible to female charms, and,

had opportunity been afforded him, might have rivalled Henry VIII. in

the number of his wives. This second marriage gave as little

satisfaction to his father as the first, but the elder Edgeworth wisely

recognized the fact that he was himself not whollyblameless in the

matter. He, therefore, a few months after the ceremony had been

performed at Gretna Green, gave his consent to a formal re-marriage by

license. Thus, before he was twenty, Richard Lovell Edgeworth was a

husband and a father. The marriage entered upon so hastily proved

unfortunate; the pair were totally unsuited to one another; and though

Mrs. Edgeworth appears to have been a worthy woman, to judge from the

few and somewhat ungenerous allusions her husband makes to her in his

biography, they did not sympathize intellectually--a point he might have

discovered before marriage. The consequence was that he sought sympathy

and pleasure elsewhere. He divided his time between Ireland, London and

Lichfield. The latter city was the centre of a somewhat prim,

self-conscious, exclusiveliterary coterie, in which Dr. Darwin, the

singer of the _Botanic Garden_, Miss Anna Seward, the "Swan of

Lichfield," and the eccentric wife-trainer, Thomas Day, the author of

_Sanford and Merton_, were conspicuous figures. They were most of them

still in their youthful hey-day, unknown to fame, and, as yet, scarcely

aspiring towards it. Here, in this, to him, congenialcircle of eager

and ardent young spirits, Richard Lovell Edgeworth loved to disport

himself; now finding a sympatheticobserver of his mechanical inventions

in Mr. Watt, Dr. Darwin or Mr. Wedgwood; now flirting with the fair

Anna. He must have posed as a bachelor, for he relates how, on one

occasion, when paying compliments to Miss Seward, Mrs. Darwin took the

opportunity of drinking "Mrs. Edgeworth's health," a name that caused

manifest surprise to the object of his affections. Here, too, he became

imbued with the educational theories of Rousseau, which clung to him, in

a modified degree, throughout his life, and according to which, in their

most pronounced form, he educated his eldest son. Here, further, at the

age of twenty-six, he met the woman he was to love most deeply. From the

moment he saw Miss Honora Sneyd, Mr. Edgeworth became enamored, and in

his attentions to her he does not seem to have borne in mind the fact

that he was a married man.

"I am not a man of prejudices," he complacently wrote in later life; "I

have had four wives.[1] The second and third were sisters, and I was in

love with the second in the life-time of the first."

The man who could make this public statement, and who could, moreover,

leave to his daughter the task of publishing the record of his

ill-assorted union with the woman who was her mother, was certainly one

in whom good taste and good feeling were not preeminent. The birth of

this daughter, who was destined to be his companion and friend, is an

event he does not even note in his memoirs, which are more occupied with

his affection for Miss Sneyd, from whose fascinations he at last felt it

would be prudent to break away. He left England for a lengthened stay in

France, taking with him his son, whose Rousseau education was to be

continued, and accompanied by Mr. Day, who, to please Miss Elizabeth

Sneyd, was about to put himself through a course of dancing and

deportment, with a view to winning her consent to a marriage if he could

succeed in taming his savage limbs and ideas into proper social

decorum. The death of his wife recalled Mr. Edgeworth to England. With

all possible speed he hastened to Lichfield, proposed to Honora Sneyd,

was accepted, and married her within four months of his wife's demise.

Mr. Edgeworth, the elder, had died some time previously; the son was

now, therefore, master of Edgeworthstown. Immediately after his marriage

he set out for Ireland, taking with him his bride and four little

children. From that date forward a new era in his life commenced. It was

not to run any longer in a separate course from that of his family.



MARIA EDGEWORTH was born January 1st, 1767, in the house of her

grandfather, Mr. Elers. Thus this distinguished authoress was an

Englishwoman by birth, though Irish and German by race. At Black Bourton

her earliest years were spent. Her father, who had taken in hand his

little son to train according to the principles enunciated in _Emile_,

took little notice of her, leaving her to the care of a fond,

soft-hearted mother and doting aunts. The result was that the vivacity

of her early wit was encouraged and the sallies of her quick temper

unrepressed. Of her mother she retained little remembrance beyond her

death, and how she was taken into the room to receive her last kiss.

Mrs. Edgeworth had died in London at the house of some aunts in Great

Russell street, and there Maria remained until her father's second

marriage. Of her new mother Maria at first felt great awe, which soon

gave place to sincere regard and admiration. Her father had been to her

from babyhood the embodiment of perfection, and the mere fact that he

required love from her for his new wife was sufficient to insure it. But

she also learnt to love her for her own sake, and, indeed, if the

statement of so partial a witness as Mr. Edgeworth can be accepted, she

must have been a woman of uncommon power and charm.

Of her first visit to Ireland Maria recollected little except that she

was a mischievous child. One day, when no one heeded her, she amused

herself with cutting out the squares in a checked sofa-cover. Another

day she trampled through a number of hot-bed frames that had just been

glazed and laid on the grass. She could recall her delight at the

crashing of the glass; but most immorally, and in direct opposition to

her later doctrines, did not remember either cutting her feet or being

punished for this freak. It was probably her exuberant spirits, added to

the fact that Mrs. Honora Edgeworth's health began to fail after her

removal to the damp climate of Ireland, that caused Maria to be sent to

school. In 1775 she was placed at Derby with a Mrs. Latffiere, of whom

she always spoke with gratitude and affection. Though eight years old,

she would seem to have known very little, for she was wont to record

that on the first day of her entrance into the school she felt more

admiration at a child younger than herself repeating the nine parts of

speech, than she ever felt afterwards for any effort of human genius.

The first letter extant from her pen is dated thence, and though of no

intrinsic merit, but rather the ordinary formal letter of a child under

such circumstances, it deserves quotation because it is the first.

DERBY, March 30, 1776.


It is with the greatest pleasure I write to you, as I flatter

myself it will make you happy to hear from me. I hope you and my

dear papa are well. School now seems agreeable to me. I have begun

French and dancing, and intend to make ["great" was written, but a

line was drawn through it] improvement in everything I learn. I

know that it will give you great satisfaction to hear that I am a

good girl. My cousin Clay sends her love to you; mine to father and

  • series [´siəri:z] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.连续;系列;丛书   (初中英语单词)
  • preparation [,prepə´reiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.准备;预习(时间)   (初中英语单词)
  • holland [´hɔlənd] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.荷兰   (初中英语单词)
  • estimate [´estimət, ´estimeit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.估计;评价 vt.估价   (初中英语单词)
  • abroad [ə´brɔ:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.海外;到处;广泛   (初中英语单词)
  • tradition [trə´diʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.传统;惯例;传说   (初中英语单词)
  • admiration [,ædmə´reiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.赞赏,钦佩   (初中英语单词)
  • sovereign [´sɔvrin] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.至高无上的 n.君主   (初中英语单词)
  • bishop [´biʃəp] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.主教   (初中英语单词)
  • distress [di´stres] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.痛苦 vt.使苦恼   (初中英语单词)
  • account [ə´kaunt] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.说明 vt.认为 n.帐目   (初中英语单词)
  • career [kə´riə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.经历;生涯;职业   (初中英语单词)
  • partly [´pɑ:tli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.部分地;不完全地   (初中英语单词)
  • nevertheless [,nevəðə´les] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.&ad.然而;不过   (初中英语单词)
  • remarkable [ri´mɑ:kəbl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.值得注意的;显著的   (初中英语单词)
  • agriculture [´ægrikʌltʃə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.农业;农事   (初中英语单词)
  • multitude [´mʌltitju:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.大群(批);众多   (初中英语单词)
  • modest [´mɔdist] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.谦虚的;朴素的   (初中英语单词)
  • improvement [im´pru:vmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.改进,改善,进步   (初中英语单词)
  • welfare [´welfeə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.福利(事业)   (初中英语单词)
  • residence [´rezidəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.居住(期间);住宅   (初中英语单词)
  • intimate [´intimit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.亲密的 n.知己   (初中英语单词)
  • gallant [´gælənt, gə´lænt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.英勇的;华丽的   (初中英语单词)
  • suitable [´su:təbəl, ´sju:-] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.合适的,适当的   (初中英语单词)
  • meanwhile [´mi:n´wail] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&ad.其间;同时   (初中英语单词)
  • female [´fi:meil] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.女(性)的 n.女人   (初中英语单词)
  • wholly [´həul-li] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.完全,十足;统统   (初中英语单词)
  • therefore [´ðeəfɔ:] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&conj.因此;所以   (初中英语单词)
  • ceremony [´seriməni] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.典礼;礼仪;客气   (初中英语单词)
  • formal [´fɔ:məl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.正式的;外表的   (初中英语单词)
  • hastily [´heistili] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.急速地;草率地   (初中英语单词)
  • worthy [´wə:ði] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有价值的;值得的   (初中英语单词)
  • consequence [´kɔnsikwəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.结果;后果;推断   (初中英语单词)
  • elsewhere [,elsweə] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.在别处;向别处   (初中英语单词)
  • literary [´litərəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.文学(上)的   (初中英语单词)
  • youthful [´ju:θfəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.年轻的;青年的   (初中英语单词)
  • circle [´sə:kəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.圆圈 v.环绕;盘旋   (初中英语单词)
  • sympathetic [,simpə´θetik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.同情的,有同情心的   (初中英语单词)
  • observer [əb´zə:və] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.遵守者;观察员   (初中英语单词)
  • mechanical [mi´kænikəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.机械的;力学的   (初中英语单词)
  • companion [kəm´pæniən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.同伴;同事;伴侣   (初中英语单词)
  • affection [ə´fekʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.友爱;慈爱   (初中英语单词)
  • savage [´sævidʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.野蛮的 n.蛮人   (初中英语单词)
  • sincere [sin´siə] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.真挚的;直率的   (初中英语单词)
  • learnt [lə:nt] 移动到这儿单词发声  learn 的过去式(分词)   (初中英语单词)
  • witness [´witnis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.见证人 vt.目击   (初中英语单词)
  • opposition [,ɔpə´ziʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.反对;反抗;阻力   (初中英语单词)
  • climate [´klaimit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.气候;特殊气候地带   (初中英语单词)
  • gratitude [´grætitju:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.感激,感谢   (初中英语单词)
  • thence [ðens] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.从那里;因此   (初中英语单词)
  • agreeable [ə´gri:əbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.适合的;符合的   (初中英语单词)
  • satisfaction [,sætis´fækʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.满意;满足   (初中英语单词)
  • access [´ækses] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.接近;通路;进入   (高中英语单词)
  • attraction [ə´trækʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.吸引(力);引力   (高中英语单词)
  • descent [di´sent] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.出身,家世   (高中英语单词)
  • originally [ə´ridʒənəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.本来;独创地   (高中英语单词)
  • ireland [´aiələnd] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.爱尔兰   (高中英语单词)
  • historical [his´tɔrikəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.历史(上)的   (高中英语单词)
  • apparently [ə´pærəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.显然,表面上地   (高中英语单词)
  • extravagant [ik´strævəgənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.奢侈的;过度的   (高中英语单词)
  • alternate [ɔ:l´tə:nit, ´ɔ:ltə:neit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.交替的 v.轮流   (高中英语单词)
  • comprehension [,kɔmpri´henʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.理解;领悟   (高中英语单词)
  • philosopher [fi´lɔsəfə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.哲学家;思想家;哲人   (高中英语单词)
  • fearless [´fiələs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不怕的,无畏的   (高中英语单词)
  • repose [ri´pəuz] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.(使)休息;安息   (高中英语单词)
  • contempt [kən´tempt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.轻蔑;受辱;不顾   (高中英语单词)
  • popularity [,pɔpju´læriti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.普及;流行;名望   (高中英语单词)
  • oxford [´ɔksfəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.牛津   (高中英语单词)
  • exclusive [ik´sklu:siv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.独有的;集中的   (高中英语单词)
  • conspicuous [kən´spikjuəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.显著的;出众的   (高中英语单词)
  • finding [´faindiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.发现物;判断;结果   (高中英语单词)
  • bachelor [´bætʃələ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.未婚男子;学士   (高中英语单词)
  • educational [,edju´keiʃənəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.教育(上)的   (高中英语单词)
  • pronounced [prə´naunst] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.发出音的;显著的   (高中英语单词)
  • eldest [´eldist] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.最年长的   (高中英语单词)
  • prudent [´pru:dənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.谨慎的;精明的   (高中英语单词)
  • previously [´pri:viəsli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.预先;以前   (高中英语单词)
  • distinguished [di´stiŋgwiʃt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.卓越的,著名的   (高中英语单词)
  • remembrance [ri´membrəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.记忆(力);回忆   (高中英语单词)
  • perfection [pə´fekʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.完美;极致;熟练   (高中英语单词)
  • insure [in´ʃuə] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.给…保险   (高中英语单词)
  • quotation [kwəu´teiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.引用;引文;语录   (高中英语单词)
  • biography [bai´ɔgrəfi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.传记(文学)   (英语四级单词)
  • whence [wens] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.从何处;从那里   (英语四级单词)
  • zealous [´zeləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.热情的;积极的   (英语四级单词)
  • personage [´pə:sənidʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.名流;人物,角色   (英语四级单词)
  • peculiarly [pi´kju:liəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.特有地;古怪地   (英语四级单词)
  • totally [´təutəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.统统,完全   (英语四级单词)
  • congenial [kən´dʒi:niəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.意气相投的;合适的   (英语四级单词)
  • ardent [´ɑ:dənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.热心的;热情洋溢的   (英语四级单词)
  • winning [´winiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&a.胜利(的)   (英语四级单词)
  • partial [´pɑ:ʃəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.部分的;偏袒的   (英语四级单词)
  • uncommon [ʌn´kɔmən] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.非常的,非凡的,罕见的   (英语四级单词)
  • mischievous [´mistʃivəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有害的;淘气的   (英语四级单词)
  • stepmother [´step,mʌðə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.继母,后母   (英语六级单词)
  • august [ɔ:´gʌst] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.尊严的;威严的   (英语六级单词)
  • speaking [´spi:kiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.说话 a.发言的   (英语六级单词)
  • intimately [´intimitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.密切地;熟悉地   (英语六级单词)
  • cultivated [´kʌltiveitid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.在耕作的;有教养的   (英语六级单词)
  • impracticable [im´præktikəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不切实际的   (英语六级单词)
  • contracted [kən´træktid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.收缩了的;缩略的   (英语六级单词)
  • honorably [´ɔnərəbli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.光荣地;光明正大地   (英语六级单词)
  • susceptible [sə´septəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.敏感的;易受影响的   (英语六级单词)
  • blameless [´bleimlis] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无可责难的   (英语六级单词)
  • eccentric [ik´sentrik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.古怪的;离心的   (英语六级单词)
  • taking [´teikiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.迷人的 n.捕获物   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:57:29
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