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talk a great deal about idealizing nowadays, whatever that may mean." But this was nothing to a fit of writing classical poetry, which soon seized him ; in which his. Molly figured away as “Maria." The letter containing the carmen was endorsed by her, “Hebrew verses sent me by my honored husband. I thowt to have had a letter about killing the pig, but must wait. Mem., to send the poetry to Sir Peter Arley, as my husband desires.” And in a post-scriptum note in his handwriting, it was stated that the Ode had appeared in the “Gentleman's Magazine," December, 1782.
Her letters back to her husband (treasured as fondly by him as if they had been M. T. Ciceronis Epistolæ) were more satisfactory to an absent husband and father, than his could ever have been to her. She told him how Deborah sewed her seam very neatly every day, and read to her in the books he had sent her ; how she was a very “ forrard,” good child, but would ask questions her mother could not answer; but how she did not let herself down by saying she did not know, but took to stirring the fire, or sending the “forrard" child on an errand. Matty was now the mother's darling, and promised (like her sister at her age) to be a great beauty. I was reading this aloud
to Miss Matty, who smiled and sighed a little at the hope, so fondly expressed, that "little Matty might not be vain, even if she were a beauty."
“I had very pretty hair, my dear,” said Miss Matilda, “and not a bad mouth.” And I saw her soon afterward adjust her cap and draw herself up.
But to return to Mrs. Jenkyns's letters. She told her husband about the poor in the parish ; what homely domestic medicines she had administered ; what kitchen physic she had sent. She had evidently held his displeasure as a rod in pickle over the heads of all the ne'er-do-wells. She asked for his directions about the cows and pigs; and did not always obtain them, as I have shown before.
The kind old grandmother was dead, when a little boy was born, soon after the publication of the sermon; but there was another letter of exhortation from the grandfather, more stringent and admonitory than ever, now that there was a boy to be guarded from the snares of the world. He described all the various sins into which men might fall, until I wondered how any man ever came to a natural death. The gallows seemed as if it must have been the termination of the lives of most of the
grand father's friends and acquaintance; and I was not surprised at the way in which he spoke of this life being “a vale of tears."
It seemed curious that I should never have heard of this brother before; but I concluded that he had died young; or else surely his name would have been alluded to by his sis. ters.
By-and-by we came to packets of Miss Jen. kyns's letters. These, Miss Matty did regret to burn. She said all the others had been only interesting to those who loved the writers; and that it seemed as if it would have hurt her to allow them to fall into the hands of strangers, who had not known her dear mother, and how good she was, although she did not always spell quite in the modern fashion; but Deborah's letters were so very superior! Any one might profit by reading them. It was a long time since she had read Mrs. Chapone, but she knew she used to think that Deborah could have said the same things quite as well ; and as for Mrs. Carter! people thought a deal of her letters, just because she had written Epictetus, but she was quite sure Deborah would never have made use of such a common expression as “ I canna be fashed !”
Miss Matty did grudge burning these letters, it was evident. She would not let them be carelessly passed over with any quiet reading, and skipping, to myself. She took them from me, and even lighted the second candle in order to read them aloud with a proper emphasis, and without stumbling over the big words. Oh dear! how I wanted facts instead of reflections, before those letters were concluded! They lasted us tw.) nights; and I won't deny that I made use of th; time to think of many other things, and yet I was always at my post at the end of each sentence.
The rector's letters, and those of his wife and mother-in-law, had all been tolerably short and pithy, written in a straight hand, with the lines
ery close together. Sometimes the whole letver was contained on a mere scrap of paper. The paper was very yellow, and the ink very brown; some of the sheets were (as Miss Matty made me observe) the old original post, with the stamp in the corner, representing a post-boy riding for life and twanging his horn. The let. ters of Mrs. Jenkyns and her mother were fas. tened with a great round red wafer; for it was before Miss Edgeworth's “Patronage” had ban. ished wafers from polite society. It was evi. dent, from the tenor of what was said, that franks were in great request, and were even
used as a means of paying debts by needy members of Parliament. The rector sealed his epistles with an immense coat of arms, and showed, by the care with which he had performed this ceremony, that he expected they should be cut open, not broken by any thoughtless or impatient hand. Now, Miss Jenkyns's letters were of a later date in form and writing. She wrote on the square sheet, which we have learned to call old-fashioned. Her hand was admirably calculated, together with her use of many-syllabled words, to fill up a sheet, and then came the pride and delight of crossing. Poor Miss Matty got sadly puzzled with this, for the words gathered size like snow-balls, and toward the end of her letter, Miss Jenkyns used to become quite sesquipedalian. In one to her father, slightly theological and controversial in its tone, she had spoken of Herod, Tetrarch of Idumea. Miss Matty read it “ Herod Petrarch of Etru. riæ,” and was just as well pleased as if she had been right.
I can't quite remember the date, but I thinh it was in 1805 that Miss Jenkyns wrote the longest series of letters, on occasion of her absence on a visit to some friends near Newcastleupon Tyne. These friends were intimate with the commandant of the garrison there, and heard