1813 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Edward Smedley

Maria Edgeworth to C. Sneyd Edgeworth, 1 May 1813; Life and Letters, ed. Hare (1895) 1:209.



Let us go back, if you please, to Cambridge. Thursday morning we went to breakfast with Mr. Smedley. It had been a dreadful rainy night, but luckily the rain ceased in the morning, and the streets were dried by the wind on purpose for us. In Sidney College we found your friend in neat, cheerful rooms, with orange-fringed curtains, pretty drawings, and prints; breakfast-table as plentifully prepared as you could have had it — tea, coffee, tongue, cold beef, exquisite bread, and many inches of butter. I suppose you know, but no one else at home can guess, why I say "inches" of butter. All the butter in Cambridge must be stretched into rolls a yard in length and an inch in diameter, and these are sold by inches, and measured out by compasses, in truly mathematical manner, worthy of a university.

Mr. Smedley made us feel at home at once; my mother made tea, I coffee; he called you "Sneyd," and my father seemed quite pleased. After having admired the drawings and pictures, and Fanny's kettle-holder, we sallied forth with our friendly guide. It was quite fine and sunshiny, and the gardens and academic shades really beautiful.