evening of life, was collecting and transcribing all the riddles of every sort that she could meet with, into a thin quarto of hot-pressed paper, made up by her friend, and ornamented with cyphers and trophies.
In this age of literature, such collections on a very grand scale are not uncommon. Miss Nash, head teacher at Mrs. Goddard’s, had written out at least three hundred; and Harriet, who had taken the first hint of it from her, hoped, with Miss Woodhouse’s help, to get a great many more. Emma assisted with her invention, memory and taste; and as Harriet wrote a very pretty hand, it was likely to be an arrangement of the first order, in form as well as quantity.
Mr. Woodhouse was almost as much interested in the business as the girls, and tried very often to recollect something worth their putting in. “So many clever riddles as there used to be when he was young–he wondered he could not remember them! but he hoped he should in time.” And it always ended in, “Kitty, a fair but frozen maid.”
His good friend Perry too, whom he had spoken to on the subject, did not at present recollect any thing of the riddle kind; but he had desired Perry to be upon the watch, as he went about so much, something, he thought, might come from that quarter.
It was by no means his daughter’s wish that the intellects of Highbury in general be put under requisition. Mr. Elton was the only one whose assistance she asked. He was invited to contribute any really good enigmas, charades or conundrums that he might recollect; and she had the pleasure of seeing him most intently at work with his recollections; and at the same time, she could perceive, most earnestly careful that nothing ungallant, nothing that did not breathe a compliment to the sex