Letters of Hartley Coleridge

By Grace Griggs Evelyn; Earl Griggs Leslie et al. | Go to book overview

circumstances--my task will be difficult, but my success will therefore be the more consolatory.

Derwent,1 is hard at it at Cambridge. Heaven grant he may be wise from my imprudence, and know that it is needful in this World videri as well as esse.

I am at present staying with the Montagus in Bedford Square.

[This letter has no conclusion or signature.]


LETTER 17
To SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE.

[ December, 1820.]

My dear Father

I know not what to say for myself for my long negligence and breach of promise: and am grieved to the heart to find you have been so uneasy. Were it not so late I should have set out tonight, and shew you, by my rosy face and black beard, that I have been labouring under no disease but that of idleness and abortive intentions. Tomorrow or the next day, tell Mrs. Gillman to get ready her well deserved scolding; and do you prepare your sharpest powers of Criticism for the immense load of Papers, which believe me--are positively in rerum naturâ, actual, and not potential--also the papers--and a Copy of the Warden's letter, which was a very difficult birth, costing a lot of paper in projections; at length it is deliver'd--and in truth--a thumper. To tell you the plain matter of fact, it has been the difficulty I had in satisfying myself in this composition, that has been the cause of your uneasiness, but it is done now, indeed.

I think John Coleridge's letter the unkindest stab of all. The bare, unmitigated credit, he has given to every tittle of my addition--Sot and all the rest--the unfeeling manner in which he alleges my acquaintance with the Harrises in proof of my love of low company; and his gratuitous assumption that I had enter[ed] into imprudent engagements--are instances of cold-heartednesses and prejudice I can sooner forgive than forget.2 Whatever I may have felt for Mary--and from you I wish not to conceal aught--I never expressed to her a thought beyond the most unimpassioned esteem. Nor does this observation beseem one, whom I have heard

____________________
1
Derwent was entered in May 1820 at St. John's College, Cambridge.
2
For the charges made by John Taylor Coleridge see Appendix, F.

-55-

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