Letters of Hartley Coleridge

By Grace Griggs Evelyn; Earl Griggs Leslie et al. | Go to book overview
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most kindly natured, exceedingly good-tempered, in the management and instruction of children excels any young man, I ever knew; and before God I say it, he has not to my knowledge a single vicious inclination--tho' from absence and nervousness he needs to be guarded against filling his wine- glass too often. . . . Whatever else is to be done or prevented, London he must not live in--the number of young men who will seek his company to be amused, his own want of pride, and the opportunity of living or imagining rather that he can live from hand to mouth by writing for Magazines, etc.--these are Ruin for him. I have but one remark to make--That of all the Waifs, I, ever knew, Hartley is the least likely and the least calculated to lead any human Being astray by his example. He may exhibit a warning--but assuredly he never will afford an inducement.'

About the same time Coleridge also wrote to Hartley urging him to accept Mr. Dawes's proposal:

'You have tried--nay, that is scarcely true; but you have made the experiment of trying--to maintain yourself by writing for the Press--and the result--I do not know what conclusion you have drawn from it--has been such as makes me shrink, and sink away inwardly, from the thought of a second trial. A domestic Tutorship seems out of all question: and even if by any sacrifice of my political free-agency I could--which I have no reason to believe that I possess, or could obtain interest enough to do--procure you any situation abroad--you would not like it or set about to suit yourself for it. What remains but something of the School kind? If you have thought of anything else, let me know it. . . . If anything tries your temper here you ought to be glad of it, as an opportunity of disciplining it for the severer trials, which . . . you will meet with at Keswick, without the greatest caution on your part. To Mr. Dawes exclusively you must look and apply yourself--God bless you! While I live I will do what I can--what and whether I can must in the main depend on yourself, not on your affectionate Father,


Hartley made what protest he could, but his resistance was as weak as any arguments he could muster to justify remaining in London, and by the beginning of the year 1823 we find him at Ambleside, as assistant master of Mr. Dawes's School.


Thursday afternoon, 15 Clifford's Inn. [ 1822.]

My dear Father

You have probably ere this received Robert's letter, acquainting you that I am well in bodily health--I hope I


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