Letters of Hartley Coleridge

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

upon your face, and made you the abhorrence of every sweet and lovely [woman], or that Fortune had thrust you into such an uncomfortable corner, that any man with the least generosity of spirit, would rather die for love in the said corner by himself, than tempt any poor female to half starve in it with him--better--but

Breaks off thus: no conclusion or signature.


LETTER 34
To MRS. SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, No. 1 New Square, Lincoln's Inn, London.

Grasmere, Feb. 6th, [Postmark 1831.]

My dear Mother

You have, I am afraid, been long thinking that your last delightful letter, written on dear Sara's birth day, should have obtained a more prompt return. That letter was indeed a comfort to me--I have read it again and again; it was the first of yours for many years which I could bear to read twice--I may say the first since the Oriel Business; for even while I had the school and your letters were for the most part full of encouragement, I had a presentiment that it would never do, and therefore your commendations seem'd like reproaches put out at interest. There is none of my delinquency for which I feel so much remorse, as for my foolish compliance with the advice of some well-meaning people who knew nothing of me, in consequence of which--poor Suart was induced to embark in an undertaking ruinous to himself and injurious to his creditors. For all the duties of a Preceptor, except the simple communication of knowledge [I am] as physically unfitted as dear Papa for those of a horse-soldier. For a Teacher who has to deal with Females or young Men, it may be sufficient if he can engage attention, but the master of school-boys must be able to command it, and this is a faculty not to be acquired. It depends upon the voice and eye and nerve. Every hour that I spent with my pupils was passed in a state more nearly related to fear than any thing else. How then could I have endured to be among unruly boys from 7 in the morning till eight or nine at night?--to be responsible for actions which I could no more control than I could move a Pyramid? Strange it may seem, but I have an instinctive terror of big boys, perhaps derived

-127-

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