Letters of Hartley Coleridge

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

desk, and the exercises which awaited his perusal were suspended on the topmost twigs, well out of his reach. Hartley, however, contrived, by getting on a bench and using a hooked stick, to filch them down, and many were the jokelets which he vented on the exercise-tree and its unripe fruit. The mischievous boys had anticipated a storm; they found sunshine; and Hartley was a double favourite ever after.'1


LETTER 59
TO HENRY NELSON COLERIDGE, Downshire Place, Hampstead, London.

Sedbergh, March 27, 1837. Revd. I. Green's.

Dear Hal

Were you not surprized to hear that like Tate's King Lear, I had resumed the rod of empire and recommenced Paedagogue? It is indeed, a step, I little expected of myself, and which considerations of mere gain would hardly have induced me to take, so little agreeable were my recollections of my former rule. But the desire to relieve the mind and body of a worthy young man whose sufferings, full as much mental as bodily, remind me somewhat of what I have imagined of dear Sara's, and a half feeling that a temporary change of scene and occupation was growing needful to my own health of mind, overcame my natural terror of a Hobby de hoy--I engaged, however, under the express understanding that my functions terminated with the lessons; for I know myself both morally and physically incapable of exerting authority or enforcing discipline, and when I find the animals above my hand in school--(I never meddle out of it) I must resign. As yet, they are personally respectful and I have never lost my temper--I believe, indeed, that the disposition to anger decreases with increasing years, unless ill health occasion bodily irritability. The employment is not laborious, nor very exhausting, and the superior master is present should an appeal be necessary, but as I have only the lower classes to hear, there is not much interest. I am, however, amused with various sorts and sizes of stupidity, and as a psychologist, I expect great improvement from the opportunity of observing the negative quantities of the human intellect. Snouderumpater requests me not to be sarcastic with the dull boys, because it will make me unpopular. Now

____________________
1
Fraser's Magazine, June 1851.

-209-

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