William Wordsworth and Annette Vallon

William Wordsworth and Annette Vallon

William Wordsworth and Annette Vallon

William Wordsworth and Annette Vallon

Excerpt

Some time after I had published The Early Life of William Wordsworth, in the last years of the last century, I met in London my friend Thomas Hutchinson, now deceased, who was soon after to make himself known as the erudite editor of Wordsworth, Shelley and Lamb. He had many times encouraged and helped me with his advice while I was preparing my book. In the course of our talk he asked me whether I was aware of a well-established tradition in the Coleridge family that William Wordsworth, during his stay in France, had of a young French lady a son, who afterwards visited him at Rydal Mount. This statement which mixed truth with some error--an error which can now be easily accounted for--made me regret that I had not known the fact beforehand, so as to alter some pages of my work which were flatly contradicted by it. But as I had then turned to other subjects, I let the thing pass without more comment, and allowed the story to sleep for many years, not hiding it from those who were concerned with the poet's life but never committing it to print.

Then came the time when Professor George Harper of Princeton University began to write his masterly biography of the poet. I told him the little I knew, but no further progress was made till he discovered among the British Museum . . .

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