Letters of Hartley Coleridge

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

While Hartley was at Sedbergh in 1837, his excellent hostess, Mrs. Fleming, died. His mother, who, now as always, seems to have regarded her son as a helpless child, was solicitous about what arrangements he could make for board and lodging. 'It is natural to think', she wrote to Hartley on July 8, 1837,

'that you would have written on the news of the death of poor Mrs. Fleming, whose departure from this vale of tears is so much regretted by your anxious mother, as most certainly by yourself. . . . I was sorry to infer [from Mrs. Wordsworth's letter] that you could no longer expect a home under that roof. Nothing was said about the books, cloathes, etc.--which you left there, but, doubtless you have had some intimation of these matters from the heirs or executors of your late poor friend. Mrs. Wordsworth seemed to think you intended to stay where you are, [Sedbergh] but she will see, from my letter, that you intend to stay till midsummer. . . . Do not keep me in suspense about your future plans, as I cannot be easy till I know what you mean to do. I hope you will not think of a public house as in the instance of poor J. Bell's house, which you made your home so many years. I suppose there are persons in Grasmere who would be glad to have you, if only for the sum paid for your board--but I guess it is not very easy to meet with a home for you so suitable as your last.'

Fortunately, Hartley was able to make his home with a young farmer and his wife, William and Eleanor Richardson, who watched over him tenderly, and with whom he stayed until his death in 1849.


LETTER 60

To MRS. HENRY NELSON COLERIDGE, 10 Chester Place, Regent's Park, London.

[Postmark, September 7, 1837.]

My dear Sister

Thank you for your Fairy Tale,1 which I [have] not yet read, so cannot praise. It will, however, make an excellent text for a review, in which I can do it ample justice without letting the cat out of the bag. I was right glad of all your letters, for I was growing anxious about you all, although the news is not quite so good as I could have wished, it is not on the whole, worse than I anticipated. I am now comfortably settled,

____________________
1
Sara Coleridge Phantasmion was published in 1837. In this fairy tale Coleridge's daughter shows that she inherited to no little degree the imaginative power of her father.

-212-

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