Letters of Hartley Coleridge

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

LETTER 83
To MRS. SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE.

Rydal, January 14 or perhaps rather the 15th, 1844.

My dear Mother

Dear little Edith's drawing, if nothing else, ought to have had thanks and answer. Did you in remembrance of those feline attachments of mine, which so often put you into a rage, suggest the subject? She must have a decided turn for drawing, for the Cat is a very difficult subject and seldom well executed. Perhaps she never heard of the Swiss Artist--Mind --who was called the Raffaelle of Cats. There was a print from one of his pictures--some time ago--in the Penny Magazine. But this is hardly a proper mode to begin my letter--after so long delinquency, for which I will offer no excuse as I have not been either ill, or much from home, no wandering, and very little gayety. We have a sad sick neighbourhood, but those in whom you are most interested are pretty well.

I thought I had mentioned the book in my short epistle to Mary. I have acknowledged it--indeed I did so, I believe the day after it arrived. My letter was to Mrs. Warter. I felt some awkwardness in writing to her, but of course made no allusions, and acquitted myself pretty well. The book is, I doubt not, a valuable one from its age and rarity. I do not remember to have heard of it or seen it quoted. It seems to belong to the first age of printing, in black letter, closely resembling the Religious MSS. Missals, etc. The initials illuminated by the hand--No date, place, or printer's name that I can discover. What is worse, it has not Uncle's Autograph. But Edith has inserted with her own hand-- 'Purchased at the sale of my Father's Library for Hartley Coleridge, with the affectionate love of his Cousin, Edith May Warter'. (That does not sound so well as Edith May Southey. She has not improved her name by marriage as as much as her Mother and Aunts, but they indeed could hardly change for the harsher.) Mrs. Warter has added 'I selected this book as it was frequently in Southey's hands and one which he used to point out to me with much satisfaction for the clearness of the black letter and the antique knobs, clasps, and old oaken boards'.1 Its title--'Clarissimi viri, juris

____________________
1
'The "book" is now in my possession, the fly-leaf containing the signatures recorded in the text of this letter. A third inscription was added by Mrs. H. N. Coleridge: "My dear Herbert, I give this book to you with my dear love both

-270-

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