Letters of Hartley Coleridge

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

yet avoid, by not offering himself, where he must be sure that he will not be admitted. Repeated instances of intoxication, one at least of which seemed strongly to show a love of drinking (for his companion was till that day a stranger to him, a man of no talent, who had nothing particularly to recommend him except to one who could find it in getting drunk with him)--at other times keeping late hours, which with other circumstances afforded the strongest presumption that he had been drinking, though it was not then so evident--this too, in the year of his probation, and notwithstanding that he had been warned again and again of the consequences of irregularity, marks him as unfit to be admitted into a society established 'ad augendum Clerum'.

At the same time I trust that he is not a sot in the strong sense which you attach to that word. Habits exist in different degrees, are more or less completely formed--and I cannot consider one so young and I will add, so ready to receive advice, as 'irreclaimable' --but he has a great deficiency of that common sense, which would make the advice given really useful to him. Still, he is a young man of talent and there are many situations in which he might distinguish himself--I know, it has been suggested to him to go to Canada--to engage in any literary work there, where talent one might expect would be more rare and therefore more valuable, would perhaps be an employment profitable, and well suited to him--so great a change in the plan of his life, the design of residing abroad for a term of years would give to the world some reason for his apparently resigning his fellowship--which to himself the real loss of it, if it acted as a warning strong enough to break off what otherwise I could not but consider as a growing habit of drunkenness, or at least should be apprehensive it might be so, will eventually turn out for his good.

I wish I could have sent you more acceptable intelligence. It is a subject very painful to reflect on--I never speak of it to any but members of our Society--and I am sure you will not to any but those whom it immediately concerns.

My mother desires her compliments to yourself and Mrs. S. Mence, to which I beg to add my own.

I am, dear Mence, Yours very truly, WM. JAMES.


H

Letter of the REV. S. MENCEto S. T. COLERIDGE, enclosing the preceding letter from Wm. James.

Friday, July 21, 1820.

My dear Sir,

I enclose you James's letter. I wish it were in my power to suggest any thing useful in a case so full of difficulty and embarrassment. In any use you may deem it expedient to make of the

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