Samuel Taylor Coleridge: A Biographical Study

By E. K. Chambers | Go to book overview

XI SEPARATION
August 1806--June 1808

AT Stangate Creek Coleridge hurried to 'a curious little chapel' which he found deserted, and offered up 'as deep a prayer as ever without words or thoughts was sent up by a human Being'. He now felt health flowing in upon him 'like the mountain waters upon the dry stones of a valestream after rains'. He could not at first bring himself to ask for any one or of any one. But he made his way to the Bell Inn in London, called upon Lamb, and announced his arrival to Wordsworth and to Stuart, who was at Margate, but offered him lodging at his house in Brompton. Two days later he wrote to Southey, whom he felt he could address with more tranquillity than his wife.1 To her his first letter was on 16 September 1806. He then expected to reach Keswick in a fortnight. During the interval he had been seeking ways and means for the future. He had visited Stuart, and came back with the idea of writing a character of Fox, who was just dead, in his paper, the Courier, but none has been identified. He also spent some time with the Clarksons, who were staying with one William Smith at Parndon in Essex. From here he seems to have visited Newmarket, where he was shocked by the gambling, and pleased by his own success in in exchange of verbal amenities with the aristocratic frequenters of the race-course. Smith, who was in Parliament, gave him an introduction to Lord Howick, the Foreign Secretary, from whom he evidently hoped to secure some official post on the strength of his familiarity with Mediterranean affairs. This, however, came to nothing. He says that he called at Howick's house and was repelled by the hall-porter with gross insults.2 A more likely prospect was opened out by an invitation, no doubt through Davy, to deliver a course of lectures at

____________________
1
C.159, 160, 161; G.153; L.P.21; W.272.
2
C.160, 161; G.154; A.P.168; L.192; P. ii. 177; Meteyard, 324; Gillman257.

-193-

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