Pub. Letters, i. 21. This letter, the earliest of Coleridge's letters of which there is any record, was written from Christ's Hospital, which Coleridge attended 1782 to 1791. It is the only surviving letter to his mother.
February 4, 1785 [ London, Christ's Hospital]
Dear Mother, -- I received your letter with pleasure on the second instant, and should have had it sooner, but that we had not a holiday before last Tuesday, when my brother delivered it me. I also with gratitude received the two handkerchiefs and the half-acrown from Mr. Badcock, to whom I would be glad if you would give my thanks. I shall be more careful of the somme, as I now consider that were it not for my kind friends I should be as destitute of many little necessaries as some of my schoolfellows are; and Thank God and my relations for them! My brother Luke1 saw Mr. James Sorrel, who gave my brother a half-a-crown from Mrs. Smerdon, but mentioned not a word of the plumb cake, and said he would call again. Return my most respectful thanks to Mrs. Smerdon for her kind favour. My aunt was so kind as to accommodate me with a box. I suppose my sister Anna's2 beauty has many admirers. My brother Luke says that Burke's Art of Speaking3 would be of great use to me. If Master Sam and Harry Badcock are not gone out of (Ottery), give my kindest love to them. Give my compliments to Mr. Blake and Miss Atkinson, Mr. and Mrs. Smerdon,4 Mr. and Mrs. Clapp, and all other friends in the country. My uncle, aunt, and cousins join with myself and Brother in love to my sisters, and hope they are well, as I, your dutiful son,
S. Coleridge, am at p2resent.
P.S. Give my kind love to Molly.
MS. the Rev. A. D. Coleridge. Pub. with omis.Ill. London News, 1 April 1893, p. 397. While this letter is not addressed, internal evidence indicates that it was written to Luke and delivered by George.
[ 12 May 1787]
To begin a letter I esteem the hardest part: therefore pardon me if I use the hackneyed strain of, 'I take the opportunity of my____________________