240. To Joseph Cottle Address: Mr Cottle | Bookseller | High Street | Bristol MS. Mr. A. G. B. Randle. Pub. with omis. Early Rec. i. 300. Stamped: Bridgewater. [Circa 17 March 1798] 2 My dear Cottle I never involved you in the bickering -- and never suspected you, in any one action of your life [(except that of 'our poems')] 3 of practising any guile against any human being except yourself -- Your letter supplied only one in a Link of circumstances that informed me of some things & perhaps deceived me in others 4 -- I shall write to day to Lloyd. -- ____________________ 1 Words in brackets inked out in manuscript. 2 This letter was written towards the end of the Alfoxden visit of 9-18 Mar. The allusion to 'the Tragedies' places it shortly after Letter 289; the reference to the lectures in Bristol and the remarks concerning Mrs. Coleridge's physician parallel comments in Letter 241. 3 Passage in brackets inked out in manuscript. 4 From this and the preceding letter it would seem that Cottle was also involved in Coleridge's misunderstanding with Lloyd and Lamb, an inference perhaps borne out by Lamb in dedicating his Works to Coleridge in 1818: 'My friend Lloyd and myself came into our first battle (authorship is a sort of -400- You will be so kind as not to communicate the contents of my last letter, concerning the Tragedies &c, to any one. -- There is no occasion. -- I do not think, I shall come to Bristol for these lectures 1 ' -- I ardently wish for the knowlege -- but Mrs Coleridge is within a month of her time -- and I cannot, I ought not to leave her -- especially, as her Surgeon is not a John Hunter, nor our house likely to perish from a plethora of comforts. Besides, there are other things that might disturb that evenness of benevolent feeling which I wish to cultivate. I am much better -- & at present, at Allfoxden -- and my new & tender health is all over me like a voluptuous feeling. -God bless you -- I do not much like to make you pay the postage for this scrawl; but you requested it -- S. T. Coleridge