241. To Josiah Wade Pub. Early Rec. i. 296. March 21st, 1798 My very dear friend, I have even now returned from a little excursion 2 that I have taken for the confirmation of my health, which had suffered a rude assault from the anguish of a stump of a tooth which had baffled the attempts of our surgeon here, and which confined me to my bed. I suffered much from the disease, and more from the doctor; rather than again put my mouth into his hands, I would put my hands in a lion's mouth. I am happy to hear of, and should be most happy to see, the plumpness and progression of your dear boy; but -- yes, my dear Wade, it must be a but, much as I hate the word but. Well, -- but I cannot attend the chemical lectures. I have many reasons, but the greatest, or at least the most ostensible reason, is, that I cannot leave Mrs. C. at that time; our house is an uncomfortable one; our surgeon may be, for aught I know, a lineal descendant of Esculapius himself, but if so, in the repeated trans- ____________________ warfare) under cover of the greater Ajax. How this association . . . came to be broken, -- who snapped the threefold cord, -- whether yourself (but I know that was not the case) grew ashamed of your former companions, or whether (which is by much the more probable) some ungracious bookseller was author of the separation, -- I cannot tell.' 1 Dr. Thomas Beddoes 'opened his course [of Chemical Lectures] early in the spring of 1798'. J. E. Stock, Memoirs of the Life of Thomas Beddoes, 1811, p. 145. 2 The 'little excursion' must have been, as Chambers suggests, the visit to Alfoxden of 9-18 Mar. ( Life, 101). -401- fusion of life from father to son, through so many generations, the wit and knowledge, being subtle spirits, have evaporated. . . . Ever your grateful and affectionate friend, S. T. Coleridge