259. To Mrs. S. T. Coleridge Address: Mrs Coleridge | Nether Stowey | Somersetshire | England Pay'd to Cuxhaven. MS. New York Public Lib. Part of the journal in this letter was revised and published in Satyrane's Letters, ii. See The Friend, No. 16, 7 December 1809, and Biog. Lit. 1817, ii. 217-21. Coleridge prints in Satyrane's Letters, ii, a long passage on drama, of which he says, 'I might have written this last sheet without having gone to Germany'; and since the passage does not appear in the German letters, I suspect he wrote it after he returned to England. Postmark: Foreign Office, 21 November 1798. Nov. 8th, 1798 My dearest Love After an eight weeks' Run of fine weather we are at last visited by the chilly, misty Rains of November -- and the Lake looks turbid, -435- and the purple of the woods has degenerated into a shabby Dirtcolour. My best dear Sara! what an impassable Hog-stye, what a Slough of Despond must Lime-Street be -- vocal with the Poorhouse Nightingales! -- But however let me recommence my Journal -- Thursday Morn. Sept. 20th -- 10 o clock. I called on Mr Chatterley. He introduced me to his Partner, Mr Klopstock; or as we ludicrously named him, YOUNG Klopstock.-- He is indeed younger than his Brother / altho' an old man. -- Well -- he could not speak a word of English; but was kind and courteous. I went and fetched Wordsworth; and he and Klopstock talked in French -- which K. spoke fluently, altho' with a most glorious havock of Genders & Syntax. -- K. took us to Professor Ebeling -- Now what a Professor is, I know not; but I will enquire & inform you when I give an account of the German Universities & the condition of their Literary Men. -- The Professor was a lively intelligent Man -- lively altho' deaf -- he spoke English very decently / but it was [an] effort to talk with him -- as we were obliged to drop all our Pearls into a huge Ear-trumpet. -- He informed us that Pacha Oglou 1 was not a Rebel, but a Turkish Constitutionalist, at the head of the Party who oppose all the Innovations & Gallicisms of the Seraglio. He is a sturdy Mahometan, supported by the Nobles & Men of Law -- and ready to submit, if the Grand Seignior will reduce his Government to the practices of his Ancestors. -- This information he had received from a Mr Hawkins who had just returned from Constantinople, who likewise affirms that the Modern Greeks are an estimable and interesting People; very many among them remember the glory of their ancestors; they are impatient of the Turkish Yoke, but detest French Men & French Manners. -- He told us a good Italian Pun. -- When Buonaparte was in Italy, he was on some occasion exceedingly irritated by the Perfidy of the Italians, & said in a large Company -- Ay! -- 'their own Proverb is most true.' -- The Italians are 'tutto Ladrones' [tutti ladroni] (that is -- all Bandittimen, or Thieves. --) An Italian Lady present answered -- Non tutto [tutti]; mais [ma] Buona Parte. Not all; but a good Part. -- The following anecdote is more valuable; & is true: whereas to my mind the Pun sounds very much like a Might be good Thing. -- Hoche 2 had received much information concerning the Face of the Country from a very accurate Map, the Maker of which, he had been informed, lived at Dusseldorf. -- At the storming of Dusseldorf by the French Army Hoche ordered the House & Property of this man to be preserved; & finding that he had fled, said -- 'He had no reason ____________________ 1 Pasvan Oglu, Turkish governor of Vidin. 2 Lazare Hoche ( 1768-97), the French general. -436- to flee / the French Nation make war for such men, not against them!' -- You remember Milton's Sonnet -- 'The great Emathian Conqueror bade spare The House of Pindarus' -- / Altho' a Snailtrailing Mapmaker may not be put alongside of the Theban Eagle, yet this does not prevent Hoche from being as great a man as Alexander -- From the Professor's Klopstock took us to Wagon-house -- i.e. -a place where second Hand Travelling-Machines were on Sale. -All very dear -- none under 80 pound. -Young Klopstock is a sort of Merchant in the agency Line; (as indeed are most of the Hamburghers) and he is the Proprietor of one of the Hamburgh Newspapers. -- We saw at his house a fine Bust of his Brother -- there was a solemn and heavy Greatness in the Countenance which corresponded with my preconceptions of his style & genius. -- I saw likewise there a very, very fine picture of Lessing. His eyes were uncommonly like mine -- if any thing, rather larger & more prominent -- But the lower part of his face & his nose -- O what an exquisite expression of elegance and sensibility I -- There appeared no depth, weight, or comprehensiveness in the Forehead. -- The whole Face seemed to say, that Lessing was a man -- of quick & voluptuous Feelings; of an active but light Fancy; acute; yet acute not in the observation of actual Life, but in the arrangements & management of the Ideal World -- (i.e.) in taste, and in metaphysics. Thursday. 30 / clock. Dined at the Saxe Hotel; because, it being French, we expected it would be cheap. But we had a miserable Dinner; and were detestably cheated. -- 6 o-clock. We went to the French Comedy. -- Most truly stupid & ridiculous. The following is a sketch. -- First Act informs us that a Court Martial is to be held on a Count Vatron who had drawn his Sword on the Colonel whose Sister he had married. The Officers plead in behalf of Count Vatron -- in vain! -- His wife -- the Colonel's Sister -- pleads -- with most tempestuous agonies -- in vain! She falls into Hysterics & faints away. -- Second Act -- Sentence of Death passed -- the Wife frantic & Hysterical as before. -- Third Act -- / Wife frantic -- Soldiers just going to fire -- the Handkerchief dropped -- when 'Reprieve!['] 'Reprieve' -- is cried out -- & in comes the Prince Somebody -and pardons the Count -- & the Wife is frantic with Joy. -- That's all! -- The afterpiece was flat; but with some pretty Music. Thursday Night. -- Saw in the Streets not one Prostitute / I found afterwards that they all live in one Street near Altona; and never appear out of their Houses, as Prostitutes. -- (N.B. Altona is a large town; bearing the same relation to Hamburgh, as Islington to London. / But it belongs to the King of Denmark -- & the Ham- -437- burghers (they say) named it for that Reason, Altona -- which in low German signifies, Too near.) -- Amused by the Watchmen who chant a sort of Night-Song, ringing not unmusically, a small Bell at Intervals. -- (N.B.) At Ratzeburgh the Watchman blows a Tune on a Horn, every half-hour thro' the Night. / -- The Doors of all the Houses have Bells, both at Hamburgh & Ratzeburgh, & wherever else I have been. -- A little Iron Rod, the length of my hand, is fastened to the Top of the Door, thus -- The Bell hangs on one side of the Door -- & bends in the shape of a Canopy over the Iron Rod. Of course whenever you open or shut the Door, the Iron Rod strikes the Bell -- and there is from Morning to Night an incessant kling, kling, klang / quite wearisome till you cease to observe it. -- Bürger alludes to this in the Lenore where the Knight first comes to the Chamber -- And horch I und horch I den Pfortenving -- And hark I and hark the Gate-Bell Ganz lose, leise, klingklingkling! 1 All softly, lowly, klingklingkling. -- N.B. -- Bürger of all the German Poets pleases me the most, as yet -- the Lenore is greatly superior to any of the Translations. Bér -ger's wife was unchaste, & he died of a broken Heart -- She is now a Demirep & an Actress at Hamburgh! -- A Bitch!! -- Friday, Septem. 21st. We consumed the morning in carriagehunting: -- and dined at our Hotel at the Ordinary -- a mark a head. -- This was the Dinner, & all the Dinners I have since seen, resemble it as nearly as English Dinners resemble one another in different Houses. -- First -- Soup. -- (N.B. It was good Broth; but every Thing here is called Soup. --) -- A long Interval. -- Some hung Beef, with unsalted boiled Beef, cut out in slices & handed round in a plate -- each man takes what he likes with his fork. -- Then two large Dishes of Vegetables were handed round -- The first, Carrots drest in butter -- not unpleasantly: & at the same time, great French Beans with their seeds in them, stewed in some condiment, I knew not what. -- The vegetables are never brought to Table simple as with us. -- Another long Interval -- 'And Patience, at at a German Ordinary, Smiling at Time! -- Then were handed round in a plate as before Slices of roast-beef, roasted dry & ragged -- A good Sallad -- then Slices of Roast Pork with stewed Prunes, & other sweet Fruit stewed --. -- Then cheese, and Butter, with plates of Orleans Plumbs by way of Desert: and -- Apples. -- It appears from Shake- ____________________ 1 G. A. Bürger, Lenore, lines 101-2. -438- spear's Plays that in his time the Eng[lish] 1 drest their dishes as the Germans do now -- as for instance, the Merry Wives [of] Windsor -'Slender. I bruised my shin with playing with sword & dagger for a dish [of stewed] prunes; & by my Troth I cannot abide the smell of Hot Meat since.' -- So in the [same Piece --] 'Evans. -- I will make an end of my dinner: there's pippins & cheese yet to come[.'] I have now dined at all the Gentlemen's & Noblemen's Houses w(ithin] two or three miles of Ra[tzebur]gh -- & the dinners have been always [begun by] Soup. -- sometimes made of Flesh, sometimes of Fruit -- in short, it [is always the first) Thing. -- I believe, I have tasted 20 kinds of Soup. -- The flesh Soup is good Broth & the Meat is introduced afterwards -- not the better for it's avantcourier. -- Besides this, the most common Soups are / -- I Wine Soup -- made of the common Wine, (resembling pleasant Cyder but with the vinous flavor) of Water, sugar, Eggs & Carraway Seeds. -2 Water Soup -- the same as Water gruel. -- 3. Plum Soup -- made of bruised Plums, Sugar, Eggs & Water. 4 Raisin Soup. -- Made of Water-gruel with Currants & Raisins in it, and a little wine. 5. Rice Soup: -- it is Rice-milk. 6. Kreutzer (Grütze?] Soup. Milk with a sort of Millet, called Kreutzers -- v(there are large Fields of the Plant which flowers in June -- & then for half a mile together you may see one sheet of white blossoms that send forth an odour sweeter, they say, than the Bean blossom. --) 7. Beer Soup. -- Made of Beer, Eggs, Sugar, & crumbled Bread. / -- Well -- first Soup. -- Then the Table is covered with small dishes, & exactly resembles a Saturday's Scrap Dinner in a large Family -- a long Interval -- then Fish is handed round -another Interval -- then Pies & Tarts -- another Interval -- then a large Joint of Roast Meat -- another Interval -- then Cheese, Butter, Fruits, & Sweetmeats. -- There is placed for every two Persons a bottle of common wine, either white or red -- the white I have described before; & the Red is a distant Relation of Claret --/ But during the Dinner the Servants hand round Glasses of richer wines -- at the Lord of Culpin's they came in this order. -1. Claret. 2. Madeira. 8. Port. 4. Frontiniac. 5. A Spanish Wine -- I have forgot the name. 6 Old Hock. 7. Mountain. 8. Champaign. 9. Old Hock again. loth & last. -- Punch. -- Each Man drank a glass of each / but this is the custom only on high days & great Feasts. -They change the Plates often; but seldom or never the Knives and Forks-not even after Fish. -- I however always send away my knife and fork with the Plate / and the Servants consider me as an Englishman. -- All the men have a hideous custom of picking their Teeth with their forks -- Some hold up their napkins before their ____________________ 1 Manuscript torn; the words in brackets in this and the following paragraph are supplied from a transcript made by Thomas Ward. -439- mouths while they do it -- which is shocking -- and adds a moral Filth to the action by evincing that the Person is conscious of the Filth of the Action. -- And the Top of their Teeth, the breadth of the Top, is commonly black & yellow with a Life's Smoking -- the Women too have commonly bad Teeth. In every House every Person, Children & all, have always a folded Napkin put on the Plate / but it is not always very clean. -- Carpets are very uncommon. As far as my experience goes hitherto, I like the Stoves very well. -- Chester & I could not conceive at first what they were. We saw in every Room a great high Thing of a strange Shape, made of Dutch Tiles -- or black Tiles -- or ebony -- from seven to ten feet high -- Till I went to Ratzeburgh, I imagined them to be ornamental Furniture. -- I wish very much I could draw -- how many awkward round about Sentences which after all convey no true ideas, would three lines with a pencil save me: -- and I too am especially a very awkward Describer of Shapes & Dresses. -- We are well, My dear Love! -- My next letter will recommence with Friday, Sept. 21st -- N.B. Yet Goose is always stuffed with Plums & Prunes in great quantities -- it is indeed a Plum & Prune Pie, of which the Goose is the Crust. We have not heard from the Wordsworths -- to my great Anxiety & inexpressible Astonishment. Where they are, or why they are silent, I cannot even guess. -- O my love! I wish you were with me --/ -- I have received no information that can be relied upon concerning the medicine, Sir John Sinclair mentions -- / but I will not give up the Search / tho' I believe it to be all idle. -- How a man ought to weigh such Sentences before he publishes them! -- it is no good thing to trifle with the Hopes of them who are in Agony! -- I have not yet heard from you, my Love! But I hope that tomorrow or next day will bring me a letter -- / God love you & your most aff. & faithful Husband, S. T. Coleridge. -- My love to dear Mrs Poole, -- to Bessy, Susan, & Julia Chester -to Lavinia, &c at the Farm -- to Mr & Mrs Roskilly -- &c --