262. To Mrs. S. T. Coleridge Transcript Thomas Ward copy-book, New York Public Lib. Pub. with omis. Letters, i. 265. Part of the journal in this letter was revised and published in Satyrane's Letters, iii. See The Friend, No. 18, 21 December 1809, and Biog. Lit. 1817, ii. 282-4. Ratzeburg, Novr 26th. 1798 Another, and another, and yet another Post day; and still Chester greets me with, 'No letters from England'! A Knell, that strikes out regularly four times a week -- How is this my Love? -Why do you not write to me? -- Do you think to shorten my absence by making it insupportable to me? -- Or perhaps you anticipate that if I received a letter, I should idly turn away from my German to dream of you -- of you & my beloved babies! -- Oh yes! -- I should indeed dream of you for hours and hours; of you, -445- and of beloved Poole, and of the Infant that sucks at your breast, and of my dear dear Hartley -- You would be present, you would be with me in the Air that I breathe; and I should cease to see you only when the tears rolled out of my eyes, and this naked undomestic Room became again visible -- But oh with what leaping and exhilarated faculties should I return to the objects & realities of my mission. -- But now -- nay, I cannot describe to you the gloominess of Thought, the burthen and Sickness of heart, which I experience every post day -- Through the whole remaining day I am incapable of every thing but anxious imaginations, of sore and fretful feelings -- The Hamburg Newspapers arrive here four times a week; and almost every Newspaper commences with, ' Schreiben aus London -- They write from London' -- This day's, with schreiben aus London, vom Nov 13 -- But I am certain that you have written more than once; and I stumble about in dark and idle conjectures, how and by what means it can have happened that I have not received your Letters -- I recommence my Journal, but with feelings that approach to disgust -- for in very truth I have nothing interesting to relate -- Saturday Septr 22d -- Wordsworth and we were in a state of doubt and oscillation whether we should proceed to Weimar or fix ourselves in some village near Hamburg -- We were frightened at the expences of travelling to Weimar, extra post, as these expences were represented by English Travellers. Baldwin told us that it probably would cost 60 and must cost forty guineas -- Remnant & the Germans affirmed this to be a prodigious hyperbole, & Remnant assured us that it was impossible that the Journey, (extra post, that is, the same as post chaises in opposition to stage Coaches) should cost us all four, provisions and all, & including all conceivable impositions, more than 15£ -- What a difference! -- But Wordsworth says he can believe no Man -- The laxity and inaccuracy of Men's minds are so astonishing -- Young Klopstock recom. mended Ratzeburg to us, & offered a letter of introduction -- and we accepted it, and I was appointed the Missioner. Septr 23d. Sunday -- Shops, half of them, open as on other days. A French Comedy at Night --; but this is the third time only that the Theatres have been open on Sundays. The Hamburghers had been struggling for it for years, but it had been refused by the Aldermen as indecent. -- One gate too is to be openable at Night -hitherto the gates have been all shut at 9 in Summer, & 5 in Winter, & no person from highest to lowest permitted to go out or in -- I observed a Woman ironing, & others at work -- I felt myself inclined to a strict Sabbatism; for I observe that where the Rich may play, the poor must work. -- I entered the Church of St Nicholas -- -446- observed a huge picture, I suppose 16 feet high, of St Christopher with our Saviour on his shoulders -- I should not have understood it, but for the note relative to the saint in Southey's Travels in Spain & Portugal -- There was the largest Organ that I ever beheld -- & the whole Church was profuse in all ornaments except Worshippers -- It was an inconceivably thin Congregation -- In other parts of Germany none pretend not to be Infidels, except the Pastors & the Peasantry -- but in Hamburgh they are not Irreligionists, only they have no Religion -- Septr 28d. -- Sunday 5 o'clock -- afternoon -- I set off in the stage for Ratzeburg -- The vehicle bore a sort of rude resemblance to an English stage coach -- but it was larger -- It held the same proportion and likeness as an Elephant's ear to the human. On the Top were naked boards of different colours, some painted, some not -- as if they had been parts of different Wainscoats -- Instead of Windows there were leathern curtains with a little eye of glass in them -- The Coach Doors and the Back-seats were thus windowed; and as these Curtain Windows would not come close, it was terribly cold. -- And yet this thing of a Coach had it's finery -- for it was lined with cut velvet! -- The four horses were harnessed simply with ropes, which, when they stopped, lay upon the Ground -- I payed 4 marks for my fare -- As we entered the Vicinity of Hamburgh, I was much struck with the neat and festal lightness of the Country houses -- Some were houses of entertainment, some private houses; but all were neat & crowded with neat holliday-dressed People -- I observed some Boys playing in a farm-yard -- One sat on a high post and swung round and round a black. Skin -- the others shouting and running with forward hands, round and round the post -- but the particulars of the play I could not learn -- There was a German in the Coach, who talked a little Latin, & was very kind and civil to me -- Whenever the Coach stopped, I went up to the Cottages, or rather Bauer-houses, & the alehouses -- they were alike, except in size -- one great Room like a Barn with a hay loft over it -- the straw & hay dangling in tufts through the Boards, which formed the Ceiling of the great Room & the floor of the Loft -From this huge Room, which is paved like a street, sometimes one, sometimes two rooms are inclosed -- and these are commonly floored -- In the large Room the Cattle, the Pigs & Poultry, Men, Women & Children live very amicably -- but yet it seemed clean and comfortable. -- One house I measured -- it was an hundred feet in length and 48 in breadth: Door Door -- 1 -Apartments won from the Room -- 2.2 -- Stalls for Cattle &c -- 3 -447- -- the breadth where the stalls were not -- 48 feet -- 4 --the breadth where the stalls were, 82 feet -- Of course the stalls were on each side 8 feet in breadth -- the faces of the Cows &c were towards the room, indeed in it -- (What a Genius for painting I possess! I cannot help admiring the exquisite Elegance of my own drawing -- it wants nothing but colours to make it surpass the original.) The Woodwork of these buildings on the outside, unplaistered as in the old houses among us, & being painted red & green, they cut & tesselate the house very prettily -- From within three miles of Hamburgh almost to Molln, which is 80 miles, it was a dead flat, only varied by woods in the Distance -- near Molln it became more beautiful -- There was a small Lake planted round with Groves -- exactly like a Nobleman's seat among us. -- There was a palace in view, belonging to the King of England and tenanted by the Inspector of the Forests. -- We were nearly the same time travelling from Hamburgh to Ratzeburg 85 miles, as from London to Yarmouth 126 -- However we arrived there Monday Septr 24th. 9 o'clock -- It appeared at a little distance like a cluster of neat red houses, on the opposite side of the lake, & near the head of it -- but as we approached, it appeared more and more near the middle of it -- & this too was a delusion. For Ratzeburg is an Island in the lake, and there are seven miles of water above it, and only 1/2 beneath it -- the lake runs nearly from south to north -- But I will describe Ratzeburg more fully hereafter -- Suffice it at present to say that I was enchanted with the appearance -- Here a ludicrous circumstance occurred -- I had never asked Klopstock the Name of the Gentleman, but only took the letter -- Accordingly when I arrived at Ratzeburgh, I consulted the direction -- but lo! it was in German Characters -- which, (the written) I cannot even now read. However there was one word which I made out, & which from it's situation I took for the name -- this was Wohlgebohrne. -- So I began to enquire where Mr Wohlgebohrne lived -- No body knew such a Person -- I was a little frightened and shewed my letter -- A Grin! -The address was to the Amtman Braunes -- An Amtman is a sort of perpetual Mayor -- at once the Mayor & the Justice of Peace; -and Wohlgebohrne or 'Well born' is one of the common titles of Civility, & means no more than our Esqr -- Well I delivered my letter to the Amtman, who spoke English very well & received me very kindly -- Here I must conclude -- or I shall be too late for the post -- let your letters be thus directed, Mr Coleridge | Ratzeburg | (7 Ger: miles from Hamburgh) | Germany Chester is well, & we are comfortable except from anxiety -- My -448- best love to Mrs Poole and to all Friends -- God bless you my dear love -- & your affectionate and faithful Husband S T Coleridge -- N.B. My love to Nanny. ---- We have a deep snow and a hard frost, and I am learning to skate --There are Balls and Concerts every week -- & I am pressed by all the Ladies to dance. -- But if I could, I am in no dancing Mood. ----