403. To Thomas Poole Address: Mr T. Poole | Nether Stowey | Bridgewater | Somerset Single MS. British Museum. Pub. E. L. G. i. 174. Postmark: 8 July 1801. Stamped: Keswick. Sunday, July 7 [5], 1801. Keswick My dearest Poole I had written you a letter some days ago, which by accident was not sent to the post -- it's purport chiefly was to desire you to -738- desire Mr King to pay Mrs Fricker 10£ in my name, which sum Mr Wedgewood will remit to you the first time he writes. I wrote to him on Wednesday night last, requesting him so to do. I adopt this mode of conveying the money to Mrs F. first to save her the expence of two double Letters, as I must divide the note in order to send it with certain safety, & four Shillings is a heavy Drawback from 10£ -- & secondly, from the great difficulty of procuring Bank of England Bills in this County. Nobody here will take them -- they call them 'swindling notes' -- the home business is carried on by the Bank Paper of the chief Towns in this & the adjoining Counties, & the London Business by means of Drafts. ----- The remaining part of my Letter was written in so gloomy a spirit that I am glad it was delayed long enough for me to see & destroy it. On Wednesday Evening I received a friendly Letter from Jos. Wedgewood. He had seen a letter of mine to Tobin, written for the purpose of preventing him & a friend of his from paying me a visit this summer, (a month's visit) the reason I assigned was the uncertainty of my remaining in this country after this month, as I was determined to go to the Azores in the very first vessels, & winter there, if I could get the moneys necessary for me to go with, & for my Wife & Babes to be left behind with. -Mr Wedgewood says -- 'I shall be very glad to hear from you, when you have strength & spirits to write, as I suppose some plan must be settled as to your annuity. In the mean time I inclose a draft of 50£, as I think we are in your debt.' -- This 50£ has, I doubt not, left me their debtor, as far as respects this year's annuity. It has enabled [me] to pay up to the present hour all our half yearly & quarterly Keswick Bills, rent, &c -- & as much of the remainder of the Debt transferred from Longman to Wordsworth as is sufficient for W's present necessities. -- Within a trifle, 4 or 5£ perhaps, my Household will go on very smoothly & easily till Christmas when I shall be able to draw again. -- I wrote to Tobin in the first gloomy moments of a sudden & severe Relapse: on the three following nights I had three sharp paroxysms of decided Gout which left me in apparent health & good spirits: & under these influences I wrote a very chearful answer to Mr Wedgewood, & informed him, that I had postponed, and I hoped relinquished the scheme of passing the Winter at St Michael's; but that I meant to try a course of Horse Exercise. Within two Hours, after I had dispatched this Letter I was again taken ill with fever & the most distressing stomach-attacks -- on Friday Evening & night I was very ill -- only a little better on Saturday -- and I am still very sick & somewhat sad. I can bear pain, my dear Poole! I can bear even violent pain with the meek patience -739- of a Woman; but nausea & giddiness are far worse than pain -- for they insult & threaten the steadiness of our moral Being -- & there is one thing yet more deplorable than these -- it is the direful Thought of being inactive & useless. Nine dreary months -- and oh me I have I had even a fortnight's full & continuous health? I have hardly gained the Rock, ere a new Wave has overtaken & carried me back again. When I am well & employed as I ought to be, I cannot describe to you how independent a Being I seem to myself to be. My connection with the Wedgewoods I feel to be an honor to myself, & I hope, and almost feel, that it will hereafter be even something like an honor to them too -- but -- oh Poole! you know my heart & I need not reverse the picture. Now what am I to do? Mr Wedgewood says 'From all I have heard of the part of England where you are, I think it is very likely that you may have suffered from the wetness of the climate, & that you might probably derive great benefit from merely changing your place of Abode in England.' To this I make two remarks which I shall make into two paragraphs -- a trick, I have learnt by writing for Booksellers at so much per sheet. Blank Spaces are a Relief to the Reader's eye & the Author's Brain -- & the Printers too call them FAT. First then, that beastly Bishop, that blustering Fool, Watson, 1 a native of this vicinity, a pretty constant Resident here, & who has for many years kept a Rain-gage, considers it as a vulgar Error that the climate of this County is particularly wet. He says, the opinion originates in this -- that the Rain here falls more certainly in certain months, & these happen to be the months in which the Tourists visit us. William Coates said to me at Bristol -- [']Keswick, Sir! is said to be the rainiest place in the Kingdom -- it always rains there, Sir! -- I was there myself three Days, & it rained the whole of the Time.' -- Men's memories are not much to be relied on in cases of weather; but judging from what I remember of Stowey & Devon, Keswick has not been, since I have been here, wetter than the former, and not so wet as Devonshire. Secondly, whither am I to go? -- Nota bene, Poole! I have now no furniture: & no means whatever to buy any. Giving the requisite & merited attention to this circumstance, I say, I live cheaper here than I could do any where in England. I have delightful Prospects, heavenly Grounds for the children, a solicitously kind neighbour in my Landlord -- & a mother to Hartley in his Housekeeper. But all this out of the question -- I say, I live cheaper here than I could in any part of the Kingdom. -- But then I find, alas! that I cannot endure the climate -- but then I have not an ____________________ 1 Richard Watson, who was born in Westmorland, devoted much attention to chemistry and made discoveries concerning the thermometer. -740- atom of Belief, nor the most trifling Reason for believing, that the Climate in any other part of the Kingdom is one whit better for me -- excepting perhaps some part of Cornwall. And how am I to get thither? -- Every one has said to me -- I hope, you may recover your health merely by living in Devonshire or Cornwall without going abroad. I have always answered thus -- Going abroad -- going out of the Kingdom, &c -- are terrible Words -- but what is the Thing itself? -- I can go, by myself, to St Michael's for 5 guineas, & live there for 20£ a year -- & if I send for my wife & children, the expence will be exactly in the same proportion -- and the carriage of my Books will cost nothing additional. But if I go to the coasts of Devon, or Cornwall, by myself, the coasting-voyage is too dangerous for me to go by sea & it is intolerably tedious & uncertain: if I go by Land, I must often halt a day or two on the road, & it cannot cost me so little as 20 guineas -- and as to living, Lord have mercy upon me! ----- if I go with my Wife & Children, the expence will be in the same proportion -- & the Carriage of my Books will half ruin me! -----. Add to this, that at St Michael's I have not only an exceedingly cheap country, a heavenly Country to look at, & Baths specific in the cure of my Disease, but I can gain twice as much as my voyage there & back, & my maintenance, by writing without half the effort which I am now using what I have seen & noticed. -- I have therefore made up my mind to go & see the place at the end of this month, if I can. -- And now all I have to do is to think how I can do it. -- I could go if I had 30£ for myself, & 10£ to leave with Mrs Coleridge. This 40£ I think I could raise from the Booksellers without injuring my reputation by giving out unfinished works, merely in advance, provided I could get any one to be my Security for the repayment of the money in case that Death or Disease should occasion a non-performance of my Engagement. 1 -- To the Wedgewoods I will not apply -- it would look like borrowing money upon my annuity -- and I am, and I ought to be, feverishly fearful & delicate with regard to my pecuniary connections with them, having yet done nothing in evidence that they did not do a hasty & imprudent thing in having done so much for me. -- God bless them! ----- I am sure, I think often & often of them with a grateful & affectionate heart --. Neither do I apply to you -- partly, because I am vexed that I have not yet ____________________ 1 Wordsworth opposed such a scheme in a letter to Poole: 'This plan, for my own part, though I did not like to say so abruptly to Coleridge, I greatly disapprove, as I am sure it would entangle him in an engagement which it is ten to one he would be unable to fulfil, and what is far worse, the engagement, while useless in itself, would prevent him from doing anything else.' Early Letters, 281. -741- been able to repay you the 37£, I already owe -- & partly, because I know how manifold & vexatious your pecuniary responsibilities already are -- and am somewhat too proud willingly to force you to think of me at the time you are thinking of poor ----- or -----. I shall apply therefore elsewhere, if I can think of any body else -if not, I will try my rhetoric to persuade some Bookseller to advance the sum without security -- and not till this have failed, shall I ask you. ----- Consider this Letter therefore only as one giving you occasion for writing to advise me, if you have any advice to offer, or any reason for believing that I am wrong in my present Determination. Something I must do, & that speedily -- for Body & Soul are going -- Soul is going into Body, and Body is going into Dung & Crepitus -- with more of the latter than the former. Wordsworth mentioned to me that he meant to write you. I told him, I should certainly write myself, & was about to state what I meant to say -but he desired me not to do it, that he might write with his opinions unmodified by mine. 1 -- We are all well but I. Best Love to your mother. ----- God for ever bless you, my | [Dear Poole, | & | S. T. Coleridge