470.To Mrs. S. T. Coleridge Address: Mrs Coleridge | Greta Hall | Keswick | Cumberland MS. Lord Latymer. Pub. with omis. E.L.G. i. 218. Postmark: 25 November 1802. St Clear's, Carmarthen. Tuesday MORNING, ½ past 5!! Nov. 22 [28]. 1802 My dear Love We left this place some two hours before your Letter arrived; & returned hither yesterday Afternoon, ½ past I -- half an hour too late for me to answer your Letter by yesterday's Post. I know, that this will be a Morning of Bustle: & the desire of writing you lay so heavy on my mind, that I awoke at 4 o/clock this morning. The fires here in every room keep in all day & all night; & yet they do not use as much coal on the whole, as we do. It burns like a Brick-kiln Fire -- is never touched -- & never goes out, till the last cinder falls out of the Grate. Would to Heaven! you had only a few Waggon loads of them for the next 8 or 4 months! -- A little after the Clock struck 5, I rose & lit my Candle, found the untended Fire in the parlour bright & clear; & am sitting by it, writing to you -- to tell you, how very much I was & am affected by the tidings of your Fainting -- & to beg you, INSTANTLY to get a Nurse. If Mary's Aunt cannot come, do write immediately to Mrs Clarkson, & try to get Mrs Railton. To be sure, there is a mawkish 'so-vāry-good'-ness about her character, & her Face & Dress have far too much of the SMUG-DOLEFUL in them, for my Taste; but I believe, she is really a well-intentioned honest woman, & she is certainly an excellent Nurse. -- At all events, get somebody immediately -- have a fire in your Bedroom -- & have nothing to do with Derwent, either to mind or to dress him. If you are seriously ill, or unhappy at my absence, I will return at all Hazards: for I know, you would not will it, tho' you might wish it, except for a serious cause. I shall write to Mr Estlin for my Letter. You speak too of a Letter from Mr Dennis. Where is it? I have received none. If I want the Old Man of the Alps, I will write for it. -- Indeed, my dear Love! I did not write to you that Letter from the Passage 1 without much pain, & many Struggles of mind, Resolves, & Counter-resolves. Had there been nothing but your Feelings concerning Penrith I should have passed it over -- as merely a little tiny Fretfulness -- but there was one whole sentence of a very, very different cast. It immediately disordered my Heart, ____________________ 1 See Letter 467. -886- and Bowels. If it had not, I should not have written you; but it is necessary, absolutely necessary for you to know, how such things do affect me. My bodily Feelings are linked in so peculiar a way with my Ideas, that you cannot enter into a state of Health so utterly different from your own natural Constitution -- you can only see & know, that so it is. Now, what we know only by the outward fact, & not by sympathy & inward experience of the same, we are ALL of us too apt to forget; & incur the necessity of being reminded of it by others. And this is one among the many causes, which render the marriage of unequal & unlike Understandings & Dispositions so exceedingly miserable. Heaven bear me witness, [I often say inly -- in the words of Christ -- Father forgive her! she knows not what she does] 1 -- Be assured, my dear Love! I that I shall never write otherwise than most kindly to you, except after great Aggressions on your part: & not then, unless my reason convinces me, that some good end will be answered by my Reprehensions. -My dear Love! let me in the spirit of love say two things /1. I owe duties, & solemn ones, to you, as my wife; but I owe equally solemn ones to Myself, to my Children, to my Friends, and to Society. Where Duties are at variance, dreadful as the case may be, there must be a Choice. I can neither retain my Happiness nor my Faculties, unless I move, live, & love, in perfect Freedom, limited only by my own purity & self-respect, & by my incapability of loving any person, man or woman, unless I at the same time honor & esteem them. My Love is made up 9/10ths of fervent wishes for the permanent Peace of mind of those, whom I love, be it man or woman; & for their Progression in purity, goodness, & true Knowlege. Such being the nature of my Love, no human Being can have a right to be jealous. My nature is quick to love, & retentive. Of those, who are within the immediate sphere of my daily agency, & bound to me by bonds of Nature or Neighbourhood, I shall love each, as they appear to me to deserve my Love, & to be capable of returning it. More is not in my power. If I would do it, I could not. That we can love but one person, is a miserable mistake, & the cause of abundant unhappiness. I can & do love many people, dearly -- so dearly, that I really scarcely know, which I love the best. Is it not so with every good mother who has a large number of Children -- & with many, many Brothers & Sisters in large & affectionate Families? -- Why should it be otherwise with Friends? Would any good & wise man, any warm & wide hearted man marry at all, if it were part of the Contract -- Henceforth this Woman is your only friend, your sole beloved! all the rest of mankind, however amiable & akin to you, must be only ____________________ 1 The passage in brackets is carefully inked out in the manuscript. -887- your acquaintance! --? It were well, if every woman wrote down before her marriage all, she thought, she had a right to, from her Husband -- & to examine each in this form -- By what Law of God, of Man, or of general reason, do I claim this Right? -- I suspect, that this Process would make a ludicrous Quantity of Blots and Erasures in most of the first rude Draughts of these Rights of Wives -- infinitely however to their own Advantage, & to the security of their true & genuine Rights. 2. -- Permit me, my dear Sara! without offence to you, as Heaven knows! it is without any feeling of Pride in myself, to say -- that in sex, acquirements, and in the quantity and quality of natural endowments whether of Feeling, or of Intellect, you are the Inferior. Therefore it would be preposterous to expect that I should see with your eyes, & dismiss my Friends from my heart, only because you have not chosen to give them any Share of your Heart; but it is not preposterous, in me, on the contrary I have a right to expect & demand, that you should to a certain degree love, & act kindly to, those whom I deem worthy of my Love. -- If you read this Letter with half the Tenderness, with which it is written, it will do you & both of us, GOOD; [& contribute it's share to the turning of a mere Cat-hole into a Dove's nest I] 1 You know, Sally Pally! I must have a Joke -or it would not be me! -- Over frightful Roads we at last arrived at Crescelly, about 3 o/clock -- found a Captain & Mrs Tyler there (a stupid Brace) Jessica, Emma, & Frances Allen -- all simple, good, kind-hearted Lasses -- & Jesse, the eldest, uncommonly so. We dined at ½ past 4 -- just after dinner down came Old Allen -- O Christ! Old Nightmair! An ancient Incubus! Every face was saddened, every mouth pursed up! -- Most solemnly civil, like the Lord of a stately Castle 500 years ago! Doleful & plaintive eke: for I believe, that the Devil is twitching him home. After Tea he left us, & went again to Bed -- & the whole party recovered their Spirits. I drank nothing; but I eat sweet meats, & cream, & some fruit, & talked a great deal, and sate up till 12, & did not go to sleep till near 2. In consequence of which I arose sickish, at ½ past 7 -- my breakfast brought me about -- & all the way from Crescelly I was in a very pleasurable state of feeling; but my feelings too tender, my thoughts too vivid -- I was deliciously unwell. On my arrival at St Clear's I received your Letter, & had scarcely read it, before a fluttering of the Heart came on, which ended (as usual) in a sudden & violent Diarrhoea / I could scarcely touch my Dinner, & was obliged at last to take 20 drops of Laudanum -- which now that I have for 10 days left off all stimulus of all kinds, excepting ⅓rd. of a grain of ____________________ 1 The passage in brackets is carefully inked out in the manuscript. -888- um, at night, acted upon me more [pow]erfully than 80 or 100 drops would have done at Keswick. -- I slept sound what I did sleep; but I am not quite well this morning; but I shall get round again in the course of the Day. -- You must see by this, what absolute necessity I am under of dieting myself -- & if possible, the still greater Importance of Tranquillity to me. -- All the Woodcocks seem to have left the Country; T. Wedgewood's hopes & schemes are again all afloat; to day we leave this place for Narbarth, 12 miles from hence -- shall probably return to Crescelly -- & then -God knows, where! Cornwall perhaps -- Ireland perhaps -- perhaps, Cumberland -- possibly, Naples, or Madeira, or Teneriffe. I don't see any likelihood of our going to the Moon, or to either of the Planets, or fixed Stars -- & that is all, I can say. Write immediately, my dear Love! & direct to me -- where? -- That's the Puzzle -- to be left at the Post Office, Carmarthen. -- God bless you, my dear Love! & speed me back to you & our dear H. & D, & etc. Mr T. Wedgewood desires his best respects to you -- he is just come down. -- God bless you again & S. T. Coleridge Best respects to Colonel Moore -- & his Lady & Miss D'arcy -& always remember me affectionately to Mr Jackson, & Hartley's other Mother. ----