481. To Mrs. S. T. Coleridge Address: Mrs Coleridge | Greta Hall | Keswick | Cumberland by favor of Agatha Fleming. MS. Lord Latymer. Pub. E.L.G. i. 237. The bottom of pages 1 and 2 and the top and bottom of pages 8 and 4 of the manuscript have been cut off. Glenridden, Jan. 5. 1802. -- [ 1803] Wednesday night My dear Wife & dear Love I considered it as more than usually unlucky that the both times, that Letters went from Grasmere to Keswick, I should have been -907- in Bed & unfit to write to you. I say unfit; because I was so low & so unwell, that if I had written, I must either have deceived or depressed you. And yet still I was vexed after Wards that I had not added one Line or so -- lest you should think me neglectful, or unaffectionate. And heaven knowst I build up my best hopes on my attempts to conciliate your Love, & to call it forth into hourly exercise, & gentle compliances, by setting you the example of respectful & attentive manners. We cannot get rid of our faulty Habits all at once; but I am fully sensible, that I have been faulty in many things; tho' justice to myself compels me to add, not without provocation. But I wish to confine my whole attention to my own faults -- & it is my hourly & serious Resolve to endeavor to correct all little overflows of Temper, & offensive vehemence of manner, look, & language -- & above all things never, never either to blame you, or banter you in the presence of a third person. On the other hand, you must make up your mind to receive with love & a ready & docile mind any thing that I say seriously & lovingly to you, when we are alone: because, my dear Love! I must needs grow desperate, if I should find, that it is not only the manner of being found fault with that i[rritated you, but I canno]t & will not endure to. . . . . . encourage every Thought & Feeling that may tend to make me love you more -- & make a merit to myself of bearing with your little corrosions, & apparent unimpressibilities. You are a good woman with a pleasing person, & a healthy understanding -superior certainly to nine women in ten, of our own rank, or the rank above us -- & I will be not only contented but grateful, if you will let me be quite tranquil -- & above all, my dear dear Sara! have confidence in my honor & virtue -- & suffer me to love & to be beloved without jealousy or pain. Depend on it, my dear Wife! that the more you sympathize with me in my kind manners & kind feelings to those of Grasmere, the more I shall be likely to sympathize with you in your opinions respecting their faults & imperfections. I am no Idolater at present; & I solemnly assure you, that if I prefer many parts of their characters, opinions, feelings, & habits to the same parts of your's, I do likewise prefer much, very much of your character to their's -- Of course, I speak chiefly of Dorothy & William -- because Mrs Wordsworth & her Sister are far less remote from you than they -- & unless I am grievously deceived, will in some things become less so still. -- God send us Peace & Love -- My dear Love! what a new year's Blessing it would be -- O & surely it shall be. My heart is full of Hope & full of Love! -- I walked on Sunday with William, Mary & Sara to John Stanley's -908- to meet Dorothy -- got wet in my feet, & half forgetful, half stupid, suffered them to smoke & steam away, while on my feet, holding them close by the Fire. I was not well when I came home as Dorothy informed you -- indeed, I was. . . . . . which is 3 miles of the road -- the whole Distance being 13 miles. But these 8 miles are almost as much as the other ten. I arrived safe & well. How I found T. Wedgewood, & what his Plans are, I would rather tell you by word of mouth -- I fear, that I shall leave you in a week perhaps -- & go to Gunville. -- / At all events, I must consult with Wordsworth on a very important subject -- & then finally consult with you, & with you arrange it -- I go therefore from hence to Grasmere tomorrow morning -- & shall strive to be at Keswick tomorrow night -- / & possibly may come in on a double horse, with Sara Hutchinson -- whom I have some few reasons for wishing to be with you immediately, which I will inform you of -- but one of the least, & yet the most ostensible, is the necessity of one or more of her Teeth being drawn without Delay -- for I never saw a human Being's Health so much affected generally by the Tooth ache as her's appears to be -- / yet this Tooth ache I suspect to be in part nervous -- & the cause, which, I more than suspect, has called this nervousness into action, I will tell you when I am alone with you. 1 In one thing, my dear Love! I do prefer you to any woman, I ever knew -- I have the most unbounded Confidence in your Discretion, & know it to be well grounded. Mr Wedgewood will certainly not come back to Keswick. O my dear Love! I have very much to say respecting our children -- indeed, indeed, some very vigorous & persevering measures must be taken. Sitting up till 11 o clock at night -- coffee in the morning -- &c &c &c -- and this for a child whose nerves are as wakeful as the Strings of an Eolian Harp, & as easily put out of Tune! What. . . . . . Trash & general irregularity of Diet! -- know, you will say that you were dieted, & yet had worms. But this is no argument at all -- for first it remains to be proved that you were properly dieted -- secondly, it is as notorious as the Sun in heaven, that bad Diet will & does bring worms -- & lastly, Derwent has been manifestly tea-poisoned -- as well as Hartley -- & both of them are eat up by worms. Mary would not say, that Derwent had no Tea given him -- she only said, that he had but little. Good God! what in- ____________________ 1 'What was Coleridge going to tell his wife?' asks Chambers; and suggests that Coleridge probably believed and intended to tell her that ' Sara Hutchinson was likely to become the wife of John Wordsworth'. Life, 164. In 1808 Coleridge wrote to Stuart: 'Had Captn Wordsworth lived, I had hopes of seeing her blessedly married, as well as prosperously.' -909- fatuation! -- as if a little child could know the difference between Tea, & warm milk & water -- & out of mere laziness, because the Tea is in the cup, to give or. . . & their mother -- if I have twenty children, Tea. . .