William Wordsworth, Dorothy Wordsworth

The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 6: The Later Years: Part III: 1835–1839 (Second Revised Edition)

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1047. W. W. to HIS FAMILY

  • MS. WL. Hitherto unpublished.

  • Friday [24 June 1836]
  • 44 Dover [St]

My dearest Friends,

Having breakfasted at Rogers's I had an opportunity of procuring this frank of Mr Gladstone who was there.—I also wrote a short note to Mr Robinson, to let him know that I really had not courage to go abroad at present; and begging he would pg 259come up to Town that I might give him my reasons and set myself right in his opinion.—I have been calling this morning on Mr and Mrs Lester1 and Lord Mahon,2 and in half [an] hour Rogers will be here and we [are going]3 to an Exhibition or two. By imprudently sitting yesterday while I was at the Dentists, opposite to an open window, I have caught a disagreeable sneezing cold which affects my eyes a great deal, and my throat somewhat.—I do not mean to tire myself any more, and hope to recover some of my lost strength.—Mr Quill: and Rotha are still here and his Brother is in the House also having just arrived from Oporto.—I have given up all notions of returning by Hull, it would take 4 or 5 days, I shall return as I came, but in the inside instead of the out.—I shall write again to morrow in all probability, as I can easily procure a frank and Sunday is not a post day. I am rather vexed about this cold as the running of the eyes weakens them, when they were improving much; it was the cold east winds and the light which hurt them.—

I have seen Mr Trench4 author of that vol. of excellent poems, and Mr Strong the Sonnetteer,5 Mr Sharp's and Miss pg 260Kinnaird's Torquay friend. He told Mr Moxon, who invited him to breakfast that he would have given 50 pounds for the pleasure. So my dearest Sister, you see that your old Brother is still in request. I had an odd adventure the other night between nine and ten when Mr Moxon and I went to hear Lord Melbourne's trial;1 I will tell you it when I get to Rydal. Dearest Dora get well, and we will go to Italy together at …

[cetera desunt]

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1 W. W. is probably referring to Henry Thomas Lister (1800–42), one of Henry Taylor's circle, author of Granby (1826) and other popular novels, and Registrar General of England and Wales from 1836. His wife Maria (d. 1865), daughter of the Hon. George Villiers, youngest son of the 1st Earl of Clarendon, wrote Lives of the Friends and Contemporaries of Lord Chancellor Clarendon, 3 vols., 1852, and other works. They had both visited the poet in 1831 (RMVB).
Editor’s Note
2 Philip Henry Stanhope, Lord Mahon, later 5th Earl Stanhope (1805–75), of Chevening, nr. Sevenoaks, Kent: M.P. for Wootton Bassett, 1830–2, and for Hertford, 1835–52; Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs in Peel's first administration, and later Secretary to the Board of Control; a prime mover in the foundation of the National Portrait Gallery (1856) and the Historical Manuscripts Commission (1869); author of a History of the War of Succession in Spain, 1702–1714, 1832, The History of England front the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace of Versailles, 1713–1783, 7 vols., 1836–53, The Life of the Right Hon. William Pitt, 4 vols., 1861–2, and numerous other historical works and essays. He had already established himself as one of the leaders of the movement for Copyright reform, and this may have prompted his visit to W. W. as early as Sept. 1832 (RMVB). See also L. 1236 below. His wife, Emily (d. 1873), whom he married in 1834, was daughter of General Sir Edward Kerrison, Bart.
Editor’s Note
3 Hole in MS.
Editor’s Note
4 R. C. Trench (see L. 949 above).
Editor’s Note
5 Charles Edward Strong (b. 1815), Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford, published translations of Italian sonnets (1827) and his own Sonnets (1835).
Editor’s Note
1 The action brought by the Hon. George Norton (1801–75), a commissioner in bankruptcy, against Lord Melbourne, the Prime Minister, for having had 'criminal conversation' with the plaintiff's wife, Mrs. Caroline Norton (1805–77), the well-known poetess, society beauty and wit. The trial opened in the Court of Common Pleas on 22 June, Sir William Follett (see L. 1049 below) appearing for the plaintiff, and Talfourd for the defence, and Melbourne was acquitted. The evidence adduced was so weak that it was thought at the time that the trial was deliberately engineered to discredit the Prime Minister and the Whig government. See David Cecil, Lord M., 1954, pp. 154–65.
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