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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pg 121944. W. W. to H. C. R.

  • Address: H. C. Robinson Esqre, 2 Plowdens Buildgs, Temple, London.
  • Endorsed: 25 Novr 1835, Wordsworth.
  • MS. Dr. Williams's Library.
  • K (—). Morley, i. 283.

Rydal Mount Novr 25th 1835

My dear friend

(I M. W. hold the pen for my Husband)

Your prompt acceptance of our united invitation1 was nothing more than your long and often experienced kindness had led us to expect. We shall rejoice to see you, but upon one condition—that having been so long abroad lately, you do not on our account set aside the claims which your Relatives and friends in the South, particularly your Brother, have upon you—by putting off, or shortening your visits to them. And with respect to the ensuing three weeks, I think it right to let you know, that it would add to our distress if you should be a witness of the anxiety we are undergoing on account of the experiment now in progress, and drawing towards a conclusion—I allude to our dear Sister—You know I believe how much Opium has been thought necessary for her—We expect in the course of a fortnight to get rid of it altogether—and shall do so, if a diarrhea does not come on—but her present sufferings appear to be, from withdrawing this medicine so severe, that we would rather you were not conscious of them to the extent that would be unavoidable, if you were with us.

At the lodging where the Coach will set you down at the foot of our hill you can be accommodated also with a sitting room—and attendance. I have been to look at the house this morning—the rooms are well-sized, tho' low—for a single Person, and neatly furnished—the only objection to them is, that the situation is too low, and somewhat confined—but at this season of the year far less so than in summer, when the leaves are on the trees—the better sitting room, for you have a choice of two, looks directly up our hill, and commands, now that the trees are bare, rather a chearful view of Lady Fleming's Park. But the great advantage of this lodging lies in being so near us that our intercourse need not be at all dependent upon weather.

Before this reaches you you may probably have seen Moxon pg 122or heard from him about our late communication with him.—and have learnt our determination upon dear Lamb's letters and our wishes respecting them—therefore I need not touch further upon that point—As to the lines sent—the more I think of them, the more do I feel that their number renders it little less than impossible that they should be used as an Epitaph—so convinced am I of this, that I feel strongly impelled, as I hinted to Moxon in my yesterday's letter, containing a revised copy of the lines, to convert them into a Meditation supposed to be uttered by his Graveside;1 which would give me an opportunity of endeavouring to do some little justice to a part of the subject, which no one can treat adequately—viz—the sacred friendship which bound the Brother and sister together, under circumstances so affecting. Entertaining this view, I have hoped rather than expected that I might be able to put into ten or twelve couplets, a thought or feeling which might not be wholly unworthy of being inscribed upon a stone—consecrated to his memory and placed near his remains. Having however thrown off my first feeling already, in a shape so different—I wish that some one else, Mr Talfourd, Mr Moxon, Mr Southey, or any other of his friends accustomed to write verse would write the Epitaph.—Miss L. herself, if the state of her mind did not disqualify her for the undertaking.—She might probably do it better than any of us.

Before you set off northwards pray call at Longmans and enquire about my Poems—whether the Yarrow has been reprinted and if it has, bring down a Copy—and if not finished as many of the Sheets as are struck off—also learn if you can what number of the 4 Vols are still on hand. See also Mr Courtenay and ask Moxon if the engraving from my Portrait2 has been begun—It is often enquired after. You will see Mr Moxon of course. My Nephew John Wordsworth3—now lodges at 7 Howard St. Strand—pray drop him a line by the 2nd Post, telling him when you set off—he may have something to send.—We write these requests with a smile at what yr good nature has brought upon you. My Sister lived some time in Norfolk4 when she was young, and fancies that she should like pg 123some Norfolk Beefins,1 and has often said she was sure if Mr Robinson knew how she longed for them, you would send her some—Could yould contrive to bring her a Box—all kinds of fruit are grateful to her—but none are left now, and oranges are not yet eatable.

  • With affec remembrances from all here, ever faithfully      
  • Yours [signed] Wm Wordsworth   

P.S. If it be not disagreeable, call and make enquiries in our name after Mr Rogers and his Sister—and thank him for his letter to me from Ramsgate, which I will answer as soon as I have anything comfortable to say—tell him I luckily escaped Willis2—as did, I believe, Southey—he has however reported some impertinences concerning us both—from the mouth as he affirms of Prof: Wilson. Upon which point if you have any pleasure in observing inconsistencies in character, I will amuse you when you come.

Poor dear Miss Lamb! We gather from both you and Moxon that she is better—but as neither of you have spoken definitely—we know not how to address ourselves to her—so leave it to your judgment to say every thing tender and affectionate at a fit opportunity for us—we do feel for and love her dearly.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
1 To Rydal Mount for Christmas. See L. 941 above.
Editor’s Note
1 W. W. had now completed his epitaph on Charles Lamb in 38 lines, but was already thinking of expanding it further. See Ls. 954 and 958 below.
Editor’s Note
3 R. W.'s son.
Editor’s Note
4 At Forncett, from 1788 till 1793.
Editor’s Note
1 Morley cites the following definition: 'Biffin written beefin in East Anglia. A kind of large rosy winter apple, preserved by being dried in baker's ovens and occasionally pressed till it becomes soft and flat.'
Editor’s Note
2 Nathaniel Parker Willis (1806–67), American poet, journalist, and editor. He travelled in Europe, 1832–6, arriving in London in June 1834 (see HCR i. 443–4), where he was introduced to Lady Blessington and her circle. The observations on English life which he sent back to the New York Mirror were bitterly resented by the Tory press.
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