Jump to Content
Jump to chapter

Dorothy Wordsworth, William Wordsworth

Ernest De Selincourt and Mary Moorman (eds), The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 2: The Middle Years: Part I: 1806–1811 (Second Revised Edition)

Find Location in text

Main Text

pg 1810. D. W. to CATHERINE CLARKSON(with postscript by W. W.)

  • Address: Mrs. Clarkson at Mr. John Clarkson's, Purfleet, Grays, Essex.
  • Postmark: Ap. 9 1806.
  • Stamp: South Audley Street.
  • MS. British Museum.
  • MY i. 248, p. 16.

Grasmere, March 28th [1806]

My dear Friend

I know this will be a most welcome letter, for it is to be put into the post office in London by William, who is prepared to leave us to-morrow morning. He has long thought that a little relaxation and the influx of feelings and ideas which he would receive from a London journey might be very salutary to him, and this motive, (together with the pleasure of seeing his Friends and the chance of Southey's being going at this time) has determined him. Perhaps he may see Mr. Clarkson before he has been long in London, if Mr. C has leisure to seek him out; but we do not know where to find Mr. C. Wm intends to be absent from home about six weeks: much more time he cannot take as most likely Mary will be confined before the end of May and he must be at home at that time. He intends to spend a day with you at Purfleet—I wish he had more time to spend with you, but he will be more hurried than he ought to be; he has many people to see in London, and he must go to my Uncle Cookson's at Binfield.1 Though Mr Clarkson's Book2 will not be published when he leaves London we hope, as the time of publishing will be so near, that Wm may be able to bring it down to us—we long to see it. Wm will tell you all about us. Bad colds have run through the house; we are now, however, fairly recovered, but Mary looks thin and ill. Dorothy is the dearest little prattler you ever heard—she has no sentences, but she can say words, almost—she grows very much like Johnny, but she is twice as sharp, and when she can talk will utter, I believe, three words for his one. Johnny improves very much in knowledge of 'common things that round us lie'3 though I cannot boast of his Scholarship; pg 19he is, like your Tom, remarkably affectionate, being steady to his old loves. He remembers you distinctly and often talks about you. The other day Molly made a cake for him and he said 'Mrs. Clarkson's cakes have currants in them but Molly's cakes have no currants'. It chanced two or three mornings ago that the Pocket Susan made for him (which had lain a long time in a drawer) was put onto Dorothy, and he immediately called out 'That is my Susan's pocket! My Susan made it me!' and was very unwilling to resign his claim upon it.

William will be at Christopher's for the first week or so after his arrival in Town. Middle house, Essex place, near the Workhouse, Lambeth. Afterwards he will be at Sir G. Beaumont's Grosvenor Square. We are rejoiced to think of William's meeting with you; I hope he will bring us a very particular account of the advances Tom has made since we saw him. We all send our kindest love to him. Johnny often talks about him.

  • God bless you, my dear Friend.         
  • Believe me ever yours faithfully.      
  • D. Wordsworth.    

[Wordsworth adds]

Dear Mrs Clarkson.

I reached town on Friday evening, shall stay at Christopher's a few days only, so that I think you had best—unless you write immediately direct to me at Mr. Montague's Lower Thornhaugh Street. I long to see you; I hope you continue recovering. I am chiefly come to crowd as much people and sight seeing as I can into one month with an odd sort of hope that it may be of some use both to my health of body and mind: I am not quite so well as I was when I saw you last summer—how can I see Mr. Clarkson in Town?

  • Your affectionate Friend.      
  • W. Wordsworth.    

Priscilla sends her love, received your letter and is much obliged to you. Her Boy is a very fine one,1 and she and my Br are both well.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1 The Wordsworths' maternal uncle, the Revd. William Cookson, in whose household D. W. had passed seven years of her youth, was now a Canon of Windsor and rector of Binfield, near Windsor. The Wordsworths always kept in touch with him and his family.
Editor’s Note
2 A Portraiture of Quakerism as taken from a View of the Moral Education, Descriptions, Peculiar Customs, Religious Principles, Political and Civil Œconomy and Character of the Society of Friends, 3 vols. (London, 1806).
Editor’s Note
3 A Poet's Epitaph, 1. 49 (Oxf. W., p. 485).
Editor’s Note
1 Christopher and Priscilla W. had three sons (1) John, b. 1 July 1805, d. 30 Dec. 1839, afterwards a classical lecturer at Trinity, Cambridge; (2) Charles, b. 22 Aug. 1806, d. 1892, afterwards Bishop of St. Andrews; (3) Christopher, b. Oct. 1807, d. 1885, afterwards Bishop of Lincoln and author of the Memoir of William Wordsworth, 1851. Priscilla died Oct. 1815 after the birth of a stillborn daughter. See L. 374 below.
logo-footer Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. Access is brought to you by Log out