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William Wordsworth, Dorothy Wordsworth

The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 5: The Later Years: Part II: 1829–1834 (Second Revised Edition)

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696. W. W. to C. W.

  • Address: The Revd. the Master of Trinity, Lodge, Cambridge.
  • Stamp: Kendal Penny Post.
  • MS. British Library. Hitherto unpublished.

May 5th [1832]

My dear Brother,

I cannot but write you a short Letter on our Dear Sister's account: I grieve much to say that after she had been going on well for a fortnight and we were full of heart and hope about her, she was seized ten days ago with a Relapse which left her extremely weak, and so she continues; without having, I think recovered any strength to speak of. I cannot conceal from you that this last attack has alarmed me much more than any other—not for its violence—for it was less violent much than the others she has had; but her recovery from each attack is slower and slower—indeed, except that her pain is only occasional, proceeding from extreme flatulence, she can yet be scarcely said to have rallied at all. In the midst of all this we have a paramount consolation—that she is in a happy and chearful state of mind—her thoughts, as seems, just what they should be. Mary and I received the Sacrament with her, she being in bed, last pg 522Sunday.—I will say no more on this affecting subject, but commend her to your prayers.—

We have this morning heard of the Death of Elizabeth Hutchinson,1 Mary's Sister: she has always been of weak faculties; and latterly her mind was disordered; so that it is a happy deliverance. Sarah and Joanna her Sisters, both went from this place about six weeks ago to attend upon her, near Stockton.—

We thank John for his very interesting Letter; and are delighted to hear so good an account of your health. Had my Sister been well I should have been induced (taking Cambridge in my way or return) to go to London to have my Portrait painted as Piekersgill's engagements do not allow him to come down hither.—

It was well that I wrote what I had heard of the Danish Funds. What a state the world is in. I have just heard that the Drapeau Blanc is hoisted in Marseilles.—

I was gratified the other day by receiving under cover of the Marques of Bristol,2 two Copies of his admirable Speech, which I had previously read in the Standard. I wrote to thank him, and have had an amiable Note in return, this morning, with a Copy of the 2nd Edition. Dora is just returned from Carlisle, where she has had several teeth extracted. She is well but woefully thin and eats little or no animal food.—

If the Constitution is to be subverted and the Country thrown into utter confusion, we may blame Lords Harrowby, Wharncliffe,3 the Bp of London,4 and id genus omne; firmness might have saved us.—

This is a shabby letter; but what with private and public apprehensions, I cannot command my thoughts to write about any thing.

Love from us all—to yourself and John and Charles

  • ever affectionately and faithfully yours                
  • W Wordsworth                

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1 M.W.'s invalid sister Betsy (see EY, p. 335; MY i. 463; ii. 121).
Editor’s Note
2 Frederick William Hervey, 5th Earl and 1st Marquess of Bristol (1769– 1859), of Ickworth Park, Bury St. Edmunds: M.P. for Bury St. Edmunds, 1796-1803, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 1801–3. See also next letter.
Editor’s Note
3 James Archibald Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie, 1st Baron Wharncliflfe (1776–1845), a Canningite, opposed Reform, but considering resistance hopeless, he joined with Lord Harrowby and others (see L. 676 above) in trying to effect a compromise, and advised his friends to support the second reading of the Bill in the House of Lords (see next letter) in the hope that it could be amended in Committee. He became Lord Privy Seal in Peel's ministry, 1834, and President of the Council, 1841.
Editor’s Note
4 W. W.'s friend C. J. Blomfield, who was under constant attack in the Tory press for betraying the Church. He had been active in pursuing a compromise along with Harrowby and Wharncliffe, and voted with the Government. See Alfred Blomfield, Memoir of Charles James Blomfield, D.D., 2 vols., 1863, i. 167–73.
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