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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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976. W. W. to C. W. JNR.

  • Address: The Rev.d C. Wordsworth etc. etc, Trin. Coll., Cambridge.
  • Stamp: Kendal Penny Post.
  • MS. Mr. William Wordsworth.
  • J. H. Overton and Elizabeth Wordsworth. Christopher Wordsworth. Bishop of Lincoln. 1888, p. 78 (—).

Febry 8th [1836] Rydal Mount.

My dear Chris,

Your letter of yesterday agreeably removed the uncertainty, I might say anxiety we have been in about your success.2 For my own part, I was so much pleased with your spirit in standing forth as a Candidate, that, taking your youth into consideration, I should have felt almost sufficiently gratified by the attempt, even if you had not succeeded. Being quite certain that you are fitted for the office, and worthy of the honour conferred upon you, we heartily congratulate you, with best wishes for your health and happiness. Wm arrived here yesterday morning, and John left us on that morning for Keswick; I mean Sockbridge John; they both were highly pleased with the news of your success.—

We noticed in the Papers, some observations, not written in a friendly Spirit, upon the inexpedience and even injustice of selecting a public orator from Trinity; and other objections, of a worse character, founded upon your Relationship to the Master etc.—These latter, I hope would rather serve than prejudice you.—

We expect the Rector of Workington3 tomorrow. His wife and children are well.—Sockbridge John is come down with a view to sell his Estate;4 at least as much of it as shall be necessary to pay the heavy debt upon it.

pg 166Your Father expressed a wish some time ago for Westmorland Freeholds for you all. Should you still have the same desire, an opportunity might now be had of procuring as much land as would make three Votes, and, I fear, at a very reasonable rate, as land now bears so low a price. If you have a wish to purchase, let me know and what sum you would go to for the purpose of having 3 Votes, or less, as you might wish. Even a bidding from any quarter might help John.

Of our Invalids I can say nothing very favorable. The State of your poor Aunt is such, and causes so much Distress to Dora, that she cannot I am sure recover; if she remains here. Nor am I sure that Dora can bear travelling—a few weeks ago she went out in our Carriage several times, and was much worse for the trial.—Your poor Aunt is in general bodily health much better—she is grown quite fat; but she cannot stand unsupported; and her mind, owing we think to some inflammatory action in the brain, is sadly weakened and disturbed.—We bear up under these trials as well as we can, of which after all the most painful part is the effect which her Aunt's illness produces upon the Niece. The poor Aunt is 64 years of age, but Dora is young enough to have looked forward to years of health and strength, which she will never attain unless it should please God that she should be enabled to quit her present abode, and exist in some quiet of mind, elsewhere. With best love to your Father and John I remain my dear Chris.

  • your affectionate Uncle       
  • W. W.  

You will have a Carlisle Paper with the advertisement of John's estates, sent you on Saturday. Mr. Robinson tells us that Mr Paynter,1, a radical Friend of his, gave you a Vote not so much for your own merits, as in gratitude to your father, who protected him from insult at the time when he put the clerical M.A.s to the Bribery Oath; for this reason and also because you were 'a Poet's Nephew'. So that I have helped you a 'wee bit.'—

[M. W. writes]

Your uncle recd a letter the other day from your friend pg 167[? Handley]1 who was pleased to see your name as a candidate for the P.O. He sent a very kind message, wishing you success—yr Uncle is Sponsor for his Son, together with the Q. Dowager of Bavaria2 and others with names so long as that I cannot repeat them.—Your Aunt was much interested with and pleased with the success of yr Election.—When you write tell us what amount of filthy lucre is attached to your situation.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
2 C. W. jnr. had been elected Public Orator at Cambridge on 4 Feb. See also L. 981 below.
Editor’s Note
3 i.e. John W.
Editor’s Note
4 See L. 966 above and L. 981 below.
Editor’s Note
1 Thomas Paynter (1794–1863), a barrister practising in Norfolk and Suffolk: Recorder of Falmouth, Helston and Penzance, 1838–41, and thereafter a police magistrate in London.
Editor’s Note
1 The reading is not very clear, but the reference is definitely to Edwin Hill Handley (see pt. ii, L. 569), as L. 1146 below makes plain.
Editor’s Note
2 Widow of Maximilian I (1756–1825): formerly Princess Caroline Frederike of Baden. She died in 1841.
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