October 27 1814: “Can you tell us anything of Coleridge?”

“Can you tell us anything of Coleridge? A few lines of introduction for a son of Mr Biddulph of St James’s  are all that we have received from him since I saw him last September {twelvemonth}  in town. The children being thus entirely left to chance, I have applied to his brothers at Ottery concerning them, & am in hopes, thro their means & the aid of other friends, of sending Hartley to college. Lady Beaumont has promised 30£ annually for this purpose. Poole 10£. I wrote to Coleridge three or four months ago telling him that unless he took some steps towards providing for the object, I must make this application, & required his answer within a given term of three weeks. He received the letter, & in his note by Mr Biddulph promised to answer it, – but has never taken any farther notice of it. I have acted with the advice of Wordsworth; – the brothers,  as I expected, promise their concurrence, & I daily expect a letter stating to what amount they will contribute. – What is to become of C. himself! He may continue to find men who will give him board & lodging for the sake of his conversation, but who will pay his other expences? I cannot but apprehend some shameful & dreadful end to this deplorable course.

We were in great distress the beginning of this week concerning my youngest child, who had a most severe bilious attack. God be thanked, she is now doing well. – You can hardly understand how things of this kind try a parents heart. I feel at ease to day, – & the change is as much more delightful than that of relief from pain, as mental pain is more afflicting than bodily suffering.”

— Robert Southey writes to Joseph Cottle, October 27 1814.

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