121. Robert Southey to Miss Fricker [probably Edith or Sarah Fricker], [9 January
Friday night — no Coleridge!
I believe I should be very angry were it not for the hope that he has written to
Bristol. your sister desired me to
let you know when he arrived, & you must attribute these repeated
letters to my wish of alleviating suspense as much as possible. you would be
disgusted with my hand-writing were I to continue this — so from henceforth I
will write no more on so unpleasant an occasion — if he comes you shall know.
excuse me for having troubled you so often.
this state of expectation totally unfits me for any thing. when I
attempt to employ myself the first knock at the door wakes all my hopes again
& again disappoints them. tis a very unpleasant state — I cannot ask you
to write because in hourly hopes of seeing him & then visiting you — so
here I am — alone — & without the half-compensation of
the looking glass represents me most melancholy in my sable suit.
if my eyes were shut a true methodist parson but their cast is different. I have
passed the evening with Mrs Selwood  — played two rubbers — & quitted an unpleasant
company for supper & this unpleasant employment. strange my dear sister
that writing to you should be unpleasant! yet so it is — I cannot give pleasure
— & to communicate disappointment is hateful. Mrs
Selwood goes tomorrow morning — she begs to be rememberd to your sister.
remember me likewise — tell her that I found much pleasure in writing to her —
but rather abandoned it than would run the risk of fatiguing her. —
for mercys sake console me here with a letter — I shall have it
tomorrow night or Sunday morning — I am so heavy so dull so solitary! this vile
expectation unhinges me so lamentably. they laugh at my punctuality — so it is —
man delights to ridicule the virtue he does not possess that he may learn to
despise the want of it! punctuality — why it is the very prominent feature in my
character. I never have been laughed out of principles yet.
truly I am ashamed to write — & yet think I ought to. tis
the last letter. you have your
sisters & Lovell
to cheer you — well — March soon comes & then a fig for care.
farewell — I am kept in exercise by walking to meet the coaches.
did he say Wednesday positively to you? I told you about the middle of the week.
why will he ever fix a day if he cannot abide by it. — the quarter boys at
Christ Church were the most respectable characters I have met with for they
never disappointed me.
farewell once more
my Mother is well &
never wavers. do you know th[MS torn] I am almost afraid to write to you —
since my f[MS torn] letter displeased you. I am a sad hand at turning[MS
torn] a neat phrase & rounding a period — plain sincer[MS torn] aim
at — & most sincerely do I wish to pleas[MS torn]
* Address: Miss
Fricker/ Redclift Hill/ Bristol/ Single
Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin
Previously published: E. L. Griggs (ed.), Collected letters
of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 6 vols (Oxford, 1956–1971), I, p.
148 n. 2 [in part].
Dating note: Dating is from evidence within this
letter and others written by Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge in January
1795. Coleridge was expected to arrive in Bristol on Wednesday 7 January and
this letter is written on Friday 9 January, by which time he had still not
appeared. Southey left Bath on Saturday 10 January, arriving in London the
following day. BACK
 Unidentified, an acquaintance of Southey’s in the Bath or
Bristol area. BACK