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[356] at my ease. He told me that he was sixty-nine,—an age when, in the course of nature, the countenance loses the freshness of younger years; but his was still full of expression. Conversation turned on a variety of topics: and here I have little to record; for there were no salient parts, though all was sensible, instructive, and refined. He spoke warmly on the subject of copyright and of slavery. He showed me the American edition of his works in one volume,1 and expressed the great pleasure it had given him; he thought it better executed than any work of the kind in England or France. I amused him not a little by telling him that a Frenchman recommended himself to me, on my arrival in Paris, as a teacher of French, by saying that he had taught the great English poet, Wordsworth. The latter assured me that he had not had a French instructor since his dancing-master! He spoke in the kindest terms of Mr. Washington Allston, and inquired earnestly after his health and circumstances. He regarded him as the first artist of the age, and was attached to him by two-fold relations,—first, as his own friend, and then as the affectionate friend of Coleridge.2 He desired me to convey to him his warm regards, and those of Mrs. Wordsworth and all his family. He was pleased when I told him that the Ticknors had arrived safely among their friends, and spoke of them in a manner that did my heart good. He asked me to ‘spare a line in one of my letters to convey to them his affectionate regards.’ He added that such a line might be dull and uninteresting to them. I ventured to reply that it would be to them and their friends the most interesting part of my letter. I rely upon your conveying to Allston and the Ticknors the kind messages of Wordsworth.

Such was Wordsworth. My visit was one of unmingled pleasure, until I rose to depart; then, taking my hand, he said: ‘Some of your countrymen are in the habit of publishing sketches of the persons and conversation of literary men they meet; and one of them,——, once called upon me with a note of introduction from young Hemans, and went away and wrote about my appearance, and what I said. He was very unprepossessing in manner; and did not, and could not, understand what I said. In his publication, he has foully misrepresented me.’ The venerable poet went on to say that such conduct was dishonorable, and a flagrant breach of confidence; and that, if continued, it would oblige himself and others to deny themselves to strangers. What, think you, were my feelings on hearing this? I felt grieved and indignant that a man like Wordsworth should have been wounded from our country; and I feared lest I should fall under the suspicion of seeking his society in order to fill the page of a book, or the corner of a newspaper. What I said, I will leave you to imagine.

As ever yours,

1 By Henry Reed. Philadelphia: 1837.

2 Coleridge and Allston became intimate friends at Rome, between 1804 and 1808. Sumner referred, in his oration of Aug. 27, 1846, to their intimacy at this time. Works.

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