London, South Kensington
22 November 2002
The Property of the late Lord Wraxall
WORDSWORTH,William (1770-1850). Autograph letter signed ('Wm Wordsworth') to an unidentified correspondent, Rydal Mount, 7 August 1817, 2½ pages, 4to, on a bifolium, laid down on paper.
Wordsworth has heard from Mrs Coleridge that 'Mr Fisher is now the possessor of the Estate', in spite of his promise that 'he would have nothing to do with it till Mr Southey's return', discussing the manner in which the sale was conducted and the particulars advertised; 'I still think that Mr Southey may get the Property should he desire it, of Mr Fisher. Mr Fisher's principal motive for purchasing is to be possessed of Miss Barther's (?) Home, for the purpose of a few months' summer Residence - As a man of honour, he assuredly was not at liberty to proceed in the business', and hoping that Fisher may still be persuaded to withdraw.
The property under discussion is evidently the poet Robert Southey's home, Greta Hall, where he had lived since 1803 as a tenant. The sale had originally been scheduled to take place on 14 July, although Southey was absent for the whole summer on a foreign tour (on which, whilst in Paris, he met Annette Vallon and Wordsworth's illegitimate daughter Caroline). The situation seems to have been resolved in Southey's favour, for he continued to live at Greta Hall as a tenant until his death; among his household was his sister-in-law, Coleridge's estranged wife Sara. A letter on the same subject in the Letters (1970) is identified by the editors as being to John May.
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