Tuesday, April 1, 2008

kindness and regard

John Wilson to Thomas de Quincey

Tuesday [May 1813].

My Dear Sir,

was prevented from going with you to Borrowdale by very urgent business in Kendal, but had not time to tell you so in my note sent per coach yesterday. I am at present in greater difficulties about the business I spoke of than I at that time imagined. I heard on Sunday of several very considerable bills of which I had no remembrance; others are far greater than I thought of; and, to complete my bad fortune, some money now due to me cannot be paid for some months. I therefore cannot conceive any way of settling my bills here and elsewhere without getting temporary assistance from a friend. By not settling them, I fear that very unpleasant effects would follow.

When you so kindly offered your assistance on our walk t'other day, my acceptance of it to my mind seemed impossible. The shortness of our acquaintance renders it difficult for me to think that I can have any right to request or accept such a mark of kindness and regard, and, further, I have some doubt of the justice of availing myself of your benevolent disposition, or of that friendly feeling you may entertain towards me. I hope, however, that on no occasion of my life have I preferred my own interests to those of a friend, and I would face any difficulty, rather than be the cause of bringing a similar one on any Man.

But your kindness suggested the relief, and when I contemplate the idea I have of your character, I venture to speak thus to you; it being the first time that I have ever spoken it to any friend. It would, I believe, with what I shall be able to raise elsewhere, keep me afloat for the Summer. At Christmas, I shall be able to repay that sum, together with the interest. On this plan alone could. my conscience allow me to accept of this sum from you. If you can advance that sum to me immediately, it would be a kind of blessing; for there are many feelings both of my own, and of one most dear to me, which it would save. I might say much to you on this request, but I cannot.

If I live till Christmas, you will sustain no loss whatever. If I do not, your debt will be among my sacred ones, and will be paid. Otherwise, I could not have written this letter to you. Let me have a few words from you. I shall be at home on Wednesday afternoon, and also all Thursday. If you cannot come here a day before you go, I will come over if you remain at Grasmere.
Your affectionate Friend,

-from The de Quincey Memorials: Being Letters and other Records, here first Published from Communications from Coleridge, the Wordsworths, Hannah More, Professor Wilson, and Others. Edited, with Introduction, Notes, and Narrative by Alexander H. Japp in Two Volumes (London: William Heinemann, 1891) vol. ii

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