Thursday, July 21, 2011


A Most Unfeeling Thing

Sara Hutchinson, letter to Mary Monkhouse (December 3, 1811), in The Letters of Sara Hutchinson from 1800 to 1835, ed. Kathleen Coburn (London: Routledge & Paul, 1954), pp. 36-37:
What do you say to de Q's having polled the Ash Tree & cut down the hedge all round the orchard — every Holly, Heckberry, Hazel, & every twig that skreened it — & all for the sake of the Apple trees that he may have a few more Apples — Mrs Jones now stands quite alone, that nice high hedge behind her and all above, & where the Moss hut stood, levelled to the ground. D. is so hurt and angry that she can never speak to him more: & truly it was a most unfeeling thing when he knew how much store they set by that orchard — the Apple trees also are so pruned that instead of it being a little wood, as it used to be, there is neither shade nor shelter.
Thomas de Quincey is "de Q" and Dorothy Wordsworth is "D." The orchard was near Dove Cottage, formerly (1799-1808) rented by the Wordsworths, later (1809-1820) by de Quincey.

A reader of this blog photocopied the text of this letter and sent it to me, for which I'm very grateful.


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