LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Samuel Rogers and his Contemporaries
Caroline Norton to Samuel Rogers, 8 October [1842]

Vol. I Contents
Chapter I. 1803-1805.
Chapter II. 1805-1809.
Chapter III. 1810-1812.
Chapter IV. 1813-1814.
Chapter V. 1814-1815.
Chapter VI. 1815-1816.
Chapter VII. 1816-1818.
Chapter VIII. 1818-19.
Chapter IX. 1820-1821.
Chapter X. 1822-24.
Chapter XI. 1825-1827.
Vol. II Contents
Chapter I. 1828-1830.
Chapter II. 1831-34.
Chapter III. 1834-1837.
Chapter IV. 1838-41.
Chapter V. 1842-44.
Chapter VI. 1845-46.
Chapter VII. 1847-50.
Chapter VIII. 1850
Chapter IX. 1851.
Chapter X. 1852-55.
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‘Saturday, 8th Oct. [1842].

‘Dear old Friend,—My boys are gone back to school: the eldest only yesterday; as, after the funeral, he
became very unwell, and so continued for some days. And now I want to leave this home for a little, and come where I hope you still are. You kindly wrote to offer to take me rooms—will you do so? Like Gilpin’s well-judging wife, I would have a reasonable eye to economy—but as it is for a short time—three weeks or less—and I am sick and sad, I would rather be at the hotel than have the trouble of even a small house. If I could have a very airy, double-bedded room, and a little sitting-room, my maid and I would require nothing more in the way of lodging. Then, if you would tell the landlady to charge board per week, and give me what she pleases—promising that I never want and never eat “pies, cates, and dainties”—but really only a morsel of meat and potatoes—it would be a very agreeable arrangement to me, as I should be spared all thought, just now, and live like a lily of the field—or a weed of the cliff.

‘There is a business-like beginning, like the poetess who desired to borrow of you.

‘My boys are nice creatures—intelligent, free-spirited, and true; they are so happy at being re-knit to me, that I can scarcely think of it without weeping. Little Brin 1 is brimful of gratitude and love to all who ever loved or were kind to me. He made me walk down to your house, and we stood outside the little iron gate which has so often admitted me for pleasant mornings, for some time, talking of the nightingales, and Milton’s receipt for “Paradise Lost,” and all the treasures in your shut-up house. The elder is quieter, more thoughtful, less spirited, but seems like an angel to me—and his whole care is to keep watch

1 Thomas Brinsley, her second son, born 4th of November, 1831; died 1st of August, 1854.

over his father’s kindness, that it may not flicker or go out for me.

Mr. Norton has a very great love for them I do believe: more than I thought or expected: and young as my eldest boy is, he is allowed the greatest influence over his father’s mind—and uses it with a tenderness and tact very unusual at his age. I think and hope that we shall now be very friendly together, even if we continue apart. Mr. Norton went to the school to desire they would consider me equal with himself and not to be further controlled as to seeing them; to come and go on my own direction. You may believe I have no greater anxiety than to satisfy him now, and prove to him, poor fellow, that it will answer better to allow this peace to fall upon us, than the long warfare did, which is ended. He is very sorry for his little one: and very proud of these two.

‘I have sent a letter of Erin’s to his uncle Brinsley, which I will show you, as I think it very touching—and, indeed, it would be good reading for such men as in anger resolve to break the tie of mother and child. In it he says, “I think I would die of grief if I were parted from you again, you can’t think how changed I am. I love you and my brother ten times more than I used to do—I love you, Papa, and Spencer, beyond anything or person I ever did before.” In the earnestness of his child’s heart—loving all better than ever, for being again in his natural position towards his mother—lies a lesson which, though simply given, is full of truth. I cannot tell you how his letter touched me; I think I feel as he does, that I love everyone better since I received his dear scrawl of affectionate writing.


‘I hope you are well and that you will be a Broadstairs when you get this, and when I arrive. The Phippses are gone to Ramsgate on account of the child who has been ailing.

‘If I can have one room looking on the sea, of course I should prefer it, and as it is so late in the season perhaps this may be accomplished. My boys will be with me again at Christmas, and then you will let me bring them to you.

‘Yours affectionately,
‘Caroline Norton.

‘I have not had one moment to write while they were with me.’