3118. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 12 April 1818

3118. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 12 April 1818⁠* 

12 April. 1818

My dear Grosvenor

Nash has learnt that Verbiest sent off the books to Ostend about two months back, – now if they are not gone to the Goodwin Sands in some of the late gales, or to some other part of the Devils dominions under water, – they must be at this time in England, – peradventure in that part of his dominion called the Custom House. [1]  Pray get Moses to make enquiry concerning them as speedily as may be, – the papers have frightened me about Prince Esterhazys leaving England. [2]  Oh how I shall rejoice to hear they are safe at Longimanus’s!

You are a vile Bedford to write so seldom! – Beatus [3] Nash (so to be denominated for his many good deeds) sent me in the last box a pot of Caviare; – & if you were here to enjoy it with me, you would be Beatus Bedford. It is a good thing. Edith & Mrs Coleridge belong to the multitude. [4] 

If there be no tidings of them in England let Nash know & he will cause enquiry to be made from Brussels at Ostend.

God bless you



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ 9 Stafford Row/ Buckingham Gate/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 15 AP 15/ 1818
Endorsement: 12. Apl 1818
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The consignment of books Southey had bought from Jean-Baptiste Ver Beyst (1770–1849), a famous bookseller in Brussels, in 1817 was delayed, causing Southey much anxiety. BACK

[2] Southey had secured the help of Prince Pál Antal Esterházy de Galántha (1786–1866), Austrian nobleman and Ambassador to Britain 1815–1842, in the conveyance of his books. It was widely reported in the press at this time, e.g. Morning Chronicle, 14 April 1818, that ‘The Prince Esterhazy is expected to leave town the latter end of this week, for the Continent’. BACK

[3] ‘Blessed’. BACK

[4] ‘Caviare to the multitude’ was a commonplace meaning ‘good things that are unappreciated by the masses’. It derives from a misquotation of Hamlet, Act 2, scene 2, line 437, ‘caviary to the general’. BACK

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