3284. Robert Southey to Mrs Druitt, 22 April 1819

3284. Robert Southey to Mrs Druitt, 22 April 1819⁠* 

Keswick. 22 April.1819.

Thank you for your letter. We are all glad to hear of you, & heartily wish you joy upon your change in life. [1] 

The child concerning whom you enquire with so kind an interest, is just two months old. Just now he is troubled with a cough & cold, which we hope will soon pass away. He is larger & stronger than any of our former children, & till now has not had the slightest ailment. We call him Charles Cuthbert, – the former of these names being added by desire of his two Godfathers, who are my oldest friends, Charles Williams Wynn, & Grosvenor Charles Bedford, – both schoolfellows with me at Westminster. – Edith suffered greatly during the whole time of her pregnancy, & in the birth also; – & she has suffered a great deal since; but the latter complaints are not likely to leave any ill effects behind them. The four girls [2]  are all well, – the eldest almost as tall as her mother.

Your sister Mary is more an invalid than ever. She passes most of her time on the couch, in solitude, not being able to bear the stir of a family, or the sound of voices. Yet sometimes she rallies, & at such times almost appears as if nothing ailed her, – except that she is grown much thinner: Robert is doing well in his own way. & I is I think very likely by frugality, industry & good conduct, to get forward in the world in the old-fashioned way. He is employed in Mr Hansards printing office, [3]  which is, I believe, one of the greatest in the world. He was here two years ago, on the expiration of his apprenticeship, – but I happened to be on the continent [4]  at the time.

Hartley Coleridge last week obtained a fellowship at Oriel College, Oxford. [5]  This gives him a provision for life, [6]  & xxxxxx every thing Derwent is going to College [7]  shortly; for the last 18 months he has been acting as tutor to some little boys in a private family. [8]  There can be little doubt of his succeeding at the University, for he has both talents & diligence, & may be relied upon for conduct. Sara & her mother are both well. The former is now in her 17 <th> year, & it would not be to[MS obscured] easy to find her equal in point of acquirements at that age, in either sex. S.T.C. is in London, or rather near it, – at Highgate, – & we know almost as little of him as you can do.

If I should ever cross the channel I will not fail to find you out. And if you visit England, Keswick is almost in the line of your way to any part of the South.

The three sisters [9]  join in love to you –

Believe me

Yrs very sincerely

Robert Southey.


* Address: Joseph Druitt Esqre/ Lurgan/ Ireland/ for Mrs Druitt
Stamped: [partial] KESWICK
Seal: [trace] red wax
MS: Beinecke Library, Osborn MSS File ‘S’, Folder 14116. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: S. T. Townshend Mayer, ‘Southey at home’, Notes and Queries, 5th series, 5 (June 1876), 505. BACK

[1] Miss Lovell had married Joseph Druitt (c. 1767–1833), Superintendent of the Friends’ School, Lisburn. BACK

[3] Luke Hansard (1752–1828; DNB), the printer of parliamentary publications, in whose office the young Lovell had been found a job by John Rickman. BACK

[4] Lovell had arrived at Keswick during Southey’s continental tour of May–August 1817. BACK

[5] Hartley Coleridge had been elected a Probationary Fellow, for one year, at Oriel College, Oxford, on 16 April 1819. BACK

[6] Southey was to be proved wrong; Hartley did not pass his probationary period. BACK

[7] Derwent Coleridge matriculated at St John’s College, Cambridge, on 10 May 1820. BACK

[8] Derwent Coleridge had lived with the Hopwood family, well-connected Lancashire landowners, at Summerhill, near Ulverston, from 1817–1819. His employers were Robert Gregge Hopwood (1773–1854) and his wife Cecilia Elizabeth Byng (1770–1854), daughter of John Byng, 5th Viscount Torrington (1743–1813). Derwent Coleridge was tutor to their sons, Edward (1807–1891), Frank (1810–1890) and Hervey (1811–1881). BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)