3320. Robert Southey to Louisa Dauncey, 18 June 1819

3320. Robert Southey to Louisa Dauncey, 18 June 1819 ⁠* 

Keswick. 18 June. 1819.

My dear Miss Dauncey

Never did I feel so much pain from any chance intelligence as from that which the newspaper has this day brought, [1]  – except when thro the same channel, some twelve or thirteen years ago, I learnt the death of your dear mother. [2]  I cannot forbear writing to you on this occasion, – not for the vain purpose of attempting to offer consolation, – (you have been taught to look for that to the only source from whence it can proceed, – ) but to request that when your feelings & your leisure may permit, you will tell me how you are, & where you are, that I may know where to seek you, if at any time I should be within reach, & where to address you when any opportunity occurs of recalling myself to your remembrance. – To say more would be unseasonable at this time, – & indeed I would rather have written to your Uncle [3]  now, if I had known where to direct <to> him. Perhaps he will answer these enquiries, if you should not be in a state of mind to do it.

For some time past I had feared that all was not well with your father, because his name had appeared but once in the newspapers since he was at Keswick, – & I had spoken of these apprehensions, – as if with an unhappy gift of foresight, which I have too often had reason to regret. – Yet when I thought of being in London (where I expected to have been at this time) the hope of seeing him & you was among the compensations for leaving home to which I had looked with pleasure. –

Remember us most kindly to your sister, [4]  – & me in particular to your Aunt, Mrs Delamare, [5]  if she be still living, – which I almost fear to ask. And xx xxxx xxxx you will allow me, for the sake of times before your birth, – for the love which I bore your mother, & the gratitude which I owe to hers, to subscribe myself

most truly

Your affectionate friend

Robert Southey.


* Address: To/ Miss Dauncey/ Bedford Square/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 21 JU 21/ 1819
Seal: black wax, design illegible
MS: Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester, Robert Southey Papers A.S727. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Louisa Dauncey’s father, the barrister Philip Dauncey (1759–1819), had died on 14 June 1819. His death was widely reported, and the Gentleman’s Magazine, 126 (October 1819), 372–374, published an extended obituary. Dauncey and his two daughters had visited Southey at Keswick in 1818; see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 4 November 1818, The Collected Letters of Robert Southey. Part Five, Letter 3204. BACK

[2] Marie Dauncey, née Dolignon (1769–1804), had died in February 1804, at Theobalds, Hertfordshire, ‘after a lingering and painful illness’; Gentleman’s Magazine, 74 (February 1804), 188. Southey had spent much time in the holidays from Westminster School at Theobalds and composed ‘Stanzas written after a long absence’, Morning Post, 20 October 1803 (later retitled ‘To Mary’) to celebrate his intense early friendship with Marie Dolignon (as she then was). BACK

[3] Isaac Delamere (b. c. 1741); in his school holidays, Southey visited him at his house, Little Court, Buntingford, which was close to Theobalds. BACK

[4] Mary Sophia Dauncey (dates unknown), who married, in 1826, John Henry Latham (c. 1796–1873), a West India merchant. BACK

[5] Mary Delamere (1740-1820). BACK

People mentioned

Dolignon, Elizabeth (d. 1802) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)