3348. Robert Southey to Bertha Southey, 7 September 1819

3348. Robert Southey to Bertha Southey, 7 September 1819 ⁠* 

Queen Bertha,

May it please your Majesty!

This day, Tuesday the 7th of Sept. 1819, I am at Dingwall, the capital of the county of Ross, having returned here from Fleet Mound. Fleet Mound is an embankment across an inlet of the sea, 990 yards in length (something more than half a mile) over which the road passes, – the road & the parapet walls filling the whole breadth of the mound, which is 20 feet at the top 140 at the base, & 16 from the bottom. [1]  We went to see this great work yesterday, came xxx back to sleep at Bonar Bridge, & returned this day, by a different road to Dingwall.

Tomorrow the Ladies & children [2]  return with the carriage to Inverness: & Mr Telford Mr Rickman & I in a post chaise, & Mr Mitchell [3]  in his gig, go across the country to the Western sea. We shall sleep at a place called Jean-town tomorrow, & we expect to get back by another road to Inverness on Saturday. Mr Telford & Mr Rickman have some business there, which will detain them two or three days. But on Wednesday at latest we shall begin our way homeward from Inverness by going up the locks at this end of the Caledonian Canal in a sloop. [4] 

Queen Bertha if it would <might> please your Majesty to favour me with a few lines written by your own royal hand, to tell me that your Mamma & you & your sisters [5]  & Cuthbert are well, it would be a great pleasure to me.

Queen Bertha I kiss your Majestys hand & feet.

I remain

Your Majestys obedient father

Robert Southey

P. S. I beg leave to inform your Majesty as in duty bound, that I behave.


* Address: To/ Her Majesty/ Queen Bertha.
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, WC 185. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Designed by Telford, Fleet Mound was constructed between 1816–1816. BACK

[2] Susannah Rickman; her two youngest children, William Charles Rickman (1812–1886) and Frances Rickman (dates unknown, she married Richard Brindley Hone (1805–1881), Vicar of Halesowen 1836–1881, in 1836); and their companion, Emma Pigott. It is difficult to be sure of Miss Pigott’s identity, but she might have been Emma Pigott (dates unknown), younger daughter and co-heiress of James Pigott (d. 1822) of Fitz-Hall, Iping, Sussex. Fitz-Hall was only five miles from Susannah Rickman’s home at Harting. Emma Pigott married, in 1824, Edward Brice Bunny (d. 1867) of Speen Hill, Berkshire. BACK

[3] John Mitchell (1779–1824), Principal Inspector of Roads and Bridges in the Scottish Highlands 1810–1824. BACK

[4] Rickman was Secretary to the Commissioners responsible for building the canal. It was constructed between 1803 and 1822. BACK