1425. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 10 February 1808

1425. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 10 February 1808 ⁠* 

My dear Danvers

Having exhausted my letter-paper I must take fools-cap to let you know that I have another daughter, – a finer was never born into the world. She made her appearance yester evening & every thing was as favourable as possible, & continue so: We call her Emma, after her godmother Mrs Peachey. had it proved a boy the name was to have been Danvers; – & if I have any disappointed about the sex, it is only because I had pleased myself with the thought of giving a son that name.

We start on Sunday reach Kendal the next day & go by way of Leeds, meaning to make short stages & take in the Peak & Matlock for the sake of showing a Spanish friend of mine the country. At Sheffield I mean to call on Montgomery the Poet. At Litchfield we halt with Miss Seward, – then go to Sir Edward Littletons, & there we part, & Tom comes on to you, – if you will accept a sick mess-mate. Will you secure a bed for him. I think we shall be about ten days on the road, – but you shall hear from Staffordshire.

I shall not be with you till the end of March, if so soon, – but certainly do purpose & intend returning thro Bristol. From London I go into Wiltshire & thence to Taunton [1]  & Crediton. Whether we can effect our visit together you will by that time know. It will not lie so little out of my way as Bownham [2]  would have done, – but that shall not prevent me from going there, if it be convenient for him to receive us.

I cannot blame the Aikins for the breach of confidence about Espriella, [3]  because they knew nothing about it from me. But it was ill-done in them to speak of it so openly as mine when they must have known that I wished it to pass under cover. There is the same want of propriety in this as there would be in lifting up a persons mask at a masquerade. The thing is of no consequence. My materials for the new volume are accumulating I pray you bear this in mind, & keep a little paper of memorandums for D Manuels use. [4] 

Burnett has never written me a line since he left this place, – I suppose the reason is that he has not <found it> convenient to return a 2 £ bill, which he was to have returned as soon as he reached town. & another is that he has not thought proper to execute a book on the strength of which I got 25 from Longman on my security – & which in consequence is carried to my account. He dispirited me so thoroughly while he was here that I am not sorry to be rid of him xxx at this price. He is a precious specimen of what [MS obscured]-physics will do to an empty head!

God bless you –


Wednesday. Feby 10. 1808.


* Address: To/ Charles Danvers Esqr/ Bristol
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ FEB 13/ 1808
MS: British Library, Add MS 47890. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey’s rich uncle Thomas Southey lived here. BACK

[2] Home of the Smiths. BACK

[3] Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella. Translated from the Spanish (1807). BACK

[4] Southey’s sequel to Letters from England was never completed. BACK