329. Robert Southey and Margaret Southey to Thomas Southey, 27 June [1798]

329. Robert Southey and Margaret Southey to Thomas Southey, 27 June [1798] ⁠* 

Martin-Hall. Westbury. Wed. 27 June.

My dear Tom,

Here we are, & you see have christened the house, properly I assure you as the Martins have colonized all round it, & doubly lucky must the house be on which they so build & bemire. We hesitated between the appropriate names of Rat-Hall, Mouse Mansion, Vermin Villa, Cockroach Castle, Cobweb Cottage & Spider Lodge – but as we routed out the spiders, brushd away the cobwebs, stoppd the rat holes, & found no cock-roaches, we bethought us of the animals without & dubbed it Martin-Hall.

I am sorry Tom you could not see us settled. you would like the old house, & the view from the drawing room & garden is delightful. we have turned too most notably. but once the house was an inn or alehouse, & we have had applications to sell beer, & buy a stock of tobacco pipes. Much has been done & much is yet to do; the rooms are large, the garden well-stocked, we cut our own cabbages, live upon currant puddings & shall soon be comfortably settled.

We got your letter from Taunton, there is perhaps another at Cottles, my mother is going to Bristol & will see. We are just beyond the two miles stone. I wish you had been here, you might have been up to your eyes in filth & rubbish.

We are anxious to hear what is become of you. money ran short – & it was well I had a bank to draw upon. We have put up a bed in the Admirals [1]  room, opposite my mothers, Margery (now recovering) stews between the two. had her room been built on purpose it could not have suited better; being small & a compleat hothouse, & the Martins under the window. moreover she has bespoke a cat, a great carroty cat.

You & Lloyd ornament the great room. I have bespoke some shelves there for my books, & we are about to colour the white-limed walls in watercolours, a pale green, then up go the prints. the shelves are just arrived – – –

[section in Margaret Southey’s hand begins]

My dear Child I long to know how you will proceed so write as soon as you have any thing to tell us – I am now going to see your Aunt.

God Bless you

yours affectionately

M Southey


* Address: Mr Southey/ Post Office/ Plymouth
Stamped: BRISTOL
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. AL; 3p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), I, p. 340 [in part]. BACK

[1] Possibly a nickname for Tom Southey, who was serving in the navy. BACK

Places mentioned

Martin Hall (mentioned 2 times)
Westbury (mentioned 1 time)
Cottles (mentioned 1 time)