690. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 4 July 
690. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 4 July  *
I received yours & its contents duly, & consider myself paid off. at last I have found out the riddle  – the tutor was to be called private secretary, & then the Treasury paid him. I am dull at these solutions – George Dyers two last poems  passed me for pure nonsense. twas all dark to my owl eyes till blind Tobin saw the meaning.
So now if I can get an appointment abroad I shall be thankful – if not – I shall be contented. a light heart & a thin pair of breeches  – you know the song & my nankin trousers  may be included under the generic name. I have invested John May with full powers to procure me a house about Richmond – not without certain fears that xx what I require will not easily be found. rent & taxes not to exceed £40. a small garden. near a market but not in a town – & not so close to a turnpike as to annoy either me or my cabbages.
My brother Tom is in England – he was to be paid off yesterday – & I expect him here as soon as the coach can bring him. poor fellow the first news he received was his mothers death.
God bless you –
Sunday July 4. Kingsdown .
 The answer to the ‘riddle’ of why Isaac Corry had employed Southey as his secretary. Corry had wanted Southey to act as a tutor to his sons, and for the bill to be picked up by the state. BACK
 George Dyer’s ‘Funeral Procession of Polly Whitehead’ and ‘A Monody on the Death of Penelope Trotter’, in his Poems and Critical Essays, 2 vols (London, 1802), II, pp. 216-228 and 229-235. BACK
 Southey is quoting the popular song ‘How pleasant a Sailor’s life passes’, much reprinted in publications such as The Myrtle and Vine; Or, Complete Vocal Library, 4 vols (London, 1800), IV, pp. 53-54. BACK