714. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 2 September 1802

714. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 2 September 1802 ⁠* 

Dear Rickman

I have a daughter. you will wish it were a son, so perhaps may I some eighteen years hence, if she live so long. meantime I am very well satisfied. the phrase is not strong enough. I was fearful of a childless old age – & cats & dogs are not quite enough for me. Little Margaret Edith shall be not not quite so useless as the rest of her sex. she feeds philosophically already. All farinaceous food anathematised – & a machine for suction instead of a spoon – till her own natural food be provided. Edith is as well as possible, & every thing symptomatic of the best.

That you are satisfied with my plans makes me the better satisfied. I am not over diffident of my opinions – but my schemes for self conduct often want the bolster of anothers probatum. [1]  In Cumberland I can oeconomize without the privation of any comfort – even afford to keep a jackass for Edith – & what makes the jackass rideable – rank high enough to venture a foreign novelty of convenience. pro futuro [2]  – (& it mark you – it is the future in rus  [3]  –) – I am not uncomfortably anxious enough I calculate upon from my own labour – directed as it now is & will be to one steady object. more than enough may fall to me. I may inherit affluence. [4]  if I do not – my luck will be worse than my claims. –

farewell. remember me to Biddlecombe – & tell him my news.

yrs truly

R Southey

Sept 2. 1802.


* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr / Christ-Church/ Hampshire/ Single
Postmark: [partial] BRISTOL/ SEP 1802
Endorsement: RS/ Sepr. 1802
MS: Huntington Library, RS 26. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The Latin translates as ‘approval’. BACK

[2] The Latin translates as ‘for the future’. BACK

[3] The Latin translates as ‘countryside’. BACK

[4] John Southey had fallen out with his cousin John Southey Somerville, 15th Lord Somerville (1765-1819; DNB), agriculturist and leading importer of merino sheep, leading Southey to believe he might inherit his uncle’s property. This hope proved unfounded. BACK

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