716. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 5 September 1802

716. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 5 September 1802 ⁠* 

Dear Tom

I hope to join you by Wednesdays coach – that is if all continues well – & if not you shall be advised in time. meet me at the stage or I shall want a guide. Danvers will lend his knapsack. Joseph [1]  must remain – we should find him inconvenient after a dirty walk in a clean inn. besides it would be cruel to remove him as he is probably in love, if frequent absences be a symptom. we will cross from Watchet – Minehead or Ilfracombe as may seem best on enquiry. if we reach Ilfracombe however, I must give a day to a friend at Biddeford – Miss Seton who was our fellow traveller in Portugal.

The christening will wait your presence – & I wish you to be my Uncle Hills proxy. John May has desired to be the other supporter. you know how thoroughly I esteem him. of course the offer has given me great pleasure. little Margaret is like nobody yet – her eyes are now the colour of yours – a sign they tell me that they will be brown. She is in excellent health – doubtless the better for the way in which she has been managed. I have suffered no food but milk – & that by suction before the natural food was ready. the nurse [2]  luckily is a reasonable woman.

I have increased my Library since you left us by an odd cargo of English Catholic Books spawned in Flanders & France during the reign of Elizabeth. [3]  a dunghill heap – but of good manure. my history [4]  has grown considerably. a whole reign – the Cid [5]  finished – Franciscos [6]  life shaped into its second form – for every thing goes thro its grub – chrysalis & butterfly states.

I am planning & thinking over one of the most important preliminary chapters that upon the Catholick corruption of Xtianity. – On comparing what is done with the French historian Neufville [7]  I find an utter difference in manner – but what is singular an almost compleat the length is almost the same.

farewell. I shall make Cyclops [8]  pantaloon me & prepare without delay. if you receive no farther advices meet me at the coach on Wednesday. meantime my respects to your Uncle. if my coming had displeased him he would surely have expressed displeasure. your letter with the certificate may perhaps tell me some thing to day. at all events the rank & character in life which I have fairly gained satisfy my own pride. I am high enough not to be mistaken for a needy relative – & shall yet be higher, so I have life & health.

God bless you

Robert Southey.

Sunday. Sept 5. 1802.


* Address: To/ Thomas Southey Esqr/ with John Southey Esqr/ The Cottage./ near/ Taunton./ Single
Stamped: 122 / Bristol
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Tom Southey’s dog. BACK

[2] The name and dates of the nurse are unrecorded. BACK

[3] Elizabeth I (1533-1603; reigned 1558-1603; DNB). BACK

[4] Southey’s uncompleted ‘History of Portugal’. BACK

[5] Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar (c. 1040-1099), a Castilian aristocrat and military commander, whose exploits were the subject of numerous poems and tales. BACK

[6] St Francis of Assisi (1181/2-1226), founder of the Franciscan order. BACK

[7] Jacques Le Quien La Neufville (1647-1728), Histoire Generale de Portugal (1700), no. 2101 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[8] Probably a tailor in Bristol; his nickname suggests that, like the giants of Greek myth, he had one eye. BACK

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