1842. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 22 December 1810
1842. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 22 December 1810 *
Keswick. Dec. 22. 1810.
My dear Grosvenor
Well disposed as I am to double-damn the Doctors for overdosing you with calomel, it is nevertheless a considerable relief to me to find that these unpleasant symptoms are the effect of the remedy, & not consequences of the disease, for they are much more within the reach of art. I am also glad that Pearson  has put you upon a better diet, –& if you will drink my health duly in lime water during the winter, I have good hope you will be able to pledge me when we meet next in the juice of the Douro grape.
I came back yesterday from Grasmere after a three days absence. My motive for leaving home was to give myself a dose of different air, & shake up the solids by a good round walk – in addition to these benefits I obtained that of a thorough rain-bath on my return, for which I am no worse. There was a large parcel awaiting me, so that my return would have been a joyful one if I had not found three of the children indisposed; – Moon & Bertha with a feverish attack, the infant with an oppression of the chest which has been very prevalent among children, & has killed that robust child where Tom lodged, & one other in the town. To day they are all better, yet none of them well enough to make me feel quite at ease, & Edith is now sickening in her turn.
Kehama  was in the parcel. I look upon cutting open the leaves of the first copy of his own book to be the consummation of an authors happiness. De revidendo  – you must mak satisfy yourself about all the faults that are to be found in course of criticism, perfectly sure that you will not dissatisfy me. – Nothing that can happen to the book will vex me, & the only thing that will surprize me would be if any body, except some half dozen of my own friends, should like it. – I am sorry to see that a number of errors have crept into the printing since I corrected the proofs, & which I am certain did not exist at that time. In several instances two paragraphs are printed as one, when there was a natural & necessary division. Pray notice the fashion of the typography, & complain that the first two or three sheets are not correct in this respect. It is a great improvement & any public mention of it in this way will go far towards establishing it.
Coleridge is a guest of John Morgans at Hammersmith 7. Portland Place. Morgan you may remember by the embroidered pantaloons wherewith you decorated one of the devils in the device of Biggs & Cottle on St Augustine’s Back. Godwins story may prove ph prophecy <hereafter>, at present it is simply a lie.  We have heard nothing from Coleridge yet. His silence is too easily accounted for to excite any thing like anger. – he went to London professedly to put himself under medical advice for – bad habits, & as we very well knew would be the case, he is going on in those habits. When he is tired of his London & Hammersmith friends he will come back again as if he had done nothing amiss, or absurd, & we whose resentment has long since given place to regret & x compassion, shall receive him as kindly as we took leave of him, – but more chearfully, or rather with less inward sorrow, for if he will destroy himself by self-indulgence, it is better he should do it here than among strangers. O Grosvenor what a mind is xx here overthrown!
I am afraid that ministers have suffered a great opportunity to let slip. They should have enabled Wellington to attack Massena.  He will now p be obliged to fall back to his line, – in itself a good change from miserable quarters, but a backward movement has an ugly appearance, & I am afraid Abrantes will fall, & Lisbon itself may be sorely annoyed if the French possess Alentejo. It is supplied with its fuel from thence, & with much of its food. As for the English lines, manned as they will be I consider them impregnable by any force [MS torn] can be brought against them, & only wish Buonaparte would come to attack them in person. Our men would fight ten fold the better for it. This unhappy illness of the Kings,  I fear, has distracted the attention of Ministry.
I believe it is since your departure that I have got into correspondence with the Spanish Secretary D Manuel Abella; – he has furnished me with a collection of documents highly useful.
God bless you
* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Stafford Row/ Buckingham Gate/
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 25 DE 25/ 1810
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 547–548. BACK
 Godwin had seen Coleridge on 18–19 November 1810. He may have conveyed some information to Bedford about Coleridge’s marriage or the state of his health. BACK
 The French Marshal André Massena (1758–1817), one of the commanders of the unsuccessful invasion of Portugal in 1810. BACK
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