2112. Robert Southey to Mary Barker, 9 June 1812 *
Keswick. June 9. 1812
My dear Senhora,
The first frank is carefully deposited in my desk till you come for it. I am sincerely glad of the young knight’s election  & had I been a Staffordshire freeholder would have given him a vote, in spite of his youth, — an objection, weighty as it is, of less moment than the political principles of his opponent.
My wicked summer cold has taken up its quarters with me, & will no doubt torment me for many weeks. It brings with it much discomfort, but, thank God does not disable me, & is less accompanied by any general indisposition than one would suppose possible from so violent a local affection. Last year I escaped it by setting out on a long journey just as it was beginning.
I have my eye upon that ugly house opposite, — which ugly as it is without, would become a pleasant object if it can ever be got for you. Lord Sunderlin (a brother of Malone)  has it for three years, one of which is expired, — he took it for the sole purpose of resting a few weeks every year on his way from Ireland, — but he is a very old man & may very likely drop his lease, — or drop himself. He left it in August last year, & lent it to the Bp of Meath:  very likely he may be disposed to let it this autumn. It would suit you well, — There is land belonging to it, which may probably be had, & the communication by land would be easy, & better still by lake.
Do not send off anything but what is wanted for your own use, for this House tho rather of larger dimensions than a nutshell, is almost as full as one. Martha is coming next week, & Danvers, — & what is worse the boys holidays begin. — I shall march off with Danvers early in July for Durham, — & the holydays luckily have an end as well as a beginning. Hartley is grown a great fellow, all beard & eyes, — as odd & as extraordinary as ever he was, with very good disposition, but with ways & tendencies which will neither be to his own happiness, nor to the comfort of any body connected with him. Derwent contrary to all former appearances, is much weaker in body, — he is very tractable, may be made anything, — whereas Hartley is of such unmalleable materials that what he may make of himself God knows, but I suspect, nobody will be able to mould or manage him. — You will be much pleased with Herbert , who may best be characterised by calling him a sweet boy. — You can hardly conceive anything more gentle & more docile. He has just learnt his Greek alphabet & is so desirous of learning, so attentive, & so quick of comprehension, that if it please God he should live, there is little doubt but that something will come out of him.
I have long had many day dreams of what was to be done when you came to reside among us. One has been of a poem or series of poems about this country, for which you were to make drawings, — so as to make a splendid book. 
If you get off as soon as you expect — we may look for you early next week. — I had nearly forgotten what you say about the Island. — it does not seem to me the kind of thing that could be asked.  God bless you. Come speedily, & cure me of my cold, — for you know you have undertaken to cure every body. — I must go to work upon this endless Register,  — hoping & trusting to finish the third volume this week, — after which the first letter from Edinburgh will be to press me to lose no time in beginning the fourth.  There is the difference between my labour & that of a millers horse, that he goes round & round, & that I go straight forward, — but both of us are likely to be kept working as long as our strength lasts. Well! & if the horse likes it as well as I do, he has no reason to complain.
We are afraid Neddy  will marry before she goes to London, in which case it is to be feared marriage will not rid us of our neighbours. I want Mr White to come for her a-la-Lenora:  if he came belly & all  he *** make such a Ghost as was never seen before.
* Address: To/ Miss Barker/ Teddesley/ Penkridge/ Staffordshire
Postmark: KESWICK/ 298
MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Robert Galloway Kirkpatrick, ‘The Letters of Robert Southey to Mary Barker From 1800 to 1826’ (unpublished PhD, Harvard, 1967), 405–408
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, pp. 278–80. BACK
 Edward John Littleton (later Lord Hatherton) had been elected unopposed as Tory MP for Staffordshire in a by-election in May 1812. His Whig opponent, Sir John Wrottesley (1771–1841), MP for Lichfield 1799–1806, Staffordshire 1823–1832, Staffordshire South 1832–1837, declined to go to the poll after a lengthy canvas of his support among the voters (owners of freehold land worth 40s. per annum). BACK
 In Sir Edward Littleton’s will Mary Barker was bequeathed £500, an annuity of £200 and all the gifts and furniture that Sir Edward had bought for her use. His main heir was Edward John Littleton (later Lord Hatherton). BACK