2680. Robert Southey to Neville White, 8 December 1815

2680. Robert Southey to Neville White, 8 December 1815 ⁠* 

Keswick, Dec. 8. 1815.

My Dear Neville,

You would hear of us from Nottingham, where we met the kindest and warmest reception; – that after departing from your mother’s [1]  house we broke down in the streets you probably would not hear, for we went to the inn while our luggage was shifted to another chaise, and no hurt was done. On the Tuesday night we reached Wordsworth’s about seven o’clock; it would have been possible to have got home by ten, but to have come in at night when the children were asleep, would have been a cruel disappointment to them and to us! A return of this kind is a sort of triumph for which daylight is required, and sunshine also, if it could be had upon demand. So we slept at Rydal, and the next morning made our appearance. I need not say that it was a happy house that day. God be thanked we found them all in health, and Edith had improved in health every day after she left London.

My table was covered with letters; and though I fully intended to have told you of our safe arrival by the first post, I had not fulfilled my intention when the post hour came.

You loaded us with kindness in London, and added largely to the treasures which we brought home for the children, – treasures they may be called; for things of infinitely greater value would give them less delight in riper years. I shall feel myself your debtor till you have brought your sisters here; or rather let me say, you owe us this gratification; and if your excellent mother would be of the party, our gratification would be the greater.

James was looking well. I wish I could assist him in his search for a curacy.

It will be some days before I can, as it were, find my way, and resume the broken thread of old employments. At this moment I am up to the elbows in letters, these I hasten to clear off, in the hope of this night beginning my poem. [2]  God bless you. Remember me to the Conders, [3]  and believe me, my dear Neville,

Yours most affectionately,

Robert Southey.

P. S. All here, the old and the young, unite in the kindest remembrances. Herbert has gone on faithfully both with his Greek and German during my absence, so as to have lost nothing. It is not possible that any child could be more entirely after his father’s own heart.


* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856)
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), III, pp. 6–8. BACK

[1] Mary White, née Neville (1755–1833). The Southeys had stayed at her house in late November 1815 on their return trip from London to Keswick; see Southey to William Wordsworth, 1 December 1815, Letter 2672. BACK

[2] The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816). BACK

[3] Josiah Conder and his wife Joan Elizabeth (1786–1877). BACK

People mentioned

Conder, Josiah (1789–1855) (mentioned 1 time)
Southey, Herbert (1806–1816) (mentioned 1 time)
White, James (1787–1885) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)
Rydal Mount (mentioned 1 time)