3356. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 3 October 1819

3356. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 3 October 1819⁠* 

My dear Harry

Here I am once more, safe, & if not quite sound, pretty nearly so as far as the head is concerned. I have lost the largest & oldest of the tumours, & the place is likely to be skinned compleatly over in a few days. I wish I could report as favourably of the other end. [1]  On my journey it was very troublesome if I walked only half an hour, but there was no inconvenience when at any other time. But on the first day of my return, the part protrudes again, as I sit in my chair. I expected that six weeks of continual travelling would have braced my whole system, bringing with it as it did a great increase of appetite. But as this has failed, xxx only to hope the <infirmity> may not become & I see no likelihood of getting rid of the infirmity.

Dr Hope enquired for you. [2]  He was one of the few persons whom I saw at Edinburgh, during the three days that I staid there. I went North as far as Fleet Mound, [3]  crossed from Dingwall to the Western Sea at Jean town, returned to Inverness, then took the line of the canal, & so to Inverary, Glasgow & home. We went up the eastern coast from Dundee to Aberdeen. I have seen a great deal of Scotland, & brought home a minute jou full journal. [4]  We had the finest possible weather, & all circumstances were as favourable as they could be.

I reckon it among the advantages of the journey that it has saved me from a visit to Lowther, whither I was invited to meet Prince Leopold. [5] Lord Lonsdale is a most friendly & obliging man, – but I have an invincible dislike to great houses, notwithstanding the good things which they contain.

How are you going on? – I know nothing of my friends affairs, – & not much about my own. I expected to have the third vol. of Brazil [6]  when I returned, – & behold it appears to have been delayed owing to the loss of a proof sheet! when are

Isabel has had a swelling in the neck during my absence, & has not recovered her looks. I hope this is not scrofulous, – but it has a very suspicious appearance. & Edith May is not in such health as I could wish. The others are well – Cuthbert is grown fat, – he is very large for his age.

The Rickmans [7]  returned with me, & will remain till Tuesday.

Love to Louisa. – I have a story to tell Mrs Gonne about the Free Masons, when we meet. [8] 

God bless you


3 Oct. 1819


* Address: [in another hand] Keswick. Third. Oct. 1819./ Dr Southey/ Queen Anne St West/ Cavendish Sq./ London/ Fm/ J Rickman
Stamped: FREE/ 6 OC 6/ 1819
Seal: red wax; arm raising aloft cross of Lorraine
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, KESMG 1996.5.103. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey was suffering from a rectal prolapse. BACK

[2] Thomas Charles Hope (1766–1844; DNB), Professor of Chemistry and Medicine at the University of Edinburgh 1795–1843 (he had taught Henry Herbert Southey). BACK

[3] Fleet Mound was a massive causeway, commissioned in 1803, designed by Telford, and built between 1814–1816, to carry the road over Loch Fleet. It comprised an earthwork, and a bridge with self-regulating sluice gates that allowed the waters from the river to flow out, but prevented seawater from coming in. BACK

[4] Southey’s tour of Scotland lasted from 17 August until 1 October 1819. For his record of events, see Journal of a Tour in Scotland in 1819, ed. Charles Harold Herford (1929). BACK

[5] Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg (1790–1865; King of the Belgians 1831–1865; DNB), widower of Princess Charlotte, had visited Lord Lonsdale at Lowther Castle 25–28 September 1819; he met ‘a numerous party of the gentry in the neighbourhood’ and received the Freedom of the Borough of Appleby, Morning Chronicle, 2 October 1819. BACK

[6] Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[7] John and Susannah Rickman and their two youngest children, William Charles Rickman (1812–1886) and Frances Rickman (dates unknown, she married Richard Brindley Hone (1805–1881), Vicar of Halesowen 1836–1881, in 1836). BACK

[8] See Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 3 September 1819, Letter 3347, for Southey’s experience with Scottish Freemasonry. BACK

Places mentioned

Lowther estate (mentioned 1 time)