1339. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, [end of June 1807]

1339. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, [end of June 1807] ⁠* 

My dear Danvers

You have done quite right in keeping back the bedstead & I dare say in every thing else. The MS.S. I hope have been found & sent in the box by the waggon; they are of very great value, & if lost would be irreplaceable.

Rickards [1]  I should think may hire any thing he wants at Lancaster, which is, as you know, a considerable town. He should come from thence over the sands to Ulverstone, – up Coniston Lake, & from thence strike down to the ferry at Windermere. then from Ambleside here, & after he has seen the Lakes to the S. W. of us, go to Penrith & back to Ambleside by way of Ulswater & over Kirkstone. He will thus see every thing the right way. You will of course say that I shall be very glad to see him. And if you will send me Estlins direction at Edinburgh I will write to him there, & press him to return this way.

We shall meet oftener than you believe. I shall as a regular thing go every other year to London, & if you cannot contrive to meet me there, will come home by way of Bristol. In that direction it would not be very difficult establish a line of acquaintance along the road. This place is a good one for me, because it is cheap: & I would certainly rather keep a boat here than a coach any where else – Besides I could not move. All my life long I have labouring to get a sum large enough to enable me to settle & get my things about me, & it has been labour in vain. Coleridge tells you that I am cheated. If he has any reasons for thinking so he should explain them to me: perhaps I may learn them from Wordsworth when he returns to Grasmere. at any rate I may derive x some instructions from W. upon the art of driving a bargain – as I know no man likely to make a better for himself. I have no reason to think ill of my publishers, – none whatever. They have me at their mercy, as they must every person for whom they publish, – there neither is nor can be any check upon them: they may be rogues if they will, but their fair profits are so enormous that there can be no excuse for them if they are.

I am out of all patience with the printer. There are but two sheets of Espriella in his hands, & I wait day after day for them in vain. [2]  Loss of time now is absolute loss of money. summer is come, & as soon as Parliament is prorogued, the town becomes empty of its book buying race.

The Lord be praised that any body should praise my Specimens, for Bedford has contrived to make the book as bad as bad can be. [3]  The omission of Russell [4]  is his clumsiness. I had made selections from him & fifty others – all which he laid aside.

I shall be on the alarm till the books arrive. Should they be lost in the way I should literally fret myself with a fever. Sam I hope will lose no time in looking after them at Liverpool. vessels come weekly from thence to Whitehaven & Workington, so that they need not lie there. – Beg him when he has reshipped them to apprize me of it.

C. Burnetski’s book to judge of it by the Magazine samples, will be better than you seem to expect.  [5]  You have often observed how much better his letters are than his conversation, & have never I think, given him credit for the balance of talent in his favour. His real place is between what he thinks himself to be, & what xxx every body else thinks him. I am in good hope that he is likely to become a thriving author. He is coming here on a touring project, in which I shall give him all the assistance in my power, & tread over again with him the ground which you & I, I hope xxx shall travel over once more before our joints grow stiff.

I have a letter from T Smith in reply to one written [6]  as soon as you informed me that he was hurt at not having heard from me. It seems one letter from x me to him, & one from him to me have been lost – which is very odd. But certainly I wrote when he told me of his sisters arrival at Lisbon, [7]  & as certainly never heard of her return from him. he is coming to the Lakes, & fancies you are coming too. I wish this were the case. I shall write again to him, for the purpose of [recom]mending the best route.

Sir George & Lady Beaumont are coming to lodge at Jacksons, & the rooms will be in better plight for them than they were for Miss Davis. [8]  The Islanders announce their arrival for July 20th. [9]  It is not yet certain whether Rickman & his wife come this year, they certainly would have come if the dissolution had not disarranged their plans. my daughter grows to my hearts content. Herbert does not grow so fast as he did, & has no teeth yet: he is very well to all appearance, – but this late teething & a costive habit, make me somewhat apprehensive about him.

God bless you

yrs affectionately

Robert Southey.

When Tom was at Bristol he bought two sheets of what he called water-proof paper for me, at the time when you bought the last allotment at Barry’s. [10]  This is a highly glazed sort of treacle-coloured marble paper, & it answers so admirably for wrapping my ducks, [11]  that if you can find the right paper I shall be glad of a whole quire of it. It may very well come with the Armada. [12] 


* Address: To/ Charles Danvers Esqr/ Bristol./ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: British Library, Add MS 47890. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 455–57.
Dating note: In this letter Southey states he has received a letter from Thomas Smith in reply to his one dated 25 June 1807 (Letter 1334). BACK

[1] James Rickards (dates unknown) visited the Lakes at the same time as Danvers in summer 1809. BACK

[2] Southey had been sending copy for Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella. Translated from the Spanish (1807) to Richard Taylor (1781–1858; DNB). BACK

[3] Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807), was co-edited with Grosvenor Charles Bedford, and published, to Southey’s dismay, with numerous errors. BACK

[4] George Russel (1728–1767; DNB), poet. BACK

[5] A large part of Burnett’s View of the Present State of Poland (1807) was first published in the form of letters to the Monthly Magazine. BACK

[6] See Southey to Thomas Smith, 25 June 1807, Letter 1334. BACK

[7] Smith’s sister had departed for Lisbon in 1804. BACK

[8] Unidentified. BACK

[9] William Peachey and his family. BACK

[10] Bartholomew Barry (dates unknown), of 21 High Street, was Southey’s favourite Bristol bookseller and stationer; he frequently sent Danvers orders for books to be supplied by Barry. BACK

[11] Southey’s name for books in bad condition. BACK

[12] That is, the goods being sent from Bristol by sea to Liverpool or Whitehaven. BACK

Places mentioned

Ambleside (mentioned 1 time)
Grasmere (Dove Cottage) (mentioned 1 time)