514. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, [c. 20 April 1800] *
My dear Cottle
Our journey was safe but not without accidents. at Plymouth I saw Mrs Tucker,  who pressed us to dine with much earnest kindness. I was glad of the opportunity to introduce my brother Tom to her, as he has no acquaintance in Plymouth. we arrived here on Friday night & found the packet by which we wished to sail detained by the winds. the winds still continues unfavourable & we are watching it with deep anxiety.
A voyage is a serious thing , & particularly an outward-bound voyage. the hope of departure is never an exhilirating hope: inns are always comfortless, & the wet weather that detains us at Falmouth, imprisons us in the inn. dirt, noise, restlessness, expectation, impatience – fine cordials for the spirits!
However I get on with Thalaba,  from which I steal the time now given to you. Devonshire is an ugly country. I have no patience with the cant of travellers who so bepraise it. they have surely slept all the way thro Somersetshire. its rivers are beautiful – very very beautiful – but nothing else high hills all angled over with hedges, & no trees – wide views & no object of beauty.
I have heard a good story of Charles Fox.  when his house <here> was on fire & he found all efforts to save it useless – he went up the next hill to make a drawing of the fire. the best instance of philosophy I ever heard.
God bless you. I shake you mentally by the hand, & when we shake hands bodily, trust you will find me a repaired animal with a head full of knowledge & a trunk full of manuscripts.
Remember me to all friends whom you see. tell Davy this is such a vile county that nothing but its merit as his birth place redeems it from my utter execration. I have found nothing in it but roguery, restive-horses, & wet weather. & neither pilchards, white ale, or squab pie were to be found obtained. Last night I dreamt Davy had killed himself by an explosion & the misery I felt awoke me.
once more God bless you.
* Address: To/ Mr Cottle/ Gloucester Street/ Brunswic Square/
Endorsements: Southey 1800; (111) 55; Falmouth
MS: Berg Collection, New York Public Library. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: Joseph Cottle, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847), pp. 220–221 [in part; dated ‘1800’]; Adolfo Cabral (ed.), Robert Southey: Journals of a Residence in Portugal 1800-1801 and a Visit to France 1838 (Oxford, 1960), p. 74 [in part; dated [c. 20 April 1800]]. BACK