2753. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, Easter Sunday [14 April] 1816

2753. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, Easter Sunday [14 April] 1816⁠* 

Easter Sunday

My dear Harry

I write – because you will be anxious to hear, – but I am as unable as ever to tell you the nature of the disease [1]  – or to hold forth any well-founded hope of recovery; – indeed there scarcely seems to be any other hope than that as we do not know what the complaint is, it may possibly be one which is not necessarily fatal. Today he has been wholly confined to his bed for the first time, & with an evident diminution of strength, – on the other hand the frequent sweats which came over him during the two last days have greatly diminished in frequency & in violence, – he has been more easily kept warm, & has past good part of the day in sleep, – whether from mere exhaustion or not I hardly dare ask myself. But it is useless to write more, – you cannot advise at this distance, – nor is any advice needful, nothing is to be done but to support life as long as we can. The Senhora is with him night & day, & is of the utmost use – I know not what we should do without her. Edith bears up with great fortitude.

God bless you


The Senhora bids me say she thinks the symptoms better within the last twenty four hours.


* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 17 AP 17/ 1816
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Don. d. 3. ALS; 2p.
Dating note: Easter Sunday fell on 14 April in 1816. BACK

[1] Southey’s only son Herbert was gravely ill and died on 17 April 1816. BACK

People mentioned

Barker, Mary (c. 1780–1853) (mentioned 2 times)
Fricker, Edith (1774–1837) (mentioned 1 time)
Southey, Herbert (1806–1816) (mentioned 1 time)