2979. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, 24 April 1817

2979. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, 24 April 1817⁠* 

My dear Edith

Safely arrived & all well. The first night I just wished for warmer clothing about the knees & feet, so I bought a pair of coarse overall stockings for the second, & was thus the only warm person in the coach.

My Billet doux will be published tomorrow, & laid upon Wm Smith breakfast table, with his M Chronicle, – his bane & antidote [1]  he will put his hand to his forehead when he comes to the word Slanderer, [2]  & then to breakfast with what appetite he may.

Hyde will not hear of a drab. [3]  – we have agreed upon a genteel mixture.

God bless you, –


Bedfords. 3 o clock. Thursday


* Address: Mrs Southey/ Warcop Hall/ Brough/ Westmoreland
Postmark: [illegible]
MS: British Library, Add MS 47888. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Smith had denounced Southey in the House of Commons on 14 March 1817 in the debate on the Seditious Meetings Bill, condemning ‘the settled, determined malignity of a renegado’ and comparing Southey’s arguments against radical views in the Quarterly Review, 16 (October 1816), 227, with those expressed in Wat Tyler (1817), Act 2, lines 103–112. Southey’s response was A Letter to William Smith, Esq., M.P. (1817), published by Murray. The Morning Chronicle (1769–1862) was a Whig daily paper and could thus provide Smith with some ‘antidote’. BACK

[2] ‘Mr. William Smith is said to have insulted me with the appellation of Renegade; and if it be indeed true that the foul aspersion past his lips, I brand him for it on the forehead with the name of SLANDERER. Salve the mark as you will, Sir, it is ineffaceable!’, A Letter to William Smith, Esq. M.P., (London, 1817), p. 28. BACK

[3] Hyde (d. 1820), Southey’s tailor, was refusing to make a plain dark coat. BACK

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