2985. Robert Southey to Edith Southey [fragment], 5 May 1817 *
Stafford Row – Buckingham Gate, perhaps Mrs C. will favour him with a letter on the occasion. He is at this <time> troubled with a bilious complaint in his thigh as he calls it, – that is to say a miserable xxx boil. And if you want more money before I return write to Bedford & he will immediately send it. I reckon confidently upon reaching home the second week in July, & will rather shorten my route than lengthen my absence. – having wished myself at home ever since I left it. But I am very glad that I came to London just as the Billet Doux was published  it has really been like coming to enjoy a triumph, & never was a triumph so compleat. Every body congratulates me that the opportunity was given me for writing in such a manner.
I have written this before breakfast after which I am going to Turner, to talk about the house,  & then to Rickmans where I shall leave this to be franked. You shall hear again before my departure, & again from Calais, – & as often as I can. Mrs Vardon is looking admirably well, we shall find her at Brussels on our return. Martha is there but looking well. I sent Eliza the letter Billet Doux in a frank. D. Jardine has called upon me, – one of his sisters is married, – the other dead!  He tells me that Tom Reid  is becoming a very rich man, & that Sam shall hearken like somebody else, after Botany Bay. 
I am very weary of noise, new faces, & continual excitement. It seems as if I had already been whole years from home.
God bless you my dear Edith
Monday 5 May Q Anne Street
* Address: [in another hand] London
Fifth May 1817/ Mrs Southey/ Greta Hall/ Keswick/ Cumberland/
Postmark: FREE/ 5 MAY 5/ 1817
MS: British Library, Add MS 47888. ALS; 2p.
 William 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. BACK