1780. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 27–28 May 1810

1780. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 27–28 May 1810 ⁠* 

Keswick. Sunday May 27. 1810

My dear Danvers

You will wonder at the long interval between the half notes. [1]  The truth is that tho they went with me to Durham, they came back with me also, – for dissipation allowed me less leisure than I always possess amid my own regular employments. I had to see this place & that place, – people called on me & I was to call on them in return, visiting eating & drinking took up no small portion of my time, & what little time was not thus taken up was given to some books from the Cathedral libraries. We were absent from home nineteen days, two of which were past with Losh. He desired to be remembered to you, & requested me to say how glad he should be if when you came into the North you could make his house in your way. Now that Sir Domine is at Durham you may perhaps one day accomplish this, especially as Durham is I think more worth seeing than any other place in England. Indeed I never saw any thing equal to it, & the more I saw the more it delighted me.

Tom went with us, meaning to return here, – he has however fallen over head & ears in love, & remains at Durham. From all his goings on there, & his staying behind it seems as if he were very much in earnest, notwithstanding the mortal objection of want of fortune on both side. The Lady is about 30, singularly interesting, & with xx very much respected for her excellent conduct during many family difficulties. Tom was so incessantly at the house that it is not possible his attentions could have been overlooked, & hardly possible that he could have been there so much unless they had been encouraged, – which considering worldly circumstances is sufficiently strange. I suppose he will write to me ere long & explain his views. She was engaged to a young man who died, & his family then settled 100£ a year upon her, as a mark of their respect. This <annuity> I should suppose would cease if she married. As to prudential calculations however Tom is xxxx able to make them for himself, & as I believe he might search the world round without making a better choice, I shall be more disposed to excuse him if he acts imprudently, than to volunteer advice which when it is unwelcome is generally unavailing.

May 28.

Thus far last night. To days post has brought me a letter from Tom telling me that Sarah Castle has promised to be his wife, – that he should like to bring her to Keswick for the present, – is not certain that he can prevail upon her to change her name immediately, – but in either case should like to show her the lakes. His plans he shall be better able to detail when we meet. – This is all his letter – & I must conclude yours to answer it. [2] 

I want you to get subscribers for a half guinea volume, – containing letters & poems by Wm I. Roberts, – once employed in Worralls bank [3]  who died of consumption at the age of 19, & left these poor fragments to be published for his sisters benefit. [4]  The family history is very melancholy, – James of Birmingham edites them, & we hope to raise such a sum as may suffice to place the sister in a way of maintaining her parents, [5]  – who are in danger of being reduced to absolute want. He was a youth of first rate promise, & I am very much interested [MS torn] success of this attempt. Money to be paid on delivery of the volume. Remember I ask you to get subscriptions, expressly forbidding you to put your own name on the list. Beg boldly in mine, –

God bless you

Yrs very affectionately


Kehama [6]  lingers in the press, & you will not get it these two months. Scotts new poem pleases me more than either of his former. [7] 


* Address: [in another hand] London June five 1810/ John Danvers Esqre/ Bristol/ CW Williams Wynn
Postmark: CJU/ 5/ 1810
Endorsement: 1810/ 27 May
MS: British Library, Add MS 30928. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] i.e. half-banknotes – a secure way of sending money in the post, by tearing banknotes in half and sending the two halves separately; see Southey to Charles Danvers, 2 May 1810, Letter 1774. BACK

[2] The letter to Tom Southey has not survived. BACK

[3] Messrs Worrall, Blatchley & Co., a Bristol bank. BACK

[4] Eliza Roberts (dates unknown). BACK

[5] William and Anne Roberts (dates unknown). BACK

[6] The Curse of Kehama, published later in 1810. BACK

[7] The Lady of the Lake (1810), as compared to The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805) and Marmion (1808). BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)