1842. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 22 December 1810 *
Keswick. Dec. 22. 1810.
My dear Grosvenor
Well disposed as I am to double-damn the Doctors for overdosing you with calomel, it is nevertheless a considerable relief to me to find that these unpleasant symptoms are the effect of the remedy, & not consequences of the disease, for they are much more within the reach of art. I am also glad that Pearson  has put you upon a better diet, –& if you will drink my health duly in lime water during the winter, I have good hope you will be able to pledge me when we meet next in the juice of the Douro grape.
I came back yesterday from Grasmere after a three days absence. My motive for leaving home was to give myself a dose of different air, & shake up the solids by a good round walk – in addition to these benefits I obtained that of a thorough rain-bath on my return, for which I am no worse. There was a large parcel awaiting me, so that my return would have been a joyful one if I had not found three of the children indisposed; – Moon & Bertha with a feverish attack, the infant with an oppression of the chest which has been very prevalent among children, & has killed that robust child where Tom lodged, & one other in the town. To day they are all better, yet none of them well enough to make me feel quite at ease, & Edith is now sickening in her turn.
Kehama  was in the parcel. I look upon cutting open the leaves of the first copy of his own book to be the consummation of an authors happiness. De revidendo  – you must mak satisfy yourself about all the faults that are to be found in course of criticism, perfectly sure that you will not dissatisfy me. – Nothing that can happen to the book will vex me, & the only thing that will surprize me would be if any body, except some half dozen of my own friends, should like it. – I am sorry to see that a number of errors have crept into the printing since I corrected the proofs, & which I am certain did not exist at that time. In several instances two paragraphs are printed as one, when there was a natural & necessary division. Pray notice the fashion of the typography, & complain that the first two or three sheets are not correct in this respect. It is a great improvement & any public mention of it in this way will go far towards establishing it.
Coleridge is a guest of John Morgans at Hammersmith 7. Portland Place. Morgan you may remember by the embroidered pantaloons wherewith you decorated one of the devils in the device of Biggs & Cottle on St Augustine’s Back. Godwins story may prove ph prophecy <hereafter>, at present it is simply a lie.  We have heard nothing from Coleridge yet. His silence is too easily accounted for to excite any thing like anger. – he went to London professedly to put himself under medical advice for – bad habits, & as we very well knew would be the case, he is going on in those habits. When he is tired of his London & Hammersmith friends he will come back again as if he had done nothing amiss, or absurd, & we whose resentment has long since given place to regret & x compassion, shall receive him as kindly as we took leave of him, – but more chearfully, or rather with less inward sorrow, for if he will destroy himself by self-indulgence, it is better he should do it here than among strangers. O Grosvenor what a mind is xx here overthrown!
I am afraid that ministers have suffered a great opportunity to let slip. They should have enabled Wellington to attack Massena.  He will now p be obliged to fall back to his line, – in itself a good change from miserable quarters, but a backward movement has an ugly appearance, & I am afraid Abrantes will fall, & Lisbon itself may be sorely annoyed if the French possess Alentejo. It is supplied with its fuel from thence, & with much of its food. As for the English lines, manned as they will be I consider them impregnable by any force [MS torn] can be brought against them, & only wish Buonaparte would come to attack them in person. Our men would fight ten fold the better for it. This unhappy illness of the Kings,  I fear, has distracted the attention of Ministry.
I believe it is since your departure that I have got into correspondence with the Spanish Secretary D Manuel Abella; – he has furnished me with a collection of documents highly useful.
God bless you
* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Stafford Row/ Buckingham Gate/
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 25 DE 25/ 1810
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 24. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 547–548. BACK
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