2326. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, 10 November 1813

2326. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, 10 November 1813 ⁠* 

Wednesday. Nov. 10. 1813.

My dear Edith

The half notes [1]  will travel with more security by post than in this little desk, – so I send them & write – it is to be hoped – for the last time during this long absence. Long as that absence has been you see that it has been profitably employed. I sent 35£ to Danvers which will probably clear all scores at Bristol, – & I shall arrive with some 15 or 20£ in my pocket. What you now have will pay rent, butcher, Miss Crosthwaite [2]  & a few smaller bills, [MS obscured] there will be no lack of money. My prospects in this point of view were never [MS obscured] good. I shall xx may very possibly get more by the verses which in my new capacity I shall address to the Prince, than by either of my long poems has yet produced. My books are increasing in sale, – & my reputation is at this moment as high as the warmest ambition, or the fondest vanity could desire.

This morning Lord Wm [3]  is to introduce me to the Marquis of Hertford.

Mrs Morgan says Coleridge has written to Mrs C. from Bristol. He is at Wades, [4]  lecturing with great success, [5]  & somebody reports his lectures well in one of the Bristol papers, but puffs him in the silliest manners. [6]  – I am close at work copying from official papers which I must hasten to conclude this morning, – & after my call at Hertford House I have the shopping for your seals, & the Childrens commissions –

God bless you my dearest Edith, a few days will now bring me home –

Yr RS.


* Address: To/ Mrs Southey
MS: British Library, Add MS 47888. 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Unpublished.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. BACK

[2] Possibly Miss Sarah Crosthwaite (1771–1817), of the family which ran one of the museums in Keswick. The Crosthwaites also operated the ‘mercers, drapers, and grocers’ shop in Keswick under the name ‘M. and D. Crosthwaite’. BACK

[3] Lord William Gordon (1744–1823), son of Cosmo George Gordon, 3rd Duke of Gordon (1720–1752). He owned the Waterend estate on the west side of Derwentwater. BACK

[4] Coleridge’s friend, the wealthy Bristol tradesman and pioneer of accountancy, Josiah Wade (c. 1761–1842). BACK

[5] Coleridge delivered a series of six lectures on Shakespeare and two on education in Bristol, 28 October-23 November 1813. BACK

[6] Southey is probably referring to the account of Coleridge’s first lecture in the Bristol Gazette, 4 November 1813. This began with a eulogy of Coleridge: ‘Were Milton to return among the living, and to select from our poets him, who from profoundness of thought and unworldly abstraction of feeling, joined to the prodigality of fancy in glowing conceptions, the nearest resemblance to himself, he would probably fix his choice on the author of “The Nightingale” and of “Fears in Solitude”, Poems which will continue to stir the heart and elevate the mind, when the Epics and Romaunts of our time are referred to only by literary antiquaries, as the quaint curiosities of a wonder-gaping and sophisticated age. If it be true that a Poet alone can criticize a Poet, few will dispute the qualifications of Mr. COLERIDGE as a Lecturer on Shakespeare.’ BACK