219. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, 26-[28] May [1797]

219. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, 26–[28] May [1797] ⁠* 


Friday 26th May.
1797.  [1] 

Thus far my dear Cottle are we advanced on our peregrination. we are <intend> to remain here a week — this we had resolved upon — & indeed must have done whether we had resolved so or no. for Edith has been very unwell; most probably in consequence of fatigue. We arrived here Wednesday evening, & she has not yet been out of this house. but thank God she is greatly recovered.

You know not how heartily I hate moving: & yet we are far from being settled. when our week is up here we purpose going in the stage to Lymington & staying a week there. from thence I can explore Christ Church — as the distance is but 12 miles. there I hope to fix. if you write to me on Monday direct to the Post Office here. between that & the Monday following — to the Post Office Lymington Hampshire. by that time I hope to give you a permanent address.

It is near nine & I am writing without a candle. this light is not pleasant to me — & I do not love a summer evening on that account — darkness begins when the animal spirits require to be recruited by sleep & those spirits die away with the day light. there is another reason why I do not like this time of day at this time of year. there is no fire. I am ashamed to have one — & yet it constitutes a very large portion of my comfort.

This is a foul place. full of aristocrats sailours & all the wretches connected with them. the water not so fine at as at the passages & as ugly at low tide. the inhabitants are imposing — xxx because they have the rich & foolish to deal with. I shall be glad to get away. Edith is much better; & as I have not her illness to engross & oppress my mind I shall set to my employments.

Charles Lloyd is going to be married; a Mr Reed, [2]  brother to an intimate friend of his told me this, to a Miss Sophia Pemberton. I am astonished to hear it. with such fits as he is subject to I think he is very wrong in marrying.

We are utter strangers here — knowing nobody — seeing nobody — & hearing nothing. this nasty bay does not even furnish a polypus with which I can form an acquaintance. [MS torn]

You will see The Martyrdom of Joan of Arc announced in the next Monthly Magazine. [3]  I have written some — twenty lines. but I have every scene sketched out in my mind, & expect to proceed rapidly. it is now Sunday — so long has my ignorance of the Post hours delayed this. Wednesday we go, & probably straight to Christ Church. so you had better direct there. remember us to Danvers — & tell him where he may write. when we are settled he shall hear from us.

God bless you.

Ediths love. she is almost recovered

yrs affectionately

R Southey.


* Address: For/ Mr Cottle/ High Street/ Bristol./ Single
Stamped: [illegible]
Endorsements: R. Southey May 1797; (78) 29
MS: Columbia University Library. ALS; 4p. (c).
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 131–132. BACK

[1] 1797: Possibly added in another hand. BACK

[2] Unidentified; a friend of the Lloyd family. BACK

[3] ‘A Tragedy may be expected upon “The Martyrdom of Joan of Arc.” It is only intended for the closet’, Monthly Magazine, 3 (May 1797), 384. BACK

People mentioned

Fricker, Edith (1774–1837) (mentioned 3 times)
Lloyd, Charles (1775–1839) (mentioned 1 time)
Pemberton, Sophia (d. 1830) (mentioned 1 time)