3542. Robert Southey to Robert Bill, 23 October 1820*
Keswick. 23. Oct. 1820
My dear Sir
The event  which you communicate could not be uninteresting to me, who spent so many happy days in childhood & boyhood with Louisa Dolignon, & received more kindness from her mother  than I ever experienced from any other human being, my own mother alone excepted. When I see this infant, my acquaintance will then have extended to four generations of that line. May God bless & preserve both the child & the parents. You have now to expect pleasures & anxieties altogether different from any that you have ever felt before. So different indeed is the parental affection from every other, that it seems to show more aptly than any other illustration, how possible it is that man may contain within him xxxx instincts & senses which are not evolved in this state of being, but will be developed in another.
I now very much regret that I did not see Mrs Mary Delamare  when I was in the South. Death is the best thing which can happen to a good old age, & hers might truly be called so. But I shall think more mournfully of Theobalds, which will be no longer the same place that I remember so vividly, & which many circumstances bring to my mind so often.
Should you be at Farley when next I travel southward – it will give me great pleasure to take that place in my way. But it will be a long while before I shall <can> leave my desk & my fire side, where I am fixed down by inclination & by numerous employments. I shall hardly move in less than two years, unless any unexpected event should call me from home.
Believe me my dear Sir
yrs very truly
 Here Southey has slightly confused the names of the Dolignons. Louisa Bill’s mother, and Southey’s childhood friend, was Marie Dolignon (1769–1805); her mother was Elizabeth Dolignon, who acted as a kind of surrogate parent for Southey when he was at Westminster School 1788–1792. BACK