1270. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 2 February 1807 *
Feby 2. 1807
My dear Grosvenor
Before I touch upon any thing more serious let me take leave of this curst preface  – (that epithet gets strength by being made a monosyllable, & I observe that when a woman ventures to use it she makes it cust half speaking – half spitting it like a cats anger – whence I derive this conclusion that a monosyllabic language is favourable to the expression of anger, & that is the reason why there are so many testy people in England) – I wrote that preface doggedly & without liking to do it, or liking it when done & here, when I thought my hands were washed of it for ever, down comes a proof in such a barbarous state, xxx so all beblotched & bedevilled with characters which may, for aught I know, be magical, & bring upon me the fate of the young man who lodged with Cornelius Agrippa  if I were to make them out, – that I am swearing Master Bedford with very good reason. My Espriella Printer  corrects every proof before I see them, & sends me a clean sheet without a single typographical error, so that there are none but my own to correct; – such work as this is intolerable.
Oh dear dear – Grosevnor! Zounds & the Devil – there it goes. It is all so scrawled that I know not where to find room for a correction!
I have numbered your annotations for the sake of answering them with least trouble
|1.||admitted & amended.|
|2.||species is <only> plural here. a little altered|
|3.||Every body who knows the Hist: of the <F> Revolution knows Hebert.  the parallel is too exact to be altered.|
|4.||I give an opinion here like one of the Twelve Judges, & cannot help appearing.|
|5.||Bless your sharp sight. the name is Fraunce |
|6.||Better as it is, as avoiding one s & therefore running more glibly off the tongue|
|7 –||will this do – unless Apollo had wrought as great a miracle upon his ears as he did upon those of Midas, & with a more benevolent intention. – Do what you will with the sentence|
|8.||The metaphysical style – still in view since mentioned a few lines back|
|9.||altered to please you|
|10.||No. and is not but better than and|
|11.||Better as it is.|
|13.||altered for the better as you suggest.|
|14.||I hate the French language|
|15.||you are right|
|16.||Out it goes|
|17.||I like bedarkened best|
And I hope the next news of the book will be by advertisement in the Courier beginning ‘this day is published.’ & we will review it nobly in the second edition. 
I thought when in London that Horace looked miserably ill – as if some thing was out of order in him, – & I thought too that his mind had taken such a turn – that unless he took a sectarian turn bias & became Methodist or Quaker he was in danger of derangement. people are sometimes driven mad this way, but they are also sometimes saved from madness <by it.> their feelings find vent in a regular channel, & they themselves find persons who sympathize with them. Thus it is that where there are convents madmen are almost unknown. I wish he were acquainted with Wilberforce  or some such man. Were he my brother Grosvenor – this is what I would do – I would learn who was the most eloquent of the Evangelical Preachers, & propose to him as a matter of curiosity to go & hear him. If what he heard there should harp in with his own feelings – it would be like Davids harp & charm the evil spirit out of him. The malady of his mind being thus indulged would abate, – it would become zeal – a source of pleasure to himself – & others would not regard it as a malady. I could show you cases in point. Perhaps no man living is so well acquainted with the history of enthusiasm as I am, & that history throws as much light upon the morbid anatomy of the human mind, than as all Dr Willis’s  practise can do.
Such prints as yours were too costly a collection – they were it was so large a sum of money locked up that the interest would be almost a childs portion. The books are a heavier loss, & I wish for your sake the next half year were over. You have said nothing of your own state of health – & it is for that that I am most anxious.
You ask about my removal from hence – I am fixed here for some time longer – in fact till I can get three hundred pounds to move with – which is not so soon got. Luckily I am well contented to stay – spite of inconveniences – & should the Coleridges quit the house (as there is some hope they may) then would there be room for me conveniently, & I should feel much disposed to take root here: for leave it when I will it would be a sore pang to me.  I do’nt talk much about these things – but these Lakes & mountains give me a deep joy for which I suspect nothing elsewhere can compensate, – & this is a feeling which time strengthens instead of weakening. – I began yesterday my history of Brazil  & you will see me, I expect – in London early in the winter, xx to fill up gaps in the first volume, & to commit it to the press.
God bless you – Tis time for the post or I should have filled the sheet.
 In Elogia doctorum virorum (1554) the historian Paolo Giovio (1483–1552) related the story of a lodger who used the spell book of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486–1535) to raise a demon, who strangled him. Finding the lodger’s corpse in his study, Agrippa made a demon enter the body and walk it outside, so that it would seem to have died in the street. BACK