351. Robert Southey and Edith Southey to Thomas Southey, 5 October 
351. Robert Southey and Edith Southey to Thomas Southey, 5 October  *
[start of section in Edith Southey’s hand]
Shewing how an old Woman rode double & who rode before her.
[end of section in Edith Southey’s hand]
Martin-hall. Oct. 5.
My dear Tom.
Your aunt Molly was in town at the fair, & she has brought up a long rig-ma-role of gossiping about you & some Miss Kitty. but who Miss Kitty is your gossiping aunt forgot by the way.
I have been home some fortnight or three weeks, & set sail again on Monday on a cruise with Danvers, chiefly with the intention of seeing Maber, & learning something about sending Edward to St Pauls. the boy is shockingly managed now. I shall be from home not more than ten days, we walk, & I shall have the pleasure of seeing the bogs & waterfalls of the Black Mountains in Brecknockshire.
My mother continues well, & all things go on smoothly at Martin hall. My Letters & Poems  will both make their appearance about Xmas, my Kalendar  begins to look respectable in size, & I have begun the seventh book of Madoc.  As for the Domdaniel,  there is not room left in this sheet to explain enough of it to you. suffice it that it is <to be> a long poem, as long as Joan of Arc, designed to display all the pomp of Arabian fiction, & that I have the outline ready of a most magnificent plan. You will ask how I got the half information from Taunton. Martha Fricker heard it at Stowey from a Miss Cruikshank  the lady to whom the Innamorata Incognita had written, but Martha d[MS obscured] her name by the way.
I have been to Shobdon, & to Dilwyn the place where my grandmothers  family came from, & to Pembridge where she once lived. I think there are parts of Herefordshire & Worcestershire that would even in your eyes surpass Taunton Dean.
The Ballad which Edith has copied for you is said to have happened in the reign of Ethelwolf,  Alfreds father at Berkley in Glocestershire, & was certainly believed all over Europe, as I have found given as a warning to all witches in a German & a Norwegian author, xx & in the an old English Historian.  I like the ballad much. two others have I written since we came here, both upon true stories. 
from Lisbon I have received some little matter for my Letters, but neither letter nor money, at which I wonder. I know not how my Uncle thinks we all subsist. however I work very hard, & keep the wheels going.
Ediths love & Margerys & my Mothers.
God bless you.
* Address: [deletions and readdress in another hand] To/ Mr Thomas
Southey./ Royal George/ Plymouth,/ < off Ushant. >/ or
elsewhere / <to be forwarded>/ Single.
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. (A)LS; 4p.
 ‘The Raven ... every tongue’: Verse written in double columns. Southey adds note ‘these stanzas are misplaced. the last should be first.’ BACK
 An early version of Thalaba the Destroyer (1801). See Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), IV, pp. 181–188 for Southey’s initial plan of the poem. BACK
 Probably Ellen Cruikshank (dates unknown), sister of John Cruikshank (dates unknown), land agent for Lord Egmont at Nether Stowey, Somerset. A dream of John’s was the reputed inspiration for ‘The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere’. Ellen herself is thought to be the ‘most gentle maid’ of Coleridge’s ‘The Nightingale; A Conversational Poem, Written in April 1798’, Lyrical Ballads, With a Few Other Poems (Bristol, 1798), p. 67. BACK
 Ethelwulf (c. 795–858, reigned 839–858; DNB), father of Alfred, the Great (849–899, reigned 871–899; DNB). BACK
 The German author was Hartmann Schedel (1440–1514), and the story was told in his Liber Chronicorum (Nuremberg, 1493), fol. CLXXXIX; the ‘Norwegian’ was Olaus Magnus (1490–1557), Swedish ecclesiastic and writer, Historia de Gentibus Septsentrionalibus (1555), Book III, chapter 20; the ‘old English Historian’ was Matthew of Westminster, alleged author of the Flores Historiarum, the name given to a number of different manuscript chronicles of English history in Latin, from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (see C. D. Yonge, The Flowers of History, 2 vols (1853), I, pp. 400–401). BACK