769. Robert Southey to Thomas Smith, 29 March 1803
769. Robert Southey to Thomas Smith, 29 March 1803 *
Kingsdown. March 29. 1803.
My dear Sir
The Life of Cowper  with your very friendly letter reached me last night, so long after the date of the parcel (March 12) that I fear you must have suspected me of uncivil neglect in acknowledging it.
I wish I had nothing more to communicate than the sense which I feel of your kindness. Danvers has at length lost his Mother. this epidemic disease  seized her, & she died yesterday morning. the loss of so excellent a woman will be severely felt by all who were intimate with her. – but to Charles it is a heavy & almost a heart-breaking blow. there was more than the parental tie between them. for years she has been his constant companion, the object of all his thoughts & solicitudes; xxx his perpetual watchfulness of attention prolonged her life, & made it happy to the very last.
I have not forgotten Mrs Smiths Autographs,  but will not swell a letter with inclosing any, which will probably take a long circuit before it reaches you. I hope however it will not find you in London. you should not venture there until the influenza has ceased.
believe me dear Sir
very thankfully & truly yours
[deletions and readdress in another hand] To/ Thomas
Smith/ Bownham House/
Mrs/ Wibbsons/ Charleywood/ Stroud/ Rickmansworth/ Gloucestershire/ Harts/ Mrs Wibbsons/
Charleywood House/ Rickmansworth/ Harts
Postmarks: BRISTOL/ MAR 23 1803; E/ APR 3/ 1803
MS: Collection of Ian Packer and Lynda Pratt
 William Hayley (1745-1820; DNB), The Life and Posthumous Writings of William Cowper (1803). BACK
 Mrs Danvers was a victim of the influenza epidemic of 1803, which claimed lives throughout Europe, particularly in England and France. BACK