832. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 29 August [1803]

832. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 29 August [1803] ⁠* 

Dear Tom

If my last could have left any suspense upon your mind as to the event, I would sooner have written to tell you that all is over & poor Margaret in heaven. Edith has had an attack of fever since. she is barely enough recovered to travel & wet set off today. I have forced myself to great & unremitting exertions but the blow has gone to my very heart, & made me often think those the happiest who have none but themselves to care for.

Joe [1]  is left with Biss. [2]  the home of his own chusing. he is however reclaimable whenever you wish to have him, & you know he is a favourite there & will be well used. John Morgan & his wife have been uncommonly kind in their attention to us. they have got a home for the cat. Hort [3]  houses my lumber at the Red Lodge whither he is removed. it is a dreary packing up. the worst I ever had yet.

We rest a day half way with Miss Barker. You shall hear from me on my arrival. direct Keswick. Cumberland. Would that the journey were over – would that the winter were over. I was never so overset before – never saw so little hope before me. yet Tom I am like the Boiling Well, [4]  which however agitated at bottom the surface is calm.

If you could get for me a set of the Irish edition of Henrys History of England [5]  I should be glad. it is in six octavo volumes, & the English in 12 – so that you save almost half. You might keep it till we come near enough to have it sent to me.

My next shall be in better spirit, this place & every thing about it is haunted. I cannot escape the recollection & the very image of her.

God bless you –


Monday Aug. 29.


* Address: To/ Lieutenant Southey/ H. M. S. Galatea/ Cork/ Single
Postmark: [partial] BRISTOL/ AUG 9 03
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Tom Southey’s dog. BACK

[2] Possibly John Biss (d. 1807), a Bristol Baptist, or a member of his family. BACK

[3] William Jillard Hort (1764-1849), Unitarian Minister and writer. The Red Lodge is a 16th-century building in Park Row, Bristol. BACK

[4] A tourist site in Bristol: the well was kept bubbling by gases from below. BACK

[5] Robert Henry (1718-1790; DNB), The History of Great Britain (1789), no. 1316 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

People mentioned

Barker, Mary (c. 1780–1853) (mentioned 1 time)
Fricker, Edith (1774–1837) (mentioned 1 time)
Morgan, John James (d. 1820) (mentioned 1 time)
Morgan, Mary (b. 1782) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)