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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Messrs. Longman and Co., 13 June 1807

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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“Keswick, June 13. 1807.
“Nephew Job,

“First, I have to thank you for your letter and your poem; and, secondly, to explain why I have not done this sooner. We were a long time without knowing where you were, and, when news came from Miss Barker that you were in London, by the time a letter could have reached you you were gone; and, lastly, Mr. Jackson wrote to you to Bristol. I will now compose an epistle which will follow you farther west.

“Bona Marietta hath had kittens; they were remarkably ugly, all taking after their father Thomas, who there is reason to believe was either uncle or grandsire to Bona herself, the prohibited degrees of consanguinity which you will find at the end of the Bible not being regarded by cats. As I have never been able to persuade this family that catlings, fed for the purpose and smothered with onions, would be rabbits to all eatable purposes. Bona Marietta’s ugly progeny no sooner came into the world than they were sent out of it; the river nymph Greta conveyed them to the river god Derwent, and if neither the
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 101
eels nor the ladles of the lake have taken a fancy to them on their way,
Derwent hath consigned them to the Nereids. You may imagine them converted into sea-cats by favour of Neptune, and write an episode to be inserted in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Bona bore the loss patiently, and is in good health and spirits. I fear that if you meet with any of the race of Mrs. Rowe’s cat at Ottery, you will forget poor Marietta. Don’t bite your arm, Job.

“We have been out one evening in the boat,—Mr. Jackson, Mrs. Wilson, and the children,—and kindled our fire upon the same place where you drank tea with us last autumn. The boat has been painted, and there is to be a boat-house built for it. Alterations are going on here upon a great scale. The parlour has been transmogrified. That, Hartley, was one of my mother’s words; your mother will explain it to you. The masons are at work in my study; the garden is enclosed with a hedge; some trees planted behind it, a few shrubs, and abundance of currant trees. We must, however, wait till the autumn before all can be done that is intended in the garden. Mr. White, the Belligerent, is settled in the General’s house. Find out why I give him that appellation.

“There has been a misfortune in the family. We had a hen with five chickens, and a gleed has carried off four. I have declared war against the gleed, and borrowed a gun; but since the gun has been in the house, he has never made his appearance. Who can have told him of it? Another hen is sitting, and I
hope the next brood will be luckier.
Mr. Jackson has bought a cow, but he has had no calf since you left him. Edith has taken your place in his house, and talks to Mrs. Wilson by the hour about her Hartley. She grows like a young giantess, and has a disposition to bite her arm, which, you know, is a very foolish trick, Herbert is a fine fellow; I call him the Boy of Basan, because he roars like a young bull when he is pleased; indeed, he promises to inherit his father’s vocal powers.

“The weather has been very bad; nothing but easterly winds, which have kept every thing back. We had one day hotter than had been remembered for fourteen years: the glass was at 85° in the shade, in the sun in Mr. Calvert’s garden at 118°. The horses of the mail died at Carlisle. I never remember to have felt such heat in England, except one day fourteen years ago, when I chanced to be in the mail-coach, and it was necessary to bleed the horses, or they would have died then. In the course of three days the glass fell forty degrees, and the wind was so cold and so violent that persons who attempted to cross the Fells beyond Penrith were forced to turn back.

“Your friend Dapper, who is, I believe, your god-dog, is in good health, though he grows every summer graver than the last. This is the natural effect of time, which, as you know, has made me the serious man I am. I hope it will have the same effect upon you and your mother, and that, when she returns, she will have left off that evil habit of
Ætat. 33. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 103
quizzing me and calling me names: it is not decorous in a woman of her years.

“Remember me to Mr. Poole, and tell him I shall be glad when he turns laker. He will find tolerable lodgings at the Hill; a boat for fine weather, good stores of books for a rainy day, and as hearty a shake by the hand on his arrival as he is likely to meet with between Stowey and Keswick. Some books of mine will soon be ready for your father. Will he have them sent anywhere? or will he pick them up himself when he passes through London on his way northward? Tell him that I am advancing well in South America, and shall have finished a volume by the end of the year. The Chronicle of the Cid is to go to press as soon as I receive some books from Lisbon, which must first be examined. This intelligence is for him also.

“I am desired to send you as much love as can be enclosed in a letter: I hope it will not be charged double on that account at the post-office: but there is Mrs. Wilson’s love, Mr. Jackson’s, your Aunt Southey’s, your Aunt Lovell’s, and Edith’s; with a purr from Bona Marietta, an open-mouthed kiss from Herbert, and three wags of the tail from Dapper. I trust they will all arrive safe, and remain.

Dear Nephew Job,
Your dutiful Uncle,
Robert Southey.”