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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 27 April 1824

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, April 27. 1824.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Your letter was as welcome as this day’s rain, when the thirsty ground was gaping for it. Indeed, I should have been uneasy at your silence, and apprehended that some untoward cause must have occasioned it, if I had not heard from Edith that you had supplied her exchequer.

“I should, indeed, have enjoyed the sight of Duppa in the condition which you describe, and the subsequent process of transformation.* How well I can call to

* Mr. Bedford’s humorously exaggerated description may amuse the reader:—“A circumstance occurred here a little while ago, which I wish you could have witnessed. Henry had set off to dine at Mrs. Wall’s at the next door. Miss Page and I had finished our meal, when there sounded a hard knock; when the door opened, a

mind his appearance on his return from the theatre, one-and-twenty years ago! Little did I think that day that the next time I was to enter that theatre would be in a red gown to be bedoctored, and called every thing that ends in issimus. And yet of the two days, the former was one of the most cheerful in my life, and the latter, if not the most melancholy, I think the very loneliest.

Murray writes to me that he has put the Book of the Church to press for a second edition. I make no alterations, except to correct two slips of the pen and the press: where the Emperor Charles V.

figure presented itself in the dim after dinner light of the season, whose features were not easily discernible, when ‘Look at me I what shall I do?’ broke out in accents of despair, and betrayed poor Duppa. On one of the dirtiest days of this dirty and yet unexhausted winter, he had left Lincoln’s Inn on foot to meet the gay party at Mrs. Walls’. A villain of a coachman had driven by him through a lake of mud in the Strand, and Duppa was overwhelmed with alluvial soil. A finer fossil specimen of an oddfish was never seen. He looked like one of the statues of Prometheus in process towards animation—one half life, the other clay. I sent immediately for Henry to a consultation in a case of such emergency. The hour then seven, the invitation for half-past six; the guests growing cross and silent; the fish spoiling before the fire; the hostess fidgetty! What could be done! Shirts and cravats it was easy to find; and soap and water few regular families in a decent station of life are without. But where were waistcoats of longitude enough? or coats of the latitude of his shoulders? But, impranso nihil difficile est: we stuffed him into a special selection from our joint wardrobes. Henry rolled round his neck a cravat, in size and stiffness like a Holland sheet starched, and raised a wall of collar about his ears that projected like the blinkers of a coach horse, and kept his vision in an angle of nothing at all with his nose; would he look to the right or the left, ho must have turned upon the perpetual pivot of his own derriere. . . . . Thus rigged we launched him, and fairly he sped, keeping his arms prudently crossed over the hiatus between waistcoat and breeches, and continually avoiding too erect a posture, lest he should increase the interstitial space; he was a fair parallel to what he was upon another awful occasion, when we both saw him revolving himself into a dew after the crowd of the Oxford Theatre.”—G. C. B. to R. S., April 16. 1824.

Ætat. 50. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 175
is called
Queen Catherine’s brother instead of her nephew, and Henry IV. printed for III., and to omit an anecdote about Gardiner’s death, which Wynn tells me has been disproved by Lingard. I do not know what number Murray printed. But if there should appear a probability of its obtaining a regular sale, in that case I shall be disposed to think seriously of composing a similar view of our civil history, and calling it the Book of the State; with the view of showing how the course of political events has influenced the condition of society, and tracing the growth and effect of our institutions; the gradual disappearance of some evils, and the rise of others. Meantime, however, I have enough upon my hands, and still more in my head.

Hudson Gurney said to me he wished the King would lay his commands on me to write the history of his father’s reign. I wish he would; provided he would make my pension a clear 500l. a-year, to support me while I was writing it; and then I think I could treat the subject with some credit to myself.

“God bless you!

R. S.”