489.To Robert Southey Address: Robert Southey Esqre | St James's Parade I Kingsdown | Bristol Single Sheet MS. Lord Latymer. Pub. with omis. E. L. G. i. 248. Stamped: Bridgewater Nether Stowey, Tuesday, Feb. 15. 1803 My dear Southey I arrived in safety -- and after many days of anxious suspense have at length received a Letter from T. Wedgewood, written in dreadful gloom of spirit, desiring me to go by myself to Gunville -and adding that he thinks, my Health incapacitates me for accompanying him to the Continent -- whither he intends going in May. -For myself, I should wish that he may continue to think so; but as my Health is rather better than what he knew it to be, when he last took me from the North, expressly under the idea of going with him to Italy in the middle of March, I conclude that this last -923- Thought is the mere child of unusually low spirits, & that when I meet him at Gunville, he will recur to his former plan. Poor fellow! my whole Heart aches for him. -- If I went by myself, I should go to Bordeaux -- Bayonne -- over the Pyrenees to Bilboa -- to Pampelona -- & so on, keeping as close under the Pyrenees as possible to Perpignan, & so on into Italy -- from Italy, if the year permitted, into Switzerland -- & pass my next winter at Nice. I go to Gunville on Friday next -- but probably shall not reach it till Saturday. My address, ' Josiah Wedgewood, Esqre, Gunville, near Blandford, Dorset, for Mr Coleridge.' -- I understood you to say, that the Southerliest part of France was equally southerly as, or more so, than, the South of Spain. If I did not grossly misunderstand you, do, my dear fellow! turn to a map of Europe, & stare a bit at the State of your geographical knowlege. I stared & doubted, as you must remember; but gave up at last to you & Tom, being indeed on all occasions the humblest Creature on earth. Spain in all it's Latitudes runs parallel with Italy & Sicily. Surely I must have misunderstood you -- yet [if] so, I cannot imagine what the Dispute could have been. -- I shall stay at Gunville from six [weeks] to two months, as I at present suppose. T. Poole' is nearly well: his account[s] of his Travels & Conversations in France & Switzerland are exceedingly interesting & instructive: he became acquainted with Reding, Zelviger, 1 & the other Swiss Chieftains. He desires to be kindly remembered to you; & to Mrs Southey. We will take care that some Laver shall be procured as soon as possible. You promised Poole the 2nd Volume of the Anthology, which he has not received. -- My health is at it's average. The Saturday before last I had a Διβρρ○+̶ια diarrhoeissima, con furore / What a poor syllable the Greek OKVT is to our Squ[i]t -- and the Greek σλισσλɜB+̶ς -- to our Shlishshlosh!! -- It held upon me nearly 18 hours, & left me, weak indeed, but freed from rheumatic pains & feverishness. Since then I have been pretty middling, as the phrase goes; I do not stir out of the House; & as I have a delicious Wood fire in my bedroom, I am very comfortable here. A little boy, about 9 years old, a sharp Child, waits on me. I dearly love to be waited on by children. A penny, & cheerful Praise, mills them like chocolate.-Besides, it is right & isocratic! ---- I promised to write to Mrs Lovell from this place. But on re- ____________________ 1 Coleridge refers to Aloys, baron de Reding ( 1765-1818), and Jakob Zellweger ( 1770-1821). 2 S.T. C. wrote phlosh bosh immediately below. -924- flection I find that I can write nothing from hence which I did not say to her at Bristol / & that I had better, of course, go first to Gunville -- & see what can be done. Mrs Coleridge suggests to me her apprehensions, that the circumstance of her having been on a stage may be an objection. I fear, that it may. Yet would to Heaven, there were no greater. If only I could say with Truth, that Mrs Lovell is of a cheerful unrepining Disposition & fond of children, I should not fear of success. But indeed, indeed, Southey! it is necessary to impress on Mrs Lovell's mind the conviction, that all must ultimately depend on herself. If she could derive from the thought, that by her own exertions she was about to make herself truly independent, [and exhibit] pleasure & a lightness & joyousness of Heart, there can be little doubt, that situations of some kind or other, & respectable ones, might be found. But if she goes into the affair with a predetermination to be offended -- to meet with Pride, proud condeseensions, &c &c &c -- what can be done? Pride in a person, on whom I was really dependent, receiving without returning, would be indeed intolerable to me; but Pride in those, for whose guinea I still gave a Guinea's worth, I should think little of -- except to laugh at it. Those who feel very differently from me, must have a great deal of Pride of their own; & then the Quere is, whether they are not as likely to fancy it, as to meet with it. Mrs Lovell not understanding French or Drawing or any of the ordinary [Gover]ness-accomplishments, it becomes more needful tha[t I sh]ould speak warmly of her good sense & prudent & irreproachable conduct (& this I can do with pleasure & satisfaction to myself) & of her sweetness of Disposition, & Temper; which how can I do? -- If I do not succeed -- if Mr W. is provided, or Mrs L. will not suit the place -- & I can hear of no other, I assuredly, were I she, would advertise for a situation, either as a Governess, or as a Companion. But again & again she ought to be sensible, that unless she accord in her feelings, all must needs be baffled. Now for Keswick. I still think, that it will answer most admirably, that is to say, if there be only Edith, & you, & the Passionate Pearl. Not that there will not be room for any Visitors, you may have at any time, but inter nos, I know from Mrs Coleridge that it would make her unhappy to live as House-mate with Mary: & loved & honoured, as you will be, by some very good & pleasant people at Keswick, I should be sorry that such impressions should be blended with the Feelings, which your Brother will inspire -- / not when he is by himself, but from his disrespectful & unbrotherly spirit of thwarting & contradicting you. Indeed, I cannot help saying that I have not for a very long time met with a young man -925- who has made so unpleasant an impression on my mind. -- But if you are only your own happy Selves, I do warmly recommend you to go to Keswick / I shall certainly be absent -- even if I live -two years. There will be a good Nursery-room -- & I should think that, if the Infants are healthy, the two Mothers may very well contrive to do with one Nurse maid, & one House-maid. When the children are both awake at the same time, the Mothers can take it by turns to take one child. -- You will have no furniture to buy -- & all your Books, & if you chose, yourselves too might go by water. -- And you might go to Lisbon from Liverpool. You would save at least a 100£ in the two years -- & all the interest of the furniture money -- & Mrs Southey & Mrs Coleridge will, I doubt not, be great Comforts to each other. Of course you being but 8 in family, you would live in common, as Mrs Southey could come to you, in your Study, whenever she wished to be alone with you --. The annual expences of the whole family, Servants & every thing, will be short of 200£ -- so that you will live, House rent & all, for a little more than 100£ a year -- you are paying half at least of your whole Keswick Expences at your present House. N.B. -- I would by no means thwart Bella's wish -- to stay in Bristol: but on the contrary encourage her. She will not be happy at Keswick. -Before I leave England, I shall -- if my phiz. will pass muster -make myself a member of the Equitable [Assuran]ce Society, & by an annual payment of 27£ during my Life ensure [100]0£ to Mrs C. at my Death. I fear, I must rouge a little. God b[less you] & S. T. Coleridge. Kisses to the Pearl -- & remembrances to the Mother of Pearl. -- P.S. If the Equitables won't pass me, I shall ask the Wedgewoods to allow me 120£ instead of 150£ during Mrs Fricker's Life, & after her death 100£, & to allow Mrs Coleridge 50 or 60£ a year after my Death. I do not like this, simply because I could ask it only for Mrs C's widowhood; whereas nothing would give me greater pleasure on my Death bed, than the probability of her marrying a second time, happily. ----