Part Four, covering the period 1810-1815, was a crucial one for Southey’s career and reputation. It has, however, never before been fully documented or fully understood. By 1810 he was established in Keswick...
161. Robert Bloomfield to Mary Ann Bloomfield, 28–29 May 1805*
City Road. Tuesday Afternoon
May 28th 1805
My Dear Mary
What I am going to write I know will only perplex you, and yet I must of course tell you. You wishd to learn Mr Young's opinion as to healing the Child's knee. I find by a note this morning that he strongly advises not, as follows
—'I was aware that at Worthing Charles would be advised to heal the knee and I doubt not many will recommend him to apply the seaweed poultice, but I most strongly recommend you not to think of healing the part at present—He has been but a very little time at Worthing, and as yet no judgement can be form'd of the influence so favourable a change of air is calculated to produce, by either his appearance or the state of the knee.—Let us therefore wait patiently under the present local treatment attending to his general health, and with regard to any future alteration in the plan, we will occasionally communicate. Remember me to Mrs Bloomfield and Hannah and little Charles.'—
Now upon this new trouble what can be said. You see that when two men are in direct opposition that both cannot be obeyd. You will have received my parcel and a letter saying that I wishd you to heat the knee if you thought proper, but if you have not commenc'd it, you have yet a choice of continuing Mr Young's method a fortnight or three weeks longer, if you can prevail on yourself to do it, and then in July to recur to Mr Morah's treatment. But I doubt if the latter knows that you have advise from London he will not relish the job. and if Mr Young finds himself discarded after this fresh application to his judgement he will not be pleas'd. I almost now advise to continue the discharge though my heart ache at the thought of your trouble and the Boy's pain. You, must determine, as you know when you receive this whither you have said to Mr Morah that you mean to heal it. If you have not, you might say that you wish to wait a little while and then to apply to him again when the summer gets up. Or, if you have relax'd in the present treatment and put him under Mr Morah, then Mr Young's notion must be set aside for we cannot afford to pay two Doctors. And as Mr Young was behind in his information so that I could not send it by the parcel, he cannot be surprised that you take a contrary course to his wish.
Of these things you must try to judge as you can, and though you wish to have Young have the utmost try at him, I shall not be sorry to hear that his knee is heald, at least for a while, so that you must do that which you think best at the moment. consult with Hannah, and try to please yourselves. I will not blame you for your determination, but my advise is that you would (if you have not heald it) keep it moderately open for some short time longer until I can talk to Young, and hear from you again.
I know that I contradict myself in what I have written, for my mind is much agitated, but surely there can be no harm in keeping it open a week or fortnight longer till we can hear more. You no doubt was in hopes of having the two Doctors concur in their opinions, but don't you know the old saying that 'Doctors will differ.' I am sure I can be happy which ever way you do. God bless you all, and direct you for the best.
Yours very poorly
P.S. I have this Wednesday evening seen Mr Young and he says he only wishes you to try the continued discharge for about 3 weeks longer. So I leave you to do as you please.
Address: Mrs Bloomfield at Mr Belton's / No. 13 Copping Row / Worthing / Sussex