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...
242. Robert Bloomfield to Hannah Bloomfield, 14 September 1809*
Thursday Noon, Sept 14. 1809
My Dear Girl
Your bundle of letters and the egg came safe of Tuesday night and was most particularly wellcome, I enjoyd the evening exceedingly and thank'd you. Remember that the road leading down from the Heath field towards Sapiston was my favorite boyish walk and makes a conspicuous figure in the Farmer's Boy. You had a grove with long green walks or ridings on your left, and there was a grove on your right, I suppose now down.—It was there I heard the morning song of the birds and have often seen the Rabbit, the Pheasant, and all the tennants of the woods in there glory, and I was in mine. You mentioned in your first that you walkd with Mr Glover the Heath and returnd down to Sapiston, having the park— passing on your right. I think you must then have past over the upper part of Mr Farrers Back—, as it reaches from nearly the back of his house to that lane which has on the right hand as you return'd, what is calld park-grove.—I really doubt whether your Swans have not deciev'd you. I never saw Swans in that Brook in my life, and cannot imagine to whom they could belong. I think they were Geese and you will say that I suppose you a Goose for not knowing the difference, but I would rather hear that you make all the Suffolk Geese Swans than that you find them all dab-chicks. We learn from Mr Lofft's note that Mrs L, and Nancy are returnd, and I therefore hope that you will go there perhaps before you write again. I think you would like to see old Thetford, and hope you will make a point of going up the 'Danish mounds of partial green'.  I wish particularly that you would let us have a letter every Friday in future, and I shall look out for it accordingly. Your Uncle George in a note with the parcel said that 'the woman of the house where she resides is a Rum one, loves the Bottle, and is afflicted with the meagrims.' So you must be on your guard and not mind every trifle that occurs. I suppose young George will be home to London by the time you get this. Dont you really believe that Fakenham Wood is larger than ours at Hornsey? I wish Jonas may please himself with a tune to my Song, and that you may be able to sing it at Troston. When does Bury Fair begin? try to inform us in your next. Our Chickens grow surprizingly and I have made a revolution as to their appartments which has render'd them dry and handier to feed, I have taken away the whole of the large Coop and both the small ones, and built them one over the other on each side of the wash-house door, and cover'd with laths the duck-yard from end to end for the Hens, so they have more room as well as being shelterd. The whole appears now something in this way. [Drawing of hen house on the page with text of the letter incorporated around it]
Do if possible learn what is expected for the Dish and pay for it. The picture I should like home if they seem willing to part with it. Your Aunt Charlotte and Nurse, and Cousin Betsy had tea with us on Tuesday, they are all well. Old Robbin Nair was calld 'old Robbin' at least thirty years ago. He was once a Soldier and served in the West Indies. If John Nash is living he is a very civil old man, and was one of the harvest-men when I was a boy, you would like to talk with him, and he would like it. Dont you now see the great pleasure and advantage of being able to draw, (I don't mean you to look at my specimen) for if you could as expiditiously as Mrs Baker pop all the Barns and Stables in your pocket what a prize it would be to last during the winter evenings! I wish you to give us a hint as to what young Isaac is about, and where he is.—
And now for more home news. Mary of course cannot write untill I send a parcell which I will do next time in reply to yours which I expect on tomorrow week. Robert talks without ceasing. I have got a load of good manure into the Garden, perhaps Mr G will wonder at the price which is Twelve Shillings. Mary Binley when she heard that we had a parcell, and that you had not written to her replied 'you mind and tell your Father to blow her up'. I am sorry to say that he is not at all cured, he roil'd me last night, that I was very hard set to keep quiet with him, Another dream! and a kind of percevering hopes that I know not what to do with. I know your present determination, and whenever you return I will stick by you like a Leech, but I think it probable that before that time I shall have a talk with him which will be very unsavory to us both. For myself I have had some horrid nights, and am this morning very indifferent indeed. Your Mother is midling, and Mary is chearful and willing. Tomorrow is Charles's birthday and they all think of you by turns. If you would like a bit of domestic information, a picture of matrimony, I have to inform you that our Neighbour behind the wainscot has discovered that his wife has been noodling him, and running him in debt, and the consequence is, that she is out of his house, and he has advertized that he will pay no debts that she may contract. I have room left to wish you every blessing that belongs to affection and truth, and Am
Once more your Affectionate Father