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...
247. Robert Bloomfield to Mary Lloyd Baker, 9 January—12 January 1810*
Jan 9. 1810
|1. —||Certainly never saw them or heard of them, let this teach you candour, and forgiveness, two things which some Criticks know very little about when they talk of immitations.|
|2. —||This is very good—but as the tale is nearly all personified by Characters Catherine has only her share.|
|3. —||See No. 5 in Catherine's|
|7. —||Mrs Woodly is, in many features, my Mother, and her Husband my Brother Isaac.|
|8. —||I understand a fine Horse to mean in a degree a Spirited Horse. Ask Mr Baker.|
|9. —||You have a better heart than belly, but how would a servant be justified in giving without orders Ask your sister Critick.|
|10. —||Here I am beaten down flat, and by a Lady too! it is unanswerable.|
|11. —||Gone to lock the Cupboard from whence she took Davy's Cheese Cake, = N.B. Not a word about this adventure in Sister Critick!!!!!|
|13. —||Very true—but the man here is in character, the woman not so much. See back to No. 7. —|
|15. —||Here you misunderstand me, by strange I did not mean that it was reprehensible or unnatural but the direct contrary, and only strange because it was unusual.|
|17. —||Aye but mine was written years ago and what you allude to the other day—now if you were a true Critick i.e. troubled with a disorder calld the snarles, you would, (had Davy been publishd) have asserted that Robin thieved from David.|
|18. —||This is true criticism because, because, of what? why because it is true.|
|19. —||I must have pride here for the Father, but to the Boy it does not apply so as to signify what I mean.|
|20. —||See here now! 'two of a Trade &c.' Miss S. kicks him out, and you keep in in! poor fellow!—I have no particular veneration for him and therefore hoping that you may make somthing of him, I leave him between you.—|
I believe you know that I never write nonsense, (at least not of this sort) when I am unwell, and therefore let this sheet speak for itself.
I can now walk and work, and laugh and sing. I am indeed much better.—Give my particular respects to Mr Baker and Seniors. And with love and pleasant recollections of your three eldest, and hopes for the stranger, I am
Recieving your last has enabled me to take a later peep at the group at Stouts Hill. Miss Ansted is better than she has lately been, but she has suffered much. The newspaper of Fullham is highly satisfactory. I thank you for your trouble in writing for you certainly must have interruptions, and so have I. My little jabbering Boy is going on at a high rate; The Emperor of France would be proud of such a fightable spirit.—All well besides.—I still feel a gradual return of pristine strength and of spirits myself and hope for the best.