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...
304. Robert Bloomfield to Hannah Bloomfield, 22 November 1816*
Shefford. Friday Nov 22. 1816
St Cecilia's Day.
My Dear Life—
Cheer up! I am going to tell you all about it, and first of myself. You will rejoice to hear that my Rhumatism is much abated, and that, by acquiring by force a relish for reading, my November days have past much better than I or you expected. I was yesterday to have dined with the tennantry at Chicksands, but I am tied to the fireside by an inflamation in my left ancle arising from a late accidental blow on the shin by falling off my chair! You may stare, but I was resting said left foot on the fender, when by an instantaneous slip I was thrown completely off my balance, and struck my leg violently on the Brass top. We have brought down the inflamation by vinegar and sound sopping, and all goes well.
Mr Weston must have smiled at my promise of sending you this on the day that I spoke of: that day was past, and I am persuaded that the very day on which I was just double your age was no other than Charles's birth day, when you was at Winsor! You can recon it better than I.
We did not forget your birthday, and I expect you will drink to my next half century, next Tuesday week.—
I am sadly afraid that my friends have been too sanguine in their hopes of the subscription. In Suffolk I hear of no more than £120 and in Kent about £20. From London not a word of intelligence, Gloucestershire Do, though by a letter from Miss Sharp as far back as Sep 10th, I know that they are apprised of what is on foot! In Miss Sharps letter she informs me as follows. 'I must beg you without delay to give you the name and age of your second son and to state to me distinctly and circumstancialy what your views for him are—. I mean to apply to the Trustees of Lord Crew's Charities at Bamborough* in Northumberland, on whom our families have peculiar claims—and it is not unlikely, (though far from certain) but I may be able to procure ten pounds per ann for him for 5 years either for education, or as an apprentice fee, but then I must set forth his situation with some degree of precision &c' The same letter says 'If you think your eldest son from his infirmity of lameness stands more in need of assistance, I beg you will say so, and give me the particulars of his case. It is immaterial to me which son it is I apply for so long as I serve you, Indeed if for any reason you should deem one of your daughters more immediately an object of interest, you may say so &c' I gave the necessisary information immediately to this excellent Lady, but have not heard a word since. In another letter Miss Sharp informs me that by the death her Cousin Jamima Sharp of Durham, an immense accession of Fortune has fallen to Mr Loyd Baker!!! (Lucky Dog) have not I told you how it would be a thousand times? I will carefully keep Miss Sharps letters for you, for in the same epistle it is plainly stated that she has suffered a dreadful disappointment as to the understood distribution of the property, and her calm and dignified manner of telling me so places her amongst the highest class of Christian philosophers.
The Bloomfield's of Bury, and the Philips's of Barton are among the Suffolk subscribers.
I did mean here to tell you a long story about the tattle of Chicksands, but if I attempt it now the post will be gone, and leave you in suspence till Tuesday. I only assure you that it now gives me not the least disturbance. You will hear it all in due time—Last night the Honest Citizen John Peppercorn drank tea and spent a great many animated words with me; it was very kind, and I like it.—We are all well, and send a whole bag of Love to you, and to Mr & Miss Weston, and I am half in the dark, but in the daylight of affection
*I have heard of a Lord Crew's splendid donation, but do not quite understand their extent. Bamborough Castle with great estates and perhaps still belongs to the Sharp family 
 In 1720, Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham, left Bamborough Castle, and extensive nearby properties, for charitable purposes, including, by 1810, a National School in the village of Bamborough, and an officer to fire a cannon from the dangerous rocks every fifteen minutes in foggy weather, besides providing for the education of thirty girls within the castle walls. John Sharp, Catherine's uncle, had been one of the trustees of the charity until 1792. BACK