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...
319. Robert Bloomfield to Charles Bloomfield, 3 August 1817*
Sunday. 3 Aug. 1817
My Dear Charles,
I know well what it is to write a letter one day and expect news the next, and then have to write again, and perhaps still in uncertainty. This is somthing like your present situation.
I received yours by Mr Inskip, last night, and am glad to hear that you are well. I think you have done perfectly right in going to Putney; I wanted news from that quarter sadly. You will not receive or read this perhaps till Monday evening when you will have posted one to me!! This is vexatious, but we cannot help it now, or at any other times if circumstances turn out so as to acquire a quick interchange of letters.
On the very day that you saw Inskip, I waited on Mr West at Noon, I there found that he had several written applications for the situation, and that he had waited, (or said he had waited) for our determination!—We then positively agreed to wait for my final answer till next Thursday the 7th, and I was going instantly to write to you on the subject, but he saved me the trouble by sending me, in less than three hours after I had left him, the following note.
Considering after you was gone it would be very inconvenient for me to wait till next week before an answer would be given whither Mr Charles could come or not, and as I have, in waiting hitherto neglected my pupils, (having more than I am able to attend to myself) I must therefore treat with one of the applicants whose assistance I can have immediately. I sincerely beg your pardon for making such imprudent propositions, and hope you will experience no inconvenience therefrom.'
Now the propositions were, as to time of answer, as I have before stated, and the terms were, Board and Lodging, and Twenty pounds a year! But you see by what I now write that all connection with the Compton job is entirely cut off. You have nothing to do with it in your wishes nor in your calculations, and therefore I am glad that you have an inclination to persue what you are now engaged in for some time longer. I am at the same time aware that tomorrow (Monday) will be a hard day with you if Mr Sanderland and Mr Johnson should meet!! Let them only be just and important and in whatever you are most deficient, that you must the more assiduously try to mend. I begin to think that you will get a right ernest school before many years go over your head,—and then if all your boys are as sleepy as I am now, you must either make a confounded noise, or go to sleep yourself in your own defence.
Love to self and sisters
Address: Mr C Bloomfield, / 12 Welington Square, / the Foundling Hospital, / London.