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...
325. Robert Bloomfield to Hannah Bloomfield, 9–16 April 1818*
You remember our old Brewers, 'How and Meadows.' I doubt the latter has placed the widow foul with respect to the share she held in the concern, there seen no doubt of it. He has been very ill, and is still under the watch of a keeper, he being quite deranged. Mrs How buried her eldest son while we lived in town, and the next, a lame lad took his place; he too died a month ago, and the mother never was well after, and died on Sunday last, leaving a consumptive boy, and a girl of Nineteen!
Poor Old Fisher died last Thursday in a madhouse at Hoxton. She eat most veraciously at Uncles, and was very well, on the Easter Monday; and from that time (11 days) she eat not a morsel more. This is not bad news, for she was utterly unfit to live.
When Mrs Austin was in town it was to see her son Gardner, who about three years before had run away from Suffolk and had not been heard of. It appears he had begd himself in at a grocer's shop (two respectable old people) in East Smithfield; from them he again ran away to Briston for a few weeks, but was again taken in by them on his return, and was with them till his mother came to see him die in the foul ward of the London infirmary. He is however recoverd and returnd to his place, strictly watchd.
Went with Martin and calld upon Charlotte, rain all day. Charlotte engaged to come on Sunday and Martin to fetch her. She had received an invitation from Miss Ansted to spend a few days with her previous to her leaving Twickenham. In our way called at the Booksellers. Mr Baldwin wants particularly to see me some morning next week &c got wet and weary and was sick of my job.
Sunday the 12th (I believe) of April
Martin brought Charlotte at noon,—Dined altogether at Uncle Nat's, a Regiment went out for a walk—I stayd at home to keep house, Martin squired Charlotte home again at night sadly tired, for they all had tea at Highbury House &c.
Far from well; having had very bad rest.—Received news from home.
Talkd with Baldwin, who will send my account in two or three days. He has printed 5500 copies in new Editions and I therefore doubt whether I shall have a farthing to recieve. The Iron Bridge of only three arches is in great forwardness from Queen Stt to the Borough, and another is projected to cross the Thames at Rotherhithe, but what are Bridges to me compared to the good dinner I have just eaten?—Wrote to Mr Weston, and half this rigmarole besides.—
Drank tea with Isaac, and saw him make Ribbon-rollers. Anxious for news, but none arrived.—
A letter from Weston, hope to see him at Twickenham on Sunday with Charlotte—mean to see Charlotte tomorrow to arrange the time—When once Sunday is past my prime object will be not to be another absent from home—to be continued—
I will write again to Charles on Saturday, and [word cut off] him again next week, for I long to see how he gets on. The ladies wear Bonnets something in this shape [includes sketch]. They measure full 14 inches from side to side. Charlotte wears one of twelve; which is moderate; they meet under the chin. Thank you for your letter. Weston has had a fire very near them at Windsor, but has escape'd. Love and good wishes. Yours ever
Robt BloomfieldApril 16, 1818