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...
343. Robert Bloomfield to Hannah Bloomfield, 13 September 1819*
Daggets Court. Sept 13. 1819
My Dear Hannah
I write now at half past ten in the morning because I would not wish to mingle with, or be trampled on by Hunts mob  in the afternoon, They are coming in procession from Highgate. Your parcel was not deliverd until yesterday (Sunday) at eleven. The peaches were partly smashd, for they require nice packing. James came in while we were opening it. He first eat his peaches and then open'd the letter to see if they were his. Isaac and child were here and tasted of your good things. I took part of them to Curtain Road, where I had engaged to dine, and there, to the astonishment of every one found that my Brother had resolved to dress and come down stairs! He did so, and breakfasted below, and sat there till I came, when he eat for dinner, baked pudding and Lamb, and was full of talk but quite as full of groans. He was askd what he would take by way of drink, and he answered 'O I will have some beer', he accordingly took perhaps half a pint of good porter, (Barclay & Perkins) and Aunt Charlotte happening to say 'perhaps your Brother would like to go into the little room and smoke his pipe?' 'Aye, says he and Ill have a pipe too, for the novelty'. He had not smoked before for a year and a half. I have began to think that this was all unnatural appetite, and that he would never eat again; but he went to sleep soundly and 6 hours after had tea and coffee, and a Rusk, and 'said he was better' but he found out that he could not workd if it had not been Sunday, though he actually went out to be shaved and would not suffer any one to lead him! Did I not always tell you that he is the strangest man I ever met with in my life?—
(One Oclock) I have just seen him and both the Doctors, who say that he is certainly getting better, but must take care of himself. &c—
Up to this time I have heard nothing from Baldwin but expect it every hour! On Thursday morning Miss Weston and Mrs Smith calld and had a gossip of which it would be folly to attempt any account. I myself shall try to see them, (the windsorites) short as the time is. I will see Charlotte or write to her before I think of sending any parcel.—
A very good house of 8 Rooms in the City Road lets at about £55 per year! Betsey thanks you for the nuts, and at the rate she goes on they will not get mouldy. Tomorrow I shall drink tea with Mrs G Page. Old Binley wants to come back again! I have not seen Bet Isaac, but she is well. You must put up with these bits and scraps till I write again either from this place or from Windsor on Saturday next, when surely I shall have more to say of myself and my fortune. Lucy Wood of Honington answerd James little sister when she askd the question, that 'the Duce, Meant half a Devil'. I say the Duce take this long suspense.
Love and health. I must be off to the post office. Yours ever
P.S. don't let charles be offended at my not writing to him. I have his interests as much at heart as my own.
 On 16 August 1819 Henry Hunt had been arrested and many of the supporters of reform whom he was addressing at a mass meeting in Manchester killed. The Peterloo massacre, as it was called, caused popular protest across the country. On 13 September Hunt returned to London, his trial pending, to be met by huge cheering crowds, a procession and welcoming committee. Despite this support, he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. BACK