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...
77. Robert Bloomfield to George Bloomfield, 31 January 1802*
London Jan. 31 1802
I have made two Memorandoms as follows, and hope you will oblidge me by being punctual
1st Send one whole or half a real Suffolk cheese one of the poorest you can get, 'a 9 meal cheese' the worse it is the better—(I hope I can write Irish to you and be understood.)—
Thank my Aunt Bird for the Hare, and say that her son call'd here half an hour ago. Lord Buchan is an eccentric character; you will find so by his letter; he has nearly lost the sight of one eye. There is a kind of benevolent wildness in his manner; and an amazing vivacity in his conversation. You will find a copy of my letter to him and his reply. Mr Lofft will forward them to you again, you may keep the copy of Lord B.'s letter if you like, but send me the copy of mine to him. I must not lose it.— Did I say that I had a letter from Mr Smith your neighbour, and one from the Rev Mr. Mills? The latter gentleman thanks me for a copy of the poems which he says I sent him. You can give me a light here, as to how far you used my name, that in case of my replying I may run into no inconsistancy.—I once sent you a Boy, who has turn'd out extreemly well. I send you another somthing younger, and wish you to deal thus with him.  keep him amongst you till the 9th of March; I am allmost afraid to let him pass through Mr L's hands, but send it to him* with the request that he would forward it to my Mother, who, as well as Kitty may read it in a month, and then let me have it again, don't make mention of it except in your letters to me, for I know not yet if I have to dread ridicule or hope for praise.
Mr. Lofft's last says, 'Mr Dingle  has sold a hundred of the Tales, and sent for another hundred in doubt whether he shall get them before the impression is all sold off'—I am not sure that they sell so fast as that, but they sell quite fast enough. I yesterday read your letter to Mrs. Philips, I was there, as you will see by my Mother's letter. The good Old Auditor of the Excise call'd on me, but I was out. I waited on him and made a good day's work, altogether. The Duke will be in town in a week or ten days. You may [words deleted in cutting of letter]
*You will buy my Mother a bottle of Rum or Brandy and send her the change of the Note which you will send in her Letter —I don't mean you to send Davy to Troston now. A week hence will be time enough.
 The part of the letter cut off was printed in the Bury and Norwich Post, 10 February 1802. It consists of a poem by Buchan in tribute to Bloomfield:
THE EARL OF BUCHAN TO R. BLOOMFIELD
AUTHOR OF THE FARMER'S BOY,
On reciting his Rural Tales at his house in the Adelphi.
*Fountain of St. Modan, at Dryburg.
**From Bloomfield's 'French mariner' inserted in last week's paper.
***Alluding to some lines which he wrote to Lord Buchan on his death-bed.
****Beattie is blind, and lives at Edinburgh.
*****'Strepitumque Acherontis avari.'The Bury and Norwich Post had earlier, on 3 February, printed 'The French Mariner' from Rural Tales, pp. 78–82. BACK