1926. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 21 May 1811 *
Keswick. May 21. 1811.
My dear Rickman
I send you this partly for the sake of franking up a letter for Mrs Wilson, & also to tell you of – or in parliamentary phrase to report progress. Another fortnight will compleat my task. I finish the battle of Talavera to night,  – this chapter will go on to the retreat of the English to the Portugueze frontier  – there then remain three chapters, for, 1. the siege of Gerona,  2. subsequent events in <the middle> Spain to the battle of Ocaña.  – 3. Change of ministry at home, & Buonapartes divorce.  I expect therefore to start the first week in June. – Now the only thing which has at all vexed me in this great prolongation of the years work (the additional work without additional pay, I do not suffer myself to think of as an evil) – is, that I am afraid my movements will not assort well with your convenience, – that is that Parl. will be breaking up, & you Mrs R. looking towards Sussex. If it will suit you to receive us before we go to Streatham, of course you know it will xxx no is the same thing to us, – & in that case we will come to you at once for a few days. – If I were sure that you did not think of going to grass before the middle of June, I should be quite relieved from a certain feeling akin to the fidgets, – & go on in better humour to the end.
Do you know Dr Bell – the B. with whose fam proper fame Lancaster is running away? – He has written to me about some plan which he does not explain, & I cannot very well guess at, – only that he wants me to write something about national education. He is unluckily a most wicked letter writer, having the vices of writing very like Davy & quite as unintelligibly, & of sprawling in that vile hand a few sentences of very thick flummery over a sheet of paper.
Huzza for the recovery of Figueiras!  – Except that of Barcelona the <as> most important <a> success <as any> which could have been obtained in Spain, Pamplona is of equal value, but not I believe of greater.
Remember me to Mrs R.
Yrs very truly
 Spencer Perceval had become Prime Minister on 4 October 1809; Napoleon Bonaparte’s divorce from Josephine Beauharnais (1763–1814) was finalised on 10 January 1810. Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1809, 2.1 (1811), 787–797. BACK