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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 4: 1810-1815

2018. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 17 January 1812 ⁠* 

Keswick. Jany 17. 1812.

Dear Grosvenor

My household is affected with a complaint which I take at this time to be epidemic, – the fear of ugly fellows. In Mrs Coleridge perhaps this dislike may have originated in her intercourse with {dislike to} you, but the newspapers have certainly increased it, – every day brings bloody news from Carlisle, Cockermouth &c – last night half the people in Keswick sat up, alarmed by two strangers who according to all accounts were certainly ‘no beauties’ – & I was obliged to take down a rusty gun & manfully load it for the satisfaction of the family. The gun has been properly cleaned to day, & the Lord have mercy upon him who may be destined to receive its contents. – But in sober truth the ugly fellows abound here as well as in London, – we are indebted for them partly to the manufactories at Carlisle, & partly to that distinguished patriot Christian Curwen, [1]  who encourages the importation of Irishmen. I am looking for a dog, & I want you to provide me with more convenient arms than this xx old Spanish fowling piece. Buy for me therefore a brace of pistols, – the plainer & cheaper the better, so they wil are good, – that is, – so they will stand fire without danger of bursting. Sights & hair-triggers may be dispensed with, as they are neither for show, nor for duelling, of course this order includes a bullet mould. – And I have leave from my Governess – nay more than that, she has desired me – to send for a Watchman’s rattle. think of that G. C. B!!! – think of that, – designed by her to give the alarm when the ugly fellows come, – but oh Grosvenor the glorious tunes, tunes, the solo’s & bravuras that I shall play upon that noble musical instrument before any such fellow makes his appearance.

These said pistols should be in a box with a lock, that they may remain safely locked up by day, & be placed xxxxxx xxx within reach at night.

God bless you

RS.


Notes

* Address: To/ G. C. Grosvenor Bedford Esqr./ [in another hand] Exchequer/ JC Herries
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 24
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), III, pp. 326–327 [in part]. BACK

[1] The wealthy colliery owner and MP for Carlisle, 1786–1790, 1791–1812, 1816–1820, John Christian Curwen (1756–1828; DNB). BACK

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August 2013