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

2068. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, [29 March] 1812 ⁠* 

Easter Sunday. 1812.

My dear Harry

You must tell Constable [1]  that of course it never could be intended you were to pay for your own copy of your brothers book, – & that the book must be accounted for with the Publisher as a presentation copy on the Authors account. – You will then hear no more of it. The man must be a blockhead not to have understood this.

I am glad to hear of your success in the Holy War. [2]  If your honour will but give an hour a day to it before breakfast, you will be surprized at the progress which {in} this little portion of time may be made. And a book upon that subject, if it be what it ought, will do you no harm in your profession. – not to mention that before it is finished you will have got forward in your medical degree, for it must be a work of several years.

You will hardly see me in the East this summer. My work seems to be like the widows cruise of oil, [3]  or the tapers at Joam the fourths [4]  funeral which the longer they burnt the longer they grew. What a convenient thing Sir Domine if I you & I could obtain candles of the same quality!

George Douglas [5]  called here for half an hour on Monday last when unluckily Dinah [6]  was scrubbing my study – so that he could not see it. He talked of seeing you in about ten days, – that is about the middle of this week. I was very sorry that he gave me no opportunity of inviting him, – for he only called when he was on the point of setting off for Low-wood. – His manners are more high-born than those of any Scotchman I ever saw.

Do you know that the Imperial is married.

God bless you

RS.


Notes

* Address: Dr Southey/ Durham
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
MS: Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, 1996.5.85
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The publisher Archibald Constable (1774–1827; DNB). The book referred to here is probably Southey’s The Origin, Nature and Object, of the New System of Education (1812). BACK

[2] Henry Herbert Southey was conducting research on the crusades. He did not publish a book on the subject. BACK

[3] I Kings, 17: 8–16. The widow’s cruse provided an inexhaustible supply of oil for the prophet Elijah. BACK

[4] John IV (1603–1656; King of Portugal 1640–1656). BACK

[5] Possibly Sir George Douglas, 2nd Baronet (1754–1821), of Springwood Park, Kelso, MP for Roxburghshire 1784–1790; or George Sholto Douglas (1789–1858), a diplomat, who succeeded as 17th Earl of Morton in 1827. BACK

[6] One of the servants at Greta Hall. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013