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

2279. Robert Southey to Henry Erskine, 14 July 1813 ⁠* 

Keswick. July 14. 1813.

Dear Sir

Will you allow me to intrude upon you with a question, for the benefit of one of my neighbours? – You may perhaps remember the house which Mr Stanger [1]  was building near the Vicarage; he is now about to give it its outside coat, & I promised him to learn from you the composition of a weather-proof rough-cast, which xx you once spoke of. It is of great importance to him that his house should rer keep out the rain, & all who love this beautiful vale are interested in having it of a proper colour.

Having thus been induced to recall myself to your recollection, let me ask if you have thoroughly recovered the accident which detained you so long in this close little town, & the long confinement that followed it?

Mrs Southey & her mother join with me in remembrances to Mrs Erskine. [2]  Our children have not forgotten you; – the lemon trees which you gave them have been carefully nursed thro the winter, & are now putting forth their flower-buds. – I am richer than when you saw me, by another little girl who is now old enough to be a fathers play thing, & young enough for me to praise her to her face for her beauty twenty times a day.

Is it not remarkable that the Prince of Brazil should have made Ld Wellington Duke of Victoria? [3]  God be praised for the happy prospect which that victory has given us! [4]  – I trust soon to see my hearts desire upon the enemy in Spain. Barcelona has always been supplied with great difficulty, it cannot therefore be well stored, & if Monjuic [5]  falls by blockade, Bonaparte obstinate as he is, may xxxx despair of recovering his hold upon the peninsula, – even if his utter overthrow should not be near at hand.

Believe me my dear Sir

faithfully & with great respect

yrs &c

Robert Southey.


Notes

* Address: To/ The Honourable Henry Erskine/ &c &c &c/ Amandale/ near/ Edinburgh
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: JUL/ B 17 M/ 1813
Endorsement: Mr Southey/ The Poet/ July 1813
MS: National Library of Scotland, Acc. 8585
Unpublished. BACK

[1] James Stanger (1743–1829). A member of a long-established Cumberland family, he had made a fortune as a merchant in London and had bought an estate at Crosthwaite in 1810, where he built a new house, called Dove Cote. BACK

[2] Erskine’s second wife, Erskine (d. 1845). They had married in 1805. BACK

[3] John VI (1767–1826), Prince Regent of Portugal 1799–1816, King of Portugal 1816–1826, had, with remarkable prescience, bestowed the Portuguese title of Duke of Vitoria on Wellington on 18 December 1812. BACK

[4] The British, Portuguese and Spanish victory at Vitoria, 21 June 1813, led to their eventual victory in the Peninsular War. BACK

[5] The Castle of Montjuic, an eighteenth-century fortress on a hill of the same name, overlooking Barcelona. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013