2423. Robert Southey to Mary Matilda Betham, 15 May 1814 *
Keswick, May 15, 1814.
First to the first part of your letter. Very glad should I be if I could point out to you any profitable employment in literature; but they who know most of such things best know how exceeding difficult this is. Nothing is so likely to succeed as a dramatic attempt, and I should think it very possible you might adapt some of our old plays to the stage. Of these the emolument would be considerable. Next to this, the most promising attempt would be to versify some popular tale; better still, to manufacture one with a melodrama or grand spectacle for the stage. These are things which may be talked over at leisure when you come to us; we shall all rejoice to see you, and it is very likely that among my books you may find something which will suit your purpose. So bear in mind that you are expected here, and the sooner you come the better. ... All my cattle send their love. I have a fine square daughter to show you, called Isabel, after her godfather, Dr Bell, and who, live as long as she will, ‘will be a Belle still.’ When shall we see you?
Yours very truly,
* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from M. Betham-Edwards, ‘Letters of
Coleridge, Southey and Lamb to Matilda Betham’, Fraser’s
Magazine, 18 (July 1878)
Previously published: M. Betham-Edwards, ‘Letters of Coleridge, Southey and Lamb to Matilda Betham’, Fraser’s Magazine, 18 (July 1878), 82; Ernest Betham, A House of Letters (Norwich, 1905), pp. 146–147. BACK