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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 1: 1791-1797, Edited By Lynda Pratt

139. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 17 November 1795 ⁠* 

Bedford — the week is over. I am at Bath — & have left for six long months — my wife. —

On Saturday morning the ceremony was performed with the utmost privacy — the day was very melancholy. my Edith returned home at night, & I slept as usual at Cottles. the next {day} we parted.

Why am I going abroad — I ask myself the same question — & can to return no answer — but that it is to please my Mother. when I have found out the reason myself, you shall know. why did I marry — do you ask? it is Grosvenor a satisfaction to myself — if the tongue of malice should whisper that I have forsaken her (& calumny has been busy with me) there is now an answer that will make it dumb. & what is more of consequence — if I should not return alive — she has a claim upon the protection of those I am now satisfying — for the “bitter little that would then be left of life.” [1] 

mutually did we press each others hand & parted in silence. the moment I had left her I burst into tears. she still keeps her own name — for it may not be convenient for us to live together immediately upon my return.

God bless you. tell Wynn this — & remember me to him — we go hence on Thursday. — & I hope that in spite of winds waves wolves & banditti we shall meet in May.

yours most affectionately

Robert Southey.

Tuesday. Nov 17th.

1795 [2] 


Notes

* Address: G C Bedford Esqr/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Postmark: ANO/ 18/ 95
Watermark: Crown and anchor with G R underneath
Seal: Red wax [design illegible]
Endorsement: 17. Novr 1795/ Marriage 14. Novr
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 22
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 102–103. BACK

[1] A paraphrase of Robert Burns (1759–1796; DNB), Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, 2 vols (Belfast, 1793), II, p. 63, ‘On seeing a wounded hare limp by me, which a fellow had just shot at’, line 6. BACK

[2] 1795: Possibly inserted in another hand. BACK

Published @ RC

March 2009