219. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, 26– May  *
|Friday 26th May.|
Thus far my dear Cottle are we advanced on our peregrination. we are <intend> to remain here a week — this we had resolved upon — & indeed must have done whether we had resolved so or no. for Edith has been very unwell; most probably in consequence of fatigue. We arrived here Wednesday evening, & she has not yet been out of this house. but thank God she is greatly recovered.
You know not how heartily I hate moving: & yet we are far from being settled. when our week is up here we purpose going in the stage to Lymington & staying a week there. from thence I can explore Christ Church — as the distance is but 12 miles. there I hope to fix. if you write to me on Monday direct to the Post Office here. between that & the Monday following — to the Post Office Lymington Hampshire. by that time I hope to give you a permanent address.
It is near nine & I am writing without a candle. this light is not pleasant to me — & I do not love a summer evening on that account — darkness begins when the animal spirits require to be recruited by sleep & those spirits die away with the day light. there is another reason why I do not like this time of day at this time of year. there is no fire. I am ashamed to have one — & yet it constitutes a very large portion of my comfort.
This is a foul place. full of aristocrats sailours & all the wretches connected with them. the water not so fine at as at the passages & as ugly at low tide. the inhabitants are imposing — xxx because they have the rich & foolish to deal with. I shall be glad to get away. Edith is much better; & as I have not her illness to engross & oppress my mind I shall set to my employments.
Charles Lloyd is going to be married; a Mr Reed,  brother to an intimate friend of his told me this, to a Miss Sophia Pemberton. I am astonished to hear it. with such fits as he is subject to I think he is very wrong in marrying.
We are utter strangers here — knowing nobody — seeing nobody — & hearing nothing. this nasty bay does not even furnish a polypus with which I can form an acquaintance. [MS torn]
You will see The Martyrdom of Joan of Arc announced in the next Monthly Magazine.  I have written some — twenty lines. but I have every scene sketched out in my mind, & expect to proceed rapidly. it is now Sunday — so long has my ignorance of the Post hours delayed this. Wednesday we go, & probably straight to Christ Church. so you had better direct there. remember us to Danvers — & tell him where he may write. when we are settled he shall hear from us.
God bless you.
Ediths love. she is almost recovered
* Address: For/ Mr Cottle/ High Street/ Bristol./ Single
Endorsements: R. Southey May 1797; (78) 29
MS: Columbia University Library. ALS; 4p. (c).
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 131–132. BACK