26. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [c. 6 October 1792] 

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

26. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [c. 6 October 1792] ⁠* 

My dear friend

Before I send off my packet of letters to Rye & to York let me acknowledge your kind letter & return my thanks for this & every other favor. I hope I shall soon do it in person as I spend my Xmas with Mr Lamb & must pass thro London in my way. if I find you there as I trust it shall it will be an inducement to detain me a few days in a city which I never can think of with pleasure.

make my best apologies to Collins & assure him if this post would give me time I would make them myself — Sunday I will. perhaps the cool considerate Collins may not allow for a little forgetfulness when the mind was overcharged with indignities which it had not deserved. you can & I trust will.

you will perhaps wonder in what manner I can during this long time employ myself my dear Bedford in a most arduous & important task. Euclid [1]  I lay aside with despair & have began to look seriously into myself. & now when I say all my faults are in my waistcoat pocket you will discover the same levity that always haunted me. indeed there they are a long catalogue but I mean them to read them every day & a sermon every Sunday till I may safely offer them to their author on the altar of Cloaci{na} [2] 

I thought of sending you the list but tho’ I can expose it to myself why should I to any body else. I cannot acquit myself of any one fault therein specified yet I did not esteem myself so bad till I saw the accumulate.

Hooke I believe is at St Mary Hall. where DOyly & Wentworth [3]  are I know not I wish no acquaintance with either of them. DO. is a learned fool. Hooke I very much dislike. I despise his enmity but I fear his friendship. he has privately caracatured me & if he does it publickly I care not. to his merit I will always bear testimony — but notwithstanding our mutual injuries, cold civility will be all he ever must expect to meet with from me. times presses me very much I am still indebted a long letter to you & if I forget not you have promised me one. what a novel might be made of the characters I know. the charitable Dr V. the liberal & learned Huncamunca. [4]  the witty Smedley [5]  — the Christian clergyman in DoddMountague Kelly — young Wynn — the temperate Bunbury little Joe the philosopher. common sense in myself — grammatical nicety & a pig tail in you know who. the good Nares. all these you are acquainted with. & I know as many more. expect to hear from me early next week & believe me

your sincerely

Robert Southey.


Notes

* Address: Grosvenor Charles Bedford Esqr/ Old Palace Yard/ Westminster
Stamped: BRISTOL
Postmark: OOC/ 6/ 92
Watermark: [obscured by MS binding]
Seal: Red wax [design illegible]
Endorsement: Recd. Octor. 6th. 1792
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 22
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Euclid of Alexandria (dates uncertain, between 325 and 250 BC), mathematician. His work includes the Elements. BACK

[2] The goddess who presided over the sewers of Rome. BACK

[3] Charles Wentworth (1775–1844), only son of Sir John Wentworth, Bart.; educated at Westminster School (adm. 1785) and Oxford and Cambridge universities. Southey knew — but was not particularly fond of — him during his schooldays. BACK

[4] A character in Henry Fielding (1707–1754; DNB), Tom Thumb, a Tragedy (1730). Possibly a nickname for a Westminster School Usher. BACK

[5] Edward Smedley (1750–1825), an Usher at Westminster School, 1774–1820. BACK

Published @ RC

March 2009