355. Robert Southey and Edith Southey to Thomas Southey, [30 October 1798] *
[start of section in Edith Southey’s hand]
Who had served in the Slave Trade. 
[End of section in Edith Southey’s hand]
This my dear Tom which Edith has copied for you is a true story. it is about six weeks since a friend  of Cottles found a sailor thus praying in a cowhouse & held a conversation with him of which the exact substance is in the ballad.
Now Tom about yourself. This day fortnight I go to London to keep a term. my stay cannot exceed a fortnight, then I will enquire your time for you at the Admirality, so when you write next let me know exactly what I am to ask. Now it will be just as well for you to visit us here as if we were in London, & if you can get leave I should think you might spend your Christmas better at Martin hall than in dock. As your time is so limited at home always, I do not wish you there till I am returned from London. but the earlier you can meet me after my return the better – only you should contrive to be here at Xmas. It will not do to keep this house longer than the twelvemonths, but it is so comfortable a place that I should be sorry if you did not see it. you will like to remember it, even in the nakedness of winter.
I have had a delightful weeks walk with Danvers, but the best adventure ‘as how we are taken up for spies’, shall be reserved till we meet. it has been a fine fund of merriment for us & you shall not share it at a distance.
It is not I think worth while to send you my second edition of poems, till it can be accompanied with the second volume. of which one sheet is already printed.  its contents are to be the Vision of the Maid. War Poems, Ballads – two or three miscellaneous pieces, & my English Eclogues, which I last night finished very much to my own satisfaction. I take my motto to t[MS torn] volume from Spenser –
The better please, the worse displease; I ask no more. 
unless you prefer what John Bunyan says of his Pilgrims Progress,
You should have been here during the season of currants & raspberries – or to have assisted in squailing down the walnuts. however there is still a besom or two in the walnut tree which you may exert your ingenuity to dislodge.
Edith is but poorly. my Mother continues well, & grows fat. – you blundered in your direction to Lloyd he is at Caius College Cambridge, not Oxford. he tells me I can get to him from London for four shillings & if so I think I shall visit him for a couple of days shortly.
You need not be anxious about your time. peace is more distant than ever, & the war seems likely to outlast you & I. it will hold as long as the Public Purse holds. heavy taxes are coming  – a tenth of all income & for this we have “Rule Britannia” & an illumination.
God bless you.
You do not say if you have received the Old Woman of Berkely. 
* Address: To/ Mr Thomas Southey./ H.M.S. Royal George/ Spithead/
Stamped: [partial] TOL
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. (A)LS; 4p.
Dating note: In this letter Southey states he intends to travel to London in two weeks time. The journey occurred on 13 November 1798, dating this letter to 30 October. BACK