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394. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 2 April 1799 ⁠* 

My dear Tom

My Mother  has been {is} at Bath with her sister & we for this last week have been daily expecting her. of course your letter has been delayed & neglected like every thing else. as soon as she gave me her direction I wrote to her what you said – if she & now write & in case she has not, to desire you to draw on me at Cottles, for ten pounds at sight, or one day after sight. this is safer than sending the money.

You had better not go to town sooner than there is any occasion on account of the expence. our expences here are such as to swallow up every thing I can get, & exceed by 50 or 60 pounds those of any former year. in addition to this comes the Income Bill [1]  which after every deduction is made will rob me of ten pounds. I could not support another year without involving myself in debt. my Mother is three fourths of her time in the Green. if we could have foreseen this Peggy might have been boarded somewhere & there would now have been money to spare, but it is ridiculous to keep up a house merely to hold my mothers cloaths. While her sister lives my Mother will never be comfortable either with her or from her.

My Uncles Agent [2]  as you call him has no money in his hands. what my Uncle can spare goes regularly to his sister – & more than he can spare with convenience. I should think in such a case as that of going up to pass, if you want more money there would be no impropriety in your applying at Taunton. [3] 

In London I shall see you as I expect to breakfast there on May day. perhaps change of air & fresh diet may help to reestablish you – or if your swelling returns you can have better advice than is to be found on board ship. if Combe [4]  has any thing to send to his brother you can take it for him as I shall see his brother.

I am better – but not well –

God bless you

Yrs affectionately

R Southey.

April 2. 99.

Edward is here while they are at Bath. I never saw a boy more thoroughly false & disagreable.

write & say how you are.


Notes

* Address: To/ Mr Thomas Southey/ Royal George/ Portsmouth/ Single
Postmark: BRISTOL/ APR 2 99
MS: The Lilly Library, Indiana University
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The budget of December 1798 had introduced income tax for the first time. BACK

[3] Taunton, Somerset, home of the Southey brothers’ uncle, John Southey (d. 1806). BACK

[4] Possibly the writer William Combe (1742–1823; DNB) who was arrested and imprisoned for debt in May 1799. BACK

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August 2011