400. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [c. 19 April 1799] *
Grosvenor I beseech you go to Covent Garden Market & buy a Magpye. you may consult Carlisle upon the propriety of slitting his tongue – however teach him distinctly to pronounce Southey, & keep the Magpye in your sitting parlour by day, & in your bed room by night, & then perhaps your mag<mag>pye may supply the place of your conscience or place the bust you have where it may most frequently meet your eyes. O thou idler than idleness.
In May I shall see you, probably on May-day, or before if I go to London with Tom whose passing day is the first of next month. Grosvenor I have the middle fortnight of May to dispose of, & I want to ramble somewhere if I can get a companion, to walk round Kent, of which county I know little, or Surry of which I know less – or to the Devil in Derbyshire of which I know nothing. you I fear are tied by the leg. is Horace inclined to pedestrianize? or has he an objection to a knapsack tho of the most fashionable cut, & occasionally a bread & cheese dinner at a village alehouse?
Tom has been laid up with an abscess which is getting well rapidly. his stay in town will be very short – merely to pass & join his own ship, or any other to which he may be appointed. I come leave home neither well nor willingly. more willingly I shall certainly return, but whether better or not it is not in my power to decide. in the meantime I expect to hear from you because if you write before we meet you will not be quite so much ashamed to see me.
God bless you.
This is abominably brief – but unless I conclude the letter must lie till tomorrow, & tomorrow is Saturday & therefore it would not go then – & on the Sunday I do not go to the Post-Office. so a piece now is better than waiting for me till Tuesday.
* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ London/
Postmarks: [partial] STOL/ APR 19 99; AP /20 /99
Endorsement: 19 April 1799
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 23. ALS; 3p.