536. Robert Southey to Mary Barker, 8 July 
I write a few lines by you. so few that only
the opportunity of a private hand could excuse them.
You will find at Congreve a copy of Joan of
Arc  which
will arrive as soon as you can do. It will be an earlier
remembrancer than the Packet could bring you. &, when
you see Thalaba, it will serve like a bad drawing – to show
improvement.  I am not however ashamed of it.
If you go thro Plymouth & the fleet be
there I have a brother on board the Bellona who will show
you what is to be seen. Lieutenant Thomas Southey: he
is better than the breed of Sailors in general. only send to
him in my name, & he will have brains enough in two
minutes to see that you are not a mere Lisbon
God bless you. I love Cintra dearly – but I
would rather the rock  went to
England than you.
Tuesday July 8.
Do not fail – or delay – to inform us of
your arrival. I will watch all the seeding flowers –
& send you my Wall & the Cork Tree  in most accurate painting.
[The first letter I ever received from dear Southey MSlade
nee Barker] 
* Address: To/Miss Barker
MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Robert
Galloway Kirkpatrick Jnr, ‘The Letters of Robert Southey
to Mary Barker From 1800 to 1826’ (unpublished PhD,
Harvard, 1967), pp. 1–2
Previously published: H.
Spencer Scott, ‘Some Southey Letters’, Atlantic
Monthly, 89 (1902), 36 [in
 Southey had
sent a copy of Joan of Arc (1798) to Mary
Barker’s home at Congreve, Staffordshire. BACK
Islamic romance Thalaba the Destroyer
 The Sierra, or mountain of Cintra. BACK
 Mary Barker was an
amateur painter and may have been teaching Southey
to paint. BACK
 The first … Barker: Marginal
annotation in hand of Mary Barker; as Mary Barker
signs herself ‘Slade’, this was written after her
marriage in 1830. BACK