638. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 11 December 1801 *
Friday. Dec. 11. 1801.
Yesterday (the day after your letterling reached me) I journeyed to Johnsons  for my friend Thady.  you were mistaken in supposing I could get them at the trade price – I cannot even get my own books with paying the full charge. – there were no copies ready – else I should have dropt one with Mary Lamb, & introduced myself to Mr Beaumont  with the other. of course they will arrive today.
Burnett has a situation which he cannot keep! – it is only to make up matter for the Courier  from the French papers & from Peltiers Paris,  after the news has been taken from them. mere childs work – for two or three columns a week – he receives a guinea & half while on trial – two guineas if he continues. his sawneying & unteachable indolence almost surpasses belief. he is tottering now in Coleridges leading strings. I know not what can become of him. he is in deep water, & will neither strike out hand or foot to save himself. – Bless the newspapers! – Lamb also has an engagement – with the Morning Post. he will be eminently useful there, & will I doubt not make it a permanent source of income.
I do not remember whether or not I have mentioned my mothers arrival. she is very ill – there is reason to believe far gone in consumption.
London robs me of all leisure. one calls & another calls – & if I have not those interruptions, the inconvenience of one only sitting room effectually prevents continuous attention to any subject. At the years end I shall not be richer than if this connection with the Irish Chancellor had not existed. true that the salary is gained without effort – & so much exertion saved should be accounted gain. with the year it must end, & my ultimate gain will be that little knowledge of Ireland may be acquired in the next visit. it is worth a years hard travelling to see a floating island.
Thanks for the etymology! –
 Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849; DNB), Castle Rackrent (1800). Thady Quirk is the story’s narrator. Rickman had asked Southey to order six copies for his friends; see Rickman to Robert Southey, 5 December 1801, in Orlo Williams, Lamb’s Friend the Census Taker. Life and Letters of John Rickman (Boston and New York, 1912), pp. 67-68. BACK