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778. Robert Southey to John May, 5 May [1803] ⁠* 

My dear friend

When we talked with Mr Phillips [1]  I understood that if the fixtures were taken by appraisement the house was to {be} let much lower, & this he dwelt upon, but the £40 was to be the rent – including the fixtures. I am so sure of this that I expect you have used the word by mistake instead of furniture.

Certainly it will be better to take it for a single year. the power to renew being mine. Mr P. stated the taxes at 30£ – I hope this is the outside. Xmas is the better time to commence from – & indeed the short time between that & the end of November will be little more than necessary to get out his furniture, get in mine, & clean the house. the number of rooms is enough & to spare – but I suppose they are small & that I must fill two with books, for having my Uncles as well as my own they amount to many some thousands.

You talkd of going to the sea with Mrs May. [2]  my brother Tom is in the Galatea frigate – now at Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight. should you be at Lymington or Christ Church he will be very glad to show you his ship, if you have any inclination for a water party

I write in haste for the post. Margaret is but poorly with teething. we are all else well. I am working very hard at history upon the reign of D Joam 2. the Perfect Prince [3]  – by which {title} is meant a scoundrel who never let either honour or humanity stand in the way of his interest.

Your next I hope will tell me that the business is settled, & that I am to consider myself as your neighbour in futuro.

God bless you.

yrs truly

R Southey.


May 5. Kingsdown.


Notes

* Endorsement: No. 79. 1803 No 79./ Robert Southey/ Kingsdown 5th Aug {May}/ recd. 6th do/ ansd. 13th do
MS: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin
Previously published: Charles Ramos, The Letters of Robert Southey to John May: 1797–1838 (Austin, Texas, 1976), p. 77. BACK

[1] Probably the owner of, or agent for, the property in Richmond, Surrey, that Southey had been hoping to rent. BACK

[2] Susanna Frances Livius (1767-1830). BACK

[3] John II (1455-1495, King of Portugal 1481-1495); part of Southey’s uncompleted ‘History of Portugal’. BACK

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August 2011