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869. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [14 December 1803] ⁠* 

My dear Rickman

I intrude upon you for the last time concerning this brother of mine. this evening I have received from him a letter as following –


Dear Robert

I am sorry to be obliged to take up my pen to undeceive you in respect to my being in some things fitted out for the Navy, as my Aunt took care to get a person to dispose of my Uniform to a travelling Jew, that she might have the money to help bear her expences into Herefordshire, where she gives me to understand she is gone, but still orders me to direct my letters to Bristol (by the by I do not know your direction.) She has not sent me a farthing nor wrote but once. I believe my information respecting an Ensigns [1]  pay is correct, as you will find by examining Steels Army List. [2]  I have six shirts & 4 pair of Stockings. I have plenty of brown clothes. at all events the sooner I get from Exeter the better.

yours sincerely

E Southey

It is evident then that there is a scheme to get him a red coat as suiting his taste & his Aunts better than the sea – & she has thought I should bestir myself the more on the belief that he had quarrelld with her – for his former letters did assert a quarrel – & here a correspondence comes out. considering her roguery & his roguery the sooner I settle the business the better – for his drafts & letters have already cost me above twelve shillings. Be so good when you have read the inclosed to send it to May, & desire him if he approves it to forward it to Exeter. you had better send him this also that he may see the anecdote of the Jew – & infer from thence how hopeless it x {would be} to incur any new expences.

God bless you.

R Southey.

Wednesday night.

It is very fortunate that he has not found out my address (tho I dated Keswick) for such is his total want of all shame that it would not all surprize me were he to make his appearance here.


Notes

* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqr / St Stephens Court/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster/ Single
Endorsement: RS/ Dec. 14. 1803
MS: Huntington Library, RS 47
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 346-347. BACK

[1] The lowest rank of commissioned officer in an infantry regiment. BACK

[2] Steel’s Original and Correct List of the Royal Navy first appeared in 1782, but there was no equivalent publication for the Army. BACK

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August 2011