2152. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 29 September 1812 *
Keswick. Sept. 29. 1812
My dear Grosvenor
I have stolen away from an evening party at the Senhora’s to write to you. & the first thing to be said is that I have given Mr Downman  a draft x upon your worship at three days sight, for £16–10/ – three days sight I said, because the presentation being duly announced, there can be no inconvenience in not finding you at home &c–. Every body seemed so pleased with his portrait that I have had another <taken> (which might p almost pass for a fac-simile of it, if the position of the arms & body were not different) This I had done for Edith who was reasonably enough dissatisfied with the two ill-looking miniatures.  Downman has given me a companion to it, in her portrait, every body exclaims at the happiness of the likeness. I see it less than any xx body, – still I see it, & it is a very pleasant picture. The draft is for my own portrait & the two frames, which he will provide for me according to his own taste.
The Common place book  shall go tomorrow, I will send with a book  of John Mays which I wanted an opportunity of sending to London. You will have the goodness to get it conveyed to him, according to its direction.
I received Giffords letter with the draft, & must tell you (tho he desired it might be between x ourselves) that he in a very friendly manner desired me at any time when I might be out of cash to draw upon him at sight, & pay him at leisure; – an offer for which I am as sincerely obliged to him as if I could accept of it. But in the first place I am almost a stranger to G. & in the second, according to the present state of my affairs, & the probable prospect, I am not likely to feel any other want than what will may be supplied by requesting you to send me a quarter pension a few weeks before it is due, – & that perhaps may not occur again, for every year is now bettering my worldly condition. – I have an answer from that shuffling fellow John Ballantyne to my <that> xx letter which you saw. He was in London & his brother who had opened his mine, sent him notice of its contents. so he writes to say he hopes his brother has explained & apologized to me about the Chronicle, – that he hopes I will resume it, – & that about the other points he will reply as soon as he gets back to Edinburgh.  – Reply how he may, he has shuffled with me, & I am perfectly aware that nothing but a sense of his own interest will make him behave either with civility or xx honesty. As soon as I can get his account & his address I shall draw upon him for every farthing which is due to me.
Tell G. I am writing for him, & therefore will not subduct time precious time for the purpose of writing to him. – Since you left us some little progress has been made with Pelayo, or Roderick as we must call it for the future,  – & what is of more importance the main difficulty in the management of the story seems to be removed.
Dawe,  whose genius soars as Eagles flight, has removed his easel to day into my room, where Kate & Bertha lay by turns for about an hour to be made Eagles prey for him, – much to the Painters contentment.  – The Senhora has been highly flattered to day by an application from Mr Edmondson, who requested that he purchase a pound of her Epsom salts, – because he despaired of getting any so good. She gave him about half-a pound, & told him she hoped that would answer any present want, but she could part with no more. He seems to look upon her house as a second Apothecaries Hall.
You know Downman is about to publish a series of portraits of the English Reformers.  he meant to accompany each head with a page of brief biographical notices. I have offered to write an inscription for each, this I could do con amore,  whether it will be done depends upon Murray. 
God bless you
 Dawe’s residence at Greta Hall whilst he worked on the 9 foot by 8 foot canvas ‘Mother Rescuing her Child from an Eagle’s Nest’ was not without controversy. The picture was based on William Hayley’s (1745–1820; DNB), ‘The Eagle’, first published in Designs to a Series of Ballads (1802). BACK