LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 5 January 1799

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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“Jan. 5. 1799.
“My dear Tom,

“Ever since you left us have I been hurried from one job to another. You know I expected a parcel of books when you went away. They came, and I had immediately to kill off one detachment; that was but just done, when down came a bundle of French books, to be returned with all possible speed. This was not only unexpected work, but double work, because all extracts were to be translated. Well; that I did, and by that time the end of the month came round, and I am now busy upon English books
again. What with this and my weekly communications with
Stuart*, and my plaguy regimen of exercise, I have actually no time for any voluntary employment. In a few days I hope to breathe a little in leisure.

“I am sorry it is low water with you, and that we cannot set you afloat. We are heavily laden, and can, with hard work, barely keep above water. I have been obliged to borrow; by and by we shall do better; but we are just now at the worst, and these vile taxes will take twenty pounds from me, at the least.

“We had an odd circumstance happened to us on Wednesday. Just as we were beginning breakfast, a well-dressed woman, in a silk gown and muff, entered the room. ‘I am come to take a little breakfast,’ said she. Down she laid her muff, took a chair, and sat down by the fire. We thought she was mad, but she looked so stupid, that we soon found that was not the case. Sure enough, breakfast she did. I was obliged once to go down and laugh. My mother and Edith behaved very well, but Margery could not come into the room. When the good lady had done, she rose, and asked what she had to pay? ‘Nothing, ma’am,’ said my mother. ‘Nothing! why how is this?’ ‘I don’t know how it is,’ said my mother, and smiled; ‘but so it is.’ ‘What, don’t you keep a public?’ ‘No, indeed, ma’am;’ so we had half a hundred apologies, and the servant had a shilling. We had a good morning’s laugh for our-

* Editor of the Morning Post.

selves, and a good story for our friends, and she had a very good breakfast. I wish you had been here.

Harry is going to a Mr. Maurice, a gentleman who takes only a few pupils, at Normanston, near Lowestoff, Suffolk. You may, perhaps, know Lowestoff, as the more easterly point of the island. It is a very fortunate situation for him.

“The frost has stopt the pump and the press. My letters are just done, but not yet published. Our bread has been so hard frozen, that no one in the house except myself could cut it, and it made my arm ache for the whole day.

“I do not know where Lloyd is; it is a long time since I have heard from him. Indeed, my own employments make me a vile correspondent.

“The Old Woman of Berkeley cuts a very respectable figure on horseback; and Beelzebub is so admirably done, that one would suppose he had sat for the picture.* . . . . I know not how you exist this weather. My great coat is a lovely garment, my mother says; and but for it I should, I believe, be found on Durdham Down in the shape of a great icicle. At home the wind comes in so cuttingly in the evenings, that I have taken to wear my Welsh wig, to the great improvement of my personal charms! Edith says, I may say that.

“I shall make a ballad upon the story of your shipmate the marine†, who kept the fifth commandment so well. By the help of the Devil it will do;

* This engraving was copied from the Nuremberg Chronicle.

† This man persuaded his father to murder his mother, and then turned king’s evidences and brought his father to the gallows.

and there can be no harm in introducing him to the Devil a little before his time. God bless you.

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.

“A happy new year.”