LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826

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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Ætat. 51. Ætat. 51. 213

The reader has seen that my father had been for some time contemplating a tour in Holland; and his arrangements being now completed, he left home the end of May, and after passing a week in London, and joining there the other members of the party, consisting of Mr. H. Taylor, Mr. Neville White, and Mr. Arthur Malet, a young officer, they crossed the channel from Dover to Boulogne, and made their way from thence first of all to Brussels.

The revisiting this place and the field of Waterloo recalled, naturally, many sad thoughts to my father’s mind. He says in his Journal, “I hope I shall never see this place again. On my first and second
Henry Koster and Nash were with me; and I pleased myself with bringing away little memorials for Herbert. Nash was with me again two years later—‘where are they gone, the old familiar faces!’”

A visit to Verbeyst, however, the great bookseller of Brussels, from whom, in 1817, he had purchased the Acta Sanctorum (fifty-two vols, folio), and many other valuable works, brought back pleasanter remembrances. “Right glad,” he says, “I was to find him in a larger house, flourishing to his heart’s content, and provided with books to mine. He has more than 300,000 volumes, among which I passed the whole morning, till it was time to go to the bankers’ before the hours of business had elapsed. On our return (for Neville was with me) Verbeyst had provided claret, burgundy, and a loaf of bread, on which I regaled; and with the help of his wife, the handsome, good-natured woman whom I saw eight years ago, we made out some cheerful conversation. Verbeyst tells me he is building a house on the Boulevards; the salle is as large as the whole house which he now occupies, the whole edifice big as the dwelling of an English lord, and the garden as large as the Grand Place. I am glad that the world goes so well with them.”

This journey, however, was doomed to be an unfortunate one, from an apparently trifling cause. Before leaving England, my father had received a slight injury on the foot, owing to a tight shoe, and travelling in hot weather had much inflamed it; then at Bouchain the diseased spot was chosen by one of those
Ætat. 51. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 215
little gentry, whose name and presence are alike disagreeable, for his attacks, and the wound soon assumed a somewhat alarming appearance. At Antwerp, he says, “here I am a prisoner, with my foot poulticed, heartily wishing myself at home.” After a few days, however, the surgeon permitted him to proceed on his journey, which he did in great pain, suffering more from this trifling cause in one week, than he ever remembered to have endured in his whole life; and when the party reached Leyden, he was again obliged to put himself under a surgeon’s hands.

Here, however, he quickly and most fortunately met with kind friends, and a temporary home. He has before mentioned (see letter to Mr. Bedford, March 27. 1824) receiving a copy of Roderick translated into Dutch by Mrs. Bilderdijk, and a letter from her husband, a man who was highly distinguished in the literature of his country; it was in a great measure for the purpose of seeing them that he had come to Leyden, and no sooner were they aware of his situation then they insisted upon his being removed to their residence; to which he at first reluctantly consented.* This of course broke up the party. Mr. Neville White and Mr. A. Malet pur-

* This reluctance quickly vanished before the kind friendliness of the Bilderdijks. “I shall not easily forget,” Mr. H. Taylor writes to him after their return, “the easy confidence of good will and true welcome with which you threw yourself upon the sofa the first time you entered the house, and the satisfaction to yourself with which you rejoiced your host and hostess for three weeks, by listening to all that the mind of the ‘Heer’ could unfold in his singular intertexture of tongues, and by accepting, and eating, and drinking all that the heart of the ‘Vraue,’ in her profusion of Dutch delicacies, could invent. Such confidence as yours was certainly never better bestowed.”—H. T. to R. S., Oct 20. 1825.

sued their own course, while
Mr. Taylor “stayed by the wreck.” There my father remained more than three weeks, most hospitably treated, and most kindly nursed. “My time,” he says, “has passed most profitably and happily; and I have formed a friendship in this family which time will not weaken nor death divide.”

His letters from thence will supply all other needful particulars.

To Mrs. Southey.
“Leyden, Thursday, June 30. 1825.
“My dear Edith,

“My foot is going on as well as possible, and will, according to all appearances, be completely healed in the course of three or four days. Having begun with this statement, pour votre tranquillité as the aubergists at Besançon said at every word, I have next to tell you that I am quartered at Mr. Bilderdijk’s, where every imaginable care is taken of me, and every possible kindness shown, and where I have all the comforts which Leyden can afford.

“How I came here you are now to learn. Upon applying to Mr. B. to procure a lodging for Henry Taylor and myself, he told me there was a difficulty in doing it, gave a bad account of Leyden lodgings, and proposed that we should both go to his house. Such an offer was not lightly to be accepted. Henry Taylor made inquiries himself, and looked at lodgings which would have contented us; but when he was
Ætat. 51. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 217
asked for how long they might be wanted, and said a week or perhaps ten days, the people said that for so short a time he might be lodged at an hotel. The matter ended in my yielding to solicitations which were so earnest that I could not doubt their sincerity, and in his remaining at the hotel. So on Tuesday morning
Neville and Arthur Malet departed for the Hague; they may fall in with us at Ghent or they may not, as it may happen. And in the evening I and my lame leg, and my trunk and bag were deposited at Mr. Bilderdijk’s.

“You may imagine how curious I was to see the lady of the house*, and yet I did not see her when we first met, owing to the shade of the trees and the imperfectness of my sight. She was kind and cordial, speaking English remarkably well, with very little hesitation and without any foreign accent. The first night was not well managed; a supper had been prepared, which came so late, and lasted so long by the slowness which seems to characterise all operations in this country, that I did not get to bed till one o’clock. My bedroom is on the ground floor, adjoining the sitting-room in which we eat, and which is given up to me. Every thing was perfectly comfortable and nice. I asked for my milk at breakfast†, and when Mr. Droesa, the surgeon, came in the morning, I had the satisfaction of hearing that he should

* She was not less curious to see him, and, on Mr. Bilderdijk’s return from the hotel, eagerly inquired “how he looked;” to which the reply was given that “he looked as Mr. Southey ought to look:” a description which delighted my father exceedingly.

† A bason of hot milk was for many years my father’s substitute for tea or coffee at breakfast.

not dress the wound again in the evening, but leave it four-and-twenty hours, because there was now a disposition to heal.
Mr. Bilderdijk brought me some curious manuscripts of the eldest Dutch poets, the morning passed pleasantly. Henry Taylor dined with us at half-past two; dinner lasted, I hardly know how, till six or seven o’clock. I petitioned for such a supper as I am accustomed to at home, got some cold meat accordingly, and was in bed before eleven. I slept well, and the foot is proceeding regularly towards recovery. Mr. Droesa just left me before I begun to write. By Sunday I hope to be able to walk about the house, and then my imprisonment will soon be over. I am in no pain, and suffer no other inconvenience than that of keeping the leg always on a chair or settee.

“You will now expect to hear something of the establishment into which I have been thus, unluckily shall I say, or luckily, introduced. The house is a good one, in a cheerful street, with a row of trees and a canal in front; large, and with every thing good and comfortable about it. The only child, Lodowijk Willem, is at home, Mr. Bilderdijk being as little fond of schools as I am. The boy has a peculiar and to me an interesting countenance. He is evidently of a weak constitution; his dress neat but formal, and his behaviour towards me amusing from his extreme politeness, and the evident pleasure with which he receives any attempt on my part to address him, or any notice that I take of him at table. A young vrouw waits at table. I wish you could see her, for she is a much odder figure than
Ætat. 51. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 219
Maria Rosa* appeared on her first introduction, only not so cheerful a one. Her dress is black and white, perfectly neat, and not more graceful than a Beguine’s. The cap, which is very little, and has a small front not projecting farther than the green shade which I wear sometimes for my eyes, comes down to the roots of the hair, which is all combed back on the forehead; and she is as white and wan in complexion as her cap; slender and not ill-made; and were it not for this utter paleness she would be rather handsome. Another vrouw, who appears more rarely, is not in such plain dress, but quite as odd in her way. Nothing can be more amusing than Mr. Bilderdijk’s conversation.
Dr. Bell is not more full of life, spirits, and enthusiasm; I am reminded of him every minute, though the English is much more uncouth than Dr. Bell’s.† He seems delighted to have a guest who can understand, and will listen to him; and is not a little pleased at discerning how many points of resemblance there are between us. For he is as laborious as I have been; has written upon as many subjects; is just as much abused by the Liberals in his country as I am in mine, and does ‘contempt’ them as heartily and as merrily as I do. I am growing intimate with Mrs. Bilderdijk, about whom her husband, in the overflowing of his spirits, tells me every thing. He is very fond of her and very proud of her, as well he may; and on her part she is as proud of him. Her life seems almost a miracle after what she has gone through. . . . .

* A Portuguese servant.

Dr. Bell spoke with a strong Scotch accent.


Friday morning.—My foot continues to mend, and proceeds as well as possible towards recovery. I can now, with the help of a stick, walk from room to room. My time passes very pleasantly. A more remarkable or interesting a person, indeed, than my host it was never my fortune to meet with; and Mrs. Bilderdijk is not less so. I shall have a great deal to talk about on my return. Early next week I hope to be at liberty; and I may travel the better because we move here by trekschuits, so that the leg may be kept up. Now do not you vex yourself for an evil which is passed, and which has led to very pleasant consequences. Once more God bless you!

R. S.”

I well remember my pleasure at receiving the following letter, being at that time seven years of age. It is, I think, so good a specimen of a letter to a child, that the reader will not regret its insertion.

To C. C. Southey.
“Leyden, July 2. 1825.
“My dear Cuthbert,

“I have a present for you from Lodowijk Willem Bilderdijk, a very nice good boy, who is of the age of your sister Isabel. It is a book of Dutch verses, which you and I will read together when I come home. When he was a little boy and was learning to write, his father, who is very much such a father as I am, made little verses for him to write in his
Ætat. 51. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 221
copy-book; and these verses pleased some good people so much, that leave was asked to print them. They were printed from Lodowijk’s writing, and have been thought so fit for the purpose, that a great many of them have been sold. Lodowijk will write his name and yours in the book. He is a very gentle good boy; and I hope that one of these days somewhere or other he and you may meet.

“I must tell you about his stork. You should know that there are a great many storks in this country, and that it is thought a very wicked thing to hurt them. They make their nests, which are as large as a great clothes basket, upon the houses and churches, and frequently when a house or church is built, a wooden frame is made on the top for the storks to build in. Out of one of these nests a young stork had fallen, and somebody wishing to keep him in a garden, cut one of his wings. The stork tried to fly but fell in Mr. Bilderdijk’s garden, and was found there one morning almost dead; his legs and his bill had lost their colour, and were grown pale, and he would soon have died if Mrs. Bilderdijk, who is kind to everybody and everything, had not taken care of him, as we do of the dumbeldores when they have been in the house all night. She gave him food and he recovered. The first night they put him into a sort of summer-house in the garden, which I cannot describe to you because I have not yet been there; the second night he walked to the door himself that it might be opened for him. He was very fond of Lodowijk and Lodowijk was as fond of his oyevaar, which is the name for stork in
Dutch, though I am not sure that I have spelt it rightly, and they used to play together in such a manner, that his father says it was a pleasure to see them. For a stork is a large bird, tall and uptight, almost as tall as you are, or quite. The oyevaar was a bad gardener; he ate snails, but with his great broad foot he did a great deal of mischief and destroyed all the strawberries and many of the smaller vegetables. But Mr. and Mrs. Bilderdijk did not mind this, because the oyevaar loved Lodowijk, and therefore they loved the oyevaar, and sometimes they used to send a mile out of town to buy eels for him, when none could be had in Leyden.

“The very day I came to their house the stork flew away. His wings were grown, and most likely he thought it time to get a wife and settle in life. Lodowijk saw him rise up in the air and fly away. Lodowijk was very sorry, not only because he loved the oyevaar, but because he was afraid the oyevaar would not be able to get his own living, and therefore would be starved. On the second evening, however, the stork came again and pitched upon a wall near. It was in the twilight, and storks cannot see at all when it is dusk, but whenever Lodowijk called Oye! oye! (which was the way he used to call him) the oyevaar turned his head toward the sound. He did not come into the garden. Some fish was placed there for him, but in the morning he was gone, and had not eaten it; so we suppose that he is married and living very happily with his mate, and that now and then he will come and visit the old friends who were so good to him.

Ætat. 51. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 223

“It is very happy for me that I am in so comfortable a house, and with such excellently kind and good people . . . . . where I learn more of the literature, present and past state, and domestic manners of the country, than it would have been possible for me to do in any other manner.

“Yesterday Mr. Bilderdijk received a letter from Algernon Thelwall, who is at Amsterdam, saying he had heard that I was here, and expressing a great desire to see me. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bilderdijk speak very highly of him. This news is for your mamma. I shall have a great deal to tell her on my return.

“I hope you have been a good boy and done every thing that you ought to do, while I am away. When I come home you shall begin to read Jacob Cats with me. My love to your sisters and to every body else. I hope Rumpelstilzchen has recovered his health, and that Miss Cat is well, and I should like to know whether Miss Fitzrumpel has been given away, and if there is another kitten. The Dutch cats do not speak exactly the same language as the English ones. I will tell you how they talk when I come home.

“God bless you, my dear Cuthbert!

Your dutiful Father,
Robert Southey.”
To Mrs. Southey.
“Leyden, Thursday, July 7. 1825.
“My dear Edith,

“. . . . . This is our manner of life. At eight in the morning Lodowijk knocks at my door. My movements in dressing are as regular as clockwork, and when I enter the adjoining room breakfast is ready on a sofa-table, which is placed for my convenience close to the sofa. There I take my place, seated on one cushion, and with my leg raised on another. The sofa is covered with black plush. The family take coffee, but I have a jug of boiled milk. Two sorts of cheese are on the table, one of which is very strong, and highly flavoured with cummin and cloves; this is called Leyden cheese, and is eaten at breakfast laid in thin slices on bread and butter. The bread is soft, in rolls, which have rather skin than crust; the butter very rich, but so soft that it is brought in a pot to table, like potted meat. Before we begin Mr. B. takes off a little gray cap, and a silent grace is said, not longer than it ought to be; when it is over he generally takes his wife’s hand. They sit side by side opposite me; Lodowijk at the end of the table. About ten o’clock Mr. Droesa comes and dresses my foot, which is swathed in one of my silk handkerchiefs. I bind a second round the bottom of the pantaloon, and if the weather be cold I put on a third: so that the leg has not merely a decent, but rather a splendid appearance. After breakfast and tea Mrs. B. washes up the china herself at the table. Part of the morning Mr. B. sits with me. During the rest I read Dutch, or, as at
Ætat. 51. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 225
present, retire into my bed-room and write.
Henry Taylor calls in the morning, and is always pressed to dine, which he does twice or thrice in the week. We dine at half-past two or three, and the dinners, to my great pleasure, are altogether Dutch. You know I am a valiant eater, and having retained my appetite as well as my spirits during this confinement, I eat every thing which is put before me. Mutton and pork never appear, being considered unfit for any person who has a wound, and pepper for the same reason is but sparingly allowed. Spice enters largely into their cookery; the sauce for fish resembles custard rather than melted butter, and is spiced. Perch, when small (in which state they are considered best), are brought up swimming in a tureen. They look well, and are really very good. With the roast meat (which is in small pieces) dripping is presented in a butter-boat. The variety of vegetables is great. Peas, peas of that kind in which the pod also is eaten, purslain, cauliflowers, abominations*, kidney beans, carrots, turnips, potatoes. But besides these, many very odd things are eaten with meat. I had stewed apples, exceedingly sweet and highly spiced, with roast fowl yesterday; and another day, having been helped to some stewed quinces, to my utter surprise some ragout of beef was to be eaten with them. I never know when I begin a dish whether it is sugared, or will require salt; yet every thing is very good, and the puddings excellent. The dinner lasts very long. Strawberries and cherries always follow. Twice we had cream with

* Broad beans, which he always so denominated.

the strawberries, very thick, and just in the first stage of sourness. We have had melons also, and currants; the first which have been produced. After coffee they leave me to an hour’s nap. Tea follows. Supper at half-past nine, when Mr. B. takes milk, and I a little cold meat with pickles, or the gravy of the meat preserved in a form like jelly; olives are used as pickles, and at half-past ten I go to bed. Mr. B. sits up till three or four, living almost without sleep.

“Twice we had a Frisian here, whom we may probably see at Keswick, as he talks of going to England on literary business. Halbertsma* is his

* “Mr. Halbertsma is a very good and learned man, who has particularly directed his attention to the early languages of these countries, and is now planning a journey to England for the purpose of transcribing some MSS of Junius’, which are at Oxford. He speaks English, and made his first essay at conversing with an Englishman with me. His pronunciation was surprisingly good, considering that till that moment he had never heard English spoken by an Englishman. But the Frisians have nothing in their own language which it is necessary for them to forget: he read me some verses in their tongue that I might hear the pronunciation. To my ear they were much less harsh than the Dutch, being wholly free from gutturals. The language, however, is regarded as a barbarous dialect.” I subjoin a few other extracts from his Journal:—

“Very few of the Mennonites retain the orthodox faith of their fathers. In this generation they have generally lapsed into Socianism, which, with other kindred isms, prevails extensively in Holland. Pantheism being the stage to which the speculative Atheists in this country proceed. Another people, like the unbelievers in England, all act in favour of Romanism and in league with it. Their principle is, that superstition is necessary for the vulgar; so they would have a papal establishment, with infidel priests and an indifferent government. The Romanists are palpably favoured, and visibly increase in numbers. At the Fête de Dieu, the king committed the gross offence to his own religion of having his palace decorated in honour of the procession. This could not gratify his Romish subjects so much as it has disgusted all those who know how to appreciate the blessings of the Reformation. For the great body of the Dutch people are attached to that religion, the enjoyment of which their ancestors purchased so dearly.

Ætat. 51. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 227
name, and he is a Mennonite* pastor at Deventer. Twice we have had the young Count Hoogmandorp, a fine young man, one of the eight who for six weeks watched day and night by
Mr. B. in his illness; and once a Dr. Burgman, a young man of singular appearance and much learning, drank tea here. My host’s conversation is amusing beyond anything I ever heard. I cannot hope to describe it so as to

“The government has followed that base policy which all restored kings seem to follow, as if to show, if persons alone were to be considered, how little they have deserved their restoration. The old enemies of the House of Orange are favoured and preferred; the old friends, true servants and sufferers in their cause, are left with their sufferings for their reward. The system of Liberalism prevails; the Press is made an engine of mischief here as in England; and everything that presumptuous ignorance and philosophism can do, is doing to undermine the religion and morals of the people.

“During the triumph of the anti-stadtholder faction, popular feeling manifested itself in some odd ways. The body of the people have always been gratefully attached to the House of Orange, as it became them to be. To prevent all manifestation of that feeling, the ruling faction forbade the market women to expose carrots for sale. They were enjoined, on pain of fine, to keep them covered under other greens. Carrotty cats were hunted down to be extirpated, and marigolds rooted up by men sent for the purpose. Of course such measures provoked the spirit which they were desired to suppress. The fishwomen cried orange-salmon through the streets, marigold seeds were scattered everywhere, and particularly in the gardens of the factious, and pigeons were dyed orange colour and let fly. The two latter tricks excited some superstitious feeling.

“The University here has sadly declined. There are not thirty professors, and not more than 300 students. The want of able men and the appointment of unfit ones, has occasioned the decline. Freshmen are called greens, and a ceremony was (and perhaps is) used in ungreening them, and admitting them to their full academical privileges. Bread, according to its degree of fineness, was called in military and academic towns, from the rank of those who might be supposed to eat it, cadet’s, captain’s, or colonel’s bread; and here, from greens’ up to professor’s bread; the sort above which was called prophet’s. If a fisherman offered for sale a remarkably fine and large fish, a haddock, for example, he will say it is a professor among haddocks.”—From his Journal.

* The Mennonites were Dutch Baptists.

make you conceive it. The matter is always so interesting, that it would alone suffice to keep one’s attention on the alert; his manner is beyond expression animated, and his language the most extraordinary that can be imagined. Even my French cannot be half so odd. It is English pronounced like Dutch, and with such a mixture of other language, that it is an even chance whether the next word that comes be French, Latin, or Dutch, or one of either tongues shaped into an English form. Sometimes the oddest imaginable expressions occur. When he would say ‘I was pleased,’ he says ‘I was very pleasant;’ and instead of saying that a poor woman was wounded, with whom he was overturned in a stage-coach in England, he said she was severely blessed. Withal, whatever he says is so full of information, vivacity, and character, and there is such a thorough good nature, kindness, and frankness about him, that I never felt myself more interested in any man’s company. Every moment he reminds me more and more of
Dr. Bell.

“I gather by one word which dropt from him that Mrs. B. is his second wife. They are proud of each other, as well they may. She has written a great many poems, some of which are published jointly with some of his, and others by themselves. Many of them are devotional, and many relate to her own feelings under the various trials and sufferings which she has undergone. In some of them I have been reminded sometimes of some of my own verses, in others of Miss Bowles’s. One would think it almost impossible that a person so meek, so quiet,
Ætat. 51. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 229
so retiring, so altogether without display, should be a successful authoress, or hold the first place in her country as a poetess. The profits of literature here are miserably small. In that respect I am in relation to them what
Sir Walter Scott is in relation to me. Lodowijk (thus the name is spelt) is a nice good boy, the only survivor of seven children. He is full of sensibility, and I look at him with some apprehension, for he is not strong, and I fear this climate, which suits his father better than any other, is injurious to him. Tell Cuthbert that the oyevaar has paid him another visit, and that Lodowijk’s other playmate is a magnificent tabby cat, as old as himself, who, however, is known by no other name than puss, which is good Dutch as well as English.

“English books are so scarce here, that they have never seen any work of mine except Roderick. Of course I have ordered over a complete set of my poems and the History of Brazil, and as E. May is in London I have desired her to add, as a present from herself to Mrs. B., a copy of Kirke White’s Remains. I can never sufficiently show my sense of the kindness which I am experiencing here. Think what a difference it is to be confined in an hotel, with all the discomforts, or to be in such a family as this, who show by every word and every action that they are truly pleased in having me under their roof.

“I manage worst about my bed. I know not how many pillows there are, but there is one little one which I used for my head till I found that it was intended for the small of my back. Every thing
else I can find instruction for, but here is nobody to teach one how to get into a Dutch bed, or how to lie in one. A little bottle of brandy is placed on the dressing-table, to be used in cleansing the teeth. Saffron is used in some of the soups and sauces. The first dish yesterday was marrow in a tureen, which was eaten upon toast. I eat every thing, but live in daily fear of something like suety pudding or tripe. About an hour before dinner a handsome mahogany case containing spirits is produced; a glass waiter is taken out of it, and little tumblers with gilt edges, and we have then a glass of liqueur with a slice of cake. Deventer cake it is called; and an odd history belongs to it. The composition is usually intrusted only to the burgomaster of that city, and when the baker has made all the other ingredients ready the chief magistrate is called upon, as part of his duty, to add that portion of the materials which constitute the excellence and peculiarity of the Deventer cake. I shall have much to tell you, for I know not where I have heard so much to amuse, so much to affect, so much to interest and inform me as since I have been a prisoner here. . . . .

“Love to the children. God bless you, my dear Edith!

Your affectionate Husband,
R. S.”
Ætat. 51. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 231
To Miss Katherine Southey.
“Amsterdam, Saturday, July 16. 1825.
“My dear Kate,

“. . . . . Tuesday we had a pleasant day on the water, and saw at the sluices of the Rhine enough to undeceive us concerning the common statements about this country. That the sea is higher than the towers of Leyden is altogether false: the truth is, that the general level of Holland is above the low-water mark, and a little below that of high-water; and though the lands are much below the rivers and canals, it is because the beds of the rivers have been raised by what they bring down, or because the lands were formerly large meres, or deep morasses, which have been drained. Wednesday I went with Henry Taylor to the Hague, saw the museum of pictures, called on one of my Dutch curmudgeons, Mr. De Clerc, who is an improvisatore poet, and returned in the evening. Thursday I settled my business as to booksellers.—Oh, joy when that chest of glorious folios shall arrive at Keswick! the pleasure of unpacking, of arranging them on the new shelves that must be provided, and the whole year’s repast after supper which they will afford! After dinner we took what Mr. Bilderdijk calls a walk in a carriage, and drank tea in a village, where we had a very entertaining scene with the hostess—a woman shaped very much like a jumping Joan, supposing the said Joan to be tall, and lean in the upper half. Her birth-day had occurred a few days before, and on that
occasion a poem had been addressed to her by the surgeon’s man: this poem she brought to Mr. Bilderdijk to read, and he read it just as
Mr. Wordsworth would have read a piece of doggrel, if under like circumstances it had been brought to him in some such public house as John Stanley’s. The woman stood by in silent delight at hearing her own praises entoned by his powerful voice, and set off by his gestures and emphatic manner: Mrs. Bilderdijk kept her countenance to admiration. I sat by, not knowing whether the verses were good or bad, but infinitely amused by the scene, and the girl of the public house coming out at the unusual sound, stood among the shrubs of the garden listening—like Eve in the Paradise Lost.

“Yesterday our kind friends accompanied us a little way in the trekschuit on our departure, and we parted with much regret on both sides. If Mr. Bilderdijk can muster spirits for the undertaking, they will come and pass a summer with me,—which of all things in the world would give me most pleasure, for never did I meet with more true kindness than they have shown me, or with two persons who have in so many essential respects so entirely pleased me. Lodowijk, too, is a very engaging boy, and attached himself greatly to me; he is the only survivor of eight children whom Mr. Bilderdijk has had by his present wife, and of seven by the first! I can truly say, that unpleasant as the circumstance was which brought me under their roof, no part of my life ever seemed to pass away more rapidly or
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more pleasantly. We got to Harlaem by dinnertime, and to Amsterdam afterwards.

“God bless you, my dear child!

Your affectionate father,
R. S.”
To the Rev. Robert Philip.
“Keswick, Aug. 15. 1825.
“My dear Sir,

“On returning home after an absence of several weeks, I found, and was pleased to find, your friendly letter and the books which accompanied it. For the one relating to South America, I must beg you to express my thanks where they are due. Having inquired so diligently into the history and condition of that wide country during many years, I am glad to possess any documents which may enable me to correct or otherwise improve the result of my researches. But it will not be my fortune to revise the work. Excepting Mrs. Baillie’s little book concerning Lisbon, I have not reviewed a book of travels for many years.

“I thank you for your own volume. You have undertaken a labour of love where it was greatly needed, and you will have your reward. I cannot doubt but that some of the seed which you have sown will take root and bring forth fruit.

“No person can look with more eagerness than I do for your Life and Times of Whitefield, nor will any one who peruses it be better disposed to be
pleased with the perusal. The points on which I may expect you to differ from me are not unimportant ones, but they are less important than those on which I am sure that we agree. And my temper will always lead me to consider a fair and generous opponent almost as a friend.

“I am busied at present in demolishing the flimsy sophistries of Mr. Butler, treating him, however, with the courtesy which is due to a kind-hearted man and an old acquaintance. Milner will receive a different treatment. What think you of his saying Whitefield believed that the Angel Gabriel attended on his congregation, and quoted a story which I have told to prove it? He says also that I have avowed the Moravian doctrine of instantaneous conversion, and refers to a passage (vol. i. p. 159.) which exposes the fallacy of the reasoning by which Wesley was led to believe it. And of such direct and impudent falsehoods his strictures are full. I have, however, rather to enlarge my statements than to vindicate them, and the greater part of my book will be historical and biographical.

Mrs. Southey joins with me in remembrance to Mrs. Philips, and desires me to say she has not forgotten the few but pleasant hours in which we enjoyed your conversation seven summers ago.

Yours with sincere esteem and regard,
Robert Southey.”
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To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“Keswick, Oct. 22. 1825.
“My dear H. T.,

“. . . . . Canning came here from Lowther, and sat about half an hour with me. My acquaintance with him is of some five years’ standing, and of course slight, as it is very rarely that circumstances bring me in his way. Had we been thrown together in early life,—that is, if I had been three years older, and had been sent to Eton instead of Westminster,—we might probably have become friends. ‘Very ordinary intelligence’ has never sufficed for me in the choice of my associates, unless there was extraordinary kindness of disposition, or strength of moral character to compensate for what was wanting. When these are found, I can do very well without great talents; but without them the greatest talents have no attractions for me. If Canning were my neighbour, we might easily become familiar, for we should find topics enough of common interest, and familiarity grows naturally out of an easy intercourse where that is the case. But I am very sure that his good opinion of me would not be increased by anything that he would see of me in general society.

“With regard to my writings, I am well aware that some of them are addressed to a comparatively small part of the public, out of which they will not be read. Probably not half-a-dozen even of those persons who are most attached to me, ever read all that I have published. But if immediate reputation were
my object, I know not how it could more surely be attained than by writing to such different classes as those among whom my different books find readers for the sake of the subject matter. The truth, however, is, that this never enters into my consideration, I take up a subject because it interests me. I treat it in the manner which seemeth best in my own eyes, and when it has been sent forth to take its chance, the only care which I have concerning it is to correct and improve it in case it should be reprinted.

“The Bishop of Chester has been here, and Mackintosh breakfasted with me and spent an evening also. He has been in Holland, but knows Bilderdijk only by name and by reputation.

“My books arrived about a month ago, and I have been in a high state of enjoyment ever since. But I have had another pleasure since their arrival, which is to learn that the second edition of Wadding’s Annales Minorum, for want of which I was fain to purchase the first of Verbeyst, has been bought for me at Rome by Senhouse, this being seventeen volumes, the first only eight. To me who desire always the fullest materials for whatever I undertake, this is a great acquisition. My after-supper book at present is Erasmus’s Letters, from which I know not whether I derive most pleasure or profit.

“The tendency of my ecclesiastical writings, whether controversial or historical, is not to disturb established delusions, but to defend established truths. It is not to any difference of religion that the better character of the lower orders in France must be
Ætat. 51. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 237
ascribed—the persons who are under forty years of age and above twenty, having grown up without any—but to the difference of national manners, amusements, &c., the way in which our manufactures are carried on, and the effect which, within the last thirty years, the poor laws have produced. So far, however, as religion comes into the account, it is in favour of the French for these reasons, that the lowest class have a religion there, which here very generally they have not (I speak of large towns and manufacturing districts where the neglected population have outgrown the churches); that a bad religion is better than none; and that the effects of the Roman Catholic system (as of Methodism), become more and more injurious as you trace them up from the lowest to the higher ranks. This I shall this minute note as a subject to be pursued in my
Colloquies. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Dr. Gooch.
“Keswick, Dec. 18. 1825.
“My dear Gooch,

“I cannot refer you to any other account of the Sisters of Charity than is to be found in Helyot’s Histoire des Ordres Monastiques, a very meagre but useful book;—compared to what a history ought to be, it is somewhat like what a skeleton is to the body. When I was first in the Low Countries I endeavoured
to collect what information I could concerning the Beguines, and got into their principal establishment at Ghent. Their history is curiously uncertain, which I found not only from themselves but from pursuing the subject in books; and as I have those books at hand, I can at any time tell you what is not known about them, for to that the information which they contain amounts. The Beguines are as much esteemed in the Low Countries as the Soeurs de la Charite in France, but I have incidentally learnt from books that scandal used to be busy with them. A profession of religion naturally affords cover for hypocrisy, and it is therefore to be expected that scandal should sometimes arise, and more frequently be imputed; but the general utility of the institution is unquestionable; and I do not know that there is anything to be set against it, for they are bound by no vows, nor to any of those observances which are at once absurd and onerous. I will have the notes which I made concerning them at Ghent transcribed for you. As your adventures were in Flanders, not in France, have you not mistaken the Beguines for the Sisters of Charity?

“It is not surprising that your letters in Blackwood should have produced so much impression. The subject comes home to everybody, and that Yarmouth story is one of the most touching incidents I ever remember to have heard. As an example to prove how much a principle of humanity is wanting, look by all means for an account of the Foundling Hospital at Dublin, where the most damnable inhumanity of its kind upon record was practised by the
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nurses for a course of years. The mortality was monstrous. I think it appeared that these wretches who dealt in infant suffering used sometimes to murder the children by sitting upon them in the carts wherein they conveyed them from the hospital to the country.

“The change of ministry in the Quarterly Review is the only change of such a kind which could have affected me for evil and for good.

“As for my importance to the Review, it is very little. Just at this juncture I might do harm by withdrawing from it; but at any other time I should be as little missed as I shall be, except in my own family and in some half-a-dozen hearts besides, whenever death shakes hands with me. The world closes over one as easily as the waters. Not, however, that I shall sink to be forgotten.

“But as for present effect, the reputation of the Review is made, and papers of less pith and moment than mine would serve the bookseller’s purpose quite as well, and amuse the great body of readers, who read only for amusement or for fashion, more.

“God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”
To Henry Taylor, Esq.
“Keswick, Dec. 31. 1825.
“My dear H. T.,

“I have pursued so little method in my own studies at any time of my life that I am in truth
very little qualified to direct others. Having been from youth, and even childhood, an omnivorous reader, I found myself when I commenced man with a larger stock of general information than young men usually possess, and the desultory reading in which I have always indulged (making it indeed my whole and sole recreation), has proved of the greatest use when I have been pursuing a particular subject through all its ramifications.

“With regard to metaphysics I know nothing, and therefore can say nothing. Coleridge I am sure knows all that can be known concerning them; and if your friend can get at the kernel of his ‘Friend’ and his ‘Aids to Reflection,’ he may crack peach-stones without any fear of breaking his teeth. For logic—that may be considered indispensable, but how far that natural logic which belongs to good sense is assisted or impeded by the technicalities of the schools, others are better able to determine than I am, for I learnt very little, and nothing which I ever learnt stuck by me unless I liked it.

“The rules for composition appear to me very simple; inasmuch as any style is peculiar, the peculiarity is a fault, and the proof of this is the easiness with which it is imitated, or, in other words, caught. You forgive it in the original for its originality, and because originality is usually connected with power. Sallust and Tacitus are examples among the Latins, Sir T. Brown, Gibbon, and Johnson among our own authors; but look at the imitations of Gibbon and Johnson! My advice to a young writer is, that he should weigh well what he says, and not be anxious
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concerning how he says it: that his first object should be to express his meaning as perspicuously, his second as briefly as he can, and in this everything is included.

“One of our exercises at Westminster was to abridge the book which we were reading. I believe that this was singularly useful to me. The difficulties in narration are to select and to arrange. The first must depend upon your judgment. For the second, my way is, when the matter does not dispose itself to my liking, and I cannot readily see how to connect one part with another naturally, or make an easy transition, to lay it aside. What I should bungle at now may be hit off to-morrow; so when I come to a stop in one work I lay it down and take up another.

“For a statesman the first thing requisite is to be well-read in history. Our politicians are continually striking upon rocks and shallows, which are all laid down in the chart. As this is the most important and most interesting branch of knowledge, so also is it one to which there is no end. The more you read the more you desire to read, and the more you find there is to be read. And yet I would say this to encourage the student, not to dismay him, for there is no pleasure like this perpetual acquisition and perpetual pursuit. For an Englishman there is no single historical work with which it can be so necessary for him to be well and thoroughly acquainted as with Clarendon. I feel at this time perfectly assured that if that book had been put into my hands in youth it would have preserved me from all the political errors which I have outgrown. It may be
taken for granted that —— knows this book well. The more he reads concerning the history of those times the more highly he will appreciate the wisdom and the integrity of Clarendon. For general histories of England,
Hume’s is not ranked higher than it deserves for its manner, and the perpetual presence of a clear intellect. Henry may be classed with Rapin as laborious and heavy. I have never had an opportunity of reading Carte, in whom I believe there is much good matter. For matter and research Turner’s is very much the best, as far as it goes. But were your friend, as an exercise in composition, to undertake the history of a single reign, it would surprise him to find into how wide a field of reading he would be led, and how much he would discover that has been overlooked.

“The advice I would give any one who is disposed really to read for the sake of knowledge, is, that he should have two or three books in course of reading at the same time. He will read a great deal more in that time and with much greater profit. All travels are worth reading, as subsidiary to reading, and in fact essential parts of it: old or new, it matters not—something is to be learnt from all. And the custom of making brief notes of reference to everything of interest or importance would be exceeding useful.

“Enough of this. Do you know who wrote that paper in Blackwood which you sent me? for I should like to know. Whoever the author be, I very much agree with him. But when you say that conciliation and comprehension should be the policy of the Church, I agree only as to the latter. Compre-
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hension is the principle upon which the Articles were framed, but for conciliating enemies, Heaven bless those who attempt it! There are two things which may endanger the Church. The Catholic Question is one, scandalous promotions are the other. Its safety just now consists in public opinion acting upon the Government in both cases, and in some degree controlling it. The bigotry which is in the Church is hurtful enough, but not so hurtful as the promotion of unworthy men who take the bigoted party just as they would take the strongest side in case of danger. . . . .

“A humorous French criticism upon the Tale of Paraguay has found its way into the Westmoreland Gazette, that I have shown off my professional knowledge too much in dwelling upon vaccination and the cow-pox. This I get by my doctorship.

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Keswick, Feb. 18. 1826.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“. . . . . You cannot hold the Bullion Question in greater abhorrence than I do. It is the worst plague that ever came out of Pandora’s Scotch mull. I cannot but think that Government is altogether wrong in abolishing small notes; they should allow of none
which have not the stamp of national credit, but without small bills there will be a want of sufficient currency. And as for forgery, Heaven help the wits of those who do not perceive that for one who can forge there will be twenty who can coin.
Peel has never recovered the credit with me which he lost by becoming a bullionist; and Ricardo’s opinion I hold in so little respect, that I am glad he has not an English name.

“Do you remember my buying a Dutch grammar in the ‘cool May’ of 1799, and how we were amused at Brixton with the Dutch grammarian who pitied himself, and loved his good and rich brother? That grammar is in use now; and Cuthbert and I have begun upon Jacob Cats; who in spite of his name, and of the ill-looking and not-much-better-sounding language in which he wrote, I verily believe to have been the most useful poet that any country ever produced. In Bilderdijk’s youth, Jacob Cats was to be found in every respectable house throughout Holland, lying beside the hall Bible. One of his longer poems, which describes the course of female life, and female duties, from childhood to the grave, was in such estimation, that an ornamented edition of it was printed solely for bridal presents. He is, in the best sense of the word, a domestic poet; intelligible to the humblest of his readers, while the dexterity and felicity of his diction make him the admiration of those who are best able to appreciate the merits of his style. And for useful practical morals, maxims for every-day life, lessons that find their way through the understanding to the heart, and fix themselves
Ætat. 51. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 245
there, I know of no poet who can be compared to him. Mi Cats inter omnes. Cedite Romani Scriptores, cedite Graii!

“I believe you know (which is not yet to be made known) that I have engaged to continue Warton’s History of English Poetry, and bring it down to the close of the last century; that is, I mean to conclude with Hayley, Cowper, and Darwin, and stop just where my own time begins. It is to be in three or four octavo volumes, as the subject may require, for which I am to have 500l. each, paid as each is finished. What leads me to speak of this is, that you may understand how I am led from history and polemics to the humaner study of Jacob Cats. My plan, like Warton’s, includes and requires excursive views of the literature of other countries. How far these commercial storms may extend, there is no foreseeing; but as I am not to begin printing before the beginning of next year, it is likely that things will go on smoothly again by that time. . . . .

“God bless you!

R. S.”
To the Lord Bishop of Limerick (Dr. Jebb).
“Keswick, April 17. 1826.
“My Lord,

“I will be at your door at ten o’clock on Saturday the 20th of May, unless any mishap should prevent me.


“It was not without some degree of shame that I received your kind letter; the shame which arises from a consciousness of having omitted what ought to have been done. For I have often thought of writing to you, and intended to write; and as often some avocation has made me postpone it till that more convenient season, which never arrives for one who is always employed, and but too frequently interrupted.

“My last year’s journey proved an eventful one, both for evil and good. I travelled in the hope of cutting short an annual catarrh, which is of such a nature that, unless the habit of its recurrence can be overcome, its work must, in a very few visits more, be completed. The experiment succeeded perfectly, and so far all was well. I sent home, also, a goodly consignment of folios, and of smaller fry, from Brussels, and from Leyden; heavy artillery, to be mounted in my batteries against Babylon. But my ill fortune began at Douay, whither I went on my outward journey, partly for the sake of taking a line which I had not travelled before; chiefly because I had an ancestor buried there, the first Sir Herbert Croft, who turned Romanist in the reign of James I., and died there among the Benedictines. Happily for me, his son returned to the faith in which he had been born: I wished to see his grave; but when I came to the Benedictine church, I was in the same case as Yorick, when he looked for the tombs of Amandus and Amanda. The church had been gutted, the monuments destroyed, in the Revolution; and the crypt, wherein he was buried, was filled with
Ætat. 51. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 247
rubbish. However, I saw the shell of the building; and I saw also the outside of that college where so many treasons had been plotted, and so much mischief for these kingdoms hatched. But at Douay, or at Bouchain, I was bitten on the foot by the vilest of all insects; an accidental hurt, which was but just healed, had disposed the part for inflammation. The weather was intensely hot; by the time I reached Antwerp, I was unable to put that foot to the ground; and having proceeded to Leyden, whither, happily, I had a strong motive for proceeding, I was told that had the inflammation continued to proceed for another day, the limb would have been in danger. So there I lay nearly three weeks, under a surgeon’s hands. Such, however, was my good fortune, that I never passed three weeks more happily.
Bilderdijk, whose wife translated Roderick into Dutch verse, and who is himself, take him for all in all, the most extraordinary and admirable person whom I have ever known, took me into his house. Here I was nursed, as if I had been their brother; and thither, as they cannot come and visit me, I am going to see them once more; were Leyden ten times as distant as it is, I would take the journey, for the pleasure which I shall give and receive. I knew him only by letter, till I was cast upon their compassion. But Bilderdijk is one of those men whose openness of heart you perceive at first sight; and when I came to know them both, if I had sought the world over, it would not have been possible for me to have found two persons with whom I should have felt myself more entirely in unison;
except, indeed, that my host stands up, like a true Hollander of the old stamp, for the Synod of Dort.

“He is above seventy years of age, and considering what he has gone through in mind and body, it is marvellous that he is alive. From infancy he has been an invalid; and in childhood was saved, after his case was pronounced hopeless, by a desperate experiment of his own father’s,—to change the whole mass of his blood by frequent bleeding. But in consequence, his system acquired such a habit of making blood, that periodical bleeding has been necessary from that time; and now, in his old age, after every endeavour to prolong the intervals, he is bled every six weeks. His pulse is always that of a feverish man. He has never slept more than four hours in the four-and-twenty, and wakes always unrefreshed, and in a state of discomfort, as if sleep exhausted him more than the perpetual intellectual labour in which he is engaged. None of his countrymen have written so much, or so variously, or so well; this is admitted by his enemies; and he has for his enemies the whole body of Liberals and time-servers. His fortune was completely wrecked in the Revolution; and having been the most confidential and truest friend of the Stadtholder, he has received the usual reward of fidelity after a Restoration. The House of Orange, like other restored families, has thought it politic to show favour to their enemies, and neglect their friends. A small pension of about 140l. is all that he has; and a professorship, which the King had promised, is withheld, lest the Liberals should be offended.

Ætat. 51. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 249

“His life has been attempted in popular commotions; he has almost wanted bread for his family in exile, having had eight children by a first wife, seven by the present! one boy of twelve years old is the only one left, whose disposition is everything that can be desired, but his constitution so feeble, that it is impossible to look at him without fear. The mother is four-and-twenty years younger than her husband, and in every respect worthy of him; I have never seen a woman who was more to be admired and esteemed for everything womanly; no strangers would suppose that so unassuming a person was in high repute as a poetess. Bilderdijk’s intellectual rank is at once indicated by his countenance; but he is equally high-minded and humble, in the best sense of those epithets; and both are so suited to each other, so resigned to their fortunes, so deeply and quietly religious, and therefore so contented, so thankful, and so happy, that it must be my own fault if I am not the better for having known them.

“This theme has made me loquacious. You see that if I suffered for visiting Holland instead of Ireland, the evil was amply overpaid. For your renewed invitation I cannot thank you as I ought, nor say more at present than that in all likelihood I shall be most happy to accept it. We shall see what twelve months will bring forth.

“Farewell, my Lord, till May 20. I beg my kind regards to Mr. Forster, and remain,

With sincere respect and esteem,
Your Lordship’s obliged and faithful servant,
Robert Southey.”
To John Rickman, Esq.
“Keswick, April 26. 1826.
“My dear R.,

“. . . . . I can have no opinion about the Corn Laws, having no concern in them, which might make me overcome an habitual or natural inaptitude for such complicated questions. But with regard to the general question of Free Trade, I incline to think that the old principle, upon which companies of the various trades were formed for the purpose of not allowing more craftsmen or traders of one calling in one place than the business would support, was founded in good common sense. And as a corollary, that if some more effectual step is not put to the erection of new cotton mills, &c., than individual prudence is ever likely to afford, at some time or other the steam-engine will blow up this whole fabric of society. Three years ago I was assured that at the rate of increase then going on in Manchester, that place would, in ten years, double its manufacturing population. When we hear of the prosperity of those districts, it means that they are manufacturing more goods than the world can afford a market for, and the ebb is then as certain as the flow; and in some neap tide, Radicalism, Rebellion, and Ruin will rush in through the breach which hunger has made.

“You have had more than your share of this world’s business. I doubt whether any other man who has worked so hardly has worked so continuously and so long. Our occupations withdraw us all
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too much from nearer and more lasting concerns. Time and nature, especially when aided by any sorrows, prepare us for better influences; and when we feel what is wanting, we seek and find it. The clouds then disperse, and the evening is calm and clear, even till night closes.

“Long and intimate conversance with Romish and sectarian history, with all the varieties of hypocritical villany and religious madness, has given me the fullest conviction of the certainty and importance of these truths, from the perversion and distortion of which these evils and abuses have grown. There is not a spark of fanaticism left in my composition: whatever there was of it in youth, spent itself harmlessly in political romance. I am more in danger, therefore, of having too little of theopathy than too much,—of having my religious faith more in the understanding than in the heart. In the understanding I am sure it is; I hope it is in both. This good in myself my ecclesiastical pursuits have certainly effected. And if I live to finish the whole of my plans, I shall do better service to the Church of England than I could ever have done as one of its ministers, had I kept to the course which it was intended that I should pursue. There is some satisfaction in thinking thus. God bless you!

R. S.”

In the following month of June, my father, in company with Mr. H. Taylor and Mr. Rickman, made a short tour in Holland, and again visited the Bilderdijks in Leyden. This was a rapid journey,
and his letters during the course of it do not possess sufficient novelty to interest the reader. His return home was a mournful one: he found his youngest daughter,
Isabel, laid on a bed of sickness, from which she never rose.

Well do I, though but a child, remember that return, as we hastened to meet him, and changed, by our sorrowful tidings, his cheerful smile and glad welcome to tears and sadness. It was the first time I had seen sorrow enter that happy home; and those days of alternate hope and fear, and how he paced the garden in uncontrollable anguish, and gathered us around him to prayer when all was over, are vividly impressed on my mind.

This, too, was the “beginning of troubles;” and from this shock my mother’s spirits, weakened by former trials, and always harassed by the necessary anxieties of an uncertain income, never wholly recovered.

To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“Sunday night, July 16. 1826.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“I have lost my sweet Isabel. There was hope of her recovery till yesterday evening, when my misgivings were dreadfully confirmed by symptoms which I knew too well. This evening she departed in a swoon, without a struggle, as if falling asleep.

“Under this heavy affliction we have the support of religion,—the sure and only source of comfort.
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I am perfectly tranquil and master of myself, suffering most for what my wife suffers, who yet exerts herself with Christian fortitude. But the body cannot be controlled like the mind, and I fear I shall long feel the effects of an anxiety which has shaken every fibre. Were it not for the sake of my family, how gladly would I also depart, and be at rest.

“God bless you, my dear Grosvenor!

R. S.”
To Grosvenor C. Bedford, Esq.
“July 19. 1826.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Τετελεοται. I have seen the mortal remains of my sweet Isabel committed earth to earth. And what I must now do is, to find occupation in the business of this world, and comfort in the thought of the next. The loss which I suffered ten years ago was greater; the privation, perhaps, not so great; and there were not so many to partake and augment the sorrow.

“It would be acting a friend’s part, Grosvenor, if you would come to me a few weeks hence. My mind will soon regain its wonted composure, and keep to itself all thoughts which would awaken the grief of others. But I should be truly glad to have you here, and the house would be the better for the presence of an old friend. My poor wife would recover the sooner if some such turn were given to her thoughts, and we might enjoy each other’s com-
pany; for I should enjoy it at leisure, which it is impossible that we should ever do in London. Indeed, I know not when I shall have heart enough to leave home again for a long absence.

“I wish to show you some things, and to talk with you about others; one business in particular, which is the disposal of my papers whenever I shall be gathered to my fathers and to my children. That good office would naturally be yours, should you be the survivor, if the business of the Exchequer did not press upon you, like the world upon poor Atlas’s shoulders. I know not now upon whom to turn my eyes for it, unless it be Henry Taylor. Two long journies with me have made him well acquainted with my temper and every-day state of mind. He has shown himself very much attached to me, and would neither want will nor ability for what will not be a difficult task, inasmuch as that which is of most importance, and would require most care, will (if my life be spared but for a year or two) be executed by my own hand. You do not know, I believe, that I have made some progress in writing my own life and recollections upon a large scale. This will be of such certain value as a post obit, that I shall make it a part of my regular business (being, indeed, a main duty) to complete it. What is written is one of the things which I am desirous of showing you. If you ever look over my letters, I wish you would mark such passages as might not be improper for publication at the time which I am looking forward to. You, and you alone, have a regular series which has never been intermitted. From occasional cor-
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respondents plenty of others, which, being less confidential, are less careless, will turn up. I will leave a list of those persons from whom such letters may be obtained, as may probably be of avail.

“I am not weary of the world, nor is the world weary of me; but it is fitting that I should prepare, in temporal matters, for the separation which must take place between us, in the course of years, at no very distant time, and which may occur at any hour.

“Our love to Miss Page. She will feel for us the more, because she knows what we have lost.

“God bless you, my dear Grosvenor!

R. S.”

I cannot better conclude this chapter than with the following beautiful letter:—

To Edith May, Bertha, and Katherine Southey.
“July 19. 1826.
“My dear Daughters,

“I write rather than speak to you on this occasion, because I can better bear to do it, and because what is written will remain, and may serve hereafter for consolation and admonishment, of which the happiest and best of us stand but too often in need.

“If anything could at this time increase my sorrow, for the death of one who was the pride of my eyes and the joy of my heart, it would be that there are so many who have their full share in it. When
your dear mother and I were last visited with a like affliction, you were too young to comprehend its nature. You feel and understand it now; but you are also capable of profiting by it; and laying to your hearts the parental exhortations which I address to you, while they are wounded and open.

“This is but the first trial of many such which are in store for you. Who may be summoned next is known only to the All-wise Disposer of all things. Some of you must have to mourn for others; some one for all the rest. It may be the will of God that I should follow more of my children to the grave; or in the ordinary course of nature and happiest issue, they may see their parents depart. Did we consider these things wisely, we should perceive how little it imports who may go first, who last; of how little consequence sooner or later is, in what must be. We must all depart when our time comes,—all to be re-united in a better state of existence, where we shall part no more.

“Our business here is to fit ourselves for that state,—not by depreciating or renouncing those pleasures which may innocently and properly be enjoyed, but by correcting the faults to which we are prone, cultivating our better dispositions, doing the will of God by doing all we can for the good of others, and fixing our dearest hopes on Heaven, which is our resting-place, and our everlasting home.

“My children, you have all brought into the world good dispositions: I bless God for it, more than for all the other blessings which he has vouchsafed me. But the best dispositions require self-
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watchfulness, as there is no garden but what produces weeds. Blessed be God, I have never seen in either of you any one symptom of an evil nature. Against great sins there is no occasion to warn you; but it is by guarding against little ones that we acquire a holy habit of mind, which is the sure foundation of happiness here and hereafter.

“You know how I loved your dear sister, my sweet Isabel, who is now gathered to that part of my family and household (a large one now!) which is in Heaven. I can truly say that my desire has ever been to make your childhood happy, as I would fain make your youth, and pray that God would make the remainder of your days. And for the dear child who is departed, God knows that I never heard her name mentioned, nor spoke, nor thought of her, without affection and delight. Yet this day, when I am about to see her mortal remains committed earth to earth, it is a grief for me to think that I should ever, by a harsh or hasty word, have given her even a momentary sorrow which might have been spared.

“Check in yourselves then, I beseech you, the first impulses of impatience, peevishness, ill-humour, anger, and resentment. I do not charge you with being prone to these sins,—far from it,—but there is proneness enough to them in human nature. They are easily subdued in their beginnings; if they are yielded to they gather strength and virulence, and lead to certain unhappiness in all the relations of life. A meek, submissive, obliging disposition is worth all other qualities. I beseech you, therefore, to bear and forbear, carefully to guard against giving
offence, and more carefully (for this is the more needful admonition) to guard against taking it. A soft answer turneth away wrath. There is no shield against wrongs so effectual as an unresisting temper. You will soon find the reward of any conquest which you shall thus obtain over yourselves: the satisfaction is immediate; and the habit of equanimity which is thus easily acquired, will heighten all your enjoyments here, as well as enable you the better to support those afflictions which are inseparable from humanity.

“Your sister is departed in her innocence: ‘of such is the kingdom of Heaven.’ For you, if your lives are prolonged, there will be duties and trials in store, for which you must prepare by self-government, and for which God will prepare you if you steadfastly trust in his promises, and pray for that grace which is never withheld from humble and assiduous prayer.

“My children, God alone knows how long I may be spared to you. I am more solicitous to provide for your peace of mind, and for your everlasting interest, than for your worldly fortunes. As I have acted for myself in that respect, so do I feel for you. The longer I may live, the more in all likelihood will be the provision which may be made for you; large it can never be, though whenever the hour comes, there will be enough, with prudence and good conduct, for respectability and comfort. But were it less, my heart would be at rest concerning you while I felt and believed that you were imbued with those principles, and had carefully cultivated in yourselves
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those dispositions which will make you heritors of eternal life.

“I copy this letter for each of you with my own hand. It will be read with grief now. But there will come a time when you may think of it with a solemn rather than melancholy pleasure, and feel grateful for this proof of love. Take it, then, with the blessing of

Your afflicted and affectionate Father,
Robert Southey.”