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The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 6 Letters 1821-1842 online

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own will, and volunteerd me a third of profits, which came to £30, which
came to _Bilk_, and never came back to me. Proctor has acted a friendly
part - when did he otherwise? I am very sorry to hear Mrs. P - - _as I
suppose_ is not so well. I meditated a rallying epistle to him on his
Gemini - his two Sosias, accusing him of having acted a notable piece of
duplicity. But if his partner in the double dealing suffers - it would be
unseasonable. You cannot rememb'r me to him too kindly. Your chearful
letter has relieved us from the dumps; all may be well. I rejoice at
your letting your house so magnificently. Talfourd's letter may be
directed to him "On the Western Circuit."* That is the way, send it.
With Blackwood pray send Piozziana and a Literary Gazette if you have
one. The Piozzi and that shall be immed'tly return'd, and I keep Mad.
Darblay for you eventually, a longwinded reader at present having use of

The weather is so queer that I will not say I _expect_ you &c. - but am
prepared for the pleasure of seeing you when you can come.

We had given you up (the post man being late) and Emma and I have 20
times this morning been to the door in the rain to spy for him coming.

Well, I know it is not all settled, but your letter is chearful and

We join in triple love to you.

ELIA & Co.

I am settled _in any case_ to take at Bookseller's price any copies I
have more. Therefore oblige me by sending a copy of Elia to Coleridge
and B. Barton, and enquire (at your leisure of course) how I can send
one, with a letter, to Walter Savage Landor. These 3 put in your next
bill on me. I am peremptory that it shall be so. These are all I can

*Is it the Western? he goes to Reading &c.

[John Taylor, representing the firm of Taylor & Hessey, seems to have
set up a claim of copyright in those essays in the _Last Essays of Elia_
that were printed in the _London Magazine_. For Procter's part, see next

_Piozziana; or, Recollections of the late Mrs. Piozzi_ (Johnson's Mrs.
Thrale), was published in 1833. It was by the Rev. E. Mangin.

Mad. Darblay would be _The Memoirs of Dr. Burney_, 1832, by his daughter
Madame d'Arblay (Admiral Burney's niece). The book was severely handled
in the _Quarterly_ for April, 1833.

The following letter, which is undated, seems to refer to the difficulty
mentioned above: - ]



Enfield, Monday.

Dear P - - , I have more than £30 in my house, and am independent of
quarter-day, not having received my pension.

Pray settle, I beg of you, the matter with Mr. Taylor. I know nothing of
bills, but most gladly will I forward to you that sum for him, for Mary
is very anxious that M[oxon] may not get into any litigation. The money
is literally rotting in my desk for want of use. I should not interfere
with M - - , tell M - - when you see him, but Mary is really uneasy; so
lay it to that account, not mine.

Yours ever and two evers,


Do it smack at once, and I will explain to M - - why I did it. It is
simply done to ease her mind. When you have settled, write, and I'll
send the bank notes to you twice, in halves.

Deduct from it your share in broken bottles, which, you being capital in
your lists, I take to be two shillings. Do it as you love Mary and me.
Then Elia's himself again.



[March 6, 1833.]

Dear Friend - Thee hast sent a Christian epistle to me, and I should not
feel clear if I neglected to reply to it, which would have been sooner
if that vain young man, to whom thou didst intrust it, had not kept it
back. We should rejoice to see thy outward man here, especially on a day
which should not be a first day, being liable to worldly callers in on
that day. Our little book is delayed by a heathenish injunction,
threatened by the man Taylor. Canst thou copy and send, or bring with
thee, a vanity in verse which in my younger days I wrote on friend
Aders' pictures? Thou wilt find it in the book called the Table Book.

Tryphena and Tryphosa, whom the world calleth Mary and Emma, greet you
with me.


6th of 3d month 4th day.

[On this letter is written by Hone in pencil: "This acknowledges a note
from me to C.L. written in January preceding and sent by young Will
Hazlitt. Received in my paralysis. March, 1833."

On this day Lamb gave Hone two books with the same inscription in
each - very tipsily written.]



[P.M. March 19, 1833.]

I shall _expect_ Forster and two Moxons on Sunday, and _hope_ for

I am obliged to be in town next Monday. Could we contrive to make a
party (paying or not is immaterial) for Miss Kelly's that night, and can
you shelter us after the play, I mean Emma and me? I fear, I cannot
persuade Mary to join us.

N.B. _I can sleep at a public house._

Send an Elia (mind, I _insist_ on buying it) to T. Manning Esq. at Sir
G. Tuthill's Cavendish Square.


[Miss Kelly was then giving an entertainment called "Dramatic
Recollections" at the Strand Theatre.]



[No date. ? Spring, 1833.]

One o Clock.

This instant receiv'd, this instant I answer your's - Dr. Cresswell has
one copy, which I cannot just now re-demand, because at his desire I
have sent a "Satan" to him, which when he ask'd for, I frankly told him,
was imputed a lampoon on HIM!!! I have sent it him, and cannot, till we
come to explanation, go to him or send -

But on the faith of a Gentleman, you shall have it back some day _for
another_. The 3 I send. I think 2 of the blunders perfectly immaterial.
But your feelings, and I fear _pocket_, is every thing. I have just time
to pack this off by the 2 o Clock stage. Yours till me meet

At all events I behave more gentlemanlike than Emma did, in returning
the copies.

Yours till we meet - DO COME.

Bring the Sonnets -

Why not publish 'em? - or let another Bookseller?

[Dr. Cresswell was vicar of Edmonton. Having married the daughter of a
tailor - or so Mr. Fuller Russell states in his account of a conversation
with Lamb in _Notes and Queries_ - he was in danger of being ribaldly
associated with Satan's matrimonial adventures in Lamb's ballad. I
cannot explain to what book Lamb refers: possibly to the _Last Essays of
Elia_, which Moxon, having found errors in, wished to withdraw,
substituting another. The point probably cannot be cleared up. The
sonnets would be Moxon's own, which he had printed privately (see a
later letter).]



[P.M. March 30, 1833.]

D'r M. Emma and we are _delighted_ with the Sonnets, and she with her
nice Walton. Mary is deep in the novel. Come as early as you can. I
stupidly overlookd your proposal to meet you in Green Lanes, for in some
strange way I _burnt my leg_, shin-quarter, at Forster's;* it is laid up
on a stool, and Asbury attends. You'll see us all as usual, about
Taylor, when you come.

Yours ever


*Or the night I came home, for I felt it not bad till yesterday. But I
scarce can hobble across the room.

I have secured 4 places for night: in haste.

Mary and E. do not dream of any thing we have discussed.

[I fancy that the last sentence refers to an offer for Miss Isola's hand
which Moxon had just made to Lamb.]



[No date. Spring, 1833.]

Dear M. many thanks for the Books; the _Faust_ I will acknowledge to the
Author. But most thanks for one immortal sentence, "If I do not _cheat_
him, never _trust_ me again." I do not know whether to admire most, the
wit or justness of the sentiment. It has my cordial approbation. My
sense of meum and tuum applauds it. I maintain it, the eighth
commandment hath a secret special reservation, by which the reptile is
exempt from any protection from it; as a dog, or a nigger, he is not a
holder of property. Not a ninth of what he detains from the world is his
own. Keep your hands from picking and stealing is no ways referable to
his acquists. I doubt whether bearing false witness against thy neighbor
at all contemplated this possible scrub. Could Moses have seen the speck
in vision? An ex post facto law alone could relieve him, and we are
taught to expect no eleventh commandment. The out-law to the Mosaic
dispensation! - unworthy to have seen Moses' behind - to lay his
desecrating hands upon Elia! Has the irriverent ark-toucher been struck
blind I wonder - ? The more I think of him, the less I think of him. His
meanness is invisible with aid of solar microscope, my moral eye smarts
at him. The less flea that bites little fleas! The great Beast! the
beggarly nit!

More when we meet.

Mind, you'll come, two of you - and couldn't you go off in the morning,
that we may have a daylong curse at him, if curses are not dis-hallowed
by descending so low? Amen.

Maledicatur in extremis.

[Abraham Hayward's translation of Faust was published by Moxon in
February, 1833. Lamb's letter of thanks was said by the late Edmund
Yates to be a very odd one. I have not seen it.

We may perhaps assume that Moxon's reply to Lamb's letter stating that
Taylor's claim had been paid contained the "immortal sentence."

"Not a ninth." A tailor (Taylor) is only a ninth of a man.

"The less flea." Remembering Swift's lines in "On Poetry, a Rhapsody": -

So, naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em,
And so proceed _ad infinitum_.]



[No date. ? March, 1833.]

Swallow your damn'd dinner and your brandy and water fast -

& come immediately

I want to take Knowles in to Emma's only female friend for 5 minutes
only, and we are free for the even'g.

I'll do a Prologue.

[The prologue was for Sheridan Knowles' play "The Wife." Lamb wrote both
prologue and epilogue (see Vol. IV.).]



[No date. ? April 10, 1833.]

Dear M. The first Oak sonnet, and the Nightingale, may show their faces
in any Annual unblushing. Some of the others are very good.

The Sabbath too much what you have written before.

You are destined to shine in Sonnets, I tell you.

Shall we look for you Sunday, we did in vain Good Friday [April 5].

[_A signature was added by Mrs. Moxon for Mr. Frederick Locker-Lampson,
evidently from another letter_: - ]

Your truest friend




[No date. April, 1833.]

D'r Sir, I read your note in a moment of great perturbation with my
Landlady and chuck'd it in the fire, as I should have done an epistle of
Paul, but as far as my Sister recalls the import of it, I reply. The
Sonnets (36 of them) have never been printed, much less published, till
the other day,* save that a few of 'em have come out in Annuals. Two
vols., of poetry of M.'s, have been publish'd, but they were not these.
The "Nightingale" has been in one of the those gewgaws, the Annuals;
whether the other I sent you has, or not, penitus ignoro. But for
heaven's sake do with 'em what you like.



*The proof sheets only were in my hand about a fortnight ago.

[Moxon's sonnets were reviewed, probably by Lamb, in _The Athenaeum_ for
April 13, 1833. The sonnet to the nightingale (see above) was quoted.
This review will be found in Vol. I. of the present edition.]



[P.M. April (16), 1833.]

Dear Mrs. Ayrton, I do not know which to admire most, your kindness, or
your patience, in copying out that intolerable rabble of panegryc from
over the Atlantic. By the way, now your hand is in, I wish you would
copy out for me the l3th l7th and 24th of Barrow's sermons in folio, and
all of Tillotson's (folio also) except the first, which I have in
Manuscript, and which, you know, is Ayrton's favorite. Then - but I won't
trouble you any farther just now. Why does not A come and see me? Can't
he and Henry Crabbe concert it? 'Tis as easy as lying is to me. Mary's
kindest love to you both.


[The letter is accompanied by a note in the writing of William Scrope
Ayrton, the son of William Ayrton, copied from Mrs. Ayrton's Diary: -

"March 17, 1833. - Copied a critique upon Elia's works from the Mirror of
America a sort of news paper."]



[P.M. April 25, 1833.]

My dear Moxon, We perfectly agree in your arrangement. _It has quite set
my sister's mind at rest._ She will come with you on Sunday, and return
at eve, and I will make comfortable arrangem'ts with the Buffams. We
desire to have you here dining unWestwooded, and I will try and get you
a bottle of choice port. I have transferr'd the stock I told you to
Emma. The plan of the Buffams steers admirably between two niceties.
Tell Emma we thoroughly approve it. As our damnd Times is a day after
the fair, I am setting off to Enfield Highway to see in a morning paper
(alas! the Publican's) how the play ran. Pray, bring 4 orders for Mr.
Asbury - undated.

In haste (not for neglect)

Yours ever



[Lamb evidently refers to Moxon's engagement to Miss Isola being now

The play was Sheridan Knowles' "The Wife," produced on April 24.

The Buffams were the landladies of the house in Southampton Buildings,
where Lamb lodged in town.]



[P.M. April 27, 1833.]

Dear M. Mary and I are very poorly. Asbury says tis nothing but
influenza. Mr. W. appears all but dying, he is delirious. Mrs. W. was
taken so last night, that Mary was obliged at midnight to knock up Mrs.
Waller to come and sit up with her. We have had a sick child, who
sleeping, or not sleeping, next me with a pasteboard partition between,
killed my sleep. The little bastard is gone. My bedfellows are Cough and
cramp, we sleep 3 in a bed. Domestic arrangem'ts (Blue Butcher and all)
devolve on Mary. Don't come yet to this house of pest and age. We
propose when E. and you agree on the time, to come up and meet her at
the Buffams', say a week hence, but do you make the appointm't. The
Lachlans send her their love.

I do sadly want those 2 last Hogarths - and an't I to have the Play?

Mind our spirits are good and we are happy in your happiness_es_.


Our old and ever loves to dear Em.

["Mr. W." was Mr. Westwood. - I know nothing of the Lachlans. - The Play
would be "The Wife" probably. - Miss Isola was, I imagine, staying with
the Moxons.]



May 7, 1833.

By a strange occurrence we have quitted Enfield for ever. Oh! the happy
eternity! Who is Vicar or Lecturer for that detestable place concerns us
not. But Asbury, surgeon and a good fellow, has offered to get you a
Mover and Seconder, and you may use my name freely to him. Except him
and Dr. Creswell, I have no respectable acquaintance in the dreary
village. At least my friends are all in the _public_ line, and it might
not suit to have it moved at a special vestry by John Gage at the Crown
and Horseshoe, licensed victualler, and seconded by Joseph Horner of the
Green Dragon, ditto, that the Rev. J.G. is a fit person to be Lecturer,

My dear James, I wish you all success, but am too full of my own
emancipation almost to congratulate anyone else. With both our loves to
your father and mother and glorious S.T.C.



[The Rev. James Gillman was the eldest son of Coleridge's physician and
friend. He was born in 1808 and ordained in 1831. He thought in 1833 of
standing as candidate for the vicarship of Enfield, but did not obtain
it. After acting as Under Master of Highgate Grammar School he became in
1836 Rector of Barfreystone, in Kent. In 1847 he became Vicar of Holy
Trinity, Lambeth. He died in 1877.

Mary Lamb having become ill again had been moved to Edmonton, to a
private home for mental patients. Lamb followed her soon after, and
settled in the same house. It still stands (1912) almost exactly as in
the Lambs' day.]



[No date. May, 1833.]

D'r F. Can you oblige me by sending 4 Box orders undated for the Olympic
Theatre? I suppose Knowles can get 'em. It is for the Waldens, with whom
I live. The sooner, the better, that they may not miss the "Wife" - I
meet you at the Talfourds' Saturday week, and if they can't, perhaps you
can, give me a bed.

Yours ratherish unwell


Mr. Walden's, Church Street, Edmonton.

Or write immediately to say if you can't get em.

[Knowles' play "The Wife," produced at Covent Garden, was moved to the
Olympic on May 9.]



[P.M. May 12, 1833.]

Dear Boy, I send you the original Elias, complete. When I am a little
composed, I shall hope to see you and Proctor here; may be, may see you
first in London.


[In the Dyce and Forster collection, at South Kensington, are preserved
some of these MSS.

Here should come a letter to Miss Rickman, dated May 23, 1833. "Perhaps,
as Miss Kelly is just now in notoriety, it may amuse you to know that
'Barbara S.' is _all_ of it true of _her_, being all communicated to
from her own mouth. The 'wedding' you of course found out to be Sally



End of May nearly, [1833].

Dear Wordsworth, Your letter, save in what respects your dear Sister's
health, chear'd me in my new solitude. Mary is ill again. Her illnesses
encroach yearly. The last was three months, followed by two of
depression most dreadful. I look back upon her earlier attacks with
longing. Nice little durations of six weeks or so, followed by complete
restoration - shocking as they were to me then. In short, half her life
she is dead to me, and the other half is made anxious with fears and
lookings forward to the next shock. With such prospects, it seem'd to me
necessary that she should no longer live with me, and be fluttered with
continual removals, so I am come to live with her, at a Mr. Walden's and
his wife, who take in patients, and have arranged to lodge and board us
only. They have had the care of her before. I see little of her; alas! I
too often hear her. Sunt lachrymae rerum - and you and I must bear it -

To lay a little more load on it, a circumstance has happen'd, _cujus
pars magna fui_, and which at another crisis I should have more rejoiced
in. I am about to lose my old and only walk-companion, whose mirthful
spirits were the "youth of our house," Emma Isola. I have her here now
for a little while, but she is too nervous properly to be under such a
roof, so she will make short visits, be no more an inmate. With my
perfect approval, and more than concurrence, she is to be wedded to
Moxon at the end of Aug'st. So "perish the roses and the flowers" - how
is it?

Now to the brighter side, I am emancipated from most _hated_ and
_detestable_ people, the Westwoods. I am with attentive people, and
younger - I am 3 or 4 miles nearer the Great City, Coaches half-price
less, and going always, of which I will avail myself. I have few friends
left there, one or two tho' most beloved. But London Streets and faces
cheer me inexpressibly, tho' of the latter not one known one were

Thank you for your cordial reception of Elia. Inter nos the Ariadne is
not a darling with me, several incongruous things are in it, but in the
composition it served me as illustrative

I want you in the popular fallacies to like the "Home that is no home"
and "rising with the lark."

I am feeble, but chearful in this my genial hot weather, - walk'd 16
miles yesterd'y. I can't read much in Summer time. With very kindest
love to all and prayers for dear Dorothy,

I remain

most attachedly yours


at mr. walden's, church street, _edmonton_, middlesex.

Moxon has introduced Emma to Rogers, and he smiles upon the project. I
have given E. my MILTON - will you pardon me? - in part of a _portion_. It
hangs famously in his Murray-like shop.

[_On the wrapper is written_: - ]

D'r M[oxon], inclose this in a better-looking paper, and get it frank'd,
and good by'e till Sund'y. Come early -


["The Ariadne." See the essay on "Barrenness of the Imaginative
Faculty," where Titian's "Bacchus and Ariadne" in the National Gallery
is highly praised (see Vol. II.). Wordsworth's favourite essays in this
volume were "The Wedding" and "Old China."

"My Milton." Against the reference to the portrait of Milton, in the
postscript, some one, possibly Wordsworth, has pencilled a note, now
only partially legible. It runs thus: "It had been proposed by L. that
W.W. should be the Possessor of [? this picture] his friend and that
afterwards it was to be bequeathed to Christ's Coll. Cambridge."

Lamb had given Wordsworth in 1820 a copy of _Paradise Regained_, 1671,
with this inscription: "C. Lamb to the best Knower of Milton, and
therefore the worthiest occupant of this pleasant Edition. June 2'd



[Dated at end:] Mr. Walden's, Church Street, Edmonton, May 31, 1833.

Dear Mrs. Hazlitt, - I will assuredly come, and find you out, when I am
better. I am driven from house and home by Mary's illness. I took a
sudden resolution to take my sister to Edmonton, where she was under
medical treatment last time, and have arranged to board and lodge with
the people. Thank God, I have repudiated Enfield. I have got out of
hell, despair of heaven, and must sit down contented in a half-way
purgatory. Thus ends this strange eventful history -

But I am nearer town, and will get up to you somehow before long -

I repent not of my resolution.

'Tis late, and my hand unsteady, so good b'ye till we meet.

Your old




June 5, 1833.

Dear Mary Betham, - I remember You all, and tears come out when I think
on the years that have separated us. That dear Anne should so long have
remembered us affects me. My dear Mary, my poor sister is not, nor will
be for two months perhaps capable of appreciating the _kind old long
memory_ of dear Anne.

But not a penny will I take, and I can answer for my Mary when she
recovers, if the sum left can contribute in any way to the comfort of

We will halve it, or we will take a bit of it, as a token, rather than
wrong her. So pray consider it as an amicable arrangement. I write in
great haste, or you won't get it before you go.

_We do not want the money_; but if dear Matilda does not much want it,
why, we will take our thirds. God bless you.


[Miss Betham's sister, Anne, who had just died, had left thirty pounds
to Mary Lamb. Mr. Ernest Betham allows me to take this note from _A
House of Letters_.]



[June 5, 1833.]

Dear Miss Betham, - I sit down, very poorly, to write to you, being come
to _Mr. Walden's, Church Street, Edmonton_, to be altogether with poor
Mary, who is very ill, as usual, only that her illnesses are now as many
months as they used to be weeks in duration - the reason your letter only
just found me. I am saddened with the havoc death has made in your
family. I do not know how to appreciate the kind regard of dear Anne;
Mary will understand it two months hence, I hope; but neither she nor I
would rob you, if the legacy will be of use to, or comfort to you. My
hand shakes so I can hardly write. On Saturday week I must come to town,
and will call on you in the morning before one o'clock. Till when I take
kindest leave.

Your old Friend,


[Here should come a note from Lamb to Mrs. Randal Norris, postmarked
July 10, 1833, which encloses a note from Joseph Jekyll, the Old
Bencher, thanking Lamb for a presentation copy of the _Last Essays of
Elia_ ("I hope not the last Essays of Elia") and asking him to accompany
Mrs. Norris and her daughters on a visit to him. Jekyll adds that "poor
George Dyer, blind, but as usual chearful and content, often gives ...
good accounts of you."

Here should come notes to Allsop, declining an invitation to Highgate,
and to a Mr. Tuff, warning him to be quick to use some theatre tickets
which Lamb had sent him.]



[P.M. July 14, 1833.]

Dear M. the Hogarths are _delicate_. Perhaps it will amuse Emma to tell
her, that, a day or two since, Miss Norris (Betsy) call'd to me on the
road from London from a gig conveying her to Widford, and engaged me to

Online LibraryCharles LambThe Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 6 Letters 1821-1842 → online text (page 35 of 43)