LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Recollections of Writers
Leigh Hunt to Mary Sabilla Novello, 18 February [1830?]

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX
John Keats
Charles Lamb
Mary Lamb
Leigh Hunt
Douglas Jerrold
Charles Dickens
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Cromwell Lane, Feb. 18.

Dear Mary,—You have seen by the Tatler how acceptable your critical epistle was; but how you must have wondered, with all your breakfast-table, at the signature “Manthele”! I have fancied you have been saying fifty times in your heart, “What the devil does he mean by ‘Manthele’”?—for ladies, you know, do say “what the devil” in their hearts, though it may not be quite bad enough for their tongues. (There; that is a dramatic surprise for you, very ingenious; for you thought I was going to say “not quite good enough,” which I own would have been less proper.) Well, Manthele should have been Melanthe (dark flower): I
thought “an amateur” not so well, because it is pretty to see ladies’ letters distinguished by ladies’ names, and so I thought I would give you a nice horticultural one, such as you would like; and I wrote or rather printed it in capitals, that there might be no mistake; and Mr. Reynolds tells me that he saw it right in the proof. He says the letters must have subsequently fallen out, when going to press, and been huddled back loosely. Never apologize, dear Mary, about books: for then what am I to do? Keep them, an you love me, and I shall think I am obliging somebody. Do you know there is somebody in the world, who owes me tenpence? It is a woman at Finchley. I bought two-pennyworth of milk of her one day, to give a draught to
Marianne; and she hadn’t change; so I left a shilling with her, and cunningly said I should call. Now I never shall call, improvident as you may think it: so that upon the principle of compound interest, her great-great-grandchildren or their great-great, or whichever great it is, will owe my posterity several millions of money. This, I hope, will give you a lively sense of the shrewdness which experience has taught me. Love, love, and ten times love, to dear Vincent.

Ever sincerely yours,
Leigh Hunt.