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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Thomas Manning, 28 December 1799

Contents vol. VI
Letters: 1796
Letters: 1797
Letters: 1798
Letters: 1799
Letters: 1800
Letters: 1801
Letters: 1802
Letters: 1803
Letters: 1804
Letters: 1805
Letters: 1806
Letters: 1807
Letters: 1808
Letters: 1809
Letters: 1810
Letters: 1811
Letters: 1812
Letters: 1814
Letters: 1815
Letters: 1816
Letters: 1817
Letters: 1818
Letters: 1819
Letters: 1820
Letters: 1821
Contents vol. VII
Letters: 1821
Letters: 1822
Letters: 1823
Letters: 1824
Letters: 1825
Letters: 1826
Letters: 1827
Letters: 1828
Letters: 1829
Letters: 1830
Letters: 1831
Letters: 1832
Letters: 1833
Letters: 1834
Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III
List of Letters
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Dec. 28th, 1799.

DEAR Manning,—Having suspended my correspondence a decent interval, as knowing that even good things may be taken to satiety, a wish cannot but recur to learn whether you be still well and happy. Do all things continue in the state I left them in Cambridge?

Do your night parties still flourish? and do you continue to bewilder your company with your thousand faces running down through all the keys of idiotism (like Lloyd over his perpetual harpsicord), from the smile and the glimmer of half-sense and quarter-sense to the grin and hanging lip of Betty Foy’s own Johnny? And does the face-dissolving curfew sound at twelve? How unlike the great originals were your petty terrors in the postscript, not fearful enough to make a fairy shudder, or a Lilliputian fine lady, eight months full of child, miscarry. Yet one of them, which had more beast than the rest, I thought faintly resembled one of your brutifications. But, seriously, I long to see your own honest Manning-face again. I did not mean a pun,—your man’s face, you will be apt to say, I know your wicked will to pun. I cannot now write to Lloyd and you too, so you must convey as much interesting intelligence as this may contain, or be thought to contain, to him and Sophia, with my dearest love and remembrances.

By the by, I think you and Sophia both incorrect with regard to the title of the play. Allowing your objection (which is not necessary, as pride may be, and is in real life often, cured by misfortunes not directly originating from its own acts, as Jeremy Taylor will tell you a naughty desire is sometimes sent to cure it—I know you read these practical divines). But allowing your objection, does not the betraying of his father’s secret directly spring from pride?—from the pride of wine and a full heart, and a proud over-stepping of the ordinary rules of morality, and con-
tempt of the prejudices of mankind, which are not to bind superior souls—“as trust in the matter of secret all ties of blood, &c., &c., keeping of promises, the feeble mind’s religion, binding our morning knowledge to the performance of what last night’s ignorance spake”—does he not prate, that “Great Spirits” must do more than die for their friend—does not the pride of wine incite him to display some evidence of friendship, which its own irregularity shall make great? This I know, that I meant his punishment not alone to be a cure for his daily and habitual pride, but the direct consequence and appropriate punishment of a particular act of pride.

If you do not understand it so, it is my fault in not explaining my meaning.

I have not seen Coleridge since, and scarcely expect to see him,—perhaps he has been at Cambridge. [See page 965.]

Need I turn over to blot a fresh clean half-sheet? merely to say, what I hope you are sure of without my repeating it, that I would have you consider me, dear Manning, Your sincere friend,

C. Lamb.

What is your proper address?