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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Letters: 1804

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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[Dated at end: Feb. 14, 1804.]

DEAR Sir—I am sorry we have not been able to hear of lodgings to suit young F. but we will not desist in the enquiry. In a day or two something may turn up. Boarding houses are common enough, but to find a family where he would be safe from impositions within & impositions without is not so easy.—


I take this opportunity of thanking you for your kind attentions to the Lad I took the liberty of recommending. His mother was disposed to have taken in young F. but could not possibly make room.

Your obliged &c.
C. Lamb

[I do not know to what lads the note refers, but probably young F. was young Fricker, the brother of Mrs. Coleridge and Mrs. Southey. The note is interesting only as giving another instance of Lamb’s willing helpfulness to others.]

[p.m. March 10, 1804.]

DR C. I blunderd open this letter, its weight making me conjecture it held an inclosure; but finding it poetry (which is no man’s ground, but waste and common) I perused it. Do you remember that you are to come to us to-night?

C. L.
To Mr. Coleridge,
Mr. Tobin’s,
Barnards Inn, Holborn.

[This is written on the back of a paper addressed to Mr. Lamb, India House, containing a long extract from “Madoc” in Southey’s hand.

Coleridge, having been invited by Stoddart to Malta, was now in London on his way thither. Tobin was probably James Webbe Tobin, brother of John Tobin, the solicitor and dramatist.

Between this letter and the next comes a letter from Lamb to Robert Lloyd, dated at the end March 13, 1804, in which Lamb congratulates Robert Lloyd on his approaching marriage to Hannah Hart. The wedding was celebrated on August 3, 1804.]

[No date, ? March, 1804.]

MY dearest Sarah,—I will Just write a few hasty lines to say Coleridge is setting off sooner than we expected; and I every moment expect him to call in one of his great hurrys for this. Charles intended to write by him, but has not: most likely he will send a letter after him to Portsmouth: if he does, you will certainly hear from him soon. We rejoiced with exceeding joy to hear of your safe arrival: I hope your brother will return home in a few years a very rich man. Seventy pounds in one fortnight is a pretty beginning—

I envy your brother the pleasure of seeing Coleridge drop in unexpectedly upon him; we talk—but it is but wild and idle talk—of following him: he is to get my brother some little snug place of a thousand a year, and we are to leave all, and come and live among ye. What a pretty dream.

Coleridge is very ill. I dread the thoughts of his long voyage—write as soon as he arrives, whether he does or not, and tell me how he is.

Jamaica bodies . . . [words illegible].

He has got letters of recommendation to Governor Ball, and God knows who; and he will talk and talk, and be universally admired. But I wish to write for him a letter of recommendation to Mrs. Stoddart, and to yourself, to take upon ye, on his first arrival, to be kind affectionate nurses; and mind, now, that you perform this duty faithfully, and write me a good account of yourself. Behave to him as you would to me, or to Charles, if we came sick and unhappy to you.

I have no news to send you; Coleridge will tell you how we are going on. Charles has lost the newspaper; but what we dreaded as an evil has proved a great blessing, for we have both strangely recovered our health and spirits since this has happened; and I hope, when I write next, I shall be able to tell you Charles has begun something which will produce a little money; for it is not well to be very poor—which we certainly are at this present writing.

I sit writing here, and thinking almost you will see it to-morrow; and what a long, long time it will be ere you receive this—When I saw your letter, I fancy’d you were even just then in the first bustle of a new reception, every moment seeing new faces, and staring at
new objects, when, at that time, every thing had become familiar to you; and the strangers, your new dancing partners, had perhaps become gossiping fireside friends. You tell me of your gay, splendid doings; tell me, likewise, what manner of home-life you lead—Is a quiet evening in a Maltese drawing room as pleasant as those we have passed in Mitre Court and Bell yard?—Tell me all about it, every thing pleasant, and every thing unpleasant, that befalls you.

I want you to say a great deal about yourself. Are you happy? and do you not repent going out? I wish I could see you for one hour only.

Remember me affectionately to your sister and brother; and tell me, when you write, if Mrs. Stoddart likes Malta, and how the climate agrees with her and with thee.

We heard you were taken prisoners, and for several days believed the tale.

How did the pearls, and the fine court finery, bear the fatigues of the voyage, and how often have they been worn and admired?

Rickman wants to know if you are going to be married yet—satisfy him in that little particular when you write.

The Fenwicks send their love, and Mrs. Reynolds her love, and the little old lady her best respects.

Mrs. Jefferies, who I see now and then, talks of you with tears in her eyes, and, when she heard you was taken prisoner, Lord! how frightened she was. She has heard, she tells me, that Mr. Stoddart is to have a pension of two thousand a year, whenever he chuses to return to England.

God bless you, and send you all manner of comforts and happinesses.

Your most affectionate friend,
Mary Lamb.

How-do? how-do? No time to write. S. T. C. going off in a great hurry.

Ch. Lamb.

[Miss Stoddart was now in Malta. Governor Ball was Sir Alexander Ball, to whom Coleridge was to act as private secretary and of whom he wrote some years later in The Friend.

“Charles has lost the newspaper”—his work on the Morning Post. Lamb’s principal period on this paper had begun after Stuart sold it in September, 1803, and it lasted until February, 1804 (see notes to Elia, Vol. II. of this edition).

“We heard you were taken prisoners”—by the French.

Mrs. Reynolds”—Lamb’s old schoolmistress and pensioner. Mrs. Jefferies I do not know.]

[p.m. April 4, 1804.]

Mary would send her best love, but I write at office.

Thursday [April 5].

The £l came safe.

MY dear C.—I but just received your commission-abounding letter. All shall be done. Make your European heart easy in Malta, all shall be performed. You say I am to transcribe off part of your letters and: send to X somebody (but the name is lost under the wafer, so you must give it me)—I suppose Wordswth.

I have been out of town since Saturday, the reason I had not your letter before. N.B. N.B. Knowing I had 2 or 3 Easter holydays, it was my intention to have ask’d you if my accompanying you to Portsmth would have been pleasant. But you were not visible, except just at the critical moment of going off from the Inn, at which time I could not get at you. So Deus aliter disposuit, and I went down into Hertfordshire.

I write in great bustle indeed—God bless you again. Attend to what I have written mark’d X above, and don’t merge any part of your Orders under seal again.

C. Lamb.

[Addressed to “S. T. Coleridge, Esqr., J. C. Mottley’s, Esqr., Portsmouth, Hants.”

Coleridge had left London for Portsmouth on March 27; he sailed for Malta on April 9.

Deus aliter disposuit”—“God ordered otherwise.”]

[Dated at end: Temple, 4th May, 1804.]

DEAR Sir—I have no sort of connexion with the Morning Post at present, nor acquaintance with its late Editor (the present Editor of the Courier) to ask a favour of him with pro-
priety; but if it will be of any use, I believe I could get the insertions into the
British Press (a Morning Paper) through a friend.—

Yours truly
C. Lamb.
[Dated at end: Temple, 5 May 1804.]

DEAR Sir—I can get the insertions into the British Press without any difficulty at all. I am only sorry that I have no interest in the M. Post, having so much greater circulation. If your friend chuses it, you will be so good as to return me the Critique, of which I forgot to take a copy, and I suppose on Monday or Tuesday it will be in. The sooner I have it, the better.

Yours &c.
C. Lamb.

I did formerly assist in the Post, but have no longer any engagement.—


[Stuart, having sold the Morning Post, was now developing the Courier. The notes are interesting only as showing Lamb’s attitude to Stuart. Writing to the Gentleman’s Magazine in June, 1838, concerning his association as editor with Coleridge, Stuart said: “But as for good Charles Lamb, I never could make any-thing of his writings. Coleridge often and repeatedly pressed me to settle him on a salary, and often and repeatedly did I try; but it would not do. Of politics he knew nothing; they were out of his line of reading and thought; and his drollery was vapid, when given in short paragraphs fit for a newspaper: yet he has produced some agreeable books, possessing a tone of humour and kind feeling, in a quaint style, which it is amusing to read, and cheering to remember.”]

[Dated at end: June 2, 1804.]

DEAR Miss Wordsworth, the task of letter-writing in my family falls to me; you are the organ of correspondence in yours, so I address you rather than your brother. We are all
sensibly obliged to you for the little scraps (Arthur’s Bower and his brethren) which you sent up; the bookseller has got them and paid
Mrs. Fenwick for them. So while some are authors for fame, some for money, you have commenced author for charity. The least we can do, is to see your commissions fulfilled; accordingly I have booked this 2d June 1804 from the Waggon Inn in Cripplegate the watch and books which I got from your brother Richard, together with Purchas’s Pilgrimage and Brown’s Religio Medici which I desire your brother’s acceptance of, with some pens, of which I observed no great frequency when I tarried at Grasmere. (I suppose you have got Coleridge’s letter)—These things I have put up in a deal box directed to Mr. Wordsworth, Grasmere, near Ambleside, Kendal, by the Kendal waggon. At the same time I have sent off a parcel by C.’s desire to Mr. T. Hutchinson to the care of Mr. “T. Monkhouse, or T. Markhouse” (for C.’s writing is not very plain) Penrith, by the Penrith waggon this day; which I beg you to apprize them of, lest my direction fail. In your box, you will find a little parcel for Mrs. Coleridge, which she wants as soon as possible; also for yourselves the Cotton, Magnesia, bark and Oil, which come to £2. 3. 4. thus
  Thread and needles 17 . 0 
  Magnesia 8 . 0 
  Oil 9 . 8 
    8 . 8 
  packing case 2. 3. 4 
    2 . 6 
    2 . 5 . 10 
  deduct a guinea I owe you, which C. was to pay,
but did not
1 . 1 .—  
  leaves you indebted 1 . 4 . 10 
whereby you may see how punctual I am.

I conclude with our kindest remembrances to your brother and Mrs. W.

We hear, the young John is a Giant.

And should you see Charles Lloyd, pray forget to give my love to him.

Yours truly, Dr Miss W.
C. Lamb.
June 2, 1804.

I send you two little copies of verses by Mary L—b:—

Child. “O Lady, lay your costly robes aside,
(Sings) No longer may you glory in your pride.”
Mother. Wherefore to day art singing in mine ear
Sad songs were made so long ago, my dear?
This day I am to be a bride, you know.
Why sing sad songs were made so long ago?
Child. “O Mother lay your costly robes aside,”
For you may never be another’s bride:
That line I learnt not in the old sad song.
Mother. I pray thee, pretty one, now hold thy tongue;
Play with the bride maids, and be glad, my boy,
For thou shalt be a second father’s joy.
Child. One father fondled me upon his knee:
One father is enough alone for me.

Suggested by a print of 2 females after Leo[nardo da] Vinci, called Prudence & Beauty, which hangs up in our ro[om]. O! that you could see the print!!

The Lady Blanch, regardless of all her lovers’ fears,
To the Urseline Convent hastens, and long the Abbess hears:
“O Blanch, my child, repent thee of the courtly life ye lead.”
Blanch looked on a rose-bud, and little seem’d to heed;
She looked on the rose-bud, she looked round, and thought
On all her heart had whisper’d, and all the Nun had taught.
“I am worshipped by lovers, and brightly shines my fame,
All Christendom resoundeth the noble Blanch’s name;
Nor shall I quickly wither like the rose-bud from the tree,
My Queen-like graces shining when my beauty’s gone from me.
But when the sculptur’d marble is raised o’er my head,
And the matchless Blanch lies lifeless among the noble dead,
This saintly Lady Abbess has made me justly fear.
It nothing will avail me that I were worshipt here.”

I wish they may please you: we in these parts are not a little proud of them.

C. L.

[“The little scraps.” Professor Knight tells me that the scraps were not written but only copied by Miss Wordsworth. Arthur’s Bower ran thus:—
Arthur’s bower has broke his band,
He comes riding up the land,
The King of Scots with all his power
Cannot build up Arthur’s bower.

“Your brother Richard”—Wordsworth’s eldest brother. “Purchas’s Pilgrimage.” Samuel Purchas (1575?-1626) was the author of Purchas His Pilgrimage, 1613; Purchas His Pil-
grim, 1619; and Hakluytus Posthumous, or Purchas his Pilgrimes, 1625. This last is Purchas’s best work, and is probably that which
Lamb sent to Grasmere.

Mary Lamb’s two poems, her earliest that we know, with the exception of “Helen” (see page 183), were printed in the Works, 1818.]

[Late July, 1804.]

MY dearest Sarah,—Your letter, which contained the news of Coleridge’s arrival, was a most welcome one; for we had begun to entertain very unpleasant apprehensions for his safety; and your kind reception of the forlorn wanderer gave me the greatest pleasure, and I thank you for it in my own and my brother’s name. I shall depend upon you for hearing of his welfare; for he does not write himself; but, as long as we know he is safe, and in such kind friends’ hands, we do not mind. Your letters, my dear Sarah, are to me very, very precious ones. They are the kindest, best, most natural ones I ever received. The one containing the news of the arrival of Coleridge perhaps the best I ever saw; and your old friend Charles is of my opinion. We sent it off to Mrs. Coleridge and the Wordsworths—as well because we thought it our duty to give them the first notice we had of our dear friend’s safety, as that we were proud of shewing our Sarah’s pretty letter.

The letters we received a few days after from you and your brother were far less welcome ones. I rejoiced to hear your sister is well; but I grieved for the loss of the dear baby; and I am sorry to find your brother is not so successful as he at first expected to be; and yet I am almost tempted to wish his ill fortune may send him over [to] us again. He has a friend, I understand, who is now at the head of the Admiralty; why may he not return, and make a fortune here?

I cannot condole with you very sincerely upon your little failure in the fortune-making way. If you regret it, so do I. But I hope to see you a comfortable English wife; and the forsaken, forgotten William, of English-partridge memory, I have still a hankering after. However, I thank you for your frank communication, and I beg you will continue it in future; and if I do not agree with a good grace to your having a Maltese husband, I will wish you
happy, provided you make it a part of your marriage articles that your husband shall allow you to come over sea and make me one visit; else may neglect and overlookedness be your portion while you stay there.

I would condole with you when the misfortune has fallen your poor leg; but such is the blessed distance we are at from each other, that I hope, before you receive this, that you forgot it ever happened.

Our compliments [to] the high ton at the Maltese court. Your brother is so profuse of them to me, that being, as you know, so unused to them, they perplex me sadly; in future, I beg they may be discontinued. They always remind me of the free, and, I believe, very improper, letter I wrote to you while you were at the Isle of Wight. The more kindly you and your brother and sister took the impertinent advice contained in it, the more certain I feel that it was unnecessary, and therefore highly improper. Do not let your brother compliment me into the memory of it again.

My brother has had a letter from your Mother, which has distressed him sadly—about the postage of some letters being paid by my brother. Your silly brother, it seems, has informed your Mother (I did not think your brother could have been so silly) that Charles had grumbled at paying the said postage. The fact was, just at that time we were very poor, having lost the Morning Post, and we were beginning to practise a strict economy. My brother, who never makes up his mind whether he will be a Miser or a Spendthrift, is at all times a strange mixture of both: of this failing, the even economy of your correct brother’s temper makes him an ill judge. The miserly part of Charles, at that time smarting under his recent loss, then happened to reign triumphant; and he would not write, or let me write, so often as he wished, because the postage cost two and four pence. Then came two or three of your poor Mother’s letters nearly together; and the two and four pences he wished, but grudged, to pay for his own, he was forced to pay for hers. In this dismal distress, he applied to Fenwick to get his friend Motley to send them free from Portsmouth. This Mr. Fenwick could have done for half a word’s speaking; but this he did not do. Then Charles foolishly and unthinkingly complained to your brother in a half serious, half joking way; and your brother has wickedly, and with malice afore thought, told your Mother. O fye upon him! what will your Mother think of us?

I too feel my share of blame in this vexatious business; for I saw the unlucky paragraph in my brother’s letter; and I had a kind of foreboding that it would come to your Mother’s ears—although I had a higher opinion of your brother’s good sense than I find he deserved. By entreaties and prayers, I might have pre-
vailed on my brother to say nothing about it. But I make a point of conscience never to interfere or cross my brother in the humour he happens to be in. It always appears to me to be a vexatious kind of Tyranny, that women have no business to exercise over men, which, merely because they having a better judgement, they have the power to do. Let men alone, and at last we find they come round to the right way, which we, by a kind of intuition, perceive at once. But better, far better, that we should let them often do wrong, than that they should have the torment of a Monitor always at their elbows.

Charles is sadly fretted now, I know, at what to say to your Mother. I have made this long preamble about it to induce [you,] if possible, to reinstate us in your Mother’s good graces. Say to her it was a jest misunderstood; tell her Charles Lamb is not the shabby fellow she and her son took him for; but that he is now and then a trifle whimsical or so. I do not ask your brother to do this, for I am offended with him for the mischief he has made.

I feel that I have too lightly passed over the interesting account you sent me of your late disappointment. It was not because I did not feel and compl[ete]ly enter into the affair with you. You surprise and please me with the frank and generous way in which you deal with your Lovers, taking a refusal from their so prudential hearts with a better grace and more good humour than other women accept a suitor’s service. Continue this open artless conduct, and I trust you will at last find some man who has sense enough to know you are well worth risking a peaceable life of poverty for. I shall yet live to see you a poor, but happy, English wife.

Remember me most affectionately to Coleridge; and I thank you again and again for all your kindness to him. To dear Mrs. Stoddart and your brother, I beg my best love; and to you all I wish health and happiness, and a soon return to Old England.

I have sent to Mr. Burrel’s for your kind present; but unfortunately he is not in town. I am impatient to see my fine silk handkerchiefs; and I thank you for them, not as a present, for I do not love presents, but as a [word illegible] remembrance of your old friend. Farewell.

I am, my best Sarah,
Your most affectionate friend,
Mary Lamb.

Good wishes, and all proper remembrances, from old nurse, Mrs. Jeffries, Mrs. Reynolds, Mrs. Rickman, &c. &c. &c.

Long live Queen Hoop-oop-oop-oo, and all the old merry phantoms!

[Charles Lamb adds:—]

My Dear Miss Stoddart,—Mary has written so fully to you, that I have nothing to add but that, in all the kindness she has exprest, and loving desire to see you again, I bear my full part. You will, perhaps, like to tear this half from the sheet, and give your brother only his strict due, the remainder. So I will just repay your late kind letter with this short postscript to hers. Come over here, and let us all be merry again.

C. Lamb.

[Coleridge reached Valetta on May 18, 1804; but no opportunity to send letters home occurred until June 5. Miss Stoddart seems to have given up all her lovers at home in the hope of finding one in Malta.

“The blessed distance.” Here Mary Lamb throws out an idea afterwards developed by her brother in the Elia essay on “Distant Correspondents.”

Lamb’s letter to Stoddart containing the complaint as to postage no longer exists. Mrs. Stoddart, Sarah’s mother, had remained in England, at Salisbury.

Of Mr. Burrel I know nothing, nor can I explain Queen Hoopoop-oop-oo.

Here should come a letter from Lamb to Robert Lloyd, dated September 13, 1804, not available for this edition, in which Lamb expresses his inability to accept an invitation, having had a month’s holiday at Richmond. After alluding to Priscilla Lloyd’s approaching marriage (to Christopher Wordsworth) he says that these new nuptials do not make him the less satisfied with his bachelor state.]

[p.m. October 13, 1804.]

(Turn over leaf for more letters.)

DEAR Wordsworth—I have not forgot your commissions. But the truth is, and why should I not confess it? I am not plethorically abounding in Cash at this present. Merit, God knows, is very little rewarded; but it does not become me to speak of myself.
My motto is “Contented with little, yet wishing for more.” Now the books you wish for would require some pounds, which I am sorry to say I have not by me: so I will say at once, if you will give me a draft upon your town-banker for any sum you propose to lay out, I will dispose of [it] to the very best of my skill in choice old books, such as my own soul loveth. In fact, I have been waiting for the liquidation of a debt to enable myself to set about your commission handsomely, for it is a scurvy thing to cry Give me the money first, and I am the first of the family of the Lambs that have done it for many centuries: but the debt remains as it was, and my old friend that I accommodated has generously forgot it!

The books which you want I calculate at about £8.

Ben Jonson is a Guinea Book. Beaumont & Fletcher in folio, the right folio, not now to be met with; the octavos are about £3. As to any other old dramatists, I do not know where to find them except what are in Dodsley’s old plays, which are about £3 also: Massinger I never saw but at one shop, but it is now gone, but one of the editions of Dodsley contains about a fourth (the best) of his plays. Congreve and the rest of King Charles’s moralists are cheap and accessible. The works on Ireland I will enquire after, but I fear, Spenser’s is not to be had apart from his poems; I never saw it. But you may depend upon my sparing no pains to furnish you as complete a library of old Poets & Dramatists as will be prudent to buy; for I suppose you do not include the £20 edition of Hamlet, single play, which Kemble has. Marlow’s plays and poems are totally vanished; only one edition of Dodsley retains one, and the other two, of his plays: but John Ford is the man after Shakespear. Let me know your will and pleasure soon: for I have observed, next to the pleasure of buying a bargain for one’s self is the pleasure of persuading a friend to buy it. It tickles one with the image of an imprudency without the penalty usually annex’d.

C. Lamb.
(Second part of Letter 122)
[p.m. October 13, 1804.]

MY dear Miss Wordsworth—I writ a letter immediately upon the receipt of yours, to thank you for sending me the welcome tidings of your little niece’s birth, and Mrs. Wordsworth’s
safety, & waited till I could get a frank to send it in. Not being able to procure one, I will defer my thanks no longer for fear Mrs. Wordsworth should add another little baby to your family, before my congratulations on the birth of the little
Dorothy arrive.

I hope Mrs. Wordsworth, & the pretty baby, & the young philosopher, are well: they are three strangers to me whom I have a longing desire to be acquainted with.

My brother desires me not to send such a long gossiping letter as that I had intended for you, because he wishes to fill a large share of the paper with his acknowledgments to Mr. Wordsworth for his letters, which he considers as a very uncommon favor, your brother seldom writing letters. I must beg my brother will tell Mr. Wordsworth how very proud he has made me also by praising my poor verses. Will you be so kind as to forward the opposite page to Mrs. Coleridge. This sheet of paper is quite a partnership affair. When the parliament meets you shall have a letter for your sole use.

My brother and I have been this summer to Richmond; we had a lodging there for a month, we passed the whole time there in wandering about, & comparing the views from the banks of the Thames with your mountain scenery, & tried, & wished, to persuade ourselves that it was almost as beautiful. Charles was quite a Mr. Clarkson in his admiration and his frequent exclamations, for though we had often been at Richmond for a few hours we had no idea it was so beautiful a place as we found it on a month’s intimate acquaintance.

We rejoice to hear of the good fortune of your brave sailor-brother, I should have liked to have been with you when the news first arrived.

Your very friendly invitations have made us long to be with you, and we promise ourselves to spend the first money my brother earns by writing certain books (Charles often plans but never begins) in a journey to Grasmere.

When your eyes (which I am sorry to find continue unwell) will permit you to make use of your pen again I shall be very happy to see a letter in your own hand writing.

I beg to be affectionately remembered to your brother & sister

& remain ever your affectionate friend
M. Lamb.

Compliments to old Molly.

(Third part of Letter 122)
[p.m. October 13, 1804.]

[Charles Lamb adds:—]

C. Lamb particularly desires to be remembered to Southey and all the Southeys, as well as to Mrs. C. and her little Coleridges. Mrs. C.’s letters have all been sent as Coleridge left word, to Motley’s, Portsmouth.

MY dear Mrs. Coleridge—I have had a letter written ready to send to you, which I kept, hoping to get a frank, and now I find I must write one entirely anew, for that consisted of matter not now in season, such as condolence on the illness of your children, who I hope are now quite well, & comfortings on your uncertainty of the safety of Coleridge, with wise reasons for the delay of the letters from Malta, which must now be changed for pleasant congratulations. Coleridge has not written to us, but we have had two letters from the Stoddarts since the one I sent to you, containing good accounts of him, but as I find you have had letters from himself I need not tell you the particulars.

My brother sent your letters to Mr. Motley according to Coleridge’s direction, & I have no doubt but he forwarded them.

One thing only in my poor letter the time makes no alteration in, which is that I have half a bed ready for you, & I shall rejoice with exceeding great joy to have you with me. Pray do not change your mind for I shall be sadly disappointed if you do. Will Hartley be with you? I hope he will, for you say he goes with you to Liverpool, and I conclude you come from thence to London.

I have seen your brother lately, and I find he entertains good hopes from Mr. Salte, and his present employment I hear is likely to continue a considerable time longer, so that I hope you may consider him as good as provided for. He seems very steady, and is very well spoken of at his office.

I have lately been often talking of you with Mrs. Hazlitt. William Hazlitt is painting my brother’s picture, which has brought us acquainted with the whole family. I like William Hazlitt and his sister very much indeed, & I think Mrs. Hazlitt a pretty good-humoured woman. She has a nice little girl of the
Pypos kind, who is so fond of my brother that she stops strangers in the street to tell them when Mr. Lamb is coming to see her.

I hope Mr. Southey and your sister and the little Edith are well. I beg my love to them.

God bless you, and your three little darlings, & their wandering father, who I hope will soon return to you in high health & spirits.

I remain ever your affectionate friend
Mary Lamb.

Compliments to Mr. Jackson and darling friend. I hope they are well.


[“Contented with little . . .” Adapted from Burns, “Contented wi’ Little”:—
Contented wi’ little, and cantie wi’ mair.

The Ben Jonson in Lamb’s own library was the 1692 folio; his Beaumont and Fletcher, which may be seen at the British Museum, was the folio 1647 or 1679.

Spenser’s prose work, View of the Present State of Ireland, is that referred to.

John Ford.” Lamb says in the Dramatic Specimens, 1808, “Ford was of the first order of poets.”

Dorothy Wordsworth (afterwards the wife of Edward Quillinan) was born August 16, 1804.

“Your brave sailor-brother”—John Wordsworth.

Mrs. Coleridge now had three children—Hartley, Derwent and Sara. We do not know whether or no she stayed with the Lambs, as suggested. Her brother was George Fricker.

William Hazlitt’s sister was Peggy Hazlitt. His sister-in-law, Mrs. Hazlitt, was the wife of John Hazlitt, the miniature painter.

Hazlitt’s portrait of Lamb was the one in the dress of a Venetian senator, reproduced as frontispiece to Vol. IV. of this edition. It now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.]

7 Nov., 1804.

DEAR Southey,—You were the last person from whom we heard of Dyer, and if you know where to forward the news I now send to him, I shall be obliged to you to lose no time.
D.’s sister-in-law, who lives in St. Dunstan’s Court, wrote to him about three weeks ago, to the Hope Inn, Cambridge, to inform him that Squire Houlbert, or some such name, of Denmark Hill, has died, and left her husband a thousand pounds, and two or three hundred to Dyer. Her letter got no answer, and she does not know where to direct to him; so she came to me, who am equally in the dark. Her story is, that Dyer’s immediately coming to town now, and signing some papers, will save him a considerable sum of money—how, I don’t understand; but it is very right he should hear of this. She has left me barely time for the post; so I conclude with all Love, &c., to all at Keswick.

Dyer’s brother, who, by his wife’s account, has got 1000l. left him, is father of the little dirty girl, Dyer’s niece and factotum.

In haste,
Yours truly,
C. Lamb.

If you send George this, cut off the last paragraph. D.’s laundress had a letter a few days since; but George never dates.