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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth [18 February 1805]

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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Produced by CATH
[p.m. February 18, 1805.]

MY dear Wordsworth, the subject of your letter has never been out of our thoughts since the day we first heard of it, and many have been our impulses towards you, to write to you, or to write to enquire about you; but it never seemed the time. We felt all your situation, and how much you would want Coleridge at such a time, and we wanted somehow to make up to you his absence, for we loved and honoured your Brother, and his death always occurs to my mind with something like a feeling of reproach, as if we ought to have been nearer acquainted, and as if there had been some incivility shown him by us, or something short of that respect which we now feel: but this is always a feeling when people die, and I should not foolishly offer a piece of refinement, instead of sympathy, if I knew any other way of making you feel how little like indifferent his loss has been to us. I have been for some time wretchedly ill and low, and your letter this morning has affected me so with a pain in my inside and a confusion, that I hardly know what to write or how. I have this
morning seen
Stewart, the 2d mate, who was saved: but he can give me no satisfactory account, having been in quite another part of the ship when your brother went down. But I shall see Gilpin tomorrow, and will communicate your thanks, and learn from him all I can. All accounts agree that just before the vessel going down, your brother seemed like one overwhelmed with the situation, and careless of his own safety. Perhaps he might have saved himself; but a Captain who in such circumstances does all he can for his ship and nothing for himself, is the noblest idea. I can hardly express myself, I am so really ill. But the universal sentiment is, that your brother did all that duty required: and if he had been more alive to the feelings of those distant ones whom he loved, he would have been at that time a less admirable object; less to be exulted in by them: for his character is high with all that I have heard speak of him, and no reproach can fix upon him. Tomorrow I shall see Gilpin, I hope, if I can get at him, for there is expected a complete investigation of the causes of the loss of the ship, at the East India House, and all the Officers are to attend: but I could not put off writing to you a moment. It is most likely I shall have something to add tomorrow, in a second letter. If I do not write, you may suppose I have not seen G. but you shall hear from me in a day or two. We have done nothing but think of you, particularly of Dorothy. Mary is crying by me while I with difficulty write this: but as long as we remember any thing, we shall remember your Brother’s noble person, and his sensible manly modest voice, and how safe and comfortable we all were together in our apartment, where I am now writing. When he returned, having been one of the triumphant China fleet, we thought of his pleasant exultation (which he exprest here one night) in the wish that he might meet a Frenchman in the seas; and it seem’d to be accomplished, all to his heart’s desire. I will conclude from utter inability to write any more, for I am seriously unwell: and because I mean to gather something like intelligence to send to you tomorrow: for as yet, I have but heard second hand, and seen one narrative, which is but a transcript of what was common to all the Papers. God bless you all, and reckon upon us as entering into all your griefs.

[Signature cut away.]