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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to William Hazlitt, [10 November 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
November 10, 1805.

DEAR Hazlitt,—I was very glad to hear from you, and that your journey was so picturesque. We miss you, as we foretold we should. One or two things have happened, which are beneath the dignity of epistolary communication, but which, seated about our fire at night, (the winter hands of pork have begun) gesture and emphasis might have talked into some importance. Something about Rickman’s wife, for instance: how tall she is and that she visits prank’d out like a Queen of the May with green streamers—a good-natured woman though, which is as much as you can expect from a friend’s wife, whom you got acquainted with a bachelor. Some things too about Monkey, which can’t so well be written—how it set up for a fine Lady, and thought it had got
Lovers, and was obliged to be convinc’d of its age from the parish register, where it was proved to be only twelve; and an edict issued that it should not give itself airs yet these four years; and how it got leave to be called Miss, by grace;—these and such like Hows were in my head to tell you, but who can write? Also how
Manning’s come to town in spectacles, and studies physic; is melancholy and seems to have something in his head, which he don’t impart. Then, how I am going to leave off smoking. O la! your Leonardos of Oxford made my mouth water. I was hurried thro’ the gallery, and they escaped me. What do I say? I was a Goth then, and should not have noticed them. I had not settled my notions of Beauty. I have now for ever!—the small head, the [here is drawn a long narrow eye] long Eye,—that sort of peering curve, the wicked Italian mischief! the stick-at-nothing, Herodias’ daughter kind of grace. You understand me. But you disappoint me, in passing over in absolute silence the Blenheim Leonardo. Didn’t you see it? Excuse a Lover’s curiosity. I have seen no pictures of note since, except Mr. Dawe’s gallery. It is curious to see how differently two great men treat the same subject, yet both excellent in their way: for instance, Milton and Mr. Dawe. Mr. Dawe has chosen to illustrate the story of Sampson exactly in the point of view in which Milton has been most happy: the interview etween the Jewish Hero, blind and captive, and Dalilah. Milton has imagined his Locks grown again, strong as horse-hair or porcupine’s bristles; doubtless shaggy and black, as being hairs “which of a nation armed contained the strength.” I don’t remember, he says black: but could Milton imagine them to be yellow? Do you? Mr. Dawe with striking originality of conception has crowned him with a thin yellow wig, in colour precisely like Dyson’s, in curl and quantity resembling Mrs. Professor’s, his Limbs rather stout, about such a man as my Brother or Rickman—but no Atlas nor Hercules, nor yet so bony as Dubois, the Clown of Sadler’s Wells. This was judicious, taking the spirit of the story rather than the fact: for doubtless God could communicate national salvation to the trust of flax and tow as well as hemp and cordage, and could draw down a Temple with a golden tress as soon as with all the cables of the British Navy.—Miss Dawe is about a portrait of sulky Fanny Imlay, alias Godwin: but Miss Dawe is of opinion that her subject is neither reserved nor sullen, and doubtless she will persuade the picture to be of the same opinion. However, the features are tolerably like—Too much of Dawes! Wasn’t you sorry for Lord Nelson? I have followed him in fancy ever since I saw him walking in Pall Mall (I was prejudiced against him before) looking just as a Hero should look; and I have been very much cut about it indeed. He was the only pretence of a Great Man we
had. Nobody is left of any Name at all. His Secretary died by his side. I imagined him, a
Mr. Scott, to be the man you met at Hume’s; but I learn from Mrs. Hume that it is not the same. I met Mrs. H. one day, and agreed to go on the Sunday to Tea, but the rain prevented us, and the distance. I have been to apologise, and we are to dine there the first fine Sunday. Strange perverseness! I never went while you staid here, and now I go to find you! What other news is there, Mary?—What puns have I made in the last fortnight? You never remember them. You have no relish for the Comic. “O! tell Hazlitt not to forget to send the American Farmer. I dare say it isn’t so good as he fancies; but a Book’s a Book.” I have not heard from Wordsworth or from Malta since. Charles Kemble, it seems, enters into possession tomorrow. We sup at 109 Russell St. this evening. I wish your brother wouldn’t drink. It’s a blemish in the greatest characters. You send me a modern quotation poetical. How do you like this in an old play? Vittoria Corombona, a spunky Italian Lady, a Leonardo one, nick-named the White Devil, being on her trial for murder, &c.—and questioned about seducing a Duke from his wife and the State, makes answer:
“Condemn you me for that the Duke did love me?
So may you blame some fair and chrystal river,
For that some melancholic distracted man
Hath drown’d himself in it.”—

Our ticket was a £20. Alas!! are both yours blanks?

P.S.—Godwin has asked after you several times.

N.B.—I shall expect a Line from you, if but a bare Line, whenever you write to Russell St., and a Letter often when you do not. I pay no postage; but I will have consideration for you until parliament time and franks. Luck to Ned Search and the new art of colouring. Monkey sends her Love, and Mary especially.

Yours truly,

C. Lamb.