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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Mary and Charles Lamb to Catherine Clarkson [10 December 1808]

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. Dec. (10), 1808.]

MY dear Mrs. Clarkson—I feel myself greatly indebted to Mr. Clarkson for his care about our direction, since it has procured us the pleasure of a line from you. Why are we all, my dear friend, so unwilling to sit down and write a letter when we all so well know the great satisfaction it is to hear of the welfare of an absent friend? I began to think that you and all I connect in my mind with you were gone from us for ever——Coleridge in a manner gave us up when he was in town, and we have now lost all traces of him. At the time he was in town I received two letters from Miss Wordsworth, which I never answered because I would not complain to her of our old friend. As this has never been explained to her it must seem very strange, more particularly so, as Miss Hutchinson & Mrs. Wordsworth were in an ill state
of health at the time. Will you some day soon write a few words just to tell me how they all are and all you know concerning them?

Do not imagine that I am now complaining to you of Coleridge. Perhaps we are both in fault, we expect too much, and he gives too little. We ought many years ago to have understood each other better. Nor is it quite all over with us yet, for he will some day or other come in with the same old face, and receive (after a few spiteful words from me) the same warm welcome as ever. But we could not submit to sit as hearers at his lectures and not be permitted to see our old friend when school-hours were over. I beg you will not let what I have said give you a moment’s thought, nor pray do not mention it to the Wordsworths nor to Coleridge, for I know he thinks I am apt to speak unkindly of him. I am not good tempered, and I have two or three times given him proofs that I am not. You say you are all in your “better way,” which is a very chearful hearing, for I trust you mean to include that your health is bettering too. I look forward with great pleasure to the near approach of Christmas and Mr. Clarkson. And now the turkey you are so kind as to promise us comes into my head & tells me it is so very near that if writing before then should happen to be the least irksome to you, I will be content to wait for intelligence of our old friends till I have the pleasure of seeing Mr. Clarkson in town. I ought to say this because I know at times how dreadfully irksome writing a letter is to me, even when I have no reason in the world to give why it is so, and I remember I have heard you express something of the same kind of feelings.

I try to remember something to enquire after at Bury—The lady we visited, the cherry tree Tom and I robbed, Tom my partner in the robbery (Mr. Thomas C—— I suppose now), and your Cook maid that was so kind to me, are all at present I can recollect. Of all the places I ever saw Bury has made the liveliest impression on my memory. I have a very indistinct recollection of the Lakes.

Charles joins with me in affectionate remembrances to you all, and he is more warm in his expressions of gratitude for the turkey because he is fonder of good eating than I am, though I am not amiss in that way.

God bless you my kind friends
I remain yours affectionately
M. Lamb.

Excuse this slovenly letter, if I were to write it over again I should abridge it one half.

Saturday morning
No. 16 Mitre Court Buildings
Inner Temple.
[Charles Lamb adds:—]

We have this moment received a very chearful letter from Coleridge, who is now at Grasmere. It contains a prospectus for a new weekly publication to be called The Friend. He says they are well there, and in good spirits & that he has not been so well for a long time.

The Prospectus is of a weekly paper of a miscellaneous nature to be call’d the Friend & to come out, the first number, the first Saturday in January. Those who remember The Watchman will not be very sanguine in expecting a regular fulfillment of this Prophecy. But C. writes in delightful spirits, & if ever, he may now do this thine. I suppose he will send you a Prospectus. I had some thought of inclosing mine. But I want to shew it about. My kindest remembrc to Mr. C. & thanks for the turkey.

C. Lamb.