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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Mary Lamb to Sarah Hutchinson, 20 August 1815

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: August 20, 1815.]

MY dear friend, It is less fatigue to me to write upon lines, and I want to fill up as much of my paper as I can in gratitude for the pleasure your very kind letter has given me. I began to think I should not hear from you; knowing you were not fond of letter-writing I quite forgave you, but I was very sorry. Do not make a point of conscience of it, but if ever you feel an inclination you cannot think how much a few lines would delight me. I am happy to hear so good an account of your sister and child, and sincerely wish her a perfect recovery. I am glad you did not arrive sooner, you escaped much anxiety. I have just received
a very chearful letter from
Mrs. Morgan—the following I have picked out as I think it will interest you. “Hartley Coleridge has been with us for two months. Morgan invited him to pass the long vacation here in the hope that his father would be of great service to him in his studies: he seems to be extremely amiable. I believe he is to spend the next vacation at Lady Beaumont’s. Your old friend Coleridge is very hard at work at the preface to a new Edition which he is just going to publish in the same form as Mr. Wordsworth’s—at first the preface was not to exceed five or six pages, it has however grown into a work of great importance. I believe Morgan has already written nearly two hundred pages. The title of it is ‘Autobiographia Literaria:’ to which are added ‘Sybilline Leaves,’ a collection of Poems by the same author. Calne has lately been much enlivened by an excellent company of players—last week they performed the ‘Remorse’ to a very crowded and brilliant audience; two of the characters were admirably well supported; at the request of the actors Morgan was behind the scenes all the time and assisted in the music &c.”

Thanks to your kind interference we have had a very nice letter from Mr. Wordsworth. Of them and of you we think and talk quite with a painful regret that we did not see more of you, and that it may be so long before we meet again.

I am going to do a queer thing—I have wearied myself with writing a long letter to Mrs. Morgan, a part of which is an incoherent rambling account of a jaunt we have just been taking. I want to tell you all about it, for we so seldom do such things that it runs strangely in my head, and I feel too tired to give you other than the mere copy of the nonsense I have just been writing.

“Last Saturday was the grand feast day of the India House Clerks. I think you must have heard Charles talk of his yearly turtle feast. He has been lately much wearied with work, and, glad to get rid of all connected with it, he used Saturday, the feast day being a holiday, borrowed the Monday following, and we set off on the outside of the Cambridge Coach from Fetter Lane at eight o’clock, and were driven into Cambridge in great triumph by Hell Fire Dick five minutes before three. Richard is in high reputation, he is private tutor to the Whip Club. Journeys used to be tedious torments to me, but seated out in the open air I enjoyed every mile of the way—the first twenty miles was particularly pleasing to me, having been accustomed to go so far on that road in the Ware Stage Coach to visit my Grandmother in the days of other times.

“In my life I never spent so many pleasant hours together as I did at Cambridge. We were walking the whole time—out of one College into another. If you ask me which I like best I must
make the children’s traditionary unoffending reply to all curious enquirers—‘Both.’ I liked them all best. The little gloomy ones, because they were little gloomy ones. I felt as if I could live and die in them and never wish to speak again. And the fine grand Trinity College, Oh how fine it was! And King’s College Chapel, what a place! I heard the Cathedral service there, and having been no great church goer of late years, that and the painted windows and the general effect of the whole thing affected me wonderfully.

“I certainly like St. John’s College best. I had seen least of it, having only been over it once, so, on the morning we returned, I got up at six o’clock and wandered into it by myself—by myself indeed, for there was nothing alive to be seen but one cat, who followed me about like a dog. Then I went over Trinity, but nothing hailed me there, not even a cat.

“On the Sunday we met with a pleasant thing. We had been congratulating each other that we had come alone to enjoy, as the miser his feast, all our sights greedily to ourselves, but having seen all we began to grow flat and wish for this and tother body with us, when we were accosted by a young gownsman whose face we knew, but where or how we had seen him we could not tell, and were obliged to ask his name. He proved to be a young man we had seen twice at Alsager’s. He turned out a very pleasant fellow—shewed us the insides of places—we took him to our Inn to dinner, and drank tea with him in such a delicious college room, and then again he supped with us. We made our meals as short as possible, to lose no time, and walked our young conductor almost off his legs. Even when the fried eels were ready for supper and coming up, having a message from a man who we had bribed for the purpose, that then we might see Oliver Cromwell, who was not at home when we called to see him, we sallied out again and made him a visit by candlelight—and so ended our sights. When we were setting out in the morning our new friend came to bid us good bye, and rode with us as far as Trompington. I never saw a creature so happy as he was the whole time he was with us, he said we had put him in such good spirits that [he] should certainly pass an examination well that he is to go through in six weeks in order to qualify himself to obtain a fellowship.

“Returning home down old Fetter Lane I could hardly keep from crying to think it was all over. With what pleasure [Charles] shewed me Jesus College where Coleridge was—the barbe[r’s shop] where Manning was—the house where Lloyd lived—Franklin’s rooms, a young schoolfellow with whom Charles was the first time he went to Cambridge: I peeped in at his window, the room looked quite deserted—old chairs standing about in disorder that
seemed to have stood there ever since they had sate in them. I write sad nonsense about these things, but I wish you had heard Charles talk his nonsense over and over again about his visit to Franklin, and how he then first felt himself commencing gentleman and had eggs for his breakfast.” Charles Lamb commencing gentleman!

A lady who is sitting by me seeing what I am doing says I remind her of her husband, who acknowledged that the first love letter he wrote to her was a copy of one he had made use of on a former occasion.

This is no letter, but if you give me any encouragement to write again you shall have one entirely to yourself: a little encouragement will do, a few lines to say you are well and remember us. I will keep this tomorrow, maybe Charles will put a few lines to it—I always send off a humdrum letter of mine with great satisfaction if I can get him to freshen it up a little at the end. Let me beg my love to your sister Johanna with many thanks. I have much pleasure in looking forward to her nice bacon, the maker of which I long have had a great desire to see.

God bless you, my dear Miss Hutchinson, I remain ever

Your affectionate friend
M. Lamb.
Augst. 20.