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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Mary Lamb to Sarah Hutchinson, [November? 1816]

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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[No date. Middle of November, 1816.]
Inner Temple.
[Charles Lamb adds at the head:—]

Mary has barely left me room to say How d’ye. I have received back the Examiner containing the delicate enquiry into certain infirm parts of S. T. C.’s character. What is the general opinion of it? Farewell. My love to all.

C. Lamb.

MY dear friend, I have procured a frank for this day, and having been hindered all the morning have no time left to frame excuses for my long and inexcusable silence, and can only thank you for the very kind way in which you overlook it. I should certainly have written on the receipt of yours but I had not a frank, and also I wished to date my letter from my own home where you expressed so cordial a wish to hear we had arrived. We have passed ten, I may call them very good weeks, at Dalston, for they completely answered the purpose for which we went. Reckoning our happy month at Calne, we have had quite a rural summer, and have obtained a very clear idea of the great benefit of quiet—of early hours and time intirely at one’s own disposal, and no small advantages these things are; but the return to old friends—the sight of old familiar faces round me has almost reconciled me to occasional headachs and fits of peevish weariness—even London streets, which I sometimes used to think it hard to be eternally doomed to walk through before I could see a green field, seem quite delightful.

Charles smoked but one pipe while we were at Dalston and he has not transgressed much since his return. I hope he will only smoke now with his fellow-smokers, which will give him five or six clear days in the week. Shame on me, I did not even write to thank you for the bacon, upon which, and some excellent eggs your sister added to her kind present, we had so many nice feasts. I have seen Henry Robinson, who speaks in raptures of the days he passed with you. He says he never saw a man so happy in three wives as Mr. Wordsworth is. I long to join you and make a fourth, and we cannot help talking of the possibility in some future fortunate summer of venturing to come so far, but we generally end in thinking the possibility impossible, for I dare not come but by post chaises, and the expence would be enormous, yet it was very pleasing to read
Mrs. Wordsworth’s kind invitation and to feel a kind of latent hope of what might one day happen.

You ask how Coleridge maintains himself. I know no more than you do. Strange to say, I have seen him but once since he has been at Highgate, and then I met him in the street. I have just been reading your kind letter over again and find you had some doubt whether we had left the Temple entirely. It was merely a lodging we took to recruit our health and spirits. From the time we left Calne Charles drooped sadly, company became quite irksome, and his anxious desire to leave off smoking, and his utter inability to perform his daily resolutions against it, became quite a torment to him, so I prevailed with him to try the experiment of change of scene, and set out in one of the short stage coaches from Bishopsgate Street, Miss Brent and I, and we looked over all the little places within three miles and fixed on one quite countrified and not two miles from Shoreditch Church, and entered upon it the next day. I thought if we stayed but a week it would be a little rest and respite from our troubles, and we made a ten weeks stay, and very comfortable we were, so much so that if ever Charles is superannuated on a small pension, which is the great object of his ambition, and we felt our income straitened, I do think I could live in the country entirely—at least I thought so while I was there but since I have been at home I wish to live and die in the Temple where I was born. We left the trees so green it looked like early autumn, and can see but one leaf “The last of its clan” on our poor old Hare Court trees. What a rainy summer!—and yet I have been so much out of town and have made so much use of every fine day that I can hardly help thinking it has been a fine summer. We calculated we walked three hundred and fifty miles while we were in our country lodging. One thing I must tell you, Charles came round every morning to a shop near the Temple to get shaved. Last Sunday we had such a pleasant day, I must tell you of it. We went to Kew and saw the old Palace where the King was brought up, it was the pleasantest sight I ever saw, I can scarcely tell you why, but a charming old woman shewed it to us. She had lived twenty six years there and spoke with such a hearty love of our good old King, whom all the world seems to have forgotten, that it did me good to hear her. She was as proud in pointing out the plain furniture (and I am sure you are now sitting in a larger and better furnished room) of a small room in which the King always dined, nay more proud of the simplicity of her royal master’s taste, than any shower of Carlton House can be in showing the fine things there, and so she was when she made us remark the smallness of one of the Princesses’ bedrooms, and said she slept and also dressed in that little room. There are a great many good pictures but I was
most pleased with one of the King when he was about two years old, such a pretty little white-headed boy.

I cannot express how much pleasure a letter from you gives us. If I could promise my self I should be always as well as I am now, I would say I will be a better correspondent in future. If Charles has time to add a line I shall be less ashamed to send this hasty scrawl. Love to all and every one. How much I should like once more to see Miss Wordsworth’s handwriting, if she would but write a postscript to your next, which I look to receive in a few days.

Yours affectionately
M. Lamb.

For a Postscript, see the beginning.