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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Letters: 1834

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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I give here three other notes to Dilke, belonging probably to the early days of 1834. The first refers to the proof of one of Lamb’s contributions to The Athenæum.]

LETTERS 569, 570 AND 571
[No date.]

I HAVE read the enclosed five and forty times over. I have submitted it to my Edmonton friends; at last (O Argus’ penetration), I have discovered a dash that might be dispensed with. Pray don’t trouble yourself with such useless courtesies. I can well trust your editor, when I don’t use queer phrases which prove themselves wrong by creating a distrust in the sober compositor.

[No date.]

MAY I now claim of you the benefit of the loan of some books. Do not fear sending too many. But do not if it be irksome to yourself,—such as shall make you say, ‘damn it, here’s Lamb’s box come again.’ Dog’s leaves ensured! Any light stuff: no natural history or useful learning, such as Pyramids, Catacombs, Giraffes, Adventures in Southern Africa, &c. &c.

With our joint compliments, yours,
C. Lamb.
Church Street, Edmonton.

Novels for the last two years, or further back—nonsense of any period.

[No date. Spring, 1834.]

DEAR Sir, I return 44 volumes by Tate. If they are not all your own, and some of mine have slipt in, I do not think you will lose much. Shall I go on with the Table talk? I will, if you like it, when the Culinary article has appeared.

Robins, the Carrier, from the Swan, Snow Hill, will bring any more contributions, thankfully to be receiv’d—I pay backwards and forwards.

C. Lamb.

[“Table Talk by the late Elia” appeared in The Athenæum on January 4, May 31, June 7 and July 19, 1834. The Culinary article is the paragraph that now closes the “Table Talk” (see Vol. I., page 349).]

January 24, 1834,
Church Street, Edmonton.

DEAR Mary Betham—I received the Bill, and when it is payable, some ten or twelve days hence, will punctually do with the overplus as you direct: I thought you would like to know it came to hand, so I have not waited for the uncertainty of when your nephew sets out. I suppose my receipt will serve, for poor Mary is not in a capacity to sign it. After being well from the end of July to the end of December, she was taken ill almost on the first day of the New Year, and is as bad as poor creature can be. I expect her fever to last 14 or 15 weeks—it she gets well at all, which every successive illness puts me in fear of. She has less and less strength to throw it off, and they leave a dreadful depression after them. She was quite comfortable a few weeks since, when Matilda came down here to see us.

You shall excuse a short letter, for my hand is unsteady. Indeed, the situation I am in with her shakes me sadly. She was quite able to appreciate the kind legacy while she was well. Imagine her kindest love to you, which is but buried awhile, and believe all the good wishes for your restoration to health from

C. Lamb.

[This letter refers to the legacy mentioned on page 913. It had now been paid.]

[p.m. Jan. 28, 1834.]

I MET with a man at my half way house, who told me many anecdotes of Kean’s younger life. He knew him thoroughly. His name is Wyatt, living near the Bell, Edmonton. Also he
referred me to West, a publican, opposite St. Georges Church, Southwark, who knew him more intimately. Is it worth
Forster’s while to enquire after them?

C. L.

[Edmund Kean had died in the previous May. Forster, who was at this time theatrical critic of The Examiner, was probably at work upon a biographical article.

Here should come a note from Lamb to Matilda Betham, dated January 29, 1834, not available for this edition (printed by Mr. Hazlitt in The Lambs). “My poor Mary is terribly ill again.”

Here also, dated February 7, should come a letter to William Hone, printed by Mr. Macdonald, in which Lamb, after mentioning his sister’s illness, urges upon Hone the advisability of applying to the Literary Fund for some relief, and offers to support him in his appeal.]

Feb. 14, 1834.

DEAR Miss Fryer,—Your letter found me just returned from keeping my birthday (pretty innocent!) at Dover-street. I see them pretty often. I have since had letters of business to write, or should have replied earlier. In one word, be less uneasy about me; I bear my privations very well; I am not in the depths of desolation, as heretofore. Your admonitions are not lost upon me. Your kindness has sunk into my heart. Have faith in me! It is no new thing for me to be left to my sister. When she is not violent, her rambling chat is better to me than the sense and sanity of this world. Her heart is obscured, not buried; it breaks out occasionally; and one can discern a strong mind struggling with the billows that have gone over it. I could be nowhere happier than under the same roof with her. Her memory is unnaturally strong; and from ages past, if we may so call the earliest records of our poor life, she fetches thousands of names and things that never would have dawned upon me again, and thousands from the ten years she lived before me. What took place from early girlhood to her coming of age principally lives again (every important thing and every trifle) in her brain with the vividness of real presence. For twelve hours incessantly she will pour out without intermission all her past life, forgetting nothing, pouring out name after name to the Waldens as a dream; sense and nonsense; truths and errors
huddled together; a medley between inspiration and possession. What things we are! I know you will bear with me, talking of these things. It seems to ease me; for I have nobody to tell these things to now.
Emma, I see, has got a harp! and is learning to play. She has framed her three Walton pictures, and pretty they look. That is a book you should read; such sweet religion in it—next to Woolman’s! though the subject be baits and hooks, and worms, and fishes. She has my copy at present to do two more from.

Very, very tired, I began this epistle, having been epistolising all the morning, and very kindly would I end it, could I find adequate expressions to your kindness. We did set our minds on seeing you in spring. One of us will indubitably. But I am not skilled in almanac learning, to know when spring precisely begins and ends. Pardon my blots; I am glad you like your book. I wish it had been half as worthy of your acceptance as “John Woolman.” But ’tis a good-natured book.


[Miss Fryer, who was first mentioned in Letter 562, was a school-fellow of Mrs. Moxon’s.

I append another letter, undated, to the same lady. It belongs obviously to an earlier period, but the exact position is unimportant:—]

[No date.]

MY dear Miss Fryer, By desire of Emma I have attempted new words to the old nonsense of Tartar Drum; but with the nonsense the sound and spirit of the tune are unaccountably gone, and we have agreed to discard the new version altogether. As you may be more fastidious in singing mere silliness, and a string of well-sounding images without sense or coherence—Drums of Tartars, who use none, and Tulip trees ten foot high, not to mention Spirits in Sunbeams &c,—than we are, so you are at liberty to sacrifice an enspiriting movement to a little sense, tho’ I like Little-sense less than his vagarying younger sister No-Sense—so I send them——

The 4th line of 1st stanza is from an old Ballad.

Emma is looking weller and handsomer (as you say) than ever. Really, if she goes on thus improving, by the time she is nine and thirty she will be a tolerable comely person. But I may not live
to see it.—I take Beauty to be catching—a Cholera sort of thing—Now, whether the constant presence of a handsome object—for there’s only two of us—may not have the effect — — — but the subject is delicate, and as my old great Ant1 used to say— “Andsome is as andsome duzz”—that was my great Ant’s way of spelling——

Most and best kind things say to yourself and dear Mother for all your kindnesses to our Em., tho’ in truth I am a little tired with her everlasting repetition of ’em. Yours very Truly,

Chs Lamb.
Tune: “The Tartar Drum”
Guard thy feelings, pretty Vestal,
From the smooth Intruder free;
Cage thine heart in bars of chrystal,
Lock it with a golden key:
Thro’ the bars demurely stealing—
Noiseless footstep, accent dumb,
His approach to none revealing—
Watch, or watch not, Love will come.
His approach to none revealing—
Watch, or watch not, Love will come—Love,
Watch, or watch not, Love will come.
Scornful Beauty may deny him—
He hath spells to charm disdain;
Homely Features may defy him—
Both at length must wear the chain.
Haughty Youth in Courts of Princes—
Hermit poor with age oercome—
His soft plea at last convinces;
Sooner, later, Love will come
His soft plea at length convinces;
Sooner, later, Love will come—Love,
Sooner, later, Love will come.

1Emma’s way of spelling Miss Umfris, as I spell her Aunt.

Church St., Edmonton,
22 feb. [1834].

DEAR Wordsworth, I write from a house of mourning. The oldest and best friends I have left, are in trouble. A branch of them (and they of the best stock of God’s creatures, I believe) is
establishing a school at Carlisle. Her name is
Louisa Martin, her address 75 Castle Street, Carlisle; her qualities (and her motives for this exertion) are the most amiable, most upright. For thirty years she has been tried by me, and on her behaviour I would stake my soul. O if you can recommend her, how would I love you—if I could love you better. Pray, pray, recommend her. She is as good a human creature,—next to my Sister, perhaps the most exemplary female I ever knew. Moxon tells me, you would like a Letter from me. You shall have one. This I cannot mingle up with any nonsense which you usually tolerate from, C. Lamb. Need he add loves to Wife, Sister, and all? Poor Mary is ill again, after a short lucid interval of 4 or 5 months. In short, I may call her half dead to me.

Good you are to me. Yours with fervor of friendship; for ever
turn over

If you want references, the Bishop of Carlisle may be one. Louisa’s Sister, (as good as she, she cannot be better tho’ she tries,) educated the daughters of the late Earl of Carnarvon, and he settled a handsome Annuity on her for life. In short all the family are a sound rock. The present Lord Carnarvon married Howard of Graystock’s Sister.


[Wordsworth has written on the wrapper, “Lamb’s last letter.”

We met the Martins in the early correspondence. It was Louisa whom, many years before, Lamb used to call “Monkey” (see particularly Letter 138 to Hazlitt, on page 323).

Here should come Lamb’s last letter to Thomas Manning, dated May 10, 1834, not available for this edition (printed by Canon Ainger). Mary has, he says, been ill for nigh twenty weeks; “she is, I hope, recovering.” “I struggle to town rarely, and then to see London, with little other motive—for what is left there hardly? The streets and shops entertaining ever, else I feel as in a desert, and get me home to my cave.” Once a month, he adds, he passes a day with Cary at the Museum. When Mary was getting better in the previous year she would read all the auctioneers’ advertisements on the walk. “These are my Play-bills,” she said. “I walk 9 or 10 miles a day, always up the road, dear Londonwards.” Addressed to Manning at Puckeridge.

Manning lived on, an eccentric recluse, until 1840.]

[No date. End of June, 1834.]

WE heard the Music in the Abbey at Winchmore Hill! and the notes were incomparably soften’d by the distance. Novello’s chromatics were distinctly audible. Clara was faulty in B flat. Otherwise she sang like an angel. The trombone, and Beethoven’s walzes, were the best. Who played the oboe?


[The letter refers to the performance of Handel’s “Creation” at the Musical Festival in Westminster Abbey on June 24, 1834, when Novello and Atwood were the organists, and Clara Novello (now Countess Gigliucci) was one of the singers.]

[p.m. June 25, 1834.]

DR F.—I simply sent for the Miltons because Alsop has some Books of mine, and I thought they might travel with them. But keep ’em as much longer as you like. I never trouble my head with other people’s quarrels, I do not always understand my own. I seldom see them in Dover Street. I know as little as the Man in the Moon about your joint transactions, and care as little. If you have lost a little portion of my “good will,” it is that you do not come and see me. Arrange with Procter, when you have done with your moving accidents.

Yours, ambulaturus,
C. L.
[Summer, 1834.]

MR Lamb’s compts and shall be happy to look over the lines as soon as ever Mr. Russell shall send them. He is at Mr. Walden’s, Church, not Bury—St. Edmd.


Line 10. “Ween,” and “wist,” and “wot,” and “eke” are antiquated frippery, and unmodernize a poem rather than give it an antique air, as some strong old words may do. “I guess,” “I know,” “I knew,” are quite as significant.

81. Why “ee”—barbarous Scoticism!—when “eye” is much better and chimes to “cavalry”? A sprinkling of disused words where all the style else is after the approved recent fashion teases and puzzles.

[Anon the storm begins to slake,
The sullen clouds to melt away,
The moon becalmed in a blue lake
Looks down with melancholy ray.]
The moon becalmed in a blue lake would be more apt to look up. I see my error—the sky is the lake—and beg you to laugh at it.

59. What is a maiden’s “een,” south of the Tweed? You may as well call her prettily turned ears her “lugs.”
“On the maiden’s lugs they fall “(verse 79).

144. “A coy young Miss” will never do. For though you are presumed to be a modern, writing only of days of old, yet you should not write a word purely unintelligible to your heroine. Some understanding should be kept up between you. “Miss” is a nickname not two centuries old; came in at about the Restoration. The “King’s Misses” is the oldest use of it I can remember. It is Mistress Anne Page, not Miss Page. Modern names and usages should be kept out of sight in an old subject. W. Scott was sadly faulty in this respect.

208. [Tear of sympathy.] Pity’s sacred dew. Sympathy is a young lady’s word, rife in modern novels, and is almost always wrongly applied. To sympathize is to feel with, not simply for another. I write verses and sympathize with you. You have the tooth ache, I have not; I feel for you, I cannot sympathize.

243. What is “sheen”? Has it more significance than “bright”? Richmond in its old name was Shene. Would you call an omnibus to take you to Shene? How the “all’s right” man would stare!

[The violet nestled in the shade,
Which fills with perfume all the glade,
Yet bashful as a timid maid
Thinks to elude the searching eye
Of every stranger passing by,
Might well compare with Emily.]
A strangely involved simile. The maiden is likend [sic] to a violet which has been just before likened to a maid. Yet it reads prettily, and I would not have it alter’d.


420. “Een “come again? In line 407 you speak it out “eye,” bravely like an Englishman.

468. Sorceresses do not entice by wrinkles, but, being essentially aged, appear in assumed beauty.


[This communication and that which follows (with trifling omissions) were sent to Notes and Queries by the late Mr. J. Fuller Russell, F.S.A., with this explanation: “I was residing at Enfield in the Cambridge Long Vacation, 1834, and—perhaps to the neglect of more improving pursuits—composed a metrical novel, named ‘Emily de Wilton,’ in three parts. When the first of them was completed, I ventured to introduce myself to Charles Lamb (who was living at Edmonton at the time), and telling him what I had done, and that I had ‘scarcely heart to proceed until I had obtained the opinion of a competent judge respecting my verses,’ I asked him to ‘while away an idle hour in their perusal,’ adding, ‘I fear you will think me very rude and very intrusive, but I am one of the most nervous souls in Christendom.’ Moved, possibly, by this diffident (not to say unusual) confession, Elia speedily gave his consent.”

The poem was never printed. Lamb’s pains in this matter serve to show how kindly disposed he was in these later years to all young men; and how exact a sense of words he had.

In the British Museum is preserved a sheet of similar comments made by Lamb upon a manuscript of P. G. Patmore’s, from which I have quoted a few passages on page 737. In Charles Lamb and the Lloyds will also be found a number of interesting criticisms on a translation of Homer, to which reference is made on pages 402 and 413.]

[Summer, 1834.]

SIR,—I hope you will finish “Emily.” The story I cannot at this stage anticipate. Some looseness of diction I have taken liberty to advert to. It wants a little more severity of style. There are too many prettinesses, but parts of the Poem are better than pretty, and I thank you for the perusal.

Your humble Servt.
C. Lamb.

Perhaps you will favour me with a call while you stay.


Line 42. “The old abbaye” (if abbey was so spelt) I do not object to, because it does not seem your own language, but humoursomely adapted to the “how folks called it in those times.”

82. “Flares”! Think of the vulgarism “flare up;” let it be “burns.”

[In her pale countenance is blent
The majesty of high intent
With meekness by devotion lent,
And when she bends in prayer
Before the Virgin’s awful shrine,—
The rapt enthusiast might deem
The seraph of his brightest dream,
Were meekly kneeling there.]
“Was “decidedly, not “were.” The deeming or supposition, is of a reality, not a contingency. The enthusiast does not deem that a thing may be, but that it is.

[When first young Vernon’s flight she knew,
The lady deemed the tale untrue.]
“Deemed”! This word is just repeated above; say “thought” or “held.” “Deem” is half-cousin to “ween “and “wot.”

[By pure intent and soul sincere
Sustained and nerved, I will not fear
Reproach, shame, scorn, the taunting jeer,
And worse than all, a father’s sneer.]
A father’s “sneer”? Would a high-born man in those days sneer at a daughter’s disgrace—would he only sneer?
Reproach, and biting shame, and—worse
Than all—the estranged father’s curse.
I only throw this hint out in a hurry.

177. “Stern and sear”? I see a meaning in it, but no word is good that startles one at first, and then you have to make it out: “drear,” perhaps. Then why “to minstrel’s glance”? “To fancy’s eye,” you would say, not “to fiddler’s eye.”

422. A knight thinks, he don’t “trow.”

424. “Mayhap” is vulgarish. Perchance.

464. “Sensation” is a philosophic prose word. Feeling.

[The hill, where ne’er rang woodman’s stroke,
Was clothed with elm and spreading oak,
Through whose black boughs the moon’s mild ray
As hardly strove to win a way,
As pity to a miser’s heart.]
Natural illustrations come more naturally when by them we expound mental operations than when we deduce from natural objects similes of the mind’s workings. The miser’s struggle thus com-
pared is a beautiful image. But the storm and clouds do not inversely so readily suggest the miser.

[Havock and Wrath, his maniac bride,
Wheel o’er the conflict, &c]
These personified gentry I think are not in taste. Besides, Fear has been pallid any time these 2,000 years. It is mixing the style of
Æschylus and the Last Minstrel.

175. Bracy is a good rough vocative. No better suggests itself, unless Grim, Baron Grimm, or Grimoald, which is Saxon, or Grimbald! Tracy would obviate your objection [that the name Bracy occurs in Ivanhoe] but Bracy is stronger.

[The frown of night
Conceals him, and bewrays their sight.]
Betrays. The other has an unlucky association.

[The glinting moon’s half-shrouded ray.]
Why “glinting,” Scotch, when “glancing” is English?

[Then solemnly the monk did say,
(The Abbot of Saint Mary’s gray,)
The leman of a wanton youth
Perhaps may gain her father’s ruth,
But never on his injured breast
May lie, caressing and caressed.
Bethink you of the vow you made
When your light daughter, all distraught,
From yonder slaughter-plain was brought,
That if in some secluded cell
She might till death securely dwell,
The house of God should share her wealth.]
Holy abbots surely never so undisguisedly blurted out their secular aims.

I think there is so much of this kind of poetry, that it would not be very taking, but it is well worthy of pleasing a private circle. One blemish runs thro’, the perpetual accompaniment of natural images. Seasons of the year, times of day, phases of the moon, phenomena of flowers, are quite as much your dramatis personæ as the warriors and the ladies. This last part is as good as what precedes.

[No date. End of July, 1834.]

DEAR Sir, I am totally incapable of doing what you suggest at present, and think it right to tell you so without delay. It would shock me, who am shocked enough already, to sit down to
write about it. I have no letters of poor
C. By and bye what scraps I have shall be yours. Pray excuse me. It is not for want of obliging you, I assure you. For your Box we most cordially feel thankful. I shall be your debtor in my poor way. I do assure you I am incapable.

Again, excuse me
Yours sincerely
C. L.

[Coleridge’s death had occurred on July 25, in his sixty-second year; and Dilke had written to Lamb asking for some words on that event, for The Athenæum. A little while later a request was made by John Forster that Lamb would write something for the album of a Mr. Keymer. It was then that Lamb wrote the few words that stand under the title “On the Death of Coleridge” (see Vol. I., page 351). Forster wrote thus of the effect of Coleridge’s death upon Lamb:—

He thought of little else (his sister was but another portion of himself) until his own great spirit joined his friend. He had a habit of venting his melancholy in a sort of mirth. He would, with nothing graver than a pun, “cleanse his bosom of the perilous stuff that weighed” upon it. In a jest, or a few light phrases, he would lay open the last recesses of his heart. So in respect of the death of Coleridge. Some old friends of his saw him two or three weeks ago, and remarked the constant turning and reference of his mind. He interrupted himself and them almost every instant with some play of affected wonder, or astonishment, or humorous melancholy, on the words, “Coleridge is dead.” Nothing could divert him from that, for the thought of it never left him.

Wordsworth said that Coleridge’s death hastened Lamb’s.]

Mr. Walden’s, Church Street,
Edmonton, August 5, 1834.

MY dear Sir,—The sad week being over, I must write to you to say, that I was glad of being spared from attending; I have no words to express my feeling with you all. I can only say that when you think a short visit from me would be acceptable, when your father and mother shall be able to see me with comfort, I will come to the bereaved house. Express to them my tenderest regards and hopes that they will continue our friends still. We both love and respect them as much as a human being can, and finally thank them with our hearts for what they have been to the poor departed.

God bless you all,
C. Lamb.

[Talfourd writes: “Shortly after, assured that his presence would be welcome, Lamb went to Highgate. There he asked leave to see the nurse who had attended upon Coleridge; and being struck and affected by the feeling she manifested towards his friend, insisted on her receiving five guineas from him.”]

Sept. 12, 1834.

“By Cot’s plessing we will not be absence at the grace.”

DEAR C.,—We long to see you, and hear account of your peregrinations, of the Tun at Heidelburg, the Clock at Strasburg, the statue at Rotterdam, the dainty Rhenish and poignant Moselle wines, Westphalian hams, and Botargoes of Altona. But perhaps you have seen nor tasted any of these things.

Yours, very glad to claim you back again to your proper centre, books and Bibliothecæ,

C. and M. Lamb.

I have only got your note just now per negligentiam periniqui Moxoni.


[“By Cot’s plessing . . .”—Sir Hugh Evans, in “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

Charles and Mary Lamb at this time were supposed to dine at Cary’s on the third Wednesday in every month. When the plan was suggested by Cary Lamb was for declining, but Mary Lamb said, “Ah, when we went to Edmonton, I told Charles that something would turn up, and so it did, you see.”

Per negligentiam . . .” Owing to the neglect of the most unrighteous Moxon.]

Oct., 1834.

I PROTEST I know not in what words to invest my sense of the shameful violation of hospitality, which I was guilty of on that fatal Wednesday. Let it be blotted from the calendar. Had
it been committed at a layman’s house, say a merchant’s or manufacturer’s, a cheesemonger’s or greengrocer’s, or, to go higher, a barrister’s, a member of Parliament’s, a rich banker’s, I should have felt alleviation, a drop of self-pity. But to be seen deliberately to go out of the house of a clergyman drunk! a clergyman of the Church of England too! not that alone, but of an expounder of that
dark Italian Hierophant, an exposition little short of his who dared unfold the Apocalypse: divine riddles both and (without supernal grace vouchsafed) Arks not to be fingered without present blasting to the touchers. And, then, from what house! Not a common glebe or vicarage (which yet had been shameful), but from a kingly repository of sciences, human and divine, with the primate of England for its guardian, arrayed in public majesty, from which the profane vulgar are bid fly. Could all those volumes have taught me nothing better! With feverish eyes on the succeeding dawn I opened upon the faint light, enough to distinguish, in a strange chamber not immediately to be recognised, garters, hose, waistcoat, neckerchief, arranged in dreadful order and proportion, which I knew was not mine own. ’Tis the common symptom, on awaking, I judge my last night’s condition from. A tolerable scattering on the floor I hail as being too probably my own, and if the candlestick be not removed, I assoil myself. But this finical arrangement, this finding everything in the morning in exact diametrical rectitude, torments me. By whom was I divested? Burning blushes! not by the fair hands of nymphs, the Buffam Graces? Remote whispers suggested that I coached it home in triumph—far be that from working pride in me, for I was unconscious of the locomotion; that a young Mentor accompanied a reprobate old Telemachus; that, the Trojan like, he bore his charge upon his shoulders, while the wretched incubus, in glimmering sense, hiccuped drunken snatches of flying on the bats’ wings after sunset. An aged servitor was also hinted at, to make disgrace more complete: one, to whom my ignominy may offer further occasions of revolt (to which he was before too fondly inclining) from the true faith; for, at a sight of my helplessness, what more was needed to drive him to the advocacy of independency? Occasion led me through Great Russell Street yesterday. I gazed at the great knocker. My feeble hands in vain essayed to lift it. I dreaded that Argus Portitor, who doubtless lanterned me out on that prodigious night. I called the Elginian marbles. They were cold to my suit. I shall never again, I said, on the wide gates unfolding, say without fear of thrusting back, in a light but a peremptory air, “I am going to Mr. Cary’s.” I passed by the walls of Balclutha. I had imaged to myself a zodiac of third Wednesdays irradiating by glimpses the Edmonton dulness. I dreamed of Highmore! I am
de-vited to come on Wednesdays. Villanous old age that, with second childhood, brings linked hand in hand her inseparable twin, new inexperience, which knows not effects of liquor. Where I was to have sate for a sober, middle-aged-and-a-half gentleman, literary too, the neat-fingered artist can educe no notions but of a dissolute Silenus, lecturing natural philosophy to a jeering Chromius or a Mnasilus. Pudet. From the context gather the lost name of ——.


[“The Buffam Graces.” Lamb’s landladies at Southampton Buildings.

“Bats’ wings”—Ariel’s song again.

“I passed by the walls of Balclutha.” From Ossian. Lamb uses this quotation in his Elia essay on the South-Sea House.

“Hghmore.” I cannot explain this reference.

“Silenus . . .” In Virgil’s sixth eclogue Silenus, found in a drunken sleep by Chromius and Mnasylos, is bound by them. He sang to them of the creation of the world.

Not long before Mrs. Procter’s death a letter from Charles Lamb to Mrs. Basil Montagu was sold, in which Lamb apologised for having become intoxicated while visiting her the night before. Some one mentioned the letter in Mrs. Procter’s presence. “Ah,” she said, “but they haven’t seen the second letter, which I have upstairs, written next day, in which he said that my mother might ask him again with safety as he never got drunk twice in the same house.” Unhappily, a large number of Lamb’s and other letters were burned by Mrs. Procter.]

[Oct. 18, 1834.]

DEAR Sir,—The unbounded range of munificence presented to my choice staggers me. What can twenty votes do for one hundred and two widows? I cast my eyes hopeless among the viduage. N.B.—Southey might be ashamed of himself to let his aged mother stand at the top of the list, with his £100 a year and butt of sack. Sometimes I sigh over No. 12, Mrs. Carve-ill, some poor relation of mine, no doubt. No. 15 has my wishes; but then she is a Welsh one. I have Ruth upon No. 21. I’d tug hard for No. 24. No. 25 is an anomaly: there can be no Mrs. Hogg. No. 24 ensnares me. No. 73 should not have met so foolish a person.
No. 92 may bob it as she likes; but she catches no cherry of me. So I have even fixed at hap-hazard, as you’ll see.

Yours, every third Wednesday,

C. L.

[Talfourd states that the note is in answer to a letter enclosing a list of candidates for a Widow’s Fund Society, for which he was entitled to vote. A Mrs. Southey headed the list.

Here, according to Mr. Hazlitt’s dating, should come a note from Lamb to Mrs. Randal Norris, belonging to November, not available for this edition (printed in The Lambs), in which Lamb says that he found Mary on his return no worse and she is now no better. He sends all his nonsense that he can scrape together and hopes the young ladies will like “Amwell” (Mrs. Leicester’s School).]

Monday. Church Street, Edmonton (not
Enfield, as you erroneously direct
yours). [? Dec, 1834.]

DEAR Sir,—The volume which you seem to want, is not to be had for love or money. I with difficulty procured a copy for myself. Yours is gone to enlighten the tawny Hindoos. What a supreme felicity to the author (only he is no traveller) on the Ganges or Hydaspes (Indian streams) to meet a smutty Gentoo ready to burst with laughing at the tale of Bo-Bo! for doubtless it hath been translated into all the dialects of the East. I grieve the less, that Europe should want it. I cannot gather from your letter, whether you are aware that a second series of the Essays is published by Moxon, in Dover-street, Piccadilly, called “The Last Essays of Elia,” and, I am told, is not inferior to the former. Shall I order a copy for you, and will you accept it? Shall I lend you, at the same time, my sole copy of the former volume (Oh! return it) for a month or two? In return, you shall favour me with the loan of one of those Norfolk-bred grunters that you laud so highly; I promise not to keep it above a day. What a funny name Bungay is! I never dreamt of a correspondent thence. I used to think of it as some Utopian town or borough in Gotham land. I now believe in its existence, as part of merry England!

[Some lines scratched out.]
The part I have scratched out is the best of the letter. Let me have your commands.

Ch. Lamb, alias Elia.

[Talfourd thus explains this letter: “In December, 1834, Mr. Lamb received a letter from a gentleman, a stranger to him—Mr. Childs of Bungay, whose copy of Elia had been sent on an Oriental voyage, and who, in order to replace it, applied to Mr. Lamb.” Mr. Childs was a printer. His business subsequently became that of Messrs. R. & R. Clark, which still flourishes. See Appendix II., page 978, for a further note to Mr. Childs.

This letter practically disposes of the statement made by more than one bibliographer that a second edition of Elia was published in 1833. The tale of Bo-Bo is in the “Dissertation on Roast Pig.”

“Ganges or Hydaspes.” Milton’s line, Paradise Lost, III., 436.]

Dec. 22nd, 1834.

DEAR Mrs. Dyer,—I am very uneasy about a Book which I either have lost or left at your house on Thursday. It was the book I went out to fetch from Miss Buffam’s, while the tripe was frying. It is called Phillip’s Theatrum Poetarum; but it is an English book. I think I left it in the parlour. It is Mr. Cary’s book, and I would not lose it for the world. Pray, if you find it, book it at the Swan, Snow Hill, by an Edmonton stage immediately, directed to Mr. Lamb, Church-street, Edmonton, or write to say you cannot find it. I am quite anxious about it. If it is lost, I shall never like tripe again.

With kindest love to Mr. Dyer and all,

Yours truly,
C. Lamb.

[This is the last letter of Charles Lamb, who tripped and fell in Church Street, Edmonton, on December 22, and died of erysipelas on December 27.

In the life of H. F. Cary by his son we read: “He [Lamb] had borrowed of my father Phillips’s Theatrum Poetarum Anglicanorum, which was returned by Lamb’s friend, Mr. Moxon, with the leaf folded down at the account of Sir Philip Sydney.” Mr. Cary acknowledged the receipt of the book by the following

1834 CARY’S VERSES 943
So should it be, my gentle friend;
Thy leaf last closed at Sydney’s end.
Thou too, like Sydney, wouldst have given
The water, thirsting and near heaven;
Nay were it wine, fill’d to the brim,
Thou hadst look’d hard, but given, like him.
And art thou mingled then among
Those famous sons of ancient song?
And do they gather round, and praise
Thy relish of their nobler lays?
Waxing in mirth to hear thee tell
With what strange mortals thou didst dwell!
At thy quaint sallies more delighted,
Than any’s long among them lighted!
’Tis done: and thou hast join’d a crew,
To whom thy soul was justly due;
And yet I think, where’er thou be,
They’ll scarcely love thee more than we.

At the time of his death Lamb was sixty, all but a few weeks.

Mary Lamb, with occasional lapses into sound health, survived him until May 20, 1847. At first she continued to live at Edmonton, but a few years later moved to the house of Mrs. Parsons, sister of her old nurse, Miss James, in St. John’s Wood. I append three letters, two written, and one inspired, by her, to Miss Jane Norris, one of the daughters of Randal Norris. Of the friends mentioned therein I might add that Edward Moxon lived until 1858; Mrs. Edward Moxon until 1891; James Kenney until 1849; Thomas Hood until 1845; and Barron Field until 1846.]

LETTERS 588, 589 AND 590
[41 Alpha Road, Regent’s Park] Christmas Day [1841].

MY dear Jane,—Many thanks for your kind presents—your Michalmas goose. I thought Mr. Moxon had written to thank you—the turkeys and nice apples came yesterday.

Give my love to your dear Mother. I was unhappy to find your note in the basket, for I am always thinking of you all, and wondering when I shall ever see any of you again.

I long to shew you what a nice snug place I have got into—in the midst of a pleasant little garden. I have a room for myself and my old books on the ground floor, and a little bedroom up
two pairs of stairs. When you come to town, if you have not time to go [to] the
Moxons, an Omnibus from the Bell and Crown in Holborn would [bring] you to our door in [a] quarter of an hour. If your dear Mother does not venture so far, I will contrive to pop down to see [her]. Love and all seasonable wishes to your sister and Mary, &c. I am in the midst of many friends—Mr. & Mrs. Kenney, Mr. & Mrs. Hood, Bar[r]on Field & his brother Frank, & their wives &c., all within a short walk.

If the lodger is gone, I shall have a bedroom will hold two! Heaven bless & preserve you all in health and happiness many a long year.

Yours affectionately,
M. A. Lamb.
Oct. 3, 1842.

MY dear Jane Norris,—Thanks, many thanks, my dear friend, for your kind remembrances. What a nice Goose! That, and all its accompaniments in the basket, we all devoured; the two legs fell to my share!!!

Your chearful [letter,] my Jane, made me feel “almost as good as new.”

Your Mother and I must meet again. Do not be surprized if I pop in again for a half-hour’s call some fine frosty morning.

Thank you, dear Jane, for the happy tidings that my old friend Miss Bangham is alive, an[d] that Mary is still with you, unmarried. Heaven bless you all.

Love to Mother, Betsey, Mary, &c. How I do long to see you.

I am always your affecately grateful friend,

Mary Ann Lamb.
41 Alpha Road, Regent’s Park, London, July 25, 1843.

MADAM,—Miss Lamb, having seen the Death of your dear Mother in the Times News Paper, is most anxious to hear from or to see one of you, as she wishes to know how you intend settling yourselves, and to have a full account of your dear Mother’s last illness. She was much shocked on reading of her death, and appeared very vexed that she had not been to see her, [and] wanted
very much to come down and see you both; but we were really afraid to let her take the journey. If either of you are coming up to town, she would be glad if you would call upon her, but should you not be likely to come soon, she would be very much pleased if one of you would have the goodness to write a few lines to her, as she is most anxious about you. She begs you to excuse her writing to you herself, as she don’t feel equal to it; she asked me yesterday to write for her. I am happy to say she is at present pretty well, although your dear Mother’s death appears to dwell much upon her mind. She desires her kindest love to you both, and hopes to hear from you very soon, if you are equal to writing. I sincerely hope you will oblige her, and am,

Your obedient, &c.,
Sarah James.

Pray don’t invite her to come down to see you.