My wick hath a thief in it, but I can’t muster
courage to snuff it. I inhale suffocation; I can’t
distinguish veal from mutton; nothing interests me.
’T is twelve o’clock, and Thurtell 
is just now coming out upon the new drop, Jack Ketch
alertly tucking up his greasy sleeves to do the last
office of mortality; yet cannot I elicit a groan or
a moral reflection. If you told me the world will
be at an end to-morrow, I should just say, “Will
it?” I have not volition enough left to dot
’s, much less to comb my eyebrows;
my eyes are set in my head; my brains are gone out
to see a poor relation in Moorfields, and they did
not say when they’d come back again; my skull
is a Grub Street attic to let,—not so much
as a joint-stool left in it; my hand writes, not I,
from habit, as chickens run about a little when their
heads are off. Oh for a vigorous fit of gout,
colic, toothache,—an earwig in my auditory,
a fly in my visual organs; pain is life,—the
sharper the more evidence of life; but this apathy,
this death! Did you ever have an obstinate cold,—a
six or seven weeks’ unintermitting chill and
suspension of hope, fear, conscience, and everything?
Yet do I try all I can to cure it. I try wine,
and spirits, and smoking, and snuff in unsparing quantities;
but they all only seem to make me worse, instead of
better. I sleep in a damp room, but it does me
no good; I come home late o’ nights, but do
not find any visible amendment! Who shall deliver
me from the body of this death?
It is just fifteen minutes after twelve. Thurtell
is by this time a good way on his journey, baiting
at Scorpion, perhaps. Ketch is bargaining for
his cast coat and waistcoat; and the Jew demurs at
first at three half-crowns, but on consideration that
he may get somewhat by showing ’em in the town,
 Hanged that day for the murder of Weare.
TO BERNARD BARTON.
January 23, 1824.
My dear sir,—That peevish letter of mine,
 which was meant to convey an apology for my incapacity
to write, seems to have been taken by you in too serious
a light,—it was only my way of telling you
I had a severe cold. The fact is, I have been
insuperably dull and lethargic for many weeks, and
cannot rise to the vigor of a letter, much less an
essay. The “London” must do without
me for a time, for I have lost all interest about
it; and whether I shall recover it again I know not.
I will bridle my pen another time, and not tease and
puzzle you with my aridities. I shall begin to
feel a little more alive with the spring.