Coleridge, continue to write, but do not forever offend me by talking of sending me cash. Sincerely and on my soul, we do not want it. God love you both!
I will write again very soon. Do you write directly.
 John Lamb, the “James Elia” of the essay “My Relations.”
 A Christ’s Hospital schoolfellow.
October 17, 1796.
My dearest friend,—I grieve from my very soul to observe you in your plans of life veering about from this hope to the other, and settling nowhere. Is it an untoward fatality (speaking humanly) that does this for you,—a stubborn, irresistible concurrence of events,—or lies the fault, as I fear it does, in your own mind? You seem to be taking up splendid schemes of fortune only to lay them down again; and your fortunes are an ignis fatuus that has been conducting you in thought from Lancaster Court, Strand, to somewhere near Matlock; then jumping across to Dr. Somebody’s, whose son’s tutor you were likely to be; and would to God the dancing demon may conduct you at last in peace and comfort to the “life and labours of a cottager”! You see from the above awkward playfulness of fancy that my spirits are not quite depressed. I should ill deserve God’s blessings, which, since the late terrible event, have come down in mercy upon us, if I indulge in regret or querulousness. Mary continues serene and cheerful. I have not by me a little letter she wrote to me; for though I see her almost every day, yet we delight to write to one another, for we can scarce see each other but in company with some of the people of the house. I have not the letter by me, but will quote from memory what she wrote in it: “I have no bad, terrifying dreams. At midnight, when I happen to awake, the nurse sleeping by the side of me, with the noise of the poor mad people around me, I have no fear. The spirit of my mother seems to descend and smile upon me, and bid me live to enjoy the life and reason which the Almighty has given me. I shall see her again in heaven; she will then understand me better. My grandmother, too, will understand me better, and will then say no more, as she used to do, ’Polly, what are those poor crazy, moythered brains of yours thinking of always?’” Poor Mary! my mother indeed never understood her right. She loved her, as she loved us all, with a mother’s love; but in opinion, in feeling and sentiment and disposition, bore so distant a resemblance to her daughter that she never understood her right,—never could believe how much she loved her, but met her caresses, her protestations of filial affection, too frequently with coldness and repulse. Still, she was a good mother. God forbid I should think of her but most respectfully, most affectionately. Yet she would always love my brother above Mary, who was not worthy of one tenth of that affection which