I went and sat among ’em all at my old 33 years desk yester morning; and deuce take me if I had not yearnings at leaving all my old pen and ink fellows, merry sociable lads, at leaving them in the Lurch, fag, fag, fag.
The comparison of my own superior felicity gave me any thing but pleasure.
B.B., I would not serve another 7 years for seven hundred thousand pounds!
I have got L441 net for life, sanctioned by Act of Parliament, with a provision for Mary if she survives me.
I will live another 50 years; or, if I live but 10, they will be thirty, reckoning the quantity of real time in them, i.e. the time that is a man’s own.
Tell me how you like “Barbara S.”—will it be received in atonement for the foolish Vision, I mean by the Lady?
Apropos, I never saw Mrs. Crawford in my life, nevertheless ’tis all true of Somebody.
Address me in future Colebrook Cottage, Islington.
I am really nervous (but that will wear off) so take this brief announcement.
Yours truly C.L.
["Barbara S——,” the Elia essay, was printed in the London Magazine, April, 1825 (see Vol II. of this edition). It purports to be an incident in the life of Mrs. Crawford, the actress, but had really happened to Fanny Kelly.]
CHARLES LAMB TO SARAH HUTCHINSON
[P.M. April 18, 1825.]
Dear Miss Hutchinson—You want to know all about my gaol delivery. Take it then. About 12 weeks since I had a sort of intimation that a resignation might be well accepted from me. This was a kind bird’s whisper. On that hint I spake. Gilman and Tuthill furnishd me with certificates of wasted health and sore spirits—not much more than the truth, I promise you—and for 9 weeks I was kept in a fright— I had gone too far to recede, and they might take advantage and dismiss me with a much less sum than I had reckoned on. However Liberty came at last with a liberal provision. I have given up what I could have lived on in the country, but have enough to live here by managem’t and scribbling occasionally. I would not go back to my prison for seven years longer for L10000 a year. 7 years after one is 50 is no trifle to give up. Still I am a young Pensioner, and have served but 33 years, very few I assure you retire before 40, 45, or 50 years’ service.
You will ask how I bear my freedom. Faith, for some days I was staggered. Could not comprehend the magnitude of my deliverance, was confused, giddy, knew not whether I was on my head or my heel as they say. But those giddy feelings have gone away, and my weather glass stands at a degree or two above
I go about quiet, and have none of that restless hunting after recreation which made holydays formerly uneasy joys. All being holydays, I feel as if I had none, as they do in heaven, where ’tis all red letter days.