I must scribble to make up my hiatus crumenae, for there are so many ways, pious and profligate, of getting rid of money in this vast city and suburbs that I shall miss my third: but couragio. I despair not. Your kind hint of the Cottage was well thrown out. An anchorage for age and school of economy when necessity comes. But without this latter I have an unconquerable terror of changing Place. It does not agree with us. I say it from conviction. Else—I do sometimes ruralize in fancy.
Some d------d people are come in and I must finish abruptly. By d------d, I only mean deuced. ’Tis these suitors of Penelope that make it necessary to authorise a little for gin and mutton and such trifles.
Excuse my abortive scribble.
Yours not in more haste than heart C.L.
Love and recollects to all the Wms. Doras, Maries round your Wrekin.
Mary is capitally well.
Do write to Sir G.B. for I am shyish of applying to him.
[Coleridge had been appointed to one of the ten Royal Associateships of the newly chartered Royal Society of Literature, thus becoming entitled to an annuity of 100 guineas. An essay was expected from each associate. Coleridge wrote on the Prometheus of Aeschylus, and read it on May 18. His book was Aids to Reflection. See note on page 734.
“I shall miss my thirds.” Lamb’s pension was two-thirds of his stipend.
“Some d-----d people.” A hint for Lamb’s Popular Fallacy on Home, soon to be written.
“Round your Wrekin.” Lamb repeats this phrase twice in the next few months. He got it from the Dedication to Farquhar’s play “The Recruiting Officer”—“To all friends round the Wrekin.”
Here perhaps should come a letter to Mrs. Norris printed in the Boston Bibliophile edition containing some very interesting comic verses on England somewhat in the manner of Don Juan—
like the weather when it’s not too rainy,
That is, I like two months of every year,
and so on.]
CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES CHAMBERS
[Undated. ? May, 1825.]
With regard to a John-dory, which you desire to be particularly informed about, I honour the fish, but it is rather on account of Quin who patronised it, and whose taste (of a dead man) I had as lieve go by as anybody’s (Apicius and Heliogabalus excepted—this latter started nightingales’ tongues and peacocks’ brains as a garnish).
Else in itself, and trusting to my own poor single judgment, it hath not that moist mellow oleaginous gliding smooth descent from the tongue to the palate, thence to the stomach, &c., that your Brighton Turbot hath, which I take to be the most friendly and familiar flavor of any that swims—most genial and at home to the palate.