My dear Coleridge,—With pain and grief, I must entreat you to excuse us on Thursday. My head, though externally correct, has had a severe concussion in my long illness, and the very idea of an engagement hanging over for a day or two, forbids my rest; and I get up miserable. I am not well enough for company. I do assure you, no other thing prevents my coming. I expect Field and his brothers this or to-morrow evening, and it worries me to death that I am not ostensibly ill enough to put ’em off. I will get better, when I shall hope to see your nephew. He will come again. Mary joins in best love to the Gillmans. Do, I earnestly entreat you, excuse me. I assure you, again, that I am not fit to go out yet.
Yours (though shattered),
[This letter has previously been dated 1829, but I think wrongly. Lamb had no long illness then, and Field was then in Gibraltar, where he was Chief-Justice. Lamb’s long illness was in 1825, when Coleridge’s Thursday evenings at Highgate were regular. Coleridge’s nephew may have been one of several. I fancy it was the Rev. Edward Coleridge. Henry Nelson Coleridge had already left, I think, for the West Indies.]
CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY COLBURN (?)
[Dated at end: June 14 (? 1825).]
I am quite ashamed, after your kind letter, of having expressed any disappointment about my remuneration. It is quite equivalent to the value of any thing I have yet sent you. I had Twenty Guineas a sheet from the London; and what I did for them was more worth that sum, than any thing, I am afraid, I can now produce, would be worth the lesser sum. I used up all my best thoughts in that publication, and I do not like to go on writing worse & worse, & feeling that I do so. I want to try something else. However, if any subject turns up, which I think will do your Magazine no discredit, you shall have it at your price, or something between that and my old price. I prefer writing to seeing you just now, for after such a letter as I have received from you, in truth I am ashamed to see you. We will never mention the thing again.
Your obliged friend & Serv’t
[In the absence of any wrapper I have assumed this note to be addressed to Colburn, the publisher of the New Monthly Magazine. Lamb’s first contribution to that periodical was “The Illustrious Defunct” (see Vol. I. of this edition) in January, 1825. A year later he began the “Popular Fallacies,” and continued regularly for some months.]
CHARLES LAMB TO S.T. COLERIDGE
[P.M. July 2, 1825.]