CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON
[P.M. September 26, 1826.]
Dear B.B.—I don’t know why I have delay’d so long writing. ’Twas a fault. The under current of excuse to my mind was that I had heard of the Vessel in which Mitford’s jars were to come; that it had been obliged to put into Batavia to refit (which accounts for its delay) but was daily expectated. Days are past, and it comes not, and the mermaids may be drinking their Tea out of his China for ought I know; but let’s hope not. In the meantime I have paid L28, etc., for the freight and prime cost, (which I a little expected he would have settled in London.) But do not mention it. I was enabled to do it by a receipt of L30 from Colburn, with whom however I have done. I should else have run short. For I just make ends meet. We will wait the arrival of the Trinkets, and to ascertain their full expence, and then bring in the bill. (Don’t mention it, for I daresay ’twas mere thoughtlessness.)
I am sorry you and yours have any plagues about dross matters. I have been sadly puzzled at the defalcation of more than one third of my income, out of which when entire I saved nothing. But cropping off wine, old books, &c. and in short all that can be call’d pocket money, I hope to be able to go on at the Cottage. Remember, I beg you not to say anything to Mitford, for if he be honest it will vex him: if not, which I as little expect as that you should [not] be, I have a hank still upon the JARS.
Colburn had something of mine in last month, which he has had in hand these 7 months, and had lost, or cou’dnt find room for: I was used to different treatment in the London, and have forsworn Periodicals.
I am going thro’ a course of reading at the Museum: the Garrick plays, out of part of which I formed my Specimens: I have Two Thousand to go thro’; and in a few weeks have despatch’d the tythe of ’em. It is a sort of Office to me; hours, 10 to 4, the same. It does me good. Man must have regular occupation, that has been used to it. So A.K. keeps a School! She teaches nothing wrong, I’ll answer for’t. I have a Dutch print of a Schoolmistress; little old-fashioned Fleminglings, with only one face among them. She a Princess of Schoolmistress, wielding a rod for form more than use; the scene an old monastic chapel, with a Madonna over her head, looking just as serious, as thoughtful, as pure, as gentle, as herself. Tis a type of thy friend.
Will you pardon my neglect? Mind, again I say, don’t shew this to M.; let me wait a little longer to know the event of his Luxuries. (I am sure he is a good fellow, tho’ I made a serious Yorkshire Lad, who met him, stare when I said he was a Clergyman. He is a pleasant Layman spoiled.) Heaven send him his jars uncrack’d, and me my—— Yours with kindest wishes to your daughter and friend, in which Mary joins