“‘Apathetic.’ Vile word.
“‘Mechanically,’ faugh!—insensibly—involuntarily—in-any-thing-ly but mechanically.
“Calianax’s character should be somewhere briefly drawn, not left to be dramatically inferred.
“‘Surprised and almost vexed while it troubled her.’ (Awkward.) Better, ’in a way that while it deeply troubled her, could not but surprise and vex her to think it should be a source of trouble at all.’
“‘Reaction’ is vile slang. ’Physical’—vile word.
“Decidedly, Dorigen should simply propose to him to remove the rocks as ugly or dangerous, not as affecting her with fears for her husband. The idea of her husband should be excluded from a promise which is meant to be frank upon impossible conditions. She cannot promise in one breath infidelity to him, and make the conditions a good to him. Her reason for hating the rocks is good, but not to be expressed here.
“Insert after ’to whatever consequences it might lead,’—’Neither had Arviragus been disposed to interpose a husband’s authority to prevent the execution of this rash vow, was he unmindful of that older and more solemn vow which, in the days of their marriage, he had imposed upon himself, in no instance to control the settled purpose or determination of his wedded wife;—so that by the chains of a double contract he seemed bound to abide by her decision in this instance, whatever it might be.’”
“A tragi-comedy”—Lamb’s dramatic version of Crabbe’s “Confidante,” which he called “The Wife’s Trial” (see Vol. IV. of this edition).
“Procter has got a wen.” This paragraph must be taken with salt. Poor Hone, however, had the rules of the King’s Bench at the time. Beckey was the Lambs’ servant and tyrant; she had been Hazlitt’s. Patmore described her at some length in his reminiscences of Lamb.
CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
Enfield, July 26th, 1827.
Dear Mrs. Shelley,—At the risk of throwing away some fine thoughts, I must write to say how pleased we were with your very kind remembering of us (who have unkindly run away from all our friends) before you go. Perhaps you are gone, and then my tropes are wasted. If any piece of better fortune has lighted upon you than you expected, but less than we wish you, we are rejoiced. We are here trying to like solitude, but have scarce enough to justify the experiment. We get some, however. The six days are our Sabbath; the seventh—why, Cockneys will come for a little fresh air, and so—
But by your month, or October at furthest, we hope to see Islington: I like a giant refreshed with the leaving off of wine, and Mary, pining for Mr. Moxon’s books and Mr. Moxon’s society. Then we shall meet.