Forty Hill is close to Enfield.
Edward Irving’s watch-chain. The explanation of Lamb’s joke is to be found in Carlyle’s Reminiscences (quoted also in Froude’s Life, Vol. I., page 326). Irving had put down as his contribution to some subscription list, at a public meeting, “an actual gold watch, which he said had just arrived to him from his beloved brother lately dead in India.” This rather theatrical action had evidently amused Lamb as it had disgusted Carlyle.
The “first edition” of “Mr. -----” was, I suppose, Basil Montagu’s work on Bacon, which Macaulay reviewed.]
MARY LAMB TO LADY STODDART
[August 9, 1827.]
My dear Lady-Friend,—My brother called at our empty cottage yesterday, and found the cards of your son and his friend, Mr. Hine, under the door; which has brought to my mind that I am in danger of losing this post, as I did the last, being at that time in a confused state of mind—for at that time we were talking of leaving, and persuading ourselves that we were intending to leave town and all our friends, and sit down for ever, solitary and forgotten, here. Here we are; and we have locked up our house, and left it to take care of itself; but at present we do not design to extend our rural life beyond Michaelmas. Your kind letter was most welcome to me, though the good news contained in it was already known to me. Accept my warmest congratulations, though they come a little of the latest. In my next I may probably have to hail you Grandmama; or to felicitate you on the nuptials of pretty Mary, who, whatever the beaux of Malta may think of her, I can only remember her round shining face, and her “O William!”—“dear William!” when we visited her the other day at school. Present my love and best wishes—a long and happy married life to dear Isabella—I love to call her Isabella; but in truth, having left your other letter in town, I recollect no other name she has.
The same love and the same wishes—in futuro—to my friend Mary. Tell her that her “dear William” grows taller, and improves in manly looks and manlike behaviour every time I see him. What is Henry about? and what should one wish for him? If he be in search of a wife, I will send him out Emma Isola.
You remember Emma, that you were so kind as to invite to your ball? She is now with us; and I am moving heaven and earth, that is to say, I am pressing the matter upon all the very few friends I have that are likely to assist me in such a case, to get her into a family as a governess; and Charles and I do little else here than teach her something or other all day long.
We are striving to put enough Latin into her to enable her to begin to teach it to young learners. So much for Emma —for you are so fearfully far away, that I fear it is useless to implore your patronage for her.