Yours (both yours) truly and affectionately, M. LAMB.
Becky is going by the Post office, so I will send it away. I mean to commence letter-writer to the family.
[Mr. Hazlitt dates this letter April, 1828. The reference to the Widow, towards the end, shows that Hood was preparing The Gem, and, what is not generally known, that Lamb had been asked to write on that subject. As it happened, Hood wrote the essay for him and signed it Elia (see note below). Mrs. Paris we have met. Harriet, Emma Isola’s sister, we do not hear of again. I was recently shown a copy of Lamb’s Works, 1818, inscribed in his hand to Miss Isola: this would be Harriet Isola. Emma had just begun her duties at Fornham, in Suffolk, where she taught the children of a Mr. Williams, a clergyman. I cannot say what the Picture was. The sonnet was probably that printed in the note to the letter to Mrs. Shelley of July 26, 1827. Charles Lamb’s and Emma’s joint letter has not been preserved.]
CHARLES LAMB TO B.R. HAYDON
Dear Haydon,—I have been tardy in telling you that your Chairing the Member gave me great pleasure;—’tis true broad Hogarthian fun, the High Sheriff capital. Considering, too, that you had the materials imposed upon you, and that you did not select them from the rude world as H. did, I hope to see many more such from your hand. If the former picture went beyond this I have had a loss, and the King a bargain. I longed to rub the back of my hand across the hearty canvas that two senses might be gratified. Perhaps the subject is a little discordantly placed opposite to another act of Chairing, where the huzzas were Hosannahs,—but I was pleased to see so many of my old acquaintances brought together notwithstanding.
Believe me, yours truly,
[Haydon’s “Chairing the Member” was exhibited in Bond Street this year, together with “Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem,” and other of his works. “The former picture” was his “Mock Election,” which the King had bought for 500 guineas. For “Chairing the Member” Haydon received only half that price.
Here should come a letter to Rickman, dated September 11, 1828, in which Lamb thanks him for a present of nuts and apples, but is surprised that apples should be offered to the owner of a “whole tree, almost an orchard,” and “an apple chamber redolent” to boot.
Here should come a letter from Lamb to Louisa Holcroft, dated October 2, 1828, in which, so soon after Mary Lamb’s determination to be the letter writer of the family, he says, “Mary Lamb has written her last letter in this world,” adding that he has been left her writing legatee. He calls geese “those pretty birds that look like snow in summer, and cackle like ice breaking up.”
Here should come a long Latin letter to Rickman, dated October 4, 1828. Canon Ainger prints the Latin. I append an English version:—]