Believe me, yours truly, C. LAMB.
CHARLES LAMB TO S.T. COLERIDGE
May 1st ,
Mr. Gilman’s, Highgate.
Mr. C.—I will not fail you on Friday by six, and Mary, perhaps, earlier. I very much wish to meet “Master Mathew,” and am much obliged to the G——s for the opportunity. Our kind respects to them always.—ELIA.
Extract from a MS. note of S.T.C. in my Beaumont and
April 17th 1807.
“God bless you, dear Charles Lamb, I am dying; I feel I have not many weeks left.”
[Master Mathew is in Ben Jonson’s “Every Man in His Humour.”
Lamb’s “Beaumont and Fletcher” is in the British Museum. The note quoted by Lamb is not there, or perhaps it is one that has been crossed out. This still remains: “N.B. I shall not be long here, Charles! I gone, you will not mind my having spoiled a book in order to leave a Relic. S.T.C., Oct. 1811.”]
CHARLES LAMB TO JAMES GILLMAN
[Dated at end: 2 May, 1821.]
Dear Sir—You dine so late on Friday, it will be impossible for us to go home by the eight o’clock stage. Will you oblige us by securing us beds at some house from which a stage goes to the Bank in the morning? I would write to Coleridge, but cannot think of troubling a dying man with such a request.
Yours truly, C. LAMB.
If the beds in the town are all engaged, in consequence of Mr. Mathews’s appearance, a hackney-coach will serve. Wednes’y. 2 May ’21.
We shall neither of us come much before the time.
[Mrs. Mathews (who was half-sister of Fanny Kelly) described this evening in her Memoirs of her husband, 1839. Her account of Lamb is interesting:—
Mr. Lamb’s first approach was not prepossessing. His figure was small and mean; and no man certainly was ever less beholden to his tailor. His “bran” new suit of black cloth (in which he affected several times during the day to take great pride, and to cherish as a novelty that he had long looked for and wanted) was drolly contrasted with his very rusty silk stockings, shown from his knees, and his much too large thick shoes, without polish. His shirt rejoiced in a wide ill-plaited frill, and his very small, tight, white neckcloth was hemmed to a fine point at the ends that formed part of the little bow. His hair was black and sleek, but not formal, and his face the gravest I ever saw, but indicating great intellect, and resembling very much the portraits of King Charles I. Mr. Coleridge was very anxious about his pet Lamb’s first impression upon my husband, which I believe his friend saw; and guessing that he had been extolled, he mischievously resolved to thwart his panegyrist, disappoint the strangers, and altogether to upset the suspected plan of showing him off.
The Mathews’ were then living at Ivy Cottage, only a short distance from the Grove, Highgate, where the famous Mathews collection of pictures was to be seen of which Lamb subsequently wrote in the London Magazine.