Dear Clarke,—We did expect to see you with Victoria and the Novellos before this, and do not quite understand why we have not. Mrs. N. and V. [Vincent] promised us after the York expedition; a day being named before, which fail’d. ’Tis not too late. The autumn leaves drop gold, and Enfield is beautifuller—to a common eye—than when you lurked at the Greyhound. Benedicks are close, but how I so totally missed you at that time, going for my morning cup of ale duly, is a mystery. ’Twas stealing a match before one’s face in earnest. But certainly we had not a dream of your appropinquity. I instantly prepared an Epithalamium, in the form of a Sonata—which I was sending to Novello to compose—but Mary forbid it me, as too light for the occasion—as if the subject required anything heavy— so in a tiff with her I sent no congratulation at all. Tho’ I promise you the wedding was very pleasant news to me indeed. Let your reply name a day this next week, when you will come as many as a coach will hold; such a day as we had at Dulwich. My very kindest love and Mary’s to Victoria and the Novellos. The enclosed is from a friend nameless, but highish in office, and a man whose accuracy of statement may be relied on with implicit confidence. He wants the expose to appear in a newspaper as the “greatest piece of legal and Parliamentary villainy he ever rememb’d,” and he has had experience in both; and thinks it would answer afterwards in a cheap pamphlet printed at Lambeth in 8’o sheet, as 16,000 families in that parish are interested. I know not whether the present Examiner keeps up the character of exposing abuses, for I scarce see a paper now. If so, you may ascertain Mr. Hunt of the strictest truth of the statement, at the peril of my head. But if this won’t do, transmit it me back, I beg, per coach, or better, bring it with you. Yours unaltered, C. LAMB.
[Clarke had married Mary Victoria Novello on July 5, 1828, and they had spent their honeymoon at the Greyhound, Enfield, unknown to the Lambs. See the next letter.
“The enclosed.” This has vanished. Hunt was Leigh Hunt.]
CHARLES LAMB TO VINCENT NOVELLO
[Enfield, November 6, 1828.]
My dear Novello,—I am afraid I shall appear rather tardy in offering my congratulations, however sincere, upon your daughter’s marriage. The truth is, I had put together a little Serenata upon the occasion, but was prevented from sending it by my sister, to whose judgment I am apt to defer too much in these kind of things; so that, now I have her consent, the offering, I am afraid, will have lost the grace of seasonableness. Such as it is, I send it. She thinks it a little too old-fashioned in the manner, too much like what they wrote a century back. But I cannot write in the modern style, if I try ever so hard. I have attended to the proper divisions for the music, and you will have little difficulty in composing it. If I may advise, make Pepusch your model, or Blow. It will be necessary to have a good second voice, as the stress of the melody lies there:—