I come as near it as I can.
[This may be incorrectly dated, but I place it here because in that to Hood of December 17, summarised above, Lamb speaks of his godson at Brighton.
Talfourd (who himself dates this letter 1829) had named his latest child Charles Lamb Talfourd. The boy lived only until 1835. I quote in the Appendix the verses which Talfourd wrote on his death. Another of Lamb’s name children, Charles Lamb Kenney, grew to man’s estate and became a ready writer.]
CHARLES LAMB TO GEORGE DYER
[No date. ? January, 1829.]
Dear Dyer, My very good friend, and Charles Clarke’s father in law, Vincent Novello, wishes to shake hands with you. Make him play you a tune. He is a damn’d fine musician, and what is better, a good man and true. He will tell you how glad we should be to have Mrs. Dyer and you here for a few days. Our young friend, Miss Isola, has been here holydaymaking, but leaves us tomorrow.
Yours Ever CH. LAMB.
[Added in a feminine hand:] Emma’s love to Mr. and Mrs. Dyer.
[The date of this note is pure conjecture on my part, but is unimportant. Novello had become Charles Clarke’s father-in-law in 1828, and Emma Isola, who was now teaching the children of a clergyman named Williams, at Fornham, in Suffolk, spent her Christmas holidays with the Lambs that year.
Here, perhaps, should come an undated letter from Lamb to Louisa Martin. Lamb begins “Dear Monkey,” and refers to his “niece,” Mrs. Dowden, and some business which she requires him to transact, Mrs. Dowden being Mrs. John Lamb’s daughter-in-law. Lamb describes himself as “a sick cat that loves to be alone on housetops or at cellar bottoms.”]
CHARLES LAMB TO B.W. PROCTER
[19th Jan., 1829.]
My dear Procter,—I am ashamed to have not taken the drift of your pleasant letter, which I find to have been pure invention. But jokes are not suspected in Boeotian Enfield. We are plain people; and our talk is of corn, and cattle, and Waltham markets. Besides, I was a little out of sorts when I received it. The fact is, I am involved in a case which has fretted me to death; and I have no reliance, except on you, to extricate me. I am sure you will give me your best legal advice, having no professional friend besides but Robinson and Talfourd, with neither of whom at present I am on the best terms. My brother’s widow left a will, made during the lifetime of my brother, in which I am named sole executor, by which she bequeaths forty acres of arable property, which it seems she held under Covert Baron, unknown to my brother, to the heirs of the body of Elizabeth