March 4th, 1830.
Dear Sarah,—I was meditating to come and see you, but I am unable for the walk. We are both very unwell, and under affliction for poor Emma, who has had a very dangerous brain fever, and is lying very ill at Bury, from whence I expect a summons to fetch her. We are very sorry for your confinement. Any books I have are at your service. I am almost, I may say quite, sure that letters to India pay no postage, and may go by the regular Post Office, now in St. Martin’s le Grand. I think any receiving house would take them—
I wish I could confirm your hopes about Dick Norris. But it is quite a dream. Some old Bencher of his surname is made Treasurer for the year, I suppose, which is an annual office. Norris was Sub-Treasurer, quite a different thing. They were pretty well in the Summer, since when we have heard nothing of them. Mrs. Reynolds is better than she has been for years; she is with a disagreeable woman that she has taken a mighty fancy to out of spite to a rival woman she used to live and quarrel with; she grows quite fat, they tell me, and may live as long as I do, to be a tormenting rent-charge to my diminish’d income. We go on pretty comfortably in our new plan. I will come and have a talk with you when poor Emma’s affair is settled, and will bring books. At present I am weak, and could hardly bring my legs home yesterday after a much shorter stroll than to Northaw. Mary has got her bonnet on for a short expedition. May you get better, as the Spring comes on. She sends her best love with mine.
[Addressed to “Mrs. Hazlitt, Mrs. Tomlinson’s, Northaw, near Potter’s Bar, Herts.”
Mrs. Hazlitt was in later years a sufferer from rheumatism. Dick Norris was the son of Randal Norris. He had retired to Widford. Mrs. Reynolds, Lamb’s old schoolmistress and dependant, we have met.]
CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. WILLIAMS
Enfield, 5 Mar., 1830.
Dear Madam,—I feel greatly obliged by your letter of Tuesday, and should not have troubled you again so soon, but that you express a wish to hear that our anxiety was relieved by the assurances in it. You have indeed given us much comfort respecting our young friend, but considerable uneasiness respecting your own health and spirits, which must have suffered under such attention. Pray believe me that we shall wait in quiet hope for the time when I shall receive the welcome summons to come and relieve you from a charge, which you have executed with such tenderness. We desire nothing so much as to exchange it with you. Nothing shall be wanting on my part to remove her with the best judgment I can, without (I hope) any necessity for depriving you of the services of your valuable housekeeper. Until the day comes, we entreat that you will spare yourself the trouble of writing, which we should be ashamed to impose upon you in your present weak state. Not hearing from you, we shall be satisfied in believing that there has been no relapse. Therefore we beg that you will not add to your troubles by unnecessary, though most kind, correspondence. Till I have the pleasure of thanking you personally, I beg you to accept these written acknowledgments of all your kindness. With respects to Mr. Williams and sincere prayers for both your healths, I remain,