But we are both in trouble at present. A very dear young friend of ours, who passed her Christmas holidays here, has been taken dangerously ill with a fever, from which she is very precariously recovering, and I expect a summons to fetch her when she is well enough to bear the journey from Bury. It is Emma Isola, with whom we got acquainted at our first visit to your sister at Cambridge, and she has been an occasional inmate with us—and of late years much more frequently—ever since. While she is in this danger, and till she is out of it and here in a probable way to recovery, I feel that I have no spirits for an engagement of any kind. It has been a terrible shock to us; therefore I beg that you will make my handsomest excuses to Mr. Murray.
Our very kindest loves to Mrs. A. and the younger A.’s.
["Phillips.” This would be Edward Phillips, who, I think, succeeded Rickman as secretary to Abbot (afterwards Lord Colchester), the Speaker. Colonel Erasmus Phillips we have also met. The Captain was Captain Burney.
Mr. Murray’s propositions. I presume that Murray had, through Ayrton, suggested either the republication of the Dramatic Specimens, 1808, in one volume, or in two volumes, with the Garrick Extracts added. The plan came to nothing. Moxon published them in the two volume style in 1835. Murray had refused Lamb’s “Works” some twelve years before. For the Dramatic Specimens see Vol. IV. of my large edition.]
CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. WILLIAMS
[Dated at end: March 22 (1830).]
Dear Madam,—Once more I have to return you thanks for a very kind letter. It has gladdened us very much to hear that we may have hope to see our young friend so soon, and through your kind nursing so well recovered. I sincerely hope that your own health and spirits will not have been shaken: you have had a sore trial indeed, and greatly do we feel indebted to you for all which you have undergone. If I hear nothing from you in the mean time, I shall secure myself a place in the Cornwallis Coach for Monday. It will not be at all necessary that I shall be met at Bury, as I can well find my way to the Rectory, and I beg that you will not inconvenience yourselves by such attention. Accordingly as I find Miss Isola able to bear the journey, I intend to take the care of her by the same stage or by chaises perhaps, dividing the journey; but exactly as you shall judge fit. It is our misfortune that long journeys do not agree with my sister, who would else have taken this care upon herself, perhaps more properly. It is quite out of the question to rob you of the services of any of your domestics. I cannot think of it. But if in your opinion a female attendant would be requisite on the journey, and if you or Mr. Williams would feel more comfortable by her being in charge of two, I will most gladly engage one of her nurses or any young person near you, that you can recommend; for my object is to remove her in the way that shall be most satisfactory to yourselves.