I hope all her little commissions will all be brought home to your satisfaction. When she returns, we purpose seeing her to Epping on her journey. We have had our proportion of fine weather and some pleasant walks, and she is stronger, her appetite good, but less wolfish than at first, which we hold a good sign. I hope Mr. Wing will approve of its abatement. She desires her very kindest respects to Mr. Williams and yourself, and wishes to rejoin you. My sister and myself join in respect, and pray tell Mr. Donne, with our compliments, that we shall be disappointed, if we do not see him. This letter being very neatly written, I am very unwilling that Emma should club any of her disproportionate scrawl to deface it.
Your obliged servant,
[Addressed to “Mrs. Williams, W.B. Donne, Esq., Matteshall, East Dereham, Norfolk.”
Mr. Wing was probably Miss Isola’s doctor. Mr. Donne was William Bodham Donne (1807-1882), the friend of Edward FitzGerald, and Examiner of Plays.
This was Lamb’s acrostic-epitaph on Mrs. Williams:—
Joanna here doth lie:
Reader, wonder not that I
Ante-date her hour of rest.
Can I thwart her wish exprest,
Ev’n unseemly though the laugh
with an Epitaph?
On her bones the turf lie lightly,
And her rise again be brightly!
No dark stain be found upon her—
No, there will not, on mine honour—
Answer that at least I can.
that I, thrice happy man,
In as spotless garb might rise,
Light as she will climb the skies,
Leaving the dull earth behind,
In a car more swift than wind.
All her errors, all her failings,
(Many they were not) and ailings,
Sleep secure from Envy’s railings.
Here should come an undated note from Lamb to Basil Montagu, in which Lamb asks for help for Hone in his Coffee-House. “If you can help a worthy man you will have two worthy men obliged to you.” Hone, having fallen upon bad times, Lamb helped in the scheme to establish him in the Grasshopper Coffee-House, at 13 Gracechurch Street (see next letter).]
CHARLES LAMB TO ROBERT SOUTHEY
May 10, 1830.
Dear Southey,—My friend Hone, whom you would like for a friend, I found deeply impressed with your generous notice of him in your beautiful “Life of Bunyan,” which I am just now full of. He has written to you for leave to publish a certain good-natured letter. I write not this to enforce his request, for we are fully aware that the refusal of such publication would be quite consistent