Yours very faithfully
[The letter’s contents was presumably payment for Lamb’s contribution to The Englishman’s Magazine.]
CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM HAZLITT, JR.
[P.M. Sept. 13, 1831.]
Dear Wm—We have a sick house, Mrs. Westw’ds daughter in a fever, & Grandaughter in the meazles, & it is better to see no company just now, but in a week or two we shall be very glad to see you; come at a hazard then, on a week day if you can, because Sundays are stuffd up with friends on both parts of this great ill-mix’d family. Your second letter, dated 3d Sept’r, came not till Sund’y & we staid at home in even’g in expectation of seeing you. I have turned & twisted what you ask’d me to do in my head, & am obliged to say I can not undertake it—but as a composition for declining it, will you accept some verses which I meditate to be addrest to you on your father, & prefixable to your Life? Write me word that I may have ’em ready against I see you some 10 days hence, when I calculate the House will be uninfected. Send your mother’s address.
If you are likely to be again at Cheshunt before that time, on second thoughts, drop in here, & consult—
Not a line is yet written—so say, if I shall do ’em.
[This is the only letter extant to the younger Hazlitt, who was then nearly twenty. William Hazlitt, the essayist, had died September 18, 1830. Lamb was at his bedside. The memoir of him, by his son, was prefixed to the Literary Remains in 1836, but no verses by Lamb accompanied it. When this letter was last sold at Sotheby’s in June, 1902, a copy of verses was attached beginning—
lives at Winterslow a man of such
Rare talents and deep learning ...
in the handwriting of William Hazlitt. They bear more traces of being Mary Lamb’s work than her brother’s.]
CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON
[P.M. October 24, 1831.]
To address an abdicated monarch is a nice point of breeding. To give him his lost titles is to mock him; to withhold ’em is to wound him. But his Minister who falls with him may be gracefully sympathetic. I do honestly feel for your diminution of honors, and regret even the pleasing cares which are part and parcel of greatness. Your magnanimous submission, and the cheerful tone of your renunciation, in a Letter which, without flattery, would have made an “ARTICLE,” and which, rarely as I keep letters, shall be preserved, comfort me a little. Will it please, or plague you, to say that when your Parcel came I damned it, for my pen was warming in my hand at a ludicrous description of a Landscape of an R.A., which I calculated upon sending you to morrow, the last day you gave me. Now any one calling in, or a letter coming, puts an end to my writing for the day. Little did I think that the mandate had gone out, so destructive to my occupation, so relieving to the apprehensions of the whole body of R.A.’s. So you see I had not quitted the ship while a plank was remaining.