["Table Talk by the late Elia” appeared in The Athenaeum on January 4, May 31, June 7 and July 19, 1834. The Culinary article is the paragraph that now closes the “Table Talk” (see Vol. I.).]
CHARLES LAMB TO THE PRINTER OF THE ATHENAEUM
I have read the enclosed five and forty times over. I have submitted it to my Edmonton friends; at last (O Argus’ penetration), I have discovered a dash that might be dispensed with. Pray don’t trouble yourself with such useless courtesies. I can well trust your editor, when I don’t use queer phrases which prove themselves wrong by creating a distrust in the sober compositor.
CHARLES LAMB TO MARY BETHAM
January 24, 1834,
Church Street, Edmonton.
Dear Mary Betham—I received the Bill, and when it is payable, some ten or twelve days hence, will punctually do with the overplus as you direct: I thought you would like to know it came to hand, so I have not waited for the uncertainty of when your nephew sets out. I suppose my receipt will serve, for poor Mary is not in a capacity to sign it. After being well from the end of July to the end of December, she was taken ill almost on the first day of the New Year, and is as bad as poor creature can be. I expect her fever to last 14 or 15 weeks—if she gets well at all, which every successive illness puts me in fear of. She has less and less strength to throw it off, and they leave a dreadful depression after them. She was quite comfortable a few weeks since, when Matilda came down here to see us.
You shall excuse a short letter, for my hand is unsteady. Indeed, the situation I am in with her shakes me sadly. She was quite able to appreciate the kind legacy while she was well. Imagine her kindest love to you, which is but buried awhile, and believe all the good wishes for your restoration to health from
[This letter refers to the legacy mentioned above. It had now been paid.]
CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON
[P.M. Jan. 28, 1834.]
I met with a man at my half way house, who told me many anecdotes of Kean’s younger life. He knew him thoroughly. His name is Wyatt, living near the Bell, Edmonton. Also he referred me to West, a publican, opposite St. Georges Church, Southwark, who knew him more intimately. Is it worth Forster’s while to enquire after them?
[Edmund Kean had died in the previous May. Forster, who was at this time theatrical critic of The Examiner, was probably at work upon a biographical article.
Here should come a note from Lamb to Matilda Betham, dated January 29, 1834. “My poor Mary is terribly ill again.”