Church S’t, Edmonton,
22 feb. .
Dear Wordsworth, I write from a house of mourning. The oldest and best friends I have left, are in trouble. A branch of them (and they of the best stock of God’s creatures, I believe) is establishing a school at Carlisle. Her name is Louisa Martin, her address 75 Castle Street, Carlisle; her qualities (and her motives for this exertion) are the most amiable, most upright. For thirty years she has been tried by me, and on her behaviour I would stake my soul. O if you can recommend her, how would I love you—if I could love you better. Pray, pray, recommend her. She is as good a human creature,—next to my Sister, perhaps the most exemplary female I ever knew. Moxon tells me, you would like a Letter from me. You shall have one. This I cannot mingle up with any nonsense which you usually tolerate from, C. LAMB. Need he add loves to Wife, Sister, and all? Poor Mary is ill again, after a short lucid interval of 4 or 5 months. In short, I may call her half dead to me.
Good you are to me. Yours with fervor of friendship; for ever
If you want references, the Bishop of Carlisle may be one. Louisa’s Sister, (as good as she, she cannot be better tho’ she tries,) educated the daughters of the late Earl of Carnarvon, and he settled a handsome Annuity on her for life. In short all the family are a sound rock. The present Lord Carnarvon married Howard of Graystock’s Sister.
[Wordsworth has written on the wrapper, “Lamb’s last letter.”
We met the Martins in the early correspondence. It was Louisa whom, many years, before, Lamb used to call “Monkey.”
Here should come Lamb’s last letter to Thomas Manning, dated May 10, 1834. Mary has, he says, been ill for nigh twenty weeks; “she is, I hope, recovering.” “I struggle to town rarely, and then to see London, with little other motive—for what is left there hardly? The streets and shops entertaining ever, else I feel as in a desert, and get me home to my cave.” Once a month, he adds, he passes a day with Cary at the Museum. When Mary was getting better in the previous year she would read all the auctioneers’ advertisements on the walk. “These are my Play-bills,” she said. “I walk 9 or 10 miles a day, always up the road, dear Londonwards.” Addressed to Manning at Puckeridge.
Manning lived on, an eccentric recluse, until 1840.
Here perhaps should come the following melancholy letter to Talfourd, which Mr. Dobell permits me to print:—]
CHARLES LAMB TO T.N. TALFOURD
[No date. Early 1834?]