CHARLES LAMB TO H.F. CARY
[Oct. 18, 1834.]
Dear Sir,—The unbounded range of munificence presented to my choice staggers me. What can twenty votes do for one hundred and two widows? I cast my eyes hopeless among the viduage. N.B.—Southey might be ashamed of himself to let his aged mother stand at the top of the list, with his L100 a year and butt of sack. Sometimes I sigh over No. 12, Mrs. Carve-ill, some poor relation of mine, no doubt. No. 15 has my wishes; but then she is a Welsh one. I have Ruth upon No. 21. I’d tug hard for No. 24. No. 25 is an anomaly: there can be no Mrs. Hogg. No. 34 ensnares me. No. 73 should not have met so foolish a person. No. 92 may bob it as she likes; but she catches no cherry of me. So I have even fixed at hap-hazard, as you’ll see.
Yours, every third Wednesday,
[Talfourd states that the note is in answer to a letter enclosing a list of candidates for a Widow’s Fund Society, for which he was entitled to vote. A Mrs. Southey headed the list.
Here, according to Mr. Hazlitt’s dating, should come a note from Lamb to Mrs. Randal Norris, belonging to November, in which Lamb says that he found Mary on his return no worse and she is now no better. He sends all his nonsense that he can scrape together and hopes the young ladies will like “Amwell” (Mrs. Leicester’s School).]
CHARLES LAMB TO MR. CHILDS
Monday. Church Street, EDMONTON (not Enfield, as you erroneously direct yours). [? Dec., 1834.]
Dear Sir,—The volume which you seem to want, is not to be had for love or money. I with difficulty procured a copy for myself. Yours is gone to enlighten the tawny Hindoos. What a supreme felicity to the author (only he is no traveller) on the Ganges or Hydaspes (Indian streams) to meet a smutty Gentoo ready to burst with laughing at the tale of Bo-Bo! for doubtless it hath been translated into all the dialects of the East. I grieve the less, that Europe should want it. I cannot gather from your letter, whether you are aware that a second series of the Essays is published by Moxon, in Dover-street, Piccadilly, called “The Last Essays of Elia,” and, I am told, is not inferior to the former. Shall I order a copy for you, and will you accept it? Shall I lend you, at the same time, my sole copy of the former volume (Oh! return it) for a month or two? In return, you shall favour me with the loan of one of those Norfolk-bred grunters that you laud so highly; I promise not to keep it above a day. What a funny name Bungay is! I never dreamt of a correspondent thence. I used to think of it as some Utopian town or borough in Gotham land. I now believe in its existence, as part of merry England!
[Some lines scratched out.]