’Tis done: and thou hast join’d a crew,
To whom thy soul was justly due;
And yet I think, where’er thou be,
They’ll scarcely love thee more than we.
This is the last letter of Charles Lamb, who tripped and fell in Church Street, Edmonton, on December 22, and died of erysipelas on December 27.
At the time of his death Lamb was very nearly sixty. His birthday was February 10.
Mary Lamb, with occasional lapses into sound health, survived him until May 20, 1847. At first she continued to live at Edmonton, but a few years later moved to the house of Mrs. Parsons, sister of her old nurse, Miss James, in St. John’s Wood. I append three letters, two written and one inspired, by her, to Miss Jane Norris, one of the daughters of Randal Norris. Of the friends mentioned therein I might add that Edward Moxon lived until 1858; Mrs. Edward Moxon until 1891; James Kenney until 1849; Thomas Hood until 1845; and Barron Field until 1846.]
MARY LAMB TO JANE NORRIS
[41 Alpha Road, Regent’s Park]
Christmas Day .
My dear Jane,—Many thanks for your kind presents—your Michalmas goose. I thought Mr. Moxon had written to thank you—the turkeys and nice apples came yesterday.
Give my love to your dear Mother. I was unhappy to find your note in the basket, for I am always thinking of you all, and wondering when I shall ever see any of you again. I long to shew you what a nice snug place I have got into—in the midst of a pleasant little garden. I have a room for myself and my old books on the ground floor, and a little bedroom up two pairs of stairs. When you come to town, if you have not time to go [to] the Moxons, an Omnibus from the Bell and Crown in Holborn would [bring] you to our door in [a] quarter of an hour. If your dear Mother does not venture so far, I will contrive to pop down to see [her]. Love and all seasonable wishes to your sister and Mary, &c. I am in the midst of many friends—Mr. & Mrs. Kenney, Mr. & Mrs. Hood, Bar[r]on Field & his brother Frank, & their wives &c., all within a short walk.
If the lodger is gone, I shall have a bedroom will hold two! Heaven bless & preserve you all in health and happiness many a long year.
MARY LAMB TO JANE NORRIS
Oct. 3, 1842.
My dear Jane Norris,—Thanks, many thanks, my dear friend, for your kind remembrances. What a nice Goose! That, and all its accompaniments in the basket, we all devoured; the two legs fell to my share!!!
Your chearful [letter,] my Jane, made me feel “almost as good as new.”
Your Mother and I must meet again. Do not be surprized if I pop in again for a half-hour’s call some fine frosty morning.