Believe me, yours truly, C.L.
[Payne’s translation of the French play was produced at Covent Garden on November 6, 1822, under the title “The Soldier’s Daughter.” On the same night appeared a rival version at Drury Lane entitled “Two Galley Slaves.” Payne’s was played eleven times. The new lady as Juliet was the other Fanny Kelly not Lamb’s: Fanny H. Kelly, from Dublin. The revival began on November 14. Planche was James Robinson Planche (1796-1880), the most prolific of librettists. Robert William Elliston, of whom Lamb later wrote so finely, was then managing Drury Lane.
“Having been cheated.” Lamb’s particular reference was to Baldwin (see the letter to Barton, Jan. 9, 1823).
“The Duke of Wellington.” A reference to the Duke’s failure in representing England at the Congress of Powers in Vienna and Verona.
Lamb’s “dear little wife” was Sophy Kenney.]
MARY LAMB TO MRS. JAMES KENNEY
[No date. ?Early December, 1822.]
My dear Friend,—How do you like Harwood? Is he not a noble boy? I congratulate you most heartily on this happy meeting, and only wish I were present to witness it. Come back with Harwood, I am dying to see you—we will talk, that is, you shall talk and I will listen from ten in the morning till twelve at night. My thoughts are often with you, and your children’s dear faces are perpetually before me. Give them all one additional kiss every morning for me. Remember there’s one for Louisa, one to Ellen, one to Betsy, one to Sophia, one to James, one to Teresa, one to Virginia, and one to Charles. Bless them all! When shall I ever see them again? Thank you a thousand times for all your kindness to me. I know you will make light of the trouble my illness gave you; but the recollection of it often sits heavy on my heart. If I could ensure my health, how happy should I be to spend a month with you every summer!
When I met Mr. Kenney there, I sadly repented that I had not dragged you on to Dieppe with me. What a pleasant time we should have spent there!