[At the top of the first page is added:—]
Omitted at the end ... believe me with friendly recollections, Brother (as I used to call you) Yours C. LAMB.
[Below the “Dear Wilson” is added in smaller writing:—]
The review was not mine, nor have I seen it.
[Lamb’s friend Walter Wilson was beginning his Memoirs of the Life and Times of Daniel Defoe, 1830. The passage sent to him in this letter by Lamb he printed in Vol. III., page 428. Some years later Lamb sent Wilson a further criticism. See also letter below for the reference to Roxana.
Dodwell we have met. Of Wadd we have no information, except, according to Crabb Robinson’s Diary, that he once accidentally discharged a pen full of ink into Lamb’s eye and that Lamb wrote this epigram upon him:—
What Wadd knows, God knows,
But God knows what Wadd knows.]
CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON
[Dated at end: 23 December 1822.]
Dear Sir—I have been so distracted with business and one thing or other, I have not had a quiet quarter of an hour for epistolary purposes. Christmas too is come, which always puts a rattle into my morning scull. It is a visiting unquiet un-Quakerish season. I get more and more in love with solitude, and proportionately hampered with company. I hope you have some holydays at this period. I have one day, Christmas day, alas! too few to commemorate the season. All work and no play dulls me. Company is not play, but many times hard work. To play, is for a man to do what he pleases, or to do nothing—to go about soothing his particular fancies. I have lived to a time of life, to have outlived the good hours, the nine o’Clock suppers, with a bright hour or two to clear up in afterwards. Now you cannot get tea before that hour, and then sit gaping, music-bothered perhaps, till half-past 12 brings up the tray, and what you steal of convivial enjoyment after, is heavily paid for in the disquiet of to-morrow’s head.
I am pleased with your liking John Woodvil, and amused with your knowledge of our drama being confined to Shakspeare and Miss Bailly. What a world of fine territory between Land’s End and Johnny Grots have you missed traversing. I almost envy you to have so much to read. I feel as if I had read all the Books I want to read. O to forget Fielding, Steele, &c., and read ’em new.
Can you tell me a likely place where I could pick up, cheap, Fox’s Journal? There are no Quaker Circulating Libraries? Ellwood, too, I must have. I rather grudge that S[outhe]y has taken up the history of your People. I am afraid he will put in some Levity. I am afraid I am not quite exempt from that fault in certain magazine Articles, where I have introduced mention of them. Were they to do again, I would reform them.