["Your kind sonnet.” Barton’s well-known sonnet to Elia (quoted below) had been printed in the London Magazine long before—in the previous February. I do not identify this one among his writings.
“I have a Cottage.” This cottage still stands (1912). Within it is much as in Lamb’s day, but outwardly changed, for a new house has been built on one side and it is thus no longer detached. The New River still runs before it, but subterraneously.
Barton was so attracted by one at least of Lamb’s similes that, I fancy, he borrowed it for an account of his grandfather’s house at Tottenham which he wrote some time later; for I find that gentleman’s garden described as “equal to that of old Alcinous.”
“Kind light hearted Wainwright.” Lamb has caused much surprise by using such words of one who was destined to become almost the most cold-blooded criminal in English history; but, as Hartley Coleridge wrote in another connection, it was Lamb’s way to take things by the better handle, and Wainewright’s worst faults in those days seem to have been extravagance and affectation. Lamb at any rate liked him and Wainewright was proud to be on a footing with Elia and his sister, as we know from his writings. Wainewright at this time was not quite twenty-nine; he had painted several pictures, some of which were accepted by the academy, and he had written a number of essays over several different pseudonyms, chief of which was Janus Weathercock. He lived in Great Marlborough Street in some style and there entertained many literary men, among them Lamb. It was not until 1826 that his criminal career began.
“Mr. Pulham”—Brook Pulham of the India House, who made the caricature etching of Elia.
“While I watch my tulips.” Lamb is, of course, embroidering here, but we have it on the authority of George Daniel, the antiquary, that with his removal to Colebrooke Cottage began an interest in horticulture, particularly in roses.
“Mr. Cary.” The Rev. Henry Francis Cary (1772-1844), the translator of Dante and afterwards, 1826, Assistant-Keeper of the Printed Books in the British Museum. A regular contributor to the London Magazine.]
CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP
[Dated at end: Sept. 6 (1823).]
Dear Alsop—I am snugly seated at the cottage; Mary is well but weak, and comes home on Monday; she will soon be strong enough to see her friends here. In the mean time will you dine with me at 1/2 past four to-morrow? Ayrton and Mr. Burney are coming.
Colebrook Cottage, left hand side, end of Colebrook Row on the western brink of the New River, a detach’d whitish house. No answer is required but come if you can. C. LAMB.
Saturday 6th Sep.
I call’d on you on Sunday. Resp’cts to Mrs. A. & boy.