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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Basil Montagu, 12 July 1810

Contents vol. VI
Letters: 1796
Letters: 1797
Letters: 1798
Letters: 1799
Letters: 1800
Letters: 1801
Letters: 1802
Letters: 1803
Letters: 1804
Letters: 1805
Letters: 1806
Letters: 1807
Letters: 1808
Letters: 1809
Letters: 1810
Letters: 1811
Letters: 1812
Letters: 1814
Letters: 1815
Letters: 1816
Letters: 1817
Letters: 1818
Letters: 1819
Letters: 1820
Letters: 1821
Contents vol. VII
Letters: 1821
Letters: 1822
Letters: 1823
Letters: 1824
Letters: 1825
Letters: 1826
Letters: 1827
Letters: 1828
Letters: 1829
Letters: 1830
Letters: 1831
Letters: 1832
Letters: 1833
Letters: 1834
Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III
List of Letters
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Mr. Hazlitt’s: Winterslow, near Sarum,
12th July, 1810.

DEAR [Montagu],—I have turned and twisted the MSS. in my head, and can make nothing of them. I knew when I took them that I could not; but I do not like to do an act of ungracious necessity at once; so I am ever committing myself by half engagements and total failures. I cannot make any body understand why I can’t do such things. It is a defect in my occiput. I cannot put other people’s thoughts together; I forget every paragraph as fast as I read it; and my head has received such a shock by an all-night journey on the top of the coach, that I shall have enough to do to nurse it into its natural pace before I go home. I must devote myself to imbecility. I must be gloriously useless while I stay here. How is Mrs. [M.]? will she pardon my inefficiency? The city of Salisbury is full of weeping and wailing. The Bank has stopt payment; and every body in the town kept money at it, or has got some of its notes. Some have lost all they had in the world. It is the next thing to seeing a city with a plague within its walls. The Wilton people are all undone. All the manufacturers there kept cash at the Salisbury bank; and I do suppose it to be the unhappiest county in England this, where I am making holiday.

We purpose setting out for Oxford Tuesday fortnight, and coming thereby home. But no more night travelling. My head is sore (understand it of the inside) with that deduction of my natural rest which I suffered coming down. Neither Mary nor I can spare a morsel of our rest. It is incumbent on us to be misers of it. Travelling is not good for us—we travel so seldom. If the Sun be Hell, it is not for the fire, but for the sempiternal motion of that miserable Body of Light. How much more dignified leisure hath a mussel glued to his unpassable rocky limit, two inch square! He hears the tide roll over him, backwards and forwards twice a-day (as the d——d Salisbury Long Coach goes and returns in eight and forty hours), but knows better than to take an outside night-place a top on’t. He is the Owl of the Sea. Minerva’s fish. The fish of Wisdom.

Our kindest remembrances to Mrs. [M.].

Yours truly,
C. Lamb.