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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Mary Matilda Betham, [October? 1815]

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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DR Miss Betham,—All this while I have been tormenting myself with the thought of having been ungracious to you, and you have been all the while accusing yourself. Let us absolve one another & be quits. My head is in such a state from incapacity for business that I certainly know it to be my duty not to undertake the veriest trifle in addition. I hardly know how I can go on. I have tried to get some redress by explaining my health, but with no great success. No one can tell how ill I am, because it does not come out to the exterior of my face, but lies in my scull deep & invisible. I wish I was leprous & black jaundiced skin-over, and [? or] that all was as well within as my cursed looks. You must not think me worse than I am. I am determined not to be overset, but to give up business rather and get ’em to allow me a trifle for services past. O that I had been a shoe-maker or a baker, or a man of large independt fortune. O darling Laziness! heaven of Epicurus! Saints Everlasting Rest! that I could drink vast potations of thee thro’ unmeasured Eternity. Otium cum vel sine dignitate. Scandalous, dishonerable, any-kind-of-repose. I stand not upon the dignified sort. Accursed damned desks, trade, commerce, business—Inventions of that old original busybody brainworking Satan, Sabbathless restless Satan—

A curse relieves. Do you ever try it?

A strange Letter this to write to a Lady, but mere honey’d sentences will not distill. I dare not ask who revises in my stead. I have drawn you into a scrape. I am ashamed, but I know no remedy. My unwellness must be my apology. God bless you (tho’ he curse the India House & fire it to the ground) and may no unkind Error creep into Marie, may all its readers like it as well as I do & everybody about you like its kind author no worse. Why the devil am I never to have a chance of scribbling my own free thoughts, verse or prose, again? Why must I write of Tea & Drugs & Price Goods & bales of Indigo—farewell.

C. Lamb.
[Written at head of Letter on margin the following:—]

Mary goes to her Place on Sunday—I mean your maid, foolish Mary. She wants a very little brains only to be an excellent Serv. She is excellently calculated for the country, where nobody has brains.