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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Robert Southey, 27 December 1798

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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Dec. 27, 1798.

DEAR Southey,—Your friend John May has formerly made kind offers to Lloyd of serving me in the India house by the interest of his friend Sir Francis Baring—It is not likely that I shall ever put his goodness to the test on my own account, for my prospects are very comfortable. But I know a man, a young man, whom he could serve thro’ the same channel, and I think would be disposed to serve if he were acquainted with his case. This poor fellow (whom I know just enough of to vouch for his strict integrity & worth) has lost two or three employments from illness, which
he cannot regain; he was once insane, & from the distressful uncertainty of his livelihood has reason to apprehend a return of that malady—He has been for some time dependant on a woman whose lodger he formerly was, but who can ill afford to maintain him, and I know that on Christmas night last he actually walk’d about the streets all night, rather than accept of her Bed, which she offer’d him, and offer’d herself to sleep in the kitchen, and that in consequence of that severe cold he is labouring under a bilious disorder, besides a depression of spirits, which incapacitates him from exertion when he most needs it—For God’s sake,
Southey, if it does not go against you to ask favors, do it now—ask it as for me—but do not do a violence to your feelings, because he does not know of this application, and will suffer no disappointment—What I meant to say was this—there are in the India house what are called Extra Clerks, not on the Establishment, like me, but employed in Extra business, by-jobs—these get about £50 a year, or rather more, but never rise—a Director can put in at any time a young man in this office, and it is by no means consider’d so great a favor as making an establish’d Clerk. He would think himself as rich as an Emperor if he could get such a certain situation, and be relieved from those disquietudes which I do fear may one day bring back his distemper—

You know John May better than I do, but I know enough to believe that he is a good man—he did make me that offer I have mention’d, but you will perceive that such an offer cannot authorize me in applying for another Person.

But I cannot help writing to you on the subject, for the young man is perpetually before my eyes, and I should feel it a crime not to strain all my petty interest to do him service, tho’ I put my own delicacy to the question by so doing—I have made one other unsuccessful attempt already—

At all events I will thank you to write, for I am tormented with anxiety—

I suppose you have somewhere heard that poor Mary Dollin has poisoned herself, after some interviews with John Reid, the ci-devant Alphonso of her days of hope.

How is Edith?

C. Lamb.