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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton, 11 March 1823

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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[Dated at end: March 11, 1823.]

DEAR Sir—The approbation of my little book by your sister is very pleasing to me. The Quaker incident did not happen to me, but to Carlisle the surgeon, from whose mouth I have twice heard it, at an interval of ten or twelve years, with little or no variation, and have given it as exactly as I could remember it. The gloss which your sister, or you, have put upon it does not strike me as correct. Carlisle drew no inference from it against the honesty of the Quakers, but only in favour of their surprising coolness—that they should be capable of committing a good joke, with an utter insensibility to its being any jest at all. I have reason to believe in the truth of it, because, as I have said, I heard him repeat it without variation at such an interval. The story loses sadly in print, for Carlisle is the best story teller I ever heard. The idea of the discovery of roasting pigs, I also borrowed, from my friend Manning, and am willing to confess both my plagiarisms.

Should fate ever so order it that you shall be in town with your sister, mine bids me say that she shall have great pleasure in being introduced to her. I think I must give up the cause of the Bank—from nine to nine is galley-slavery, but I hope it is but temporary. Your endeavour at explaining Fox’s insight into the natures of animals must fail, as I shall transcribe the passage. It appears to me that he stopt short in time, and was on the brink of falling
with his friend
Naylor, my favourite.—The book shall be forthcoming whenever your friend can make convenient to call for it.

They have dragged me again into the Magazine, but I feel the spirit of the thing in my own mind quite gone. “Some brains” (I think Ben Jonson says it) “will endure but one skimming.” We are about to have an inundation of poetry from the Lakes, Wordsworth and Southey are coming up strong from the North. The she Coleridges have taken flight, to my regret. With Sara’s own-made acquisitions, her unaffectedness and no-pretensions are beautiful. You might pass an age with her without suspecting that she knew any thing but her mother’s tongue. I don’t mean any reflection on Mrs. Coleridge here. I had better have said her vernacular idiom. Poor C. I wish he had a home to receive his daughter in. But he is but as a stranger or a visitor in this world. How did you like Hartley’s sonnets? The first, at least, is vastly fine. Lloyd has been in town a day or two on business, and is perfectly well. I am ashamed of the shabby letters I send, but I am by nature anything but neat. Therein my mother bore me no Quaker. I never could seal a letter without dropping the wax on one side, besides scalding my fingers. I never had a seal too of my own. Writing to a great man lately, who is moreover very Heraldic, I borrowed a seal of a friend, who by the female side quarters the Protectorial Arms of Cromwell. How they must have puzzled my correspondent!—My letters are generally charged as double at the Post office, from their inveterate clumsiness of foldure. So you must not take it disrespectful to your self if I send you such ungainly scraps. I think I lose £100 a year at the India House, owing solely to my want of neatness in making up Accounts. How I puzzle ’em out at last is the wonder. I have to do with millions. I?

It is time to have done my incoherencies.

Believe me Yours Truly

C. Lamb.
Tuesd 11 Ma 23.