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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Barron Field, 4 October 1827

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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Produced by CATH
Oct. 4th, 1827.

I AM not in humour to return a fit reply to your pleasant letter. We are fairly housed at Enfield, and an angel shall not persuade me to wicked London again. We have now six sabbath days in a week for—none! The change has worked on my sister’s mind, to make her ill; and I must wait a tedious time before we can hope to enjoy this place in unison. Enjoy it, when she recovers, I know we shall. I see no shadow, but in her illness, for repenting the step! For Mathews—I know my own utter unfitness for such a task. I am no hand at describing costumes, a great requisite in an account of mannered pictures. I have not the slightest acquaintance with pictorial language even. An imitator of me, or rather pretender to be me, in his Rejected Articles, has made me minutely describe the dresses of the poissardes at Calais!—I could as soon resolve Euclid. I have no eye for forms and fashions. I substitute analysis, and get rid of the phenomenon by slurring in for it its impression. I am sure you must have observed this defect, or peculiarity, in my writings; else the delight would
be incalculable in doing such a thing for Mathews, whom I greatly like—and
Mrs. Mathews, whom I almost greatlier like. What a feast ’twould be to be sitting at the pictures painting ’em into words; but I could almost as soon make words into pictures. I speak this deliberately, and not out of modesty. I pretty well know what I can’t do.

My sister’s verses are homely, but just what they should be; I send them, not for the poetry, but the good sense and good-will of them. I was beginning to transcribe; but Emma is sadly jealous of its getting into more hands, and I won’t spoil it in her eyes by divulging it. Come to Enfield, and read it. As my poor cousin, the bookbinder, now with God, told me, most sentimentally, that having purchased a picture of fish at a dead man’s sale, his heart ached to see how the widow grieved to part with it, being her dear husband’s favourite; and he almost apologised for his generosity by saying he could not help telling the widow she was “welcome to come and look at it”—e.g. at his house—“as often as she pleased.” There was the germ of generosity in an uneducated mind. He had just reading enough from the backs of books for the “nec sinit esse feros”—had he read inside, the same impulse would have led him to give back the two-guinea thing—with a request to see it, now and then, at her house. We are parroted into delicacy.—Thus you have a tale for a Sonnet.

Adieu! with (imagine both) our loves.

C. Lamb.