Robert Southey

Charles Lamb to Robert Southey, 21 November 1823; Southey, Life and Correspondence (1849-50) 5:152-53.

E. I. H., Nov. 21. 1823.

Dear Southey,

The kindness of your note has melted away the mist that was upon me. I have been fighting against a shadow. That accursed Quarterly Review had vexed me by a gratuitous speaking of its own knowledge, that the Confessions of a Drunkard was a genuine description of the state of the writer. Little things that are not ill meant may produce much ill. That might have injured me alive and dead. I am in a public office and my life is insured. I was prepared for anger, and I thought I saw, in a few obnoxious words, a hard case of repetition directed against me. I wish both magazine and review were at the bottom of the sea. I shall be ashamed to see you, and my sister (though innocent) will he still more so, for this folly was done without her knowledge, and has made her uneasy ever since. My guardian angel was absent at that time.

I will make up courage to see you, however, any day next week (Wednesday excepted). We shall hope that you will bring Edith with you. That will be a second mortification; she will hate to see us; but come and heap embers; we deserve it, I for what I have done, and she for being my sister.

Do come early in the day, by sunlight, that you may see my Milton. I am at Colebrook Cottage, Colebrook Row, Islington. A detached whitish house, close to the New River, end of Colebrook Terrace, left hand from Sadler's Wells.

Will you let us know the day before?

Your penitent,