The Best Letters of Charles Lamb eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 323 pages of information about The Best Letters of Charles Lamb.

It is hard to discern the oak in the acorn, or a temple like St. Paul’s in the first stone which is laid; nor can I quite prefigure what destination the genius of William Minor hath to take.  Some few hints I have set down, to guide my future observations.  He hath the power of calculation in no ordinary degree for a chit.  He combineth figures, after the first boggle, rapidly; as in the tricktrack board, where the hits are figured, at first he did not perceive that 15 and 7 made 22; but by a little use he could combine 8 with 25, and 33 again with 16,—­which approacheth something in kind (far let me be from flattering him by saying in degree) to that of the famous American boy.  I am sometimes inclined to think I perceive the future satirist in him, for he hath a sub-sardonic smile which bursteth out upon occasion,—­as when he was asked if London were as big as Ambleside; and indeed no other answer was given, or proper to be given, to so ensnaring and provoking a question.  In the contour of skull certainly I discern something paternal; but whether in all respects the future man shall transcend his father’s fame, Time, the trier of Geniuses, must decide.  Be it pronounced peremptorily at present that Willy is a well-mannered child, and though no great student, hath yet a lively eye for things that lie before him.

Given in haste from my desk at Leadenhall.  Yours, and yours most sincerely,


[1] Wordsworth’s third son.  He was at the Charter-house School in London, and the Lambs had invited him to spend a half holiday with them.

[2] “William Minor” was evidently forgetful of the exquisite sonnet, “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge.”



March 9, 1822.

Dear C.,—­It gives me great satisfaction to hear that the pig turned out so well, [1]—­they are interesting creatures at a certain age; what a pity such buds should blow out into the maturity of rank bacon!  You had all some of the crackling—­and brain sauce; did you remember to rub it with butter, and gently dredge it a little just before the crisis?  Did the eyes come away kindly, with no Oedipean avulsion?  Was the crackling the color of the ripe pomegranate?  Had you no cursed complement of boiled neck of mutton before it, to blunt the edge of delicate desire?  Did you flesh maiden teeth in it?  Not that I sent the pig, or can form the remotest guess what part Owen could play in the business.  I never knew him give anything away in my life.  He would not begin with strangers.  I suspect the pig, after all, was meant for me; but at the unlucky juncture of time being absent, the present somehow went round to Highgate.  To confess an honest truth, a pig is one of those things I could never think of sending away.  Teals, widgeons, snipes, barn-door fowl, ducks, geese,—­your tame villatic things,—­Welsh mutton collars of brawn, sturgeon, fresh or pickled,

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The Best Letters of Charles Lamb from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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