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.

April 25, 1823.

Dear Miss H.,—­It gives me great pleasure [the letter now begins] to hear that you got down so smoothly, and that Mrs. Monkhouse’s spirits are so good and enterprising. [2] It shows, whatever her posture may be, that her mind at least is not supine.  I hope the excursion will enable the former to keep pace with its outstripping neighbor.  Pray present our kindest wishes to her and all (that sentence should properly have come into the postscript; but we airy, mercurial spirits, there is no keeping us in).  “Time” (as was said of one of us) “toils after us in vain.”  I am afraid our co-visit with Coleridge was a dream.  I shall not get away before the end or middle of June, and then you will be frog-hopping at Boulogne.  And besides, I think the Gilmans would scarce trust him with us; I have a malicious knack at cutting of apron-strings.  The saints’ days you speak of have long since fled to heaven with Astraea, and the cold piety of the age lacks fervor to recall them; only Peter left his key,—­the iron one of the two that “shuts amain,”—­and that is the reason I am locked up.  Meanwhile, of afternoons we pick up primroses at Dalston, and Mary corrects me when I call ’em cowslips.  God bless you all, and pray remember me euphoniously to Mr. Gruvellegan.  That Lee Priory must be a dainty bower.  Is it built of flints? and does it stand at Kingsgate?

[1] Lamb was fond of this flourish, and it is frequently found in his letters.

[2] Miss Hutchinson’s invalid relative.



September 2, 1823.

Dear B.B.,—­What will you not say to my not writing?  You cannot say I do not write now.  Hessey has not used your kind sonnet, nor have I seen it.  Pray send me a copy.  Neither have I heard any more of your friend’s MS., which I will reclaim whenever you please.  When you come Londonward, you will find me no longer in Covent Garden:  I have a cottage in Colebrook Row, Islington,—­a cottage, for it is detached; a white house, with six good rooms, The New River (rather elderly by this time) runs (if a moderate walking pace can be so termed) close to the foot of the house; and behind is a spacious garden with vines (I assure you), pears, strawberries, parsnips, leeks, carrots, cabbages, to delight the heart of old Alcinous.  You enter without passage into a cheerful dining-room, all studded over and rough with old books; and above is a lightsome drawing-room, three windows, full of choice prints.  I feel like a great lord, never having had a house before.

The “London,” I fear, falls off.  I linger among its creaking rafters, like the last rat; it will topple down if they don’t get some buttresses.  They have pulled down three,—­Hazlitt, Procter, and their best stay, kind, light-hearted Wainewright, their Janus. [1] The best is, neither of our fortunes is concerned in it.

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