The Best Letters of Charles Lamb eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 pages of information about The Best Letters of Charles Lamb.
brandy-and-water which the doctor had administered.  He sang, laughed, whimpered, screamed, babbled of guardian angels, would get up and go home; but we kept him there by force; and by next morning he departed sobered, and seems to have received no injury. [2] All my friends are open-mouthed about having paling before the river; but I cannot see that because a ... lunatic chooses to walk into a river, with his eyes open, at mid-day, I am any the more likely to be drowned in it, coming home at midnight.

[1] See Elia-essay, “Amicus Redivivus.”

[2] In the “Athenaeum” for 1835 Procter says:  “I happened to call at Lamb’s house about ten minutes after this accident; I saw before me a train of water running from the door to the river.  Lamb had gone for a surgeon; the maid was running about distraught, with dry clothes on one arm, and the dripping habiliments of the involuntary bather in the other.  Miss Lamb, agitated, and whimpering forth ‘Poor Mr. Dyer!’ in the most forlorn voice, stood plunging her hands into the wet pockets of his trousers, to fish up the wet coin.  Dyer himself, an amiable little old man, who took water internally and eschewed strong liquors, lay on his host’s bed, hidden by blankets; his head, on which was his short gray hair, alone peered out; and this, having been rubbed dry by a resolute hand,—­by the maid’s, I believe, who assisted at the rescue,—­looked as if bristling with a thousand needles.  Lamb, moreover, in his anxiety, had administered a formidable dose of cognac and water to the sufferer, and he (used only to the simple element) babbled without cessation.”

LXXIX.

TO BERNARD BARTON.

January 9, 1824.

Dear B.B.,—­Do you know what it is to succumb under an insurmountable day-mare,—­“a whoreson lethargy,” Falstaff calls it,—­an indisposition to do anything or to be anything; a total deadness and distaste; a suspension of vitality; an indifference to locality; a numb, soporifical good-for-nothingness; an ossification all over; an oyster-like insensibility to the passing events; a mind-stupor; a brawny defiance to the needles of a thrusting-in conscience?  Did you ever have a very bad cold, with a total irresolution to submit to water-gruel processes?  This has been for many weeks my lot and my excuse.  My fingers drag heavily over this paper, and to my thinking it is three-and-twenty furlongs from here to the end of this demi-sheet.  I have not a thing to say; nothing is of more importance than another.  I am flatter than a denial or a pancake; emptier than Judge Parke’s wig when the head is in it; duller than a country stage when the actors are off it,—­a cipher, an o!  I acknowledge life at all only by an occasional convulsional cough and a permanent phlegmatic pain in the chest.  I am weary of the world; life is weary of me, My day is gone into twilight, and I don’t think it worth the expense of candles. 

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