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.
My wick hath a thief in it, but I can’t muster courage to snuff it.  I inhale suffocation; I can’t distinguish veal from mutton; nothing interests me.  ’T is twelve o’clock, and Thurtell [1] is just now coming out upon the new drop, Jack Ketch alertly tucking up his greasy sleeves to do the last office of mortality; yet cannot I elicit a groan or a moral reflection.  If you told me the world will be at an end to-morrow, I should just say, “Will it?” I have not volition enough left to dot my i’s, much less to comb my eyebrows; my eyes are set in my head; my brains are gone out to see a poor relation in Moorfields, and they did not say when they’d come back again; my skull is a Grub Street attic to let,—­not so much as a joint-stool left in it; my hand writes, not I, from habit, as chickens run about a little when their heads are off.  Oh for a vigorous fit of gout, colic, toothache,—­an earwig in my auditory, a fly in my visual organs; pain is life,—­the sharper the more evidence of life; but this apathy, this death!  Did you ever have an obstinate cold,—­a six or seven weeks’ unintermitting chill and suspension of hope, fear, conscience, and everything?  Yet do I try all I can to cure it.  I try wine, and spirits, and smoking, and snuff in unsparing quantities; but they all only seem to make me worse, instead of better.  I sleep in a damp room, but it does me no good; I come home late o’ nights, but do not find any visible amendment!  Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

It is just fifteen minutes after twelve.  Thurtell is by this time a good way on his journey, baiting at Scorpion, perhaps.  Ketch is bargaining for his cast coat and waistcoat; and the Jew demurs at first at three half-crowns, but on consideration that he may get somewhat by showing ’em in the town, finally closes.

C. L.

[1] Hanged that day for the murder of Weare.



January 23, 1824.

My dear sir,—­That peevish letter of mine, [1] which was meant to convey an apology for my incapacity to write, seems to have been taken by you in too serious a light,—­it was only my way of telling you I had a severe cold.  The fact is, I have been insuperably dull and lethargic for many weeks, and cannot rise to the vigor of a letter, much less an essay.  The “London” must do without me for a time, for I have lost all interest about it; and whether I shall recover it again I know not.  I will bridle my pen another time, and not tease and puzzle you with my aridities.  I shall begin to feel a little more alive with the spring.

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