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.

[2] The forger, hanged Nov. 30, 1824.  This was the last execution for this offence.



March 23, 1825.

Dear B. B.,—­I have had no impulse to write, or attend to any single object but myself for weeks past,—­my single self, I by myself, I. I am sick of hope deferred.  The grand wheel is in agitation that is to turn up my fortune; but round it rolls, and will turn up nothing.  I have a glimpse of freedom, of becoming a gentleman at large; but I am put off from day to day.  I have offered my resignation, and it is neither accepted nor rejected.  Eight weeks am I kept in this fearful suspense.  Guess what an absorbing stake I feel it.  I am not conscious of the existence of friends present or absent.  The East India Directors alone can be that thing to me or not.  I have just learned that nothing will be decided this week.  Why the next?  Why any week?  It has fretted me into an itch of the fingers; I rub ’em against paper, and write to you, rather than not allay this scorbuta.

While I can write, let me adjure you to have no doubts of Irving.  Let Mr. Mitford drop his disrespect.  Irving has prefixed a dedication (of a missionary subject, first part) to Coleridge, the most beautiful, cordial, and sincere.  He there acknowledges his obligation to S. T. C. for his knowledge of Gospel truths, the nature of a Christian Church, etc.,—­to the talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (at whose Gamaliel feet he sits weekly), rather than to that of all the men living.  This from him, the great dandled and petted sectarian, to a religious character so equivocal in the world’s eye as that of S. T. C., so foreign to the Kirk’s estimate,—­can this man be a quack?  The language is as affecting as the spirit of the dedication.  Some friend told him, “This dedication will do you no good,”—­i. e., not in the world’s repute, or with your own people.  “That is a reason for doing it,” quoth Irving.

I am thoroughly pleased with him.  He is firm, out-speaking, intrepid, and docile as a pupil of Pythagoras.  You must like him.

Yours, in tremors of painful hope,




April 6, 1825

Dear Wordsworth,—­I have been several times meditating a letter to you concerning the good thing which has befallen me; but the thought of poor Monkhouse [1] came across me.  He was one that I had exulted in the prospect of congratulating me.  He and you were to have been the first participators; for indeed it has been ten weeks since the first motion of it.  Here am I then, after thirty-three years’ slavery, sitting in my own room at eleven o’clock this finest of all April mornings, a freed man, with L441 a year for the remainder of my life, live I as long as John Dennis, who outlived his annuity and starved at ninety:  L441; i.e., L450, with a deduction of L9 for a provision secured to my sister, she being survivor, the pension guaranteed by Act Georgii Tertii, etc.

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