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.
“The little bird that wings the sky Knows no such liberty.” [1] I was set free on Tuesday in last week at four o’clock.  I came home forever!

I have been describing my feelings as well as I can to Wordsworth in a long letter, and don’t care to repeat.  Take it, briefly, that for a few days I was painfully oppressed by so mighty a change; but it is becoming daily more natural to me.  I went and sat among ’em all at my old thirty-three-years’ desk yester-morning; and, deuce take me, if I had not yearnings at leaving all my old pen-and-ink fellows, merry, sociable lads,—­at leaving them in the lurch, fag, fag, fag!  The comparison of my own superior felicity gave me anything but pleasure.

B.B., I would not serve another seven years for seven hundred thousand pounds!  I have got L441 net for life, sanctioned by Act of Parliament, with a provision for Mary if she survives me.  I will live another fifty years; or if I live but ten, they will be thirty, reckoning the quantity of real time in them,—­i.e., the time that is a man’s own, Tell me how you like “Barbara S.;” [2] will it be received in atonement for the foolish “Vision”—­I mean by the lady? A propos, I never saw Mrs. Crawford in my life; nevertheless, it’s all true of somebody.

Address me, in future, Colebrooke Cottage, Islington, I am really nervous (but that will wear off), so take this brief announcement.

Yours truly,


[1] “The birds that wanton in the air
    Know no such liberty.” 

[2] The Elia essay.  Fanny Kelly was the original of “Barbara S.”



July 2, 1825.

I am hardly able to appreciate your volume now; [1] but I liked the dedication much, and the apology for your bald burying grounds.  To Shelley—­but that is not new, To the young Vesper-singer, Great Bealings, Playford, and what not.

If there be a cavil, it is that the topics of religious consolation, however beautiful, are repeated till a sort of triteness attends them.  It seems as if you were forever losing Friends’ children by death, and reminding their parents of the Resurrection.  Do children die so often and so good in your parts?  The topic taken from the consideration that they are snatched away from possible vanities seems hardly sound; for to an Omniscient eye their conditional failings must be one with their actual.  But I am too unwell for theology.

Such as I am,

I am yours and A.K.’s truly,


[1] “Barton’s volume of Poems.”



August 10, 1825.

We shall be soon again at Colebrooke.

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