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.

[1] Probably “The Pawnbroker’s Daughter,” which happily was not destined to be performed.—­AINGER.

XCI.

TO BERNARD BARTON.

March 20, 1826.

Dear B. B.,—­You may know my letters by the paper and the folding.  For the former, I live on scraps obtained in charity from an old friend, whose stationery is a permanent perquisite; for folding, I shall do it neatly when I learn to tie my neckcloths.  I surprise most of my friends by writing to them on ruled paper, as if I had not got past pothooks and hangers.  Sealing-wax I have none on my establishment; wafers of the coarsest bran supply its place.  When my epistles come to be weighed with Pliny’s, however superior to the Roman in delicate irony, judicious reflections, etc., his gilt post will bribe over the judges to him.  All the time I was at the E. I. H. I never mended a pen; I now cut ’em to the stumps, marring rather than mending the primitive goose-quill.  I cannot bear to pay for articles I used to get for nothing.  When Adam laid out his first penny upon nonpareils at some stall in Mesopotamos, I think it went hard with him, reflecting upon his old goodly orchard, where he had so many for nothing.  When I write to a great man at the court end, he opens with surprise upon a naked note, such as Whitechapel people interchange, with no sweet degrees of envelope.  I never enclosed one bit of paper in another, nor understood the rationale of it.  Once only I sealed with borrowed wax, to set Walter Scott a-wondering, signed with the imperial quartered arms of England, which my friend Field bears in compliment to his descent, in the female line, from Oliver Cromwell.  It must have set his antiquarian curiosity upon watering.  To your questions upon the currency, I refer you to Mr. Robinson’s last speech, where, if you can find a solution, I cannot.  I think this, though,—­the best ministry we ever stumbled upon,—­gin reduced four shillings in the gallon, wine two shillings in the quart!  This comes home to men’s minds and bosoms.  My tirade against visitors was not meant particularly at you or Anne Knight.  I scarce know what I meant, for I do not just now feel the grievance.  I wanted to make an article.  So in another thing I talked of somebody’s insipid wife without a correspondent object in my head; and a good lady, a friend’s wife, whom I really love (don’t startle, I mean in a licit way), has looked shyly on me ever since.  The blunders of personal application are ludicrous.  I send out a character every now and then on purpose to exercise the ingenuity of my friends.  “Popular Fallacies” will go on; that word “concluded” is an erratum, I suppose, for “continued.”  I do not know how it got stuffed in there.  A little thing without name will also be printed on the Religion of the Actors; but it is out of your way, so I recommend you, with true author’s hypocrisy, to skip it.  We are about to sit down to roast beef, at which we could wish A. K., B. B., and B. B.’s pleasant daughter to be humble partakers.  So much for my hint at visitors, which was scarcely calculated for droppers-in from Woodbridge; the sky does not drop such larks every day.  My very kindest wishes to you all three, with my sister’s best love.

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