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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.
You can’t be too careful.  Has he bit any of the children yet?  If he has, have them shot, and keep him for curiosity, to see if it was the hydrophobia.  They say all our army in India had it at one time; but that was in Hyder-Ally’s time.  Do you get paunch for him?  Take care the sheep was sane.  You might pull his teeth out (if he would let you), and then you need not mind if he were as mad as a Bedlamite.

It would be rather fun to see his odd ways.  It might amuse Mrs. P. and the children.  They’d have more sense than he.  He’d be like a fool kept in a family, to keep the household in good humor with their own understanding.  You might teach him the mad dance, set to the mad howl. Madge Owlet would be nothing to him.  “My, how he capers!” (In the margin is written “One of the children speaks this.”) ...  What I scratch out is a German quotation, from Lessing, on the bite of rabid animals; but I remember you don’t read German.  But Mrs. P. may, so I wish I had let it stand.  The meaning in English is:  “Avoid to approach an animal suspected of madness, as you would avoid fire or a precipice,”—­which I think is a sensible observation.  The Germans are certainly profounder than we.  If the slightest suspicion arises in your breast that all is not right with him, muzzle him and lead him in a string (common packthread will do; he don’t care for twist) to Mr. Hood’s, his quondam master, and he’ll take him in at any time.  You may mention your suspicion, or not, as you like, or as you think it may wound, or not, Mr. H.’s feelings.  Hood, I know, will wink at a few follies in Dash, in consideration of his former sense.  Besides, Hood is deaf, and if you hinted anything, ten to one he would not hear you.  Besides, you will have discharged your conscience, and laid the child at the right door, as they say.

We are dawdling our time away very idly and pleasantly at a Mrs. Leishman’s, Chase, Enfield, where, if you come a-hunting, we can give you cold meat and a tankard.  Her husband is a tailor; but that, you know, does not make her one.  I know a jailor (which rhymes), but his wife was a fine lady.

Let us hear from you respecting Mrs. P.’s regimen.  I send my love in a—­ to Dash.

C. LAMB.

XCVIII.

TO BERNARD BARTON.

October 11, 1828.

A splendid edition of Bunyan’s Pilgrim! [1] Why, the thought is enough to turn one’s moral stomach.  His cockle-hat and staff transformed to a smart cocked beaver and a jemmy cane; his amice gray to the last Regent Street cut; and his painful palmer’s pace to the modern swagger!  Stop thy friend’s sacrilegious hand.  Nothing can be done for B. but to reprint the old cuts in as homely but good a style as possible,—­the Vanity Fair and the Pilgrims there; the silly-soothness in his setting-out countenance; the Christian idiocy (in a good sense) of his admiration of the shepherds on the Delectable mountains; the lions so truly allegorical, and remote from any similitude to Pidcock’s; the great head (the author’s), capacious of dreams and similitudes, dreaming in the dungeon.  Perhaps you don’t know my edition, what I had when a child.

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