Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 pages of information about The Best Letters of Charles Lamb.
Elaborata facilitas! And now I ’ll tell.  ’Twas written for “The Gem;” but the—­editors declined it, on the plea that it would shock all mothers; so they published “The Widow” instead.  I am born out of time, I have no conjecture about what the present world calls delicacy.  I thought “Rosamund Gray” was a pretty modest thing.  Hessey assures me that the world would not bear it.  I have lived to grow into an indecent character.  When my sonnet was rejected, I exclaimed, “Damn the age; I will write for Antiquity!”

Erratum in sonnet.  Last line but something, for “tender” read “tend,” The Scotch do not know our law terms, but I find some remains of honest, plain old writing lurking there still.  They were not so mealy mouthed as to refuse my verses.  Maybe, ’t is their oatmeal,

Blackwood sent me L20 for the drama.  Somebody cheated me out of it next day; and my new pair of breeches, just sent home, cracking at first putting on, I exclaimed, in my wrath, “All tailors are cheats, and all men are tailors.”  Then I was better.

C. L.

[1] Emma Isola, Lamb’s ward, daughter of one of the Esquire Bedells of Cambridge University, and granddaughter of an Italian refugee.  The Lambs had met her during one of their Cambridge visits, and finally adopted her.

[2] Burke and Hare, the Edinburgh resurrection-men.

[3] The Gypsy’s Malison.

C.

TO BERNARD BARTON.  ENFIELD CHASE SIDE,

Saturday, 25th of July, A.D. 1829, 11 A.M.

There! a fuller, plumper, juicier date never dropped from Idumean palm.  Am I in the dateive case now?  If not, a fig for dates,—­which is more than a date is worth.  I never stood much affected to these limitary specialities,—­least of all, since the date of my superannuation.

“What have I with time to do? 
Slaves of desks, ’t was meant for you.”

Dear B. B.,—­Your handwriting has conveyed much pleasure to me in respect of Lucy’s restoration.  Would I could send you as good news of my poor Lucy! [1] But some wearisome weeks I must remain lonely yet.  I have had the loneliest time, near ten weeks, broken by a short apparition of Emma for her holidays, whose departure only deepened the returning solitude, and by ten days I have passed in town.  But town, with all my native hankering after it, is not what it was.  The streets, the shops, are left, but all old friends are gone.  And in London I was frightfully convinced of this as I passed houses and places, empty caskets now.  I have ceased to care almost about anybody.  The bodies I cared for are in graves, or dispersed.  My old clubs, that lived so long and flourished so steadily, are crumbled away.  When I took leave of our adopted young friend at Charing Cross,’t was heavy unfeeling rain, and I had nowhere to go.  Home have I none, and not a sympathizing house to turn to in the great

Follow Us on Facebook