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.
Westwood’s senses, from the time he began to miss the rooks.  T. Westwood has passed a retired life in this hamlet of thirty or forty years, living upon the minimum which is consistent with gentility, yet a star among the minor gentry, receiving the bows of the tradespeople and courtesies of the alms-women daily.  Children venerate him not less for his external show of gentry than they wonder at him for a gentle rising endorsation of the person, not amounting to a hump, or if a hump, innocuous as the hump of the buffalo, and coronative of as mild qualities.  ’T is a throne on which patience seems to sit,—­the proud perch of a self-respecting humility, stooping with condescension.  Thereupon the cares of life have sat, and rid him easily.  For he has thrid the angustiae domus with dexterity.  Life opened upon him with comparative brilliancy.  He set out as a rider or traveller for a wholesale house, in which capacity he tells of many hair-breadth escapes that befell him,—­one especially, how he rode a mad horse into the town of Devizes; how horse and rider arrived in a foam, to the utter consternation of the expostulating hostlers, inn-keepers, etc.  It seems it was sultry weather, piping-hot; the steed tormented into frenzy with gad-flies, long past being roadworthy:  but safety and the interest of the house he rode for were incompatible things; a fall in serge cloth was expected; and a mad entrance they made of it.  Whether the exploit was purely voluntary, or partially; or whether a certain personal defiguration in the man part of this extraordinary centaur (non-assistive to partition of natures) might not enforce the conjunction, I stand not to inquire.  I look not with ’skew eyes into the deeds of heroes.  The hosier that was burned with his shop in Field Lane, on Tuesday night, shall have passed to heaven for me like a Marian Martyr, provided always that he consecrated the fortuitous incremation with a short ejaculation in the exit, as much as if he had taken his state degrees of martyrdom in forma in the market vicinage.  There is adoptive as well as acquisitive sacrifice.  Be the animus what it might, the fact is indisputable, that this composition was seen flying all abroad, and mine host of Daintry may yet remember its passing through his town, if his scores are not more faithful than his memory.

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To come from his heroic character, all the amiable qualities of domestic life concentre in this tamed Bellerophon.  He is excellent over a glass of grog; just as pleasant without it; laughs when he hears a joke, and when (which is much oftener) he hears it not; sings glorious old sea-songs on festival nights; and but upon a slight acquaintance of two years, Coleridge, is as dear a deaf old man to us as old Norris, rest his soul! was after fifty.  To him and his scanty literature (what there is of it, sound) have we flown from the metropolis and its cursed annualists, reviewers, authors, and the whole muddy ink press of that stagnant pool.

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