Lamb’s landlord. He had driven Mary Lamb over to see Coleridge at Highgate. The Lambs had been compelled, by the frequent illnesses of Mary Lamb, to give up their housekeeping at Enfield and to take lodgings with the Westwoods.
January 22, 1830.
And is it a year since we parted from you at the steps of Edmonton stage? There are not now the years that there used to be. The tale of the dwindled age of men, reported of successional mankind, is true of the same man only. We do not live a year in a year now. ’T is a punctum stans. The seasons pass us with indifference. Spring cheers not, nor winter heightens our gloom: autumn hath foregone its moralities,—they are “heypass repass,” as in a show-box. Yet, as far as last year, occurs back—for they scarce show a reflex now, they make no memory as heretofore—’t was sufficiently gloomy. Let the sullen nothing pass. Suffice it that after sad spirits, prolonged through many of its months, as it called them, we have cast our skins, have taken a farewell of the pompous, troublesome trifle called housekeeping, and are settled down into poor boarders and lodgers at next door with an old couple, the Baucis and Baucida of dull Enfield. Here we have nothing to do with our victuals but to eat them, with the garden but to see it grow, with the tax-gatherer but to hear him knock, with the maid but to hear her scolded. Scot and lot, butcher, baker, are things unknown to us, save as spectators of the pageant. We are fed we know not how,—quietists, confiding ravens. We have the otium pro dignitate, a respectable insignificance. Yet in the self condemned obliviousness, in the stagnation, some molesting yearnings of life not quite killed rise, prompting me that there was a London, and that I was of that old Jerusalem. In dreams I am in Fleet Market; but I wake and cry to sleep again. I die hard, a stubborn Eloisa in this detestable Paraclete. What have I gained by health? Intolerable dulness. What by early hours and moderate meals? A total blank. Oh, never let the lying poets be believed who ’tice men from the cheerful haunts of streets, or think they mean it not of a country village. In the ruins of Palmyra I could gird myself up to solitude, or muse to the snorings of the Seven Sleepers; but to have a little teasing image of a town about one, country folks that do not look like country folks, shops two yards square, half-a-dozen apples and two penn’orth of over-looked gingerbread for the lofty fruiterers of Oxford Street, and for the immortal book and print stalls a circulating library that stands still, where the show-picture is a last year’s Valentine, and whither the fame of the last ten Scotch novels has not yet travelled (marry, they just begin to be conscious of the “Redgauntlet"), to have a new plastered flat church, and to be wishing that