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.
to make eagles or cork-screws, or flourish the governor’s names in the writing-school; and by the tenor and cut of your letters, I suspect you were never in it at all.  By the length of this scrawl you will think I have a design upon your optics; but I have writ as large as I could, out of respect to them,—­too large, indeed, for beauty.  Mine is a sort of Deputy-Grecian’s hand,—­a little better, and more of a worldly hand, than a Grecian’s, but still remote from the mercantile.  I don’t know how it is, but I keep my rank in fancy still since school-days; I can never forget I was a Deputy-Grecian.  And writing to you, or to Coleridge, besides affection, I feel a reverential deference as to Grecians still [3].  I keep my soaring way above the Great Erasmians, yet far beneath the other.  Alas! what am I now?  What is a Leadenhall clerk or India pensioner to a Deputy-Grecian?  How art thou fallen, O Lucifer!  Just room for our loves to Mrs. D., etc.


[1] Talfourd relates an amusing instance of the universal charity of the kindly Dyer.  Lamb once suddenly asked him what he thought of the murderer Williams,—­a wretch who had destroyed two families in Ratcliff Highway, and then cheated the gallows by committing suicide.  “The desperate attempt,” says Talfourd, “to compel the gentle optimist to speak ill of a mortal creature produced no happier success than the answer, ’Why, I should think, Mr. Lamb, he must have been rather an eccentric character.’”

[2] Whalley and Boyer were masters at Christ’s Hospital.

[3] “Deputy-Grecian,” “Grecian,” etc., were of course forms, or grades, at Christ’s Hospital.



February, 1832.

Dear Moxon,—­The snows are ankle-deep, slush, and mire, that ’t is hard to get to the post-office, and cruel to send the maid out.  ’Tis a slough of despair, or I should sooner have thanked you for your offer of the “Life,” which we shall very much like to have, and will return duly.  I do not know when I shall be in town, but in a week or two at farthest, when I will come as far as you, if I can.  We are moped to death with confinement within doors, I send you a curiosity of G. Dyer’s tender conscience.  Between thirty and forty years since, George published the “Poet’s Fate,” in which were two very harmless lines about Mr. Rogers; but Mr. R. not quite approving of them, they were left out in a subsequent edition, 1801.  But George has been worrying about them ever since; if I have heard him once, I have heard him a hundred times express a remorse proportioned to a consciousness of having been guilty of an atrocious libel.  As the devil would have it, a fool they call Barker, in his “Parriana” has quoted the identical two lines as they stood in some obscure edition anterior to 1801, and the withers of poor George are again wrung, His letter is a gem: 

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