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.
all gratitude.  If he does come in your way, Southey, fail not to tell him that I retain a most affectionate remembrance of his old friendliness, and an earnest wish to resume our intercourse.  In this I am serious.  I cannot recommend him to your society, because I am afraid whether he be quite worthy of it.  But I have no right to dismiss him from my regard.  He was at one time, and in the worst of times, my own familiar friend, and great comfort to me then.  I have known him to play at cards with my father, meal-times excepted, literally all day long, in long days too, to save me from being teased by the old man when I was not able to bear it.

God bless him for it, and God bless you, Southey!

C. L.

[1] Leigh Hunt says:  “Walton says that an angler does no hurt but to fish; and this he counts as nothing....  Now, fancy a Genius fishing for us.  Fancy him baiting a great hook with pickled salmon, and, twitching up old Izaac Walton from the banks of the River Lee, with the hook through his ear.  How he would go up, roaring and screaming, and thinking the devil had got him!

  “’Other joys
  Are but toys.’

  WALTON.”

[2] See Letter VI.

XIX.

TO THOMAS MANNING [1].

March 1, 1800.

I hope by this time you are prepared to say the “Falstaff’s Letters” are a bundle of the sharpest, queerest, profoundest humors of any these juice-drained latter times have spawned.  I should have advertised you that the meaning is frequently hard to be got at,—­and so are the future guineas that now lie ripening and aurifying in the womb of some undiscovered Potosi; but dig, dig, dig, dig, Manning!  I set to with an unconquerable propulsion to write, with a lamentable want of what to write.  My private goings on are orderly as the movements of the spheres, and stale as their music to angels’ ears.  Public affairs, except as they touch upon me, and so turn into private, I cannot whip up my mind to feel any interest in, I grieve, indeed, that War and Nature and Mr. Pitt, that hangs up in Lloyd’s best parlour, should have conspired to call up three necessaries, simple commoners as our fathers knew them, into the upper house of luxuries,—­bread and beer and coals, Manning.  But as to France and Frenchmen, and the Abbe Sieyes and his constitutions, I cannot make these present times present to me.  I read histories of the past, and I live in them; although, to abstract senses, they are far less momentous than the noises which keep Europe awake.  I am reading Burnet’s “Own Times.”  Did you ever read that garrulous, pleasant history?  He tells his story like an old man, past political service, bragging to his sons on winter evenings of the part he took in public transactions when “his old cap was new.”  Full of scandal, which all true history is.  No palliatives; but all the stark wickedness that actually gives the momentum to national

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