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.
an aristocrat I wonder it has never been hit on before my time.  I have made an acquisition latterly of a pleasant hand, one Rickman, [1] to whom I was introduced by George Dyer,—­not the most flattering auspices under which one man can be introduced to another.  George brings all sorts of people together, setting up a sort of agrarian law, or common property, in matter of society; but for once he has done me a great pleasure, while he was only pursuing a principle, as ignes fatui may light you home.  This Rickman lives in our Buildings, immediately opposite our house; the finest fellow to drop in a’ nights, about nine or ten o’clock,—­cold bread-and-cheese time,—­just in the wishing time of the night, when you wish for somebody to come in, without a distinct idea of a probable anybody.  Just in the nick, neither too early to be tedious, nor too late to sit a reasonable time.  He is a most pleasant hand,—­a fine, rattling fellow, has gone through life laughing at solemn apes; himself hugely literate, oppressively full of information in all stuff of conversation, from matter of fact to Xenophon and Plato; can talk Greek with Porson, politics with Thelwall, conjecture with George Dyer, nonsense with me, and anything with anybody; a great farmer, somewhat concerned in an agricultural magazine; reads no poetry but Shakspeare, very intimate with Southey, but never reads his poetry; relishes George Dyer, thoroughly penetrates into the ridiculous wherever found, understands the first time (a great desideratum in common minds),—­you need never twice speak to him; does not want explanations, translations, limitations, as Professor Godwin does when you make an assertion; up to anything, down to everything, —­whatever sapit hominem.  A perfect man.  All this farrago, which must perplex you to read, and has put me to a little trouble to select, only proves how impossible it is to describe a pleasant hand.  You must see Rickman to know him, for he is a species in one,—­a new class; an exotic, any slip of which I am proud to put in my garden-pot.  The clearest-headed fellow; fullest of matter, with least verbosity.  If there be any alloy in my fortune to have met with such a man, it is that he commonly divides his time between town and country, having some foolish family ties at Christchurch, by which means he can only gladden our London hemisphere with returns of light.  He is now going for six weeks.

[1] John Rickman, clerk-assistant at the table of the House of Commons, an eminent statistician, and the intimate friend of Lamb, Southey, and others of their set.



November 28, 1800

Dear Manning,—­I have received a very kind invitation from Lloyd and Sophia to go and spend a month with them at the Lakes.  Now, it fortunately happens (which is so seldom the case) that I have spare cash by me enough to answer the expenses of so long a journey; and I am determined to get away from the office by some means.

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