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.

The purpose of this letter is to request of you (my dear friend) that you will not take it unkind if I decline my proposed visit to Cambridge for the present.  Perhaps I shall be able to take Cambridge in my way, going or coming.  I need not describe to you the expectations which such an one as myself, pent up all my life in a dirty city, have formed of a tour to the Lakes.  Consider Grasmere!  Ambleside!  Wordsworth!  Coleridge!  Hills, woods, lakes, and mountains, to the devil!  I will eat snipes with thee, Thomas Manning.  Only confess, confess, a bite.

P.S.—­I think you named the 16th; but was it not modest of Lloyd to send such an invitation!  It shows his knowledge of money and time.  I would be loth to think he meant

  “Ironic satire sidelong sklented
     On my poor pursie.” [1]

For my part, with reference to my friends northward, I must confess that I am not romance-bit about Nature.  The earth and sea and sky (when all is said) is but as a house to dwell in.  If the inmates be courteous, and good liquors flow like the conduits at an old coronation, if they can talk sensibly and feel properly, I have no need to stand staring upon the gilded looking-glass (that strained my friend’s purse-strings in the purchase), nor his five-shilling print over the mantelpiece of old Nabbs the carrier (which only betrays his false taste).  Just as important to me (in a sense) is all the furniture of my world,—­eye-pampering, but satisfies no heart.  Streets, streets, streets, markets, theatres, churches, Covent Gardens, shops sparkling with pretty faces of industrious milliners, neat sempstresses, ladles cheapening, gentlemen behind counters lying, authors in the street with spectacles, George Dyers (you may know them by their gait), lamps lit at night, pastry-cooks’ and silversmiths’ shops, beautiful Quakers of Pentonville, noise of coaches, drowsy cry of mechanic watchman at night, with bucks reeling home drunk; if you happen to wake at midnight, cries of “Fire!” and “Stop, thief!” inns of court, with their learned air, and halls, and butteries, just like Cambridge colleges; old book-stalls, Jeremy Taylors, Burtons on Melancholy, and Religio Medicis on every stall.  These are thy pleasures, O London with-the-many-sins!  O City abounding in—­, for these may Keswick and her giant brood go hang!

C. L.

[1] Burns.



December 27, 1800.

At length George Dyer’s phrenitis has come to a crisis; he is raging and furiously mad.  I waited upon the Heathen, Thursday was a se’nnight; the first symptom which struck my eye and gave me incontrovertible proof of the fatal truth was a pair of nankeen pantaloons four times too big for him, which the said Heathen did pertinaciously affirm to be new.

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