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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 pages of information about The Best Letters of Charles Lamb.

Give my kindest love and my sister’s to D. and yourself.  And a kiss from me to little Barbara Lewthwaite. [1] Thank you for liking my play!

C.L.

XXXVI.

TO MANNING.

February, 1801.

I am going to change my lodgings, having received a hint that it would be agreeable, at our Lady’s next feast.  I have partly fixed upon most delectable rooms, which look out (when you stand a-tiptoe) over the Thames and Surrey Hills, at the upper end of King’s Bench Walks, in the Temple.  There I shall have all the privacy of a house without the encumbrance; and shall be able to lock my friends out as often as I desire to hold free converse with my immortal mind; for my present lodgings resemble a minister’s levee, I have so increased my acquaintance (as they call ’em), since I have resided in town.  Like the country mouse, that had tasted a little of urban manners, I long to be nibbling my own cheese by my dear self without mousetraps and time-traps.  By my new plan, I shall be as airy, up four pair of stairs, as in the country; and in a garden, in the midst of enchanting, more than Mahometan paradise, London, whose dirtiest drab-frequented alley, and her lowest-bowing tradesman, I would not exchange for Skiddaw, Helvellyn, James, Walter, and the parson into the bargain.  Oh, her lamps of a night; her rich goldsmiths, print-shops, toy-shops, mercers, hardwaremen, pastrycooks; St. Paul’s Churchyard; the Strand; Exeter ’Change; Charing Cross, with a man upon a black horse!  These are thy gods, O London!  Ain’t you mightily moped on the banks of the Cam?  Had not you better come and set up here?  You can’t think what a difference.  All the streets and pavements are pure gold, I warrant you,—­at least, I know an alchemy that turns her mud into that metal:  a mind that loves to be at home in crowds.

’Tis half-past twelve o’clock, and all sober people ought to be a-bed.  Between you and me, the L. Ballads are but drowsy performances.

C. LAMB (as you may guess).

[1] The child in Wordsworth’s “The Pet Lamb.”

XXXVII.

TO MANNING.

February 15, 1801.

I had need be cautious henceforward what opinion I give of the “Lyrical Ballads.”  All the North of England are in a turmoil.  Cumberland and Westmoreland have already declared a state of war.  I lately received from Wordsworth a copy of the second volume, accompanied by an acknowledgment of having received from me many months since a copy of a certain tragedy, with excuses for not having made any acknowledgment sooner, it being owing to an “almost insurmountable aversion from letter-writing.”  This letter I answered in due form and time, and enumerated several of the passages which had most affected me, adding, unfortunately, that no single piece had moved

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