The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 713 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 2.
deplorable absence of a foreign one, to show their detestation of run hollands, and zeal for old England.  But it is the visitants from town, that come here to say that they have been here, with no more relish of the sea than a pond perch, or a dace might be supposed to have, that are my aversion.  I feel like a foolish dace in these regions, and have as little toleration for myself here, as for them.  What can they want here? if they had a true relish of the ocean, why have they brought all this land luggage with them? or why pitch their civilised tents in the desert?  What mean these scanty book-rooms—­marine libraries as they entitle them—­if the sea were, as they would have us believe, a book “to read strange matter in?” what are their foolish concert-rooms, if they come, as they would fain be thought to do, to listen to the music of the waves?  All is false and hollow pretention.  They come, because it is the fashion, and to spoil the nature of the place.  They are mostly, as I have said, stockbrokers; but I have watched the better sort of them—­now and then, an honest citizen (of the old stamp), in the simplicity of his heart, shall bring down his wife and daughters, to taste the sea breezes.  I always know the date of their arrival.  It is easy to see it in their countenance.  A day or two they go wandering on the shingles, picking up cockleshells, and thinking them great things; but, in a poor week, imagination slackens:  they begin to discover that cockles produce no pearls, and then—­O then!—­if I could interpret for the pretty creatures (I know they have not the courage to confess it themselves) how gladly would they exchange their sea-side rambles for a Sunday walk on the green-sward of their accustomed Twickenham meadows!

I would ask of one of these sea-charmed emigrants, who think they truly love the sea, with its wild usages, what would their feelings be, if some of the unsophisticated aborigines of this place, encouraged by their courteous questionings here, should venture, on the faith of such assured sympathy between them, to return the visit, and come up to see—­London.  I must imagine them with their fishing tackle on their back, as we carry our town necessaries.  What a sensation would it cause in Lothbury?  What vehement laughter would it not excite among

  The daughters of Cheapside, and wives of Lombard-street.

I am sure that no town-bred, or inland-born subjects, can feel their true and natural nourishment at these sea-places.  Nature, where she does not mean us for mariners and vagabonds, bids us stay at home.  The salt foam seems to nourish a spleen.  I am not half so good-natured as by the milder waters of my natural river.  I would exchange these sea-gulls for swans, and scud a swallow for ever about the banks of Thamesis.


A pretty severe fit of indisposition which, under the name of a nervous fever, has made a prisoner of me for some weeks past, and is but slowly leaving me, has reduced me to an incapacity of reflecting upon any topic foreign to itself.  Expect no healthy conclusions from me this month, reader; I can offer you only sick men’s dreams.

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The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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