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.
a contrary emotion?—­Cervantes, stung, perchance, by the relish with which his Reading Public had received the fooleries of the man, more to their palates than the generosities of the master, in the sequel let his pen run riot, lost the harmony and the balance, and sacrificed a great idea to the taste of his contemporaries.  We know that in the present day the Knight has fewer admirers than the Squire.  Anticipating, what did actually happen to him—­as afterwards it did to his scarce inferior follower, the Author of “Guzman de Alfarache”—­that some less knowing hand would prevent him by a spurious Second Part:  and judging, that it would be easier for his competitor to out-bid him in the comicalities, than in the romance, of his work, he abandoned his Knight, and has fairly set up the Squire for his Hero.  For what else has he unsealed the eyes of Sancho; and instead of that twilight state of semi-insanity—­the madness at second-hand—­the contagion, caught from a stronger mind infected—­that war between native cunning, and hereditary deference, with which he has hitherto accompanied his master—­two for a pair almost—­does he substitute a downright Knave, with open eyes, for his own ends only following a confessed Madman; and offering at one time to lay, if not actually laying, hands upon him!  From the moment that Sancho loses his reverence, Don Quixote is become a—­treatable lunatic.  Our artists handle him accordingly.

[Footnote 1:  Yet from this Second Part, our cried-up pictures are mostly selected; the waiting-women with beards, &c.]


The Old Year being dead, and the New Year coming of age, which he does, by Calendar Law, as soon as the breath is out of the old gentleman’s body, nothing would serve the young spark but he must give a dinner upon the occasion, to which all the Days in the year were invited.  The Festivals, whom he deputed as his stewards, were mightily taken with the notion.  They had been engaged time out of mind, they said, in providing mirth and good cheer for mortals below; and it was time they should have a taste of their own bounty.  It was stiffly debated among them, whether the Fasts should be admitted.  Some said, the appearance of such lean, starved guests, with their mortified faces, would pervert the ends of the meeting.  But the objection was over-ruled by Christmas Day, who had a design upon Ash Wednesday (as you shall hear), and a mighty desire to see how the old Domine would behave himself in his cups.  Only the Vigils were requested to come with their lanterns, to light the gentlefolks home at night.

All the Days came to their day.  Covers were provided for three hundred and sixty-five guests at the principal table:  with an occasional knife and fork at the side-board for the Twenty-Ninth of February.

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