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.
the Obituary of the old Gentleman’s Magazine, to which he has never failed of having recourse for these last fifty years.  Yet there was the pride of literature about him from that slender perusal; and moreover from his office of archive-keeper to your ancient city, in which he must needs pick up some equivocal Latin; which, among his less literary friends, assumed the air of a very pleasant pedantry.  Can I forget the erudite look with which, having tried to puzzle out the text of a Black lettered Chaucer in your Corporation Library, to which he was a sort of Librarian, he gave it up with this consolatory reflection—­“Jemmy,” said he, “I do not know what you find in these very old books, but I observe, there is a deal of very indifferent spelling in them.”  His jokes (for he had some) are ended; but they were old Perennials, staple, and always as good as new.  He had one Song, that spake of the “flat bottoms of our foes coming over in darkness,” and alluded to a threatened Invasion, many years since blown over; this he reserved to be sung on Christmas Night, which we always passed with him, and he sung it with the freshness of an impending event.  How his eyes would sparkle when he came to the passage: 

  We’ll still make ’em run, and we’ll still make ’em sweat,
  In spite of the devil and Brussels’ Gazette!

What is the Brussels’ Gazette now?  I cry, while I endite these trifles.  His poor girls who are, I believe, compact of solid goodness, will have to receive their afflicted mother at an unsuccessful home in a petty village in ——­shire, where for years they have been struggling to raise a Girls’ School with no effect.  Poor deaf Robert (and the less hopeful for being so) is thrown upon a deaf world, without the comfort to his father on his death-bed of knowing him provided for.  They are left almost provisionless.  Some life assurance there is; but, I fear, not exceeding ——.  Their hopes must be from your Corporation, which their father has served for fifty years.  Who or what are your Leading Members now, I know not.  Is there any, to whom without impertinence, you can represent the true circumstances of the family?  You cannot say good enough of poor R., and his poor wife.  Oblige me and the dead, if you can.


I have an almost feminine partiality for old china.  When I go to see any great house, I inquire for the china-closet, and next for the picture gallery.  I cannot defend the order of preference, but by saying, that we have all some taste or other, of too ancient a date to admit of our remembering distinctly that it was an acquired one.  I can call to mind the first play, and the first exhibition, that I was taken to; but I am not conscious of a time when china jars and saucers were introduced into my imagination.

I had no repugnance then—­why should I now have?—­to those little, lawless, azure-tinctured grotesques, that under the notion of men and women, float about, uncircumscribed by any element, in that world before perspective—­a china tea-cup.

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