The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 567 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb Volume 2.
Conrady has done you a service, her face remains the same; when she has done you a thousand, and you know that she is ready to double the number, still it is that individual face.  Neither can you say of it, that it would be a good face if it was not marked by the small pox—­a compliment which is always more admissive than excusatory—­for either Mrs. Conrady never had the small pox; or, as we say, took it kindly.  No, it stands upon its own merits fairly.  There it is.  It is her mark, her token; that which she is known by.

XI.—­THAT WE MUST NOT LOOK A GIFT-HORSE IN THE MOUTH

Nor a lady’s age in the parish register.  We hope we have more delicacy than to do either:  but some faces spare us the trouble of these dental inquiries.  And what if the beast, which my friend would force upon my acceptance, prove, upon the face of it, a sorry Rozinante, a lean, ill-favoured jade, whom no gentleman could think of setting up in his stables?  Must I, rather than not be obliged to my friend, make her a companion to Eclipse or Lightfoot?  A horse-giver, no more than a horse-seller, has a right to palm his spavined article upon us for good ware.  An equivalent is expected in either case; and, with my own good will, I would no more be cheated out of my thanks, than out of my money.  Some people have a knack of putting upon you gifts of no real value, to engage you to substantial gratitude.  We thank them for nothing.  Our friend Mitis carries this humour of never refusing a present, to the very point of absurdity—­if it were possible to couple the ridiculous with so much mistaken delicacy, and real good-nature.  Not an apartment in his fine house (and he has a true taste in household decorations), but is stuffed up with some preposterous print or mirror—­the worst adapted to his pannels that may be—­the presents of his friends that know his weakness; while his noble Vandykes are displaced, to make room for a set of daubs, the work of some wretched artist of his acquaintance, who, having had them returned upon his hands for bad likenesses, finds his account in bestowing them here gratis.  The good creature has not the heart to mortify the painter at the expense of an honest refusal.  It is pleasant (if it did not vex one at the same time) to see him sitting in his dining parlour, surrounded with obscure aunts and cousins to God knows whom, while the true Lady Marys and Lady Bettys of his own honourable family, in favour to these adopted frights, are consigned to the staircase and the lumber-room.  In like manner his goodly shelves are one by one stript of his favourite old authors, to give place to a collection of presentation copies—­the flower and bran of modern poetry.  A presentation copy, reader—­if haply you are yet innocent of such favours—­is a copy of a book which does not sell, sent you by the author, with his foolish autograph at the beginning of it; for which, if a stranger, he only demands your

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