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.
to this class of sufferings may in part account for this.  The animal tribe in particular he taketh under his especial protection.  A broken-winded or spur-galled horse is sure to find an advocate in him.  An over-loaded ass is his client for ever.  He is the apostle to the brute kind—­the never-failing friend of those who have none to care for them.  The contemplation of a lobster boiled, or eels skinned alive, will wring him so, that “all for pity he could die.”  It will take the savour from his palate, and the rest from his pillow, for days and nights.  With the intense feeling of Thomas Clarkson, he wanted only the steadiness of pursuit, and unity of purpose, of that “true yolk-fellow with Time,” to have effected as much for the Animal, as he hath done for the Negro Creation.  But my uncontrollable cousin is but imperfectly formed for purposes which demand co-operation.  He cannot wait.  His amelioration-plans must be ripened in a day.  For this reason he has cut but an equivocal figure in benevolent societies, and combinations for the alleviation of human sufferings.  His zeal constantly makes him to outrun, and put out, his coadjutors.  He thinks of relieving,—­while they think of debating.  He was black-balled out of a society for the Relief of **********, because the fervor of his humanity toiled beyond the formal apprehension, and creeping processes, of his associates.  I shall always consider this distinction as a patent of nobility in the Elia family!  Do I mention these seeming inconsistencies to smile at, or upbraid, my unique cousin?  Marry, heaven, and all good manners, and the understanding that should be between kinsfolk, forbid!—­With all the strangenesses of this strangest of the Elias—­I would not have him in one jot or tittle other than he is; neither would I barter or exchange my wild kinsman for the most exact, regular, and everyway consistent kinsman breathing.

In my next, reader, I may perhaps give you some account of my cousin Bridget—­if you are not already surfeited with cousins—­and take you by the hand, if you are willing to go with us, on an excursion which we made a summer or two since, in search of more cousins—­

  Through the green plains of pleasant Hertfordshire.


Bridget Elia has been my housekeeper for many a long year.  I have obligations to Bridget, extending beyond the period of memory.  We house together, old bachelor and maid, in a sort of double singleness; with such tolerable comfort, upon the whole, that I, for one, find in myself no sort of disposition to go out upon the mountains, with the rash king’s offspring, to bewail my celibacy.  We agree pretty well in our tastes and habits—­yet so, as “with a difference.”  We are generally in harmony, with occasional bickerings—­as it should be among near relations.  Our sympathies are rather understood, than expressed; and once, upon

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