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.

I wish the whole female world would entertain the same notion of these things that Miss Winstanley showed.  Then we should see something of the spirit of consistent gallantry; and no longer witness the anomaly of the same man—­a pattern of true politeness to a wife—­of cold contempt, or rudeness, to a sister—­the idolater of his female mistress—­the disparager and despiser of his no less female aunt, or unfortunate—­still female—­maiden cousin.  Just so much respect as a woman derogates from her own sex, in whatever condition placed—­her handmaid, or dependent—­she deserves to have diminished from herself on that score; and probably will feel the diminution, when youth, and beauty, and advantages, not inseparable from sex, shall lose of their attraction.  What a woman should demand of a man in courtship, or after it, is first—­respect for her as she is a woman;—­and next to that—­to be respected by him above all other women.  But let her stand upon her female character as upon a foundation; and let the attentions, incident to individual preference, be so many pretty additaments and ornaments—­as many, and as fanciful, as you please—­to that main structure.  Let her first lesson be—­with sweet Susan Winstanley—­to reverence her sex.


I was born, and passed the first seven years of my life, in the Temple.  Its church, its halls, its gardens, its fountain, its river, I had almost said—­for in those young years, what was this king of rivers to me but a stream that watered our pleasant places?—­these are of my oldest recollections.  I repeat, to this day, no verses to myself more frequently, or with kindlier emotion, than those of Spenser, where he speaks of this spot.

  There when they came, whereas those bricky towers,
  The which on Themmes brode aged back doth ride,
  Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers,
  There whylome wont the Templer knights to bide;
  Till they decayd through pride.

Indeed, it is the most elegant spot in the metropolis.  What a transition for a countryman visiting London for the first time—­the passing from the crowded Strand or Fleet-street, by unexpected avenues, into its magnificent ample squares, its classic green recesses!  What a cheerful, liberal look hath that portion of it, which, from three sides, overlooks the greater garden:  that goodly pile

  Of building strong, albeit of Paper hight,

confronting, with massy contrast, the lighter, older, more fantastically shrouded one, named of Harcourt, with the cheerful Crown-office Row (place of my kindly engendure), right opposite the stately stream, which washes the garden-foot with her yet scarcely trade-polluted waters, and seems but just weaned from her Twickenham Naiades! a man would give something to have been born in such places.  What a collegiate aspect has that fine Elizabethan hall, where the fountain plays,

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