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.
with those little short fore-puds, looking like a lesson framed by nature to the pickpocket!  Marry, for diving into fobs they are rather lamely provided a priori; but if the hue and cry were once up, they would show as fair a pair of hind-shifters as the expertest loco-motor in the colony.—­We hear the most improbable tales at this distance.  Pray, is it true that the young Spartans among you are born with six fingers, which spoils their scanning?—­It must look very odd; but use reconciles.  For their scansion, it is less to be regretted, for if they take it into their heads to be poets, it is odds but they turn out, the greater part of them, vile plagiarists.—­Is there much difference to see to between the son of a th**f, and the grandson? or where does the taint stop?  Do you bleach in three or in four generations?—­I have many questions to put, but ten Delphic voyages can be made in a shorter time than it will take to satisfy my scruples.—­Do you grow your own hemp?—­What is your staple trade, exclusive of the national profession, I mean?  Your lock-smiths, I take it, are some of your great capitalists.

I am insensibly chatting to you as familiarly as when we used to exchange good-morrows out of our old contiguous windows, in pump-famed Hare-court in the Temple.  Why did you ever leave that quiet corner?—­Why did I?—­with its complement of four poor elms, from whose smoke-dyed barks, the theme of jesting ruralists, I picked my first lady-birds!  My heart is as dry as that spring sometimes proves in a thirsty August, when I revert to the space that is between us; a length of passage enough to render obsolete the phrases of our English letters before they can reach you.  But while I talk, I think you hear me,—­thoughts dallying with vain surmise—­

  Aye me! while thee the seas and sounding shores
  Hold far away.

Come back, before I am grown into a very old man, so as you shall hardly know me.  Come, before Bridget walks on crutches.  Girls whom you left children have become sage matrons, while you are tarrying there.  The blooming Miss W——­r (you remember Sally W——­r) called upon us yesterday, an aged crone.  Folks, whom you knew, die off every year.  Formerly, I thought that death was wearing out,—­I stood ramparted about with so many healthy friends.  The departure of J.W., two springs back corrected my delusion.  Since then the old divorcer has been busy.  If you do not make haste to return, there will be little left to greet you, of me, or mine.

THE PRAISE OF CHIMNEY-SWEEPERS

I like to meet a sweep—­understand me—­not a grown sweeper—­old chimney-sweepers are by no means attractive—­but one of those tender novices, blooming through their first nigritude, the maternal washings not quite effaced from the cheek—­such as come forth with the dawn, or somewhat earlier, with their little professional notes sounding like the peep peep of a young sparrow; or liker to the matin lark should I pronounce them, in their aerial ascents not seldom anticipating the sun-rise?

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