“G.D.”—George Dyer again.
“Fauntleroy.” See note above. Fauntleroy’s fate seems to have had great fascination for Lamb. He returned to the subject, in the vein of this letter, in “The Last Peach,” a little essay printed in the London Magazine for April, 1825 (see Vol. I. of this edition); and in Memories of old Friends, being Extracts from the Journals and Letters of Caroline Fox, ... from 1835 to 1871, 1882, I find the following entry:—
October 25 [l839].—G. Wightwick and others dined with us. He talked agreeably about capital punishments, greatly doubting their having any effect in preventing crime. Soon after Fauntleroy was hanged, an advertisement appeared, “To all good Christians! Pray for the soul of Fauntleroy.” This created a good deal of speculation as to whether he was a Catholic, and at one of Coleridge’s soirees it was discussed for a considerable time; at length Coleridge, turning to Lamb, asked, “Do you know anything about this affair?” “I should think I d-d-d-did,” said Elia, “for I paid s-s-s-seven and sixpence for it!”
Lamb’s postscript is written in extremely small characters, and —the letters of the two lines of verse are in alternate red and black inks. It was this letter which, Edward FitzGerald tells us, Thackeray pressed to his forehead, with the remark “Saint Charles!” Hitherto, the postscript not having been thought worthy of print by previous editors, it was a little difficult to understand why this particular letter had been selected for Thackeray’s epithet. But when one thinks of the patience with which, after making gentle fun of her father, Lamb sat down to amuse Lucy Barton, and, as Thackeray did, thinks also of his whole life, it becomes more clear.
Here should come a letter to Alaric A. Watts dated Dec. 28, 1824, in reply to a request for a contribution to one of this inveterate album-maker’s albums. Lamb acquiesces. Later he came to curse the things. Given in the Boston Bibliophile edition.]
CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN BATES DIBDIN
[P.M. January II, 1825.]
My Dear Sir—Pray return my best thanks to your father for his little volume. It is like all of his I have seen, spirited, good humoured, and redolent of the wit and humour of a century ago. He should have lived with Gay and his set. The Chessiad is so clever that I relish’d it in spite of my total ignorance of the game. I have it not before me, but I remember a capital simile of the Charwoman letting in her Watchman husband, which is better than Butler’s Lobster turned to Red. Hazard is a grand Character, Jove in his Chair. When you are disposed to leave your one room for my six, Colebrooke is where it was, and my sister begs me to add that as she is disappointed of meeting your sister your way, we shall be most happy to see her our way, when you have an even’g to spare. Do not stand on ceremonies and introductions, but come at once. I need not say that if you can induce your father to join the party, it will be so much the pleasanter. Can you name an evening next week? I give you long credit.