We should rejoice when good kings bleed. ]
CHARLES LAMB TO SARAH HUTCHINSON
[P.M. January 20, 1825.]
The brevity of this is owing to scratching it off at my desk amid expected interruptions. By habit, I can write Letters only at office.
Dear Miss H. Thank you for a noble Goose, which wanted only the massive Encrustation that we used to pick-axe open about this season in old Gloster Place. When shall we eat another Goosepye together? The pheasant too must not be forgotten, twice as big and half as good as a partridge. You ask about the editor of the Lond. I know of none. This first specimen is flat and pert enough to justify subscribers who grudge at t’other shilling. De Quincey’s Parody was submitted to him before printed, and had his Probatum. The “Horns” is in a poor taste, resembling the most laboured papers in the Spectator. I had sign’d it “Jack Horner:” but Taylor and Hessey said, it would be thought an offensive article, unless I put my known signature to it; and wrung from me my slow consent. But did you read the “Memoir of Liston”? and did you guess whose it was? Of all the Lies I ever put off, I value this most. It is from top to toe, every paragraph, Pure Invention; and has passed for Gospel, has been republished in newspapers, and in the penny play-bills of the Night, as an authentic Account. I shall certainly go to the Naughty Man some day for my Fibbings. In the next No. I figure as a Theologian! and have attacked my late brethren, the Unitarians. What Jack Pudding tricks I shall play next, I know not. I am almost at the end of my Tether.
Coleridge is quite blooming; but his Book has not budded yet. I hope I have spelt Torquay right now, and that this will find you all mending, and looking forward to a London flight with the Spring. Winter we have had none, but plenty of foul weather. I have lately pick’d up an Epigram which pleased me.
Two noble Earls, whom if
Some folks might call me Sinner;
The one invented half a coat;
The other half a dinner.
The plan was good, as some
And fitted to console one:
Because, in this poor starving day,
Few can afford a whole one.
I have made the Lame one still lamer by imperfect memory, but spite of bald diction, a little done to it might improve it into a good one. You have nothing else to do at ["Talk kay” here written and scratched out] Torquay. Suppose you try it. Well God bless you all, as wishes Mary, [most] sincerely, with many thanks for Letter &c. ELIA.
[The Monkhouses’ house in London was at 34 Gloucester Place.
Lamb’s De Quincey parody was the “Letter to an Old Gentleman, whose Education has been Neglected.”
“Coleridge’s book”—the Aids to Reflection, published in May or June, 1825.