the Wit Without Money, and the Lover’s Pilgrimage.
Laugh and come home fat. Neither do we think Sir
T. Browne quite the thing for you just at present.
Fletcher is as light as Soda water. Browne and
Burton are too strong potions for an Invalid.
And don’t thumb or dirt the books. Take
care of the bindings. Lay a leaf of silver paper
under ’em, as you read them. And don’t
smoke tobacco over ’em, the leaves will fall
in and burn or dirty their namesakes. If you find
any dusty atoms of the Indian Weed crumbled up in
the Beaum’t and Fletcher, they are mine
But then, you know, so is the Folio also. A pipe
and a comedy of Fletcher’s the last thing of
a night is the best recipe for light dreams and to
scatter away Nightmares. Probatum est. But
do as you like about the former. Only cut the
Baker’s. You will come home else all crust;
Rankings must chip you before you can appear in his
counting house. And my dear Peter Fin Junr.,
do contrive to see the sea at least once before you
return. You’ll be ask’d about it in
the Old Jewry. It will appear singular not to
have seen it. And rub up your Muse, the family
Muse, and send us a rhyme or so. Don’t waste
your wit upon that damn’d Dry Salter. I
never knew but one Dry Salter, who could relish those
mellow effusions, and he broke. You knew Tommy
Hill, the wettest of dry salters. Dry Salters,
what a word for this thirsty weather! I must
drink after it. Here’s to thee, my dear
Dibdin, and to our having you again snug and well
at Colebrooke. But our nearest hopes are to hear
again from you shortly. An epistle only a quarter
as agreeable as your last, would be a treat.
truly C. LAMB
Timothy B. Dibdin, Esq., No. 9, Blucher Row, Priory,
[Dibdin, who was in delicate health, had gone to Hastings
to recruit, with a parcel of Lamb’s books for
company. He seems to have been lodged above the
oven at a baker’s. This letter contains
Lamb’s crowning description of Hollingdon Rural
“A Caledonian Chapel.” Referring
to the crowds that listened to Irving.
“Peter Fin.” A character in Jones’
“Peter Finn’s Trip to Brighton,”
1822, as played by Liston.
“Tommy Hill.” In the British Museum
is preserved the following brief note addressed to
Mr. Thomas Hill—probably the same.
The date is between 1809 and 1817:—]
CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS HILL
D’r Sir It is necessary I see you sign,
can you step up to me 4 Inner Temple Lane this evening.
I shall wait at home.
[I have no notion to what the note refers. It
is quite likely, Mr. J.A. Rutter suggests, that
Hill the drysalter, a famous busy-body, and a friend
of Theodore Hook, stood for the portrait of Tom Pry
in Lamb’s “Lepus Papers” (see Vol.
I.). S.C. Hall, in his Book of Memories,
says of Hill that “his peculiar faculty was
to find out what everybody did, from a minister of
state to a stableboy.”]