The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 6 eBook

The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 6 by Mary Lamb

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section Page

Start of eBook1
LETTER 18211
APPENDIX16
INDEX16
LETTER 26416
LETTER 26517
LETTER 26618
LETTER 26718
LETTER 26818
LETTER 26919
LETTER 27019
LETTER 27119
LETTER 27220
LETTER 27320
LETTER 27421
LETTER 27522
LETTER 27623
LETTER 27724
LETTER 27825
LETTER 27926
LETTER 28027
LETTER 28127
LETTER 28228
LETTER 28328
LETTER 28430
LETTER 28532
LETTER 28633
LETTER 28734
LETTER 28834
LETTER 28935
LETTER 29036
LETTER 29138
LETTER 29240
LETTER 29341
LETTER 29442
LETTER 29542
LETTER 29644
LETTER 29744
LETTER 29844
LETTER 29945
LETTER 30046
LETTER 30147
DEDICATION47
LETTER 30248
LETTER 30350
LETTER 30451
LETTER 30553
LETTER 30653
LETTER 30754
LETTER 30854
LETTER 30956
LETTER 31057
LETTER 31158
LETTER 31259
LETTER 31361
LETTER 31463
LETTER 31565
LETTER 31666
LETTER 31767
CHARLES LAMB TO MISS HUTCHINSON (?)67
LETTER 31867
LETTER 31969
LETTER 32070
LETTER 32171
LETTER 32272
LETTER 32373
LETTER 32474
LETTER 32575
LETTER 32676
LETTER 32776
LETTER 32876
LETTER 32976
LETTER 33078
CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES LLOYD78
LETTER 33178
LETTER 33279
LETTER 33379
LETTER 33479
LETTER 33581
LETTER 33682
LETTER 33784
LETTER 33885
LETTER 33985
LETTER 34086
LETTER 34188
LETTER 34289
LETTER 34390
RELIGIO TREMULI OR TREMEBUNDI91
LETTER 34491
LETTER 34592
LETTER 34692
LETTER 34794
SONNET TO ELIA95
LETTER 34895
LETTER 34996
Wensday96
LETTER 35096
LETTER 35198
LETTER 352100
LETTER 353101
LETTER 354102
LETTER 355103
LETTER 356103
LETTER 357104
DEDICATION106
LETTER 358107
LETTER 359109
LETTER 360110
LETTER 361111
LETTER 362112
LETTER 363112
LETTER 364114
LETTER 365114
LETTER 366114
LETTER 367115
LETTER 368116
LETTER 369117
LETTER 370118
LETTER 371119
LETTER 372119
LETTER 373120
LETTER 374122
LETTER 375123
LETTER 376123
LETTER 377127
LETTER 378127
LETTER 379128
LETTER 380130
LETTER 381132
LETTER 382132
LETTER 383133
LETTER 384133
LETTER 385133
LETTER 386134
LETTER 387134
LETTER 388134
LETTER 389135
LETTER 390135
LETTER 391137
LETTER 392138
LETTER 393138
LETTER 394138
LETTER 395140
LETTER 396140
LETTER 397142
LETTER 398143
LETTER 399144
LETTER 400146
LETTER 401146
LETTER 402148
LETTER 403149
LETTER 404149
LETTER 405150
LETTER 406153
LETTER 407153
LETTER 408154
LETTER 409154
LETTER 410154
LETTER 411155
LETTER 412155
LETTER 413157
LETTER 414158
LETTER 415158
LETTER 416160
LETTER 417160
LETTER 418161
LETTER 419161
LETTER 420164
LETTER 421167
LETTER 422168
LETTER 423169
LETTER 424170
LETTER 425172
LETTER 426174
LETTER 427175
LETTER 428175
LETTER 429176
LETTER 430176
LETTER 431178
LETTER 432178
LETTER 433179
LETTER 434179
LETTER 435179
LETTER 436181
FABLE181
APPLICATION182
LETTER 437182
LETTER 438182
LETTER 439183
LETTER 440184
LETTER 441184
LETTER 442185
LETTER 443185
LETTER 444186
LETTER 445186
LETTER 446186
LETTER 447187
LETTER 448188
LETTER 449188
LETTER 450190
LETTER 451191
LETTER 452191
LETTER 453191
LETTER 454192
LETTER 455192
LETTER 456192
LETTER 457193
LETTER 458193
LETTER 459193
LETTER 460195
LETTER 461196
LETTER 462197
LETTER 463199
LETTER 464200
LETTER 465202
LETTER 466204
LETTER 467204
LETTER 468207
LETTER 469208
CHARLES LAMB-PHILO-TALFOURD209
LETTER 470209
LETTER 471209
LETTER 472212
LETTER 473214
LETTER 474214
LETTER 475215
CHARLES LAMB TO B.W.  PROCTER215
LETTER 476216
LETTER 477217
LETTER 478217
LETTER 479218
LETTER 480218
LETTER 481219
LETTER 482220
LETTER 483221
LETTER 484222
LETTER 485222
LETTER 486223
LETTER 487223
LETTER 488223
LETTER 489225
LETTER 490227
LETTER 491227
LETTER 492227
LETTER 493228
LETTER 494229
LETTER 495230
CHARLES LAMB TO JAMES GILLMAN230
LETTER 496231
LETTER 497233
LETTER 498234
LETTER 499238
LETTER 500239
LETTER 501239
LETTER 502240
LETTER 503240
LETTER 504241
LETTER 505242
LETTER 506243
LETTER 507244
LETTER 508245
LETTER 509247
TO CHARLES LAMB247
LETTER 510248
LETTER 511248
LETTER 512249
LETTER 513250
LETTER 514251
SUUM CUIQUE252
LETTER 515256
LETTER 516257
LETTER 517257
LETTER 518257
LETTER 519258
LETTER 520261
LETTER 521261
LETTER 522262
LETTER 523263
LETTER 524264
LETTER 525264
LETTER 526265
LETTER 527265
LETTER 528267
LETTER 529268
LETTER 530269
LETTER 531272
LETTER 532274
LETTER 533275
LETTER 534278
LETTER 535279
LETTER 536279
LETTER 537280
LETTER 538280
LETTER 539282
LETTER 540282
LETTER 541283
LETTER 542284
LETTER 543284
LETTER 544284
LETTER 545285
LETTER 546285
LETTER 547285
LETTER 548286
LETTER 549286
LETTER 550288
LETTER 551288
LETTER 552290
LETTER 553290
LETTER 554291
LETTER 555291
LETTER 556291
LETTER 557292
LETTER 558292
LETTER 559292
LETTER 560292
LETTER 561293
LETTER 562293
LETTER 563294
LETTER 564294
LETTER 565295
LETTER 566295
LETTER 567296
LETTER 568296
LETTER 569297
LETTER 570297
LETTER 571297
LETTER 572298
LETTER 573298
LETTER 574299
LETTER 575299
LETTER 576299
LETTER 577300
LETTER 578300
LETTER 579301
LETTER 580301
LETTER 581301
LETTER 582302
LETTER 583303
LETTER 584303
LETTER 585304
LETTER 586304
LETTER 587305
DEARS AGAIN305
LETTER 588306
LETTER 589306
LETTER 590307
LETTER 591308
LETTER 592310
LETTER 593310
LETTER 594312
LETTER 595312
LETTER 596313
LETTER 597313
LETTER 598313
LETTER 599314
LETTER 600315
LETTER 601315
LETTER 602316
LETTER 603317
CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES COWDEN CLARKE317
LETTER 604317
LETTER 605317
LETTER 606319
LETTER 607321
LETTER 608321
LETTER 609322
LETTER 610322
LETTER 611324
LETTER 612324
LETTER 613325
LETTER 614325
LETTER 615326
LETTER 616326
LAST LETTER327
APPENDIX327
FROM DEVOTIONAL VERSES, 1826 (See Letter 388, page 746)327
BARTON’S “THE TRANSLATION OF ENOCH”328
TALFOURD’S “VERSES IN MEMORY OF A CHILD NAMED AFTER CHARLES LAMB”328
JAMES MONTGOMERY’S “THE COMMON LOT”330
INDEX338

Page 1

LETTER 1821

264 Charles Lamb to Dorothy Wordsworth Jan. 8
           From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original.

265 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop No date
           From Harper’s Magazine.

266 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop No date
           From Harper’s Magazine.

267 Charles Lamb to Mrs. William Ayrton Jan. 23
           From the original.

268 Charles Lamb to Miss Humphreys Jan. 27
           From the original at Rowfant.

269 Charles Lamb to Mrs. William Ayrton.  March 15
           From the original.

270 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop March 30
           From Harper’s Magazine.

271 Charles Lamb to Leigh Hunt April 18
           From Leigh Hunt’s Correspondence.

272 Charles Lamb to S.T.  Coleridge May 1
           From the Life of Charles Mathews.

273 Charles Lamb to James Gillman May 2
           From the Life of Charles Mathews.

274 Charles Lamb to John Payne Collier May 16
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

275 Charles Lamb to B.W.  Procter ?Summer
           From facsimile in Mrs. Field’s A Shelf of
             Old Authors
.

276 Charles Lamb to John Taylor June 8
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

277 Charles Lamb to John Taylor July 21
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

278 Charles Lamb to C.A.  Elton Aug. 17
           From the original in the possession of
             Sir Edmund Elton.

279 Charles Lamb to Charles Cowden Clarke Summer
           From Recollections of Writers.

280 Mary Lamb to Mrs. William Ayrton No date
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. A.M.S.  Methuen.

281 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop Oct. 21
           From the American owner.

282 Charles Lamb to William Ayrton Oct. 27
           From the original.

1822.

283 Charles Lamb to S.T.  Coleridge March 9
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

284 Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth March 20
           From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original.

285 Charles Lamb to W. Harrison Ainsworth May 7
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

286 Charles Lamb to William Godwin May 16
           Mr. Kegan Paul’s text (William Godwin: 
             His Friends
, etc.).

Page 2

287 Charles Lamb to Mrs. John Lamb May 22
           From the original in the Bodleian.

288 Charles Lamb to Mary Lamb (fragment) Aug. 
           From Crabb Robinson’s Diary.

289 Charles Lamb to John Clare Aug. 31
           From the original (British Museum).

290 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Sept. 11
           From the original (British Museum).

291 Charles Lamb to Barren Field Sept. 22
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. B.B.  Macgeorge.

292 Charles Lamb to John Howard Payne Autumn
           From the Century Magazine.

293 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Oct. 9
           From the original (British Museum).

294 Charles Lamb to B.R.  Haydon Oct. 9
           From Haydon’s Correspondence and Table
             Talk
.

295 Charles Lamb to John Howard Payne Oct. 22
           From the Century Magazine.

296 Charles Lamb to B.R.  Haydon Oct. 29
           From Haydon’s Correspondence and Table
             Talk
.

297 Charles Lamb to Sir Walter Scott Oct. 29
           From Scott’s Familiar Letters.

298 Charles Lamb to Thomas Robinson Nov. 11
           From the original (Dr. Williams’ Library).

299 Charles Lamb to John Howard Payne Nov. 13
           From the Century Magazine.

300 Mary Lamb to Mrs. James Kenney ?Early Dec. 
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

301 Charles Lamb to John Taylor Dec. 7
           From Elia (Bell’s edition).

302 Charles Lamb to Walter Wilson Dec. 16
           From the original (Bodleian).

303 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Dec. 23
           From the original (British Museum).

1823.

304 Charles Lamb to John Howard Payne Jan. 
           From the Century Magazine.

305 Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth Jan. 
           From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original.

306 Charles Lamb to Mr. and Mrs. J.D.  Collier Jan. 6
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.B.  Adam.

307 Charles Lamb to Charles Aders Jan. 8
           From the original (Mr. J. Dunlop).

308 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Jan. 9
           From the original (British Museum).

309 Charles Lamb to John Howard Payne Jan. 23
           From the Century Magazine.

Page 3

310 Charles Lamb to John Howard Payne Feb. 9
           From the Century Magazine.

311 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Feb. 17
           From the original (British Museum).

312 Charles Lamb to Walter Wilson Feb. 24
           From Mr. Hazlitt’s text.

313 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton March 11
           From the original (British Museum).

314 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton April 5
           From the original (British Museum).

315 Charles Lamb to B.W.  Procter April 13
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn) with alterations.

316 Charles Lamb to Sarah Hutchinson April 25
           From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original.

317 Charles Lamb to Miss Hutchinson (?)
             (fragment) No date
           From Notes and Queries.

318 Charles Lamb to John Bates Dibdin No date
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.W.  Dibdin.

319 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton May 3
           From the original (British Museum).

320 Charles Lamb to John Bates Dibdin May 6
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.W.  Dibdin.

321 Mary Lamb to Mrs. Randal Norris June 18
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

322 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton July 10
           From the original (British Museum).

323 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop July
           From Harper’s Magazine.

324 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Sept. 2
           From the original (British Museum).

325 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop Sept. 6
           From Harper’s Magazine.

326 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop Sept. 9
           From Harper’s Magazine.

327 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop Sept. 10
           From Harper’s Magazine.

328 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop Sept. 
           From Harper’s Magazine.

329 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Sept. 17
           From the original (British Museum).

330 Charles Lamb to Charles Lloyd
             (fragment) Autumn
           From Letters and Poems of Bernard Barton.

331 Charles Lamb to H.F.  Cary Oct. 14
           From Memoir of H.F.  Cary.

332 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop ?Oct. 
           From Harper’s Magazine.

Page 4

333 Charles Lamb to John Bates Dibdin Oct. 28
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.W.  Dibdin.

334 Charles Lamb to Sarah Hazlitt Early Nov. 
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

335 Charles Lamb to Robert Southey Nov. 21
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

336 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Nov. 22
           From the original (British Museum).

337 Charles Lamb to W. Harrison Ainsworth Dec. 9
           From the original.

338 Charles Lamb to W. Harrison Ainsworth Dec. 29
           From the original.

1824.

339 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Jan. 9
           From the original (British Museum).

340 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Jan. 23
           From the original (British Museum).

341 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Feb. 25
           From the original (British Museum).

342 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton March 24
           From the original (British Museum).

343 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Early Spring
           From the original (British Museum).

344 Charles Lamb to Mrs. Thomas Allsop April 13
           From Harper’s Magazine.

345 Charles Lamb to William Hone April
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.A.  Potts.

346 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton May 15
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. B.B.  Macgeorge.

347 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton July 7
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

348 Charles Lamb to W. Marter.  July 19
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

349 Charles Lamb to John Bates Dibdin July 28
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.W.  Dibdin.

350 Charles Lamb to Thomas Hood (?_fragment_) Aug. 10
           From the original.

351 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Aug. 17
           From the original (British Museum).

352 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Sept. 30
           From the original (British Museum).

353 Charles Lamb to Mrs. John Dyer Collier Nov. 2
           From the original (South Kensington
             Museum).

354 Charles Lamb to B.W.  Procter Nov. 11
           From Barry Cornwall’s Charles Lamb
             with alterations.

355 Charles Lamb to Crabb Robinson Nov. 20
           From the original (Dr. Williams’ Library).

Page 5

356 Charles Lamb to Sarah Hutchinson Nov. 25
           From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original.

357 Charles Lamb to Leigh Hunt ?Nov. 
           From Leigh Hunt’s Correspondence with
             alterations.

358 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Dec. 1
         Charles Lamb to Lucy Barton
           From the original (British Museum).

1825.

359 Charles Lamb to John Bates Dibdin Jan. 11
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.W.  Dibdin.

360 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop Jan. 17
           From Harper’s Magazine.

361 Charles Lamb to Sarah Hutchinson Jan. 20
           From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original.

362 Charles Lamb to Vincent Novello Jan. 25
           From the original (British Museum).

363 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Feb. 10
           From the original (British Museum).

364 Charles Lamb to Thomas Manning ?Feb. 
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

365 Charles Lamb to Sarah Hutchinson.  March 1
           From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original.

366 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton March 23
           From the original (British Museum).

367 Charles Lamb to Crabb Robinson March 29
           From the original (Dr. Williams’ Library).

368 Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth April 6
           From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original.

369 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton April 6
           From the original (British Museum).

370 Charles Lamb to Sarah Hutchinson April 18
           From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original. 
             (Last paragraph from original scrap at
             Welbeck Abbey.)

371 Charles Lamb to William Hone May 2
           From the original at Rowfant.

372 Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth May
           From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original.

373 Charles Lamb to Charles Chambers ?May
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

374 Charles Lamb to S.T.  Coleridge ?June
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

375 Charles Lamb to Henry Colburn (?) June 14
           From the original (South Kensington).

376 Charles Lamb to S.T.  Coleridge July 2
           From the original (Morrison Collection).

377 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton July 2
           From the original (British Museum).

Page 6

378 Charles Lamb to John Aitken July 5

379 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Aug. 10
            From the original (British Museum).

380 Charles Lamb to Robert Southey Aug. 10
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

381 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop Sept. 9
           From Harper’s Magazine.

382 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop Sept. 24
           From Harper’s Magazine.

383 Charles Lamb to William Hone Oct. 24
           From the original at Rowfant.

384 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop Dec. 5
           From Harper’s Magazine.

385 Charles Lamb to Charles Oilier ?Dec. 
           From the original (South Kensington).

1826.

386 Charles Lamb to Charles Oilier Early in year
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

387 Charles Lamb to Charles Oilier Jan. 
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

388 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Feb. 7
           From the original (British Museum).

389 Charles Lamb to Charles Oilier March 16
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.A.  Potts.

390 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton March 20
           From the original (British Museum).

391 Charles Lamb to S.T.  Coleridge March 22
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

392 Charles Lamb to H.F.  Gary April 3
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text.

393 Charles Lamb to Vincent Novello May 9
           From the original (British Museum).

394 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton May 16
           From the original (British Museum).

395 Charles Lamb to S.T.  Coleridge June 1
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

396 Charles Lamb to John Bates Dibdin June 30
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.W.  Dibdin.

397 Charles Lamb to Thomas Hill No year
           From the original (British Museum).

398 Charles Lamb to John Bates Dibdin July 14
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.W.  Dibdin.

399 Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth Sept. 6
           From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original.

400 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon (fragment).  No date

401 Charles Lamb to John Bates Dibdin Sept. 9
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.W.  Dibdin.

Page 7

402 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Sept. 26
           From the original (British Museum).

403 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon ?Sept. 
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. Henry Poulton.

404 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton No date
           From the original (British Museum).

1827.

405 Charles Lamb to Crabb Robinson Jan. 20
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

406 Charles Lamb to Crabb Robinson Jan. 20
           From the original (Dr. Williams’ Library).

407 Charles Lamb to Crabb Robinson Jan. 29
           From the original (Dr. Williams’ Library).

408 Charles Lamb to Crabb Robinson Jan. 
           From the original (Dr. Williams’ Library).

409 Charles Lamb to B.R.  Haydon March
           From Taylor’s Life of Haydon.

410 Charles Lamb to William Hone April
           From the original at Rowfant.

411 Charles Lamb to Thomas Hood May
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

412 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton No date
           From the original (British Museum).

413 Charles Lamb to William Hone May
           From the original at Rowfant.

414 Charles Lamb to William Hone June
           From the original at Rowfant.

415 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton June 11
           From the original (British Museum).

416 Charles Lamb to Crabb Robinson June 26
           From the original (British Museum).

417 Charles Lamb to William Hone July
           From the original at Rowfant.

418 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon July 17
           From the original at Rowfant.

419 Charles Lamb to P.G.  Patmore July 19
           From Patmore’s My Friends and Acquaintances.

420 Charles Lamb to Mrs. Shelley July 26
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

421 Charles Lamb to Mrs. Basil Montagu Summer
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

422 Mary Lamb to Lady Stoddart Aug. 9

423 Charles Lamb to Sir John Stoddart
           From the original (Messrs. Maggs).

424 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Aug. 10
           From the original (British Museum).

425 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Aug. 28
           From the original (British Museum).

Page 8

426 Charles Lamb to P.G.  Patmore Sept. 
           From My Friends and Acquaintances.

427 Charles Lamb to John Bates Dibdin Sept. 5
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.W.  Dibdin.

428 Charles Lamb to John Bates Dibdin Sept. 13
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.W.  Dibdin.

429 Charles Lamb to John Bates Dibdin Sept. 18
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.W.  Dibdin.

430 Charles Lamb to Thomas Hood Sept. 18
           From the facsimile in Mrs. Balmanno’s
             Pen and Pencil.

431 Charles Lamb to Henry Colburn Sept. 25
           From the original (South Kensington).

432 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon ?Sept. 26
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. Henry Poulton.

433 Charles Lamb to Crabb Robinson Oct. 1
           From the original (Dr. Williams’ Library).

434 Charles Lamb to John Bates Dibdin Oct. 2
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. R.W.  Dibdin.

435 Charles Lamb to Barron Field Oct. 4
           From the Memoirs of Charles Matthews.

436 Charles Lamb to William Hone ?Oct. 
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

437 Charles Lamb to Thomas Hood No date
           From the National Review.

438 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton No date
           From the original (British Museum).

439 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Dec. 4
           From the original (British Museum).

440 Charles Lamb to Leigh Hunt Dec. 
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

441 Charles Lamb to William Hone Dec. 15

442 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop ?Dec. 
           From Harper’s Magazine.

443 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop Dec. 20
           From Harper’s Magazine.

444 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Dec. 22
           From the original at Rowfant.

445 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton End of year
           From the original (British Museum).

1828.

446 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop Jan. 9
           From Harper’s Magazine with alterations.

447 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon ?Jan. 
           From the original at Rowfant.

Page 9

448 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Feb. 18
           From the original at Rowfant.

449 Charles Lamb to Charles Cowden Clarke Feb. 25
           From Reminiscences of Writers.

450 Charles Lamb to Crabb Robinson Feb. 26
           From the original (Dr. Williams’ Library).

451 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon March 19
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

452 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton April 21
           From the original (British Museum).

453 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop May 1
           From Harper’s Magazine.

454 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon May 3
           From the original.

455 Charles Lamb to Walter Wilson May 17
           From the original (British Museum).

456 Charles Lamb to T.N.  Talfourd May 20
           From the original (Dr. Williams’ Library).

457 Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth May
           From the original (Dr. Williams’ Library).

458 Charles Lamb to Mrs. Morgan June 17

459 Mary Lamb to the Thomas Hoods ?Summer
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

460 Charles Lamb to B.R.  Haydon Aug. 
           From Taylor’s Life of Haydon.

461 Charles Lamb to John Rickman
           (translation) Oct. 3

462 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Oct. 11
           From the original (British Museum).

463 Charles Lamb to Charles Cowden Clarke Oct. 
           From Recollections of Writers.

464 Charles Lamb to Vincent Novello Nov. 6
           From Recollections of Writers.

465 Charles Lamb to Thomas Hood Late autumn
           From Hood’s Own.

466 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Dec. 
           Text from Mr. Samuel Davey.

467 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Dec. 5
           From the original (British Museum).

468 Charles Lamb to Charles Cowden Clarke Dec. 
           From Recollections of Writers.

469 Charles Lamb to T.N.  Talfourd End of year
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

1829.

470 Charles Lamb to George Dyer ?Jan. 
           From the original (British Museum).

471 Charles Lamb to B.W.  Procter Jan.19
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

472 Charles Lamb to B.W.  Procter Jan. 22
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn) with alterations.

Page 10

473 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop Jan. 28
           From Harper’s Magazine.

474 Charles Lamb to B.W.  Procter Jan. 29
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn) with alterations.

475 Charles Lamb to B.W.  Procter Early in year
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn) with alterations.

476 Charles Lamb to B.W.  Procter Feb. 2
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

477 Charles Lamb to Charles Cowden Clarke Feb. 2
           From Recollections of Writers.

478 Charles Lamb to Crabb Robinson Feb. 27
           From the original (Dr. Williams’ Library).

479 Charles Lamb to Samuel Rogers March 22
           From Rogers and His Contemporaries.

480 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton March 25
           From the original (British Museum).

481 Charles Lamb to Miss Sarah James ?April
           Text from Mr. Samuel Davey.

482 Charles Lamb to Crabb Robinson ?April
           From the original (Dr. Williams’ Library).

483 Charles Lamb to Crabb Robinson April 17
           From the original (Dr. Williams’ Library).

484 Charles Lamb to George Dyer April 29
           From The Mirror, 1841.

485 Charles Lamb to Thomas Hood ?May
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

486 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon No date
           From The Autographic Mirror.

487 Charles Lamb to Walter Wilson May 28
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

488 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton June 3
           From the original (British Museum).

489 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton July 25
           From the original (British Museum).

490 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop Late July
           From Harper’s Magazine.

491 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Sept. 22
           From the original at Rowfant.

492 Charles Lamb to James Gillman Oct. 26
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

493 Charles Lamb to Vincent Novello Nov. 10
           From the original (British Museum).

494 Charles Lamb to Walter Wilson Nov. 15
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

495 Charles Lamb to James Gillman ?Nov. 29
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

496 Charles Lamb to James Gillman Nov. 30
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

Page 11

497 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Dec. 8
           From the original (British Museum).

498 Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth
499 Mary Lamb to Dorothy Wordsworth Jan. 22
From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original.

500 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Feb. 25
           From the original (British Museum).

501 Charles Lamb to Mrs. Williams Feb. 26
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

502 Charles Lamb to Mrs. Williams March 1
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

503 Charles Lamb to Sarah Hazlitt March 4
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

504 Charles Lamb to Mrs. Williams March 5
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

505 Charles Lamb to James Gillman March 8
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

506 Charles Lamb to William Ayrton March 14
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

507 Charles Lamb to Mrs. Williams March 22
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

508 Charles Lamb to Mrs. Williams April 2
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. Yates Thompson.

509 Charles Lamb to Mrs. Williams April 9
           From the original.

510 Charles Lamb to James Gillman ?Spring
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

511 Charles Lamb to Jacob Vale Asbury ?April
           From The Athenaewn.

512 Charles Lamb to Jacob Vale Asbury No date
           By permission of Mr. Edward Hartley.

513 Charles Lamb to Mrs. Williams April 21
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

514 Charles Lamb to Robert Southey May 10
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

515 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon May 12
           From the original at Rowfant.

516 Charles Lamb to Vincent Novello May 14
           From the original (British Museum).

517 Charles Lamb to Vincent Novello May 20
           From the original (British Museum).

518 Charles Lamb to William Hone May 21
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

519 Charles Lamb to Sarah Hazlitt May 24
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

520 Charles Lamb to Sarah Hazlitt June 3
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

521 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton June 28
           From the original (British Museum).

Page 12

522 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton Aug. 30
           From the original (British Museum).

523 Charles Lamb to Samuel Rogers Oct. 5
           From Rogers and His Contemporaries.

524 Charles Lamb to Vincent Novello Nov. 8
           From Recollections of Writers.

525 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Nov. 12
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

9526 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon ?Dec. 
           From the original at Rowfant.

527 Charles Lamb to George Dyer Dec. 20
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn) with alterations.

528 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon ?Christmas
           From the original (South Kensington).

1831.

529 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Feb. 3
           From the original at Rowfant.

530 Charles Lamb to George Dyer Feb. 22
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

531 Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton April 30
           From the original (British Museum).

532 Charles Lamb to H.F.  Cary May 6
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

533 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon July 14
           From the original at Rowfant.

534 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Early Aug. 
           From the original at Rowfant.

535 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Aug. 5
           From the original at Rowfant.

536 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Sept. 5
           From the original at Rowfant.

537 Charles Lamb to William Hazlitt, junior Sept. 13
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Lamb and Hazlitt).

538 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Oct. 24
           From the original at Rowfant.

539 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Dec. 15
           From the original at Rowfant.

1832.

540 Charles Lamb to Joseph Hume’s daughters No date
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

541 Charles Lamb to C.W.  Dilke March 5
           From Sir Charles Dilke’s original.

542 Charles Lamb to S.T.  Coleridge April 14
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

543 Charles Lamb to James Sheridan Knowles ?April
           From the original (South Kensington).

544 Charles Lamb to John Forster ?Late April
           From the original (South Kensington).

545 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon?  June 1
           From the original (South Kensington).

Page 13

546 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop July 2
           From Harper’s Magazine.

547 Charles Lamb to Walter Wilson Aug. 
           From the original in the Bodleian.

548 Charles Lamb to Crabb Robinson ?Early Oct. 
           From the original (South Kensington).

549 Charles Lamb to Walter Savage Landor Oct. 
           From the original (South Kensington).

550 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Late in year
           From the original at Rowfant.

551 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Winter
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bonn).

552 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Dec. 
           From the original (South Kensington).

553 Charles Lamb to John Forster.  Dec. 23
           From the original (South Kensington).

1833.

554 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Jan. 
           From Sir Charles Dilke’s original.

555 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Jan. 3
           From the original at Rowfant.

556 Charles Lamb to John Forster No date
           From the original (South Kensington).

557 Charles Lamb to John Forster No date
           From the original (South Kensington).

558 Charles Lamb to John Forster No date
           From the original (South Kensington).

559 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Jan. 24
           From the original at Rowfant.

560 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Feb. 11
           From the original (South Kensington).

561 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Feb. 
           From the original (South Kensington).

562 Charles Lamb to T.N.  Talfourd Feb. 
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

563 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon No date
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. Henry Poulton.

564 Charles Lamb to C.W.  Dilke Feb. 
           From Sir Charles Dilke’s original.

565 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Early in year
           From the original at Rowfant.

566 Charles Lamb to B.W.  Procter.  No date
           From Procter’s Autobiographical Fragment.

567 Charles Lamb to William Hone March 6
           From the original (National Portrait Gallery).

568 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon March 19
           From the original (South Kensington).

569 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon ?Spring
           From the original (South Kensington).

Page 14

570 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon March 30
           From the original at Rowfant.

571 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Spring
           From the original at Rowfant.

572 Charles Lamb to John Forster ?March
           From the original (South Kensington).

573 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon ?April 10
           From the original at Rowfant.

574 Charles Lamb to C.W.  Dilke April
           From Sir Charles Dilke’s original.

575 Charles Lamb to Mrs. William Ayrton April 16
           From the original, lately in the possession
             of Mr. Edward Ayrton.

576 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon April 25
           From the original at Rowfant.

577 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon April 27
           From the original at Rowfant.

578 Charles Lamb to the Rev. James Gillman May 7

579 Charles Lamb to John Forster May
           From the original (South Kensington).

580 Charles Lamb to John Forster May 12
           From the original (South Kensington).

581 Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth End of May
           From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original.

582 Charles Lamb to Sarah Hazlitt May 31
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn) with alterations.

583 Charles Lamb to Mary Betham June 5
           From A House of Letters.

584 Charles Lamb to Matilda Betham June 5
           From Fraser’s Magazine.

585 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon July 14
          From the original at Rowfant.

586 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon July 24
           From the original at Rowfant.

587 Charles and Mary Lamb to Edward
             and Emma Moxon ?July 31
           From the original at Rowfant.

588 Charles Lamb to H.F.  Cary Sept. 9
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

589 Charles and Mary Lamb to Edward Moxon Sept. 26
           From the original at Rowfant.

590 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Oct. 17
           From the original at Rowfant.

591 Charles Lamb to Edward and Emma Moxon Nov. 29
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

592 Charles Lamb to C.W.  Dilke Mid.  Dec. 
           From Sir Charles Dilke’s original.

593 Charles Lamb to Samuel Rogers Dec. 21
          From Rogers and His Contemporaries.

Page 15

594 Charles Lamb to C.W.  Dilke No date
          From Sir Charles Dilke’s original.

595 Charles Lamb to C.W.  Dilke No date
          From Sir Charles Dilke’s original.

1834.

596 Charles Lamb to the printer of
             The Athenaeum No date
           From Sir Charles Dilke’s original.

597 Charles Lamb to Mary Betham Jan. 24
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. B.B.  Macgeorge.

598 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon Jan. 28
           From the original (South Kensington).

599 Charles Lamb to Miss Fryer Feb. 14
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

600 Charles Lamb to Miss Fryer No date
           From the original in the possession of
             Mr. A.M.S.  Methuen.

601 Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth Feb. 22
           From Mr. Gordon Wordsworth’s original.

602 Charles Lamb to T.N.  Talfourd No date

603 Charles Lamb to Charles Cowden Clarke
             (fragment) End of June
           From the Life and Labours of Vincent Novello.

604 Charles Lamb to John Forster June 25
           From the original (South Kensington).

605 Charles Lamb to J. Fuller Russell Summer
           From Notes and Queries.

606 Charles Lamb to J. Fuller Russell Summer
           From Notes and Queries.

607 Charles Lamb to C.W.  Dilke End of July
           From Sir Charles Dilke’s original.

608 Charles Lamb to the Rev. James Gillman Aug. 5
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

609 Charles and Mary Lamb to H.F.  Cary Sept. 12
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

610 Charles Lamb to H.F.  Cary Oct. 
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

611 Charles Lamb to H.F.  Cary Oct. 18
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

612 Charles Lamb to Mr. Childs ?Dec. 
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

613 Charles Lamb to Mr. Childs No date

614 Charles Lamb to Mrs. George Dyer Dec. 22
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (Bohn).

615 Mary Lamb to Jane Norris Dec. 25
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

616 Mary Lamb to Jane Norris Oct. 3 1842. 
           Mr. Hazlitt’s text (The Lambs).

Page 16

Last letter.  Miss James to Jane Norris July 25 1843.

APPENDIX

Barton’s “Spiritual Law”
Barton’s “Translation of Enoch”
Talfourd’s “Verses in Memory of a Child named after Charles Lamb”
FitzGerald’s “Meadows in Spring”
Montgomery’s “The Common Lot”
Barry Cornwall’s “Epistle to Charles Lamb”

    ALPHABETICAL LIST OF LETTERS

INDEX

FRONTISPIECE

CHARLES LAMB (aged 51). 
From the painting by Henry Meyer at the India Office.

THE LETTERS OF CHARLES AND MARY LAMB

1821-1834

LETTER 264

CHARLES LAMB TO DOROTHY WORDSWORTH

[P.M.  January 8, 1821.]

Mary perfectly approves of the appropriat’n of the feathers, and wishes them Peacocks for your fair niece’s sake!

Dear Miss Wordsworth, I had just written the above endearing words when Monkhouse tapped me on the shoulder with an invitation to cold goose pye, which I was not Bird of that sort enough to decline.  Mrs. M. I am most happy to say is better.  Mary has been tormented with a Rheumatism, which is leaving her.  I am suffering from the festivities of the season.  I wonder how my misused carcase holds it out.  I have play’d the experimental philosopher on it, that’s certain.  Willy shall be welcome to a mince pye, and a bout at Commerce, whenever he comes.  He was in our eye.  I am glad you liked my new year’s speculations.  Everybody likes them, except the Author of the Pleasures of Hope.  Disappointment attend him!  How I like to be liked, and what I do to be liked!  They flatter me in magazines, newspapers, and all the minor reviews.  The Quarterlies hold aloof.  But they must come into it in time, or their leaves be waste paper.  Salute Trinity Library in my name.  Two special things are worth seeing at Cambridge, a portrait of Cromwell at Sidney, and a better of Dr. Harvey (who found out that blood was red) at Dr. Davy’s.  You should see them.

Coleridge is pretty well, I have not seen him, but hear often of him from Alsop, who sends me hares and pheasants twice a week.  I can hardly take so fast as he gives.  I have almost forgotten Butcher’s meat, as Plebeian.  Are you not glad the Cold is gone?  I find winters not so agreeable as they used to be, when “winter bleak had charms for me.”  I cannot conjure up a kind similitude for those snowy flakes—­Let them keep to Twelfth Cakes.

Mrs. Paris, our Cambridge friend, has been in Town.  You do not know the Watfords? in Trumpington Street—­they are capital people.

Ask any body you meet, who is the biggest woman in Cambridge—­and I’ll hold you a wager they’ll say Mrs. Smith.

Page 17

She broke down two benches in Trinity Gardens, one on the confines of St. John’s, which occasioned a litigation between the societies as to repairing it.  In warm weather she retires into an ice-cellar (literally!) and dates the returns of the years from a hot Thursday some 20 years back.  She sits in a room with opposite doors and windows, to let in a thorough draught, which gives her slenderer friends tooth-aches.  She is to be seen in the market every morning at 10, cheapening fowls, which I observe the Cambridge Poulterers are not sufficiently careful to stump.

Having now answered most of the points containd in your Letter, let me end with assuring you of our very best kindness, and excuse Mary from not handling the Pen on this occasion, especially as it has fallen into so much better hands!  Will Dr. W. accept of my respects at the end of a foolish Letter.

C.L.

[Miss Wordsworth was visiting her brother, Christopher Wordsworth, the Master of Trinity.

Willy was William Wordsworth, junr.

Lamb’s New Year speculations were contained in his Elia essay “New Year’s Eve,” in the London Magazine for January, 1821.  There is no evidence that Campbell disapproved of the essay.  Canon Ainger suggests that Lamb may have thus alluded playfully to the pessimism of his remarks, so opposed to the pleasures of hope.  When the Quarterly did “come in,” in 1823, it was with cold words, as we shall see.

“Trinity Library.”  It is here that are preserved those MSS. of Milton, which Lamb in his essay “Oxford in the Vacation,” in the London Magazine for October, 1820, says he regrets to have seen.

“Cromwell at Sidney.”  See Mary Lamb’s letter to Miss Hutchinson, August 20, 1815.

“Harvey ... at Dr. Davy’s”—­Dr. Martin Davy, Master of Caius.

“Alsop.”  This is the first mention of Thomas Allsop (1795-1880), Coleridge’s friend and disciple, who, meeting Coleridge in 1818, had just come into Lamb’s circle.  We shall meet him frequently.  Allsop’s Letters, Conversations and Recollections of Samuel Taylor Coleridge contain much matter concerning Lamb.

“Winter bleak had charms for me.”  I could not find this for the large edition.  It is from Burns’ “Epistle to William Simpson,” stanza 13.

Mrs. Paris was a sister of William Ayrton and the mother of John Ayrton Paris, the physician.  It was at her house at Cambridge that the Lambs met Emma Isola, whom we are soon to meet.

“Mrs. Smith.”  Lamb worked up this portion of his letter into the little humorous sketch “The Gentle Giantess,” printed in the London Magazine for December, 1822 (see Vol.  I. of the present edition), wherein Mrs. Smith of Cambridge becomes the Widow Blacket of Oxford.

“Dr. W.”—­Dr. Christopher Wordsworth.]

LETTER 265

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

Page 18

[No date. 1821.]

Dear Sir—­The hairs of our head are numbered, but those which emanate from your heart defy arithmetic.  I would send longer thanks but your young man is blowing his fingers in the Passage.

Yours gratefully C.L.

[The date of this scrap is unimportant; but it comes well here in connection with the reference in the preceding letter.

In Harper’s Magazine for December, 1859, were printed fifty of Lamb’s notes to Allsop, all of which are reproduced in at least two editions of Lamb’s letters.  I have selected only those which say anything, as for the most part Lamb was content with the merest message; moreover, the date is often so uncertain as to be only misleading.

Crabb Robinson says of Allsop, “I believe his acquaintance with Lamb originated in his sending Coleridge a present of L100 in admiration of his genius.”]

LETTER 266

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[No date. 1821.]

D’r Sir—­Thanks for the Birds and your kindness.  It was but yesterd’y.  I was contriving with Talf’d to meet you 1/2 way at his chamber.  But night don’t do so well at present.  I shall want to be home at Dalston by Eight.

I will pay an afternoon visit to you when you please.  I dine at a chop-house at ONE always, but I can spend an hour with you after that.

Yours truly

C.L.

Would Saturdy serve?

LETTER 267

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. WILLIAM AYRTON

[Dated at end:  Jan. 23, 1821.]

Dear Mrs. Ayrton, my sister desires me, as being a more expert penman than herself, to say that she saw Mrs. Paris yesterday, and that she is very much out of spirits, and has expressed a great wish to see your son William, and Fanny—­

I like to write that word Fanny.  I do not know but it was one reason of taking upon me this pleasing task—­

Moreover that if the said William and Frances will go and sit an hour with her at any time, she will engage that no one else shall see them but herself, and the servant who opens the door, she being confined to her private room.  I trust you and the Juveniles will comply with this reasonable request.

& am
Dear Mrs. Ayrton
your’s and yours’
Truly
C. LAMB. 
Cov.  Gar.
23 Jan. 1821.

[Mrs. Ayrton (nee Arnold) was the wife of William Ayrton, the musical critic.]

LETTER 268

CHARLES LAMB TO MISS HUMPHREYS

London 27 Jan’y. 1821.

Page 19

Dear Madam, Carriages to Cambridge are in such request, owing to the Installation, that we have found it impossible to procure a conveyance for Emma before Wednesday, on which day between the hours of 3 and 4 in the afternoon you will see your little friend, with her bloom somewhat impaired by late hours and dissipation, but her gait, gesture, and general manners (I flatter myself) considerably improved by—­somebody that shall be nameless.  My sister joins me in love to all true Trumpingtonians, not specifying any, to avoid envy; and begs me to assure you that Emma has been a very good girl, which, with certain limitations, I must myself subscribe to.  I wish I could cure her of making dog’s ears in books, and pinching them on poor Pompey, who, for one, I dare say, will heartily rejoyce at her departure.

Dear Madam,

Yours truly

foolish C.L.

[Addressed to “Miss Humphreys, with Mrs. Paris, Trumpington Street, Cambridge.”  Franked by J. Rickman.

This letter contains the first reference in the correspondence to Emma Isola, daughter of Charles Isola, Esquire Bedell of Cambridge University, and granddaughter of Agostino Isola, the Italian critic and teacher, of Cambridge, among whose pupils had been Wordsworth.  Miss Humphreys was Emma Isola’s aunt.  Emma seems to have been brought to London by Mrs. Paris and left with the Lambs.

Pompey seems to have been the Lamb’s first dog.  Later, as we shall see, they adopted Dash.]

LETTER 269

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. WILLIAM AYRTON

[Dated at end:  March 15, 1821.]

Dear Madam, We are out of town of necessity till Wednesday next, when we hope to see one of you at least to a rubber.  On some future Saturday we shall most gladly accept your kind offer.  When I read your delicate little note, I am ashamed of my great staring letters.

Yours most truly

CHARLES LAMB.

Dalston near Hackney

15 Mar. 1821.

[In my large edition I give a facsimile of this letter.]

LETTER 270

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

30 March, 1821.

My dear Sir—­If you can come next Sunday we shall be equally glad to see you, but do not trust to any of Martin’s appointments, except on business, in future.  He is notoriously faithless in that point, and we did wrong not to have warned you.  Leg of Lamb, as before; hot at 4.  And the heart of Lamb ever.

Yours truly, C.L.

LETTER 271

CHARLES LAMB TO LEIGH HUNT

Indifferent Wednesday [April 18], 1821.

Dear Hunt,—­There was a sort of side talk at Mr. Novello’s about our spending Good Friday at Hampstead, but my sister has got so bad a cold, and we both want rest so much, that you shall excuse our putting off the visit some little time longer.  Perhaps, after all, you know nothing of it.—­

Page 20

Believe me, yours truly, C. LAMB.

LETTER 272

CHARLES LAMB TO S.T.  COLERIDGE

May 1st [1821],

Mr. Gilman’s, Highgate.

Mr. C.—­I will not fail you on Friday by six, and Mary, perhaps, earlier.  I very much wish to meet “Master Mathew,” and am much obliged to the G——­s for the opportunity.  Our kind respects to them always.—­ELIA.

Extract from a MS. note of S.T.C. in my Beaumont and Fletcher, dated
April 17th 1807.

Midnight.

“God bless you, dear Charles Lamb, I am dying; I feel I have not many weeks left.”

[Master Mathew is in Ben Jonson’s “Every Man in His Humour.”

Lamb’s “Beaumont and Fletcher” is in the British Museum.  The note quoted by Lamb is not there, or perhaps it is one that has been crossed out.  This still remains:  “N.B.  I shall not be long here, Charles!  I gone, you will not mind my having spoiled a book in order to leave a Relic.  S.T.C., Oct. 1811.”]

LETTER 273

CHARLES LAMB TO JAMES GILLMAN

[Dated at end:  2 May, 1821.]

Dear Sir—­You dine so late on Friday, it will be impossible for us to go home by the eight o’clock stage.  Will you oblige us by securing us beds at some house from which a stage goes to the Bank in the morning?  I would write to Coleridge, but cannot think of troubling a dying man with such a request.

Yours truly, C. LAMB.

If the beds in the town are all engaged, in consequence of Mr. Mathews’s appearance, a hackney-coach will serve.  Wednes’y. 2 May ’21.

We shall neither of us come much before the time.

[Mrs. Mathews (who was half-sister of Fanny Kelly) described this evening in her Memoirs of her husband, 1839.  Her account of Lamb is interesting:—­

Mr. Lamb’s first approach was not prepossessing.  His figure was small and mean; and no man certainly was ever less beholden to his tailor.  His “bran” new suit of black cloth (in which he affected several times during the day to take great pride, and to cherish as a novelty that he had long looked for and wanted) was drolly contrasted with his very rusty silk stockings, shown from his knees, and his much too large thick shoes, without polish.  His shirt rejoiced in a wide ill-plaited frill, and his very small, tight, white neckcloth was hemmed to a fine point at the ends that formed part of the little bow.  His hair was black and sleek, but not formal, and his face the gravest I ever saw, but indicating great intellect, and resembling very much the portraits of King Charles I. Mr. Coleridge was very anxious about his pet Lamb’s first impression upon my husband, which I believe his friend saw; and guessing that he had been extolled, he mischievously resolved to thwart his panegyrist, disappoint the strangers, and altogether to upset the suspected plan of showing him off.

The Mathews’ were then living at Ivy Cottage, only a short distance from the Grove, Highgate, where the famous Mathews collection of pictures was to be seen of which Lamb subsequently wrote in the London Magazine.

Page 21

Here should come a note to Ayrton saying that Madame Noblet is the least graceful dancer that Lamb ever “did not see.”]

LETTER 274

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN PAYNE COLLIER

May 16, 1821.

Dear J.P.C.,—­Many thanks for the “Decameron:”  I have not such a gentleman’s book in my collection:  it was a great treat to me, and I got it just as I was wanting something of the sort.  I take less pleasure in books than heretofore, but I like books about books.  In the second volume, in particular, are treasures—­your discoveries about “Twelfth Night,” etc.  What a Shakespearian essence that speech of Osrades for food!—­Shakespeare is coarse to it—­beginning “Forbear and eat no more.”  Osrades warms up to that, but does not set out ruffian-swaggerer.  The character of the Ass with those three lines, worthy to be set in gilt vellum, and worn in frontlets by the noble beasts for ever—­

        “Thou would, perhaps, he should become thy foe,
        And to that end dost beat him many times: 
        He cares not for himself, much less thy blow.”

Cervantes, Sterne, and Coleridge, have said positively nothing for asses compared with this.

I write in haste; but p. 24, vol. i., the line you cannot appropriate is Gray’s sonnet, specimenifyed by Wordsworth in first preface to L.B., as mixed of bad and good style:  p. 143, 2nd vol., you will find last poem but one of the collection on Sidney’s death in Spenser, the line,

        “Scipio, Caesar, Petrarch of our time.”

This fixes it to be Raleigh’s:  I had guess’d it to be Daniel’s.  The last after it, “Silence augmenteth rage,” I will be crucified if it be not Lord Brooke’s.  Hang you, and all meddling researchers, hereafter, that by raking into learned dust may find me out wrong in my conjecture!

Dear J.P.C., I shall take the first opportunity of personally thanking you for my entertainment.  We are at Dalston for the most part, but I fully hope for an evening soon with you in Russell or Bouverie Street, to talk over old times and books.  Remember us kindly to Mrs. J.P.C.  Yours very kindly, CHARLES LAMB.  I write in misery.

N.B.—­The best pen I could borrow at our butcher’s:  the ink, I verily believe, came out of the kennel.

[Collier’s Poetical Decameron, in two volumes, was published in 1820:  a series of imaginary conversations on curious and little-known books.  His “Twelfth Night” discoveries will be found in the Eighth Conversation; Collier deduces the play from Barnaby Rich’s Farewell to Military Profession, 1606.  He also describes Thomas Lodge’s “Rosalynde,” the forerunner of “As You Like It,” in which is the character Rosader, whom Lamb calls Osrades.  His speech for food runs thus:—­

Page 22

It hapned that day that Gerismond, the lawfull king of France banished by Torismond, who with a lustie crew of outlawes liued in that Forrest, that day in honour of his birth, made a feast to all his bolde yeomen, and frolickt it with store of wine and venison, sitting all at a long table vnder the shadow of Limon trees:  to that place by chance fortune conducted Rosader, who seeing such a crew of braue men, hauing store of that for want of which hee and Adam perished, hee slept boldly to the boords end, and saluted the Company thus.—­Whatsoeuer thou be that art maister of these lustie squires, I salute thee as graciously as a man in extreame distresse may:  knowe that I and a fellow friend of mine, are here famished in the forrest for want of foode:  perish we must, vnlesse relieued by thy fauours.  Therefore if thou be a Gentleman, giue meate to men, and such as are euery way worthie of life:  let the proudest Squire that sits at thy table rise and encounter with me in any honourable point of activitie whatsoeuer, and if he and thou proue me not a man, send mee away comfortlesse:  if thou refuse this, as a niggard of thy cates, I will haue amongst you with my sword, for rather wil I die valiantly, then perish with so cowardly an extreame (Collier’s Poetical Decameron, 174, Eighth Conversation).

Lamb compares with that the passage in “As You Like It,” II., 7, 88, beginning with Orlando’s “Forbear, and eat no more.”  The character of the ass is quoted by Collier from an old book, The Noblenesse of the Asse, 1595, in the Third Conversation:—­

        Thou wouldst (perhaps) he should become thy foe,
        And to that end doost beat him many times;
        He cares not for himselfe, much lesse thy blowe.

Lamb wrote more fully of this passage in an article on the ass contributed to Hone’s Every-Day Book in 1825 (see Vol.  I. of the present edition).

The line from Gray’s sonnet on the death of Mr. Richard West was this:—­

        And weep the more because I weep in vain.

“Scipio, Caesar,” etc.  This line runs, in the epitaph on Sidney, beginning “To praise thy life”—­

Scipio, Cicero, and Petrarch of our time!

It is generally supposed to be by Raleigh.  The next poem, “Silence Augmenteth Grief,” is attributed by Malone to Sir Edward Dyer, and by Hannah to Raleigh.]

LETTER 275

CHARLES LAMB TO B.W.  PROCTER

[No date. ?Summer, 1821.]

Dear Sir, The Wits (as Clare calls us) assemble at my Cell (20 Russell St. Cov.-Gar.) this evening at 1/4 before 7.  Cold meat at 9.  Puns at—­a little after.  Mr. Cary wants to see you, to scold you.  I hope you will not fail.  Yours &c. &c. &c.

C. LAMB.

Thursday.

I am sorry the London Magazine is going to be given up.

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[I assume the date of this note to be summer, 1821, because it was then that Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, the London Magazine’s first publishers, gave it up.  The reason was the death of John Scott, the editor, and probably to a large extent the originator, of the magazine.  It was sold to Taylor & Hessey, their first number being dated July, 1821.

Scott had become involved in a quarrel with Blackwood, which reached such a pitch that a duel was fought, between Scott and Christie, a friend of Lockhart’s.  The whole story, which is involved, and indeed not wholly clear, need not be told here:  it will be found in Mr. Lang’s memoir of Lockhart.  The meeting was held at Chalk Farm on February 16, 1821.  Peter George Patmore, sub-editor of the London, was Scott’s second.  Scott fell, wounded by a shot which Christie fired purely in self-defence.  He died on February 27.

Mr. Cary.  Henry Francis Cary the translator of Dante and a contributor to the London Magazine.

The London Magazine had four periods.  From 1820 to the middle of 1821, when it was Baldwin, Cradock & Joy’s.  From 1821 to the end of 1824, when it was Taylor & Hessey’s at a shilling.  From January, 1825, to August of that year, when it was Taylor & Hessey’s at half-a-crown; and from September, l825, to the end, when it was Henry Southern’s, and was published by Hunt & Clarke.]

LETTER 276

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN TAYLOR

Margate, June 8, 1821.

Dear Sir,—­I am extremely sorry to be obliged to decline the article proposed, as I should have been flattered with a Plate accompanying it.  In the first place, Midsummer day is not a topic I could make anything of—­I am so pure a Cockney, and little read, besides, in May games and antiquities; and, in the second, I am here at Margate, spoiling my holydays with a Review I have undertaken for a friend, which I shall barely get through before my return; for that sort of work is a hard task to me.  If you will excuse the shortness of my first contribution-and I know I can promise nothing more for July—­I will endeavour a longer article for our next.  Will you permit me to say that I think Leigh Hunt would do the article you propose in a masterly manner, if he has not outwrit himself already upon the subject.  I do not return the proof—­to save postage—­because it is correct, with ONE EXCEPTION.  In the stanza from Wordsworth, you have changed DAY into AIR for rhyme-sake:  DAY is the right reading, and I IMPLORE you to restore it.

The other passage, which you have queried, is to my ear correct.  Pray let it stand.

D’r S’r, yours truly, C. LAMB.

On second consideration, I do enclose the proof.

[John Taylor (1781-1864), the publisher, with Hessey, of the London Magazine was, in 1813, the first publicly to identify Sir Philip Francis with Junius.  Taylor acted as editor of the London Magazine from 1821 to 1824, assisted by Thomas Hood.  Later his interests were centred in currency questions.

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“I am here at Margate.”  I do not know what review Lamb was writing.  If written and published it has not been reprinted.  It was on this visit to Margate that Lamb met Charles Cowden Clarke.

“My first contribution.”  The first number to bear Taylor & Hessey’s name was dated July, but they had presumably acquired the rights in the magazine before then.  Lamb’s first contribution to the London Magazine had been in August, 1820, “The South-Sea House.”

The proof which Lamb returned was that of the Elia, essay on “Mackery End in Hertfordshire,” printed in the July number of the London Magazine, in which he quoted a stanza from Wordsworth’s “Yarrow Visited":—­

But thou, that didst appear so fair
To fond imagination,
Dost rival in the light of day
Her delicate creation.

Here should come a scrap from Lamb to Ayrton, dated July 17, 1821, referring to the Coronation.  Lamb says that in consequence of this event he is postponing his Wednesday evening to Friday.]

LETTER 277

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN TAYLOR

July 21, 1821.

D’r Sir,—­The Lond.  Mag. is chiefly pleasant to me, because some of my friends write in it.  I hope Hazlitt intends to go on with it, we cannot spare Table Talk.  For myself I feel almost exhausted, but I will try my hand a little longer, and shall not at all events be written out of it by newspaper paragraphs.  Your proofs do not seem to want my helping hand, they are quite correct always.  For God’s sake change Sisera to Jael.  This last paper will be a choke-pear I fear to some people, but as you do not object to it, I can be under little apprehension of your exerting your Censorship too rigidly.

Thanking you for your extract from M’r.  E.’s letter,

I remain, D’r Sir,

Your obliged,

C. LAMB.

[Hazlitt continued his Table Talk in the London Magazine until December, 1821.

Lamb seems to have been treated foolishly by some newspaper critic; but
I have not traced the paragraphs in question.

The proof was that of the Elia essay “Imperfect Sympathies,” which was printed (with a fuller title) in the number for August, 1821.  The reference to Jael is in the passage on Braham and the Jewish character.

I do not identify Mr. E. Possibly Elton.  See next letter.

Here should come a further letter to Taylor, dated July 30, 1821, in which Lamb refers to some verses addressed to him by “Olen” (Charles Abraham Elton:  see note to next letter) in the London Magazine for August, remonstrating with him for the pessimism of the Elia essay “New Year’s Eve” (see Vol.  II. of this edition).

Lamb also remarks that he borrowed the name Elia (pronounced Ellia) from an old South-Sea House clerk who is now dead.

Page 25

Elia has recently been identified by Mr. R.W.  Goulding, the librarian at Welbeck Abbey, as F. Augustus Elia, author of a French tract entitled Consideration sur l’etat actuel de la France au mois de Juin 1815.  Par une anglais.  It is privately reprinted in Letters from the originals at Welbeck Abbey, 1909.]

LETTER 278

CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES ABRAHAM ELTON

India House

to which place all letters addressed to C.L. commonly come.

[August 17, 1821 (?).]

My dear Sir, You have overwhelmed me with your favours.  I have received positively a little library from Baldwyn’s.  I do not know how I have deserved such a bounty.  We have been up to the ear in the classics ever since it came.  I have been greatly pleased, but most, I think, with the Hesiod,—­the Titan battle quite amazed me.  Gad, it was no child’s play—­and then the homely aphorisms at the end of the works—­how adroitly you have turned them!  Can he be the same Hesiod who did the Titans? the latter is—­

“-----wine
Which to madness does incline.”

But to read the Days and Works, is like eating nice brown bread, homely sweet and nutritive.  Apollonius was new to me.  I had confounded him with the conjuror of that name.  Medea is glorious; but I cannot give up Dido.  She positively is the only Fine Lady of Antiquity:  her courtesy to the Trojans is altogether queen-like.  Eneas is a most disagreeable person.  Ascanius a pretty young master.  Mezentius for my money.  His dying speech shames Turpin—­not the Archbishop I mean, but the roadster of that name.

I have been ashamed to find how many names of classics (and more than their names) you have introduced me to, that before I was ignorant of.  Your commendation of Master Chapman arrideth me.  Can any one read the pert modern Frenchify’d notes, &c., in Pope’s translation, and contrast them with solemn weighty prefaces of Chapman, writing in full faith, as he evidently does, of the plenary inspiration of his author—­worshipping his meanest scraps and relics as divine—­without one sceptical misgiving of their authenticity, and doubt which was the properest to expound Homer to their countrymen.  Reverend Chapman! you have read his hymn to Pan (the Homeric)—­why, it is Milton’s blank verse clothed with rhyme.  Paradise Lost could scarce lose, could it be so accoutred.

I shall die in the belief that he has improved upon Homer, in the Odyssey in particular—­the disclosure of Ulysses of himself, to Alcinous, his previous behaviour at the song of the stern strife arising between Achilles and himself (how it raises him above the Iliad Ulysses!) but you know all these things quite as well as I do.  But what a deaf ear old C. would have turned to the doubters in Homer’s real personality!  They might as well have denied the appearance of J.C. in the flesh.—­He apparently believed all the fables of H.’s birth, &c.

Page 26

Those notes of Bryant have caused the greatest disorder in my brain-pan.  Well, I will not flatter when I say that we have had two or three long evening’s good reading out of your kind present.

I will say nothing of the tenderest parts in your own little volume, at the end of such a slatternly scribble as this, but indeed they cost us some tears.  I scrawl away because of interruptions every moment.  You guess how it is in a busy office—­papers thrust into your hand when your hand is busiest—­and every anti-classical disavocation.

[Conclusion cut away.]

[Sir Charles Abraham Elton (1778-1853) seems to have sent Lamb a number of his books, principally his Specimens of the Classical Poets ... from Homer to Tryphiodorus translated into English Verse, Baldwin, 1814, in three volumes.  Lamb refers first to the passage from Hesiod’s Theogony, and then to his Works and Days (which Chapman translated)—­“Dispensation of Providence to the Just and Unjust.”

Apollonius Rhodius was the author of The Argonautics.  Lamb then passes on to Virgil.  For the death of Mezentius see the Aeneid, Book X., at the end.  The makers of broadsides had probably credited Dick Turpin with a dying speech.

“Those notes of Bryant.”  Lamb possibly refers to Jacob Bryant’s Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer, 1775, or his pamphlet on the Trojan War, 1795, 1799.

“Your own little volume.”  Probably The Brothers and Other Poems, by Elton, 1820.]

LETTER 279

CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES COWDEN CLARKE

[Summer, 1821.]

My dear Sir—­Your letter has lain in a drawer of my desk, upbraiding me every time I open the said drawer, but it is almost impossible to answer such a letter in such a place, and I am out of the habit of replying to epistles otherwhere than at office.  You express yourself concerning H. like a true friend, and have made me feel that I have somehow neglected him, but without knowing very well how to rectify it.  I live so remote from him—­by Hackney—­that he is almost out of the pale of visitation at Hampstead.  And I come but seldom to Cov’t Gard’n this summer time—­and when I do, am sure to pay for the late hours and pleasant Novello suppers which I incur.  I also am an invalid.  But I will hit upon some way, that you shall not have cause for your reproof in future.  But do not think I take the hint unkindly.  When I shall be brought low by any sickness or untoward circumstance, write just such a letter to some tardy friend of mine—­or come up yourself with your friendly Henshaw face—­and that will be better.  I shall not forget in haste our casual day at Margate.  May we have many such there or elsewhere!  God bless you for your kindness to H., which I will remember.  But do not show N. this, for the flouting infidel doth mock when Christians cry God bless us.  Yours and his, too, and all our little circle’s most affect’e.

Page 27

C. LAMB.

Mary’s love included.

[Charles Cowden Clarke (1787-1877) was the son of a schoolmaster who had served as usher with George Dyer at Northampton.  Afterwards he established a school at Enfield, where Keats was one of the scholars.  Charles Cowden Clarke, at this time a bookseller, remained one of Keats’ friends and was a friend also of Leigh Hunt’s, on whose behalf he seems to have written to Lamb.  Later he became a partner of Alfred Novello, the musical publisher, son of Vincent Novello.  In 1828 he married Mary Victoria Novello.

“Friendly Henshaw face.”  I cannot explain this.

Leigh Hunt left England for Italy in November, 1821, to join Shelley and Byron.

Here should come a brief note to Allan Cunningham asking him to an evening party of London Magazine contributors at 20 Russell St., given in the Boston Bibliophile edition.]

LETTER 280

MARY LAMB TO MRS. WILLIAM AYRTON

[No date. ?1821.]

Thursday Morning.

MY dear friend,

The kind interest you took in my perplexities of yesterday makes me feel that you will be well pleased to hear I got through my complicated business far better than I had ventured to hope I should do.  In the first place let me thank you, my good friend, for your good advice; for, had I not gone to Martin first he would have sent a senseless letter to Mr. Rickman, and now he is coming here to-day in order to frame one in conjunction with my brother.

What will be Mr. Rickman’s final determination I know not, but he and Mrs. Rickman both gave me a most kind reception, and a most patient hearing, and then Mr. R. walked with me as far as Bishopsgate Street, conversing the whole way on the same unhappy subject.  I will see you again the very first opportunity till when farewel with grateful thanks.

How senseless I was not to make you go back in that empty coach.  I never have but one idea in my poor head at a time.

Yours affectionately

M. LAMB.

at Mr. Coston’s

No. 14 Kingsland Row Dalston.

[The explanation of this letter is found in an entry in Crabb Robinson’s Diary, the unpublished portion, which tells us that owing to certain irregularities Rickman, who was Clerk Assistant at the table of the House of Commons, had been obliged to discharge Martin Burney, who was one of his clerks.

Here should come another scrap from Lamb to Ayrton, dated August 14, stating that at to-morrow’s rubber the windows will be closed on account of Her Majesty’s death.  Her Majesty was Queen Caroline, whom Lamb had championed.  She died on August 7.]

LETTER 281

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

Oct. 21, 1819.

My dear Sir, I have to thank you for a fine hare, and unless I am mistaken for two, the first I received a week since, the account given with it was that it came from Mr. Alfourd—­I have no friend of that name, but two who come near it

Page 28

Mr. Talfourd

Mr. Alsop

so my gratitude must be divided between you, till I know the true sender.  We are and shall be some time, I fear, at Dalston, a distance which does not improve hares by the circuitous route of Cov’t Garden, though for the sweetness of this last I will answer.  We dress it to-day.  I suppose you know my sister has been & is ill.  I do not see much hopes, though there is a glimmer, of her speedy recovery.  When we are all well, I hope to come among our town friends, and shall have great pleasure in welcoming you from Beresford Hall.

Yours, & old Mr. Walton’s, & honest Mr. Cotton’s Piscatorum Amicus, C.L.

India House 19 Oct. 21

LETTER 282

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM AYRTON

[Oct. 27, 1821.]

I Come, Grimalkin!  Dalston, near Hackney, 27th Oct’r.  One thousand 8 hundred and twenty one years and a wee-bit since you and I were redeemed.  I doubt if you are done properly yet.

[A further letter to Ayrton, dated from Dalston, October 30, is printed by Mr. Macdonald, in which Lamb speaks of his sister’s illness and the death of his brother John, who died on October 26, aged fifty-eight.  It is reasonable to suppose that Lamb, when the above note was written, was unaware of his brother’s death (see note to Letter 284 on page 610).  On October 26, however, he had written to the editor of the London Magazine saying that he was most uncomfortably situated at home and expecting some trouble which might prevent further writing for some time—­which may have been an allusion to his brother’s illness or to signs of Mary Lamb’s approaching malady.

Here should come a note to William Hone, evidently in reply to a comment on Lamb’s essay on “Saying Grace.”

Here should come a letter from Lamb to Rickman, dated November 20, 1821, referring to Admiral Burney’s death.  “I have been used to death lately.  Poor Jim White’s departure last year first broke the spell.  I had been so fortunate as to have lost no friends in that way for many long years, and began to think people did not die.”  He says that Mary Lamb has recovered from a long illness and is pretty well resigned to John Lamb’s death.]

LETTER 283

CHARLES LAMB TO S.T.  COLERIDGE

March 9th, 1822.

Dear C.,—­It gives me great satisfaction to hear that the pig turned out so well—­they are interesting creatures at a certain age—­what a pity such buds should blow out into the maturity of rank bacon!  You had all some of the crackling —­and brain sauce—­did you remember to rub it with butter, and gently dredge it a little, just before the crisis?  Did the eyes come away kindly with no Oedipean avulsion?  Was the crackling the colour of the ripe pomegranate?  Had you no complement of boiled neck of mutton before it, to

Page 29

blunt the edge of delicate desire?  Did you flesh maiden teeth in it?  Not that I sent the pig, or can form the remotest guess what part Owen could play in the business.  I never knew him give anything away in my life.  He would not begin with strangers.  I suspect the pig, after all, was meant for me; but at the unlucky juncture of time being absent, the present somehow went round to Highgate.  To confess an honest truth, a pig is one of those things I could never think of sending away.  Teals, wigeons, snipes, barn-door fowl, ducks, geese—­your tame villatic things—­Welsh mutton, collars of brawn, sturgeon, fresh or pickled, your potted char, Swiss cheeses, French pies, early grapes, muscadines, I impart as freely unto my friends as to myself.  They are but self-extended; but pardon me if I stop somewhere—­where the fine feeling of benevolence giveth a higher smack than the sensual rarity—­there my friends (or any good man) may command me; but pigs are pigs, and I myself therein am nearest to myself.  Nay, I should think it an affront, an undervaluing done to Nature who bestowed such a boon upon me, if in a churlish mood I parted with the precious gift.  One of the bitterest pangs of remorse I ever felt was when a child—­when my kind old aunt had strained her pocketstrings to bestow a sixpenny whole plum-cake upon me.  In my way home through the Borough, I met a venerable old man, not a mendicant, but thereabouts—­a look-beggar, not a verbal petitionist; and in the coxcombry of taught-charity I gave away the cake to him.  I walked on a little in all the pride of an Evangelical peacock, when of a sudden my old aunt’s kindness crossed me—­the sum it was to her—­the pleasure she had a right to expect that I—­not the old impostor —­should take in eating her cake—­the cursed ingratitude by which, under the colour of a Christian virtue, I had frustrated her cherished purpose.  I sobbed, wept, and took it to heart so grievously, that I think I never suffered the like—­and I was right.  It was a piece of unfeeling hypocrisy, and proved a lesson to me ever after.  The cake has long been masticated, consigned to dunghill with the ashes of that unseasonable pauper.

But when Providence, who is better to us all than our aunts, gives me a pig, remembering my temptation and my fall, I shall endeavour to act towards it more in the spirit of the donor’s purpose.

Yours (short of pig) to command in everything.  C.L.

[This letter probably led to the immediate composition of the Elia essay “A Dissertation on Roast Pig” (see Vol.  II. of the present edition), which was printed in the London Magazine for September, 1822.  See also “Thoughts on Presents of Game,” Vol.  I. of this edition.

“Owen.”  Lamb’s landlord in Russell Street.

“My kind old aunt... the Borough.”  This is rather perplexing.  Lamb, to the best of our knowledge, never as a child lived anywhere but in the Temple.  His only aunt of whom we know anything lived with the family also in the Temple.  But John Lamb’s will proves Lamb to have had two aunts.  The reference to the Borough suggests therefore that the aunt in question was not Sarah Lamb (Aunt Hetty) but her sister.]

Page 30

LETTER 284

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

20th March, 1822.

My dear Wordsworth—­A letter from you is very grateful, I have not seen a Kendal postmark so long!  We are pretty well save colds and rheumatics, and a certain deadness to every thing, which I think I may date from poor John’s Loss, and another accident or two at the same time, that has made me almost bury myself at Dalston, where yet I see more faces than I could wish.  Deaths over-set one and put one out long after the recent grief.  Two or three have died within this last two twelvem’ths, and so many parts of me have been numbed.  One sees a picture, reads an anecdote, starts a casual fancy, and thinks to tell of it to this person in preference to every other—­the person is gone whom it would have peculiarly suited.  It won’t do for another.  Every departure destroys a class of sympathies.  There’s Capt.  Burney gone!—­what fun has whist now? what matters it what you lead, if you can no longer fancy him looking over you?  One never hears any thing, but the image of the particular person occurs with whom alone almost you would care to share the intelligence.  Thus one distributes oneself about—­and now for so many parts of me I have lost the market.  Common natures do not suffice me.  Good people, as they are called, won’t serve.  I want individuals.  I am made up of queer points and I want so many answering needles.  The going away of friends does not make the remainder more precious.  It takes so much from them as there was a common link.  A. B. and C. make a party.  A. dies.  B. not only loses A. but all A.’s part in C. C. loses A.’s part in B., and so the alphabet sickens by subtraction of interchangeables.  I express myself muddily, capite dolente.  I have a dulling cold.  My theory is to enjoy life, but the practice is against it.  I grow ominously tired of official confinement.  Thirty years have I served the Philistines, and my neck is not subdued to the yoke.  You don’t know how wearisome it is to breathe the air of four pent walls without relief day after day, all the golden hours of the day between 10 and 4 without ease or interposition.  Taedet me harum quotidianarum formarum, these pestilential clerk faces always in one’s dish.  O for a few years between the grave and the desk! they are the same, save that at the latter you are outside the machine.  The foul enchanter—­letters four do form his name—­Busirane is his name in hell—­that has curtailed you of some domestic comforts, hath laid a heavier hand on me, not in present infliction, but in taking away the hope of enfranchisement.  I dare not whisper to myself a Pension on this side of absolute incapacitation and infirmity, till years have sucked me dry.  Otium cum indignitate.  I had thought in a green old age (O green thought!) to have retired to Ponder’s End—­emblematic name how beautiful! in the Ware road, there to have made up my accounts with Heaven and the Company, toddling about between it and Cheshunt, anon stretching on some fine Izaac Walton morning to Hoddesdon or Amwell, careless as a Beggar, but walking, walking ever, till I fairly walkd myself off my legs, dying walking!

Page 31

The hope is gone.  I sit like Philomel all day (but not singing) with my breast against this thorn of a Desk, with the only hope that some Pulmonary affliction may relieve me.  Vide Lord Palmerston’s report of the Clerks in the war office (Debates, this morning’s Times) by which it appears in 20 years, as many Clerks have been coughd and catarrhd out of it into their freer graves.

Thank you for asking about the Pictures.  Milton hangs over my fire side in Covt.  Card, (when I am there), the rest have been sold for an old song, wanting the eloquent tongue that should have set them off!

You have gratifyd me with liking my meeting with Dodd.  For the Malvolio story—­the thing is become in verity a sad task and I eke it out with any thing.  If I could slip out of it I sh’d be happy, but our chief reputed assistants have forsaken us.  The opium eater crossed us once with a dazzling path, and hath as suddenly left us darkling; and in short I shall go on from dull to worse, because I cannot resist the Bookseller’s importunity—­the old plea you know of authors, but I believe on my part sincere.

Hartley I do not so often see, but I never see him in unwelcome hour.  I thoroughly love and honor him.

I send you a frozen Epistle, but it is winter and dead time of the year with me.  May heaven keep something like spring and summer up with you, strengthen your eyes and make mine a little lighter to encounter with them, as I hope they shall yet and again, before all are closed.

Yours, with every kind rem’be.

C.L.

I had almost forgot to say, I think you thoroughly right about presentation copies.  I should like to see you print a book I should grudge to purchase for its size.  D——­n me, but I would have it though!

[John Lamb’s will left everything to his brother.  We must suppose that his widow was independently provided for.  I doubt if the brothers had seen each other except casually for some time.  The Elia essay “My Relations” contains John Lamb’s full-length portrait under the name of James Elia.

Captain Burney died on November 17, 1821,

“The foul enchanter—­letters four do form his name.”  From Coleridge’s war eclogue, “Fire, Famine and Slaughter,” where the letters form the name of Pitt.  Here they stand for Joseph Hume, not Lamb’s friend, but Joseph Hume, M.P. (1777-1855), who had attacked with success abuses in the East India Company; had revised economically the system of collecting the revenue, thus touching Wordsworth as Distributor of Stamps; and had opposed Vansittart’s scheme for the reduction of pension charges.

Vide Lord Palmerston’s report.”  In the Times of March 21 is the report of a debate on the estimates.  Palmerston proved a certain amount of reduction of salary in the War Office.  Incidentally he remarked that “since 1810 not fewer than twenty-six clerks had died of pulmonary complaints, and disorders arising from sedentary habits.”

Page 32

Milton was the portrait, already described, which had been left to Lamb.  Lamb gave it as a dowry to Emma Isola when she became Mrs. Moxon.

“My meeting with Dodd ...  Malvolio story.”  In the essay “The Old Actors,” in the London Magazine for February, 1822 (see Vol.  II. of this edition).

“Our chief reputed assistants.”  Hazlitt had left the London Magazine; Scott, the original editor, was dead.

De Quincey, whose Confessions of an Opium-Eater were appearing in its pages, has left a record of a visit to the Lambs about this time.  See his “London Reminiscences.”

“Hartley.”  Hartley Coleridge, then a young man of twenty-five, was living in London after the unhappy sudden termination of his Oxford career.

Here should come a brief note to Mrs. Norris, dated March 26, 1822, given in the Boston Bibliophile edition.

Here should come a letter from Lamb to William Godwin, dated April 13, in which Lamb remarks that he cannot think how Godwin, who in his writings never expresses himself disrespectfully of any one but his Maker, can have given offence to Rickman.  This reminds one of Godwin’s remark about Coleridge, “God bless him—­to use a vulgar expression,” as recorded by Coleridge in one of his letters.  Lamb also said of Godwin (and to him) that he had read more books that were not worth reading than any man in England.]

LETTER 285

CHARLES LAMB TO W. HARRISON AINSWORTH

[Dated at end:  May 7, 1822.]

Dear Sir,—­I have read your poetry with pleasure.  The tales are pretty and prettily told, the language often finely poetical.  It is only sometimes a little careless, I mean as to redundancy.  I have marked certain passages (in pencil only, which will easily obliterate) for your consideration.  Excuse this liberty.  For the distinction you offer me of a dedication, I feel the honor of it, but I do not think it would advantage the publication.  I am hardly on an eminence enough to warrant it.  The Reviewers, who are no friends of mine—­the two big ones especially who make a point of taking no notice of anything I bring out—­may take occasion by it to decry us both.  But I leave you to your own judgment.  Perhaps, if you wish to give me a kind word, it will be more appropriate before your republication of Tourneur.

The “Specimens” would give a handle to it, which the poems might seem to want.  But I submit it to yourself with the old recollection that “beggars should not be chusers” and remain with great respect and wishing success to both your publications

Your obe’t.  Ser’t.

C. LAMB.

No hurry at all for Tourneur.

Tuesday 7 May ’22.

[William Harrison Ainsworth (1805-1882), afterwards known as a novelist, was then articled to a Manchester solicitor, but had begun his literary career.  The book to which Lamb refers was called The Works of Cheviot Tichburn, 1822, and was dedicated to him in the following terms:—­“To my friend Charles Lamb, as a slight mark of gratitude for his kindness and admiration of his character, these poems are inscribed.”

Page 33

Ainsworth was meditating an edition of the works of Cyril Tourneur, author of “The Atheist’s Tragedy,” to whom Lamb had drawn attention in the Dramatic Specimens, 1808.  The book was never published.]

LETTER 286

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM GODWIN

May 16, 1822.

Dear Godwin—­I sincerely feel for all your trouble.  Pray use the enclosed L50, and pay me when you can.  I shall make it my business to see you very shortly.

Yours truly

C. LAMB.

[Owing largely to a flaw in the title-deed of his house at 41 Skinner Street, which he had to forfeit, Godwin had come upon poverty greater than any he had previously suffered, although he had been always more or less necessitous.  Lamb now lent him L50.  In the following year, after being mainly instrumental in putting on foot a fund for Godwin’s benefit, he transformed this loan into a gift.  An appeal was issued in 1823 asking for; L600, the following postscript to which, in Lamb’s hand, is preserved at the South Kensington Museum:—­

“There are few circumstances belonging to the case which are not sufficiently adverted to in the above letter.

“Mr. Godwin’s opponent declares himself determined to act against him with the last degree of hostility:  the law gives him the power the first week in November to seize upon Mr. Godwin’s property, furniture, books, &c. together with all his present sources of income for the support of himself and his family.  Mr. Godwin has at this time made considerable progress in a work of great research, and requiring all the powers of his mind, to the completion of which he had lookd for future pecuniary advantage.  His mind is at this moment so entirely occupied in this work, that he feels within himself the firmness and resolution that no prospect of evil or calamity shall draw him off from it or suspend his labours.  But the calamity itself, if permitted to arrive, will produce the physical impossibility for him to proceed.  His books and the materials of his work, as well as his present sources of income, will be taken from him.  Those materials have been the collection of several years, and it would require a long time to replace them, if they could ever be replaced.

“The favour of an early answer is particularly requested, that the extent of the funds supplied may as soon as possible be ascertained, particularly as any aid, however kindly intended, will, after the lapse of a very few weeks, become useless to the purpose in view.”

The signatories to the appeal were:  Crabb Robinson (L30), William Ayrton
(L10), John Murray (L10 10s.), Charles Lamb (L50), Lord Francis
Leveson-Gower (L10), Lord Dudley (L50), the Hon. W. Lamb (L20) and Sir
James Macintosh (L10).  Other contributions were:  Lord Byron, L26 5s.;
T.M.  Alsager, L10; and “A B C, by Charles Lamb,” L10.  A B C was Sir
Walter Scott.

Page 34

The work on which Godwin was then labouring was his History of the Commonwealth, 1824-1828.  His new home was in the Strand.  In 1833 he received the post of Yeoman Usher of the Exchequer, which he held till his death in 1836, although its duties had vanished ere then.]

LETTER 287

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. JOHN LAMB

22 May 1822.

Dear Mrs. Lamb, A letter has come to Arnold for Mrs. Phillips, and, as I have not her address, I take this method of sending it to you.  That old rogue’s name is Sherwood, as you guessed, but as I named the shirts to him, I think he must have them.  Your character of him made me almost repent of the bounty.

You must consider this letter as Mary’s—­for writing letters is such a trouble and puts her to such twitters (family modesty, you know; it is the way with me, but I try to get over it) that in pity I offer to do it for her.—­

We hold our intention of seeing France, but expect to see you here first, as we do not go till the 20th of next month.  A steam boat goes to Dieppe, I see.—­

Christie has not sent to me, and I suppose is in no hurry to settle the account.  I think in a day or two (if I do not hear from you to the contrary) I shall refresh his memory.

I am sorry I made you pay for two Letters.  I Peated it, and re-peated it.

Miss Wright is married, and I am a hamper in her debt, which I hope will now not be remembered.  She is in great good humour, I hear, and yet out of spirits.

Where shall I get such full flavor’d Geneva again?

Old Mr. Henshaw died last night precisely at 1/2 past 11.—­He has been open’d by desire of Mrs. McKenna; and, where his heart should have been, was found a stone.  Poor Arnold is inconsolable; and, not having shaved since, looks deplorable.

With our kind remembrances to Caroline and your friends

We remain yours affectionaly C.L.  AND M. LAMB.

[Occupying the entire margin up the left-hand side of the letter is, in Mary Lamb’s hand:—­]

I thank you for your kind letter, and owe you one in return, but Charles is in such a hurry to send this to be franked.

Your affectionate sister

M. LAMB.

[On the right-hand margin, beside the paragraph about Mr. Henshaw, is written in the same hand, underlined:—­]

He is not dead.

[John Lamb’s widow had been a Mrs. Dowden, with an unmarried daughter, probably the Caroline referred to.  The letter treats of family matters which could not now be explained even if it were worth while.  The Lambs were arranging a visit to Versailles, to the Kenneys.  Mr. Henshaw was Lamb’s godfather, a gunsmith.]

LETTER 288

(Fragment)

CHARLES LAMB TO MARY LAMB (in Paris).

Page 35

[August, 1822.]

Then you must walk all along the Borough side of the Seine facing the Tuileries.  There is a mile and a half of print shops and book stalls.  If the latter were but English.  Then there is a place where the Paris people put all their dead people and bring em flowers and dolls and ginger bread nuts and sonnets and such trifles.  And that is all I think worth seeing as sights, except that the streets and shops of Paris are themselves the best sight.

[The Lambs had left England for France in June.  While they were there Mary Lamb was taken ill again—­in a diligence, according to Moore—­and Lamb had to return home alone, leaving a letter, of which this is the only portion that has been preserved, for her guidance on her recovery.  It is also the only writing from Lamb to his sister that exists.  Mary Lamb, who had taken her nurse with her in case of trouble, was soon well again, and in August had the company of Crabb Robinson in Paris.  Mrs. Aders was also there, and Foss, the bookseller in Pall Mall, and his brother.  And it was on this visit that the Lambs met John Howard Payne, whom we shall shortly see.]

LETTER 289

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN CLARE

India House, 31 Aug., 1822.

Dear Clare—­I thank you heartily for your present.  I am an inveterate old Londoner, but while I am among your choice collections, I seem to be native to them, and free of the country.  The quantity of your observation has astonished me.  What have most pleased me have been Recollections after a Ramble, and those Grongar Hill kind of pieces in eight syllable lines, my favourite measure, such as Cowper Hill and Solitude.  In some of your story-telling Ballads the provincial phrases sometimes startle me.  I think you are too profuse with them.  In poetry slang of every kind is to be avoided.  There is a rustick Cockneyism, as little pleasing as ours of London.  Transplant Arcadia to Helpstone.  The true rustic style, the Arcadian English, I think is to be found in Shenstone.  Would his Schoolmistress, the prettiest of poems, have been better, if he had used quite the Goody’s own language?  Now and then a home rusticism is fresh and startling, but where nothing is gained in expression, it is out of tenor.  It may make folks smile and stare, but the ungenial coalition of barbarous with refined phrases will prevent you in the end from being so generally tasted, as you deserve to be.  Excuse my freedom, and take the same liberty with my puns.

I send you two little volumes of my spare hours.  They are of all sorts, there is a methodist hymn for Sundays, and a farce for Saturday night.  Pray give them a place on your shelf.  Pray accept a little volume, of which I have [a] duplicate, that I may return in equal number to your welcome presents.

I think I am indebted to you for a sonnet in the London for August.

Page 36

Since I saw you I have been in France, and have eaten frogs.  The nicest little rabbity things you ever tasted.  Do look about for them.  Make Mrs. Clare pick off the hind quarters, boil them plain, with parsley and butter.  The fore quarters are not so good.  She may let them hop off by themselves.

Yours sincerely,

CHAS. LAMB.

[John Clare (1793-1864) was the Northamptonshire poet whom the London Magazine had introduced to fame.  Octavius Gilchrist had played to him the same part that Capell Lofft had to Bloomfield.  His first volume, Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery, was published in January, 1820; his next, The Village Minstrel, in September of the next year.  These he had probably sent to Lamb.  Helpstone was Clare’s birthplace.  Lamb’s two little return volumes were his Works.  The sonnet in the August London Magazine was not signed by Clare.  It runs thus:—­

        TO ELlA

        ELIA, thy reveries and vision’d themes
          To Care’s lorn heart a luscious pleasure prove;
        Wild as the mystery of delightful dreams,
          Soft as the anguish of remember’d love: 
        Like records of past days their memory dances
          Mid the cool feelings Manhood’s reason brings,
        As the unearthly visions of romances
          Peopled with sweet and uncreated things;—­
        And yet thy themes thy gentle worth enhances! 
          Then wake again thy wild harp’s tenderest strings,
        Sing on, sweet Bard, let fairy loves again
          Smile in thy dreams, with angel ecstacies;
        Bright o’er our souls will break the heavenly strain
          Through the dull gloom of earth’s realities.

Clare addressed to Lamb a sonnet on his Dramatic Specimens which was printed in Hone’s Year Book in 1831.

Here should come a letter from Lamb to Ayrton dated Sept. 5, 1822, referring to the writer’s “drunken caput” and loss of memory.

Here should come a letter from Lamb to Mrs. James Kenney, dated Sept. 11, 1822, in which Lamb says that Mary Lamb had reached home safely from France, and that she failed to smuggle Crabb Robinson’s waistcoat.  He adds that the Custom House people could not comprehend how a waistcoat, marked Henry Robinson, could be a part of Miss Lamb’s wearing apparel.  At the end of the letter is a charming note to Mrs. Kenney’s little girl, Sophy, whom Lamb calls his dear wife.  He assures her that the few short days of connubial felicity which he passed with her among the pears and apricots of Versailles were some of the happiest of his life.]

LETTER 290

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

India House, 11 Sept. 1822.

Page 37

Dear Sir—­You have misapprehended me sadly, if you suppose that I meant to impute any inconsistency (in your writing poetry) with your religious profession.  I do not remember what I said, but it was spoken sportively, I am sure.  One of my levities, which you are not so used to as my older friends.  I probably was thinking of the light in which your so indulging yourself would appear to Quakers, and put their objection in my own foolish mouth.  I would eat my words (provided they should be written on not very coarse paper) rather than I would throw cold water upon your, and my once, harmless occupation.  I have read Napoleon and the rest with delight.  I like them for what they are, and for what they are not.  I have sickened on the modern rhodomontade & Byronism, and your plain Quakerish Beauty has captivated me.  It is all wholesome cates, aye, and toothsome too, and withal Quakerish.  If I were George Fox, and George Fox Licenser of the Press, they should have my absolute IMPRIMATUR.  I hope I have removed the impression.

I am, like you, a prisoner to the desk.  I have been chained to that gally thirty years, a long shot.  I have almost grown to the wood.  If no imaginative poet, I am sure I am a figurative one.  Do “Friends” allow puns? verbal equivocations?—­they are unjustly accused of it, and I did my little best in the “imperfect Sympathies” to vindicate them.

I am very tired of clerking it, but have no remedy.  Did you see a sonnet to this purpose in the Examiner?—­

        “Who first invented Work—­and tied the free
        And holy-day rejoycing spirit down
        To the ever-haunting importunity
        Of business, in the green fields, and the town—­
        To plough—­loom—­anvil—­spade—­&, oh, most sad,
        To this dry drudgery of the desk’s dead wood? 
        Who but the Being Unblest, alien from good,
        Sabbathless Satan! he who his unglad
        Task ever plies ’mid rotatory burnings,
        That round and round incalculably reel—­
        For wrath Divine hath made him like a wheel—­
        In that red realm from whence are no returnings;
        Where toiling and turmoiling ever and aye
        He, and his Thoughts, keep pensive worky-day.”

C.L.

I fancy the sentiment exprest above will be nearly your own, the expression of it probably would not so well suit with a follower of John Woolman.  But I do not know whether diabolism is a part of your creed, or where indeed to find an exposition of your creed at all.  In feelings and matters not dogmatical, I hope I am half a Quaker.  Believe me, with great respect, yours

C. LAMB.

I shall always be happy to see, or hear from you.—­

Page 38

[This is the first of the letters to Bernard Barton (1784-1849), a clerk in a bank at Woodbridge, in Suffolk, who was known as the Quaker poet.  Lamb had met him at a London Magazine dinner at 13 Waterloo Place, and had apparently said something about Quakers and poetry which Barton, on thinking it over, had taken too seriously.  Bernard Barton was already the author of four volumes of poetry, of which Napoleon and other Poems was the latest, published in 1822.  Lamb’s essay on “Imperfect Sympathies” had been printed in the London Magazine for August, 1821.  For John Woolman, see note on page 93.  The sonnet “Work” had been printed in the Examiner, August 29, 1819.]

LETTER 291

CHARLES LAMB TO BARRON FIELD

Sept. 22, 1822.

My dear F.,—­I scribble hastily at office.  Frank wants my letter presently.  I & sister are just returned from Paris!!  We have eaten frogs.  It has been such a treat!  You know our monotonous general Tenor.  Frogs are the nicest little delicate things—­rabbity-flavoured.  Imagine a Lilliputian rabbit!  They fricassee them; but in my mind, drest seethed, plain, with parsley and butter, would have been the decision of Apicius.  Shelley the great Atheist has gone down by water to eternal fire!  Hunt and his young fry are left stranded at Pisa, to be adopted by the remaining duumvir, Lord Byron—­his wife and 6 children & their maid.  What a cargo of Jonases, if they had foundered too!  The only use I can find of friends, is that they do to borrow money of you.  Henceforth I will consort with none but rich rogues.  Paris is a glorious picturesque old City.  London looks mean and New to it, as the town of Washington would, seen after it.  But they have no St. Paul’s or Westminster Abbey.  The Seine, so much despised by Cockneys, is exactly the size to run thro’ a magnificent street; palaces a mile long on one side, lofty Edinbro’ stone (O the glorious antiques!):  houses on the other.  The Thames disunites London & Southwark.  I had Talma to supper with me.  He has picked up, as I believe, an authentic portrait of Shakspere.  He paid a broker about L40 English for it.  It is painted on the one half of a pair of bellows—­a lovely picture, corresponding with the Folio head.  The bellows has old carved wings round it, and round the visnomy is inscribed, near as I remember, not divided into rhyme—­I found out the rhyme—­

“Whom have we here,
Stuck on this bellows,
But the Prince of good fellows,
Willy Shakspere?”

At top—­

“O base and coward luck! 
To be here stuck.—­POINS.”

At bottom—­

“Nay! rather a glorious lot is to him assign’d,
Who, like the Almighty, rides upon the wind.—­PISTOL.”

Page 39

This is all in old carved wooden letters.  The countenance smiling, sweet, and intellectual beyond measure, even as He was immeasurable.  It may be a forgery.  They laugh at me and tell me Ireland is in Paris, and has been putting off a portrait of the Black Prince.  How far old wood may be imitated I cannot say.  Ireland was not found out by his parchments, but by his poetry.  I am confident no painter on either side the Channel could have painted any thing near like the face I saw.  Again, would such a painter and forger have expected L40 for a thing, if authentic, worth L4000?  Talma is not in the secret, for he had not even found out the rhymes in the first inscription.  He is coming over with it, and, my life to Southey’s Thalaba, it will gain universal faith.

The letter is wanted, and I am wanted.  Imagine the blank filled up with all kind things.

Our joint hearty remembrances to both of you.  Yours as ever,

C. LAMB.

[Frank was Francis John Field, Barron Field’s brother, in the India House.

Shelley was drowned on July 8, 1822.

Talma was Francois Joseph Talma (1763-1826), the great French tragedian.  Lamb, introduced by John Howard Payne, saw him in “Regulus,” but not understanding French was but mildly interested.  “Ah,” said Talma in the account by James Kenney printed in Henry Angelo’s Pic Nic, “I was not very happy to-night; you must see me in ‘Scylla.’” “Incidit in Scyllam,” said Lamb, “qui vult vitare Charybdiro.”  “Ah, you are a rogue; you are a great rogue,” was Talma’s reply.  Talma had bought a pair of bellows with Shakespeare’s head on it.  Lamb’s belief in the authenticity of this portrait was misplaced, as the following account from Chambers’ Journal for September 27, 1856, will show:—­

About the latter part of the last century, one Zincke, an artist of little note, but grandson of the celebrated enameller of that name, manufactured fictitious Shakespeares by the score....  The most famous of Zincke’s productions is the well-known Talma Shakespeare, which gentle Charles Lamb made a pilgrimage to Paris to see; and when he did see, knelt down and kissed with idolatrous veneration.  Zincke painted it on a larger panel than was necessary for the size of the picture, and then cut away the superfluous wood, so as to leave the remainder in the shape of a pair of bellows....  Zincke probably was thinking of “a muse of fire” when he adopted this strange method of raising the wind; but he made little by it, for the dealer into whose hands the picture passed, sold it as a curiosity, not an original portrait, for L5.  The buyer, being a person of ingenuity, and fonder of money than curiosities, fabricated a series of letters to and from Sir Kenelm Digby, and, passing over to France, planted—­the slang term used among the less honest of the curiosity-dealing fraternity—­the picture and the letters in an old chateau near Paris.  Of course a confederate managed to discover the plant, in the presence of witnesses, and great was the excitement that ensued.  Sir Kenelm Digby had been in France in the reign of Charles I., and the fictitious correspondence proved that the picture was an original, and had been painted by Queen Elizabeth’s command, on the lid of her favourite pair of bellows!

Page 40

It really would seem that the more absurd a deception is, the better it succeeds.  All Paris was in delight at possessing an original Shakespeare, while the London amateurs were in despair at such a treasure being lost to England.  The ingenious person soon found a purchaser, and a high price recompensed him for his trouble.  But more remains to be told.  The happy purchaser took his treasure to Ribet, the first Parisian picture-cleaner of the day, to be cleaned.  Ribet set to work; but we may fancy his surprise as the superficial impasto of Zincke washed off beneath the sponge, and Shakespeare became a female in a lofty headgear adorned with blue ribbons.

In a furious passion the purchaser ran to the seller.  “Let us talk over the affair quietly,” said the latter; “I have been cheated as well as you:  let us keep the matter secret; if we let the public know it, all Paris and even London too, will be laughing at us.  I will return you your money, and take back the picture, if you will employ Ribet to restore it to the same condition as it was in when you received it.”  This fair proposition was acceded to, and Ribet restored the picture; but as he was a superior artist to Zincke, he greatly improved it, and this improvement was attributed to his skill as a cleaner.  The secret being kept, and the picture, improved by cleaning, being again in the market, Talma, the great Tragedian, purchased it at even a higher price than that given by the first buyer.  Talma valued it highly, enclosed it in a case of morocco and gold, and subsequently refused 1000 Napoleons for it; and even when at last its whole history was disclosed, he still cherished it as a genuine memorial of the great bard.

By kind permission of Mr. B.B.  MacGeorge, the owner both of the letter and bellows, I was enabled to give a reproduction of the portrait in my large edition.

Ireland was the author of “Vortigern,” the forged play attributed to Shakespeare.]

LETTER 292

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN HOWARD PAYNE

[Autumn, 1822.]

Dear Payne—­A friend and fellow-clerk of mine, Mr. White (a good fellow) coming to your parts, I would fain have accompanied him, but am forced instead to send a part of me, verse and prose, most of it from 20 to 30 years old, such as I then was, and I am not much altered.

Paris, which I hardly knew whether I liked when I was in it, is an object of no small magnitude with me now.  I want to be going, to the Jardin des Plantes (is that right, Louisa?) with you to Pere de la Chaise, La Morgue, and all the sentimentalities.  How is Talma, and his (my) dear Shakspeare?

N.B.—­My friend White knows Paris thoroughly, and does not want a guide.  We did, and had one.  We both join in thanks.  Do you remember a Blue-Silk Girl (English) at the Luxembourg, that did not much seem to attend to the Pictures, who fell in love with you, and whom I fell in love with—­an inquisitive, prying, curious Beauty—­where is she?

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Votre Tres Humble Serviteur,

CHARLOIS AGNEAU,

alias C. LAMB.

Guichy is well, and much as usual.  He seems blind to all the distinctions of life, except to those of sex.  Remembrance to Kenny and Poole.

[John Howard Payne (1792-1852) was born in New York.  He began life as an actor in 1809 as Young Norval in “Douglas,” and made his English debut in 1813 in the same part.  For several years he lived either in London or Paris, where among his friends were Washington Irving and Talma.  He wrote a number of plays, and in one of them, “Clari, or the Maid of Milan,” is the song “Home, Sweet Home,” with Bishop’s music, on which his immortality rests.  Payne died in Tunis, where he was American Consul, in 1852, and when in 1883 he was reinterred at Washington, it was as the author of “Home, Sweet Home.”  He seems to have been a charming but ill-starred man, whom to know was to love.

Mr. White was Edward White of the India House, by whom Lamb probably sent a copy of the 1818 edition of his Works.  Louisa was Louisa Holcroft.  Guichy was possibly the Frenchman, mentioned by Crabb Robinson, with whom the Lambs had travelled to France.  Poole was, I imagine, John Poole, the dramatist, author of burlesque plays in the London Magazine and later of “Paul Pry,” which, it is quite likely, he based on Lamb’s sketch “Tom Pry.”]

LETTER 293

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[Dated at end:  9 October 1822.]

Dear Sir—­I am asham’d not sooner to have acknowledged your letter and poem.  I think the latter very temperate, very serious and very seasonable.  I do not think it will convert the club at Pisa, neither do I think it will satisfy the bigots on our side the water.  Something like a parody on the song of Ariel would please them better.

        Full fathom five the Atheist lies,
        Of his bones are hell-dice made.—­

I want time, or fancy, to fill up the rest.  I sincerely sympathise with you on your doleful confinement.  Of Time, Health, and Riches, the first in order is not last in excellence.  Riches are chiefly good, because they give us Time.  What a weight of wearisome prison hours have [I] to look back and forward to, as quite cut out [of] life—­and the sting of the thing is, that for six hours every day I have no business which I could not contract into two, if they would let me work Task-work.  I shall be glad to hear that your grievance is mitigated.

Shelly I saw once.  His voice was the most obnoxious squeak I ever was tormented with, ten thousand times worse than the Laureat’s, whose voice is the worst part about him, except his Laureatcy.  Lord Byron opens upon him on Monday in a Parody (I suppose) of the “Vision of Judgment,” in which latter the Poet I think did not much show his.  To award his Heaven and his Hell in the presumptuous manner he has done, was a piece of immodesty as bad as Shelleyism.

Page 42

I am returning a poor letter.  I was formerly a great Scribbler in that way, but my hand is out of order.  If I said my head too, I should not be very much out, but I will tell no tales of myself.  I will therefore end (after my best thanks, with a hope to see you again some time in London), begging you to accept this Letteret for a Letter—­a Leveret makes a better present than a grown hare, and short troubles (as the old excuse goes) are best.

I hear that C. Lloyd is well, and has returned to his family.  I think this will give you pleasure to hear.

I remain, dear Sir, yours truly

C. LAMB.

E.I.H.

9 Oct. 22.

[Barton had just published his Verses on the Death of P.B.  Shelley, a lament for misapplied genius.  The club at Pisa referred particularly to Byron, Leigh Hunt, and Trelawney.  Trelawney placed three lines from Ariel’s song in “The Tempest” on Shelley’s monument; but whether Lamb knew this, or his choice of rival lines is a coincidence, I do not know.  Trelawney chose the lines:—­

        Nothing of him that doth fade
        But doth suffer a sea-change
        Into something rich and strange.

There is no other record of Lamb’s meeting with Shelley, who, by the way, admired Lamb’s writings warmly, particularly Mrs. Leicester’s School (see the letter to Barton, August 17, 1824).

Byron’s Vision of Judgment, a burlesque of Southey’s poem of the same name, was printed in The Liberal for 1822.]

LETTER 294

CHARLES LAMB TO B.R.  HAYDON

India House, 9th October, 1822.

Dear Haydon, Poor Godwin has been turned out of his house and business in Skinner Street, and if he does not pay two years’ arrears of rent, he will have the whole stock, furniture, &c., of his new house (in the Strand) seized when term begins.  We are trying to raise a subscription for him.  My object in writing this is simply to ask you, if this is a kind of case which would be likely to interest Mrs. Coutts in his behalf; and who in your opinion is the best person to speak with her on his behalf.  Without the aid of from L300 to L400 by that time, early in November, he must be ruined.  You are the only person I can think of, of her acquaintance, and can, perhaps, if not yourself, recommend the person most likely to influence her.  Shelley had engaged to clear him of all demands, and he has gone down to the deep insolvent.

Yours truly,

C. LAMB.

Is Sir Walter to be applied to, and by what channel?

[Mrs. Coutts was probably Harriot Mellon, the actress, widow of the banker, Thomas Coutts, and afterwards Duchess of St. Albans.  She had played the part of the heroine Melesinda in “Mr. H.”]

LETTER 295

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN HOWARD PAYNE

Page 43

Thursday [Oct. 22], 1822.

“Ali Pacha” will do.  I sent my sister the first night, not having been able to go myself, and her report of its effect was most favourable.  I saw it last night—­the third night—­and it was most satisfactorily received.  I have been sadly disappointed in Talfourd, who does the critiques in the “Times,” and who promised his strenuous services; but by some damn’d arrangement he was sent to the wrong house, and a most iniquitous account of Ali substituted for his, which I am sure would have been a kind one.  The “Morning Herald” did it ample justice, without appearing to puff it.  It is an abominable misrepresentation of the “Times,” that Farren played Ali like Lord Ogilby.  He acted infirmity of body, but not of voice or purpose.  His manner was even grand.  A grand old gentleman.  His falling to the earth when his son’s death was announced was fine as anything I ever saw.  It was as if he had been blasted.  Miss Foote looked helpless and beautiful, and greatly helped the piece.  It is going on steadily, I am sure, for many nights.  Marry, I was a little disappointed with Hassan, who tells us he subsists by cracking court jests before Hali, but he made none.  In all the rest, scenery and machinery, it was faultless.  I hope it will bring you here.  I should be most glad of that.  I have a room for you, and you shall order your own dinner three days in the week.  I must retain my own authority for the rest.  As far as magazines go, I can answer for Talfourd in the “New Monthly.”  He cannot be put out there.  But it is established as a favourite, and can do without these expletives.  I long to talk over with you the Shakspeare Picture.  My doubts of its being a forgery mainly rest upon the goodness of the picture.  The bellows might be trumped up, but where did the painter spring from?  Is Ireland a consummate artist—­or any of Ireland’s accomplices?—­but we shall confer upon it, I hope.  The “New Times,” I understand was favorable to “Ali,” but I have not seen it.  I am sensible of the want of method in this letter, but I have been deprived of the connecting organ, by a practice I have fallen into since I left Paris, of taking too much strong spirits of a night.  I must return to the Hotel de l’Europe and Macon.

How is Kenney?  Have you seen my friend White?  What is Poole about, &c.?  Do not write, but come and answer me.

The weather is charming, and there is a mermaid to be seen in London.  You may not have the opportunity of inspecting such a Poisarde once again in ten centuries.

My sister joins me in the hope of seeing you.

Yours truly,

C. LAMB.

[Lamb had met John Howard Payne, the American dramatist, at Kenney’s, in France.  “Ali Pacha,” a melodrama in two acts, was produced at Covent Garden on October 19, 1822.  It ran altogether sixteen nights.  William Farren played the hero.  Lord Ogleby, an antiquated fop, is a character in “The Clandestine Marriage” by Colman and Garrick.  Miss Foote played Helena.  See notes to the letter above for other references.]

Page 44

LETTER 296

CHARLES LAMB TO B.R.  HAYDON

Tuesday, 29th [October, 1822].

Dear H., I have written a very respectful letter to Sir W.S.  Godwin did not write, because he leaves all to his committee, as I will explain to you.  If this rascally weather holds, you will see but one of us on that day.

Yours, with many thanks,

C. LAMB.

LETTER 297

CHARLES LAMB TO SIR WALTER SCOTT

East India House, London,

29th October 1822.

Dear Sir,—­I have to acknowledge your kind attention to my application to Mr. Haydon.  I have transmitted your draft to Mr. G[odwin]’s committee as an anonymous contribution through me.  Mr. Haydon desires his thanks and best respects to you, but was desirous that I should write to you on this occasion.  I cannot pass over your kind expressions as to myself.  It is not likely that I shall ever find myself in Scotland, but should the event ever happen, I should be proud to pay my respects to you in your own land.  My disparagement of heaths and highlands—­if I said any such thing in half earnest,—­you must put down as a piece of the old Vulpine policy.  I must make the most of the spot I am chained to, and console myself for my flat destiny as well as I am able.  I know very well our mole-hills are not mountains, but I must cocker them up and make them look as big and as handsome as I can, that we may both be satisfied.  Allow me to express the pleasure I feel on an occasion given me of writing to you, and to subscribe myself, dear sir, your obliged and respectful servant,

CHARLES LAMB.

[See note to the letter to Godwin above.  Lamb and Scott never met.  Talfourd, however, tells us that “he used to speak with gratitude and pleasure of the circumstances under which he saw him once in Fleet-street.  A man, in the dress of a mechanic, stopped him just at Inner Temple-gate, and said, touching his hat, ’I beg your pardon, sir, but perhaps you would like to see Sir Walter Scott; that is he just crossing the road;’ and Lamb stammered out his hearty thanks to his truly humane informer.”

Mr. Lang has recently discovered that also in 1818 or thereabouts Sir
Walter invited Lamb to Abbotsford.]

LETTER 298

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ROBINSON

[Dated at end:  Nov. 11, 1822.]

Dear Sir, We have to thank you, or Mrs. Robinson—­ for I think her name was on the direction—­for the best pig, which myself, the warmest of pig-lovers, ever tasted.  The dressing and the sauce were pronounced incomparable by two friends, who had the good fortune to drop in to dinner yesterday, but I must not mix up my cook’s praises with my acknowledgments; let me but have leave to say that she and we did your pig justice.  I should dilate on the crackling—­done to a turn—­but I am afraid Mrs. Clarkson, who, I hear, is with you, will set me down as an Epicure.  Let it suffice, that you have spoil’d my appetite for boiled mutton for some time to come.  Your brother Henry partook of the cold relics—­by which he might give a good guess at what it had been hot.

Page 45

With our thanks, pray convey our kind respects to Mrs. Robinson, and the Lady before mentioned.

Your obliged Ser’t

CHARLES LAMB.

India House

11 Nov. 22.

[This letter is addressed to R. Robinson, Esq., Bury, Suffolk, but I think there is no doubt that Thomas Robinson was the recipient.

Thomas Robinson of Bury St. Edmunds was Henry Crabb Robinson’s brother.  Lamb’s “Dissertation on Roast Pig” had been printed in the London Magazine in September, 1822, and this pig was one of the first of many such gifts that came to him.]

LETTER 299

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN HOWARD PAYNE

Wednesday, 13 November, ’22.

Dear P.—­Owing to the inconvenience of having two lodgings, I did not get your letter quite so soon as I should.  The India House is my proper address, where I am sure for the fore part of every day.  The instant I got it, I addressed a letter, for Kemble to see, to my friend Henry Robertson, the Treasurer of Covent Garden Theatre.  He had a conference with Kemble, and the result is, that Robertson, in the name of the management, recognized to me the full ratifying of your bargain:  L250 for Ali, the Slaves, and another piece which they had not received.  He assures me the whole will be paid you, or the proportion for the two former, as soon as ever the Treasury will permit it.  He offered to write the same to you, if I pleased.  He thinks in a month or so they will be able to liquidate it.  He is positive no trick could be meant you, as Mr. Planche’s alterations, which were trifling, were not at all considered as affecting your bargain.  With respect to the copyright of Ali, he was of opinion no money would be given for it, as Ali is quite laid aside.  This explanation being given, you would not think of printing the two copies together by way of recrimination.  He told me the secret of the two Galley Slaves at Drury Lane.  Elliston, if he is informed right, engaged Poole to translate it, but before Poole’s translation arrived, finding it coming out at Cov.  Gar., he procured copies of two several translations of it in London.  So you see here are four translations, reckoning yours.  I fear no copyright would be got for it, for anybody may print it and anybody has.  Your’s has run seven nights, and R. is of opinion it will not exceed in number of nights the nights of Ali,—­about thirteen.  But your full right to your bargain with the management is in the fullest manner recognized by him officially.  He gave me every hope the money will be spared as soon as they can spare it.  He said a month or two, but seemed to me to mean about a month.  A new lady is coming out in Juliet, to whom they look very confidently for replenishing their treasury.  Robertson is a very good fellow and I can rely upon his statement.  Should you have any more pieces, and want to get a copyright for them, I am the worst

Page 46

person to negotiate with any bookseller, having been cheated by all I have had to do with (except Taylor and Hessey,—­but they do not publish theatrical pieces), and I know not how to go about it, or who to apply to.  But if you had no better negotiator, I should know the minimum you expect, for I should not like to make a bargain out of my own head, being (after the Duke of Wellington) the worst of all negotiators.  I find from Robertson you have written to Bishop on the subject.  Have you named anything of the copyright of the Slaves.  R. thinks no publisher would pay for it, and you would not risque it on your own account.  This is a mere business letter, so I will just send my love to my little wife at Versailles, to her dear mother, etc.

Believe me, yours truly, C.L.

[Payne’s translation of the French play was produced at Covent Garden on November 6, 1822, under the title “The Soldier’s Daughter.”  On the same night appeared a rival version at Drury Lane entitled “Two Galley Slaves.”  Payne’s was played eleven times.  The new lady as Juliet was the other Fanny Kelly not Lamb’s:  Fanny H. Kelly, from Dublin.  The revival began on November 14.  Planche was James Robinson Planche (1796-1880), the most prolific of librettists.  Robert William Elliston, of whom Lamb later wrote so finely, was then managing Drury Lane.

“Having been cheated.”  Lamb’s particular reference was to Baldwin (see the letter to Barton, Jan. 9, 1823).

“The Duke of Wellington.”  A reference to the Duke’s failure in representing England at the Congress of Powers in Vienna and Verona.

Lamb’s “dear little wife” was Sophy Kenney.]

LETTER 300

MARY LAMB TO MRS. JAMES KENNEY

[No date. ?Early December, 1822.]

My dear Friend,—­How do you like Harwood?  Is he not a noble boy?  I congratulate you most heartily on this happy meeting, and only wish I were present to witness it.  Come back with Harwood, I am dying to see you—­we will talk, that is, you shall talk and I will listen from ten in the morning till twelve at night.  My thoughts are often with you, and your children’s dear faces are perpetually before me.  Give them all one additional kiss every morning for me.  Remember there’s one for Louisa, one to Ellen, one to Betsy, one to Sophia, one to James, one to Teresa, one to Virginia, and one to Charles.  Bless them all!  When shall I ever see them again?  Thank you a thousand times for all your kindness to me.  I know you will make light of the trouble my illness gave you; but the recollection of it often sits heavy on my heart.  If I could ensure my health, how happy should I be to spend a month with you every summer!

When I met Mr. Kenney there, I sadly repented that I had not dragged you on to Dieppe with me.  What a pleasant time we should have spent there!

Page 47

You shall not be jealous of Mr. Payne.  Remember he did Charles and I good service without grudge or grumbling.  Say to him how much I regret that we owe him unreturnable obligations; for I still have my old fear that we shall never see him again.  I received great pleasure from seeing his two successful pieces.  My love to your boy Kenney, my boy James, and all my dear girls, and also to Rose; I hope she still drinks wine with you.  Thank Lou-Lou for her little bit of letter.  I am in a fearful hurry, or I would write to her.  Tell my friend the Poetess that I expect some French verses from her shortly.  I have shewn Betsy’s and Sophy’s letters to all who came near me, and they have been very much admired.  Dear Fanny brought me the bag.  Good soul you are to think of me!  Manning has promised to make Fanny a visit this morning, happy girl!  Miss James I often see, I think never without talking of you.  Oh the dear long dreary Boulevards! how I do wish to be just now stepping out of a Cuckoo into them!

Farewel, old tried friend, may we meet again!  Would you could bring your house with all its noisy inmates, and plant it, garden, gables and all, in the midst of Covent Garden.

Yours ever most affectionately,

M. LAMB.

My best respects to your good neighbours.

[Harwood was Harwood Holcroft.

“Louisa,” etc.  Mrs. Kenney’s children by her first marriage were Louisa, Ellen, Betsy and Sophia.  By her second, with Kenney, the others.  Charles was named Charles Lamb Kenney.

“Payne’s two successful pieces”—­“Ali Pacha” and “The Soldier’s Daughter.”

Fanny was Fanny Holcroft, Mrs. Kenney’s stepdaughter.

Miss Kelly has added to this letter a few words of affection to Mrs.
Kenney from “the real old original Fanny Kelly.”

Charles Lamb also contributed to this letter a few lines to James Kenney, expressing his readiness to meet Moore the poet.  He adds that he made a hit at him as Little in the London Magazine, which though no reason for not meeting him was a reason for not volunteering a visit to him.  The reference is to the sonnet to Barry Cornwall in the London Magazine for September, 1820, beginning—­

Let hate, or grosser heats, their foulness mask
Neath riddling Junius, or in L——­e’s name.

The second line was altered in Lamb’s Album Verses, 1830, to—­

Under the vizor of a borrowed name.]

LETTER 301

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN TAYLOR

[Dated:  Dec. 7, 1822.]

Dear Sir,—­I should like the enclosed Dedication to be printed, unless you dislike it.  I like it.  It is in the olden style.  But if you object to it, put forth the book as it is.  Only pray don’t let the Printer mistake the word curt for curst.

C.L.

Dec. 7, 1822.

DEDICATION

Page 48

TO THE FRIENDLY AND JUDICIOUS READER,

Who will take these Papers, as they were meant; not understanding every thing perversely in the absolute and literal sense, but giving fair construction as to an after-dinner conversation; allowing for the rashness and necessary incompleteness of first thoughts; and not remembering, for the purpose of an after taunt, words spoken peradventure after the fourth glass.  The Author wishes (what he would will for himself) plenty of good friends to stand by him, good books to solace him, prosperous events to all his honest undertakings, and a candid interpretation to his most hasty words and actions.  The other sort (and he hopes many of them will purchase his book too) he greets with the curt invitation of Timon, “Uncover, dogs, and lap:”  or he dismisses them with the confident security of the philosopher, “you beat but on the case of ELIA.”

C.L.

Dec. 7, 1822.

[Elia.  Essays which have appeared under that signature in the London Magazine was just about to be published.  The book came out with no preface.

“You beat but on the case.”  When Anaxarchus, the philosopher, was being pounded to death in a mortar, by command of Alexander the Great, he made use of this phrase.  After these words, in Canon Ainger’s transcript, Lamb remarks:—­“On better consideration, pray omit that Dedication.  The Essays want no Preface:  they are all Preface.  A Preface is nothing but a talk with the reader; and they do nothing else.  Pray omit it.

“There will be a sort of Preface in the next Magazine, which may act as an advertisement, but not proper for the volume.

“Let ELIA come forth bare as he was born.”

The sort of Preface in the next magazine (January, 1823) was the “Character of the Late Elia,” used as a preface to the Last Essays in 1833.]

LETTER 302

CHARLES LAMB TO WALTER WILSON

E.I.H. 16 dec. 22.

Dear Wilson

Lightening I was going to call you—­

You must have thought me negligent in not answering your letter sooner.  But I have a habit of never writing letters, but at the office—­’tis so much time cribbed out of the Company—­and I am but just got out of the thick of a Tea Sale, in which most of the Entry of Notes, deposits &c. usually falls to my share.  Dodwell is willing, but alas! slow.  To compare a pile of my notes with his little hillock (which has been as long a building), what is it but to compare Olympus with a mole-hill.  Then Wadd is a sad shuffler.—­

Page 49

I have nothing of Defoe’s but two or three Novels, and the Plague History.  I can give you no information about him.  As a slight general character of what I remember of them (for I have not look’d into them latterly) I would say that “in the appearance of truth in all the incidents and conversations that occur in them they exceed any works of fiction I am acquainted with.  It is perfect illusion.  The Author never appears in these self-narratives (for so they ought to be called or rather Autobiographies) but the narrator chains us down to an implicet belief in every thing he says.  There is all the minute detail of a log-book in it.  Dates are painfully pressed upon the memory.  Facts are repeated over and over in varying phrases, till you cannot chuse but believe them.  It is like reading Evidence given in a Court of Justice.  So anxious the story-teller seems, that the truth should be clearly comprehended, that when he has told us a matter of fact, or a motive, in a line or two farther down he repeats it with his favorite figure of speech, ‘I say’ so and so,—­though he had made it abundantly plain before.  This is in imitation of the common people’s way of speaking, or rather of the way in which they are addressed by a master or mistress, who wishes to impress something upon their memories; and has a wonderful effect upon matter-of-fact readers.  Indeed it is to such principally that he writes.  His style is elsewhere beautiful, but plain _& homely_.  Robinson Crusoe is delightful to all ranks and classes, but it is easy to see that it is written in phraseology peculiarly adapted to the lower conditions of readers:  hence it is an especial favorite with seafaring men, poor boys, servant maids &c.  His novels are capital kitchen-reading, while they are worthy from their deep interest to find a shelf in the Libraries of the wealthiest, and the most learned.  His passion for matter of fact narrative sometimes betrayed him into a long relation of common incidents which might happen to any man, and have no interest but the intense appearance of truth in them, to recommend them.  The whole latter half, or two thirds, of Colonel Jack is of this description.  The beginning of Colonel Jack is the most affecting natural picture of a young thief that was ever drawn.  His losing the stolen money in the hollow of a tree, and finding it again when he was in despair, and then being in equal distress at not knowing how to dispose of it, and several similar touches in the early history of the Colonel, evince a deep knowledge of human nature; and, putting out of question the superior romantic interest of the latter, in my mind very much exceed Crusoe.  Roxana (1st Edition) is the next in Interest, though he left out the best part of it**in** subsequent Editions from a foolish hypercriticism of his friend, Southerne.  But Moll Flanders, the account of the Plague &c. &c. are all of one family, and have the same stamp of character.”—­

Page 50

[At the top of the first page is added:—­]

Omitted at the end ... believe me with friendly recollections, Brother (as I used to call you) Yours C. LAMB.

[Below the “Dear Wilson” is added in smaller writing:—­]

The review was not mine, nor have I seen it.

[Lamb’s friend Walter Wilson was beginning his Memoirs of the Life and Times of Daniel Defoe, 1830.  The passage sent to him in this letter by Lamb he printed in Vol.  III., page 428.  Some years later Lamb sent Wilson a further criticism.  See also letter below for the reference to Roxana.

Dodwell we have met.  Of Wadd we have no information, except, according to Crabb Robinson’s Diary, that he once accidentally discharged a pen full of ink into Lamb’s eye and that Lamb wrote this epigram upon him:—­

What Wadd knows, God knows,
But God knows what Wadd knows.]

LETTER 303

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[Dated at end:  23 December 1822.]

Dear Sir—­I have been so distracted with business and one thing or other, I have not had a quiet quarter of an hour for epistolary purposes.  Christmas too is come, which always puts a rattle into my morning scull.  It is a visiting unquiet un-Quakerish season.  I get more and more in love with solitude, and proportionately hampered with company.  I hope you have some holydays at this period.  I have one day, Christmas day, alas! too few to commemorate the season.  All work and no play dulls me.  Company is not play, but many times hard work.  To play, is for a man to do what he pleases, or to do nothing—­to go about soothing his particular fancies.  I have lived to a time of life, to have outlived the good hours, the nine o’Clock suppers, with a bright hour or two to clear up in afterwards.  Now you cannot get tea before that hour, and then sit gaping, music-bothered perhaps, till half-past 12 brings up the tray, and what you steal of convivial enjoyment after, is heavily paid for in the disquiet of to-morrow’s head.

I am pleased with your liking John Woodvil, and amused with your knowledge of our drama being confined to Shakspeare and Miss Bailly.  What a world of fine territory between Land’s End and Johnny Grots have you missed traversing.  I almost envy you to have so much to read.  I feel as if I had read all the Books I want to read.  O to forget Fielding, Steele, &c., and read ’em new.

Can you tell me a likely place where I could pick up, cheap, Fox’s Journal?  There are no Quaker Circulating Libraries?  Ellwood, too, I must have.  I rather grudge that S[outhe]y has taken up the history of your People.  I am afraid he will put in some Levity.  I am afraid I am not quite exempt from that fault in certain magazine Articles, where I have introduced mention of them.  Were they to do again, I would reform them.

Page 51

Why should not you write a poetical Account of your old Worthies, deducing them from Fox to Woolman?—­but I remember you did talk of something in that kind, as a counterpart to the Ecclesiastical Sketches.  But would not a Poem be more consecutive than a string of Sonnets?  You have no Martyrs quite to the Fire, I think, among you.  But plenty of Heroic Confessors, Spirit-Martyrs—­Lamb-Lions.—­Think of it.

It would be better than a series of Sonnets on “Eminent Bankers.”—­I like a hit at our way of life, tho’ it does well for me, better than anything short of all one’s time to one’s self, for which alone I rankle with envy at the rich.  Books are good, and Pictures are good, and Money to buy them therefore good, but to buy TIME! in other words, LIFE—­

The “compliments of the time to you” should end my letter; to a Friend I suppose I must say the “sincerity of the season;” I hope they both mean the same.  With excuses for this hastily penn’d note, believe me with great respect—­

C. LAMB.

23 dec. 22.

[Miss Bailly would be Joanna Baillie (1762-1851), author of Plays on the Passions.

The copy of Fox’s Journal, 1694, which was lent to Lamb is now in the possession of the Society of Friends.  In it is written: 

“This copy of George Fox’s Journal, being the earliest edition of that work, the property of John T. Shewell of Ipswich, is lent for six months to Charles Lamb, at the request of Sam’l Alexander of Needham, Ipswich, 1st mo. 4 1823.”  Lamb has added:  “Returned by Charles Lamb, within the period, with many thanks to the Lender for the very great satisfaction which he has derived from the perusal of it.”

Southey was meditating a Life of George Fox and corresponded with Barton on the subject.  He did not write the book.

Barton had a plan to provide Wordsworth’s Ecclesiastical Sonnets with a Quaker pendant.  He did not carry it out.

Here might come an undated and unpublished letter from Lamb to Basil Montagu, which is of little interest except as referring to Miss James, Mary Lamb’s nurse.  Lamb says that she was one of four sisters, daughters of a Welsh clergyman, who all became nurses at Mrs. Warburton’s, Hoxton, whither, I imagine, Mary Lamb had often retired.  Mrs. Parsons, one of the sisters, became Mary Lamb’s nurse when, some time after Lamb’s death, she moved to 41 Alpha Road, Mrs. Parsons’ house.  The late John Hollingshead, great-nephew of these ladies, says in his interesting book, My Lifetime, that their father was rector of Beguildy, in Shropshire.]

LETTER 304

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN HOWARD PAYNE

[January, 1823.]

Page 52

Dear Payne—­Your little books are most acceptable.  ’Tis a delicate edition.  They are gone to the binder’s.  When they come home I shall have two—­the “Camp” and “Patrick’s Day”—­to read for the first time.  I may say three, for I never read the “School for Scandal.” “Seen it I have, and in its happier days.”  With the books Harwood left a truncheon or mathematical instrument, of which we have not yet ascertained the use.  It is like a telescope, but unglazed.  Or a ruler, but not smooth enough.  It opens like a fan, and discovers a frame such as they weave lace upon at Lyons and Chambery.  Possibly it is from those parts.  I do not value the present the less, for not being quite able to detect its purport.  When I can find any one coming your way I have a volume for you, my Elias collected.  Tell Poole, his Cockney in the Lon.  Mag. tickled me exceedingly.  Harwood is to be with us this evening with Fanny, who comes to introduce a literary lady, who wants to see me,—­and whose portentous name is Plura, in English “many things.”  Now, of all God’s creatures, I detest letters-affecting, authors-hunting ladies.  But Fanny “will have it so.”  So Miss Many Things and I are to have a conference, of which you shall have the result.  I dare say she does not play at whist.  Treasurer Robertson, whose coffers are absolutely swelling with pantomimic receipts, called on me yesterday to say he is going to write to you, but if I were also, I might as well say that your last bill is at the Banker’s, and will be honored on the instant receipt of the third Piece, which you have stipulated for.  If you have any such in readiness, strike while the iron is hot, before the Clown cools.  Tell Mrs. Kenney, that the Miss F.H. (or H.F.) Kelly, who has begun so splendidly in Juliet, is the identical little Fanny Kelly who used to play on their green before their great Lying-Inn Lodgings at Bayswater.  Her career has stopt short by the injudicious bringing her out in a vile new Tragedy, and for a third character in a stupid old one,—­the Earl of Essex.  This is Macready’s doing, who taught her.  Her recitation, &c. (not her voice or person), is masculine.  It is so clever, it seemed a male Debut.  But cleverness is the bane of Female Tragedy especially.  Passions uttered logically, &c.  It is bad enough in men-actors.  Could you do nothing for little Clara Fisher?  Are there no French Pieces with a Child in them?  By Pieces I mean here dramas, to prevent male-constructions.  Did not the Blue Girl remind you of some of Congreve’s women?  Angelica or Millamant?  To me she was a vision of Genteel Comedy realized.  Those kind of people never come to see one. N’import—­havn’t I Miss Many Things coming?  Will you ask Horace Smith to——­[The remainder of this letter has been lost.]

[Payne seems to have sent Lamb an edition of Sheridan.  “The Camp” and “St. Patrick’s Day” are among Sheridan’s less known plays.

Poole was writing articles on France in the London Magazine.  Lamb refers to “A Cockney’s Rural Sports,” in the number for December, 1822.

Page 53

Fanny was Fanny Holcroft.  Plura I do not identify.

The new tragedy in which Miss Kelly had to play was probably “The Huguenot,” produced December 11, 1822.  “The Earl of Essex” was revived December 30, 1822.  Macready played in both.

“Cleverness is the bane.”  See Lamb’s little article on “The New Acting” in Vol.  I.

The Blue Girl seems to refer to the lady mentioned at the end of the first letter to Payne.

Angelica is in Congreve’s “Love for Love”; Millamant in his “Way of the World.”]

LETTER 305

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

[No date.  January, 1823.]

Dear Wordsworth, I beg your acceptance of ELIA, detached from any of its old companions which might have been less agreeable to you.  I hope your eyes are better, but if you must spare them, there is nothing in my pages which a Lady may not read aloud without indecorum, which is more than can be said of Shakspeare.

What a nut this last sentence would be for Blackwood!

You will find I availed myself of your suggestion, in curtailing the dissertation on Malvolio.

I have been on the Continent since I saw you.

I have eaten frogs.

I saw Monkhouse tother day, and Mrs. M. being too poorly to admit of company, the annual goosepye was sent to Russell Street, and with its capacity has fed “A hundred head” (not of Aristotle’s) but “of Elia’s friends.”

Mrs. Monkhouse is sadly confined, but chearful.—­

This packet is going off, and I have neither time, place nor solitude for a longer Letter.

Will you do me the favor to forward the other volume to Southey?

Mary is perfectly well, and joins me in kindest rememb’ces to you all.

[Signature cut away.]

["What a nut... for Blackwood.”  To help on Maga’s great cause against Cockney arrogance.

“The dissertation on Malvolio.”  In Elia the essays on the Old Actors were much changed and rearranged (see Appendix to Vol.  II. in this edition).]

LETTER 306

CHARLES LAMB TO MR. AND MRS. J.D.  COLLIER

Twelfth Day [January 6], 1823.

THE pig was above my feeble praise.  It was a dear pigmy.  There was some contention as to who should have the ears, but in spite of his obstinacy (deaf as these little creatures are to advice) I contrived to get at one of them.

It came in boots too, which I took as a favor.  Generally those petty toes, pretty toes! are missing.  But I suppose he wore them, to look taller.

He must have been the least of his race.  His little foots would have gone into the silver slipper.  I take him to have been Chinese, and a female.—­

If Evelyn could have seen him, he would never have farrowed two such prodigious volumes, seeing how much good can be contained in—­how small a compass!

Page 54

He crackled delicately.

John Collier Jun has sent me a Poem which (without the smallest bias from the aforesaid present, believe me) I pronounce sterling.

I set about Evelyn, and finished the first volume in the course of a natural day.  To-day I attack the second—­Parts are very interesting.—­

I left a blank at top of my letter, not being determined which to address it to, so Farmer and Farmer’s wife will please to divide our thanks.  May your granaries be full, and your rats empty, and your chickens plump, and your envious neighbors lean, and your labourers busy, and you as idle and as happy as the day is long!

VIVE L’AGRICULTURE!

Frank Field’s marriage of course you have seen in the papers, and that his brother Barron is expected home.

How do you make your pigs so little? 
They are vastly engaging at that age. 
I was so myself. 
Now I am a disagreeable old hog—­
A middle-aged-gentleman-and-a-half.

My faculties, thank God, are not much impaired.  I have my sight, hearing, taste, pretty perfect; and can read the Lord’s Prayer in the common type, by the help of a candle, without making many mistakes.

Believe me, while my faculties last, a proper appreciator of your many kindnesses in this way; and that the last lingering relish of past flavors upon my dying memory will be the smack of that little Ear.  It was the left ear, which is lucky.  Many happy returns (not of the Pig) but of the New Year to both.—­

Mary for her share of the Pig and the memoirs desires to send the same—­

D’r.  M’r.  C. and M’rs.  C.—­

Yours truly

C. LAMB.

[This letter is usually supposed to have been addressed by Lamb to Mr. and Mrs. Bruton of Mackery End.  The address is, however, Mrs. Collier, Smallfield Place, East Grinstead, Sussex.

“If Evelyn could have seen him.”  John Evelyn’s Diary had recently been published, in 1818 and 1819, in two large quarto volumes.]

LETTER 307

CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES ADERS

[Jan. 8, 1823.]

Dear Sir—­We shall have great pleasure in surprising Mrs. Aders on her Birthday—­You will perceive how cunningly I have contrived the direction of this note, to evade postage.

Yours truly

C. LAMB.

8 Jan. ’23.

[This note is sent to me by Mr. G. Dunlop of Kilmarnock.  It is the only note to Aders, a friend of Crabb Robinson, to whose house Lamb often went for talk and whist.  Aders had a fine collection of German pictures.  See the verses to him in Vol.  IV.  The cunning in the address consisted apparently in obtaining the signature of an India House colleague to certify that it was “official.”]

LETTER 308

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

Page 55

9 Jan., 1823.

“Throw yourself on the world without any rational plan of support, beyond what the chance employ of Booksellers would afford you"!!!

Throw yourself rather, my dear Sir, from the steep Tarpeian rock, slap-dash headlong upon iron spikes.  If you had but five consolatory minutes between the desk and the bed, make much of them, and live a century in them, rather than turn slave to the Booksellers.  They are Turks and Tartars, when they have poor Authors at their beck.  Hitherto you have been at arm’s length from them.  Come not within their grasp.  I have known many authors for bread, some repining, others envying the blessed security of a Counting House, all agreeing they had rather have been Taylors, Weavers, what not? rather than the things they were.  I have known some starved, some to go mad, one clear friend literally dying in a workhouse.  You know not what a rapacious, dishonest set those booksellers are.  Ask even Southey, who (a single case almost) has made a fortune by book drudgery, what he has found them.  O you know not, may you never know! the miseries of subsisting by authorship.  ’Tis a pretty appendage to a situation like yours or mine, but a slavery worse than all slavery to be a book-seller’s dependent, to drudge your brains for pots of ale and breasts of mutton, to change your free thoughts and voluntary numbers for ungracious TASK-WORK.  Those fellows hate us.  The reason I take to be, that, contrary to other trades, in which the Master gets all the credit (a Jeweller or Silversmith for instance), and the Journeyman, who really does the fine work, is in the background, in our work the world gives all the credit to Us, whom they consider as their Journeymen, and therefore do they hate us, and cheat us, and oppress us, and would wring the blood of us out, to put another sixpence in their mechanic pouches.  I contend, that a Bookseller has a relative honesty towards Authors, not like his honesty to the rest of the world.  B[aldwin], who first engag’d me as Elia, has not paid me up yet (nor any of us without repeated mortifying applials), yet how the Knave fawned while I was of service to him!  Yet I dare say the fellow is punctual in settling his milk-score, &c.  Keep to your Bank, and the Bank will keep you.  Trust not to the Public, you may hang, starve, drown yourself, for anything that worthy Personage cares.  I bless every star that Providence, not seeing good to make me independent, has seen it next good to settle me upon the stable foundation of Leadenhall.  Sit down, good B.B., in the Banking Office; what, is there not from six to Eleven P.M. 6 days in the week, and is there not all Sunday?  Fie, what a superfluity of man’s time,—­if you could think so!  Enough for relaxation, mirth, converse, poetry, good thoughts, quiet thoughts.  O the corroding torturing tormenting thoughts, that disturb the Brain of the unlucky wight, who must draw upon it for daily

Page 56

sustenance.  Henceforth I retract all my fond complaints of mercantile employment, look upon them as Lovers’ quarrels.  I was but half in earnest.  Welcome, dead timber of a desk, that makes me live.  A little grumbling is a wholesome medicine for the spleen; but in my inner heart do I approve and embrace this our close but unharassing way of life.  I am quite serious.  If you can send me Fox, I will not keep it six weeks, and will return it, with warm thanks to yourself and friend, without blot or dog’s ear.  You much oblige me by this kindness.

Yours truly,

C. LAMB.

Please to direct to me at India Ho. in future. [?  I am] not always at
Russell St.

[Barton had long been meditating the advisability of giving up his place in the bank at Woodbridge and depending upon his pen.  Lamb’s letter of dissuasion is not the only one which he received.  Byron had written to him in 1812:  “You deserve success; but we knew, before Addison wrote his Cato, that desert does not always command it.  But suppose it attained—­

        ’You know what ills the author’s life assail—­
        Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the jail.’

Do not renounce writing, but never trust entirely to authorship.  If you have a profession, retain it; it will be like Prior’s fellowship, a last and sure resource.”  Barton had now broken again into dissatisfaction with his life.  He did not, however, leave the bank.

Southey made no “fortune” by his pen.  He almost always had to forestall his new works.]

LETTER 309

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN HOWARD PAYNE

23 January, ’23.

Dear Payne—­I have no mornings (my day begins at 5 P.M.) to transact business in, or talents for it, so I employ Mary, who has seen Robertson, who says that the Piece which is to be Operafied was sent to you six weeks since by a Mr. Hunter, whose journey has been delayed, but he supposes you have it by this time.  On receiving it back properly done, the rest of your dues will be forthcoming.  You have received L30 from Harwood, I hope?  Bishop was at the theatre when Mary called, and he has put your other piece into C. Kemble’s hands (the piece you talk of offering Elliston) and C.K. sent down word that he had not yet had time to read it.  So stand your affairs at present.  Glossop has got the Murderer.  Will you address him on the subject, or shall I—­that is, Mary?  She says you must write more showable letters about these matters, for, with all our trouble of crossing out this word, and giving a cleaner turn to th’ other, and folding down at this part, and squeezing an obnoxious epithet into a corner, she can hardly communicate their contents without offence.  What, man, put less gall in your ink, or write me a biting tragedy!

C. LAMB.

[Here should come a letter from Lamb to Ayrton asking him to meet the Burneys and Paynes on Wednesday at half-past four.]

Page 57

LETTER 310

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN HOWARD PAYNE

February [9], 1823.

My dear Miss Lamb—­I have enclosed for you Mr. Payne’s piece called Grandpapa, which I regret to say is not thought to be of the nature that will suit this theatre; but as there appears to be much merit in it, Mr. Kemble strongly recommends that you should send it to the English Opera House, for which it seems to be excellently adapted.  As you have already been kind enough to be our medium of communication with Mr. Payne, I have imposed this trouble upon you; but if you do not like to act for Mr. Payne in the business, and have no means of disposing of the piece, I will forward it to Paris or elsewhere as you think he may prefer.

Very truly yours,

HENRY ROBERTSON.

T.R.C.G., 8 Feb. 1823.

Dear P——­ We have just received the above, and want your instructions.  It strikes me as a very merry little piece, that should be played by very young actors.  It strikes me that Miss Clara Fisher would play the boy exactly.  She is just such a forward chit.  No young man would do it without its appearing absurd, but in a girl’s hands it would have just all the reality that a short dream of an act requires.  Then for the sister, if Miss Stevenson that was, were Miss Stevenson and younger, they two would carry it off.  I do not know who they have got in that young line, besides Miss C.F., at Drury, nor how you would like Elliston to have it—­has he not had it?  I am thick with Arnold, but I have always heard that the very slender profits of the English Opera House do not admit of his giving above a trifle, or next to none, for a piece of this kind.  Write me what I should do, what you would ask, &c.  The music (printed) is returned with the piece, and the French original.  Tell Mr. Grattan I thank him for his book, which as far as I have read it is a very companionable one.  I have but just received it.  It came the same hour with your packet from Cov.  Gar., i.e. yester-night late, to my summer residence, where, tell Kenney, the cow is quiet.  Love to all at Versailles.  Write quickly.

C.L.

I have no acquaintance with Kemble at all, having only met him once or twice; but any information, &c., I can get from R., who is a good fellow, you may command.  I am sorry the rogues are so dilitory, but I distinctly believe they mean to fulfill their engagement.  I am sorry you are not here to see to these things.  I am a poor man of business, but command me to the short extent of my tether.  My sister’s kind remembrance ever.

C.L.

[The “Grandpapa” was eventually produced at Drury Lane, May 25, 1825, and played thrice.  Miss Stevenson was an actress praised by Lamb in The Examiner (see Vol.  I. of this edition).  C.F. was Clara Fisher, mentioned above.

Samuel James Arnold was manager of the Lyceum, then known as the English
Opera House; he was the brother of Mrs. William Ayrton, Lamb’s friend.

Page 58

Mr. Grattan was Thomas Colley Grattan (1792-1864), who was then living in Paris.  His book would be Highways and Byways, first series, 1823.

There is one other note to Payne in the Century Magazine, unimportant and undated, suggesting a walk one Sunday.]

LETTER 311

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  February 17, 1823.]

My dear Sir—­I have read quite through the ponderous folio of G.F.  I think Sewell has been judicious in omitting certain parts, as for instance where G.F. has revealed to him the natures of all the creatures in their names, as Adam had.  He luckily turns aside from that compendious study of natural history, which might have superseded Buffon, to his proper spiritual pursuits, only just hinting what a philosopher he might have been.  The ominous passage is near the beginning of the Book.  It is clear he means a physical knowledge, without trope or figure.  Also, pretences to miraculous healing and the like are more frequent than I should have suspected from the epitome in Sewell.  He is nevertheless a great spiritual man, and I feel very much obliged by your procuring me the Loan of it.  How I like the Quaker phrases—­though I think they were hardly completed till Woolman.  A pretty little manual of Quaker language (with an endeavour to explain them) might be gathered out of his Book.  Could not you do it?  I have read through G.F. without finding any explanation of the term first volume in the title page.  It takes in all, both his life and his death.  Are there more Last words of him?  Pray, how may I venture to return it to Mr. Shewell at Ipswich?  I fear to send such a Treasure by a Stage Coach.  Not that I am afraid of the Coachman or the Guard reading it.  But it might be lost.  Can you put me in a way of sending it in safety?  The kind hearted owner trusted it to me for six months.  I think I was about as many days in getting through it, and I do not think that I skipt a word of it.  I have quoted G.F. in my Quaker’s meeting, as having said he was “lifted up in spirit” (which I felt at the time to be not a Quaker phrase), “and the Judge and Jury were as dead men under his feet.”  I find no such words in his Journal, and I did not get them from Sewell, and the latter sentence I am sure I did not mean to invent.  I must have put some other Quaker’s words into his mouth.  Is it a fatality in me, that every thing I touch turns into a Lye?  I once quoted two Lines from a translation of Dante, which Hazlitt very greatly admired, and quoted in a Book as proof of the stupendous power of that poet, but no such lines are to be found in the translation, which has been searched for the purpose.  I must have dreamed them, for I am quite certain I did not forge them knowingly.  What a misfortune to have a Lying memory.—­Yes, I have seen Miss Coleridge, and wish I had just such a—­daughter. 

Page 59

God love her—­to think that she should have had to toil thro’ five octavos of that cursed (I forget I write to a Quaker) Abbeypony History, and then to abridge them to 3, and all for L113.  At her years, to be doing stupid Jesuits’ Latin into English, when she should be reading or writing Romances.  Heaven send her Uncle do not breed her up a Quarterly Reviewer!—­which reminds me, that he has spoken very respectfully of you in the last number, which is the next thing to having a Review all to one’s self.  Your description of Mr. Mitford’s place makes me long for a pippin and some carraways and a cup of sack in his orchard, when the sweets of the night come in.

Farewell.

C. LAMB.

[In the 1694 folio of George Fox’s Journal the revelation of the names of creatures occurs twice, once under Notts in 1647 and again under Mansfield in 1648.

“Sewell.” The History of the Rise, Increase and Progress of the Christian People called Quakers, 1722.  By William Sewell (1654-1720).

“In my Quaker’s meeting”—­the Elia essay (see Vol.  II.).

“I once quoted two Lines.”  Possibly, Mr. A.R.  Waller suggests to me, the lines:—­

            Because on earth their names
       In Fame’s eternal volume shine for aye,

quoted by Hazlitt in his Round Table essay “On Posthumous Fame,” and again in one of his Edinburgh Review articles.  They are presumably based upon the Inferno, Canto IV. (see Haselfoot’s translation, second edition, 1899, page 21, lines 74-78).  But the “manufacturer” of them must have had Spenser’s line in his mind, “On Fame’s eternall bead-roll worthie to be fyled” (Faerie Queene, Bk.  IV., Canto II., Stanza 32).  They have not yet been found in any translation of Dante.  This explanation would satisfy Lamb’s words “quoted in a book,” i.e., The Round Table, published in 1817.

“Miss Coleridge”—­Coleridge’s daughter Sara, born in 1802, who had been brought up by her uncle, Southey.  She had translated Martin Dobrizhoffer’s Latin history of the Abipones in order to gain funds for her brother Derwent’s college expenses.  Her father considered the translation “unsurpassed for pure mother English by anything I have read for a long time.”  Sara Coleridge married her cousin, Henry Nelson Coleridge, in 1829.  She edited her father’s works and died in 1852.  At the present time she and her mother were visiting the Gillmans.

Mr. Mitford was John Mitford (1781-1859), rector of Benhall, in Suffolk, and editor of old poets.  Later he became editor of the Gentleman’s Magazine.  He was a cousin of Mary Russell Mitford.  In the Gentleman’s Magazine for May, 1838, is a review of Talfourd’s edition of Lamb’s Letters, probably from his pen, in which he records a visit to the Lambs in 1827.]

LETTER 312

CHARLES LAMB TO WALTER WILSON

Page 60

[Dated at end:  February 24, 1823.]

Dear W.—­I write that you may not think me neglectful, not that I have any thing to say.  In answer to your questions, it was at your house I saw an edition of Roxana, the preface to which stated that the author had left out that part of it which related to Roxana’s daughter persisting in imagining herself to be so, in spite of the mother’s denial, from certain hints she had picked up, and throwing herself continually in her mother’s way (as Savage is said to have done in his, prying in at windows to get a glimpse of her), and that it was by advice of Southern, who objected to the circumstances as being untrue, when the rest of the story was founded on fact; which shows S. to have been a stupid-ish fellow.  The incidents so resemble Savage’s story, that I taxed Godwin with taking Falconer from his life by Dr. Johnson.  You should have the edition (if you have not parted with it), for I saw it never but at your place at the Mews’ Gate, nor did I then read it to compare it with my own; only I know the daughter’s curiosity is the best part of my Roxana.  The prologue you speak of was mine, so named, but not worth much.  You ask me for 2 or 3 pages of verse.  I have not written so much since you knew me.  I am altogether prosaic.  May be I may touch off a sonnet in time.  I do not prefer Col.  Jack to either Rob.  Cr. or Roxana.  I only spoke of the beginning of it, his childish history.  The rest is poor.  I do not know anywhere any good character of De Foe besides what you mention.  I do not know that Swift mentions him.  Pope does.  I forget if D’Israeli has.  Dunlop I think has nothing of him.  He is quite new ground, and scarce known beyond Crusoe.  I do not know who wrote Quarll.  I never thought of Quarll as having an author.  It is a poor imitation; the monkey is the best in it, and his pretty dishes made of shells.  Do you know the Paper in the Englishman by Sir Rd.  Steele, giving an account of Selkirk?  It is admirable, and has all the germs of Crusoe.  You must quote it entire.  Captain G. Carleton wrote his own Memoirs; they are about Lord Peterborough’s campaign in Spain, & a good Book.  Puzzelli puzzles me, and I am in a cloud about Donald M’Leod.  I never heard of them; so you see, my dear Wilson, what poor assistances I can give in the way of information.  I wish your Book out, for I shall like to see any thing about De Foe or from you.

Your old friend,

C. LAMB.

From my and your old compound. 24 Feb. ’23.

[With this letter compare the letter on September 9, 1801, to Godwin, and the letter on December 16, 1822, to Wilson.

Defoe’s Roxana, first edition, does not, as a matter of fact, contain the episode of the daughter which Lamb so much admired.  Later editions have it.  Godwin says in his Preface to “Faulkener,” 1807, the play to which Lamb wrote a prologue in praise of Defoe (see Vol.  IV.), that the only accessible edition of Roxana in which the story of Susannah is fully told is that of 1745.

Page 61

Richard Savage was considered to be the natural son of the Countess of Macclesfield and Earl Rivers.  His mother at first disowned him, but afterwards, when this became impossible, repulsed him.  Johnson says in his “Life of Savage,” that it was his hero’s “practice to walk in the dark evenings for several hours before her door in hopes of seeing her as she might come by accident to the window or cross her apartment with a candle in her hand.”

Swift and Defoe were steady enemies, although I do not find that either mentions the other by name.  But Swift in The Examiner often had Defoe in mind, and Defoe in one of his political writings refers to Swift, apropos Wood’s halfpence, as “the copper farthing author.”

Pope referred to Defoe twice in the Dunciad:  once as standing high, fearless and unabashed in the pillory, and once, libellously, as the father of Norton, of the Flying Post.

Philip Quarll was the first imitation of Robinson Crusoe.  It was published in 1727, purporting to be the narrative of one Dorrington, a merchant, and Quarll’s discoverer.  The title begins, The Hermit; or, The Unparalleled Sufferings and Surprising Adventures of Mr. Philip Quarll, an Englishman ...  Lamb says in his essay on Christ’s Hospital that the Blue-Coat boys used to read the book.  The authorship of the book is still unknown.

Steele’s account of Selkirk is in The Englishman, No. 26, Dec. 1, 1713.  Wilson quoted it.

Defoe’s fictitious Military Memoirs of Capt.  George Carleton was published in 1728.

I cannot explain Puzzelli or Donald M’Leod.  Later Lamb sent Wilson, who seems to have asked for some verse about Defoe, the “Ode to the Treadmill,” but Wilson did not use it.

“My old compound.”  Robinson’s Diary (Vol.  I., page 333) has this:  “The large room in the accountant’s office at the East India House is divided into boxes or compartments, in each of which sit six clerks, Charles Lamb himself in one.  They are called Compounds.  The meaning of the word was asked one day, and Lamb said it was ‘a collection of simples.’”]

LETTER 313

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[Dated at end:  March 11, 1823.]

Dear Sir—­The approbation of my little book by your sister is very pleasing to me.  The Quaker incident did not happen to me, but to Carlisle the surgeon, from whose mouth I have twice heard it, at an interval of ten or twelve years, with little or no variation, and have given it as exactly as I could remember it.  The gloss which your sister, or you, have put upon it does not strike me as correct.  Carlisle drew no inference from it against the honesty of the Quakers, but only in favour of their surprising coolness—­that they should be capable of committing a good joke, with an utter insensibility to its being any jest at all.  I have reason to believe in the truth of it, because, as I have said, I heard him repeat it without variation at such an interval.  The story loses sadly in print, for Carlisle is the best story teller I ever heard.  The idea of the discovery of roasting pigs, I also borrowed, from my friend Manning, and am willing to confess both my plagiarisms.

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Should fate ever so order it that you shall be in town with your sister, mine bids me say that she shall have great pleasure in being introduced to her.  I think I must give up the cause of the Bank—­from nine to nine is galley-slavery, but I hope it is but temporary.  Your endeavour at explaining Fox’s insight into the natures of animals must fail, as I shall transcribe the passage.  It appears to me that he stopt short in time, and was on the brink of falling with his friend Naylor, my favourite.—­The book shall be forthcoming whenever your friend can make convenient to call for it.

They have dragged me again into the Magazine, but I feel the spirit of the thing in my own mind quite gone.  “Some brains” (I think Ben Jonson says it) “will endure but one skimming.”  We are about to have an inundation of poetry from the Lakes, Wordsworth and Southey are coming up strong from the North.  The she Coleridges have taken flight, to my regret.  With Sara’s own-made acquisitions, her unaffectedness and no-pretensions are beautiful.  You might pass an age with her without suspecting that she knew any thing but her mother’s tongue.  I don’t mean any reflection on Mrs. Coleridge here.  I had better have said her vernacular idiom.  Poor C. I wish he had a home to receive his daughter in.  But he is but as a stranger or a visitor in this world.  How did you like Hartley’s sonnets?  The first, at least, is vastly fine.  Lloyd has been in town a day or two on business, and is perfectly well.  I am ashamed of the shabby letters I send, but I am by nature anything but neat.  Therein my mother bore me no Quaker.  I never could seal a letter without dropping the wax on one side, besides scalding my fingers.  I never had a seal too of my own.  Writing to a great man lately, who is moreover very Heraldic, I borrowed a seal of a friend, who by the female side quarters the Protectorial Arms of Cromwell.  How they must have puzzled my correspondent!—­My letters are generally charged as double at the Post office, from their inveterate clumsiness of foldure.  So you must not take it disrespectful to your self if I send you such ungainly scraps.  I think I lose L100 a year at the India House, owing solely to my want of neatness in making up Accounts.  How I puzzle ’em out at last is the wonder.  I have to do with millions. I?

It is time to have done my incoherences.

Believe me Yours Truly

C. LAMB.

Tuesd 11 Ma 23.

[Lamb had sent Elia to Woodbridge.  Bernard Barton’s sister was Maria Hack, author of many books for children.  The Quaker incident is in the essay “Imperfect Sympathies.”  Carlisle was Sir Anthony Carlisle.

“Your endeavour at explaining Fox’s insight.”  See letter above.  James Nayler (1617?-1660), an early Quaker who permitted his admirers to look upon him as a new Christ.  He went to extremes totally foreign to the spirit of the Society.  Barton made a paraphrase of Nayler’s “Last Testimony.”

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“They have dragged me again.”  Lamb had been quite ready to give up Elia with the first essays.  “Old China,” one of his most charming papers, was in the March London Magazine.

“Some brains ...”  I had to give this up in my large edition.  I now find that Swift says it, not Ben Jonson.  “There is a brain that will endure but one scumming.”  Preface to Battle of the Books.

“Hartley’s sonnets.”  Four sonnets by Hartley Coleridge were printed in the London Magazine for February, 1823, addressed to R.S.  Jameson.

“Writing to a great man lately.”  This was Sir Walter Scott (see page 626).  Barron Field would be the friend with the seal.

Here should come a letter from Lamb to Ayrton saying that there will be cards and cold mutton in Russell St. from 8 to 9 and gin and jokes from 9.30 to 12.]

LETTER 314

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M. 5 April 1823.]

Dear Sir—­You must think me ill mannered not to have replied to your first letter sooner, but I have an ugly habit of aversion from letter writing, which makes me an unworthy correspondent.  I have had no spring, or cordial call to the occupation of late.  I have been not well lately, which must be my lame excuse.  Your poem, which I consider very affecting, found me engaged about a humorous Paper for the London, which I had called a “Letter to an Old Gentleman whose Education had been neglected”—­and when it was done Taylor and Hessey would not print it, and it discouraged me from doing any thing else, so I took up Scott, where I had scribbled some petulant remarks, and for a make shift father’d them on Ritson.  It is obvious I could not make your Poem a part of them, and as I did not know whether I should ever be able to do to my mind what you suggested, I thought it not fair to keep back the verses for the chance.  Mr. Mitford’s sonnet I like very well; but as I also have my reasons against interfering at all with the Editorial arrangement of the London, I transmitted it (not in my own hand-writing) to them, who I doubt not will be glad to insert it.  What eventual benefit it can be to you (otherwise than that a kind man’s wish is a benefit) I cannot conjecture.  Your Society are eminently men of Business, and will probably regard you as an idle fellow, possibly disown you, that is to say, if you had put your own name to a sonnet of that sort, but they cannot excommunicate Mr. Mitford, therefore I thoroughly approve of printing the said verses.  When I see any Quaker names to the Concert of Antient Music, or as Directors of the British Institution, or bequeathing medals to Oxford for the best classical themes, etc.—­then I shall begin to hope they will emancipate you.  But what as a Society can they do for you? you would not accept a Commission in the Army, nor they be likely to procure it; Posts in Church or State have they none in their giving; and then if they disown you—­think—­you must live “a man forbid.”

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I wishd for you yesterday.  I dined in Parnassus, with Wordsworth, Coleridge, Rogers, and Tom Moore—­half the Poetry of England constellated and clustered in Gloster Place!  It was a delightful Even!  Coleridge was in his finest vein of talk, had all the talk, and let ’em talk as evilly as they do of the envy of Poets, I am sure not one there but was content to be nothing but a listener.  The Muses were dumb, while Apollo lectured on his and their fine Art.  It is a lie that Poets are envious, I have known the best of them, and can speak to it, that they give each other their merits, and are the kindest critics as well as best authors.  I am scribbling a muddy epistle with an aking head, for we did not quaff Hippocrene last night.  Many, it was Hippocras rather.  Pray accept this as a letter in the mean time, and do me the favor to mention my respects to Mr. Mitford, who is so good as to entertain good thoughts of Elia, but don’t show this almost impertinent scrawl.  I will write more respectfully next time, for believe me, if not in words, in feelings, yours most so.

["Your poem.”  Barton’s poem was entitled “A Poet’s Thanks,” and was printed in the London Magazine for April, 1823, the same number that contained Lamb’s article on Ritson and Scott.  It is one of his best poems, an expression of contentment in simplicity.  The “Letter to an Old Gentleman,” a parody of De Quincey’s series of “Letters to a Young Gentleman” in the London Magazine, was not published until January, 1825.  Scott was John Scott of Amwell (Barton’s predecessor as the Quaker poet), who had written a rather foolish book of prose, Critical Essays on the English Poets.  Ritson was Joseph Ritson, the critic and antiquarian.  See Vol.  I. of the present edition for the essay.  Barton seems to have suggested to Lamb that he should write an essay around the poem “A Poet’s Thanks.”  Mitford’s sonnet, which was printed in the London Magazine for June, 1823, was addressed commiseratingly to Bernard Barton.  It began:—­

What to thy broken Spirit can atone,
Unhappy victim of the Tyrant’s fears;

and continued in the same strain, the point being that Barton was the victim of his Quaker employers, who made him “prisoner at once and slave.”  Lamb’s previous letter shows us that Barton was being worked from nine till nine, and we must suppose also that an objection to his poetical exercises had been lodged or suggested.  The matter righted itself in time.

“I dined in Parnassus.”  This dinner, at Thomas Monkhouse’s, No. 34 Gloucester Place, is described both by Moore and by Crabb Robinson, who was present.  Moore wrote in his Journal:—­

“Dined at Mr. Monkhouse’s (a gentleman I had never seen before) on Wordsworth’s invitation, who lives there whenever he comes to town.  A singular party.  Coleridge, Rogers, Wordsworth and wife, Charles Lamb (the hero at present of the London Magazine), and his sister (the poor woman who went mad in a diligence on the way to Paris), and a Mr. Robinson, one of the minora sidera of this constellation of the Lakes; the host himself, a Maecenas of the school, contributing nothing but good dinners and silence.  Charles Lamb, a clever fellow, certainly, but full of villainous and abortive puns, which he miscarries of every minute.  Some excellent things, however, have come from him.”

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Lamb told Moore that he had hitherto always felt an antipathy to him, but henceforward should like him.

Crabb Robinson writes:—­

April 4th.—­Dined at Monkhouse’s.  Our party consisted of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Lamb, Moore, and Rogers.  Five poets of very unequal worth and most disproportionate popularity, whom the public probably would arrange in the very inverse order, except that it would place Moore above Rogers.  During this afternoon, Coleridge alone displayed any of his peculiar talent.  He talked much and well.  I have not for years seen him in such excellent health and spirits.  His subjects metaphysical criticism—­Wordsworth he chiefly talked to.  Rogers occasionally let fall a remark.  Moore seemed conscious of his inferiority.  He was very attentive to Coleridge, but seemed to relish Lamb, whom he sat next.  L. was in a good frame—­kept himself within bounds and was only cheerful at last....  I was at the bottom of the table, where I very ill performed my part....  I walked home late with Lamb.”

Many years later Robinson sent to The Athenaeum (June 25, 1853) a further and fuller account of the evening.]

LETTER 315

CHARLES LAMB TO B.W.  PROCTER

April 13th, 1823.

Dear Lad,—­You must think me a brute beast, a rhinoceros, never to have acknowledged the receipt of your precious present.  But indeed I am none of those shocking things, but have arrived at that indisposition to letter-writing, which would make it a hard exertion to write three lines to a king to spare a friend’s life.  Whether it is that the Magazine paying me so much a page, I am loath to throw away composition—­how much a sheet do you give your correspondents?  I have hung up Pope, and a gem it is, in my town room; I hope for your approval.  Though it accompanies the “Essay on Man,” I think that was not the poem he is here meditating.  He would have looked up, somehow affectedly, if he were just conceiving “Awake, my St. John.”  Neither is he in the “Rape of the Lock” mood exactly.  I think he has just made out the last lines of the “Epistle to Jervis,” between gay and tender,

        “And other beauties envy Worsley’s eyes.”

I’ll be damn’d if that isn’t the line.  He is brooding over it, with a dreamy phantom of Lady Mary floating before him.  He is thinking which is the earliest possible day and hour that she will first see it.  What a miniature piece of gentility it is!  Why did you give it me?  I do not like you enough to give you anything so good.

I have dined with T. Moore and breakfasted with Rogers, since I saw you; have much to say about them when we meet, which I trust will be in a week or two.  I have been over-watched and over-poeted since Wordsworth has been in town.  I was obliged for health sake to wish him gone:  but now he is gone I feel a great loss.  I am going to Dalston to recruit, and have serious thoughts—­of altering my condition, that is, of taking to sobriety.  What do you advise me?

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T. Moore asked me your address in a manner which made me believe he meant to call upon you.

Rogers spake very kindly of you, as every body does, and none with so much reason as your

C.L.

[This is the first important letter to Bryan Waller Procter, better known as Barry Cornwall, who was afterwards to write, in his old age, so pleasant a memoir of Lamb.  He was then thirty-five, was practising law, and had already published Marcian Colonna and A Sicilian Story.

The Epistle to Mr. Jervas (with Mr. Dryden’s translation of Fresnoy’s Art of Painting) did not end upon this line, but some eighteen lines later.  I give the portrait in my large edition.

“Lady Mary.”  By Lady Mary Lamb means, as Pope did in the first edition, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.  But after his quarrel with that lady Pope altered it to Worsley, signifying Lady Frances Worsley, daughter of the Duke of Marlborough and wife of Sir Robert Worsley.]

LETTER 316

CHARLES LAMB TO SARAH HUTCHINSON

[P.M.  April 25, 1823.]

Dear Miss H——­, Mary has such an invincible reluctance to any epistolary exertion, that I am sparing her a mortification by taking the pen from her.  The plain truth is, she writes such a pimping, mean, detestable hand, that she is ashamed of the formation of her letters.  There is an essential poverty and abjectness in the frame of them.  They look like begging letters.  And then she is sure to omit a most substantial word in the second draught (for she never ventures an epistle, without a foul copy first) which is obliged to be interlined, which spoils the neatest epistle, you know [the word “epistle” is underlined).  Her figures, 1, 2, 3, 4, &c., where she has occasion to express numerals, as in the date (25 Apr 1823), are not figures, but Figurantes.  And the combined posse go staggering up and down shameless as drunkards in the day time.  It is no better when she rules her paper, her lines are “not less erring” than her words—­a sort of unnatural parallel lines, that are perpetually threatening to meet, which you know is quite contrary to Euclid [here Lamb has ruled lines grossly unparallel].  Her very blots are not bold like this [here a bold blot], but poor smears [here a poor smear] half left in and half scratched out with another smear left in their place.  I like a clean letter.  A bold free hand, and a fearless flourish.  Then she has always to go thro’ them (a second operation) to dot her i s, and cross her t s.  I don’t think she can make a cork screw, if she tried—­which has such a fine effect at the end or middle of an epistle—­and fills up—­

[Here Lamb has made a corkscrew two inches long.]

There is a corkscrew, one of the best I ever drew.  By the way what incomparable whiskey that was of Monkhouse’s.  But if I am to write a letter, let me begin, and not stand flourishing like a fencer at a fair.

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It gives me great pleasure (the letter now begins) to hear that you got down smoothly, and that Mrs. Monkhouse’s spirits are so good and enterprising.  It shews, whatever her posture may be, that her mind at least is not supine.  I hope the excursion will enable the former to keep pace with its out-stripping neighbor.  Pray present our kindest wishes to her, and all. (That sentence should properly have come in the Post Script, but we airy Mercurial Spirits, there is no keeping us in).  Time—­as was said of one of us—­toils after us in vain.  I am afraid our co-visit with Coleridge was a dream.  I shall not get away before the end (or middle) of June, and then you will be frog-hopping at Boulogne.  And besides I think the Gilmans would scarce trust him with us, I have a malicious knack at cutting of apron strings.  The Saints’ days you speak of have long since fled to heaven, with Astraea, and the cold piety of the age lacks fervor to recall them—­only Peter left his key—­the iron one of the two, that shuts amain—­and that’s the reason I am lockd up.  Meanwhile of afternoons we pick up primroses at Dalston, and Mary corrects me when I call ’em cowslips.  God bless you all, and pray remember me euphoneously to Mr. Gnwellegan.  That Lee Priory must be a dainty bower, is it built of flints, and does it stand at Kingsgate?  Did you remem

[This is apparently the proper end of the letter.  At least there is no indication of another sheet.]

[Addressed to “Miss Hutchinson, 17 Sion Hill, Ramsgate, Kent,” where she was staying with Mrs. Monkhouse.  I give a facsimile of it in my large edition.

“’Time’—­as was said of one of us.”  Johnson wrote of Shakespeare, in the Prologue at the opening of Drury Lane Theatre in 1747:—­

And panting Time toil’d after him in vain.

“The Saints’ days.”  See note to the letter to Mrs. Wordsworth, Feb. 18, 1818.

“Mr. Gnwellegan.”  Probably Lamb’s effort to write the name of Edward Quillinan, afterwards Wordsworth’s son-in-law, whose first wife had been a Miss Brydges of Lee Priory.

“Lee Priory”—­the home of Sir Egerton Brydges, at Ickham, near Canterbury, for some years.  He had, however, now left, and the private press was closed.

In Notes and Queries, November 11, 1876, was printed the following scrap, a postscript by Charles Lamb to a letter from Mary Lamb to Miss H. I place it here, having no clue as to date, nor does it matter:—­]

LETTER 317

(Fragment)

CHARLES LAMB TO MISS HUTCHINSON (?)

A propos of birds—­the other day at a large dinner, being call’d upon for a toast, I gave, as the best toast I knew, “Wood-cock toast,” which was drunk with 3 cheers.

Yours affect’y

C. LAMB.

LETTER 318

Page 68

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN BATES DIBDIN

[No date.  Probably 1823.]

It is hard when a Gentleman cannot remain concealed, who affecteth obscurity with greater avidity than most do seek to have their good deeds brought to light—­to haye a prying inquisitive finger, (to the danger of its own scorching), busied in removing the little peck measure (scripturally a bushel) under which one had hoped to bury his small candle.  The receipt of fern-seed, I think, in this curious age, would scarce help a man to walk invisible.

Well, I am discovered—­and thou thyself, who thoughtest to shelter under the pease-cod of initiality (a stale and shallow device), art no less dragged to light—­Thy slender anatomy—­thy skeletonian D——­ fleshed and sinewed out to the plump expansion of six characters—­thy tuneful genealogy deduced—­

By the way, what a name is Timothy!

Lay it down, I beseech thee, and in its place take up the properer sound of Timotheus—­

Then mayst thou with unblushing fingers handle the Lyre “familiar to the D——­n name.”

With much difficulty have I traced thee to thy lurking-place.  Many a goodly name did I run over, bewildered between Dorrien, and Doxat, and Dover, and Dakin, and Daintry—­a wilderness of D’s—­till at last I thought I had hit it—­my conjectures wandering upon a melancholy Jew—­you wot the Israelite upon Change—­Master Daniels—­a contemplative Hebrew—­ to the which guess I was the rather led, by the consideration that most of his nation are great readers—­

Nothing is so common as to see them in the Jews’ Walk, with a bundle of script in one hand, and the Man of Feeling, or a volume of Sterne, in the other—­

I am a rogue if I can collect what manner of face thou carriest, though thou seemest so familiar with mine—­If I remember, thou didst not dimly resemble the man Daniels, whom at first I took thee for—­a care-worn, mortified, economical, commercio-political countenance, with an agreeable limp in thy gait, if Elia mistake thee not.  I think I sh’d shake hands with thee, if I met thee.

[John Bates Dibdin, the son of Charles Dibdin the younger and grandson of the great Charles Dibdin, was at this time a young man of about twenty-four, engaged as a clerk in a shipping office in the city.  I borrow from Canon Ainger an interesting letter from a sister of Dibdin on the beginning of the correspondence:—­

My brother ... had constant occasion to conduct the giving or taking of cheques, as it might be, at the India House.  There he always selected “the little clever man” in preference to the other clerks.  At that time the Elia Essays were appearing in print.  No one had the slightest conception who “Elia” was.  He was talked of everywhere, and everybody was trying to find him out, but without success.  At last, from the style and manner of conveying his ideas and opinions on different subjects, my brother began to suspect

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that Lamb was the individual so widely sought for, and wrote some lines to him, anonymously, sending them by post to his residence, with the hope of sifting him on the subject.  Although Lamb could not know who sent him the lines, yet he looked very hard at the writer of them the next time they met, when he walked up, as usual, to Lamb’s desk in the most unconcerned manner, to transact the necessary business.  Shortly after, when they were again in conversation, something dropped from Lamb’s lips which convinced his hearer, beyond a doubt, that his suspicions were correct.  He therefore wrote some more lines (anonymously, as before), beginning—­

“I’ve found thee out, O Elia!”

and sent them to Colebrook Row.  The consequence was that at their next meeting Lamb produced the lines, and after much laughing, confessed himself to be Elia.  This led to a warm friendship between them.

Dibdin’s letter of discovery was signed D. Hence Lamb’s fumbling after his Christian name, which he probably knew all the time.]

LETTER 319

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M. 3 May, 1823.]

Dear Sir—­I am vexed to be two letters in your debt, but I have been quite out of the vein lately.  A philosophical treatise is wanting, of the causes of the backwardness with which persons after a certain time of life set about writing a letter.  I always feel as if I had nothing to say, and the performance generally justifies the presentiment.  Taylor and Hessey did foolishly in not admitting the sonnet.  Surely it might have followed the B.B.  I agree with you in thinking Bowring’s paper better than the former.  I will inquire about my Letter to the Old Gentleman, but I expect it to go in, after those to the Young Gent’n are completed.  I do not exactly see why the Goose and little Goslings should emblematize a Quaker poet that has no children.  But after all—­perhaps it is a Pelican.  The Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin around it I cannot decypher.  The songster of the night pouring out her effusions amid a Silent Meeting of Madge Owlets, would be at least intelligible.  A full pause here comes upon me, as if I had not a word more left.  I will shake my brain.  Once—­ twice—­nothing comes up.  George Fox recommends waiting on these occasions.  I wait.  Nothing comes.  G. Fox—­that sets me off again.  I have finished the Journal, and 400 more pages of the Doctrinals, which I picked up for 7s. 6d.  If I get on at this rate, the Society will be in danger of having two Quaker poets—­to patronise.  I am at Dalston now, but if, when I go back to Cov.  Gar., I find thy friend has not call’d for the Journal, thee must put me in a way of sending it; and if it should happen that the Lender of it, having that volume, has not the other, I shall be most happy in his accepting the Doctrinals, which I shall read but once certainly.  It is not a splendid copy, but perfect, save a leaf of Index.

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I cannot but think the London drags heavily.  I miss Janus.  And O how it misses Hazlitt!  Procter too is affronted (as Janus has been) with their abominable curtailment of his things—­some meddling Editor or other—­or phantom of one —­for neither he nor Janus know their busy friend.  But they always find the best part cut out; and they have done well to cut also.  I am not so fortunate as to be served in this manner, for I would give a clean sum of money in sincerity to leave them handsomely.  But the dogs—­T. and H. I mean—­ will not affront me, and what can I do? must I go on to drivelling?  Poor Relations is tolerable—­but where shall I get another subject—­or who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  I assure you it teases me more than it used to please me.  Ch.  Lloyd has published a sort of Quaker poem, he tells me, and that he has order’d me a copy, but I have not got it.  Have you seen it?  I must leave a little wafer space, which brings me to an apology for a conclusion.  I am afraid of looking back, for I feel all this while I have been writing nothing, but it may show I am alive.  Believe me, cordially yours C. LAMB.

[The sonnet probably was Mitford’s, which was printed in the June number (see above).  Bowring, afterwards Sir John, was writing in the London Magazine on “Spanish Romances.”

“The Goose and little Goslings.”  Possibly the design upon the seal of Barton’s last letter.

“Janus.”  The first mention of Thomas Griffiths Wainewright (see note below), who sometimes wrote in the London over the pseudonym Janus Weathercock.  John Taylor, Hood and perhaps John Hamilton Reynolds, made up the magazine for press.  In the May number, in addition to Lamb’s “Poor Relations,” were contributions from De Quincey, Hartley Coleridge, Cary, and Barton.  But it was not what it had been.

Lloyd’s Quaker poem would probably be one of those in his Poems, 1823, which contains some of his most interesting work.]

LETTER 320

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN BATES DIBDIN

[P.M.  May 6, 1823.]

Dear Sir—­Your verses were very pleasant, and I shall like to see more of them—­I do not mean addressed to me.

I do not know whether you live in town or country, but if it suits your convenience I shall be glad to see you some evening—­ say Thursday—­at 20 Great Russell Street, Cov’t Garden.  If you can come, do not trouble yourself to write.  We are old fashiond people who drink tea at six, or not much later, and give cold mutton and pickle at nine, the good old hour.  I assure you (if it suit you) we shall be glad to see you.—­

    Yours, etc.  C. LAMB.

E.I.H., Tuesday,         My love to Mr. Railton. 
Some day of May 1823.     The same to Mr. Rankin,
Not official.            to the whole Firm indeed.

[The verses are not, I fear, now recoverable.  Dibdin’s firm was Railton, Rankin & Co., in Old Jury.

Page 71

Here should come a letter from Lamb to Hone, dated May 19, 1823.  William Hone (1780-1842), who then, his stormy political days over, was publishing antiquarian works on Ludgate Hill, had sent Lamb his Ancient Mysteries Described, 1823.  Lamb thanks him for it, and invites him to 14 Kingsland Row, Dalston, the next Sunday:  “We dine exactly at 4.”]

LETTER 321

MARY LAMB TO MRS. RANDAL NORRIS

Hastings, at Mrs. Gibbs, York Cottage, Priory, No. 4. [June 18, 1823.]

My dear Friend,—­Day after day has passed away, and my brother has said, “I will write to Mrs. [?  Mr.] Norris to-morrow,” and therefore I am resolved to write to Mrs. Norris to-day, and trust him no longer.  We took our places for Sevenoaks, intending to remain there all night in order to see Knole, but when we got there we chang’d our minds, and went on to Tunbridge Wells.  About a mile short of the Wells the coach stopped at a little inn, and I saw, “Lodgings to let” on a little, very little house opposite.  I ran over the way, and secured them before the coach drove away, and we took immediate possession:  it proved a very comfortable place, and we remained there nine days.  The first evening, as we were wandering about, we met a lady, the wife of one of the India House clerks, with whom we had been slightly acquainted some years ago, which slight acquaintance has been ripened into a great intimacy during the nine pleasant days that we passed at the Wells.  She and her two daughters went with us in an open chaise to Knole, and as the chaise held only five, we mounted Miss James upon a little horse, which she rode famously.  I was very much pleased with Knole, and still more with Penshurst, which we also visited.  We saw Frant and the Rocks, and made much use of your Guide Book, only Charles lost his way once going by the map.  We were in constant exercise the whole time, and spent our time so pleasantly that when we came here on Monday we missed our new friends and found ourselves very dull.  We are by the seaside in a still less house, and we have exchanged a very pretty landlady for a very ugly one, but she is equally attractive to us.  We eat turbot, and we drink smuggled Hollands, and we walk up hill and down hill all day long.  In the little intervals of rest that we allow ourselves I teach Miss James French; she picked up a few words during her foreign Tour with us, and she has had a hankering after it ever since.

We came from Tunbridge Wells in a Postchaise, and would have seen Battle Abbey on the way, but it is only shewn on a Monday.  We are trying to coax Charles into a Monday’s excursion.  And Bexhill we are also thinking about.  Yesterday evening we found out by chance the most beautiful view I ever saw.  It is called “The Lovers’ Seat."...  You have been here, therefore you must have seen [it, or] is it only Mr. and Mrs. Faint who have visited Hastings? [Tell Mrs.] Faint that though in my haste to get housed I d[ecided on] ... ice’s lodgings, yet it comforted all th ... to know that I had a place in view.

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I suppose you are so busy that it is not fair to ask you to write me a line to say how you are going on.  Yet if any one of you have half an hour to spare for that purpose, it will be most thankfully received.  Charles joins with me in love to you all together, and to each one in particular upstairs and downstairs.

Yours most affectionately, M. LAMB.  June 18

[Mr. Hazlitt dates this letter 1825 or 1826, and considers it to refer to a second visit to Hastings; but I think most probably it refers to the 1823 visit, especially as the Lovers’ Seat would assuredly have been discovered then.  Miss James was Mary Lamb’s nurse.  Mrs. Randal Norris had been a Miss Faint.

There is a curious similarity between a passage in this letter and in one of Byron’s, written in 1814:  “I have been swimming, and eating turbot, and smuggling neat brandies, and silk handkerchiefs ... and walking on cliffs and tumbling down hills.”

A Hastings guide book for 1825 gives Mrs. Gibbs’ address as 4 York Cottages, near Priory Bridge.  Near by, in Pelham Place, a Mr. Hogsflesh had a lodging-house.]

LETTER 322

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M. 10 July, 1823.]

Dear Sir—­I shall be happy to read the MS. and to forward it; but T. and
H. must judge for themselves of publication.  If it prove interesting (as
I doubt not) I shall not spare to say so, you may depend upon it. 
Suppose you direct it to Acco’ts.  Office, India House.

I am glad you have met with some sweetening circumstances to your unpalatable draught.  I have just returned from Hastings, where are exquisite views and walks, and where I have given up my soul to walking, and I am now suffering sedentary contrasts.  I am a long time reconciling to Town after one of these excursions.  Home is become strange, and will remain so yet a while.  Home is the most unforgiving of friends and always resents Absence; I know its old cordial looks will return, but they are slow in clearing up.  That is one of the features of this our galley slavery, that peregrination ended makes things worse.  I felt out of water (with all the sea about me) at Hastings, and just as I had learned to domiciliate there, I must come back to find a home which is no home.  I abused Hastings, but learned its value.  There are spots, inland bays, etc., which realise the notions of Juan Fernandez.

The best thing I lit upon by accident was a small country church (by whom or when built unknown) standing bare and single in the midst of a grove, with no house or appearance of habitation within a quarter of a mile, only passages diverging from it thro’ beautiful woods to so many farm houses.  There it stands, like the first idea of a church, before parishioners were thought of, nothing but birds for its congregation, or like a Hermit’s oratory (the Hermit dead), or a mausoleum, its effect singularly impressive, like a church found in a desert isle to startle Crusoe with a home image; you must make out a vicar and a congregation from fancy, for surely none come there.  Yet it wants not its pulpit, and its font, and all the seemly additaments of our worship.

Page 73

Southey has attacked Elia on the score of infidelity, in the Quarterly, Article, “Progress of Infidels [Infidelity].”  I had not, nor have, seen the Monthly.  He might have spared an old friend such a construction of a few careless flights, that meant no harm to religion.  If all his UNGUARDED expressions on the subject were to be collected—­

But I love and respect Southey—­and will not retort.  I HATE HIS REVIEW, and his being a Reviewer.

The hint he has dropped will knock the sale of the book on the head, which was almost at a stop before.

Let it stop.  There is corn in Egypt, while there is cash at Leadenhall.  You and I are something besides being Writers.  Thank God.

Yours truly C.L.

[What the MS. was I do not know.  Lamb recurs more fully to the description of the little church—­probably Hollingdon Rural, about three miles north-west from the town—­in later letters.

The thoughts in the second paragraph of this letter were amplified in the Elia essay “The Old Margate Hoy,” in the London Magazine for July, 1823.

“Southey has attacked Elia.”  In an article in the Quarterly for January, 1823, in a review of a work by Gregoire on Deism in France, under the title “The Progress of Infidelity,” Southey had a reference to Elia in the following terms:—­

“Unbelievers have not always been honest enough thus to express their real feelings; but this we know concerning them, that when they have renounced their birthright of hope, they have not been able to divest themselves of fear.  From the nature of the human mind this might be presumed, and in fact it is so.  They may deaden the heart and stupify the conscience, but they cannot destroy the imaginative faculty.  There is a remarkable proof of this in Elia’s Essays, a book which wants only a sounder religious feeling, to be as delightful as it is original.”

And then Southey went on to draw attention to the case of Thornton Hunt, the little child of Leigh Hunt, the (to Southey) notorious free-thinker, who, as Lamb had stated in the essay “Witches and Other Night Fears,” would wake at night in terror of images of fear.

“I will not retort.”  Lamb, as we shall see, changed his mind.

“Almost at a stop before.” Elia was never popular until long after Lamb’s death.  It did not reach a second edition until 1836.  There are now several new editions every year.]

LETTER 323

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[July, 1823.]

D’r A.—­I expect Proctor and Wainwright (Janus W.) this evening; will you come?  I suppose it is but a comp’t to ask Mrs. Alsop; but it is none to say that we should be most glad to see her.  Yours ever.  How vexed I am at your Dalston expedit’n.  C.L.  Tuesday.

Page 74

[Mrs. Allsop was a daughter of Mrs. Jordan, and had herself been an actress.]

LETTER 324

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[Dated at end:  2 September (1823).]

Dear B.B.—­What will you say to my not writing?  You cannot say I do not write now.  Hessey has not used your kind sonnet, nor have I seen it.  Pray send me a Copy.  Neither have I heard any more of your Friend’s MS., which I will reclaim, whenever you please.  When you come London-ward you will find me no longer in Cov’t Gard.  I have a Cottage, in Colebrook row, Islington.  A cottage, for it is detach’d; a white house, with 6 good rooms; the New River (rather elderly by this time) runs (if a moderate walking pace can be so termed) close to the foot of the house; and behind is a spacious garden, with vines (I assure you), pears, strawberries, parsnips, leeks, carrots, cabbages, to delight the heart of old Alcinous.  You enter without passage into a cheerful dining room, all studded over and rough with old Books, and above is a lightsome Drawing room, 3 windows, full of choice prints.  I feel like a great Lord, never having had a house before.

The London I fear falls off.—­I linger among its creaking rafters, like the last rat.  It will topple down, if they don’t get some Buttresses.  They have pull’d down three, W. Hazlitt, Proctor, and their best stay, kind light hearted Wainwright —­their Janus.  The best is, neither of our fortunes is concern’d in it.

I heard of you from Mr. Pulham this morning, and that gave a fillip to my Laziness, which has been intolerable.  But I am so taken up with pruning and gardening, quite a new sort of occupation to me.  I have gather’d my Jargonels, but my Windsor Pears are backward.  The former were of exquisite raciness.  I do now sit under my own vine, and contemplate the growth of vegetable nature.  I can now understand in what sense they speak of FATHER ADAM.  I recognise the paternity, while I watch my tulips.  I almost FELL with him, for the first day I turned a drunken gard’ner (as he let in the serpent) into my Eden, and he laid about him, lopping off some choice boughs, &c., which hung over from a neighbor’s garden, and in his blind zeal laid waste a shade, which had sheltered their window from the gaze of passers by.  The old gentlewoman (fury made her not handsome) could scarcely be reconciled by all my fine words.  There was no buttering her parsnips.  She talk’d of the Law.  What a lapse to commit on the first day of my happy “garden-state.”

I hope you transmitted the Fox-Journal to its Owner with suitable thanks.

Mr. Cary, the Dante-man, dines with me to-day.  He is a model of a country Parson, lean (as a Curate ought to be), modest, sensible, no obtruder of church dogmas, quite a different man from Southey,—­you would like him.

Pray accept this for a Letter, and believe me with sincere regards

Page 75

Yours C.L.

2 Sept.

["Your kind sonnet.”  Barton’s well-known sonnet to Elia (quoted below) had been printed in the London Magazine long before—­in the previous February.  I do not identify this one among his writings.

“I have a Cottage.”  This cottage still stands (1912).  Within it is much as in Lamb’s day, but outwardly changed, for a new house has been built on one side and it is thus no longer detached.  The New River still runs before it, but subterraneously.

Barton was so attracted by one at least of Lamb’s similes that, I fancy, he borrowed it for an account of his grandfather’s house at Tottenham which he wrote some time later; for I find that gentleman’s garden described as “equal to that of old Alcinous.”

“Kind light hearted Wainwright.”  Lamb has caused much surprise by using such words of one who was destined to become almost the most cold-blooded criminal in English history; but, as Hartley Coleridge wrote in another connection, it was Lamb’s way to take things by the better handle, and Wainewright’s worst faults in those days seem to have been extravagance and affectation.  Lamb at any rate liked him and Wainewright was proud to be on a footing with Elia and his sister, as we know from his writings.  Wainewright at this time was not quite twenty-nine; he had painted several pictures, some of which were accepted by the academy, and he had written a number of essays over several different pseudonyms, chief of which was Janus Weathercock.  He lived in Great Marlborough Street in some style and there entertained many literary men, among them Lamb.  It was not until 1826 that his criminal career began.

“Mr. Pulham”—­Brook Pulham of the India House, who made the caricature etching of Elia.

“While I watch my tulips.”  Lamb is, of course, embroidering here, but we have it on the authority of George Daniel, the antiquary, that with his removal to Colebrooke Cottage began an interest in horticulture, particularly in roses.

“Mr. Cary.”  The Rev. Henry Francis Cary (1772-1844), the translator of Dante and afterwards, 1826, Assistant-Keeper of the Printed Books in the British Museum.  A regular contributor to the London Magazine.]

LETTER 325

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[Dated at end:  Sept. 6 (1823).]

Dear Alsop—­I am snugly seated at the cottage; Mary is well but weak, and comes home on Monday; she will soon be strong enough to see her friends here.  In the mean time will you dine with me at 1/2 past four to-morrow?  Ayrton and Mr. Burney are coming.

Colebrook Cottage, left hand side, end of Colebrook Row on the western brink of the New River, a detach’d whitish house.  No answer is required but come if you can.  C. LAMB.

Saturday 6th Sep.

I call’d on you on Sunday.  Resp’cts to Mrs. A. & boy.

Page 76

LETTER 326

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[P.M.  Sept. 9, 1823.]

My dear A.—­I am going to ask you to do me the greatest favour which a man can do to another.  I want to make my will, and to leave my property in trust for my sister. N.B. I am not therefore going to die.—­Would it be unpleasant for you to be named for one?  The other two I shall beg the same favor of are Talfourd and Proctor.  If you feel reluctant, tell me, and it sha’n’t abate one jot of my friendly feeling toward you.

Yours ever, C. LAMB.

E.I.  House, Aug. [i.e., Sept.] 9, 1823.

LETTER 327

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[P.M.  September 10, 1823.]

My dear A.—­Your kindness in accepting my request no words of mine can repay.  It has made you overflow into some romance which I should have check’d at another time.  I hope it may be in the scheme of Providence that my sister may go first (if ever so little a precedence), myself next, and my good Ex’rs survive to remembr us with kindness many years.  God bless you.

I will set Proctor about the will forthwith.  C. LAMB.

[Here should come another note to Allsop dated Sept. 16, 1823, saying that Mary Lamb is still ill at Fulham.  Given in the Boston Bibliophile edition.]

LETTER 328

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[September, 1823.]

Dear A.—­Your Cheese is the best I ever tasted; Mary will tell you so hereafter.  She is at home, but has disappointed me.  She has gone back rather than improved.  However, she has sense enough to value the present, for she is greatly fond of Stilton.  Yours is the delicatest rain-bow-hued melting piece I ever flavoured.  Believe me.  I took it the more kindly, following so great a kindness.

Depend upon’t, yours shall be one of the first houses we shall present ourselves at, when we have got our Bill of Health.

Being both yours and Mrs. Allsop’s truly.  C.L. & M.L.

[Allsop and Procter may have been named as executors of Lamb’s will at one time, but when it came to be proved the executors were Talfourd and Ryle, a fellow-clerk in the India House.]

LETTER 329

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  September 17, 1823.]

Dear Sir—­I have again been reading your stanzas on Bloomfield, which are the most appropriate that can be imagined, sweet with Doric delicacy.  I like that

Our more chaste Theocritus—­

just hinting at the fault of the Grecian.  I love that stanza ending with

Words phrases fashions pass away;
But Truth and nature live through all.

Page 77

But I shall omit in my own copy the one stanza which alludes to Lord B.—­I suppose.  It spoils the sweetness and oneness of the feeling.  Cannot we think of Burns, or Thompson, without sullying the thought with a reflection out of place upon Lord Rochester?  These verses might have been inscribed upon a tomb; are in fact an epitaph; satire does not look pretty upon a tombstone.  Besides, there is a quotation in it, always bad in verse; seldom advisable in prose.

I doubt if their having been in a Paper will not prevent T. and H. from insertion, but I shall have a thing to send in a day or two, and shall try them.  Omitting that stanza, a very little alteration is want’g in the beginn’g of the next.  You see, I use freedom.  How happily (I flatter not!) you have bro’t in his subjects; and, (I suppose) his favorite measure, though I am not acquainted with any of his writings but the Farmer’s Boy.  He dined with me once, and his manners took me exceedingly.

I rejoyce that you forgive my long silence.  I continue to estimate my own-roof comforts highly.  How could I remain all my life a lodger!  My garden thrives (I am told) tho’ I have yet reaped nothing but some tiny sallad, and withered carrots.  But a garden’s a garden anywhere, and twice a garden in London.

Somehow I cannot relish that word Horkey.  Cannot you supply it by circumlocution, and direct the reader by a note to explain that it means the Horkey.  But Horkey choaks me in the Text.  It raises crowds of mean associations, Hawking and sp-----g, Gauky, Stalky, Maukin.  The sound is every thing, in such dulcet modulations ’specially.  I like

Gilbert Meldrum’s sterner tones,

without knowing who Gilbert Meldrum is.  You have slipt in your rhymes as if they grew there, so natural-artificially, or artificial-naturally.  There’s a vile phrase.

Do you go on with your Quaker Sonnets—­[to] have ’em ready with Southey’s Book of the Church?  I meditate a letter to S. in the London, which perhaps will meet the fate of the Sonnet.

Excuse my brevity, for I write painfully at office, liable to 100 callings off.  And I can never sit down to an epistle elsewhere.  I read or walk.  If you return this letter to the Post Office, I think they will return 4d, seeing it is but half a one.  Believe me tho’ entirely yours C.L.

[Barton’s “Verses to the Memory of Bloomfield, the Suffolk Poet” (who died in August, 1823), were printed in book form in his Poetic Vigils, 1824.  This is the stanza that Lamb most liked:—­

        It is not quaint and local terms
          Besprinkled o’er thy rustic lay,
        Though well such dialect confirms
          Its power unletter’d minds to sway,
        It is not these that most display
          Thy sweetest charms, thy gentlest thrall,—­
        Words, phrases, fashions, pass away,
          But TRUTH and NATURE live through all.

Page 78

The stanza referring to Byron was not reprinted, nor was the word Horkey, which means Harvest Home in Suffolk.  Gilbert Meldrum is a character in one of Bloomfield’s Rural Tales.

“Quaker Sonnets.”  Barton did not carry out this project.  Southey’s Book of the Church was published in 1824.

“I meditate a letter to S.”  The “Letter of Elia to Mr. Southey” was published in the London Magazine for October, 1823.]

LETTER 330

(Fragment)

CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES LLOYD

[No date.  Autumn, 1823.]

Your lines are not to be understood reading on one leg.  They are sinuous, and to be won with wrestling.  I assure you in sincerity that nothing you have done has given me greater satisfaction.  Your obscurity, where you are dark, which is seldom, is that of too much meaning, not the painful obscurity which no toil of the reader can dissipate; not the dead vacuum and floundering place in which imagination finds no footing; it is not the dimness of positive darkness, but of distance; and he that reads and not discerns must get a better pair of spectacles.  I admire every piece in the collection; I cannot say the first is best; when I do so, the last read rises up in judgment.  To your Mother—­to your Sister—­to Mary dead—­they are all weighty with thought and tender with sentiment.  Your poetry is like no other:—­those cursed Dryads and Pagan trumperies of modern verse have put me out of conceit of the very name of poetry.  Your verses are as good and as wholesome as prose; and I have made a sad blunder if I do not leave you with an impression that your present is rarely valued.

CHARLES LAMB.

[This scrap is in Selections from the Poems and Letters of Bernard Barton, 1849, edited by Edward FitzGerald and Lucy Barton.  Lloyd says:  “I had a very ample testimony from C. Lamb to the character of my last little volume.  I will transcribe to you what he says, as it is but a note, and his manner is always so original, that I am sure the introduction of the merest trifle from his pen will well compensate for the absence of anything of mine.”  The volume was Poems, 1823, one of the chief of which was “Stanzas on the Difficulty with which, in Youth, we Bring Home to our Habitual Consciousness, the Idea of Death,” to which Lloyd appended the following sentence from Elia’s essay on “New Year’s Eve,” as motto:  “Not childhood alone, but the young man till thirty, never feels practically that he is mortal.  He knows it indeed, and, if need were, he could preach a homily on the fragility of life; but he brings it not home to himself, any more than in a hot June, we can appropriate to our imagination the freezing days of December.”]

LETTER 331

CHARLES LAMB TO REV.  H.F.  CARY

Page 79

India Office, 14th Oct., 1823.

Dear Sir,—­If convenient, will you give us house room on Saturday next?  I can sleep anywhere.  If another Sunday suit you better, pray let me know.  We were talking of Roast Shoulder of Mutton with onion sauce; but I scorn to prescribe to the hospitalities of mine host.

With respects to Mrs. C., yours truly, C. LAMB.

LETTER 332

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[No date. ?Oct., 1823.]

Dear Sir—­Mary has got a cold, and the nights are dreadful; but at the first indication of Spring (alias the first dry weather in Nov’r early) it is our intention to surprise you early some even’g.

Believe me, most truly yours,

C.L.

The Cottage, Saturday night.

Mary regrets very much Mrs. Allsop’s fruitless visit.  It made her swear! 
She was gone to visit Miss Hutchins’n, whom she found OUT.

LETTER 333

CHARLES LAMB TO J.B.  DIBDIN

[P.M.  October 28, 1823.]

My dear Sir—­Your Pig was a picture of a pig, and your Picture a pig of a picture.  The former was delicious but evanescent, like a hearty fit of mirth, or the crackling of thorns under a pot; but the latter is an idea, and abideth.  I never before saw swine upon sattin.  And then that pretty strawy canopy about him! he seems to purr (rather than grunt) his satisfaction.  Such a gentlemanlike porker too!  Morland’s are absolutely clowns to it.  Who the deuce painted it?

I have ordered a little gilt shrine for it, and mean to wear it for a locket; a shirt-pig.

I admire the petty-toes shrouded in a veil of something, not mud, but that warm soft consistency with [? which] the dust takes in Elysium after a spring shower—­it perfectly engloves them.

I cannot enough thank you and your country friend for the delicate double present—­the Utile et Decorum—­three times have I attempted to write this sentence and failed; which shows that I am not cut out for a pedant.

Sir

(as I say to Southey) will you come and see us at our poor cottage of Colebrook to tea tomorrow evening, as early as six?  I have some friends coming at that hour—­

The panoply which covered your material pig shall be forthcoming—­ The pig pictorial, with its trappings, domesticate with me.

Your greatly obliged

ELIA.

Tuesday.

["Sir (as I say to Southey).”  Elia’s Letter to Southey in the London Magazine began thus.]

LETTER 334

CHARLES LAMB TO SARAH HAZLITT

[No date.  Early November, 1823.]

Page 80

Dear Mrs. H.,—­Sitting down to write a letter is such a painful operation to Mary, that you must accept me as her proxy.  You have seen our house.  What I now tell you is literally true.  Yesterday week George Dyer called upon us, at one o’clock (bright noon day) on his way to dine with Mrs. Barbauld at Newington.  He sat with Mary about half an hour, and took leave.  The maid saw him go out from her kitchen window; but suddenly losing sight of him, ran up in a fright to Mary.  G.D., instead of keeping the slip that leads to the gate, had deliberately, staff in hand, in broad open day, marched into the New River.  He had not his spectacles on, and you know his absence.  Who helped him out, they can hardly tell; but between ’em they got him out, drenched thro’ and thro’.  A mob collected by that time and accompanied him in.  “Send for the Doctor!” they said:  and a one-eyed fellow, dirty and drunk, was fetched from the Public House at the end, where it seems he lurks, for the sake of picking up water practice, having formerly had a medal from the Humane Society for some rescue.  By his advice, the patient was put between blankets; and when I came home at four to dinner, I found G.D. a-bed, and raving, light-headed with the brandy-and-water which the doctor had administered.  He sung, laughed, whimpered, screamed, babbled of guardian angels, would get up and go home; but we kept him there by force; and by next morning he departed sobered, and seems to have received no injury.  All my friends are open-mouthed about having paling before the river, but I cannot see that, because a.. lunatic chooses to walk into a river with his eyes open at midday, I am any the more likely to be drowned in it, coming home at midnight.

I had the honour of dining at the Mansion House on Thursday last, by special card from the Lord Mayor, who never saw my face, nor I his; and all from being a writer in a magazine!  The dinner costly, served on massy plate, champagne, pines, &c.; forty-seven present, among whom the Chairman and two other directors of the India Company.  There’s for you! and got away pretty sober!  Quite saved my credit!

We continue to like our house prodigiously.  Does Mary Hazlitt go on with her novel, or has she begun another?  I would not discourage her, tho’ we continue to think it (so far) in its present state not saleable.

Our kind remembrances to her and hers and you and yours.—­

Yours truly, C. LAMB.

I am pleased that H. liked my letter to the Laureate.

[Addressed to “Mrs. Hazlitt, Alphington, near Exeter.”  This letter is the first draft of the Elia essay “Amicus Redivivus,” which was printed in the London Magazine in December, 1823.  George Dyer, who was then sixty-eight, had been getting blind steadily for some years.  A visit to Lamb’s cottage to-day, bearing in mind that the ribbon of green between iron railings that extends along Colebrooke Row was at that time an open stream, will make the nature of G.D.’s misadventure quite plain.

Page 81

“Mary Hazlitt"-the daughter of John Hazlitt, the essayist’s brother.

“I am pleased that H. liked my letter to the Laureate.”  Hazlitt wrote, in the essay “On the Pleasures of Hating,” “I think I must be friends with Lamb again, since he has written that magnanimous Letter to Southey, and told him a piece of his mind!” Coleridge also approved of it, and Crabb Robinson’s praise was excessive.

Here should come a note from Lamb to Mrs. Shelley dated Nov. 12, 1823, saying that Dyer walked into the New River on Sunday week at one o’clock with his eyes open.]

LETTER 335

CHARLES LAMB TO ROBERT SOUTHEY

E.I.H., 21st November, 1823.

DEAR Southey,-The kindness of your note has melted away the mist which was upon me.  I have been fighting against a shadow.  That accursed “Quarterly Review” had vexed me by a gratuitous speaking, of its own knowledge, that the “Confessions of a Drunkard” was a genuine description of the state of the writer.  Little things, that are not ill meant, may produce much ill. That might have injured me alive and dead.  I am in a public office, and my life is insured.  I was prepared for anger, and I thought I saw, in a few obnoxious words, a hard case of repetition directed against me.  I wished both magazine and review at the bottom of the sea.  I shall be ashamed to see you, and my sister (though innocent) will be still more so; for the folly was done without her knowledge, and has made her uneasy ever since.  My guardian angel was absent at that time.

I will muster up courage to see you, however, any day next week (Wednesday excepted).  We shall hope that you will bring Edith with you.  That will be a second mortification.  She will hate to see us; but come and heap embers.  We deserve it, I for what I’ve done, and she for being my sister.

Do come early in the day, by sun-light, that you may see my Milton.

I am at Colebrook Cottage, Colebrook Row, Islington.  A detached whitish house, close to the New River, end of Colebrook Terrace, left hand from Sadler’s Wells.

Will you let me know the day before?

Your penitent C. LAMB.

P.S.—­I do not think your handwriting at all like Hunt’s.  I do not think many things I did think.

[For the right appreciation of this letter Elia’s Letter to Southey must be read (see Vol.  I. of the present edition).  It was hard hitting, and though Lamb would perhaps have been wiser had he held his hand, yet Southey had taken an offensive line of moral superiority and rebuke, and much that was said by Lamb was justified.

Southey’s reply ran thus:—­

    My Dear Lamb—­On Monday I saw your letter in the London Magazine,
    which I had not before had an opportunity of seeing, and I now take
    the first interval of leisure for replying to it.

Page 82

Nothing could be further from my mind than any intention or apprehension of any way offending or injuring a man concerning whom I have never spoken, thought, or felt otherwise than with affection, esteem, and admiration.
If you had let me know in any private or friendly manner that you felt wounded by a sentence in which nothing but kindness was intended—­or that you found it might injure the sale of your book—­I would most readily and gladly have inserted a note in the next Review to qualify and explain what had hurt you.

    You have made this impossible, and I am sorry for it.  But I will not
    engage in controversy with you to make sport for the Philistines.

The provocation must be strong indeed that can rouse me to do this, even with an enemy.  And if you can forgive an unintended offence as heartily as I do the way in which you have resented it, there will be nothing to prevent our meeting as we have heretofore done, and feeling towards each other as we have always been wont to do.
Only signify a correspondent willingness on your part, and send me your address, and my first business next week shall be to reach your door, and shake hands with you and your sister.  Remember me to her most kindly and believe me—.  Yours, with unabated esteem and regards, Robert Southey.

The matter closed with this exchange of letters, and no hostility remained on either side.

Lamb’s quarrel with the Quarterly began in 1811, when in a review of Weber’s edition of Ford Lamb was described as a “poor maniac.”  It was renewed in 1814, when his article on Wordsworth’s Excursion was mutilated.  It broke out again in 1822, as Lamb says here, when a reviewer of Reid’s treatise on Hypochondriasis and other Nervous Affections (supposed to be Dr. Gooch, a friend of Dr. Henry Southey’s) referred to Lamb’s “Confessions of a Drunkard” (see Vol.  I.) as being, from his own knowledge, true.  Thus Lamb’s patience was naturally at breaking point when his own friend Southey attacked Elia a few numbers later.

“I do not think your handwriting at all like Hunt’s.”  Lamb had said, in the Letter, of Leigh Hunt:  “His hand-writing is so much the same with your own, that I have opened more than one letter of his, hoping, nay, not doubting, but it was from you, and have been disappointed (he will bear with my saying so) at the discovery of my error.”]

LETTER 336

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  November 22, 1823.]

Page 83

Dear B.B.—­I am ashamed at not acknowledging your kind little poem, which I must needs like much, but I protest I thought I had done it at the moment.  Is it possible a letter has miscarried?  Did you get one in which I sent you an extract from the poems of Lord Sterling?  I should wonder if you did, for I sent you none such.—­There was an incipient lye strangled in the birth.  Some people’s conscience is so tender!  But in plain truth I thank you very much for the verses.  I have a very kind letter from the Laureat, with a self-invitation to come and shake hands with me.  This is truly handsome and noble.  ’Tis worthy of my old idea of Southey.  Shall not I, think you, be covered with a red suffusion?

You are too much apprehensive of your complaint.  I know many that are always ailing of it, and live on to a good old age.  I know a merry fellow (you partly know him) who when his Medical Adviser told him he had drunk away all that part, congratulated himself (now his liver was gone) that he should be the longest liver of the two.  The best way in these cases is to keep yourself as ignorant as you can—­as ignorant as the world was before Galen—­of the entire inner construction of the Animal Man—­not to be conscious of a midriff—­to hold kidneys (save of sheep and swine) to be an agreeable fiction—­not to know whereabout the gall grows—­to account the circulation of the blood an idle whimsey of Harvey’s—­to acknowledge no mechanism not visible.  For, once fix the seat of your disorder, and your fancies flux into it like bad humours.  Those medical gentries chuse each his favourite part—­one takes the lungs—­another the aforesaid liver—­and refer to that whatever in the animal economy is amiss.  Above all, use exercise, take a little more spirituous liquors, learn to smoke, continue to keep a good conscience, and avoid tampering with hard terms of art—­viscosity, schirossity, and those bugbears, by which simple patients are scared into their grave.  Believe the general sense of the mercantile world, which holds that desks are not deadly.  It is the mind, good B.B., and not the limbs, that taints by long sitting.  Think of the patience of taylors—­think how long the Chancellor sits—­ think of the Brooding Hen.

I protest I cannot answer thy Sister’s kind enquiry, but I judge I shall put forth no second volume.  More praise than buy, and T. and H. are not particularly disposed for Martyrs.

Thou wilt see a funny passage, and yet a true History, of George Dyer’s Aquatic Incursion, in the next “London.”  Beware his fate, when thou comest to see me at my Colebrook Cottage.  I have filled my little space with my little thoughts.  I wish thee ease on thy sofa, but not too much indulgence on it.  From my poor desk, thy fellow-sufferer this bright November, C.L.

[Again I do not identify the kind little poem.  It may have been a trifle enclosed in a letter, which Barton did not print and Lamb destroyed.]

Page 84

LETTER 337

CHARLES LAMB TO W. HARRISON AINSWORTH India-House, 9th Dec., 1823.

(If I had time I would go over this letter again, and dot all my i’s.)

Dear Sir,—­I should have thanked you for your Books and Compliments sooner, but have been waiting for a revise to be sent, which does not come, tho’ I returned the proof on the receit of your letter.  I have read Warner with great pleasure.  What an elaborate piece of alliteration and antithesis! why it must have been a labour far above the most difficult versification.  There is a fine simile of or picture of Semiramis arming to repel a siege.  I do not mean to keep the Book, for I suspect you are forming a curious collection, and I do not pretend to any thing of the kind.  I have not a Blackletter Book among mine, old Chaucer excepted, and am not Bibliomanist enough to like Blackletter.  It is painful to read.  Therefore I must insist on returning it at opportunity, not from contumacity and reluctance to be oblig’d, but because it must suit you better than me.  The loss of a present from should never exceed the gain of a present to.  I hold this maxim infallible in the accepting Line.  I read your Magazines with satisfaction.  I throughly agree with you as to the German Faust, as far [as] I can do justice to it from an English translation.  ’Tis a disagreeable canting tale of Seduction, which has nothing to do with the Spirit of Faustus—­ Curiosity.  Was the dark secret to be explored to end in the seducing of a weak girl, which might have been accomplished by earthly agency?  When Marlow gives his Faustus a mistress, he flies him at Helen, flower of Greece, to be sure, and not at Miss Betsy, or Miss Sally Thoughtless.

        “Cut is the branch that bore the goodly fruit,
        And wither’d is Apollo’s laurel tree: 
        Faustus is dead.”

What a noble natural transition from metaphor to plain speaking! as if the figurative had flagged in description of such a Loss, and was reduced to tell the fact simply.—­

I must now thank you for your very kind invitation.  It is not out of prospect that I may see Manchester some day, and then I will avail myself of your kindness.  But Holydays are scarce things with me, and the Laws of attendance are getting stronger and stronger at Leadenhall.  But I shall bear it in mind.  Meantime something may (more probably) bring you to town, where I shall be happy to see you.  I am always to be found (alas!) at my desk in the forepart of the day.

I wonder why they do not send the revise.  I leave late at office, and my abode lies out of the way, or I should have seen about it.  If you are impatient, Perhaps a Line to the Printer, directing him to send it me, at Accountant’s Office, may answer.  You will see by the scrawl that I only snatch a few minutes from intermitting Business.

Your oblig.  Ser., C. LAMB.

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[William Harrison Ainsworth, afterwards to be known as a novelist, was then a solicitor’s pupil at Manchester, aged 18.  He had sent Lamb William Warner’s Syrinx; or, A Sevenfold History, 1597.  The book was a gift, and is now in the Dyce and Foster library at South Kensington.

Goethe’s Faust.  Lamb, as we have seen, had read the account of the play in Madame de Stael’s Germany.  He might also have read the translation by Lord Francis Leveson-Gower, 1823.  Hayward’s translation was not published till 1834.  Goethe admired Lamb’s sonnet on his family name.]

LETTER 338

CHARLES LAMB TO W. HARRISON AINSWORTH

[Dated at end:  December 29 (1823).]

My dear Sir—­You talk of months at a time and I know not what inducements to visit Manchester, Heaven knows how gratifying! but I have had my little month of 1823 already.  It is all over, and without incurring a disagreeable favor I cannot so much as get a single holyday till the season returns with the next year.  Even our half-hour’s absences from office are set down in a Book!  Next year, if I can spare a day or two of it, I will come to Manchester, but I have reasons at home against longer absences.—­

I am so ill just at present—­(an illness of my own procuring last night; who is Perfect?)—­that nothing but your very great kindness could make me write.  I will bear in mind the letter to W.W., you shall have it quite in time, before the 12.

My aking and confused Head warns me to leave off.—­With a muddled sense of gratefulness, which I shall apprehend more clearly to-morrow, I remain, your friend unseen,

C.L.

I.H. 29th.

Will your occasions or inclination bring you to London?  It will give me great pleasure to show you every thing that Islington can boast, if you know the meaning of that very Cockney sound.  We have the New River!

I am asham’d of this scrawl:  but I beg you to accept it for the present. 
I am full of qualms.

A fool at 50 is a fool indeed.

[W.W. was Wordsworth.

“A fool at 50 is a fool indeed.”  “A fool at forty is a fool indeed” was Young’s line in Satire II. of the series on “Love of Fame.”  Lamb was nearing forty-nine.]

LETTER 339

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[January 9, 1824.]

Dear B.B.—­Do you know what it is to succumb under an insurmountable day mare—­a whoreson lethargy, Falstaff calls it—­an indisposition to do any thing, or to be any thing—­a total deadness and distaste—­a suspension of vitality —­an indifference to locality—­a numb soporifical goodfornothingness—­an ossification all over—­an oyster-like insensibility to the passing events—­a mind-stupor,—­a brawny defiance to the needles of a thrusting-in conscience—­did you ever have a very bad cold, with a total irresolution

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to submit to water gruel processes?—­this has been for many weeks my lot, and my excuse—­my fingers drag heavily over this paper, and to my thinking it is three and twenty furlongs from here to the end of this demi-sheet—­I have not a thing to say—­nothing is of more importance than another—­I am flatter than a denial or a pancake—­emptier than Judge Park’s wig when the head is in it—­duller than a country stage when the actors are off it —­a cypher—­an O—­I acknowledge life at all, only by an occasional convulsional cough, and a permanent phlegmatic pain in the chest—­I am weary of the world—­Life is weary of me—­ My day is gone into Twilight and I don’t think it worth the expence of candles—­my wick hath a thief in it, but I can’t muster courage to snuff it—­I inhale suffocation—­I can’t distinguish veal from mutton—­nothing interests me—­’tis 12 o’clock and Thurtell is just now coming out upon the New Drop—­Jack Ketch alertly tucking up his greasy sleeves to do the last office of mortality, yet cannot I elicit a groan or a moral reflection—­ if you told me the world will be at end tomorrow, I should just say, “will it?”—­I have not volition enough to dot my i’s —­much less to comb my EYEBROWS—­my eyes are set in my head—­my brains are gone out to see a poor relation in Moorfields, and they did not say when they’d come back again—­ my scull is a Grub street Attic, to let—­not so much as a joint stool or a crackd jordan left in it—­my hand writes, not I, from habit, as chickens run about a little when their heads are off—­ O for a vigorous fit of gout, cholic, tooth ache—­an earwig in my auditory, a fly in my visual organs—­pain is life—­the sharper, the more evidence of life—­but this apathy, this death—­did you ever have an obstinate cold, a six or seven weeks’ unintermitting chill and suspension of hope, fear, conscience, and every thing—­yet do I try all I can to cure it, I try wine, and spirits, and smoking, and snuff in unsparing quantities, but they all only seem to make me worse, instead of better—­I sleep in a damp room, but it does me no good; I come home late o’ nights, but do not find any visible amendment.

Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

It is just 15 minutes after 12.  Thurtell is by this time a good way on his journey, baiting at Scorpion perhaps, Ketch is bargaining for his cast coat and waistcoat, the Jew demurs at first at three half crowns, but on consideration that he, may get somewhat by showing ’em in the Town, finally closes.—­

C.L.

["Judge Park’s wig.”  Sir James Alan Park, of the Bench of Common Pleas, who tried Thurtell, the murderer of Mr. William Weare of Lyon’s Inn, in Gill’s Hill Lane, Radlett, on October 24, 1823.]

LETTER 340

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  January 23, 1824.]

Page 87

My dear Sir—­That peevish letter of mine, which was meant to convey an apology for my incapacity to write, seems to have been taken by you in too serious a light.  It was only my way of telling you I had a severe cold.  The fact is I have been insuperably dull and lethargic for many weeks, and cannot rise to the vigour of a Letter, much less an Essay.  The London must do without me for a time, a time, and half a time, for I have lost all interest about it, and whether I shall recover it again I know not.  I will bridle my pen another time, & not teaze and puzzle you with my aridities.  I shall begin to feel a little more alive with the spring.  Winter is to me (mild or harsh) always a great trial of the spirits.  I am ashamed not to have noticed your tribute to Woolman, whom we love so much.  It is done in your good manner.  Your friend Taylor called upon me some time since, and seems a very amiable man.  His last story is painfully fine.  His Book I “like.”  It is only too stuft with scripture, too Parsonish.  The best thing in it is the Boy’s own story.  When I say it is too full of Scripture, I mean it is too full of direct quotations; no book can have too much of SILENT SCRIPTURE in it.  But the natural power of a story is diminished when the uppermost purpose in the writer seems to be to recommend something else, viz Religion.  You know what Horace says of the DEUS INTERSIT.  I am not able to explain myself, you must do it for me.—­

My Sister’s part in the Leicester School (about two thirds) was purely her own; as it was (to the same quantity) in the Shakspeare Tales which bear my name.  I wrote only the Witch Aunt, the first going to Church, and the final Story about a little Indian girl in a Ship.

Your account of my Black Balling amused me. I think, as Quakers, they did right.  There are some things hard to be understood.

The more I think the more I am vexed at having puzzled you with that Letter, but I have been so out of Letter writing of late years, that it is a sore effort to sit down to it, & I felt in your debt, and sat down waywardly to pay you in bad money.  Never mind my dulness, I am used to long intervals of it.  The heavens seem brass to me—­then again comes the refreshing shower.  “I have been merry once or twice ere now.”

You said something about Mr. Mitford in a late letter, which I believe I did not advert to.  I shall be happy to show him my Milton (it is all the show things I have) at any time he will take the trouble of a jaunt to Islington.  I do also hope to see Mr. Taylor there some day.  Pray say so to both.

Coleridge’s book is good part printed, but sticks a little for more copy.  It bears an unsaleable Title—­Extracts from Bishop Leighton—­but I am confident there will be plenty of good notes in it, more of Bishop Coleridge than Leighton, I hope; for what is Leighton?

Do you trouble yourself about Libel cases?  The Decision against Hunt for the “Vision of Judgment” made me sick.  What is to become of the old talk about OUR GOOD OLD KING —­his personal virtues saving us from a revolution &c. &c.  Why, none that think it can utter it now.  It must stink.  And the Vision is really, as to Him-ward, such a tolerant good humour’d thing.  What a wretched thing a Lord Chief Justice is, always was, & will be!

Page 88

Keep your good spirits up, dear BB—­mine will return—­They are at present in abeyance.  But I am rather lethargic than miserable.  I don’t know but a good horse whip would be more beneficial to me than Physic.  My head, without aching, will teach yours to ache.  It is well I am getting to the conclusion.  I will send a better letter when I am a better man.  Let me thank you for your kind concern for me (which I trust will have reason soon to be dissipated) & assure you that it gives me pleasure to hear from you.—­

Yours truly C.L.

["The London must do without me.”  Lamb contributed nothing between December, 1823 ("Amicus Redivivus"), and September, 1824 ("Blakesmoor in H——­shire").

Barton’s tribute to Woolman was the poem “A Memorial to John Woolman,” printed in Poetic Vigils.

Taylor was Charles Benjamin Tayler (1797-1875), the curate of Hadleigh, in Suffolk, and the author of many religious books.  Lamb refers to May You Like It, 1823.

“What Horace says":—­

        Nec deus intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus
        Inciderit.

Ars Poetica, 191, 192.

Neither let a god interfere, unless a difficulty worth a god’s unravelling should happen (Smart’s translation).

“My Black Balling.” Elia had been rejected by a Book Club in Woodbridge.

“Coleridge’s book”—­the Aids to Reflection, 1825.  The first intention had been a selection of “Beauties” from Bishop Leighton (1611-1684), Archbishop of Glasgow, and author, among other works, of Rules and Instructions for a Holy Life.

“The Decision against Hunt.”  John Hunt, the publisher of The Liberal, in which Byron’s “Vision of Judgment” had been printed in 1822, had just been fined L100 for the libel therein contained on George III.

Here should come a note from Lamb to Charles Ollier, thanking him for a copy of his Inesilla; or, The Tempter:  A Romance, with Other Tales.]

LETTER 341

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  February 25, 1824.]

My dear Sir—­Your title of Poetic Vigils arrides me much more than A Volume of Verse, which is no meaning.  The motto says nothing, but I cannot suggest a better.  I do not like mottoes but where they are singularly felicitous; there is foppery in them.  They are unplain, un-Quakerish.  They are good only where they flow from the Title and are a kind of justification of it.  There is nothing about watchings or lucubrations in the one you suggest, no commentary on Vigils.  By the way, a wag would recommend you to the Line of Pope

        Sleepless himself—­to give his readers sleep—­

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I by no means wish it.  But it may explain what I mean, that a neat motto is child of the Title.  I think Poetic Virgils as short and sweet as can be desired; only have an eye on the Proof, that the Printer do not substitute Virgils, which would ill accord with your modesty or meaning.  Your suggested motto is antique enough in spelling, and modern enough in phrases; a good modern antique:  but the matter of it is germane to the purpose only supposing the title proposed a vindication of yourself from the presumption of authorship.  The 1st title was liable to this objection, that if you were disposed to enlarge it, and the bookseller insisted on its appearance in Two Tomes, how oddly it would sound—­

A Volume of Verse
in Two Volumes
2d edition &c—­

You see thro’ my wicked intention of curtailing this Epistolet by the above device of large margin.  But in truth the idea of letterising has been oppressive to me of late above your candour to give me credit for.  There is Southey, whom I ought to have thank’d a fortnight ago for a present of the Church Book.  I have never had courage to buckle myself in earnest even to acknowledge it by six words.  And yet I am accounted by some people a good man.  How cheap that character is acquired!  Pay your debts, don’t borrow money, nor twist your kittens neck off, or disturb a congregation, &c.—­ your business is done.  I know things (thoughts or things, thoughts are things) of myself which would make every friend I have fly me as a plague patient.  I once * * *, and set a dog upon a crab’s leg that was shoved out under a moss of sea weeds, a pretty little feeler.—­Oh! pah! how sick I am of that; and a lie, a mean one, I once told!—­ I stink in the midst of respect.

I am much hypt; the fact is, my head is heavy, but there is hope, or if not, I am better than a poor shell fish—­not morally when I set the whelp upon it, but have more blood and spirits; things may turn up, and I may creep again into a decent opinion of myself.  Vanity will return with sunshine.  Till when, pardon my neglects and impute it to the wintry solstice.

C. LAMB.

[The motto eventually adopted for Barton’s Poetic Vigils was from Vaughan’s Silex Scintillans:—­

        Dear night! this world’s defeat;
        The stop to busie fools; care’s check and curb;
        The day of spirits; my soul’s calm retreat
        Which none disturb!]

LETTER 342

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M. 24 March, 1824.]

DEAR B.B.—­I hasten to say that if my opinion can strengthen you in your choice, it is decisive for your acceptance of what has been so handsomely offered.  I can see nothing injurious to your most honourable sense.  Think that you are called to a poetical Ministry—­nothing worse—­the Minister is worthy of the hire.

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The only objection I feel is founded on a fear that the acceptance may be a temptation to you to let fall the bone (hard as it is) which is in your mouth and must afford tolerable pickings, for the shadow of independence.  You cannot propose to become independent on what the low state of interest could afford you from such a principal as you mention; and the most graceful excuse for the acceptance, would be, that it left you free to your voluntary functions.  That is the less light part of the scruple.  It has no darker shade.  I put in darker, because of the ambiguity of the word light, which Donne in his admirable poem on the Metempsychosis, has so ingeniously illustrated in his invocation

1 2 1 2 Make my dark heavy poem, light and light—­

where the two senses of light are opposed to different opposites.  A trifling criticism.—­I can see no reason for any scruple then but what arises from your own interest; which is in your own power of course to solve.  If you still have doubts, read over Sanderson’s Cases of Conscience, and Jeremy Taylor’s Ductor Dubitantium, the first a moderate Octavo, the latter a folio of 900 close pages, and when you have thoroughly digested the admirable reasons pro and con which they give for every possible Case, you will be—­just as wise as when you began.  Every man is his own best Casuist; and after all, as Ephraim Smooth, in the pleasant comedy of Wild Oats, has it, “there is no harm in a Guinea.”  A fortiori there is less in 2000.

I therefore most sincerely congratulate with you, excepting so far as excepted above.  If you have fair Prospects of adding to the Principal, cut the Bank; but in either case do not refuse an honest Service.  Your heart tells you it is not offered to bribe you from any duty, but to a duty which you feel to be your vocation.  Farewell heartily C.L.

[In the memoir of Barton by Edward FitzGerald, prefixed to the Poems and Letters, it is stated that in this year Barton received a handsome addition to his income.  “A few members of his Society, including some of the wealthier of his own family, raised L1200 among them for his benefit [not 2000 guineas, as Lamb says].  It seems that he felt some delicacy at first in accepting this munificent testimony which his own people offered to his talents.”  Birton had written to Lamb on the subject.]

LETTER 343

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[(Early spring), 1824.]

I am sure I cannot fill a letter, though I should disfurnish my scull to fill it.  But you expect something, and shall have a Note-let.  Is Sunday, not divinely speaking, but humanly and holydaysically, a blessing?  Without its institution, would our rugged taskmasters have given us a leisure day, so often, think you, as once in a month?—­or, if it had not been instituted, might they not have

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given us every 6th day?  Solve me this problem.  If we are to go 3 times a day to church, why has Sunday slipped into the notion of a Holliday?  A Holyday I grant it.  The puritans, I have read in Southey’s Book, knew the distinction.  They made people observe Sunday rigorously, would not let a nursery maid walk out in the fields with children for recreation on that day.  But then—­they gave the people a holliday from all sorts of work every second Tuesday.  This was giving to the Two Caesars that which was his respective.  Wise, beautiful, thoughtful, generous Legislators!  Would Wilberforce give us our Tuesdays?  No, d—­n him.  He would turn the six days into sevenths,

And those 3 smiling seasons of the year
Into a Russian winter.
Old Play.

I am sitting opposite a person who is making strange distortions with the gout, which is not unpleasant—­to me at least.  What is the reason we do not sympathise with pain, short of some terrible Surgical operation?  Hazlitt, who boldly says all he feels, avows that not only he does not pity sick people, but he hates them.  I obscurely recognise his meaning.  Pain is probably too selfish a consideration, too simply a consideration of self-attention.  We pity poverty, loss of friends etc. more complex things, in which the Sufferers feelings are associated with others.  This is a rough thought suggested by the presence of gout; I want head to extricate it and plane it.  What is all this to your Letter?  I felt it to be a good one, but my turn, when I write at all, is perversely to travel out of the record, so that my letters are any thing but answers.  So you still want a motto?  You must not take my ironical one, because your book, I take it, is too serious for it.  Bickerstaff might have used it for his lucubrations.  What do you think of (for a Title)

RELIGIO TREMULI OR TREMEBUNDI

There is Religio-Medici and Laici.—­But perhaps the volume is not quite Quakerish enough or exclusively for it—­but your own VIGILS is perhaps the Best.  While I have space, let me congratulate with you the return of Spring—­what a Summery Spring too! all those qualms about the dog and cray-fish melt before it.  I am going to be happy and vain again.

A hasty farewell C. LAMB.

["Southey’s Book”—­The Book of the Church.

“Would Wilberforce give us our Tuesdays?”—­William Wilberforce, the abolitionist and the principal “Puritan” of that day.]

LETTER 344

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. THOMAS ALLSOP

[P.M.  April 13, 1824.]

Page 92

Dear Mrs. A.—­Mary begs me to say how much she regrets we can not join you to Reigate.  Our reasons are —­1st I have but one holyday namely Good Friday, and it is not pleasant to solicit for another, but that might have been got over. 2dly Manning is with us, soon to go away and we should not be easy in leaving him. 3dly Our school girl Emma comes to us for a few days on Thursday. 4thly and lastly, Wordsworth is returning home in about a week, and out of respect to them we should not like to absent ourselves just now.  In summer I shall have a month, and if it shall suit, should like to go for a few days of it out with you both any where.  In the mean time, with many acknowledgments etc. etc., I remain yours (both) truly, C. LAMB.

India Ho. 13 Apr.  Remember Sundays.

LETTER 345

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM HONE [No date.  April, 1824.]

Dear Sir,—­Miss Hazlitt (niece to Pygmalion) begs us to send to you for Mr. Hardy a parcel.  I have not thank’d you for your Pamphlet, but I assure you I approve of it in all parts, only that I would have seen my Calumniators at hell, before I would have told them I was a Xtian, tho’ I am one, I think as much as you.  I hope to see you here, some day soon.  The parcel is a novel which I hope Mr. H. may sell for her.  I am with greatest friendliness

Yours C. LAMB.

Sunday.

["Pygmalion.”  A reference to Hazlitt’s Liber Amoris; or, The New Pygmalion, 1823.

Hone’s pamphlet would be his Aspersions Answered:  an Explanatory Statement to the Public at Large and Every Reader of the “Quarterly Review,” 1824.

Here should come a note from Lamb to Thomas Hardy, dated April 24, 1824, in which Lamb says that Miss Hazlitt’s novel, which Mr. Hardy promised to introduce to Mr. Ridgway, the publisher, is lying at Mr. Hone’s.  Hardy was a bootmaker in Fleet Street.]

LETTER 346

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

May 15, 1824.

DEAR B.B.—­I am oppressed with business all day, and Company all night.  But I will snatch a quarter of an hour.  Your recent acquisitions of the Picture and the Letter are greatly to be congratulated.  I too have a picture of my father and the copy of his first love verses; but they have been mine long.  Blake is a real name, I assure you, and a most extraordinary man, if he be still living.  He is the Robert [William] Blake, whose wild designs accompany a splendid folio edition of the “Night Thoughts,” which you may have seen, in one of which he pictures the parting of soul and body by a solid mass of human form floating off, God knows how, from a lumpish mass (fac Simile to itself) left behind on the dying bed.  He paints in water colours marvellous strange pictures, visions of his brain, which he asserts that he has

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seen.  They have great merit.  He has seen the old Welsh bards on Snowdon—­he has seen the Beautifullest, the strongest, and the Ugliest Man, left alone from the Massacre of the Britons by the Romans, and has painted them from memory (I have seen his paintings), and asserts them to be as good as the figures of Raphael and Angelo, but not better, as they had precisely the same retro-visions and prophetic visions with themself [himself].  The painters in oil (which he will have it that neither of them practised) he affirms to have been the ruin of art, and affirms that all the while he was engaged in his Water paintings, Titian was disturbing him, Titian the III Genius of Oil Painting.  His Pictures—­one in particular, the Canterbury Pilgrims (far above Stothard’s)—­have great merit, but hard, dry, yet with grace.  He has written a Catalogue of them with a most spirited criticism on Chaucer, but mystical and full of Vision.  His poems have been sold hitherto only in Manuscript.  I never read them; but a friend at my desire procured the “Sweep Song.”  There is one to a tiger, which I have heard recited, beginning—­

“Tiger, Tiger, burning bright,
Thro’ the desarts of the night,”

which is glorious, but, alas!  I have not the book; for the man is flown, whither I know not—­to Hades or a Mad House.  But I must look on him as one of the most extraordinary persons of the age.  Montgomery’s book I have not much hope from.  The Society, with the affected name, has been labouring at it for these 20 years, and made few converts.  I think it was injudicious to mix stories avowedly colour’d by fiction with the sad true statements from the parliamentary records, etc., but I wish the little Negroes all the good that can come from it.  I batter’d my brains (not butter’d them—­but it is a bad a) for a few verses for them, but I could make nothing of it.  You have been luckier.  But Blake’s are the flower of the set, you will, I am sure, agree, tho’ some of Montgomery’s at the end are pretty; but the Dream awkwardly paraphras’d from B.

With the exception of an Epilogue for a Private Theatrical, I have written nothing now for near 6 months.  It is in vain to spur me on.  I must wait.  I cannot write without a genial impulse, and I have none.  ’Tis barren all and dearth.  No matter; life is something without scribbling.  I have got rid of my bad spirits, and hold up pretty well this rain-damn’d May.

So we have lost another Poet.  I never much relished his Lordship’s mind, and shall be sorry if the Greeks have cause to miss him.  He was to me offensive, and I never can make out his great power, which his admirers talk of.  Why, a line of Wordsworth’s is a lever to lift the immortal spirit!  Byron can only move the Spleen.  He was at best a Satyrist,—­in any other way he was mean enough.  I dare say I do him injustice; but I cannot love him, nor squeeze a tear to his memory.  He did not like the world, and he has left it, as Alderman Curtis advised the Radicals, “If they don’t like their country, damn ’em, let ’em leave it,” they possessing no rood of ground in England, and he 10,000 acres.  Byron was better than many Curtises.

Page 94

Farewell, and accept this apology for a letter from one who owes you so much in that kind.

Yours ever truly, C.L.

[Lamb’s portrait of his father is reproduced in Vol.  II. of my large edition.  The first love verses are no more.

William Blake was at this time sixty-six years of age.  He was living in poverty and neglect at 3 Fountain Court, Strand.  Blake made 537 illustrations to Young’s Night Thoughts, of which only forty-seven were published.  Lamb is, however, thinking of his edition of Blair’s Grave.  The exhibition of his works was held in 1809, and it was for this that Blake wrote the descriptive catalogue.  Lamb had sent Blake’s “Sweep Song,” which, like “Tiger, Tiger,” is in the Songs of Innocence, to James Montgomery for his Chimney-Sweepers’ Friend and Climbing Boys’ Album, 1824, a little book designed to ameliorate the lot of those children, in whose interest a society existed.  Barton also contributed something.  It was Blake’s poem which had excited Barton’s curiosity.  Probably he thought that Lamb wrote it.  Lamb’s mistake concerning Blake’s name is curious in so far as that it was Blake’s brother Robert, who died in 1787, who in a vision revealed to the poet the method by which the Songs of Innocence were to be reproduced.

“The Dream awkwardly paraphras’d from B.”  The book ended with three “Climbing-Boys’ Soliloquies” by Montgomery.  The second was a dream in which the dream in Blake’s song was extended and prosified.

“An Epilogue for a Private Theatrical.”  Probably the epilogue for the amateur performance of “Richard II.,” given by the family of Henry Field, Barren Field’s father (see Vol.  IV. of the present edition).

“Another great Poet.”  Byron died on April 19, 1824.

“Alderman Curtis.”  See note above.]

LETTER 347

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

July 7th, 1824.

DEAR B.B.—­I have been suffering under a severe inflammation of the eyes, notwithstanding which I resolutely went through your very pretty volume at once, which I dare pronounce in no ways inferior to former lucubrations. “Abroad” and “lord” are vile rhymes notwithstanding, and if you count you will wonder how many times you have repeated the word unearthly—­thrice in one poem.  It is become a slang word with the bards; avoid it in future lustily.  “Time” is fine; but there are better a good deal, I think.  The volume does not lie by me; and, after a long day’s smarting fatigue, which has almost put out my eyes (not blind however to your merits), I dare not trust myself with long writing.  The verses to Bloomfield are the sweetest in the collection.  Religion is sometimes lugged in, as if it did not come naturally.  I will go over carefully when I get my seeing, and exemplify.  You have also too much of singing metre, such as requires no deep ear to make; lilting measure, in which you have done Woolman injustice.  Strike at less superficial melodies.  The piece on Nayler is more to my fancy.

Page 95

My eye runs waters.  But I will give you a fuller account some day.  The book is a very pretty one in more than one sense.  The decorative harp, perhaps, too ostentatious; a simple pipe preferable.

Farewell, and many thanks.  C. LAMB.

[Barton’s new book was Poetic Vigils, 1824.  It contained among other poems “An Ode to Time,” “Verses to the Memory of Bloomfield,” “A Memorial of John Woolman,” beginning—­

        There is glory to me in thy Name,
          Meek follower of Bethlehem’s Child,
        More touching by far than the splendour of Fame
          With which the vain world is beguil’d,

and “A Memorial of James Nayler.”  The following “Sonnet to Elia,” from the London Magazine, is also in the volume:  it is odd that Lamb did not mention it:—­

SONNET TO ELIA

        Delightful Author! unto whom I owe
          Moments and moods of fancy and of feeling,
          Afresh to grateful memory now appealing,
        Fain would I “bless thee—­ere I let thee go!”
        From month to month has the exhaustless flow
          Of thy original mind, its wealth revealing,
          With quaintest humour, and deep pathos healing
        The World’s rude wounds, revived Life’s early glow: 
        And, mixt with this, at times, to earnest thought,
          Glimpses of truth, most simple and sublime,
        By thy imagination have been brought
          Over my spirit.  From the olden time
          Of authorship thy patent should be dated,
        And thou with Marvell, Brown, and Burton mated.]

LETTER 348

CHARLES LAMB TO W. MARTER [Dated at end:  July 19 (1824).]

Dear Marter,—­I have just rec’d your letter, having returned from a month’s holydays.  My exertions for the London are, tho’ not dead, in a dead sleep for the present.  If your club like scandal, Blackwood’s is your magazine; if you prefer light articles, and humorous without offence, the New Monthly is very amusing.  The best of it is by Horace Smith, the author of the Rejected Addresses.  The Old Monthly has more of matter, information, but not so merry.  I cannot safely recommend any others, as not knowing them, or knowing them to their disadvantage.  Of Reviews, beside what you mention, I know of none except the Review on Hounslow Heath, which I take it is too expensive for your ordering.  Pity me, that have been a Gentleman these four weeks, and am reduced in one day to the state of a ready writer.  I feel, I feel, my gentlemanly qualities fast oozing away—­such as a sense of honour, neckcloths twice a day, abstinence from swearing, &c.  The desk enters into my soul.

See my thoughts on business next Page.

SONNET

Page 96

    Who first invented work?—­and bound the free
    And holyday-rejoicing Spirit down
    To the ever-haunting importunity
    Of Business in the green fields, and the Town—­
    To plough, loom, [anvil], spade, and (oh most sad!)
    To this dry drudgery of the desk’s dead wood? 
    Who but the Being unblest, alien from good,
    Sabbathless Satan!  He, who his unglad
    Task ever plies ’mid rotatory burnings,
    That round and round incalculably reel—­
    For wrath divine hath made him like a wheel—­
    In that red realm from whence are no returnings;
    Where toiling & turmoiling ever & aye
    He and his Thoughts keep pensive worky-day.

With many recollections of pleasanter times, my old compeer, happily released before me, Adieu.  C. LAMB.

E.I.H.

19 July [1824].

[Marter was an old India House clerk; we do not meet with him again.  The sonnet had been printed in The Examiner in 1819.  Lamb, who was fond of it, reprinted it in Album Verses, 1830.]

LETTER 349

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN BATES DIBDIN

[P.M.  July 28, 1824.]

My dear Sir—­I must appear negligent in not having thanked you for the very pleasant books you sent me.  Arthur, and the Novel, we have both of us read with unmixed satisfaction.  They are full of quaint conceits, and running over with good humour and good nature.  I naturally take little interest in story, but in these the manner and not the end is the interest; it is such pleasant travelling, one scarce cares whither it leads us.  Pray express our pleasure to your father with my best thanks.

I am involved in a routine of visiting among the family of Barren Field, just ret’d, from Botany Bay—­I shall hardly have an open Evening before TUESDAY next.  Will you come to us then?

Yours truly, C. LAMB.

Wensday

28 July 24.

[Arthur and the Novel were two books by Charles Dibdin the Younger, the father of Lamb’s correspondent.  Arthur was Young Arthur; or, The Child of Mystery:  A Metrical Romance, 1819, and the novel was Isn’t It Odd? three volumes of high-spirited ramblings something in the manner of Tristram Shandy, nominally written by Marmaduke Merrywhistle, and published in 1822.

Barron Field had returned from his Judgeship in New South Wales on June 18.]

LETTER 350

(Possibly incomplete)

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS HOOD [P.M.  August 10, 1824.]

And what dost thou at the Priory? Cucullus non facit Monachum.  English me that, and challenge old Lignum Janua to make a better.

Page 97

My old New River has presented no extraordinary novelties lately; but there Hope sits every day, speculating upon traditionary gudgeons.  I think she has taken the fisheries.  I now know the reason why our forefathers were denominated East and West Angles.  Yet is there no lack of spawn; for I wash my hands in fishets that come through the pump every morning thick as motelings,—­little things o o o like that, that perish untimely, and never taste the brook.  You do not tell me of those romantic land bays that be as thou goest to Lover’s Seat:  neither of that little churchling in the midst of a wood (in the opposite direction, nine furlongs from the town), that seems dropped by the Angel that was tired of carrying two packages; marry, with the other he made shift to pick his flight to Loretto.  Inquire out, and see my little Protestant Loretto.  It stands apart from trace of human habitation; yet hath it pulpit, reading-desk, and trim front of massiest marble, as if Robinson Crusoe had reared it to soothe himself with old church-going images.  I forget its Christian name, and what she-saint was its gossip.

You should also go to No. 13, Standgate Street,—­a baker, who has the finest collection of marine monsters in ten sea counties,—­sea dragons, polypi, mer-people, most fantastic.  You have only to name the old gentleman in black (not the Devil) that lodged with him a week (he’ll remember) last July, and he will show courtesy.  He is by far the foremost of the savans.  His wife is the funniest thwarting little animal!  They are decidedly the Lions of green Hastings.  Well, I have made an end of my say.  My epistolary time is gone by when I could have scribbled as long (I will not say as agreeable) as thine was to both of us.  I am dwindled to notes and letterets.  But, in good earnest, I shall be most happy to hail thy return to the waters of Old Sir Hugh.  There is nothing like inland murmurs, fresh ripples, and our native minnows.

        “He sang in meads how sweet the brooklets ran,
        To the rough ocean and red restless sands.”

I design to give up smoking; but I have not yet fixed upon the equivalent vice.  I must have quid pro quo; or quo pro quid, as Tom Woodgate would correct me.  My service to him.  C.L.

[This is the first letter to Hood, then a young man of twenty-five, and assistant editor of the London Magazine.  He was now staying at Hastings, on his honeymoon, presumably, and, like the Lambs, near the Priory.

Cucullus non facit Monachum”—­A “Lamb-pun.”  The Hood does not make the monk.

“Old Lignum Janua”—­the Tom Woodgate mentioned at the end of the letter, a boatman at Hastings.  Hood wrote some verses to him.

“My old New River.”  This passage was placed by Hood as the motto of his verses “Walton Redivivus,” in Whims and Oddities, 1826.

“Little churchling.”  This is Lamb’s second description of Hollingdon Rural.  The third and best is in a later letter.

Page 98

“There is nothing like inland murmurs.”  Lamb is here remembering Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey lines:—­

With a sweet inland murmur.

In the Elia essay “The Old Margate Hoy” Lamb, in speaking of Hastings, had made the same objection.

In a letter to his sister, written from Hastings at this time, Hood says:—­

This is the last of our excursions.  We have tried, but in vain, to find out the baker and his wife recommended to us by Lamb as the very lions of green Hastings.  There is no such street as he has named throughout the town, and the ovens are singularly numerous.  We have given up the search, therefore, but we have discovered the little church in the wood, and it is such a church!  It ought to have been our St. Botolph’s. ...  Such a verdant covert wood Stothard might paint for the haunting of Dioneus, Pamphillus, and Fiammetta as they walk in the novel of Boccacce.  The ground shadowed with bluebells, even to the formation of a plumb-like bloom upon its little knolls and ridges; and ever through the dell windeth a little path chequered with the shades of aspens and ashes and the most verdant and lively of all the family of trees.  Here a broad, rude stone steppeth over a lazy spring, oozing its way into grass and weeds; anon a fresh pathway divergeth, you know not whither.  Meanwhile the wild blackbird startles across the way and singeth anew in some other shade.  To have seen Fiammetta there, stepping in silk attire, like a flower, and the sunlight looking upon her betwixt the branches!  I had not walked (in the body) with Romance before.  Then suppose so much of a space cleared as maketh a small church lawn to be sprinkled with old gravestones, and in the midst the church itself, a small Christian dovecot, such as Lamb has truly described it, like a little temple of Juan Fernandes.  I could have been sentimental and wished to lie some day in that place, its calm tenants seeming to come through such quiet ways, through those verdant alleys, to their graves.
In coming home I killed a viper in our serpentine path, and Mrs. Fernor says I am by that token to overcome an enemy.  Is Taylor or Hessey dead?  The reptile was dark and dull, his blood being yet sluggish from the cold; howbeit, he tried to bite, till I cut him in two with a stone.  I thought of Hessey’s long back-bone when I did it.

    They are called adders, tell your father, because two and two of
    them together make four.]

LETTER 351

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  August 17, 1824.]

Page 99

Dear B.B.—­I congratulate you on getting a house over your head.  I find the comfort of it I am sure.  At my town lodgings the Mistress was always quarrelling with our maid; and at my place of rustication, the whole family were always beating one another, brothers beating sisters (one a most beautiful girl lamed for life), father beating sons and daughters, and son again beating his father, knocking him fairly down, a scene I never before witnessed, but was called out of bed by the unnatural blows, the parricidal colour of which, tho’ my morals could not but condemn, yet my reason did heartily approve, and in the issue the house was quieter for a day or so than I had ever known.  I am now all harmony and quiet, even to the sometimes wishing back again some of the old rufflings.  There is something stirring in these civil broils.

The Album shall be attended to.  If I can light upon a few appropriate rhymes (but rhymes come with difficulty from me now) I shall beg a place in the neat margin of your young housekeeper.

The Prometheus Unbound, is a capital story.  The Literal rogue!  What if you had ordered Elfrida in sheets! She’d have been sent up, I warrant you.  Or bid him clasp his bible (i.e. to his bosom)-he’d ha clapt on a brass clasp, no doubt.—­

I can no more understand Shelly than you can.  His poetry is “thin sewn with profit or delight.”  Yet I must point to your notice a sonnet conceivd and expressed with a witty delicacy.  It is that addressed to one who hated him, but who could not persuade him to hate him again.  His coyness to the other’s passion (for hate demands a return as much as Love, and starves without it) is most arch and pleasant.  Pray, like it very much.

For his theories and nostrums they are oracular enough, but I either comprehend ’em not, or there is miching malice and mischief in ’em.  But for the most part ringing with their own emptiness.  Hazlitt said well of ’em—­Many are wiser and better for reading Shakspeare, but nobody was ever wiser or better for reading Sh——­y.

I wonder you will sow your correspondence on so barren a ground as I am, that make such poor returns.  But my head akes at the bare thought of letter writing.  I wish all the ink in the ocean dried up, and would listen to the quills shivering [? shrivelling] up in the candle flame, like parching martyrs.  The same indisposit’n to write it is has stopt my Elias, but you will see a futile Effort in the next No., “wrung from me with slow pain.”

The fact is, my head is seldom cool enough.  I am dreadfully indolent.  To have to do anything-to order me a new coat, for instance, tho’ my old buttons are shelled like beans—­ is an effort.

My pen stammers like my tongue.  What cool craniums those old enditers of Folios must have had.  What a mortify’d pulse.  Well, once more I throw myself on your mercy—­ Wishing peace in thy new dwelling—­ C. LAMB.

Page 100

[The Lambs gave up their “country lodgings” at Dalston on moving to Colebrooke Row.

“The album.”  See next letter to Barton.

“The Prometheus Unbound.”  A bookseller, asked for Prometheus Unbound, Shelley’s poem, had replied that Prometheus was not to be had “in sheets.” Elfrida was a dramatic poem by William Mason, Gray’s friend.

This is Shelley’s poem (not a sonnet) which Lamb liked:—­

        LINES TO A REVIEWER

        Alas! good friend, what profit can you see
        In hating such an hateless thing as me? 
        There is no sport in hate, where all the rage
        Is on one side.  In vain would you assuage
        Your frowns upon an unresisting smile,
        In which not even contempt lurks, to beguile
        Your heart by some faint sympathy of hate. 
        Oh conquer what you cannot satiate! 
        For to your passion I am far more coy
        Then ever yet was coldest maid or boy
        In winter-noon.  Of your antipathy
        If I am the Narcissus, you are free
        To pine into a sound with hating me.

Hazlitt writes of Shelley in his essay “On Paradox and Commonplace” in Table Talk; but he does not make this remark there.  Perhaps he said it in conversation.

“The next Number.”  The “futile Effort” was “Blakesmoor in H——­shire” in the London Magazine for September, 1824.

Here should come a note from Lamb to Cary, August 19, 1824, in which Lamb thanks him for his translation of The Birds of Aristophanes and accepts an invitation to dine.]

LETTER 352

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[Dated at end:  September 30, 1824.]

Little Book! surnam’d of White;
Clean, as yet, and fair to sight;
Keep thy attribution right,

Never disproportion’d scrawl;
Ugly blot, that’s worse than all;
On thy maiden clearness fall.

In each Letter, here design’d,
Let the Reader emblem’d find
Neatness of the Owner’s mind.

Gilded margins count a sin;
Let thy leaves attraction win
By thy Golden Rules within: 

Sayings, fetch’d from Sages old;
Saws, which Holy Writ unfold,
Worthy to be writ in Gold: 

Lighter Fancies not excluding;
Blameless wit, with nothing rude in,
Sometimes mildly interluding

Amid strains of graver measure:—­
Virtue’s self hath oft her pleasure
In sweet Muses’ groves of leisure.

Riddles dark, perplexing sense;
Darker meanings of offence;
What but shades, be banish’d hence.

Whitest Thoughts, in whitest dress—­
Candid Meanings—­best express
Mind of quiet Quakeress.

Page 101

Dear B.B.—­“I am ill at these numbers;” but if the above be not too mean to have a place in thy Daughter’s Sanctum, take them with pleasure.  I assume that her Name is Hannah, because it is a pretty scriptural cognomen.  I began on another sheet of paper, and just as I had penn’d the second line of Stanza 2 an ugly Blot [here is a blot] as big as this, fell, to illustrate my counsel.—­I am sadly given to blot, and modern blotting-paper gives no redress; it only smears and makes it worse, as for example [here is a smear].  The only remedy is scratching out, which gives it a Clerkish look.  The most innocent blots are made with red ink, and are rather ornamental. [Here are two or three blots in red ink.] Marry, they are not always to be distinguished from the effusions of a cut finger.

Well, I hope and trust thy Tick doleru, or however you spell it, is vanished, for I have frightful impressions of that Tick, and do altogether hate it, as an unpaid score, or the Tick of a Death Watch.  I take it to be a species of Vitus’s dance (I omit the Sanctity, writing to “one of the men called Friends").  I knew a young Lady who could dance no other, she danced thro’ life, and very queer and fantastic were her steps.  Heaven bless thee from such measures, and keep thee from the Foul Fiend, who delights to lead after False Fires in the night, Flibbertigibit, that gives the web and the pin &c.  I forget what else.—­

From my den, as Bunyan has it, 30 Sep. 24.  C.L.

[The verses were for the album of Barton’s daughter, Lucy (afterwards Mrs. Edward FitzGerald).  Lucy was her only name.  Lamb afterwards printed them in his Album Verses, 1830.]

LETTER 353

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. JOHN DYER COLLIER

[Dated at end:  November 2, 1824.]

Dear Mrs. Collier—­We receive so much pig from your kindness, that I really have not phrase enough to vary successive acknowledg’mts.

I think I shall get a printed form:  to serve on all occasions.

To say it was young, crisp, short, luscious, dainty-toed, is but to say what all its predecessors have been.  It was eaten on Sunday and Monday, and doubts only exist as to which temperature it eat best, hot or cold.  I incline to the latter.  The Petty-feet made a pretty surprising proe-gustation for supper on Saturday night, just as I was loathingly in expectation of bren-cheese.  I spell as I speak.

I do not know what news to send you.  You will have heard of Alsager’s death, and your Son John’s success in the Lottery.  I say he is a wise man, if he leaves off while he is well.  The weather is wet to weariness, but Mary goes puddling about a-shopping after a gown for the winter.  She wants it good & cheap.  Now I hold that no good things are cheap, pig-presents always excepted.  In this mournful weather I sit moping, where I now

Page 102

write, in an office dark as Erebus, jammed in between 4 walls, and writing by Candle-light, most melancholy.  Never see the light of the Sun six hours in the day, and am surprised to find how pretty it shines on Sundays.  I wish I were a Caravan driver or a Penny post man, to earn my bread in air & sunshine.  Such a pedestrian as I am, to be tied by the legs, like a Fauntleroy, without the pleasure of his Exactions.  I am interrupted here with an official question, which will take me up till it’s time to go to dinner, so with repeated thanks & both our kindest rememb’ces to Mr. Collier & yourself, I conclude in haste.

Yours & his sincerely, C. LAMB.

from my den in Leadenhall,

2 Nov. 24.

On further enquiry Alsager is not dead, but Mrs. A. is bro’t. to bed.

[Mrs. Collier was the mother of John Payne Collier.  Alsager we have already met.  Henry Fauntleroy was the banker, who had just been found guilty of forgery and on the day that Lamb wrote was sentenced to death.  He was executed on the 30th (see a later letter).]

LETTER 354

CHARLES LAMB TO B.W.  PROCTER

[Dated at end:  November 11, ’24.]

My dear Procter,—­

I do agnise a shame in not having been to pay my congratulations to Mrs. Procter and your happy self, but on Sunday (my only morning) I was engaged to a country walk; and in virtue of the hypostatical union between us, when Mary calls, it is understood that I call too, we being univocal.

But indeed I am ill at these ceremonious inductions.  I fancy I was not born with a call on my head, though I have brought one down upon it with a vengeance.  I love not to pluck that sort of fruit crude, but to stay its ripening into visits.  In probability Mary will be at Southampton Row this morning, and something of that kind be matured between you, but in any case not many hours shall elapse before I shake you by the hand.

Meantime give my kindest felicitations to Mrs. Procter, and assure her I look forward with the greatest delight to our acquaintance.  By the way, the deuce a bit of Cake has come to hand, which hath an inauspicious look at first, but I comfort myself that that Mysterious Service hath the property of Sacramental Bread, which mice cannot nibble, nor time moulder.

I am married myself—­to a severe step-wife, who keeps me, not at bed and board, but at desk and board, and is jealous of my morning aberrations.  I can not slip out to congratulate kinder unions.  It is well she leaves me alone o’ nights—­the damn’d Day-hag BUSINESS.  She is even now peeping over me to see I am writing no Love Letters.  I come, my dear—­ Where is the Indigo Sale Book?

Twenty adieus, my dear friends, till we meet.

Yours most truly, C. LAMB.

Leadenhall, 11 Nov. ’24.

[Procter married Anne Skepper, step-daughter of Basil Montagu, in October, 1824.  One of their daughters was Adelaide Ann Procter.

Page 103

“Agnise”—­acknowledge.  It has been suggested that Lamb favoured this old word also on account of its superficial association with agnus, a lamb.]

LETTER 355

CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY CRABB ROBINSON

[P.M.  Nov. 20, 1824.]

Dr. R. Barren Field bids me say that he is resident at his brother Henry’s, a surgeon &c., a few doors west of Christ Church Passage Newgate Street; and that he shall be happy to accompany you up thence to Islington, when next you come our way, but not so late as you sometimes come.  I think we shall be out on Tuesd’y.

Yours ever

C. LAMB.

Sat’y.

[Barron Field, as I have said, had returned from New South Wales in June of this year.  Later he became Chief Justice at Gibraltar.]

LETTER 356

CHARLES LAMB TO SARAH HUTCHINSON

Desk II, Nov. 25 [1824].

My dear Miss Hutchinson, Mary bids me thank you for your kind letter.  We are a little puzzled about your where-abouts:  Miss Wordsworth writes Torkay, and you have queerly made it Torquay.  Now Tokay we have heard of, and Torbay, which we take to be the true male spelling of the place, but somewhere we fancy it to be on “Devon’s leafy shores,” where we heartily wish the kindly breezes may restore all that is invalid among you.  Robinson is returned, and speaks much of you all.  We shall be most glad to hear good news from you from time to time.  The best is, Proctor is at last married.  We have made sundry attempts to see the Bride, but have accidentally failed, she being gone out a gadding.

We had promised our dear friends the Monkhouses, promised ourselves rather, a visit to them at Ramsgate, but I thought it best, and Mary seemed to have it at heart too, not to go far from home these last holy days.  It is connected with a sense of unsettlement, and secretly I know she hoped that such abstinence would be friendly to her health.  She certainly has escaped her sad yearly visitation, whether in consequence of it, or of faith in it, and we have to be thankful for a good 1824.  To get such a notion into our heads may go a great way another year.  Not that we quite confined ourselves; but assuming Islington to be head quarters, we made timid flights to Ware, Watford &c. to try how the trouts tasted, for a night out or so, not long enough to make the sense of change oppressive, but sufficient to scour the rust of home.

Coleridge is not returned from the Sea.  As a little scandal may divert you recluses—­we were in the Summer dining at a Clergyman of Southey’s “Church of England,” at Hertford, the same who officiated to Thurtell’s last moments, and indeed an old contemporary Blue of C.’s and mine at School.  After dinner we talked of C., and F. who is a mighty good fellow in the main, but hath his cassock prejudices, inveighed against

Page 104

the moral character of C. I endeavoured to enlighten him on the subject, till having driven him out of some of his holds, he stopt my mouth at once by appealing to me whether it was not very well known that C. “at that very moment was living in a state of open a------y with Mrs. * * * * * at Highgate?” Nothing I could say serious or bantering after that could remove the deep inrooted conviction of the whole company assembled that such was the case!  Of course you will keep this quite close, for I would not involve my poor blundering friend, who I dare say believed it all thoroughly.  My interference of course was imputed to the goodness of my heart, that could imagine nothing wrong &c.  Such it is if Ladies will go gadding about with other people’s husbands at watering places.  How careful we should be to avoid the appearance of Evil.  I thought this Anecdote might amuse you.  It is not worth resenting seriously; only I give it as a specimen of orthodox candour.  O Southey, Southey, how long would it be before you would find one of us Unitarians propagating such unwarrantable Scandal!  Providence keep you all from the foul fiend Scandal, and send you back well and happy to dear Gloster Place.  C.L.

[Thomas Monkhouse, who was in a decline, had been ordered to Torquay.  Crabb Robinson had been in Normandy for some weeks.  The too credulous clergyman at Hertford was Frederick William Franklin, Master of the Blue Coat school there (from 1801 to 1827), who was at Christ’s Hospital with Lamb.

“Mrs. * * * * * *.”  Mrs. Gillman.]

LETTER 357

CHARLES LAMB TO LEIGH HUNT

[No date. ?  November, 1824.]

ILLUSTREZZIMO Signor,—­I have obeyed your mandate to a tittle.  I accompany this with a volume.  But what have you done with the first I sent you?—­have you swapt it with some lazzaroni for macaroni? or pledged it with a gondolierer for a passage?  Peradventuri the Cardinal Gonsalvi took a fancy to it:—­his Eminence has done my Nearness an honour.  ’Tis but a step to the Vatican.  As you judge, my works do not enrich the workman, but I get vat I can for ’em.  They keep dragging me on, a poor, worn mill-horse, in the eternal round of the damn’d magazine; but ’tis they are blind, not I. Colburn (where I recognise with delight the gay W. Honeycomb renovated) hath the ascendency.

I was with the Novellos last week.  They have a large, cheap house and garden, with a dainty library (magnificent) without books.  But what will make you bless yourself (I am too old for wonder), something has touched the right organ in Vincentio at last.  He attends a Wesleyan chapel on Kingsland Green.  He at first tried to laugh it off—­he only went for the singing; but the cloven foot—­I retract—­the Lamb’s trotters—­are at length apparent.  Mary Isabella attributes it to a lightness induced by his headaches.  But I think I see in it a less accidental influence. 

Page 105

Mister Clark is at perfect staggers! the whole fabric of his infidelity is shaken.  He has no one to join him in his coarse-insults and indecent obstreperousnesses against Christianity, for Holmes (the bonny Holmes) is gone to Salisbury to be organist, and Isabella and the Clark make but a feeble quorum.  The children have all nice, neat little clasped pray-books, and I have laid out 7s. 8d. in Watts’s Hymns for Christmas presents for them.  The eldest girl alone holds out; she has been at Boulogne, skirting upon the vast focus of Atheism, and imported bad principles in patois French.  But the strongholds are crumbling.  N. appears as yet to have but a confused notion of the Atonement.  It makes him giddy, he says, to think much about it.  But such giddiness is spiritual sobriety.

Well, Byron is gone, and ------ is now the best poet in England.  Fill up
the gap to your fancy.  Barry Cornwall has at last carried the pretty A.
S. They are just in the treacle-moon.  Hope it won’t clog his wings—­gaum
we used to say at school.

Mary, my sister, has worn me out with eight weeks’ cold and toothache, her average complement in the winter, and it will not go away.  She is otherwise well, and reads novels all day long.  She has had an exempt year, a good year, for which, forgetting the minor calamity, she and I are most thankful.

Alsager is in a flourishing house, with wife and children about him, in Mecklenburg Square—­almost too fine to visit.

Barron Field is come home from Sydney, but as yet I can hear no tidings of a pension.  He is plump and friendly, his wife really a very superior woman.  He resumes the bar.

I have got acquainted with Mr. Irving, the Scotch preacher, whose fame must have reached you.  He is a humble disciple at the foot of Gamaliel S.T.C.  Judge how his own sectarists must stare when I tell you he has dedicated a book to S.T.C., acknowledging to have learnt more of the nature of Faith, Christianity, and Christian Church, from him than from all the men he ever conversed with.  He is a most amiable, sincere, modest man in a room, this Boanerges in the temple.  Mrs. Montague told him the dedication would do him no good.  “That shall be a reason for doing it,” was his answer.  Judge, now, whether this man be a quack.

Dear H., take this imperfect notelet for a letter; it looks so much the more like conversing on nearer terms.  Love to all the Hunts, old friend Thornton, and all.

Yours ever, C. LAMB.

[Leigh Hunt was still living at Genoa.  Shelley and Byron, whom he had left England to join, were both dead.  Lamb, I assume, sent him a second copy of Elia, with this letter.

Cardinal Gonsalvi was Ercole Gonsalvi (1757-1824), secretary to Pius VII. and a patron of the arts.  Lawrence painted him.

For the present state of the London Magazine see next letter.  Leigh Hunt contributed to Colburn’s New Monthly Magazine, among other things, a series of papers on “The Months.”  Hunt also contributed an account of the Honeycomb family, by Harry Honeycomb.

Page 106

By Mary Isabella Lamb meant Mary Sabilla Novello, Vincent Novello’s wife.  The eldest girl was Mary Victoria, afterwards the wife of Charles Cowden Clarke, the Mr. Clark mentioned here.  Novello (now living at Shackleford Green) remained a good Roman Catholic to the end.  Holmes was Edward Holmes (1797-1859), a pupil of Cowden Clarke’s father at Enfield and schoolfellow of Keats.  He had lived with the Novellos, studying music, and later became a musical writer and teacher and the biographer of Mozart.

Mrs. Barron Field was a Miss Jane Carncroft, to whom Lamb addressed some album verses (see Vol.  IV. of this edition).  Leigh Hunt knew of Field’s return, for he had contributed to the New Monthly earlier in the year a rhymed letter to him in which he welcomed him home again.

Irving was Edward Irving (1792-1834), afterwards the founder of the Catholic Apostolic sect, then drawing people to the chapel in Hatton Garden, attached to the Caledonian Asylum.  The dedication, to which Lamb alludes more than once in his correspondence, was that of his work, For Missionaries after the Apostolical School, a series of orations in four parts, ... 1825.  It runs:—­

DEDICATION

TO

SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, ESQ.

MY DEAR AND HONOURED FRIEND,

Unknown as you are, in the true character either of your mind or of your heart, to the greater part of your countrymen, and misrepresented as your works have been, by those who have the ear of the vulgar, it will seem wonderful to many that I should make choice of you, from the circle of my friends, to dedicate to you these beginnings of my thoughts upon the most important subject of these or any times.  And when I state the reason to be, that you have been more profitable to my faith in orthodox doctrine, to my spiritual understanding of the Word of God, and to my right conception of the Christian Church, than any or all of the men with whom I have entertained friendship and conversation, it will perhaps still more astonish the mind, and stagger the belief, of those who have adopted, as once I did myself, the misrepresentations which are purchased for a hire and vended for a price, concerning your character and works.  You have only to shut your ear to what they ignorantly say of you, and earnestly to meditate the deep thoughts with which you are instinct, and give them a suitable body and form that they may live, then silently commit them to the good sense of ages yet to come, in order to be ranked hereafter amongst the most gifted sages and greatest benefactors of your country.  Enjoy and occupy the quiet which, after many trials, the providence of God hath bestowed upon you, in the bosom of your friends; and may you be spared until you have made known the multitude of your thoughts, unto those who at present value, or shall hereafter arise to value, their worth.

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I have partaken so much high intellectual enjoyment from being admitted into the close and familiar intercourse with which you have honoured me, and your many conversations concerning the revelations of the Christian faith have been so profitable to me in every sense, as a student and a preacher of the Gospel, as a spiritual man and a Christian pastor, and your high intelligence and great learning have at all times so kindly stooped to my ignorance and inexperience, that not merely with the affection of friend to friend, and the honour due from youth to experienced age, but with the gratitude of a disciple to a wise and generous teacher, of an anxious inquirer to the good man who hath helped him in the way of truth, I do now presume to offer you the first-fruits of my mind since it received a new impulse towards truth, and a new insight into its depths, from listening to your discourse.  Accept them in good part, and be assured that however insignificant in themselves, they are the offering of a heart which loves your heart, and of a mind which looks up with reverence to your mind.

EDWARD IRVING.

“Old friend Thornton” was Leigh Hunt’s son, Thornton Leigh Hunt, whom Lamb had addressed in verse in 1815 as “my favourite child.”  He was now fourteen.]

LETTER 358

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON AND LUCY BARTON

[P.M.  December 1, 1824.]

Dear B.B.—­If Mr. Mitford will send me a full and circumstantial description of his desired vases, I will transmit the same to a Gentleman resident at Canton, whom I think I have interest enough in to take the proper care for their execution.  But Mr. M. must have patience.  China is a great way off, further perhaps than he thinks; and his next year’s roses must be content to wither in a Wedgewood pot.  He will please to say whether he should like his Arms upon them, &c.  I send herewith some patterns which suggest themselves to me at the first blush of the subject, but he will probably consult his own taste after all.

[Illustration:  Handdrawn sketch]

The last pattern is obviously fitted for ranunculuses only.  The two former may indifferently hold daisies, marjoram, sweet williams, and that sort.  My friend in Canton is Inspector of Teas, his name Ball; and I can think of no better tunnel.  I shall expect Mr. M.’s decision.

Taylor and Hessey finding their magazine goes off very heavily at 2s. 6d. are prudently going to raise their price another shilling; and having already more authors than they want, intend to increase the number of them.  If they set up against the New Monthly, they must change their present hands.  It is not tying the dead carcase of a Review to a half-dead Magazine will do their business.  It is like G.D. multiplying his volumes to make ’em sell better.  When he finds one will not go off, he publishes two; two stick, he tries three; three hang fire, he is confident that four will have a better chance.

Page 108

And now, my dear Sir, trifling apart, the gloomy catastrophe of yesterday morning prompts a sadder vein.  The fate of the unfortunate Fauntleroy makes me, whether I will or no, to cast reflecting eyes around on such of my friends as by a parity of situation are exposed to a similarity of temptation.  My very style, seems to myself to become more impressive than usual, with the change of theme.  Who that standeth, knoweth but he may yet fall?  Your hands as yet, I am most willing to believe, have never deviated into others’ property.  You think it impossible that you could ever commit so heinous an offence.  But so thought Fauntleroy once; so have thought many besides him, who at last have expiated, as he hath done.  You are as yet upright.  But you are a Banker, at least the next thing to it.  I feel the delicacy of the subject; but cash must pass thro’ your hands, sometimes to a great amount.  If in an unguarded hour—­but I will hope better.  Consider the scandal it will bring upon those of your persuasion.  Thousands would go to see a Quaker hanged, that would be indifferent to the fate of a Presbyterian, or an Anabaptist.  Think of the effect it would have on the sale of your poems alone; not to mention higher considerations.  I tremble, I am sure, at myself, when I think that so many poor victims of the Law at one time of their life made as sure of never being hanged as I in my presumption am too ready to do myself.  What are we better than they?  Do we come into the world with different necks?  Is there any distinctive mark under our left ears?  Are we unstrangulable?  I ask you.  Think of these things.  I am shocked sometimes at the shape of my own fingers, not for their resemblance to the ape tribe (which is something) but for the exquisite adaptation of them to the purposes of picking, fingering, &c.  No one that is so framed, I maintain it, but should tremble.

Postscript for your Daughter’s eyes only.

Dear Miss ——­ Your pretty little letterets make me ashamed of my great straggling coarse handwriting.  I wonder where you get pens to write so small.  Sure they must be the pinions of a small wren, or a robin.  If you write so in your Album, you must give us glasses to read by.  I have seen a Lady’s similar book all writ in following fashion.  I think it pretty and fanciful.

“O how I love in early dawn
To bend my steps o’er flowery dawn [lawn],”

which I think has an agreeable variety to the eye.  Which I recommend to your notice, with friend Elia’s best wishes.

[The London Magazine began a new series at half a crown with the number for January, 1825.  It had begun to decline very noticeably.  The New Monthly Magazine, to the January number of which Lamb contributed his “Illustrious Defunct” essay, was its most serious rival.  Lamb returned to some of his old vivacity and copiousness in the London Magazine for January, 1825.  To that number he contributed his “Biographical Memoir of Mr. Liston” and the “Vision of Horns”; and to the February number “Letter to an Old Gentleman,” “Unitarian Protests” and the “Autobiography of Mr. Munden.”

Page 109

“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.]

LETTER 359

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.

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Meantime am as usual yours truly C.L.

E.I.H.

11 Jan. 25.

When I saw the Chessiad advertised by C.D. the Younger, I hoped it might be yours.  What title is left for you—­

Charles Dibdin the Younger, Junior.

O No, you are Timothy.

[Charles Dibdin the Younger wrote a mock-heroic poem, “The Chessiad,” which was published with Comic Tales in 1825.  The simile of the charwoman runs thus:—­

        Now Morning, yawning, rais’d her from her bed,
        Slipp’d on her wrapper blue and ’kerchief red,
        And took from Night the key of Sleep’s abode;
        For Night within that mansion had bestow’d
        The Hours of day; now, turn and turn about,
        Morn takes the key and lets the Day-hours out;
        Laughing, they issue from the ebon gate,
        And Night walks in.  As when, in drowsy state,
        Some watchman, wed to one who chars all day,
        Takes to his lodging’s door his creeping way;
        His rib, arising, lets him in to sleep,
        While she emerges to scrub, dust, and sweep.

This is the lobster simile in Hudibras, Part II., Canto 2, lines 29-32:—­

        The sun had long since, in the lap
        Of Thetis, taken out his nap,
        And, like a lobster boiled, the morn
        From black to red began to turn.

Hazard is the chief of the gods in the Chessiad’s little drama.

“You are Timothy.”  See letter to Dibdin above.

I have included in Vol.  I. of the present edition a review of Dibdin’s book, in the New Times, January 27, 1825, which both from internal evidence and from the quotation of the charwoman passage I take to be by Lamb, who was writing for that paper at that time.]

LETTER 360

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

Jan. 17, 1825.

Dear Allsop—­I acknowledge with thanks the receipt of a draft on Messrs. Wms. for L81:11:3 which I haste to cash in the present alarming state of the money market.  Hurst and Robinson gone.  I have imagined a chorus of ill-used authors singing on the occasion: 

What should we when Booksellers break? 
We should rejoice
da Capo.

We regret exceed’ly Mrs. Allsop’s being unwell.  Mary or both will come and see her soon.  The frost is cruel, and we have both colds.  I take Pills again, which battle with your wine & victory hovers doubtful.  By the bye, tho’ not disinclined to presents I remember our bargain to take a dozen at sale price and must demur.  With once again thanks and best loves to Mrs. A.

Turn over—­Yours, C. LAMB.

[Hurst and Robinson were publishers.  Lamb took the idea for his chorus from Davenant’s version of “Macbeth” which he described in The Spectator in 1828 (see Vol.  I. of the present edition).  It is there a chorus of witches—­

Page 111

        We should rejoice when good kings bleed. ]

LETTER 361

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 I quote,
Some folks might call me Sinner;
The one invented half a coat;
The other half a dinner.

The plan was good, as some will say
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.

Page 112

“I have lately pick’d up an Epigram.”  This is by Henry Man, an old South-Sea House clerk, whom in his South-Sea House essay Lamb mentions as a wit.  The epigram, which refers to Lord Spencer and Lord Sandwich, will be found in Man’s Miscellaneous Works, 1802.]

LETTER 362

CHARLES LAMB TO VINCENT NOVELLO

[P.M.  Jan. 25, 1825.]

Dear Corelli, My sister’s cold is as obstinate as an old Handelian, whom a modern amateur is trying to convert to Mozart-ism.  As company must & always does injure it, Emma and I propose to come to you in the evening of to-morrow, instead of meeting here.  An early bread-and-cheese supper at 1/2 past eight will oblige us.  Loves to the Bearer of many Children.  C. LAMB.

Tuesday Colebrooke.

I sign with a black seal, that you may begin to think, her cold has killed Mary, which will be an agreeable UNSURPRISE when you read the Note.

[This is the first letter to Novello, who was the peculiar champion of Mozart and Haydn.  Lamb calls him Corelli after Archangelo Corelli (1653-1713), the violinist and composer.  It was part of a joke between Lamb and Novello that Lamb should affect to know a great deal about music.  See the Elia essay “A Chapter on Ears” for a description of Novello’s playing.  Mrs. Novello was the mother of eleven children.]

LETTER 363

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[Dated at end:  10 February, 1825.]

Dear B.B.—­I am vexed that ugly paper should have offended.  I kept it as clear from objectionable phrases as possible, and it was Hessey’s fault, and my weakness, that it did not appear anonymous.  No more of it for God’s sake.

The Spirit of the Age is by Hazlitt.  The characters of Coleridge, &c. he had done better in former publications, the praise and the abuse much stronger, &c. but the new ones are capitally done.  Horne Tooke is a matchless portrait.  My advice is, to borrow it rather than read [? buy] it.  I have it.  He has laid on too many colours on my likeness, but I have had so much injustice done me in my own name, that I make a rule of accepting as much over-measure to Elia as Gentlemen think proper to bestow.  Lay it on and spare not.

Your Gentleman Brother sets my mouth a watering after Liberty.  O that I were kicked out of Leadenhall with every mark of indignity, and a competence in my fob.  The birds of the air would not be so free as I should.  How I would prance and curvet it, and pick up cowslips, and ramble about purposeless as an ideot!  The Author-mometer is a good fancy.  I have caused great speculation in the dramatic (not thy) world by a Lying Life of Liston, all pure invention.  The Town has swallowed it, and it is copied into News Papers, Play Bills, etc., as authentic.  You do not know the Droll, and possibly missed reading the article (in our 1st No., New Series).  A life more improbable for him to have lived would not be easily invented.  But your rebuke, coupled with “Dream on J. Bunyan,” checks me.  I’d rather do more in my favorite way, but feel dry.  I must laugh sometimes.  I am poor Hypochondriacus, and not Liston.

Page 113

Our 2’nd N’o is all trash.  What are T. and H. about?  It is whip syllabub, “thin sown with aught of profit or delight.”  Thin sown! not a germ of fruit or corn.  Why did poor Scott die!  There was comfort in writing with such associates as were his little band of Scribblers, some gone away, some affronted away, and I am left as the solitary widow looking for water cresses.

The only clever hand they have is Darley, who has written on the Dramatists, under name of John Lacy.  But his function seems suspended.

I have been harassed more than usually at office, which has stopt my correspondence lately.  I write with a confused aching head, and you must accept this apology for a Letter.

I will do something soon if I can as a peace offering to the Queen of the East Angles.  Something she shan’t scold about.

For the Present, farewell.

Thine C.L.

10 Feb. 1825.

I am fifty years old this day.  Drink my health.

["That ugly paper” was “A Vision of Horns.”

Hazlitt’s Spirit of the Age had just been published, containing criticisms, among others, of Coleridge, Horne Tooke, and Lamb.  Lamb was very highly praised.  Here is a passage from the article:—­

How admirably he has sketched the former inmates of the South-Sea House; what “fine fretwork he makes of their double and single entries!” With what a firm yet subtle pencil he has embodied “Mrs. Battle’s Opinions on Whist!” How notably he embalms a battered beau; how delightfully an amour, that was cold forty years ago, revives in his pages!  With what well-disguised humour he introduces us to his relations, and how freely he serves up his friends!  Certainly, some of his portraits are fixtures, and will do to hang up as lasting and lively emblems of human infirmity.  Then there is no one who has so sure an ear for “the chimes at midnight,” not even excepting Mr. Justice Shallow; nor could Master Silence himself take his “cheese and pippins” with a more significant and satisfactory air.  With what a gusto Mr. Lamb describes the Inns and Courts of law, the Temple and Gray’s Inn, as if he had been a student there for the last two hundred years, and had been as well acquainted with the person of Sir Francis Bacon as he is with his portrait or writings!  It is hard to say whether St. John’s Gate is connected with more intense and authentic associations in his mind, as a part of old London Wall, or as the frontispiece (time out of mind) of the Gentleman’s Magazine.  He hunts Watling Street like a gentle spirit; the avenues to the play-houses are thick with panting recollections; and Christ’s Hospital still breathes the balmy breath of infancy in his description of it!

“Your Gentleman Brother”—­John Barton, Bernard’s younger half-brother.

“The Author-mometer.”  I have not discovered to what Lamb refers.

Page 114

“Dream on J. Bunyan.”  Probably a poem by Barton, but I have not traced it.

“T. and H.”—­Taylor & Hessey.

“Poor Scott”—­John Scott, who founded the London Magazine.

“Darley”—­George Darley (1795-1846), author of Sylvia; or, The May Queen, 1827.

“The Queen of the East Angles.”  Possibly Lucy Barton, possibly Anne Knight, a friend of Barton’s.]

LETTER 364

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS MANNING

[Not dated. ?  February, 1825.]

My dear M.,—­You might have come inopportunely a week since, when we had an inmate.  At present and for as long as ever you like, our castle is at your service.  I saw Tuthill yesternight, who has done for me what may

“To all my nights and days to come,
Give solely sovran sway and masterdom.”

But I dare not hope, for fear of disappointment.  I cannot be more explicit at present.  But I have it under his own hand, that I am non-capacitated (I cannot write it in-) for business.  O joyous imbecility!  Not a susurration of this to anybody!

Mary’s love.

C. LAMB.

[Lamb had just taken a most momentous step in his career and had consulted Tuthill as to his health, in the hope of perhaps obtaining release and a pension from the East India House.  We learn more of this soon.

Here might come two brief notes to Dibdin, of no importance.]

LETTER 365

CHARLES LAMB TO SARAH HUTCHINSON

[Dated at end:  March 1, 1825.]

Dear Miss Hutchinson Your news has made us all very sad.  I had my hopes to the last.  I seem as if I were disturbing you at such an awful time even by a reply.  But I must acknowledge your kindness in presuming upon the interest we shall all feel on the subject.  No one will more feel it than Robinson, to whom I have written.  No one more than he and we acknowleged the nobleness and worth of what we have lost.  Words are perfectly idle.  We can only pray for resignation to the Survivors.  Our dearest expressions of condolence to Mrs. M------ at this time in particular.  God bless you both.  I have nothing of ourselves to tell you, and if I had, I could not be so unreverent as to trouble you with it.  We are all well, that is all.  Farewell, the departed—­and the left.  Your’s and his, while memory survives, cordially

C. LAMB.

1 Mar. 1825.

[The letter refers to the death of Thomas Monkhouse.

Here should come an undated note from Lamb to Procter, in which Lamb refers to the same loss:  “We shall be most glad to see you, though more glad to have seen double you.”]

LETTER 366

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  March 23, 1825.]

Page 115

Wednesday.

Dear B.B.—­I have had no impulse to write, or attend to any single object but myself, for weeks past.  My single self.  I by myself I. I am sick of hope deferred.  The grand wheel is in agitation that is to turn up my Fortune, but round it rolls and will turn up nothing.  I have a glimpse of Freedom, of becoming a Gentleman at large, but I am put off from day to day.  I have offered my resignation, and it is neither accepted nor rejected.  Eight weeks am I kept in this fearful suspence.  Guess what an absorbing stake I feel it.  I am not conscious of the existence of friends present or absent.  The E.I.  Directors alone can be that thing to me—­or not.—­

I have just learn’d that nothing will be decided this week.  Why the next?  Why any week?  It has fretted me into an itch of the fingers, I rub ’em against Paper and write to you, rather than not allay this Scorbuta.

While I can write, let me adjure you to have no doubts of Irving.  Let Mr. Mitford drop his disrespect.  Irving has prefixed a dedication (of a Missionary Subject 1st part) to Coleridge, the most beautiful cordial and sincere.  He there acknowledges his obligation to S.T.C. for his knowledge of Gospel truths, the nature of a Xtian Church, etc., to the talk of S.T.C. (at whose Gamaliel feet he sits weekly) [more] than to that of all the men living.  This from him—­The great dandled and petted Sectarian—­to a religious character so equivocal in the world’s Eye as that of S.T.C., so foreign to the Kirk’s estimate!—­Can this man be a Quack?  The language is as affecting as the Spirit of the Dedication.  Some friend told him, “This dedication will do you no Good,” i.e. not in the world’s repute, or with your own People.  “That is a reason for doing it,” quoth Irving.

I am thoroughly pleased with him.  He is firm, outspeaking, intrepid—­and docile as a pupil of Pythagoras.

You must like him.

Yours, in tremors of painful hope,

C. LAMB.

[In the first paragraphs Lamb refers to the great question of his release from the India House.

In a letter dated February 19, 1825, of Mary Russell Mitford, who looked upon Irving as quack absolute, we find her discussing the preacher with Charles Lamb.]

LETTER 367

CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY CRABB ROBINSON

[March 29], 1825.

I have left the d------d India House for Ever!

Give me great joy.

C. LAMB.

[Robinson states in his Reminiscences of Coleridge, Wordsworth and Lamb, preserved in MS. at Dr. Williams’ Library:  “A most important incident in Lamb’s life, tho’ in the end not so happy for him as he anticipated, was his obtaining his discharge, with a pension of almost L400 a year, from the India House.  This he announced to me by a note put into my letter box:  ‘I have left the India House.  D------ Time.  I’m all for eternity.’  He was rather more than 50 years of age.  I found him and his Sister in high spirits when I called to wish them joy on the 22 of April.  ’I never saw him so calmly cheerful,’ says my journal, ‘as he seemed then.’” See the next letters for Lamb’s own account of the event.]

Page 116

LETTER 368

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

Colebrook Cottage,

6 April, 1825.

Dear Wordsworth, I have been several times meditating a letter to you concerning the good thing which has befallen me, but the thought of poor Monkhouse came across me.  He was one that I had exulted in the prospect of congratulating me.  He and you were to have been the first participators, for indeed it has been ten weeks since the first motion of it.

Here I am then after 33 years slavery, sitting in my own room at 11 o’Clock this finest of all April mornings a freed man, with L441 a year for the remainder of my life, live I as long as John Dennis, who outlived his annuity and starved at 90.  L441, i.e.  L450, with a deduction of L9 for a provision secured to my sister, she being survivor, the Pension guaranteed by Act Georgii Tertii, &c.

I came home for ever on Tuesday in last week.  The incomprehensibleness of my condition overwhelm’d me.  It was like passing from life into Eternity.  Every year to be as long as three, i.e. to have three times as much real time, time that is my own, in it!  I wandered about thinking I was happy, but feeling I was not.  But that tumultuousness is passing off, and I begin to understand the nature of the gift.  Holydays, even the annual month, were always uneasy joys:  their conscious fugitiveness—­the craving after making the most of them.  Now, when all is holyday, there are no holydays.  I can sit at home in rain or shine without a restless impulse for walkings.  I am daily steadying, and shall soon find it as natural to me to be my own master, as it has been irksome to have had a master.  Mary wakes every morning with an obscure feeling that some good has happened to us.

Leigh Hunt and Montgomery after their releasements describe the shock of their emancipation much as I feel mine.  But it hurt their frames.  I eat, drink, and sleep sound as ever.  I lay no anxious schemes for going hither and thither, but take things as they occur.  Yesterday I excursioned 20 miles, to day I write a few letters.  Pleasuring was for fugitive play days, mine are fugitive only in the sense that life is fugitive.  Freedom and life co-existent.

At the foot of such a call upon you for gratulation, I am ashamd to advert to that melancholy event.  Monkhouse was a character I learnd to love slowly, but it grew upon me, yearly, monthly, daily.  What a chasm has it made in our pleasant parties!  His noble friendly face was always coming before me, till this hurrying event in my life came, and for the time has absorpt all interests.  In fact it has shaken me a little.  My old desk companions with whom I have had such merry hours seem to reproach me for removing my lot from among them.  They were pleasant creatures, but to the anxieties of business, and a weight of possible worse ever impending, I was

Page 117

not equal.  Tuthill and Gilman gave me my certificates.  I laughed at the friendly lie implied in them, but my sister shook her head and said it was all true.  Indeed this last winter I was jaded out, winters were always worse than other parts of the year, because the spirits are worse, and I had no daylight.  In summer I had daylight evenings.  The relief was hinted to me from a superior power, when I poor slave had not a hope but that I must wait another 7 years with Jacob—­and lo! the Rachel which I coveted is bro’t to me—­

Have you read the noble dedication of Irving’s “Missionary Orations” to S.T.C.  Who shall call this man a Quack hereafter?  What the Kirk will think of it neither I nor Irving care.  When somebody suggested to him that it would not be likely to do him good, videlicet among his own people, “That is a reason for doing it” was his noble answer.

That Irving thinks he has profited mainly by S.T.C., I have no doubt.  The very style of the Ded. shows it.

Communicate my news to Southey, and beg his pardon for my being so long acknowledging his kind present of the “Church,” which circumstances I do not wish to explain, but having no reference to himself, prevented at the time.  Assure him of my deep respect and friendliest feelings.

Divide the same, or rather each take the whole to you, I mean you and all yours.  To Miss Hutchinson I must write separate.  What’s her address?  I want to know about Mrs. M.

Farewell! and end at last, long selfish Letter!

C. LAMB.

[Lamb expanded the first portion of this letter into the Elia essay “The Superannuated Man,” which ought to be read in connection with it (see Vol.  II. of the present edition).

Leigh Hunt and James Montgomery, the poet, had both undergone imprisonment for libel.

At a Court of Directors of the India House held on March 29, 1825, it was resolved “that the resignation of Mr. Charles Lamb of the Accountant General’s Office, on account of certified ill-health, be accepted, and, it appearing that he has served the Company faithfully for 33 years, and is now in the receipt of an income of L730 per annum, he be allowed a pension of L450 (four hundred and fifty pounds) per annum, under the provisions of the act of the 53 Geo. III., cap. 155, to commence from this day.”]

LETTER 369

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  April 6, 1825.]

Dear B.B.—­My spirits are so tumultuary with the novelty of my recent emancipation, that I have scarce steadiness of hand, much more mind, to compose a letter.

I am free, B.B.—­free as air.

The little bird that wings the sky
Knows no such Liberty!

I was set free on Tuesday in last week at 4 o’Clock.

I came home for ever!

I have been describing my feelings as well as I can to Wordsw’th. in a long letter, and don’t care to repeat.  Take it briefly that for a few days I was painfully oppressed by so mighty a change, but it is becoming daily more natural to me.

Page 118

I went and sat among ’em all at my old 33 years desk yester morning; and deuce take me if I had not yearnings at leaving all my old pen and ink fellows, merry sociable lads, at leaving them in the Lurch, fag, fag, fag.

The comparison of my own superior felicity gave me any thing but pleasure.

B.B., I would not serve another 7 years for seven hundred thousand pounds!

I have got L441 net for life, sanctioned by Act of Parliament, with a provision for Mary if she survives me.

I will live another 50 years; or, if I live but 10, they will be thirty, reckoning the quantity of real time in them, i.e. the time that is a man’s own.

Tell me how you like “Barbara S.”—­will it be received in atonement for the foolish Vision, I mean by the Lady?

Apropos, I never saw Mrs. Crawford in my life, nevertheless ’tis all true of Somebody.

Address me in future Colebrook Cottage, Islington.

I am really nervous (but that will wear off) so take this brief announcement.

Yours truly C.L.

["Barbara S——­,” the Elia essay, was printed in the London Magazine, April, 1825 (see Vol II. of this edition).  It purports to be an incident in the life of Mrs. Crawford, the actress, but had really happened to Fanny Kelly.]

LETTER 370

CHARLES LAMB TO SARAH HUTCHINSON

[P.M.  April 18, 1825.]

Dear Miss Hutchinson—­You want to know all about my gaol delivery.  Take it then.  About 12 weeks since I had a sort of intimation that a resignation might be well accepted from me.  This was a kind bird’s whisper.  On that hint I spake.  Gilman and Tuthill furnishd me with certificates of wasted health and sore spirits—­not much more than the truth, I promise you—­and for 9 weeks I was kept in a fright—­ I had gone too far to recede, and they might take advantage and dismiss me with a much less sum than I had reckoned on.  However Liberty came at last with a liberal provision.  I have given up what I could have lived on in the country, but have enough to live here by managem’t and scribbling occasionally.  I would not go back to my prison for seven years longer for L10000 a year. 7 years after one is 50 is no trifle to give up.  Still I am a young Pensioner, and have served but 33 years, very few I assure you retire before 40, 45, or 50 years’ service.

You will ask how I bear my freedom.  Faith, for some days I was staggered.  Could not comprehend the magnitude of my deliverance, was confused, giddy, knew not whether I was on my head or my heel as they say.  But those giddy feelings have gone away, and my weather glass stands at a degree or two above

CONTENT

I go about quiet, and have none of that restless hunting after recreation which made holydays formerly uneasy joys.  All being holydays, I feel as if I had none, as they do in heaven, where ’tis all red letter days.

Page 119

I have a kind letter from the Words’wths congratulatory not a little.

It is a damp, I do assure you, amid all my prospects that I can receive none from a quarter upon which I had calculated, almost more than from any, upon receiving congratulations.  I had grown to like poor M. more and more.  I do not esteem a soul living or not living more warmly than I had grown to esteem and value him.  But words are vain.  We have none of us to count upon many years.  That is the only cure for sad thoughts.  If only some died, and the rest were permanent on earth, what a thing a friend’s death would be then!

I must take leave, having put off answering [a load] of letters to this morning, and this, alas! is the 1st.  Our kindest remembrances to Mrs. Monkhouse and believe us

Yours most Truly, C. LAMB.

LETTER 371

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM HORNE

[P.M.  May 2, 1825.]

Dear Hone,—­I send you a trifle; you have seen my lines, I suppose, in the “London.”  I cannot tell you how much I like the “St. Chad Wells.”

Yours truly

C. LAMB.

P.S.  Why did you not stay, or come again, yesterday?

[These words accompany Lamb’s contribution, “Remarkable Correspondent,” to Hone’s Every-Day Book (see Vol.  I. of this edition).  Lamb was helping Hone in his new venture as much as he was able; and Hone in return dedicated the first volume to him.  “St. Chad’s Wells” was an article by Hone in the number for March 2.]

LETTER 372

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

[No date.  May, 1825.]

Dear W. I write post-hoste to ensure a frank.  Thanks for your hearty congratulations.  I may now date from the 6th week of my Hegira or Flight from Leadenhall.  I have lived so much in it, that a Summer seems already past, and ’tis but early May yet with you and other people.  How I look down on the Slaves and drudges of the world! its inhabitants are a vast cotton-web of spin spin spinners.  O the carking cares!  O the money-grubbers-sempiternal muckworms!

Your Virgil I have lost sight of, but suspect it is in the hands of Sir G. Beaumont.  I think that circumstances made me shy of procuring it before.  Will you write to him about it? and your commands shall be obeyed to a tittle.

Coleridge has just finishd his prize Essay, which if it get the Prize he’ll touch an additional L100 I fancy.  His Book too (commentary on Bishop Leighton) is quite finished and penes Taylor and Hessey.

In the London which is just out (1st May) are 2 papers entitled the Superannuated Man, which I wish you to see, and also 1st Apr. a little thing called Barbara S------ a story gleaned from Miss Kelly.  The L.M. if you can get it will save my enlargement upon the topic of my manumission.

Page 120

I must scribble to make up my hiatus crumenae, for there are so many ways, pious and profligate, of getting rid of money in this vast city and suburbs that I shall miss my third:  but couragio.  I despair not.  Your kind hint of the Cottage was well thrown out.  An anchorage for age and school of economy when necessity comes.  But without this latter I have an unconquerable terror of changing Place.  It does not agree with us.  I say it from conviction.  Else—­I do sometimes ruralize in fancy.

Some d------d people are come in and I must finish abruptly.  By
d------d, I only mean deuced.  ’Tis these suitors of Penelope that make
it necessary to authorise a little for gin and mutton and such trifles.

Excuse my abortive scribble.

Yours not in more haste than heart C.L.

Love and recollects to all the Wms.  Doras, Maries round your Wrekin.

Mary is capitally well.

Do write to Sir G.B. for I am shyish of applying to him.

[Coleridge had been appointed to one of the ten Royal Associateships of the newly chartered Royal Society of Literature, thus becoming entitled to an annuity of 100 guineas.  An essay was expected from each associate.  Coleridge wrote on the Prometheus of Aeschylus, and read it on May 18.  His book was Aids to Reflection.  See note on page 734.

“I shall miss my thirds.”  Lamb’s pension was two-thirds of his stipend.

“Some d-----d people.”  A hint for Lamb’s Popular Fallacy on Home, soon
to be written.

“Round your Wrekin.”  Lamb repeats this phrase twice in the next few months.  He got it from the Dedication to Farquhar’s play “The Recruiting Officer”—­“To all friends round the Wrekin.”

Here perhaps should come a letter to Mrs. Norris printed in the Boston Bibliophile edition containing some very interesting comic verses on England somewhat in the manner of Don Juan—­

        I like the weather when it’s not too rainy,
        That is, I like two months of every year,

and so on.]

LETTER 373

CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES CHAMBERS

[Undated. ?  May, 1825.]

With regard to a John-dory, which you desire to be particularly informed about, I honour the fish, but it is rather on account of Quin who patronised it, and whose taste (of a dead man) I had as lieve go by as anybody’s (Apicius and Heliogabalus excepted—­this latter started nightingales’ tongues and peacocks’ brains as a garnish).

Else in itself, and trusting to my own poor single judgment, it hath not that moist mellow oleaginous gliding smooth descent from the tongue to the palate, thence to the stomach, &c., that your Brighton Turbot hath, which I take to be the most friendly and familiar flavor of any that swims—­most genial and at home to the palate.

Page 121

Nor has it on the other hand that fine falling off flakiness, that oleaginous peeling off (as it were, like a sea onion), which endears your cod’s head & shoulders to some appetites; that manly firmness, combined with a sort of womanish coming-in-pieces, which the same cod’s head & shoulders hath, where the whole is easily separable, pliant to a knife or a spoon, but each individual flake presents a pleasing resistance to the opposed tooth.  You understand me—­these delicate subjects are necessarily obscure.

But it has a third flavor of its own, perfectly distinct from Cod or Turbot, which it must be owned may to some not injudicious palates render it acceptable—­but to my unpractised tooth it presented rather a crude river-fish-flavor, like your Pike or Carp, and perhaps like them should have been tamed & corrected by some laborious & well chosen sauce.  Still I always suspect a fish which requires so much of artificial settings-off.  Your choicest relishes (like nature’s loveliness) need not the foreign aid of ornament, but are when unadorned (that is, with nothing but a little plain anchovy & a squeeze of lemon) then adorned the most.  However, I shall go to Brighton again next Summer, and shall have an opportunity of correcting my judgment, if it is not sufficiently informed.  I can only say that when Nature was pleased to make the John Dory so notoriously deficient in outward graces (as to be sure he is the very Rhinoceros of fishes, the ugliest dog that swims, except perhaps the Sea Satyr, which I never saw, but which they say is terrible), when she formed him with so few external advantages, she might have bestowed a more elaborate finish in his parts internal, & have given him a relish, a sapor, to recommend him, as she made Pope a Poet to make up for making him crooked.

I am sorry to find that you have got a knack of saying things which are not true to shew your wit.  If I had no wit but what I must shew at the expence of my virtue or my modesty, I had as lieve be as stupid as * * * at the Tea Warehouse.  Depend upon it, my dear Chambers, that an ounce of integrity at our death-bed will stand us in more avail than all the wit of Congreve or...  For instance, you tell me a fine story about Truss, and his playing at Leamington, which I know to be false, because I have advice from Derby that he was whipt through the Town on that very day you say he appeared in some character or other, for robbing an old woman at church of a seal ring.  And Dr. Parr has been two months dead.  So it won’t do to scatter these untrue stories about among people that know any thing.  Besides, your forte is not invention.  It is judgment, particularly shown in your choice of dishes.  We seem in that instance born under one star.  I like you for liking hare.  I esteem you for disrelishing minced veal.  Liking is too cold a word.—­I love you for your noble attachment to the fat unctuous juices of deer’s flesh & the green unspeakable

Page 122

of turtle.  I honour you for your endeavours to esteem and approve of my favorite, which I ventured to recommend to you as a substitute for hare, bullock’s heart, and I am not offended that you cannot taste it with my palate.  A true son of Epicurus should reserve one taste peculiar to himself.  For a long time I kept the secret about the exceeding deliciousness of the marrow of boiled knuckle of veal, till my tongue weakly ran riot in its praises, and now it is prostitute & common.—­But I have made one discovery which I will not impart till my dying scene is over, perhaps it will be my last mouthful in this world:  delicious thought, enough to sweeten (or rather make savoury) the hour of death.  It is a little square bit about this size in or near the knuckle bone of a fried joint of... fat I can’t call it nor lean

[Illustration:  Handrawn sketch]

neither altogether, it is that beautiful compound, which Nature must have made in Paradise Park venison, before she separated the two substances, the dry & the oleaginous, to punish sinful mankind; Adam ate them entire & inseparate, and this little taste of Eden in the knuckle bone of a fried... seems the only relique of a Paradisaical state.  When I die, an exact description of its topography shall be left in a cupboard with a key, inscribed on which these words, “C.  Lamb dying imparts this to C. Chambers as the only worthy depository of such a secret.”  You’ll drop a tear....

[Charles Chambers was the brother of John Chambers (see above).  He had been at Christ’s Hospital with Lamb and subsequently became a surgeon in the Navy.  He retired to Leamington and practised there until his death, somewhen about 1857, says Mr. Hazlitt.  He seems to have inherited some of the epicure’s tastes of his father, the “sensible clergyman in Warwickshire” who, Lamb tells us in “Thoughts on Presents of Game,” “used to allow a pound of Epping to every hare.”

This letter adds one more to the list of Lamb’s gustatory raptures, and it is remarkable as being his only eulogy of fish.  Mr. Hazlitt says that the date September 1, 1817, has been added by another hand; but if the remark about Dr. Parr is true (he died March 6, 1825) the time is as I have stated.  Fortunately the date in this particular case is unimportant.  Mr. Hazlitt suggests that the stupid person in the Tea Warehouse was Bye, whom we met recently.

Of Truss we know nothing.  The name may be a misreading of Twiss (Horace Twiss, 1787-1849, politician, buffoon, and Mrs. Siddons’ nephew), who was quite a likely person to be lied about in joke at that time.

Here should come a note to Allsop dated May 29, 1825, changing an appointment:  “I am as mad as the devil.”  Given in the Boston Bibliophile edition.]

LETTER 374

CHARLES LAMB TO S.T.  COLERIDGE

[?  June, 1825.]

Page 123

My dear Coleridge,—­With pain and grief, I must entreat you to excuse us on Thursday.  My head, though externally correct, has had a severe concussion in my long illness, and the very idea of an engagement hanging over for a day or two, forbids my rest; and I get up miserable.  I am not well enough for company.  I do assure you, no other thing prevents my coming.  I expect Field and his brothers this or to-morrow evening, and it worries me to death that I am not ostensibly ill enough to put ’em off.  I will get better, when I shall hope to see your nephew.  He will come again.  Mary joins in best love to the Gillmans.  Do, I earnestly entreat you, excuse me.  I assure you, again, that I am not fit to go out yet.

Yours (though shattered), C. LAMB. 
Tuesday.

[This letter has previously been dated 1829, but I think wrongly.  Lamb had no long illness then, and Field was then in Gibraltar, where he was Chief-Justice.  Lamb’s long illness was in 1825, when Coleridge’s Thursday evenings at Highgate were regular.  Coleridge’s nephew may have been one of several.  I fancy it was the Rev. Edward Coleridge.  Henry Nelson Coleridge had already left, I think, for the West Indies.]

LETTER 375

CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY COLBURN (?)

[Dated at end:  June 14 (? 1825).]

Dear Sir,

I am quite ashamed, after your kind letter, of having expressed any disappointment about my remuneration.  It is quite equivalent to the value of any thing I have yet sent you.  I had Twenty Guineas a sheet from the London; and what I did for them was more worth that sum, than any thing, I am afraid, I can now produce, would be worth the lesser sum.  I used up all my best thoughts in that publication, and I do not like to go on writing worse & worse, & feeling that I do so.  I want to try something else.  However, if any subject turns up, which I think will do your Magazine no discredit, you shall have it at your price, or something between that and my old price.  I prefer writing to seeing you just now, for after such a letter as I have received from you, in truth I am ashamed to see you.  We will never mention the thing again.

Your obliged friend & Serv’t

C. LAMB.

June 14.

[In the absence of any wrapper I have assumed this note to be addressed to Colburn, the publisher of the New Monthly Magazine.  Lamb’s first contribution to that periodical was “The Illustrious Defunct” (see Vol.  I. of this edition) in January, 1825.  A year later he began the “Popular Fallacies,” and continued regularly for some months.]

LETTER 376

CHARLES LAMB TO S.T.  COLERIDGE

[P.M.  July 2, 1825.]

Page 124

Dear C.—­We are going off to Enfield, to Allsop’s, for a day or 2, with some intention of succeeding them in their lodging for a time, for this damn’d nervous Fever (vide Lond.  Mag. for July) indisposes me for seeing any friends, and never any poor devil was so befriended as I am.  Do you know any poor solitary human that wants that cordial to life a—­true friend?  I can spare him twenty, he shall have ’em good cheap.  I have gallipots of ’em—­genuine balm of cares—­a going—­a going—­a going.  Little plagues plague me a 1000 times more than ever.  I am like a disembodied soul—­in this my eternity.  I feel every thing entirely, all in all and all in etc.  This price I pay for liberty, but am richly content to pay it.  The Odes are 4-5ths done by Hood, a silentish young man you met at Islinton one day, an invalid.  The rest are Reynolds’s, whose sister H. has recently married.  I have not had a broken finger in them.

They are hearty good-natured things, and I would put my name to ’em chearfully, if I could as honestly.  I complimented them in a Newspaper, with an abatement for those puns you laud so.  They are generally an excess.  A Pun is a thing of too much consequence to be thrown in as a make-weight.  You shall read one of the addresses over, and miss the puns, and it shall be quite as good and better than when you discover ’em.  A Pun is a Noble Thing per se:  O never lug it in as an accessory.  A Pun is a sole object for reflection (vide my aids to that recessment from a savage state)—­it is entire, it fills the mind:  it is perfect as a Sonnet, better.  It limps asham’d in the train and retinue of Humour:  it knows it should have an establishment of its own.  The one, for instance, I made the other day, I forget what it was.

Hood will be gratify’d, as much as I am, by your mistake.  I liked ‘Grimaldi’ the best; it is true painting, of abstract Clownery, and that precious concrete of a Clown:  and the rich succession of images, and words almost such, in the first half of the Mag.  Ignotum.  Your picture of the Camel, that would not or could not thread your nice needle-eye of Subtilisms, was confirm’d by Elton, who perfectly appreciated his abrupt departure.  Elton borrowed the “Aids” from Hessey (by the way what is your Enigma about Cupid?  I am Cytherea’s son, if I understand a tittle of it), and returnd it next day saying that 20 years ago, when he was pure, he thought as you do now, but that he now thinks as you did 20 years ago.  But E. seems a very honest fellow.  Hood has just come in; his sick eyes sparkled into health when he read your approbation.  They had meditated a copy for you, but postponed it till a neater 2d Edition, which is at hand.

Have you heard the Creature at the Opera House—­Signor Non-vir sed VELUTI Vir?

Like Orpheus, he is said to draw storks &c, after him.  A picked raisin for a sweet banquet of sounds; but I affect not these exotics.  Nos DURUM genus, as mellifluous Ovid hath it.

Page 125

Fanny Holcroft is just come in, with her paternal severity of aspect.  She has frozen a bright thought which should have follow’d.  She makes us marble, with too little conceiving.  Twas respecting the Signor, whom I honour on this side idolatry.  Well, more of this anon.

We are setting out to walk to Enfield after our Beans and Bacon, which are just smoking.

Kindest remembrances to the G.’s ever.

From Islinton,

2d day, 3d month of my Hegira or Flight from Leadenhall.

C.L.  Olim Clericus.

["To Allsop’s.”  Allsop says in his Letters... of Coleridge that he and the Lambs were housemates for a long time.

“Vide Lond.  Mag. for July”—­where the Elia essay “The Convalescent” was printed.

“The Odes”—­Odes and Addresses to Great People, 1825. Coleridge after reading the book had written to Lamb as follows (the letter is printed by Hood):—­

MY DEAR CHARLES,—­This afternoon, a little, thin, mean-looking sort of a foolscap, sub-octavo of poems, printed on very dingy outsides, lay on the table, which the cover informed me was circulating in our book-club, so very Grub-Streetish in all its appearance, internal as well as external, that I cannot explain by what accident of impulse (assuredly there was no motive in play) I came to look into it.  Least of all, the title, Odes and Addresses to Great Men, which connected itself in my head with Rejected Addresses, and all the Smith and Theodore Hook squad.  But, my dear Charles, it was certainly written by you, or under you, or una eum you.  I know none of your frequent visitors capacious and assimilative enough of your converse to have reproduced you so honestly, supposing you had left yourself in pledge in his lock-up house.  Gillman, to whom I read the spirited parody on the introduction to Peter Bell, the Ode to the Great Unknown, and to Mrs. Fry; he speaks doubtfully of Reynolds and Hood.  But here come Irving and Basil Montagu.

Thursday night 10 o’clock.—­No!  Charles, it is you.  I have read them over again, and I understand why you have anon’d the book.  The puns are nine in ten good—­many excellent —­the Newgatory transcendent.  And then the exemplum sine exemplo of a volume of personalities, and contemporaneities, without a single line that could inflict the infinitesimal of an unpleasance on any man in his senses:  saving and except perhaps in the envy-addled brain of the despiser of your Lays.  If not a triumph over him, it is at least an ovation.  Then, moreover, and besides, to speak with becoming modesty, excepting my own self, who is there but you who can write the musical lines and stanzas that are intermixed?

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Here, Gillman, come up to my Garret, and driven back by the guardian spirits of four huge flower-holders of omnigenous roses and honeysuckles—­(Lord have mercy on his hysterical olfactories!  What will he do in Paradise?  I must have a pair or two of nostril-plugs, or nose-goggles laid in his coffin)—­stands at the door, reading that to M’Adam, and the washer-woman’s letter, and he admits the facts.  You are found in the manner, as the lawyers say! so, Mr. Charles! hang yourself up, and send me a line, by way of token and acknowledgment.  My dear love to Mary.  God bless you and your Unshamabramizer.

S.T.  COLERIDGE.

Reynolds was John Hamilton Reynolds.  According to a marked copy in the possession of Mr. Buxton Forman, Reynolds wrote only the odes to Mr. M’Adam, Mr. Dymoke, Sylvanus Urban, Elliston and the Dean and Chapter of Westminster.

The newspaper in which Lamb complimented the book was the New Times, for April 12, 1825.  See Vol.  I. of the present edition for the review, where the remarks on puns are repeated.  The “Mag.  Ignotum” was the ode to the Great Unknown, the author of the Scotch novels.  In the same paper on January 8, 1825, Lamb had written an essay called “Many Friends” (see Vol.  I.) a little in the manner of this first paragraph.

“Your picture of the Camel.”  Probably the story of a caller told by Coleridge to Lamb in a letter.

“Your Enigma about Cupid.”  Possibly referring to the following passage in the Aids to Reflection, 1825, pages 277-278:—­

From the remote East turn to the mythology of Minor Asia, to the Descendants of Javan who dwelt in the tents of Shem, and possessed the Isles.  Here again, and in the usual form of an historic Solution, we find the same Fact, and as characteristic of the Human Race, stated in that earliest and most venerable Mythus (or symbolic Parable) of Prometheus—­that truly wonderful Fable, in which the characters of the rebellious Spirit and of the Divine Friend of Mankind ([Greek:  Theos philanthropos]) are united in the same Person:  and thus in the most striking manner noting the forced amalgamation of the Patriarchal Tradition with the incongruous Scheme of Pantheism.  This and the connected tale of Io, which is but the sequel of the Prometheus, stand alone in the Greek Mythology, in which elsewhere both Gods and Men are mere Powers and Products of Nature.  And most noticeable it is, that soon after the promulgation and spread of the Gospel had awakened the moral sense, and had opened the eyes even of its wiser Enemies to the necessity of providing some solution of this great problem of the Moral World, the beautiful Parable of Cupid and Psyche was brought forward as a rival FALL OF MAN:  and the fact of a moral corruption connatural with the human race was again recognized.  In the assertion of ORIGINAL SIN the Greek Mythology rose and set.

“Have you heard the Creature?”—­Giovanni Battista Velluti (1781-1861), an Italian soprano singer who first appeared in England on June 30, 1825, in Meyerbeer’s “Il Crociato in Egitto.”  He received L2,500 for five months’ salary.]

Page 127

LETTER 377

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  July 2, 1825.]

My dear B.B.—­My nervous attack has so unfitted me, that I have not courage to sit down to a Letter.  My poor pittance in the London you will see is drawn from my sickness.  Your Book is very acceptable to me, because most of it [is] new to me, but your Book itself we cannot thank you for more sincerely than for the introduction you favoured us with to Anne Knight.  Now cannot I write Mrs. Anne Knight for the life of me.  She is a very pleas—­, but I won’t write all we have said of her so often to ourselves, because I suspect you would read it to her.  Only give my sister’s and my kindest rememb’ces to her, and how glad we are we can say that word.  If ever she come to Southwark again I count upon another pleasant BRIDGE walk with her.  Tell her, I got home, time for a rubber; but poor Tryphena will not understand that phrase of the worldlings.

I am hardly able to appreciate your volume now.  But I liked the dedicat’n much, and the apology for your bald burying grounds.  To Shelly, but that is not new.  To the young Vesper-singer, Great Bealing’s, Playford, and what not?

If there be a cavil it is that the topics of religious consolation, however beautiful, are repeated till a sort of triteness attends them.  It seems as if you were for ever losing friends’ children by death, and reminding their parents of the Resurrection.  Do children die so often, and so good, in your parts?  The topic, taken from the considerat’n that they are snatch’d away from possible vanities, seems hardly sound; for to an omniscient eye their conditional failings must be one with their actual; but I am too unwell for Theology.  Such as I am, I am yours and A.K.’s truly

C. LAMB.

["My poor pittance"-"The Convalescent.”

“Your Book"-Barton’s Poems, 4th edition, 1825.  The dedication was to Barton’s sister, Maria Hack.

“Anne Knight.”  A Quaker lady, who kept a school at Woodbridge.]

LETTER 378

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN AITKEN

Colebrooke Cottage, Islington, July 5, 1825.

DEAR Sir,—­With thanks for your last No. of the Cabinet—­ as I cannot arrange with a London publisher to reprint “Rosamund Gray” as a book, it will be at your service to admit into the Cabinet as soon as you please.  Your h’ble serv’t, CH’s LAMB.

EMMA, eldest of your name,
Meekly trusting in her God
Midst the red-hot plough-shares trod,
And unscorch’d preserved her fame. 
By that test if you were tried,
Ugly names might be defied;
Though devouring fire’s a glutton,
Through the trial you might go
‘On the light fantastic toe,’
Nor for plough-shares care a BUTTON.

Page 128

[Aitken was an Edinburgh bookseller who edited The Cabinet; or, The Selected Beauties of Literature, 1824, 1825 and 1831.  The particular interest of the letter is that it shows Lamb to have wanted to publish Rosamund Gray a third time in his life.  Hitherto we had only his statement that Hessey said that the world would not bear it.  Aitken printed the story in The Cabinet for 1831.  Previously he had printed “Dream Children” and “The Inconveniences of being Hanged.”

I have been told (but have had no opportunity of verifying the statement) that the Buttons, for one of whom the appended acrostic was written, were cousins of the Lambs.

Here should come an unpublished letter to Miss Kelly thanking her for tickets and saying that Liston is to produce Lamb’s farce “The Pawnbroker’s Daughter,” which “will take.”

Here should come a letter from Lamb to Hone, dated Enfield, July 25, 1825.  Lamb had written some quatrains to the editor of the Every-Day Book, which were printed in the London Magazine for May, 1825.  Hone copied them into his periodical, accompanied by a reply.  Lamb began:—­

        I like you, and your book, ingenuous Hone!

Hone’s reply contained the sentiment:—­

        I am “ingenuous”:  it is all I can
        Pretend to; it is all I wish to be.

See the Every-Day Book, Vol.  I., July 9.  Hone at this time was occupying Lamb’s house at Colebrooke Row, while the Lambs were staying at the Allsops’ lodgings at Enfield.

Lamb again refers to “The Pawnbroker’s Daughter.”  He says it is at the theatre now and Harley is there too.  This would be John Pritt Harley, the actor.  The play, as it happened, was never acted.

Here should come three notes to Thomas Allsop in July and August, 1825, one of which damns the afternoon sun.  Given in the Boston Bibliophile edition.]

LETTER 379

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  August 10, 1825.]

We shall be soon again at Colebrook.

Dear B.B.—­You must excuse my not writing before, when I tell you we are on a visit at Enfield, where I do not feel it natural to sit down to a Letter.  It is at all times an exertion.  I had rather talk with you, and Ann Knight, quietly at Colebrook Lodge, over the matter of your last.  You mistake me when you express misgivings about my relishing a series of scriptural poems.  I wrote confusedly.  What I meant to say was, that one or two consolatory poems on deaths would have had a more condensed effect than many.  Scriptural—­ devotional topics—­admit of infinite variety.  So far from poetry tiring me because religious, I can read, and I say it seriously, the homely old version of the Psalms in our Prayer-books for an hour or two together sometimes without sense of weariness.

Page 129

I did not express myself clearly about what I think a false topic insisted on so frequently in consolatory addresses on the death of Infants.  I know something like it is in Scripture, but I think humanly spoken.  It is a natural thought, a sweet fallacy to the Survivors—­but still a fallacy.  If it stands on the doctrine of this being a probationary state, it is liable to this dilemma.  Omniscience, to whom possibility must be clear as act, must know of the child, what it would hereafter turn out:  if good, then the topic is false to say it is secured from falling into future wilfulness, vice, &c.  If bad, I do not see how its exemption from certain future overt acts by being snatched away at all tells in its favor.  You stop the arm of a murderer, or arrest the finger of a pickpurse, but is not the guilt incurred as much by the intent as if never so much acted?  Why children are hurried off, and old reprobates of a hundred left, whose trial humanly we may think was complete at fifty, is among the obscurities of providence.  The very notion of a state of probation has darkness in it.  The all-knower has no need of satisfying his eyes by seeing what we will do, when he knows before what we will do.  Methinks we might be condemn’d before commission.  In these things we grope and flounder, and if we can pick up a little human comfort that the child taken is snatch’d from vice (no great compliment to it, by the bye), let us take it.  And as to where an untried child goes, whether to join the assembly of its elders who have borne the heat of the day—­fire-purified martyrs, and torment-sifted confessors—­what know we?  We promise heaven methinks too cheaply, and assign large revenues to minors, incompetent to manage them.  Epitaphs run upon this topic of consolation, till the very frequency induces a cheapness.  Tickets for admission into Paradise are sculptured out at a penny a letter, twopence a syllable, &c.  It is all a mystery; and the more I try to express my meaning (having none that is clear) the more I flounder.  Finally, write what your own conscience, which to you is the unerring judge, seems best, and be careless about the whimsies of such a half-baked notionist as I am.  We are here in a most pleasant country, full of walks, and idle to our hearts desire.  Taylor has dropt the London.  It was indeed a dead weight.  It has got in the Slough of Despond.  I shuffle off my part of the pack, and stand like Xtian with light and merry shoulders.  It had got silly, indecorous, pert, and every thing that is bad.  Both our kind remembrances to Mrs. K. and yourself, and stranger’s-greeting to Lucy—­is it Lucy or Ruth?—­that gathers wise sayings in a Book.  C. LAMB.

[The London Magazine passed into the hands of Henry Southern in September, 1825.  Lamb’s last article for it was in the August number—­“Imperfect Dramatic Illusion,” reprinted in the Last Essays of Elia as “Stage Illusion.”]

Page 130

LETTER 380

CHARLES LAMB TO ROBERT SOUTHEY

August 10, 1825.

Dear Southey,—­You’ll know who this letter comes from by opening slap-dash upon the text, as in the good old times.  I never could come into the custom of envelopes; ’tis a modern foppery; the Plinian correspondence gives no hint of such.  In singleness of sheet and meaning then I thank you for your little book.  I am ashamed to add a codicil of thanks for your “Book of the Church.”  I scarce feel competent to give an opinion of the latter; I have not reading enough of that kind to venture at it.  I can only say the fact, that I have read it with attention and interest.  Being, as you know, not quite a Churchman, I felt a jealousy at the Church taking to herself the whole deserts of Christianity, Catholic and Protestant, from Druid extirpation downwards.  I call all good Christians the Church, Capillarians and all.  But I am in too light a humour to touch these matters.  May all our churches flourish!  Two things staggered me in the poem (and one of them staggered both of us).  I cannot away with a beautiful series of verses, as I protest they are, commencing “Jenner.”  ’Tis like a choice banquet opened with a pill or an electuary—­ physic stuff.  T’other is, we cannot make out how Edith should be no more than ten years old.  By’r Lady, we had taken her to be some sixteen or upwards.  We suppose you have only chosen the round number for the metre.  Or poem and dedication may be both older than they pretend to; but then some hint might have been given; for, as it stands, it may only serve some day to puzzle the parish reckoning.  But without inquiring further (for ’tis ungracious to look into a lady’s years), the dedication is eminently pleasing and tender, and we wish Edith May Southey joy of it.  Something, too, struck us as if we had heard of the death of John May.  A John May’s death was a few years since in the papers.  We think the tale one of the quietest, prettiest things we have seen.  You have been temperate in the use of localities, which generally spoil poems laid in exotic regions.  You mostly cannot stir out (in such things) for humming-birds and fire-flies.  A tree is a Magnolia, &c.—­Can I but like the truly Catholic spirit?  “Blame as thou mayest the Papist’s erring creed”—­which and other passages brought me back to the old Anthology days and the admonitory lesson to “Dear George” on the “The Vesper Bell,” a little poem which retains its first hold upon me strangely.

The compliment to the translatress is daintily conceived.  Nothing is choicer in that sort of writing than to bring in some remote, impossible parallel,—­as between a great empress and the inobtrusive quiet soul who digged her noiseless way so perseveringly through that rugged Paraguay mine.  How she Dobrizhoffered it all out, it puzzles my slender Latinity to conjecture.  Why do you seem to sanction Lander’s unfeeling

Page 131

allegorising away of honest Quixote!  He may as well say Strap is meant to symbolise the Scottish nation before the Union, and Random since that act of dubious issue; or that Partridge means the Mystical Man, and Lady Bellaston typifies the Woman upon Many Waters.  Gebir, indeed, may mean the state of the hop markets last month, for anything I know to the contrary.  That all Spain overflowed with romancical books (as Madge Newcastle calls them) was no reason that Cervantes should not smile at the matter of them; nor even a reason that, in another mood, he might not multiply them, deeply as he was tinctured with the essence of them.  Quixote is the father of gentle ridicule, and at the same time the very depository and treasury of chivalry and highest notions.  Marry, when somebody persuaded Cervantes that he meant only fun, and put him upon writing that unfortunate Second Part with the confederacies of that unworthy duke and most contemptible duchess, Cervantes sacrificed his instinct to his understanding.

We got your little book but last night, being at Enfield, to which place we came about a month since, and are having quiet holydays.  Mary walks her twelve miles a day some days, and I my twenty on others.  ’Tis all holiday with me now, you know.  The change works admirably.

For literary news, in my poor way, I have a one-act farce going to be acted at the Haymarket; but when? is the question.  ’Tis an extravaganza, and like enough to follow “Mr. H.”  “The London Magazine” has shifted its publishers once more, and I shall shift myself out of it.  It is fallen.  My ambition is not at present higher than to write nonsense for the playhouses, to eke out a somewhat contracted income. Tempus erat.  There was a time, my dear Cornwallis, when the Muse, &c.  But I am now in MacFleckno’s predicament,—­

        “Promised a play, and dwindled to a farce.”

Coleridge is better (was, at least, a few weeks since) than he has been for years.  His accomplishing his book at last has been a source of vigour to him.  We are on a half visit to his friend Allsop, at a Mrs. Leishman’s, Enfield, but expect to be at Colebrooke Cottage in a week or so, where, or anywhere, I shall be always most happy to receive tidings from you.  G. Dyer is in the height of an uxorious paradise.  His honeymoon will not wane till he wax cold.  Never was a more happy pair, since Acme and Septimius, and longer.  Farewell, with many thanks, dear S. Our loves to all round your Wrekin.

Your old friend, C. LAMB.

[In the letter to Barton of March 20, 1826, Lamb continues or amplifies his remarks on his own letter-writing habits.

“Capillarians.”  The New English Dictionary gives Lamb’s word in this connection as its sole example, meaning without stem.

“The poem”—­Southey’s Tale of Paraguay, 1825, which begins with an address to Jenner, the physiologist:—­

        Jenner! for ever shall thy honour’d name,

Page 132

and is dedicated to Edith May Southey—­

        Edith! ten years are number’d, since the day.

Edith Southey was born in 1804.  The dedication was dated 1814.

John May was Southey’s friend and correspondent.  It was not he that had died.

“The Vesper Bell”—­“The Chapel Bell,” which was not in the Annual Anthology, but in Southey’s Poems, 1797.  Dear George would perhaps be Burnett, who was at Oxford with Southey when the verses were written.

“The compliment to the translatress.”  Southey took his Tale of Paraguay from Dobrizhoffer’s History of the Abipones, which his niece, Sara Coleridge, had translated.  Southey remarks in the poem that could Dobrizhoffer have foreseen by whom his words were to be turned into English, he would have been as pleased as when he won the ear of the Empress Queen.

“Landor’s ... allegorising.”  Landor, in the conversation between “Peter Leopold and the President du Paty,” makes President du Paty say that Cervantes had deeper purpose than the satirising of knight-errants, Don Quixote standing for the Emperor Charles V. and Sancho Panza symbolising the people.  Southey quoted the passage in the Notes to the Proem.  Lamb’s Elia essay on the “Defect of Imagination” (see Vol.  II.) amplifies this criticism of Don Quixote.

“A one-act farce.”  This was, I imagine, “The Pawnbroker’s Daughter,” although that is in two acts.  It was not, however, acted.

George Dyer had just been married to the widow of a solicitor who lived opposite him in Clifford’s Inn.

Here should come three unimportant notes to Hone with reference to the Every-Day Book—­adding an invitation to Enfield to be shown “dainty spots.”]

LETTER 381

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[P.M.  Sept. 9, 1825.]

My dear Allsop—­We are exceedingly grieved for your loss.  When your note came, my sister went to Pall Mall, to find you, and saw Mrs. L. and was a little comforted to find Mrs. A. had returned to Enfield before the distresful event.  I am very feeble, can scarce move a pen; got home from Enfield on the Friday, and on Monday follow’g was laid up with a most violent nervous fever second this summer, have had Leeches to my Temples, have not had, nor can not get, a night’s sleep.  So you will excuse more from Yours truly, C. LAMB.

Islington, 9 Sept.

Our most kind rememb’ces to poor Mrs. Allsop.  A line to say how you both are will be most acceptable.

[Allsop’s loss was, I imagine, the death of one of his children.]

LETTER 382

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[P.M.  Sept. 24, 1825.]

My dear Allsop—­Come not near this unfortunate roof yet a while.  My disease is clearly but slowly going.  Field is an excellent attendant.  But Mary’s anxieties have overturned her.  She has her old Miss James with her, without whom I should not feel a support in the world.  We keep in separate apartments, and must weather it.  Let me know all of your healths.  Kindest love to Mrs. Allsop.  C. LAMB.

Page 133

Saturday.

Can you call at Mrs. Burney 26 James Street, and tell her, & that I can see no one here in this state.  If Martin return—­ if well enough, I will meet him some where, don’t let him come.

[Field was Henry Field, Barren Field’s brother.

Here should come a note from Lamb to Hone, dated September 30, 1825, in which Lamb describes the unhappy state of the house at Colebrooke Row, with himself and his sister both ill.

Here also should come a similar note to William Ayrton.  “All this summer almost I have been ill.  I have been laid up (the second nervous attack) now six weeks.”

On October 18 Lamb sends Hone the first “bit of writing” he has done “these many weeks.”]

LETTER 383

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM HONE

[P.M.  Oct. 24, 1825.]

I send a scrap.  Is it worth postage?  My friends are fairly surprised that you should set me down so unequivocally for an ass, as you have done, Page 1358.

HERE HE IS
what follows? 
THE ASS

Call you this friendship?

Mercy!  What a dose you have sent me of Burney!—­a perfect opening* draught.

A Pun here is intended.

[This is written on the back of the MS.  “In re Squirrels” for Hone’s Every-Day Book (see Vol.  I. of this edition).  Lamb’s previous contribution had been “The Ass” which Hone had introduced with a few words.]

LETTER 384

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[Dec. 5, 1825.]

Dear A.—­You will be glad to hear that we are at home to visitors; not too many or noisy.  Some fine day shortly Mary will surprise Mrs. Allsop.  The weather is not seasonable for formal engagements.

Yours most ever,

C. LAMB.

Satr’d.

[Here should come a note to Manning at Totteridge, signed Charles and Mary Lamb, and dated December 10, 1825.  It indicates that both are well again, and hoping to see Manning at Colebrooke.]

LETTER 385

CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES OLLIER

[No date. ?  Dec., 1825.]

Dear O.—­I leave it entirely to Mr. Colburn; but if not too late, I think the Proverbs had better have L. signd to them and reserve Elia for Essays more Eliacal.  May I trouble you to send my Magazine, not to Norris, but H.C.  Robinson Esq.  King’s bench walks, instead.

Yours truly

C. LAMB.

My friend Hood, a prime genius and hearty fellow, brings this.

[Lamb’s “Popular Fallacies” began in the New Monthly Magazine in January, 1826.  Henry Colburn was the publisher of that magazine, which had now obtained Lamb’s regular services.  The nominal editor was Campbell, the poet, who was assisted by Cyrus Redding.  Ollier seems to have been a sub-editor.]

Page 134

LETTER 386

CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES OLLIER

Colebrook Cottage, Colebrook Row, Tuesday [early 1826].

Dear Ollier,—­I send you two more proverbs, which will be the last of this batch, unless I send you one more by the post on THURSDAY; none will come after that day; so do not leave any open room in that case.  Hood sups with me to-night.  Can you come and eat grouse?  ’Tis not often I offer at delicacies.

Yours most kindly, C. LAMB.

LETTER 387

CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES OLLIER

January, 1826.

Dear O.,—­We lamented your absence last night.  The grouse were piquant, the backs incomparable.  You must come in to cold mutton and oysters some evening.  Name your evening; though I have qualms at the distance.  Do you never leave early?  My head is very queerish, and indisposed for much company; but we will get Hood, that half Hogarth, to meet you.  The scrap I send should come in AFTER the “Rising with the Lark.”

Yours truly.

Colburn, I take it, pays postages.

[The scrap was the Fallacy “That we Should Lie Down with the Lamb,” which has perhaps the rarest quality of the series.

Here perhaps should come two further notes to Ollier, referring to some articles on Chinese jests by Manning.

Here should come a letter to Mr. Hudson dated February 1, 1826, recommending a nurse for a mental case.  Given in the Boston Bibliophile edition.]

LETTER 388

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  February 7, 1826.]

My kind remembrances to your daughter and A.K. always.

Dear B.B.—­I got your book not more than five days ago, so am not so negligent as I must have appeared to you with a fortnight’s sin upon my shoulders.  I tell you with sincerity that I think you have completely succeeded in what you intended to do.  What is poetry may be disputed.  These are poetry to me at least.  They are concise, pithy, and moving.  Uniform as they are, and unhistorify’d, I read them thro’ at two sittings without one sensation approaching to tedium.  I do not know that among your many kind presents of this nature this is not my favourite volume.  The language is never lax, and there is a unity of design and feeling, you wrote them with love—­to avoid the cox-combical phrase, con amore.  I am particularly pleased with the “Spiritual Law,” page 34-5.  It reminded me of Quarles, and Holy Mr. Herbert, as Izaak Walton calls him:  the two best, if not only, of our devotional poets, tho’ some prefer Watts, and some Tom Moore.

I am far from well or in my right spirits, and shudder at pen and ink work.  I poke out a monthly crudity for Colburn in his magazine, which I call “Popular Fallacies,” and periodically crush a proverb or two, setting up my folly against the wisdom of nations.  Do you see the “New Monthly”?

Page 135

One word I must object to in your little book, and it recurs more than once—­FADELESS is no genuine compound; loveless is, because love is a noun as well as verb, but what is a fade?—­and I do not quite like whipping the Greek drama upon the back of “Genesis,” page 8.  I do not like praise handed in by disparagement:  as I objected to a side censure on Byron, etc., in the lines on Bloomfield:  with these poor cavils excepted, your verses are without a flaw.  C. LAMB.

[Barton’s new book was Devotional Verses:  founded on, and illustrative of Select Texts of Scripture, 1826.  See the Appendix for “The Spiritual Law.”

“Holy Mr. Herbert.”  Writing to Lady Beaumont in 1826 Coleridge says:  “My dear old friend Charles Lamb and I differ widely (and in point of taste and moral feeling this is a rare occurrence) in our estimate and liking of George Herbert’s sacred poems.  He greatly prefers Quarles—­nay, he dislikes Herbert.”

Barton whipped the Greek drama on the back of Genesis in the following stanza, referring to Abraham’s words before preparing to sacrifice Isaac:—­

Brief colloquy, yet more sublime,
To every feeling heart,
Than all the boast of classic time,
Or Drama’s proudest art: 
Far, far beyond the Grecian stage,
Or Poesy’s most glowing page.

For Lamb’s reference to Byron, see above.]

LETTER 389

CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES OLLIER

[P.M.  March 16, 1826.]

D’r Ollier if not too late, pray omit the last paragraph in “Actor’s Religion,” which is clumsy.  It will then end with the word Mugletonian.  I shall not often trouble you in this manner, but I am suspicious of this article as lame.

C. LAMB.

["The Religion of Actors” was printed in the New Monthly Magazine for April, 1826.  The essay ends at “Muggletonian.”  See Vol.  I. of this edition.]

LETTER 390

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  March 20, 1826.]

Dear B.B.—­You may know my letters by the paper and the folding.  For the former, I live on scraps obtained in charity from an old friend whose stationary is a permanent perquisite; for folding, I shall do it neatly when I learn to tye my neckcloths.  I surprise most of my friends by writing to them on ruled paper, as if I had not got past pothooks and hangers.  Sealing wax, I have none on my establishment.  Wafers of the coarsest bran supply its place.  When my Epistles come to be weighed with Pliny’s, however superior to the Roman in delicate irony, judicious reflexions, etc., his gilt post will bribe over the judges to him.  All the time I was at the E.I.H.  I never mended a pen; I now cut ’em to the stumps, marring rather than mending the primitive goose quill.  I cannot bear to pay for articles

Page 136

I used to get for nothing.  When Adam laid out his first penny upon nonpareils at some stall in Mesopotamos, I think it went hard with him, reflecting upon his old goodly orchard, where he had so many for nothing.  When I write to a Great man, at the Court end, he opens with surprise upon a naked note, such as Whitechapel people interchange, with no sweet degrees of envelope:  I never inclosed one bit of paper in another, nor understand the rationale of it.  Once only I seald with borrow’d wax, to set Walter Scott a wondering, sign’d with the imperial quarterd arms of England, which my friend Field gives in compliment to his descent in the female line from O. Cromwell.  It must have set his antiquarian curiosity upon watering.  To your questions upon the currency, I refer you to Mr. Robinson’s last speech, where, if you can find a solution, I cannot.  I think this tho’ the best ministry we ever stumbled upon.  Gin reduced four shillings in the gallon, wine 2 shillings in the quart.  This comes home to men’s minds and bosoms.  My tirade against visitors was not meant particularly at you or A.K.  I scarce know what I meant, for I do not just now feel the grievance.  I wanted to make an article.  So in another thing I talkd of somebody’s insipid wife, without a correspondent object in my head:  and a good lady, a friend’s wife, whom I really love (don’t startle, I mean in a licit way) has looked shyly on me ever since.  The blunders of personal application are ludicrous.  I send out a character every now and then, on purpose to exercise the ingenuity of my friends.  “Popular Fallacies” will go on; that word concluded is an erratum, I suppose, for continued.  I do not know how it got stuff’d in there.  A little thing without name will also be printed on the Religion of the Actors, but it is out of your way, so I recommend you, with true Author’s hypocrisy, to skip it.  We are about to sit down to Roast beef, at which we could wish A.K., B.B., and B.B.’s pleasant daughter to be humble partakers.  So much for my hint at visitors, which was scarcely calculated for droppers in from Woodbridge.  The sky does not drop such larks every day.

My very kindest wishes to you all three, with my sister’s best love.  C. LAMB.

["Mr. Robinson’s last speech.”  Frederick John Robinson, afterwards Earl of Ripon, then Chancellor of the Exchequer under the Earl of Liverpool.  The Government had decided to check the use of paper-money by stopping the issue of notes for less than L5; and Robinson had made a speech on the subject on February 10.  The motion was carried, but to some extent was compromised.  It was Robinson who, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, found the money for building the new British Museum and purchasing Angerstein’s pictures as the beginning of the National Gallery.

“My tirade against visitors”—­the Popular Fallacy “That Home is Home,” in the New Monthly Magazine for March.

“Somebody’s insipid wife.”  In the Popular Fallacy “That You Must Love Me and Love My Dog,” in the February number, Lamb had spoken of Honorius’ “vapid wife.”

Page 137

Barton and his daughter visited Lamb at Colebrooke Cottage somewhen about this time.  Mrs. FitzGerald, in 1893, wrote out for me her recollections of the day.  Lamb, who was alone, opened the door himself.  He sent out for a luncheon of oysters.  The books on his shelves, Mrs. FitzGerald remembered, retained the price-labels of the stalls where he had bought them.  She also remembered a portrait over the fireplace.  This would be the Milton.  In the Gem for 1831 was a poem by Barton, “To Milton’s Portrait in a Friend’s Parlour.”]

LETTER 391

CHARLES LAMB TO S.T.  COLERIDGE

March 22nd, 1826.

Dear C.,—­We will with great pleasure be with you on Thursday in the next week early.  Your finding out my style in your nephew’s pleasant book is surprising to me.  I want eyes to descry it.  You are a little too hard upon his morality, though I confess he has more of Sterne about him than of Sternhold.  But he saddens into excellent sense before the conclusion.  Your query shall be submitted to Miss Kelly, though it is obvious that the pantomime, when done, will be more easy to decide upon than in proposal.  I say, do it by all means.  I have Decker’s play by me, if you can filch anything out of it.  Miss Gray, with her kitten eyes, is an actress, though she shows it not at all, and pupil to the former, whose gestures she mimics in comedy to the disparagement of her own natural manner, which is agreeable.  It is funny to see her bridling up her neck, which is native to F.K.; but there is no setting another’s manners upon one’s shoulders any more than their head.  I am glad you esteem Manning, though you see but his husk or shrine.  He discloses not, save to select worshippers, and will leave the world without any one hardly but me knowing how stupendous a creature he is.  I am perfecting myself in the “Ode to Eton College” against Thursday, that I may not appear unclassic.  I have just discovered that it is much better than the “Elegy.”

In haste, C.L.

P.S.—­I do not know what to say to your latest theory about Nero being the Messiah, though by all accounts he was a ’nointed one.

["Next week early.”  Canon Ainger’s text here has:  “May we venture to bring Emma with us?”

“Your nephew’s pleasant book”—­Henry Nelson Coleridge’s Six Months in the West Indies in 1825.  In the last chapter but one of the book is an account of the slave question, under the title “Planters and Slaves.”

“Sternhold”—­Thomas Sternhold, the coadjutor of Hopkins in paraphrasing the Psalms.

“The pantomime.”  Coleridge seems to have had some project for modernising Dekker for Fanny Kelly.  Mr. Dykes Campbell suggested that the play to be treated was “Old Fortunatus.”

“Miss Gray.”  I have found nothing of this lady.

“Manning.”  Writing to Robert Lloyd twenty-five years earlier Lamb had said of Manning:  “A man of great Power—­an enchanter almost.—­Far beyond Coleridge or any man in power of impressing —­when he gets you alone he can act the wonders of Egypt.  Only he is lazy, and does not always put forth all his strength; if he did, I know no man of genius at all comparable to him.”

Page 138

“Against Thursday.”  Coleridge was “at home” on Thursday evenings.  Possibly on this occasion some one interested in Gray was to be there, or the allusion may be a punning one to Miss Gray.

“Your latest theory.”  I cannot explain this.]

LETTER 392

CHARLES LAMB TO H.F.  CARY

April 3, 1826.

Dear Sir,—­It is whispered me that you will not be unwilling to look into our doleful hermitage.  Without more preface, you will gladden our cell by accompanying our old chums of the London, Darley and Allan Cunningham, to Enfield on Wednesday.  You shall have hermit’s fare, with talk as seraphical as the novelty of the divine life will permit, with an innocent retrospect to the world which we have left, when I will thank you for your hospitable offer at Chiswick, and with plain hermit reasons evince the necessity of abiding here.

Without hearing from you, then, you shall give us leave to expect you.  I have long had it on my conscience to invite you, but spirits have been low; and I am indebted to chance for this awkward but most sincere invitation.

Yours, with best love to Mrs. Cary, C. LAMB.

Darley knows all about the coaches.  Oh, for a Museum in the wilderness!

[Cary, who had been afternoon lecturer at Chiswick and curate of the Savoy, this year took up his post as Assistant Keeper of the Printed Books at the British Museum.  George Darley, who wrote some notes to Gary’s Dante, we have met.  Allan Cunningham was the Scotch poet and the author of the Lives of the Painters, the “Giant” of the London Magazine.  The Lambs seem to have been spending some days at Enfield.

Here should come a note from Lamb to Ollier asking for a copy of the April New Monthly Magazine for himself, and one for his Chinese friend (Manning) if his jests are in.]

LETTER 393

CHARLES LAMB TO VINCENT NOVELLO

[P.M.  May 9, 1826.]

Dear N. You will not expect us to-morrow, I am sure, while these damn’d North Easters continue.  We must wait the Zephyrs’ pleasures.  By the bye, I was at Highgate on Wensday, the only one of the Party.

Yours truly C. LAMB.

Summer, as my friend Coleridge waggishly writes, has set in with its usual severity.

Kind rememb’ces to Mrs. Novello &c.

LETTER 394

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  May 16, 1826.]

Page 139

Dear B.B.—­I have had no spirits lately to begin a letter to you, though I am under obligations to you (how many!) for your neat little poem, ’Tis just what it professes to be, a simple tribute in chaste verse, serious and sincere.  I do not know how Friends will relish it, but we out-lyers, Honorary Friends, like it very well.  I have had my head and ears stuff’d up with the East winds.  A continual ringing in my brain of bells jangled, or The Spheres touchd by some raw Angel.  It is not George 3 trying the 100th psalm?  I get my music for nothing.  But the weather seems to be softening, and will thaw my stunnings.  Coleridge writing to me a week or two since begins his note—­“Summer has set in with its usual Severity.”  A cold Summer is all I know of disagreeable in cold.  I do not mind the utmost rigour of real Winter, but these smiling hypocrites of Mays wither me to death.  My head has been a ringing Chaos, like the day the winds were made, before they submitted to the discipline of a weather-cock, before the Quarters were made.  In the street, with the blended noises of life about me, I hear, and my head is lightened, but in a room the hubbub comes back, and I am deaf as a Sinner.  Did I tell you of a pleasant sketch Hood has done, which he calls Very Deaf Indeed?  It is of a good naturd stupid looking old gentleman, whom a footpad has stopt, but for his extreme deafness cannot make him understand what he wants; the unconscious old gentleman is extending his ear-trumpet very complacently, and the fellow is firing a pistol into it to make him hear, but the ball will pierce his skull sooner than the report reach his sensorium.  I chuse a very little bit of paper, for my ear hisses when I bend down to write.  I can hardly read a book, for I miss that small soft voice which the idea of articulated words raises (almost imperceptibly to you) in a silent reader.  I seem too deaf to see what I read.  But with a touch or two of returning Zephyr my head will melt.  What Lyes you Poets tell about the May!  It is the most ungenial part of the Year, cold crocuses, cold primroses, you take your blossoms in Ice —­a painted Sun—­

        Unmeaning joy around appears,
        And Nature smiles as if she sneers.

It is ill with me when I begin to look which way the wind sits.  Ten years ago I literally did not know the point from the broad end of the Vane, which it was the [?that] indicated the Quarter.  I hope these ill winds have blowd over you, as they do thro’ me.  Kindest rememb’ces to you and yours.  C.L.

["Your neat little poem.”  It is not possible to trace this poem.  Probably, I think, the “Stanzas written for a blank leaf in Sewell’s History of the Quakers,” printed in A Widow’s Tale, 1827.

“George 3.”  Byron’s “Vision of Judgment” thus closes:—­

        King George slipp’d into Heaven for one;
        And when the tumult dwindled to a calm,
        I left him practising the hundredth psalm.

Page 140

This is Hood’s sketch, in his Whims and Oddities:—­

[Illustration:  “Very deaf indeed.”]

“Unmeaning joy around appears...”  I have not found this.]

LETTER 395

CHARLES LAMB TO S.T.  COLERIDGE

June 1st, 1826.

Dear Coleridge,—­If I know myself, nobody more detests the display of personal vanity which is implied in the act of sitting for one’s picture than myself.  But the fact is, that the likeness which accompanies this letter was stolen from my person at one of my unguarded moments by some too partial artist, and my friends are pleased to think that he has not much flattered me.  Whatever its merits may be, you, who have so great an interest in the original, will have a satisfaction in tracing the features of one that has so long esteemed you.  There are times when in a friend’s absence these graphic representations of him almost seem to bring back the man himself.  The painter, whoever he was, seems to have taken me in one of those disengaged moments, if I may so term them, when the native character is so much more honestly displayed than can be possible in the restraints of an enforced sitting attitude.  Perhaps it rather describes me as a thinking man than a man in the act of thought.  Whatever its pretensions, I know it will be dear to you, towards whom I should wish my thoughts to flow in a sort of an undress rather than in the more studied graces of diction.

I am, dear Coleridge, yours sincerely, C. LAMB.

[The portrait to which Lamb refers will be found opposite page 706 in my large edition.  It was etched by Brook Pulham of the India House.  It was this picture which so enraged Procter when he saw it in a printshop (probably that referred to by Lamb in a later letter) that he reprimanded the dealer.

Here should come a charming letter to Louisa Holcroft dated June, offering her a room at Enfield “pretty cheap, only two smiles a week.”]

LETTER 396

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN BATES DIBDIN

Friday, someday in June, 1826. [P.M.  June 30, 1826.]

Dear D.—­My first impulse upon opening your letter was pleasure at seeing your old neat hand, nine parts gentlemanly, with a modest dash of the clerical:  my second a Thought, natural enough this hot weather, Am I to answer all this? why ’tis as long as those to the Ephesians and Galatians put together—­I have counted the words for curiosity.  But then Paul has nothing like the fun which is ebullient all over yours.  I don’t remember a good thing (good like yours) from the 1st Romans to the last of the Hebrews.  I remember but one Pun in all the Evangely, and that was made by his and our master:  Thou art Peter (that is Doctor Rock) and upon this rock will I build &c.; which sanctifies Punning with me against all gainsayers.  I never knew an enemy to puns, who was not an ill-natured man.

Page 141

Your fair critic in the coach reminds me of a Scotchman who assured me that he did not see much in Shakspeare.  I replied, I dare say not.  He felt the equivoke, lookd awkward, and reddish, but soon returnd to the attack, by saying that he thought Burns was as good as Shakspeare:  I said that I had no doubt he was—­to a Scotchman.  We exchangd no more words that day.—­Your account of the fierce faces in the Hanging, with the presumed interlocution of the Eagle and the Tyger, amused us greatly.  You cannot be so very bad, while you can pick mirth off from rotten walls.  But let me hear you have escaped out of your oven.  May the Form of the Fourth Person who clapt invisible wet blankets about the shoulders of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, be with you in the fiery Trial.  But get out of the frying pan.  Your business, I take it, is bathing, not baking.

Let me hear that you have clamber’d up to Lover’s Seat; it is as fine in that neighbourhood as Juan Fernandez, as lonely too, when the Fishing boats are not out; I have sat for hours, staring upon a shipless sea.  The salt sea is never so grand as when it is left to itself.  One cock-boat spoils it.  A sea-mew or two improves it.  And go to the little church, which is a very protestant Loretto, and seems dropt by some angel for the use of a hermit, who was at once parishioner and a whole parish.  It is not too big.  Go in the night, bring it away in your portmanteau, and I will plant it in my garden.  It must have been erected in the very infancy of British Christianity, for the two or three first converts; yet hath it all the appertenances of a church of the first magnitude, its pulpit, its pews, its baptismal font; a cathedral in a nutshell.  Seven people would crowd it like a Caledonian Chapel.  The minister that divides the word there, must give lumping penny-worths.  It is built to the text of two or three assembled in my name.  It reminds me of the grain of mustard seed.  If the glebe land is proportionate, it may yield two potatoes.  Tythes out of it could be no more split than a hair.  Its First fruits must be its Last, for ’twould never produce a couple.  It is truly the strait and narrow way, and few there be (of London visitants) that find it.  The still small voice is surely to be found there, if any where.  A sounding board is merely there for ceremony.  It is secure from earthquakes, not more from sanctity than size, for ’twould feel a mountain thrown upon it no more than a taper-worm would.  Go and see, but not without your spectacles.  By the way, there’s a capital farm house two thirds of the way to the Lover’s Seat, with incomparable plum cake, ginger beer, etc.  Mary bids me warn you not to read the Anatomy of Melancholy in your present low way.  You’ll fancy yourself a pipkin, or a headless bear, as Burton speaks of.  You’ll be lost in a maze of remedies for a labyrinth of diseasements, a plethora of cures.  Read Fletcher; above all the Spanish Curate, the Thief or Little Nightwalker,

Page 142

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.

Yours most truly C. LAMB

Timothy B. Dibdin, Esq., No. 9, Blucher Row, Priory, Hastings.

[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 church.

“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:—­]

LETTER 397

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.

Yours,

C. LAMB.

[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.”]

Page 143

LETTER 398

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN BATES DIBDIN

[P.M.  July 14, 1826.]

        Because you boast poetic Grandsire,
        And rhyming kin, both Uncle and Sire,
        Dost think that none but their Descendings
        Can tickle folks with double endings? 
        I had a Dad, that would for half a bet
        Have put down thine thro’ half the Alphabet. 
        Thou, who would be Dan Prior the second,
        For Dan Posterior must be reckon’d. 
        In faith, dear Tim, your rhymes are slovenly,
        As a man may say, dough-baked and ovenly;
        Tedious and long as two Long Acres,
        And smell most vilely of the Baker’s. 
        (I have been cursing every limb o’ thee,
        Because I could not hitch in Timothy
        Jack, Will, Tom, Dick’s, a serious evil,
        But Tim, plain Tim’s—­the very devil.)
        Thou most incorrigible scribbler,
        Right Watering place and cockney dribbler,
        What child, that barely understands A,
        B, C
, would ever dream that Stanza
        Would tinkle into rhyme with “Plan, Sir”? 
        Go, go, you are not worth an answer. 
        I had a Sire, that at plain Crambo
        Had hit you o’er the pate a damn’d blow. 
        How now? may I die game, and you die brass,
        But I have stol’n a quip from Hudibras. 
        ’Twas thinking on that fine old Suttler, }
        That was in faith a second Butler; }
        Mad as queer rhymes as he, and subtler. }
        He would have put you to ’t this weather
        For rattling syllables together;
        Rhym’d you to death, like “rats in Ireland,”
        Except that he was born in High’r Land. 
        His chimes, not crampt like thine, and rung ill,
        Had made Job split his sides on dunghill. 
        There was no limit to his merryings
        At christ’nings, weddings, nay at buryings. 
        No undertaker would live near him,
        Those grave practitioners did fear him;
        Mutes, at his merry mops, turned “vocal.” 
        And fellows, hired for silence, “spoke all.” 
        No body could be laid in cavity,
        Long as he lived, with proper gravity. 
        His mirth-fraught eye had but to glitter,
        And every mourner round must titter. 
        The Parson, prating of Mount Hermon,
        Stood still to laugh, in midst of sermon. 
        The final Sexton (smile he must for him)
        Could hardly get to “dust to dust” for him. 
        He lost three pall-bearers their livelyhood,
        Only with simp’ring at his lively mood: 
        Provided that they fresh and neat came,
        All jests were fish that to his net came. 
        He’d banter Apostolic castings,
        As you jeer fishermen at Hastings. 
        When the fly bit, like me, he leapt-o’er-all,
        And stood not much on what was scriptural.

Page 144

P.S.

        I had forgot, at Small Bohemia
        (Enquire the way of your maid Euphemia)
        Are sojourning, of all good fellows
        The prince and princess,—­the Novellos—­
        Pray seek ’em out, and give my love to ’em;
        You’ll find you’ll soon be hand and glove to ’em.

In prose, Little Bohemia, about a mile from Hastings in the Hollington road, when you can get so far.  Dear Dib, I find relief in a word or two of prose.  In truth my rhymes come slow.  You have “routh of ’em.”  It gives us pleasure to find you keep your good spirits.  Your Letter did us good.  Pray heaven you are got out at last.  Write quickly.

This letter will introduce you, if ’tis agreeable.  Take a donkey.  ’Tis Novello the Composer and his Wife, our very good friends.

C.L.

[Dibdin must have sent the verses which Lamb asked for in the previous letter, and this is Lamb’s reply.  Pride of ancestry seems to have been the note of Dibdin’s effort.  Probably there is a certain amount of truth in Lamb’s account of the resolute merriment of his father.  It is not inconsistent with his description of Lovel in the Elia essay “The Old Benchers of the Inner Temple.”

“I have stol’n a quip.”  The manner rather than the precise matter, I think.

Here should come a letter from Lamb to the Rev. Edward Coleridge, Coleridge’s nephew, dated July 19, 1826.  It thanks the recipient for his kindness to the child of a friend of Lamb’s, Samuel Anthony Bloxam, Coleridge having assisted in getting Frederick Bloxam into Eton (where he was a master) on the foundation.  Samuel Bloxam and Lamb were at Christ’s Hospital together.]

LETTER 399

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

[P.M.  September 6, 1826.]

My dear Wordsworth, The Bearer of this is my young friend Moxon, a young lad with a Yorkshire head, and a heart that would do honour to a more Southern county:  no offence to Westmoreland.  He is one of Longman’s best hands, and can give you the best account of The Trade as ’tis now going; or stopping.  For my part, the failure of a Bookseller is not the most unpalatable accident of mortality: 

            sad but not saddest
        The desolation of a hostile city.

When Constable fell from heaven, and we all hoped Baldwin was next, I tuned a slight stave to the words in Macbeth (D’avenant’s) to be sung by a Chorus of Authors,

What should we do when Booksellers break? 
We should rejoyce.

Page 145

Moxon is but a tradesman in the bud yet, and retains his virgin Honesty; Esto perpetua, for he is a friendly serviceable fellow, and thinks nothing of lugging up a Cargo of the Newest Novels once or twice a week from the Row to Colebrooke to gratify my Sister’s passion for the newest things.  He is her Bodley.  He is author besides of a poem which for a first attempt is promising.  It is made up of common images, and yet contrives to read originally.  You see the writer felt all he pours forth, and has not palmed upon you expressions which he did not believe at the time to be more his own than adoptive.  Rogers has paid him some proper compliments, with sound advice intermixed, upon a slight introduction of him by me; for which I feel obliged.  Moxon has petition’d me by letter (for he had not the confidence to ask it in London) to introduce him to you during his holydays; pray pat him on the head, ask him a civil question or two about his verses, and favor him with your genuine autograph.  He shall not be further troublesome.  I think I have not sent any one upon a gaping mission to you a good while.  We are all well, and I have at last broke the bonds of business a second time, never to put ’em on again.  I pitch Colburn and his magazine to the divil.  I find I can live without the necessity of writing, tho’ last year I fretted myself to a fever with the hauntings of being starved.  Those vapours are flown.  All the difference I find is that I have no pocket money:  that is, I must not pry upon an old book stall, and cull its contents as heretofore, but shoulders of mutton, Whitbread’s entire, and Booth’s best, abound as formerly.

I don’t know whom or how many to send our love to, your household is so frequently divided, but a general health to all that may be fixed or wandering; stars, wherever.  We read with pleasure some success (I forget quite what) of one of you at Oxford.  Mrs. Monkhouse (... was one of you) sent us a kind letter some [months back], and we had the pleasure to [see] her in tolerable spirits, looking well and kind as in by-gone days.

Do take pen, or put it into goodnatured hands Dorothean or Wordsworthian-female, or Hutchinsonian, to inform us of your present state, or possible proceedings.  I am ashamed that this breaking of the long ice should be a letter of business.  There is none circum praecordia nostra I swear by the honesty of pedantry, that wil I nil I pushes me upon scraps of Latin.  We are yours cordially:  CHAS. & MARY LAMB.

September. 1826.

[In this letter, the first to Wordsworth for many months, we have the first mention of Edward Moxon, who was to be so closely associated with Lamb in the years to come.  Moxon, a young Yorkshireman, educated at the Green Coat School, was then nearly twenty-five, and was already author of The Prospect and other Poems, dedicated to Rogers, who was destined to be a valuable patron.  Moxon subsequently became Wordsworth’s publisher.

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“Constable ...  Baldwin.”  Archibald Constable & Co., Scott’s publishers, failed in 1826.  Baldwin was the first publisher of the London Magazine.

“I pitch Colburn and his magazine.”  Lamb wrote nothing in the New Monthly Magazine after September, 1826.

I append portions of what seems to be Lamb’s first letter to Edward Moxon, obviously written before this date, but not out of place here.  The letter seems to have accompanied the proof of an article on Lamb which he had corrected and was returning to Moxon.]

LETTER 400

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

(Fragment)

Were my own feelings consulted I should print it verbatim, but I won’t hoax you, else I love a Lye.  My biography, parentage, place of birth, is a strange mistake, part founded on some nonsense I wrote about Elia, and was true of him, the real Elia, whose name I took....  C.L. was born in Crown Office Row, Inner Temple in 1775.  Admitted into Christs Hospital, 1782, where he was contemporary with T.F.M. [Thomas Fanshawe Middleton], afterwards Bishop of Calcutta, and with S.T.C. with the last of these two eminent scholars he has enjoyed an intimacy through life.  On quitting this foundation he became a junior clerk in the South Sea House under his Elder Brother who died accountant there some years since....  I am not the author of the Opium Eater, &c.

[I have not succeeded in finding the article in question.]

LETTER 401

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN BATES DIBDIN

[P.M.  September 9, 1826.]

An answer is requested.

Saturday.

Dear D.—­I have observed that a Letter is never more acceptable than when received upon a rainy day, especially a rainy Sunday; which moves me to send you somewhat, however short.  This will find you sitting after Breakfast, which you will have prolonged as far as you can with consistency to the poor handmaid that has the reversion of the Tea Leaves; making two nibbles of your last morsel of stale roll (you cannot have hot new ones on the Sabbath), and reluctantly coming to an end, because when that is done, what can you do till dinner?  You cannot go to the Beach, for the rain is drowning the sea, turning rank Thetis fresh, taking the brine out of Neptune’s pickles, while mermaids sit upon rocks with umbrellas, their ivory combs sheathed for spoiling in the wet of waters foreign to them.  You cannot go to the library, for it’s shut.  You are not religious enough to go to church.  O it is worth while to cultivate piety to the gods, to have something to fill the heart up on a wet Sunday!  You cannot cast accounts, for your ledger is being eaten up with moths in the Ancient Jewry.  You cannot play at draughts, for there is none to play with you, and besides there is not a draught board in the house.  You cannot

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go to market, for it closed last night.  You cannot look in to the shops, their backs are shut upon you.  You cannot read the Bible, for it is not good reading for the sick and the hypochondriacal.  You cannot while away an hour with a friend, for you have no friend round that Wrekin.  You cannot divert yourself with a stray acquaintance, for you have picked none up.  You cannot bear the chiming of Bells, for they invite you to a banquet, where you are no visitant.  You cannot cheer yourself with the prospect of a tomorrow’s letter, for none come on Mondays.  You cannot count those endless vials on the mantlepiece with any hope of making a variation in their numbers.  You have counted your spiders:  your Bastile is exhausted.  You sit and deliberately curse your hard exile from all familiar sights and sounds.  Old Ranking poking in his head unexpectedly would just now be as good to you as Grimaldi.  Any thing to deliver you from this intolerable weight of Ennui.  You are too ill to shake it off:  not ill enough to submit to it, and to lie down as a lamb under it.  The Tyranny of Sickness is nothing to the Cruelty of Convalescence:  ’tis to have Thirty Tyrants for one.  That pattering rain drops on your brain.  You’ll be worse after dinner, for you must dine at one to-day, that Betty may go to afternoon service.  She insists upon having her chopped hay.  And then when she goes out, who was something to you, something to speak to—­what an interminable afternoon you’ll have to go thro’.  You can’t break yourself from your locality:  you cannot say “Tomorrow morning I set off for Banstead, by God”:  for you are book’d for Wednesday.  Foreseeing this, I thought a cheerful letter would come in opportunely.  If any of the little topics for mirth I have thought upon should serve you in this utter extinguishment of sunshine, to make you a little merry, I shall have had my ends.  I love to make things comfortable. [Here is an erasure.] This, which is scratch’d out was the most material thing I had to say, but on maturer thoughts I defer it.

P.S.—­We are just sitting down to dinner with a pleasant party, Coleridge, Reynolds the dramatist, and Sam Bloxam:  to-morrow (that is, to_day_), Liston, and Wyat of the Wells, dine with us.  May this find you as jolly and freakish as we mean to be.

C. LAMB.

[Addressed to “T.  Dibdin Esq’re.  No. 4 Meadow Cottages, Hastings, Sussex.”

“You have counted your spiders.”  Referring, I suppose, to Paul Pellisson-Fontanier, the academician, and a famous prisoner in the Bastille, who trained a spider to eat flies from his hand.

“Grimaldi”—­Joseph Grimaldi, the clown.  Ranking was one of Dibdin’s employers.

“A pleasant party.”  Reynolds, the dramatist, would be Frederic Reynolds (1764-1841); Bloxam we have just met; and Wyat of the Wells was a comic singer and utility actor at Sadler’s Wells.

Canon Ainger remarks that as a matter of fact Dibdin was a religious youth.]

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LETTER 402

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  September 26, 1826.]

Dear B.B.—­I don’t know why I have delay’d so long writing.  ’Twas a fault.  The under current of excuse to my mind was that I had heard of the Vessel in which Mitford’s jars were to come; that it had been obliged to put into Batavia to refit (which accounts for its delay) but was daily expectated.  Days are past, and it comes not, and the mermaids may be drinking their Tea out of his China for ought I know; but let’s hope not.  In the meantime I have paid L28, etc., for the freight and prime cost, (which I a little expected he would have settled in London.) But do not mention it.  I was enabled to do it by a receipt of L30 from Colburn, with whom however I have done.  I should else have run short.  For I just make ends meet.  We will wait the arrival of the Trinkets, and to ascertain their full expence, and then bring in the bill. (Don’t mention it, for I daresay ’twas mere thoughtlessness.)

I am sorry you and yours have any plagues about dross matters.  I have been sadly puzzled at the defalcation of more than one third of my income, out of which when entire I saved nothing.  But cropping off wine, old books, &c. and in short all that can be call’d pocket money, I hope to be able to go on at the Cottage.  Remember, I beg you not to say anything to Mitford, for if he be honest it will vex him:  if not, which I as little expect as that you should [not] be, I have a hank still upon the JARS.

Colburn had something of mine in last month, which he has had in hand these 7 months, and had lost, or cou’dnt find room for:  I was used to different treatment in the London, and have forsworn Periodicals.

I am going thro’ a course of reading at the Museum:  the Garrick plays, out of part of which I formed my Specimens:  I have Two Thousand to go thro’; and in a few weeks have despatch’d the tythe of ’em.  It is a sort of Office to me; hours, 10 to 4, the same.  It does me good.  Man must have regular occupation, that has been used to it.  So A.K. keeps a School!  She teaches nothing wrong, I’ll answer for’t.  I have a Dutch print of a Schoolmistress; little old-fashioned Fleminglings, with only one face among them.  She a Princess of Schoolmistress, wielding a rod for form more than use; the scene an old monastic chapel, with a Madonna over her head, looking just as serious, as thoughtful, as pure, as gentle, as herself.  Tis a type of thy friend.

Will you pardon my neglect?  Mind, again I say, don’t shew this to M.; let me wait a little longer to know the event of his Luxuries. (I am sure he is a good fellow, tho’ I made a serious Yorkshire Lad, who met him, stare when I said he was a Clergyman.  He is a pleasant Layman spoiled.) Heaven send him his jars uncrack’d, and me my——­ Yours with kindest wishes to your daughter and friend, in which Mary joins

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C.L.

["I saved nothing.”  Lamb, however, according to Procter, left L2000 at his death eight years later.  He must have saved L200 a year from his pension of L441, living at the rate of L241 per annum, plus small earnings, for the rest of his life, and investing the L200 at 5 per cent, compound interest.

“Colburn had something of mine.”  The Popular Fallacy “That a Deformed Person is a Lord,” not included by Lamb with the others when he reprinted them.  Printed in Vol.  I. of this edition.

“Reading at the Museum.”  Lamb had begun to visit the Museum every day to collect extracts from the Garrick plays for Hone’s Table Book, 1827.

“A.K.”—­Anne Knight again.

The pleasant Yorkshire lad whom Mitford’s secular air surprised was probably Moxon.

Here might come a business letter, from Lamb to Barton, preserved in the British Museum, relating to Mitford’s jars.]

LETTER 403

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

[No date. ?  Sept., 1826.]

I have had much trouble to find Field to-day.  No matter.  He was packing up for out of town.  He has writ a handsomest letter, which you will transmit to Murry with your proof-sheets.  Seal it.—­

Yours C. L——.

Mrs. Hood will drink tea with us on Thursday at 1/2 past 5 at Latest.

N.B.  I have lost my Museum reading today:  a day with Titus:  owing to your dam’d bisness.—­I am the last to reproach anybody.  I scorn it.

If you shall have the whole book ready soon, it will be best for Murry to see.

[I am not clear as to what proof-sheets of Moxon’s Lamb refers.  His second book, Christmas, 1829, was issued through Hurst, Chance & Co.

Barton Field and John Murray were friends.

“A day with Titus.”  Can this (a friend suggests) have any connection with the phrase Amici! diem perdidi? There is no Titus play among the Garrick Extracts.]

LETTER 404

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[No postmark or date.  Soon after preceding letter to Barton. 1826.]

Dear B.B.—­the Busy Bee, as Hood after Dr. Watts apostrophises thee, and well dost thou deserve it for thy labors in the Muses’ gardens, wandering over parterres of Think-on-me’s and Forget-me-nots, to a total impossibility of forgetting thee,—­thy letter was acceptable, thy scruples may be dismissed, thou art Rectus in Curia, not a word more to be said, Verbum Sapienti and so forth, the matter is decided with a white stone, Classically, mark me, and the apparitions vanishd which haunted me, only the Cramp, Caliban’s distemper, clawing me in the calvish part of my nature, makes me ever and anon roar Bullishly, squeak cowardishly, and limp cripple-ishly.  Do I write quakerly and simply, ’tis my most Master Mathew-like intention to

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do it.  See Ben Jonson.—­I think you told me your acquaint’ce with the Drama was confin’d to Shakspeare and Miss Bailly:  some read only Milton and Croly.  The gap is as from an ananas to a Turnip.  I have fighting in my head the plots characters situations and sentiments of 400 old Plays (bran new to me) which I have been digesting at the Museum, and my appetite sharpens to twice as many more, which I mean to course over this winter.  I can scarce avoid Dialogue fashion in this letter.  I soliloquise my meditations, and habitually speak dramatic blank verse without meaning it.  Do you see Mitford? he will tell you something of my labors.  Tell him I am sorry to have mist seeing him, to have talk’d over those OLD TREASURES.  I am still more sorry for his missing Pots.  But I shall be sure of the earliest intelligence of the Lost Tribes.  His Sacred Specimens are a thankful addition to my shelves.  Marry, I could wish he had been more careful of corrigenda.  I have discover’d certain which have slipt his Errata.  I put ’em in the next page, as perhaps thou canst transmit them to him.  For what purpose, but to grieve him (which yet I should be sorry to do), but then it shews my learning, and the excuse is complimentary, as it implies their correction in a future Edition.  His own things in the book are magnificent, and as an old Christ’s Hospitaller I was particularly refreshd with his eulogy on our Edward.  Many of the choice excerpta were new to me.  Old Christmas is a coming, to the confusion of Puritans, Muggletonians, Anabaptists, Quakers, and that Unwassailing Crew.  He cometh not with his wonted gait, he is shrunk 9 inches in the girth, but is yet a Lusty fellow.  Hood’s book is mighty clever, and went off 600 copies the 1st day.  Sion’s Songs do not disperse so quickly.  The next leaf is for Rev’d J.M.  In this ADIEU thine briefly in a tall friendship C. LAMB.

[Barton’s letter, to which this is an answer, not being preserved, we do not know what his scruples were.  B.B. was a great contributor to annuals.

“With a white stone.”  In trials at law a white stone was cast as a vote for acquittal, a black stone for condemnation (see Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15, 41).

“Master Mathew”—­in Ben Jonson’s “Every Man in His Humour.”

“Croly”—­the Rev. George Croly (1780-1860), of the Literary Gazette, author of The Angel of the World and other pretentious poems.

“Mitford’s Sacred Specimens”—­Sacred Specimens Selected from the Early English Poets, 1827.  The last poem, by Mitford himself, was “Lines Written under the Portrait of Edward VI.”

“Hood’s book”—­Whims and Oddities, second series, 1827.

Here should come a note to Allsop stating that Lamb is “near killed with Christmassing.”]

LETTER 405

CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY CRABB ROBINSON

Page 151

Colebrooke Row, Islington,

Saturday, 20th Jan., 1827.

Dear Robinson,—­I called upon you this morning, and found that you were gone to visit a dying friend.  I had been upon a like errand.  Poor Norris has been lying dying for now almost a week, such is the penalty we pay for having enjoyed a strong constitution!  Whether he knew me or not, I know not, or whether he saw me through his poor glazed eyes; but the group I saw about him I shall not forget.  Upon the bed, or about it, were assembled his wife and two daughters, and poor deaf Richard, his son, looking doubly stupified.  There they were, and seemed to have been sitting all the week.  I could only reach out a hand to Mrs. Norris.  Speaking was impossible in that mute chamber.  By this time I hope it is all over with him.  In him I have a loss the world cannot make up.  He was my friend and my father’s friend all the life I can remember.  I seem to have made foolish friendships ever since.  Those are friendships which outlive a second generation.  Old as I am waxing, in his eyes I was still the child he first knew me.  To the last he called me Charley.  I have none to call me Charley now.  He was the last link that bound me to the Temple.  You are but of yesterday.  In him seem to have died the old plainness of manners and singleness of heart.  Letters he knew nothing of, nor did his reading extend beyond the pages of the “Gentleman’s Magazine.”  Yet there was a pride of literature about him from being amongst books (he was librarian), and from some scraps of doubtful Latin which he had picked up in his office of entering students, that gave him very diverting airs of pedantry.  Can I forget the erudite look with which, when he had been in vain trying to make out a black-letter text of Chaucer in the Temple Library, he laid it down and told me that—­“in those old books, Charley, there is sometimes a deal of very indifferent spelling;” and seemed to console himself in the reflection!  His jokes, for he had his jokes, are now ended, but they were old trusty perennials, staples that pleased after decies repetita, and were always as good as new.  One song he had, which was reserved for the night of Christmas-day, which we always spent in the Temple.  It was an old thing, and spoke of the flat bottoms of our foes and the possibility of their coming over in darkness, and alluded to threats of an invasion many years blown over; and when he came to the part

        “We’ll still make ’em run, and we’ll still make ’em sweat,
        In spite of the devil and Brussels Gazette!”

his eyes would sparkle as with the freshness of an impending event.  And what is the “Brussels Gazette” now?  I cry while I enumerate these trifles.  “How shall we tell them in a stranger’s ear?” His poor good girls will now have to receive their afflicted mother in an inaccessible hovel in an obscure village in Herts, where they have been long struggling to make a school without effect; and poor deaf Richard—­and the more helpless for being so—­is thrown on the wide world.

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My first motive in writing, and, indeed, in calling on you, was to ask if you were enough acquainted with any of the Benchers, to lay a plain statement before them of the circumstances of the family.  I almost fear not, for you are of another hall.  But if you can oblige me and my poor friend, who is now insensible to any favours, pray exert yourself.  You cannot say too much good of poor Norris and his poor wife.

Yours ever, CHARLES LAMB.

[This letter, describing the death of Randal Norris, Sub-Treasurer and Librarian of the Inner Temple, was printed with only very slight alterations in Hone’s Table Book, 1827, and again in the Last Essays of Elia, 1833, under the title “A Death-Bed.”  It was, however, taken out of the second edition, and “Confessions of a Drunkard” substituted, in deference to the wishes of Norris’s family.  Mrs. Norris, as I have said, was a native of Widford, where she had known Mrs. Field, Lamb’s grandmother.  With her son Richard, who was deaf and peculiar, Mrs. Norris moved to Widford again, where the daughters, Miss Betsy and Miss Jane, had opened a school—­Goddard House; which they retained until a legacy restored the family prosperity.  Soon after that they both married, each a farmer named Tween.  They survived until quite recently.

Mrs. Coe, an old scholar at the Misses Morris’s school in the twenties, gave me, in 1902, some reminiscences of those days, from which I quote a passage or so:—­

When he joined the Norrises’ dinner-table he kept every one laughing.  Mr. Richard sat at one end, and some of the school children would be there too.  One day Mr. Lamb gave every one a fancy name all round the table, and made a verse on each.  “You are so-and-so,” he said, “and you are so-and-so,” adding the rhyme.  “What’s he saying?  What are you laughing at?” Mr. Richard asked testily, for he was short-tempered.  Miss Betsy explained the joke to him, and Mr. Lamb, coming to his turn, said—­only he said it in verse—­“Now, Dick, it’s your turn.  I shall call you Gruborum; because all you think of is your food and your stomach.”  Mr. Richard pushed back his chair in a rage and stamped out of the room.  “Now I’ve done it,” said Mr. Lamb:  “I must go and make friends with my old chum.  Give me a large plate of pudding to take to him.”  When he came back he said, “It’s all right.  I thought the pudding would do it.”  Mr. Lamb and Mr. Richard never got on very well, and Mr. Richard didn’t like his teasing ways at all; but Mr. Lamb often went for long walks with him, because no one else would.  He did many kind things like that.
There used to be a half-holiday when Mr. Lamb came, partly because he would force his way into the schoolroom and make seriousness impossible.  His head would suddenly appear at the door in the midst of lessons, with “Well, Betsy!  How do, Jane?” “O, Mr. Lamb!” they would say, and that was the end of work for that day. 

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He was really rather naughty with the children.  One of his tricks was to teach them a new kind of catechism (Mrs. Coe does not remember it, but we may rest assured, I fear, that it was secular), and he made a great fuss with Lizzie Hunt for her skill in saying the Lord’s Prayer backwards, which he had taught her.

“We’ll still make ’em run...”  Garrick’s “Hearts of Oak,” sung in “Harlequin’s Invasion.”

“How shall we tell them in a stranger’s ear?” A quotation from Lamb himself, in the lines “Written soon after the Preceding Poem,” in 1798 (see Vol.  IV.).]

LETTER 406

CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY CRABB ROBINSON

[No date.  Jan. 20, 1827.]

Dear R.N. is dead.  I have writ as nearly as I could to look like a letter meant for your eye only.  Will it do?

Could you distantly hint (do as your own judgment suggests) that if his son could be got in as Clerk to the new Subtreasurer, it would be all his father wish’d?  But I leave that to you.  I don’t want to put you upon anything disagreeable.

Yours thankfully

C.L.

[The reference at the beginning is to the preceding letter, which was probably enclosed with this note.

Here should come a note to Allsop dated Jan. 25, 1827, complaining of the cold.]

LETTER 407

CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY CRABB ROBINSON

[Dated by H.C.R.  Jan. 29, 1827.]

Dear Robinson, If you have not seen Mr. Gurney, leave him quite alone for the present, I have seen Mr. Jekyll, who is as friendly as heart can desire, he entirely approves of my formula of petition, and gave your very reasons for the propriety of the “little village of Hertf’shire.”  Now, Mr. G. might not approve of it, and then we should clash.  Also, Mr. J. wishes it to be presented next week, and Mr. G. might fix earlier, which would be aukward.  Mr. J. was so civil to me, that I think it would be better NOT for you to show him that letter you intended.  Nothing can increase his zeal in the cause of poor Mr. Norris.  Mr. Gardiner will see you with this, and learn from you all about it, & consult, if you have seen Mr. G. & he has fixed a time, how to put it off.  Mr. J. is most friendly to the boy:  I think you had better not teaze the Treasurer any more about him, as it may make him less friendly to the Petition

Yours Ever

C.L.

[Writing to Dorothy Wordsworth on February 13, 1827, Robinson says:  “The Lambs are well.  I have been so busy that I have not lately seen them.  Charles has been occupied about the affair of the widow of his old friend Norris whose death he has felt.  But the health of both is good.”

Gurney would probably be John Gurney (afterwards Baron Gurney), the counsel and judge.  Jekyll was Joseph Jekyll, the wit, mentioned by Lamb in his essay on “The Old Benchers of the Inner Temple.”  He was a friend of George Dyer.]

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LETTER 408

CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY CRABB ROBINSON

[Dated by H.C.  R. Jan., 1827.]

Dear R. do not say any thing to Mr. G. about the day or Petition, for Mr. Jekyll wishes it to be next week, and thoroughly approves of my formula, and Mr. G. might not, and then they will clash.  Only speak to him of Gardner’s wish to have the Lad.  Mr. Jekyll was excessive friendly.  C.L.

[The matter referred to is still the Norrises’ welfare.  Mr. Hazlitt says that an annuity of L80 was settled by the Inn on Mrs. Norris.

Here perhaps should come a letter from Lamb to Allsop, printed by Mr. Fitzgerald, urging Allsop to go to Highgate to see Coleridge and tell him of the unhappy state of his, Allsop’s, affairs.  In Crabb Robinson’s Diary for February 1, 1827, I read:  “I went to Lamb.  Found him in trouble about his friend Allsop, who is a ruined man.  Allsop is a very good creature who has been a generous friend to Coleridge.”  Writing of his troubles in Letters, Conversations and Recollections of S.T.  Coleridge, Allsop says:  “Charles Lamb, Charles and Mary Lamb, ’union is partition,’ were never wanting in the hour of need.”]

LETTER 409

CHARLES LAMB TO B.R.  HAYDON

[March, 1827.]

Dear Raffaele Haydon,—­Did the maid tell you I came to see your picture, not on Sunday but the day before?  I think the face and bearing of the Bucephalus-tamer very noble, his flesh too effeminate or painty.  The skin of the female’s back kneeling is much more carnous.  I had small time to pick out praise or blame, for two lord-like Bucks came in, upon whose strictures my presence seemed to impose restraint:  I plebeian’d off therefore.

I think I have hit on a subject for you, but can’t swear it was never executed,—­I never heard of its being,—­“Chaucer beating a Franciscan Friar in Fleet Street.”  Think of the old dresses, houses, &c.  “It seemeth that both these learned men (Gower and Chaucer) were of the Inner Temple; for not many years since Master Buckley did see a record in the same house where Geoffry Chaucer was fined two shillings for beating a Franciscan Friar in Fleet Street.” Chaucer’s Life by T. Speght, prefixed to the black letter folio of Chaucer, 1598.

Yours in haste (salt fish waiting), C. LAMB.

[Haydon’s picture was his “Alexander and Bucephalus.”  The two Bucks, he tells us in his Diary, were the Duke of Devonshire and Mr. Agar Ellis.  Haydon did not take up the Chaucer subject.]

LETTER 410

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM HONE [No date.  April, 1827.]

Dear H. Never come to our house and not come in.  I was quite vex’d.

Yours truly.  C.L.

There is in Blackwood this month an article MOST AFFECTING indeed called Le Revenant, and would do more towards abolishing Capital Punishments than 400000 Romillies or Montagues.  I beg you read it and see if you can extract any of it. The Trial scene in particular.

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[Written on the fourteenth instalment of the Garrick Play extracts.  The article was in Blackwood for April, 1827.  Hone took Lamb’s advice, and the extract from it will be found in the Table Book, Vol.  I., col. 455.

Lamb was peculiarly interested in the subject of survival after hanging.  He wrote an early Reflector essay, “On the Inconveniences of Being Hanged,” on the subject, and it is the pivot of his farce “The Pawnbroker’s Daughter.”

“Romillies or Montagues.”  Two prominent advocates for the abolition of capital punishment were Sir Samuel Romilly (who died in 1818) and Basil Montagu.]

LETTER 411

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS HOOD

[No date.  May, 1827.]

Dearest Hood,—­Your news has spoil’d us a merry meeting.  Miss Kelly and we were coming, but your letter elicited a flood of tears from Mary, and I saw she was not fit for a party.  God bless you and the mother (or should be mother) of your sweet girl that should have been.  I have won sexpence of Moxon by the sex of the dear gone one.

Yours most truly and hers,

[C.L.]

[This note refers to one of the Hoods’ children, which was still-born.  It was upon this occasion that Lamb wrote the beautiful lines “On an Infant Dying as soon as Born” (see Vol.  IV.).]

LETTER 412

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[No date. (1827.)]

My dear B.B.—­A gentleman I never saw before brought me your welcome present—­imagine a scraping, fiddling, fidgetting, petit-maitre of a dancing school advancing into my plain parlour with a coupee and a sideling bow, and presenting the book as if he had been handing a glass of lemonade to a young miss—­imagine this, and contrast it with the serious nature of the book presented!  Then task your imagination, reversing this picture, to conceive of quite an opposite messenger, a lean, straitlocked, wheyfaced methodist, for such was he in reality who brought it, the Genius (it seems) of the Wesleyan Magazine.  Certes, friend B., thy Widow’s tale is too horrible, spite of the lenitives of Religion, to embody in verse:  I hold prose to be the appropriate expositor of such atrocities!  No offence, but it is a cordial that makes the heart sick.  Still thy skill in compounding it I not deny.  I turn to what gave me less mingled pleasure.  I find markd with pencil these pages in thy pretty book, and fear I have been penurious.

page 52, 53 capital. page 59 6th stanza exquisite simile. page 61 11th stanza equally good. page 108 3d stanza, I long to see van Balen. page 111 a downright good sonnet. Dixi. page 153 Lines at the bottom.

So you see, I read, hear, and mark, if I don’t learn—­In short this little volume is no discredit to any of your former, and betrays none of

Page 156

the Senility you fear about.  Apropos of Van Balen, an artist who painted me lately had painted a Blackamoor praying, and not filling his canvas, stuff’d in his little girl aside of Blacky, gaping at him unmeaningly; and then didn’t know what to call it.  Now for a picture to be promoted to the Exhibition (Suffolk Street) as HISTORICAL, a subject is requisite.  What does me?  I but christen it the “Young Catechist” and furbishd it with Dialogue following, which dubb’d it an Historical Painting.  Nothing to a friend at need.

        While this tawny Ethiop prayeth,
        Painter, who is She that stayeth
        By, with skin of whitest lustre;
        Sunny locks, a shining cluster;
        Saintlike seeming to direct him
        To the Power that must protect him? 
        Is she of the heav’nborn Three,
        Meek Hope, strong Faith, sweet Charity? 
        Or some Cherub?

          They you mention
        Far transcend my weak invention. 
        ’Tis a simple Christian child,
        Missionary young and mild,
        From her store of script’ral knowledge
        (Bible-taught without a college)
        Which by reading she could gather,
        Teaches him to say OUR FATHER
        To the common Parent, who
        Colour not respects nor hue. 
        White and Black in him have part,
        Who looks not to the skin, but heart.—­

When I’d done it, the Artist (who had clapt in Miss merely as a fill-space) swore I exprest his full meaning, and the damosel bridled up into a Missionary’s vanity.  I like verses to explain Pictures:  seldom Pictures to illustrate Poems.  Your wood cut is a rueful Lignum Mortis.  By the by, is the widow likely to marry again?

I am giving the fruit of my Old Play reading at the Museum to Hone, who sets forth a Portion weekly in the Table Book.  Do you see it?  How is Mitford?—­

I’ll just hint that the Pitcher, the Chord and the Bowl are a little too often repeated (passim) in your Book, and that on page 17 last line but 4 him is put for he, but the poor widow I take it had small leisure for grammatical niceties.  Don’t you see there’s He, myself, and him; why not both him? likewise imperviously is cruelly spelt imperiously.  These are trifles, and I honestly like your [book,] and you for giving it, tho’ I really am ashamed of so many presents.

I can think of no news, therefore I will end with mine and Mary’s kindest remembrances to you and yours.  C.L.

[It has been customary to date this letter December, 1827, but I think that must be too late.  Lamb would never have waited till then to tell Barton that he was contributing the Garrick Plays to Hone’s Table Book, especially as the last instalment was printed in that month.

Barton’s new volume was A Widow’s Tale and Other Poems, 1827.  The title poem tells how a missionary and his wife were wrecked, and how after three nights and days of horror she was saved.  The woodcut on the title-page of Barton’s book represented the widow supporting her dead or dying husband in the midst of the storm.

Page 157

This is the “exquisite simile” on page 59, from “A Grandsire’s Tale":—­

        Though some might deem her pensive, if not sad,
          Yet those who knew her better, best could tell
        How calmly happy, and how meekly glad
          Her quiet heart in its own depths did dwell: 
        Like to the waters of some crystal well,
          In which the stars of heaven at noon are seen. 
        Fancy might deem on her young spirit fell
          Glimpses of light more glorious and serene
        Than that of life’s brief day, so heavenly was her mien.

This was the “downright good sonnet":—­

TO A GRANDMOTHER

“Old age is dark and unlovely.”—­Ossian.

O say not so!  A bright old age is thine;
Calm as the gentle light of summer eves,
Ere twilight dim her dusky mantle weaves;
Because to thee is given, in strength’s decline,
A heart that does not thanklessly repine
At aught of which the hand of God bereaves,
Yet all He sends with gratitude receives;—­
May such a quiet, thankful close be mine. 
And hence thy fire-side chair appears to me
A peaceful throne—­which thou wert form’d to fill;
Thy children—­ministers, who do thy will;
And those grand-children, sporting round thy knee,
Thy little subjects, looking up to thee,
As one who claims their fond allegiance still.

And these are the lines at the foot of page 153 in a poem addressed to a child seven years old:—­

        There is a holy, blest companionship
          In the sweet intercourse thus held with those
        Whose tear and smile are guileless; from whose lip
          The simple dictate of the heart yet flows;—­
        Though even in the yet unfolded rose
          The worm may lurk, and sin blight blooming youth,
        The light born with us long so brightly glows,
          That childhood’s first deceits seem almost truth,
          To life’s cold after lie, selfish, and void of ruth.

Van Balen was the painter of the picture of the “Madonna and Child” which Mrs. FitzGerald (Edward FitzGerald’s mother) had given to Barton and for which he expressed his thanks in a poem.

The artist who painted Lamb recently was Henry Meyer (1782?-1847), the portrait being that which serves as frontispiece to this volume.  I give in my large edition a reproduction of “The Young Catechist,” which Meyer also engraved, with Lamb’s verses attached.  In 1910 I saw the original in a picture shop in the Charing Cross Road, now removed.]

LETTER 413

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM HONE

[No date.  End of May, 1827.]

Dear H. in the forthcoming “New Monthly” are to be verses of mine on a Picture about Angels.  Translate em to the Table-book.  I am off for Enfield.

Yours.  C.L.

Page 158

[Written on the back of the XXI.  Garrick Extracts.  The poem “Angel Help” was printed in the New Monthly Magazine for June and copied by Hone in the Table-Book, No. 24, 1827.]

LETTER 414

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM HONE

[No date.  June, 1827.]

Dear Hone, I should like this in your next book.  We are at Enfield, where (when we have solituded awhile) we shall be glad to see you.  Yours,

C. LAMB.

[This was written on the back of the MS. of “Going or Gone” (see Vol.  IV.), a poem of reminiscences of Lamb’s early Widford days, printed in Hone’s Table-Book, June, 1827, signed Elia.]

LETTER 415

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

Enfield, and for some weeks to come, “June 11, 1827.”

Dear B.B.—­One word more of the picture verses, and that for good and all; pray, with a neat pen alter one line

        His learning seems to lay small stress on

to

        His learning lays no mighty stress on

to avoid the unseemly recurrence (ungrammatical also) of “seems” in the next line, besides the nonsence of “but” there, as it now stands.  And I request you, as a personal favor to me, to erase the last line of all, which I should never have written from myself.  The fact is, it was a silly joke of Hood’s, who gave me the frame, (you judg’d rightly it was not its own) with the remark that you would like it, because it was b—­d b—­d,—­and I lugg’d it in:  but I shall be quite hurt if it stands, because tho’ you and yours have too good sense to object to it, I would not have a sentence of mine seen, that to any foolish ear might sound unrespectful to thee.  Let it end at appalling; the joke is coarse and useless, and hurts the tone of the rest.  Take your best “ivory-handled” and scrape it forth.

Your specimen of what you might have written is hardly fair.  Had it been a present to me, I should have taken a more sentimental tone; but of a trifle from me it was my cue to speak in an underish tone of commendation.  Prudent givers (what a word for such a nothing) disparage their gifts; ’tis an art we have.  So you see you wouldn’t have been so wrong, taking a higher tone.  But enough of nothing.

By the bye, I suspected M. of being the disparager of the frame; hence a certain line.

For the frame,’tis as the room is, where it hangs.  It hung up fronting my old cobwebby folios and batter’d furniture (the fruit piece has resum’d its place) and was much better than a spick and span one.  But if your room be very neat and your other pictures bright with gilt, it should be so too.  I can’t judge, not having seen:  but my dingy study it suited.

Page 159

Martin’s Belshazzar (the picture) I have seen.  Its architectural effect is stupendous; but the human figures, the squalling contorted little antics that are playing at being frightend, like children at a sham ghost who half know it to be a mask, are detestable.  Then the letters are nothing more than a transparency lighted up, such as a Lord might order to be lit up, on a sudden at a Xmas Gambol, to scare the ladies.  The type is as plain as Baskervil’s—­they should have been dim, full of mystery, letters to the mind rather than the eye.—­Rembrandt has painted only Belshazzar and a courtier or two (taking a part of the banquet for the whole) not fribbled out a mob of fine folks.  Then every thing is so distinct, to the very necklaces, and that foolish little prophet.  What one point is there of interest?  The ideal of such a subject is, that you the spectator should see nothing but what at the time you would have seen, the hand—­and the King—­not to be at leisure to make taylor-remarks on the dresses, or Doctor Kitchener-like to examine the good things at table.

Just such a confusd piece is his Joshua, fritterd into 1000 fragments, little armies here, little armies there—­you should see only the Sun and Joshua; if I remember, he has not left out that luminary entirely, but for Joshua, I was ten minutes a finding him out.

Still he is showy in all that is not the human figure or the preternatural interest:  but the first are below a drawing school girl’s attainment, and the last is a phantasmagoric trick, “Now you shall see what you shall see, dare is Balshazar and dare is Daniel.”  You have my thoughts of M. and so adieu C. LAMB.

[Lamb had sent Barton the picture that is reproduced in Vol.  V. of my large edition.  Later Lamb had sent the following lines:—­

        When last you left your Woodbridge pretty,
        To stare at sights, and see the City,
        If I your meaning understood,
        You wish’d a Picture, cheap, but good;
        The colouring? decent; clear, not muddy;
        To suit a Poet’s quiet study,
        Where Books and Prints for delectation
        Hang, rather than vain ostentation. 
        The subject? what I pleased, if comely;
        But something scriptural and homely: 
        A sober Piece, not gay or wanton,
        For winter fire-sides to descant on;
        The theme so scrupulously handled,
        A Quaker might look on unscandal’d;
        Such as might satisfy Ann Knight,
        And classic Mitford just not fright. 
        Just such a one I’ve found, and send it;
        If liked, I give—­if not, but lend it. 
        The moral? nothing can be sounder. 
        The fable? ’tis its own expounder—­
        A Mother teaching to her Chit
        Some good book, and explaining it. 
        He, silly urchin, tired of lesson,

Page 160

        His learning seems to lay small stress on,
        But seems to hear not what he hears;
        Thrusting his fingers in his ears,
        Like Obstinate, that perverse funny one,
        In honest parable of Bunyan. 
        His working Sister, more sedate,
        Listens; but in a kind of state,
        The painter meant for steadiness;
        But has a tinge of sullenness;
        And, at first sight, she seems to brook
        As ill her needle, as he his book. 
        This is the Picture.  For the Frame—­
        ’Tis not ill-suited to the same;
        Oak-carved, not gilt, for fear of falling;
        Old-fashion’d; plain, yet not appalling;
        And broad brimm’d, as the Owner’s Calling.

It was not Obstinate, by the way, who thrust his fingers in his ears, but Christian.

“Hence a certain line”—­line 16, I suppose.

Martin’s “Belshazzar.”  “Belshazzar’s Feast,” by John Martin (1789-1854), had been exhibited for some years and had created an immense impression.  Lamb subjected Martin’s work to a minute analysis a few years later (see the Elia essay on the “Barrenness of the Imaginative Faculty in the Productions of Modern Art,” Vol.  II.).  Barton did not give up Martin in consequence of this letter.  The frontispiece to his New Year’s Eve, 1828, is by that painter, and the volume contains eulogistic poems upon him, one beginning—­

Boldest painter of our day.

“Baskervil’s”—­John Baskerville (1706-1775), the printer, famous for his folio edition of the Bible, 1763.

Doctor William Kitchiner—­the author of Apicius Redivious; or, The Cook’s Oracle, 1817.]

LETTER 416

CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY CRABB ROBINSON

[P.M.  June 26, 1827.]

Dear H.C.  We are at Mrs. Leishman’s, Chase, Enfield.  Why not come down by the Green Lanes on Sunday?  Picquet all day.  Pass the Church, pass the “Rising Sun,” turn sharp round the corner, and we are the 6th or 7th house on the Chase:  tall Elms darken the door.  If you set eyes on M. Burney, bring him.

Yours truly C. LAMB.

[Mrs. Leishman’s house, or its successor, is the seventh from the Rising Sun.  It is now on Gentleman’s Row, not on Chase Side proper.  The house next it—­still, as in Lamb’s day, a girl’s school—­is called Elm House, but most of the elms which darkened both doors have vanished.  It has been surmised that when later in the year Lamb took an Enfield house in his own name, he took Mrs. Leishman’s; but, as we shall see, his own house was some little distance from hers.]

LETTER 417

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM HONE

[No date.  Early July, 1827.]

Dear H., This is Hood’s, done from the life, of Mary getting over a style here.  Mary, out of a pleasant revenge, wants you to get it engrav’d in Table Book to surprise H., who I know will be amus’d with you so doing.

Page 161

Append some observations about the awkwardness of country styles about Edmonton, and the difficulty of elderly Ladies getting over ’em.——­

That is to say, if you think the sketch good enough.

I take on myself the warranty.

Can you slip down here some day and go a Green-dragoning?  C.L.

Enfield (Mrs. Leishman’s, Chase).

If you do, send Hood the number, No. 2 Robert St., Adelphi, and keep the sketch for me.

["This” was the drawing by Hood.  I take it from the Table-Book, where it represents Mrs. Gilpin resting on a stile:—­

[Illustration]

Lamb subsequently appended the observations himself.  The text of his little article, changing Mary Lamb into Mrs. Gilpin, was in the late Mr. Locker-Lampson’s collection.  The postmark is July 17. 1827.]

LETTER 418

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

Enfield.  P.M.  July 17, 182[7].

Dear M. Thanks for your attentions of every kind.  Emma will not fail Mrs. Hood’s kind invitation, but her Aunt is so queer a one, that we cannot let her go with a single gentleman singly to Vauxhall; she would withdraw her from us altogether in a fright; but if any of the Hood’s family accompany you, then there can be small objection.

I have been writing letters till too dark to see the marks.  I can just say we shall be happy to see you any Sunday after the next:  say, the Sunday after, and perhaps the Hoods will come too and have a merry other day, before they go hence.  But next Sunday we expect as many as we can well entertain.

With ours and Emma’s
acknowlgm’s
yours
C.L.

[The earliest of a long series of letters to Edward Moxon, preserved at Rowfant by the late Mr. Locker-Lampson, but now in America.  Emma Isola’s aunt was Miss Humphreys.]

LETTER 419

CHARLES LAMB TO P.G.  PATMORE

[Dated at end:  July 19, 1827.]

Dear P.—­I am so poorly!  I have been to a funeral, where I made a pun, to the consternation of the rest of the mourners.  And we had wine.  I can’t describe to you the howl which the widow set up at proper intervals.  Dash could, for it was not unlike what he makes.

The letter I sent you was one directed to the care of E. White, India House, for Mrs. Hazlitt. Which Mrs. Hazlitt I don’t yet know, but A. has taken it to France on speculation.  Really it is embarrassing.  There is Mrs. present H., Mrs. late H., and Mrs. John H., and to which of the three Mrs. Wiggins’s it appertains, I don’t know.  I wanted to open it, but it’s transportation.

I am sorry you are plagued about your book.  I would strongly recommend you to take for one story Massinger’s “Old Law.”  It is exquisite.  I can think of no other.

Dash is frightful this morning.  He whines and stands up on his hind legs.  He misses Beckey, who is gone to town.  I took him to Barnet the other day, and he couldn’t eat his victuals after it.  Pray God his intellectuals be not slipping.

Page 162

Mary is gone out for some soles.  I suppose ’tis no use to ask you to come and partake of ’em; else there’s a steam-vessel.

I am doing a tragi-comedy in two acts, and have got on tolerably; but it will be refused, or worse.  I never had luck with anything my name was put to.

Oh, I am so poorly!  I waked it at my cousin’s the bookbinder’s, who is now with God; or, if he is not, it’s no fault of mine.

We hope the Frank wines do not disagree with Mrs. Patmore.  By the way, I like her.

Did you ever taste frogs?  Get them, if you can.  They are like little Lilliput rabbits, only a thought nicer.

Christ, how sick I am!—­not of the world, but of the widow’s shrub.  She’s sworn under L6000, but I think she perjured herself.  She howls in E la, and I comfort her in B flat.  You understand music?...

“No shrimps!” (That’s in answer to Mary’s question about how the soles are to be done.)

I am uncertain where this wandering letter may reach you.  What you mean by Poste Restante, God knows.  Do you mean I must pay the postage?  So I do to Dover.

We had a merry passage with the widow at the Commons.  She was howling—­part howling and part giving directions to the proctor—­when crash! down went my sister through a crazy chair, and made the clerks grin, and I grinned, and the widow tittered—­and then I knew that she was not inconsolable.  Mary was more frightened than hurt.

She’d make a good match for anybody (by she, I mean the widow).

        “If he bring but a relict away,
        He is happy, nor heard to complain.”

SHENSTONE.

Procter has got a wen growing out at the nape of his neck, which his wife wants him to have cut off; but I think it rather an agreeable excrescence—­like his poetry—­redundant.  Hone has hanged himself for debt.  Godwin was taken up for picking pockets....  Beckey takes to bad courses.  Her father was blown up in a steam machine.  The coroner found it Insanity.  I should not like him to sit on my letter.

Do you observe my direction?  Is it Gallic?—­Classical?

Do try and get some frogs.  You must ask for “grenouilles” (green-eels). 
They don’t understand “frogs,” though it’s a common phrase with us.

If you go through Bulloign (Boulogne) enquire if old Godfrey is living, and how he got home from the Crusades.  He must be a very old man now.

If there is anything new in politics or literature in France, keep it till I see you again, for I’m in no hurry.  Chatty-Briant is well I hope.

I think I have no more news; only give both our loves ("all three,” says Dash) to Mrs. Patmore, and bid her get quite well, as I am at present, bating qualms, and the grief incident to losing a valuable relation.

C.L.

Londres, July 19, 1827.

Page 163

[This is from Patmore’s My Friends and Acquaintances, 1854; but I have no confidence in Patmore’s transcription.  After “picking pockets” should come, for example, according to other editors, the sentence, “Moxon has fallen in love with Emma, our nut-brown maid.”  This is the first we hear of the circumstance and quite probably Lamb was then exaggerating.  As it happened, however, Moxon and Miss Isola, as we shall see, were married in 1833.

We do not know the name of the widow; but her husband was Lamb’s cousin, the bookbinder.

The doubt about the Hazlitts refers chiefly to William Hazlitt’s divorce from his first wife in 1822, and his remarriage in 1824 with a Mrs. Bridgewater.

“Your book.”  Patmore, in My Friends and Acquaintances, writes:—­

This refers to a series of tales that I was writing, (since published under the title of Chatsworth, or the Romance of a Week.) for the subject of one of which he had recommended me to take “The Old Law.”  As Lamb’s critical faculties (as displayed in the celebrated “specimens” which created an era in the dramatic taste of England) were not surpassed by those of any writer of his day, the reader may like to see a few “specimens” of some notes which Lamb took the pains to make on two of the tales that were shown to him.  I give these the rather that there is occasionally blended with their critical nicety of tact, a drollery that is very characteristic of the writer.  I shall leave these notes and verbal criticisms to speak for themselves, after merely explaining that they are written on separate bits of paper, each note having a numerical reference to that page of the MS. in which occurs the passage commented on.

“Besides the words ‘riant’ and ‘Euphrosyne,’ the sentence is senseless.  ‘A sweet sadness’ capable of inspiring ’a more grave joy’—­than what?—­than demonstrations of mirth?  Odd if it had not been.  I had once a wry aunt, which may make me dislike the phrase.

“’Pleasurable:’—­no word is good that is awkward to spell. (Query.) Welcome or Joyous.

“‘Steady self-possession rather than undaunted courage,’ etc.  The two things are not opposed enough.  You mean, rather than rash fire of valour in action.

“‘Looking like a heifer,’ I fear wont do in prose. (Qy.) ’Like to some spotless heifer,’—­or,’that you might have compared her to some spotless heifer,’ etc.—­or ‘Like to some sacrificial heifer of old.’  I should prefer, ’garlanded with flowers as for a sacrifice ’—­and cut the cow altogether.

“(Say) ’Like the muttering of some strange spell,’—­omitting the demon,—­they are subject to spells, they don’t use them.

“‘Feud’ here (and before and after) is wrong. (Say) old malice, or, difference. Feud is of clans.  It might be applied to family quarrels, but is quite improper to individuals falling out.

Page 164

“‘Apathetic.’  Vile word.

“‘Mechanically,’ faugh!—­insensibly—­involuntarily—­in-any-thing-ly but mechanically.

“Calianax’s character should be somewhere briefly drawn, not left to be dramatically inferred.

“‘Surprised and almost vexed while it troubled her.’ (Awkward.) Better, ’in a way that while it deeply troubled her, could not but surprise and vex her to think it should be a source of trouble at all.’

“‘Reaction’ is vile slang.  ’Physical’—­vile word.

“Decidedly, Dorigen should simply propose to him to remove the rocks as ugly or dangerous, not as affecting her with fears for her husband.  The idea of her husband should be excluded from a promise which is meant to be frank upon impossible conditions.  She cannot promise in one breath infidelity to him, and make the conditions a good to him.  Her reason for hating the rocks is good, but not to be expressed here.

“Insert after ’to whatever consequences it might lead,’—­’Neither had Arviragus been disposed to interpose a husband’s authority to prevent the execution of this rash vow, was he unmindful of that older and more solemn vow which, in the days of their marriage, he had imposed upon himself, in no instance to control the settled purpose or determination of his wedded wife;—­so that by the chains of a double contract he seemed bound to abide by her decision in this instance, whatever it might be.’”

“A tragi-comedy”—­Lamb’s dramatic version of Crabbe’s “Confidante,” which he called “The Wife’s Trial” (see Vol.  IV. of this edition).

“Procter has got a wen.”  This paragraph must be taken with salt.  Poor Hone, however, had the rules of the King’s Bench at the time.  Beckey was the Lambs’ servant and tyrant; she had been Hazlitt’s.  Patmore described her at some length in his reminiscences of Lamb.

“Chatty-Briant”—­Chateaubriand.]

LETTER 420

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY

Enfield, July 26th, 1827.

Dear Mrs. Shelley,—­At the risk of throwing away some fine thoughts, I must write to say how pleased we were with your very kind remembering of us (who have unkindly run away from all our friends) before you go.  Perhaps you are gone, and then my tropes are wasted.  If any piece of better fortune has lighted upon you than you expected, but less than we wish you, we are rejoiced.  We are here trying to like solitude, but have scarce enough to justify the experiment.  We get some, however.  The six days are our Sabbath; the seventh—­why, Cockneys will come for a little fresh air, and so—­

But by your month, or October at furthest, we hope to see Islington:  I like a giant refreshed with the leaving off of wine, and Mary, pining for Mr. Moxon’s books and Mr. Moxon’s society.  Then we shall meet.

Page 165

I am busy with a farce in two acts, the incidents tragi-comic.  I can do the dialogue commey fo:  but the damned plot—­I believe I must omit it altogether.  The scenes come after one another like geese, not marshalling like cranes or a Hyde Park review.  The story is as simple as G[eorge] D[yer], and the language plain as his spouse.  The characters are three women to one man; which is one more than laid hold on him in the “Evangely.”  I think that prophecy squinted towards my drama.

I want some Howard Paine to sketch a skeleton of artfully succeeding scenes through a whole play, as the courses are arranged in a cookery book:  I to find wit, passion, sentiment, character, and the like trifles:  to lay in the dead colours,—­I’d Titianesque ’em up:  to mark the channel in a cheek (smooth or furrowed, yours or mine), and where tears should course I’d draw the waters down:  to say where a joke should come in or a pun be left out:  to bring my personae on and off like a Beau Nash; and I’d Frankenstein them there:  to bring three together on the stage at once; they are so shy with me, that I can get no more than two; and there they stand till it is the time, without being the season, to withdraw them.

I am teaching Emma Latin to qualify her for a superior governess-ship; which we see no prospect of her getting.  ’Tis like feeding a child with chopped hay from a spoon.  Sisyphus—­his labours were as nothing to it.

Actives and passives jostle in her nonsense, till a deponent enters, like Chaos, more to embroil the fray.  Her prepositions are suppositions; her conjunctions copulative have no connection in them; her concords disagree; her interjections are purely English “Ah!” and “Oh!” with a yawn and a gape in the same tongue; and she herself is a lazy, block-headly supine.  As I say to her, ass in praesenti rarely makes a wise man in futuro.

But I daresay it was so with you when you began Latin, and a good while after.

Good-by!  Mary’s love.

Yours truly, C. LAMB.

[This is the second letter to Mrs. Shelley, nee Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, the widow of the poet and the author of Frankenstein.  She had been living in England since 1823; and in 1826 had issued anonymously The Last Man.  That she kept much in touch with the Lambs’ affairs we know by her letters to Leigh Hunt.

Major Butterworth has kindly supplied me with a copy of her letter to
Mary Lamb which called forth Lamb’s reply.  It runs thus:—­

Kentish Town, 22 July, 1827.

My dear Miss Lamb,

You have been long at Enfield—­I hardly know yet whether you are returned—­and I quit town so very soon that I have not time to—­as I exceedingly wish—­call on you before I go.  Nevertheless believe (if such familiar expression be not unmeet from me) that I love you with all my heart—­gratefully and sincerely—­and that when I return I shall seek you with, I hope, not too much zeal—­but it will be with great eagerness.

Page 166

You will be glad to hear that I have every reason to believe that the worst of my pecuniary troubles are over—­as I am promised a regular tho’ small income from my father-in-law.  I mean to be very industrious on other accounts this summer, so I hope nothing will go very ill with me or mine.

I am afraid Miss Kelly will think me dreadfully rude for not having availed myself of her kind invitation.  Will you present my compliments to her, and say that my embarassments, harassings and distance from town are the guilty causes of my omission—­for which with her leave I will apologize in person on my return to London.

All kind and grateful remembrances to Mr. Lamb, he must not forget me nor like me one atom less than I delight to flatter myself he does now, when again I come to seize a dinner perforce at your cottage.  Percy is quite well—­and is reading with great extacy (sic) the Arabian Nights.  I shall return I suppose some one day in September.  God bless you.

Yours affectionately,

MARY W. SHELLEY.

Commey fo is Lamb’s comme il faut.

“In the ‘Evangely.’” If by Evangely he meant Gospel, Lamb was a little confused here, I think.  Probably Isaiah iv.  I was in his mind:  “and in that day seven women shall take hold of one man.”  But he may also have half remembered Luke xvii. 35.

“I am teaching Emma Latin.”  Mary Lamb contributed to Blackwood’s Magazine for June, 1829, the following little poem describing Emma Isola’s difficulties in these lessons:—­

          TO EMMA, LEARNING LATIN, AND DESPONDING

        Droop not, dear Emma, dry those falling tears,
        And call up smiles into thy pallid face,
        Pallid and care-worn with thy arduous race: 
        In few brief months thou hast done the work of years. 
        To young beginnings natural are these fears. 
        A right good scholar shalt thou one day be,
        And that no distant one; when even she,
        Who now to thee a star far off appears,
        That most rare Latinist, the Northern Maid—­
        The language-loving Sarah[1] of the Lake—­
        Shall hail thee Sister Linguist.  This will make
        Thy friends, who now afford thee careful aid,
        A recompense most rich for all their pains,
        Counting thy acquisitions their best gains.

[Footnote 1:  Daughter of S.T.  Coleridge, Esq.; an accomplished linguist in the Greek and Latin tongues, and translatress of a History of the Abipones.]

A letter to an anonymous correspondent, in the summer of 1827, has an amusing passage concerning Emma Isola’s Latin.  Lamb says that they made Cary laugh by translating “Blast you” into such elegant verbiage as “Deus afflet tibi.”  He adds, “How some parsons would have goggled and what would Hannah More say?  I don’t like clergymen, but here and there one.  Cary, the Dante Cary, is a model quite as plain as Parson Primrose, without a shade of silliness.”

Page 167

On July 21, 1827, is a letter to Mr. Dillon, whom I do not identify, saying that Lamb has been teaching Emma Isola Latin for the past seven weeks.

“Ass in praesenti.”  This was Boyer’s joke, at Christ’s Hospital (see Vol.  I. of this edition).

Here should come a letter from Lamb to Edward White, of the India House, dated August 1, 1827, in which Lamb has some pleasantry about paying postages, and ends by heartily commending White to mind his ledger, and keep his eye on Mr. Chambers’ balances.]

LETTER 421

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. BASIL MONTAGU

[Summer, 1827.]

Dear Madam,—­I return your List with my name.  I should be sorry that any respect should be going on towards [Clarkson,] and I be left out of the conspiracy.  Otherwise I frankly own that to pillarize a man’s good feelings in his lifetime is not to my taste.  Monuments to goodness, even after death, are equivocal.  I turn away from Howard’s, I scarce know why.  Goodness blows no trumpet, nor desires to have it blown.  We should be modest for a modest man—­as he is for himself.  The vanities of Life—­Art, Poetry, Skill military, are subjects for trophies; not the silent thoughts arising in a good man’s mind in lonely places.  Was I C[larkson,] I should never be able to walk or ride near ------ again.  Instead of bread, we are giving him a stone.  Instead of the locality recalling the noblest moment of his existence, it is a place at which his friends (that is, himself) blow to the world, “What a good man is he!” I sat down upon a hillock at Forty Hill yesternight—­a fine contemplative evening,—­with a thousand good speculations about mankind.  How I yearned with cheap benevolence!  I shall go and inquire of the stone-cutter, that cuts the tombstones here, what a stone with a short inscription will cost; just to say—­“Here C. Lamb loved his brethren of mankind.”  Everybody will come there to love.  As I can’t well put my own name, I shall put about a subscription: 

s. d
Mrs. ——­ 5 0
Procter 2 6
G. Dyer 1 0
Mr. Godwin 0 0
Mrs. Godwin 0 0
Mr. Irving a watch-chain. 
Mr. ------- the proceeds of ------ first edition.*
___ ___
8 6

I scribble in haste from here, where we shall be some time.  Pray request Mr. M[ontagu] to advance the guinea for me, which shall faithfully be forthcoming; and pardon me that I don’t see the proposal in quite the light that he may.  The kindness of his motives, and his power of appreciating the noble passage, I thoroughly agree in.

With most kind regards to him, I conclude, Dear Madam,

Yours truly, C. LAMB.

From Mrs. Leishman’s, Chase, Enfield.

A capital book, by the bye, but not over saleable.

[The memorial to Thomas Clarkson stands on a hill above Wade Mill, on the Buntingford Road, in Hertfordshire.

Page 168

Forty Hill is close to Enfield.

Edward Irving’s watch-chain.  The explanation of Lamb’s joke is to be found in Carlyle’s Reminiscences (quoted also in Froude’s Life, Vol.  I., page 326).  Irving had put down as his contribution to some subscription list, at a public meeting, “an actual gold watch, which he said had just arrived to him from his beloved brother lately dead in India.”  This rather theatrical action had evidently amused Lamb as it had disgusted Carlyle.

The “first edition” of “Mr. -----” was, I suppose, Basil Montagu’s work
on Bacon, which Macaulay reviewed.]

LETTER 422

MARY LAMB TO LADY STODDART

[August 9, 1827.]

My dear Lady-Friend,—­My brother called at our empty cottage yesterday, and found the cards of your son and his friend, Mr. Hine, under the door; which has brought to my mind that I am in danger of losing this post, as I did the last, being at that time in a confused state of mind—­for at that time we were talking of leaving, and persuading ourselves that we were intending to leave town and all our friends, and sit down for ever, solitary and forgotten, here.  Here we are; and we have locked up our house, and left it to take care of itself; but at present we do not design to extend our rural life beyond Michaelmas.  Your kind letter was most welcome to me, though the good news contained in it was already known to me.  Accept my warmest congratulations, though they come a little of the latest.  In my next I may probably have to hail you Grandmama; or to felicitate you on the nuptials of pretty Mary, who, whatever the beaux of Malta may think of her, I can only remember her round shining face, and her “O William!”—­“dear William!” when we visited her the other day at school.  Present my love and best wishes—­a long and happy married life to dear Isabella—­I love to call her Isabella; but in truth, having left your other letter in town, I recollect no other name she has.

The same love and the same wishes—­in futuro—­to my friend Mary.  Tell her that her “dear William” grows taller, and improves in manly looks and manlike behaviour every time I see him.  What is Henry about? and what should one wish for him?  If he be in search of a wife, I will send him out Emma Isola.

You remember Emma, that you were so kind as to invite to your ball?  She is now with us; and I am moving heaven and earth, that is to say, I am pressing the matter upon all the very few friends I have that are likely to assist me in such a case, to get her into a family as a governess; and Charles and I do little else here than teach her something or other all day long.

We are striving to put enough Latin into her to enable her to begin to teach it to young learners.  So much for Emma —­for you are so fearfully far away, that I fear it is useless to implore your patronage for her.

Page 169

I have not heard from Mrs. Hazlitt a long time.  I believe she is still with Hazlitt’s mother in Devonshire.

I expect a pacquet of manuscript from you:  you promised me the office of negotiating with booksellers, and so forth, for your next work.  Is it in good forwardness? or do you grow rich and indolent now?  It is not surprising that your Maltese story should find its way into Malta; but I was highly pleased with the idea of your pleasant surprise at the sight of it.  I took a large sheet of paper, in order to leave Charles room to add something more worth reading than my poor mite.

May we all meet again once more!

M. LAMB.

LETTER 423

CHARLES LAMB TO SIR JOHN STODDART

(Same letter:  Lamb’s share)

Dear Knight—­Old Acquaintance—­’Tis with a violence to the pure imagination (vide the “Excursion” passim) that I can bring myself to believe I am writing to Dr. Stoddart once again, at Malta.  But the deductions of severe reason warrant the proceeding.  I write from Enfield, where we are seriously weighing the advantages of dulness over the over-excitement of too much company, but have not yet come to a conclusion.  What is the news? for we see no paper here; perhaps you can send us an old one from Malta.  Only, I heard a butcher in the market-place whisper something about a change of ministry.  I don’t know who’s in or out, or care, only as it might affect you.  For domestic doings, I have only to tell, with extreme regret, that poor Elisa Fenwick (that was)—­Mrs. Rutherford—­is dead; and that we have received a most heart-broken letter from her mother—­left with four grandchildren, orphans of a living scoundrel lurking about the pothouses of Little Russell Street, London:  they and she—­God help ’em!—­at New York.  I have just received Godwin’s third volume of the Republic, which only reaches to the commencement of the Protectorate.  I think he means to spin it out to his life’s thread.  Have you seen Fearn’s Anti-Tooke?  I am no judge of such things—­you are; but I think it very clever indeed.  If I knew your bookseller, I’d order it for you at a venture:  ’tis two octavos, Longman and Co.  Or do you read now?  Tell it not in the Admiralty Court, but my head aches hesterno vino.  I can scarce pump up words, much less ideas, congruous to be sent so far.  But your son must have this by to-night’s post.[Here came a passage relating to an escapade of young Stoddart, then at the Charterhouse, which, probably through Lamb’s intervention, was treated leniently.  Lamb helped him—­with his imposition—­ Gray’s “Elegy” into Greek elegiacs.] Manning is gone to Rome, Naples, etc., probably to touch at Sicily, Malta, Guernsey, etc.; but I don’t know the map.  Hazlitt is resident at Paris, whence he pours his lampoons in safety at his friends in England. 

Page 170

He has his boy with him.  I am teaching Emma Latin.  By the time you can answer this, she will be qualified to instruct young ladies:  she is a capital English reader:  and S.T.C. acknowledges that a part of a passage in Milton she read better than he, and part he read best, her part being the shorter.  But, seriously, if Lady St------ (oblivious pen, that was about to write Mrs.!) could hear of such a young person wanted (she smatters of French, some Italian, music of course), we’d send our loves by her.  My congratulations and assurances of old esteem.  C.L.

[Stoddart had been appointed in 1826 Chief-Justice and Justice of the Vice-Admiralty Court in Malta and had been knighted in the same year.  His daughter Isabella had just married.  Lady Stoddart’s literary efforts did not, I think, reach print.

“The deductions of severe reason.”  See the quotation from Cottle in the letter to Manning of November, 1802.

“A change of ministry.”  On Liverpool’s resignation early in 1827 Canning had been called in to form a new Ministry, which he effected by an alliance with the Whigs.

“Godwin’s Republic”—­History of the Commonwealth of England, in four volumes, 1824-1828.

“Fearn’s Anti-Tooke”—­Anti-Tooke; or, An Analysis of the Principles and Structure of Language Exemplified in the English Tongue, 1824.

Here should come a note from Lamb to Hone, dated August 10, 1827, in which Lamb expresses regret for Matilda Hone’s illness.]

LETTER 424

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M. 10 August, 1827.]

Dear B.B.—­I have not been able to:  answer you, for we have had, and are having (I just snatch a moment), our poor quiet retreat, to which we fled from society, full of company, some staying with us, and this moment as I write almost a heavy importation of two old Ladies has come in.  Whither can I take wing from the oppression of human faces?  Would I were in a wilderness of Apes, tossing cocoa nuts about, grinning and grinned at!

Mitford was hoaxing you surely about my Engraving, ’tis a little sixpenny thing, too like by half, in which the draughtsman has done his best to avoid flattery.  There have been 2 editions of it, which I think are all gone, as they have vanish’d from the window where they hung, a print shop, corner of Great and Little Queen Streets, Lincolns Inn fields, where any London friend of yours may inquire for it; for I am (tho’ you won’t understand it) at Enfield (Mrs. Leishman’s, Chase).  We have been here near 3 months, and shall stay 2 or more, if people will let us alone, but they persecute us from village to village.  So don’t direct to Islington again, till further notice.

I am trying my hand at a Drama, in 2 acts, founded on Crabbe’s “Confidant,” mutatis mutandis.

You like the Odyssey.  Did you ever read my “Adventures of Ulysses,” founded on Chapman’s old translation of it? for children or men.  Ch. is divine, and my abridgment has not quite emptied him of his divinity.  When you come to town I’ll show it you.

Page 171

You have well described your old fashioned Grand-paternall Hall.  Is it not odd that every one’s earliest recollections are of some such place.  I had my Blakesware (Blakesmoor in the “London").  Nothing fills a childs mind like a large old Mansion [one or two words wafered over]; better if un-or-partially-occupied; peopled with the spirits of deceased members of [for] the County and Justices of the Quorum.  Would I were buried in the peopled solitude of one, with my feelings at 7 years old.

Those marble busts of the Emperors, they seem’d as if they were to stand for ever, as they had stood from the living days of Rome, in that old Marble Hall, and I to partake of their permanency; Eternity was, while I thought not of Time.  But he thought of me, and they are toppled down, and corn covers the spot of the noble old Dwelling and its princely gardens.  I feel like a grasshopper that chirping about the grounds escaped his scythe only by my littleness.  Ev’n now he is whetting one of his smallest razors to clean wipe me out, perhaps.  Well!

["My Engraving”—­Brook Pulham’s caricature.

“You have well described your ...  Grand-paternall Hall.”  Barton wrote the following account of this house, the home of his step-grandfather at Tottenham; but I do not know whether it is the same that Lamb saw:—­

My most delightful recollections of boyhood are connected with the fine old country-house in a green lane diverging from the high road which runs through Tottenham.  I would give seven years of life as it now is, for a week of that which I then led.  It was a large old house, with an iron palisade and a pair of iron gates in front, and a huge stone eagle on each pier.  Leading up to the steps by which you went up to the hall door, was a wide gravel walk, bordered in summer time by huge tubs, in which were orange and lemon trees, and in the centre of the grass-plot stood a tub yet huger, holding an enormous aloe, The hall itself, to my fancy then lofty and wide as a cathedral would seem now, was a famous place for battledore and shuttlecock; and behind was a garden, equal to that of old Alcinous himself.  My favourite walk was one of turf by a long straight pond, bordered with lime-trees.  But the whole demesne was the fairy ground of my childhood; and its presiding genius was grandpapa.  He must have been a very handsome man in his youth, for I remember him at nearly eighty, a very fine-looking one, even in the decay of mind and body.  In the morning a velvet cap; by dinner, a flaxen wig; his features always expressive of benignity and placid cheerfulness.  When he walked out into the garden, his cocked hat and amber-headed cane completed his costume.  To the recollection of this delightful personage, I am, I think, indebted for many soothing and pleasing associations, with old age.

“Those marble busts of the Emperors.”  See the Elia essay “Blakesmoor in H——­shire,” in Vol.  II, of this edition.]

Page 172

LETTER 425

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

28th of Aug., 1827.

I have left a place for a wafer, but can’t find it again.

Dear B.B.—­I am thankful to you for your ready compliance with my wishes.  Emma is delighted with your verses, to which I have appended this notice “The 6th line refers to the child of a dear friend of the author’s, named Emma,” without which it must be obscure; and have sent it with four Album poems of my own (your daughter’s with your heading, requesting it a place next mine) to a Mr. Fraser, who is to be editor of a more superb Pocket book than has yet appeared by far! the property of some wealthy booksellers, but whom, or what its name, I forgot to ask.  It is actually to have in it schoolboy exercises by his present Majesty and the late Duke of York, so Lucy will come to Court; how she will be stared at!  Wordsworth is named as a Contributor.  Frazer, whom I have slightly seen, is Editor of a forth-come or coming Review of foreign books, and is intimately connected with Lockhart, &c. so I take it that this is a concern of Murray’s.  Walter Scott also contributes mainly.  I have stood off a long time from these Annuals, which are ostentatious trumpery, but could not withstand the request of Jameson, a particular friend of mine and Coleridge.

I shall hate myself in frippery, strutting along, and vying finery with
Beaux and Belles

        with “Future Lord Byrons and sweet L.E.L.’s.”—­

Your taste I see is less simple than mine, which the difference of our persuasions has doubtless effected.  In fact, of late you have so frenchify’d your style, larding it with hors de combats, and au desopoirs, that o’ my conscience the Foxian blood is quite dried out of you, and the skipping Monsieur spirit has been infused.  Doth Lucy go to Balls?  I must remodel my lines, which I write for her.  I hope A.K. keeps to her Primitives.  If you have any thing you’d like to send further, I don’t know Frazer’s address, but I sent mine thro’ Mr. Jameson, 19 or 90 Cheyne Street, Totnam Court road.  I dare say an honourable place wou’d be given to them; but I have not heard from Frazer since I sent mine, nor shall probably again, and therefore I do not solicit it as from him.

Yesterday I sent off my tragi comedy to Mr. Kemble.  Wish it luck.  I made it all (’tis blank verse, and I think, of the true old dramatic cut) or most of it, in the green lanes about Enfield, where I am and mean to remain, in spite of your peremptory doubts on that head.

Your refusal to lend your poetical sanction to my Icon, and your reasons to Evans, are most sensible.  May be I may hit on a line or two of my own jocular.  May be not.

Do you never Londonize again?  I should like to talk over old poetry with you, of which I have much, and you I think little.  Do your Drummonds allow no holydays?  I would willingly come and w[ork] for you a three weeks or so, to let you loose.  Would I could sell or give you some of my Leisure!  Positively, the best thing a man can have to do is nothing, and next to that perhaps—­good works.

Page 173

I am but poorlyish, and feel myself writing a dull letter; poorlyish from Company, not generally, for I never was better, nor took more walks, 14 miles a day on an average, with a sporting dog—­Dash—­you would not know the plain Poet, any more than he doth recognize James Naylor trick’d out au deserpoy (how do you spell it.) En Passant, J’aime entendre da mon bon homme sur surveillance de croix, ma pas l’homme figuratif—­do you understand me?

[The verses with which Emma was delighted were probably written for her album.  I have not seen them.  That album was cut up for the value of its autographs and exists now only in a mutilated state:  where, I cannot discover.  The pocket-book was The Bijou, 1828, edited by William Fraser for Pickering.  Only one of Lamb’s contributions was included:  his verses for his own album (see Vol.  IV. of this edition).

Jameson was Robert Jameson, to whom Hartley Coleridge addressed the sonnets in the London Magazine to which Lamb alludes in a previous letter.  He was the husband of Mrs. Jameson, author of Sacred and Legendary Art, but the marriage was not happy.  He lived in Chenies Street.

“Future Lord Byrons and sweet L.E.L.’s.”  A line from some verses written by Lamb in more than one album.  Probably originally intended for Emma Isola’s album.  The passage runs, answering the question, “What is an Album?”—­

        ’Tis a Book kept by modern Young Ladies for show,
        Of which their plain grandmothers nothing did know. 
        ’Tis a medley of scraps, fine verse, and fine prose,
        And some things not very like either, God knows. 
        The soft First Effusions of Beaux and of Belles,
        Of future Lord Byrons and sweet L.E.L.’s.

L.E.L. was, of course, the unhappy Letitia Landon, a famous contributor to the published albums.

“My tragi comedy.”  Still “The Wife’s Trial.”  Kemble was Charles Kemble, manager of Covent Garden Theatre.  The play was never acted.

“Your refusal to lend your poetical sanction.”  This is not clear, but I think the meaning to be deducible.  The Icon was Pulham’s etching of Lamb.  Evans was William Evans, who had grangerised Byron’s English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.  I take it that he was now making another collection of portraits of poets and was asking other poets, their friends, to write verses upon them.  In this way he had applied through Lamb to Barton for verses on Pulham’s Elia, and had been refused.  This is, of course, only conjecture.

“Your Drummonds”—­your bankers.  Barton’s bankers were the Alexanders, a Quaker firm.

“James Naylor.”  Barton had paraphrased Nayler’s “Testimony.”

Following this letter, under the date August 29, 1827, should come a letter from Lamb to Robert Jameson (husband of Mrs. Jameson) asking him to interest himself in Miss Isola’s career.  “Our friend Coleridge will bear witness to the very excellent manner in which she read to him some of the most difficult passages in the Paradise Lost.”]

Page 174

LETTER 426

CHARLES LAMB TO P.G.  PATMORE

Mrs. Leishman’s, Chace, Enfield,

September, 1827.

Dear Patmore—­Excuse my anxiety—­but how is Dash? (I should have asked if Mrs. Patmore kept her rules, and was improving—­but Dash came uppermost.  The order of our thoughts should be the order of our writing.) Goes he muzzled, or aperto ore?  Are his intellects sound, or does he wander a little in his conversation?  You cannot be too careful to watch the first symptoms of incoherence.  The first illogical snarl he makes, to St. Luke’s with him!  All the dogs here are going mad, if you believe the overseers; but I protest they seem to me very rational and collected.  But nothing is so deceitful as mad people to those who are not used to them.  Try him with hot water.  If he won’t lick it up, it is a sign he does not like it.  Does his tail wag horizontally or perpendicularly?  That has decided the fate of many dogs in Enfield.  Is his general deportment cheerful?  I mean when he is pleased—­for otherwise there is no judging.  You can’t be too careful.  Has he bit any of the children yet?  If he has, have them shot, and keep him for curiosity, to see if it was the hydrophobia.  They say all our army in India had it at one time—­but that was in Hyder-Ally’s time.  Do you get paunch for him?  Take care the sheep was sane.  You might pull out his teeth (if he would let you), and then you need not mind if he were as mad as a Bedlamite.  It would be rather fun to see his odd ways.  It might amuse Mrs. Patmore and the children.  They’d have more sense than he!  He’d be like a Fool kept in the family, to keep the household in good humour with their own understanding.  You might teach him the mad dance set to the mad howl. Madge Owl-et would be nothing to him.  “My, how he capers!” [In the margin is written:] One of the children speaks this.

[Three lines here are erased.] What I scratch out is a German quotation from Lessing on the bite of rabid animals; but, I remember, you don’t read German.  But Mrs. Patmore may, so I wish I had let it stand.  The meaning in English is—­“Avoid to approach an animal suspected of madness, as you would avoid fire or a precipice:—­” which I think is a sensible observation.  The Germans are certainly profounder than we.

If the slightest suspicion arises in your breast, that all is not right with him (Dash), muzzle him, and lead him in a string (common pack-thread will do; he don’t care for twist) to Hood’s, his quondam master, and he’ll take him in at any time.  You may mention your suspicion or not, as you like, or as you think it may wound or not Mr. H.’s feelings.  Hood, I know, will wink at a few follies in Dash, in consideration of his former sense.  Besides, Hood is deaf, and if you hinted anything, ten to one he would not hear you.  Besides, you will have discharged your conscience, and laid the child at the right door, as they say.

Page 175

We are dawdling our time away very idly and pleasantly, at a Mrs. Leishman’s, Chace, Enfield, where, if you come a-hunting, we can give you cold meat and a tankard.  Her husband is a tailor; but that, you know, does not make her one.  I knew a jailor (which rhymes), but his wife was a fine lady.

Let us hear from you respecting Mrs. Patmore’s regimen.  I send my love
in a ------ to Dash.                                   C. LAMB.

[On the outside of the letter was written:—­]

Seriously, I wish you would call upon Hood when you are that way.  He’s a capital fellow.  I sent him a couple of poems —­one ordered by his wife, and written to order; and ’tis a week since, and I’ve not heard from him.  I fear something is the matter.

Omitted within

Our kindest remembrance to Mrs. P.

[This is from Patmore’s My Friends and Acquaintances, 1854; but again I have no confidence in Patmore’s transcription.

Dash had been Hood’s dog, and afterwards was Lamb’s; while at one time Moxon seems to have had the care of it.  Patmore possibly was taking Dash while the Lambs were at Mrs. Leishman’s.  One of the children who might be amused by the dog’s mad ways was Coventry Patmore, afterwards the poet, then nearly four years old.]

LETTER 427

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN BATES DIBDIN

[P.M.  September 5, 1827.]

Dear Dib,—­Emma Isola, who is with us, has opened an ALBUM:  bring some verses with you for it on Sat’y evening.  Any fun will do.  I am teaching her Latin; you may make something of that.  Don’t be modest.  For in it you shall appear, if I rummage out some of your old pleasant letters for rhymes.  But an original is better.

Has your pa[1] any scrap?  C.L.

We shall be MOST glad to see your sister or sisters with you.  Can’t you contrive it?  Write in that case.

[Footnote 1:  the infantile word for father.]

[On the blank pages inside the letter Dibdin seems to have jotted down ideas for his contribution to the album.  Unfortunately, as I have said, the album is not forthcoming.]

LETTER 428

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN BATES DIBDIN

[P.M.  September 13, 1827.]

Dear John—­Your verses are very pleasant, and have been adopted into the splendid Emmatic constellation, where they are not of the least magnitude.  She is delighted with their merit and readiness.  They are just the thing.  The 14th line is found.  We advertised it.  Hell is cooling for want of company.  We shall make it up along with our kitchen fire to roast you into our new House, where I hope you will find us in a few Sundays.  We have actually taken it, and a compact thing it will be.

Kemble does not return till the month’s end.  My heart sometimes is good, sometimes bad, about it, as the day turns out wet or walky.

Page 176

Emma has just died, choak’d with a Gerund in dum.  On opening her we found a Participle in rus in the pericordium.  The king never dies, which may be the reason that it always REIGNS here.

We join in loves.  C.L. his orthograph.

what a pen!

the Umberella is cum bak.

LETTER 429

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN BATES DIBDIN

[P.M.  September 18, 1827.]

My dear, and now more so, JOHN—­

How that name smacks! what an honest, full, English, and yet withal holy and apostolic sound it bears, above the methodistical priggish Bishoppy name of Timothy, under which I had obscured your merits!

What I think of the paternal verses, you shall read within, which I assure you is not pen praise but heart praise.

It is the gem of the Dibdin Muses.

I have got all my books into my new house, and their readers in a fortnight will follow, to whose joint converse nobody shall be more welcome than you, and any of yours.

The house is perfection to our use and comfort.

Milton is come.  I wish Wordsworth were here to meet him.  The next importation is of pots and saucepans, window curtains, crockery and such base ware.

The pleasure of moving, when Becky moves for you.  O the moving Becky!

I hope you will come and warm the house with the first.

From my temporary domicile, Enfield.

ELIA, that “is to go.”—­

[The paternal verses were probably a contribution by Charles Dibdin the Younger for Emma Isola’s album.  The Lambs were just moving to Enfield for good, as they hoped (see next letter), Milton was the portrait.]

LETTER 430

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS HOOD

Tuesday [September 18, 1827],

Dear Hood,

If I have any thing in my head, I will send it to Mr. Watts.  Strictly speaking he should have had my Album verses, but a very intimate friend importund me for the trifles, and I believe I forgot Mr. Watts, or lost sight at the time of his similar Souvenir.  Jamieson conveyed the farce from me to Mrs. C. Kemble, he will not be in town before the 27th.  Give our kind loves to all at Highgate, and tell them that we have finally torn ourselves out right away from Colebrooke, where I had no health, and are about to domiciliate for good at Enfield, where I have experienced good.

Lord what good hours do we keep! 
How quietly we sleep!

Page 177

See the rest in the Complete Angler.  We have got our books into our new house.  I am a drayhorse if I was not asham’d of the indigested dirty lumber, as I toppled ’em out of the cart, and blest Becky that came with ’em for her having an unstuffd brain with such rubbish.  We shall get in by Michael’s mass.  Twas with some pain we were evuls’d from Colebrook.  You may find some of our flesh sticking to the door posts.  To change habitations is to die to them, and in my time I have died seven deaths.  But I don’t know whether every such change does not bring with it a rejuvenescence.  Tis an enterprise, and shoves back the sense of death’s approximating, which tho’ not terrible to me, is at all times particularly distasteful.  My house-deaths have generally been periodical, recurring after seven years, but this last is premature by half that time.  Cut off in the flower of Colebrook.  The Middletonian stream and all its echoes mourn.  Even minnows dwindle.  A parvis fiunt MINIMI.  I fear to invite Mrs. Hood to our new mansion, lest she envy it, & rote [? rout] us.  But when we are fairly in, I hope she will come & try it.  I heard she & you were made uncomfortable by some unworthy to be cared for attacks, and have tried to set up a feeble counteraction thro’ the Table Book of last Saturday.  Has it not reach’d you, that you are silent about it?  Our new domicile is no manor house, but new, & externally not inviting, but furnish’d within with every convenience.  Capital new locks to every door, capital grates in every room, with nothing to pay for incoming & the rent L10 less than the Islington one.  It was built a few years since at L1100 expence, they tell me, & I perfectly believe it.  And I get it for L35 exclusive of moderate taxes.  We think ourselves most lucky.  It is not our intention to abandon Regent Street, & West End perambulations (monastic & terrible thought!), but occasionally to breathe the FRESHER AIR of the metropolis.  We shall put up a bedroom or two (all we want) for occasional ex-rustication, where we shall visit, not be visited.  Plays too we’ll see,—­perhaps our own.  Urban!  Sylvani, & Sylvan Urbanuses in turns.  Courtiers for a spurt, then philosophers.  Old homely tell-truths and learn-truths in the virtuous shades of Enfield, Liars again and mocking gibers in the coffee houses & resorts of London.  What can a mortal desire more for his bi-parted nature?

O the curds & cream you shall eat with us here!

O the turtle soup and lobster sallads we shall devour with you there!

O the old books we shall peruse here!

O the new nonsense we shall trifle over there!

O Sir T. Browne!—­here.

O Mr. Hood & Mr. Jerdan there,

thine,

C (urbanus) L (sylvanus) (ELIA ambo)—­

Inclos’d are verses which Emma sat down to write, her first, on the eve after your departure.  Of course they are only for Mrs. H.’s perusal.  They will shew at least, that one of our party is not willing to cut old friends.  What to call ’em I don’t know.  Blank verse they are not, because of the rhymes—­Rhimes they are not, because of the blank verse.  Heroics they are not, because they are lyric, lyric they are not, because of the Heroic measure.  They must be call’d EMMAICS.------

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[Mr. Watts was Alaric A. Watts.

“Thro’ the Table Book.”  Lamb contributed to Hone’s Table Book a prose paraphrase of Hood’s Plea, of the Midsummer Fairies, just published, which had been dedicated to him, under the title “The Defeat of Time.”  In a previous number Moxon had addressed to Hood a eulogistic sonnet on the same subject.  The attacks on Hood I have not sought.

“We shall put up a bedroom.”  This project was very imperfectly carried out.  Indeed Lamb practically lost London from this date, his subsequent visits there being as a rule not fortunate.

“Mr. Jerdan”—­William Jerdan, editor of the Literary Gazette.

“Emmaics.”  These verses are no longer forthcoming.

Here should come a letter to Allsop dated September 25, 1827, saying that Mary Lamb has her nurse Miss James and the house is melancholy.  Given in the Boston Bibliophile edition.]

LETTER 431

CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY COLBURN

[Dated at end:  September 25, 1827.]

Dear Sir—­I beg leave in the warmest manner to recommend to your notice Mr. Moxon, the Bearer of this, if by any chance yourself should want a steady hand in your business, or know of any Publisher that may want such a one.  He is at present in the house of Messrs. Longman and Co., where he has been established for more than six years, and has the conduct of one of the four departments of the Country line.  A difference respecting Salary, which he expected to be a little raised on his last promotion, makes him wish to try to better himself.  I believe him to be a young man of the highest integrity, and a thorough man of business; and should not have taken the liberty of recommending him, if I had not thought him capable of being highly useful.

I am,
Sir,
with great respect,
your hble Serv’t
CHARLES LAMB.

Enfield, Chace Side, 25th Sep. 1827.

[Moxon did not go to Colburn, but to Hurst & Co. in St. Paul’s Churchyard.]

LETTER 432

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

[No date. ?Sept. 26, 1827.]

Pray, send me the Table Book.

Dear M. Our pleasant meeting[s] for some time are suspended.  My sister was taken very ill in a few hours after you left us (I had suspected it),—­and I must wait eight or nine weeks in slow hope of her recovery.  It is her old complaint.  You will say as much to the Hoods, and to Mrs. Lovekin, and Mrs. Hazlitt, with my kind love.

We are in the House, that is all.  I hope one day we shall both enjoy it, and see our friends again.  But till then I must be a solitary nurse.

I am trying Becky’s sister to be with her, so don’t say anything to Miss James.

Yours truly

CH.  LAMB.

Monday.  I will send your books soon.

Page 179

[Miss James was, as we have seen, Mary Lamb’s regular nurse.  She had subsequently to be sent for.  I do not identify Mrs. Lovekin.]

LETTER 433

CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY CRABB ROBINSON

[Dated at end:  October 1 (1827).]

Dear R.—­I am settled for life I hope, at Enfield.  I have taken the prettiest compactest house I ever saw, near to Antony Robinson’s, but alas! at the expence of poor Mary, who was taken ill of her old complaint the night before we got into it.  So I must suspend the pleasure I expected in the surprise you would have had in coming down and finding us householders.

Farewell, till we can all meet comfortable.  Pray, apprise Martin Burney.  Him I longed to have seen with you, but our house is too small to meet either of you without her knowledge.

God bless you.

C. LAMB.

Chase Side 1st Oct’r

[Antony Robinson, a prominent Unitarian, a friend but no relation of Crabb Robinson’s, had died in the previous January.  His widow still lived at Enfield.]

LETTER 434

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN BATES DIBDIN

[P.M.  October 2, 1827.]

My dear Dibdin, It gives me great pain to have to say that I cannot have the pleasure of seeing you for some time.  We are in our house, but Mary has been seized with one of her periodical disorders—­a temporary derangement—­which commonly lasts for two months.  You shall have the first notice of her convalescence.  Can you not send your manuscript by the Coach? directed to Chase Side, next to Mr. Westwood’s Insurance office.  I will take great care of it.

Yours most Truly C. LAMB.

LETTER 435

CHARLES LAMB TO BARRON FIELD

Oct. 4th, 1827.

I am not in humour to return a fit reply to your pleasant letter.  We are fairly housed at Enfield, and an angel shall not persuade me to wicked London again.  We have now six sabbath days in a week for—­none!  The change has worked on my sister’s mind, to make her ill; and I must wait a tedious time before we can hope to enjoy this place in unison.  Enjoy it, when she recovers, I know we shall.  I see no shadow, but in her illness, for repenting the step!  For Mathews —­I know my own utter unfitness for such a task.  I am no hand at describing costumes, a great requisite in an account of mannered pictures.  I have not the slightest acquaintance with pictorial language even.  An imitator of me, or rather pretender to be me, in his Rejected Articles, has made me minutely describe the dresses of the poissardes at Calais!—­I could as soon resolve Euclid.  I have no eye for forms and fashions.  I substitute analysis, and get rid of the phenomenon by slurring in for it its impression.  I am sure you must

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have observed this defect, or peculiarity, in my writings; else the delight would be incalculable in doing such a thing for Mathews, whom I greatly like—­and Mrs. Mathews, whom I almost greatlier like.  What a feast ’twould be to be sitting at the pictures painting ’em into words; but I could almost as soon make words into pictures.  I speak this deliberately, and not out of modesty.  I pretty well know what I can’t do.

My sister’s verses are homely, but just what they should be; I send them, not for the poetry, but the good sense and good-will of them.  I was beginning to transcribe; but Emma is sadly jealous of its getting into more hands, and I won’t spoil it in her eyes by divulging it.  Come to Enfield, and read it.  As my poor cousin, the bookbinder, now with God, told me, most sentimentally, that having purchased a picture of fish at a dead man’s sale, his heart ached to see how the widow grieved to part with it, being her dear husband’s favourite; and he almost apologised for his generosity by saying he could not help telling the widow she was “welcome to come and look at it”—­e.g. at his house—­“as often as she pleased.”  There was the germ of generosity in an uneducated mind.  He had just reading enough from the backs of books for the “nec sinit esse feros”—­had he read inside, the same impulse would have led him to give back the two-guinea thing—­with a request to see it, now and then, at her house.  We are parroted into delicacy.—­Thus you have a tale for a Sonnet.

Adieu! with (imagine both) our loves.  C. LAMB.

[The suggestion had been made to Lamb, through Barron Field, that he should write a descriptive catalogue of Charles Mathews’ collection of theatrical portraits; Lamb having already touched upon them in his “Old Actors” articles in the London Magazine (see Vol.  II. of this edition).  When they were exhibited, after Mathews’ death, at the Pantheon in Oxford Street, Lamb’s remarks were appended to the catalogue raisonne.  They are now at the Garrick Club.

“An imitator of me.”  P.G.  Patmore’s Rejected Articles, 1826, leads off with “An Unsentimental Journey” by Elia which is, except for a fitful superficial imitation of some of Lamb’s mannerisms, as unlike him as could well be.  The description of the butterwomen’s dress, to which Lamb refers, will illustrate the divergence between Elia and his parodist:—­

Her attire is fashioned as follows:  and it differs from all her tribe only in the relative arrangement of its colours.  On the body a crimson jacket, of a thick, solid texture, and tight to the shape; but without any pretence at ornament.  This is met at the waist (which is neither long, nor short, but exactly where nature placed it) by a dark blue petticoat, of a still thicker texture, so that it hangs in large plaits where it is gathered in behind.  Over this, in front, is tied tightly round the waist, so as to

Page 181

keep all trim and compact, a dark apron, the string of which passes over the little fulled skirt of the jacket behind, and makes it stick out smartly and tastily, while it clips the waist in.  The head-gear consists of a sort of mob cap, nothing of which but the edge round the face can be seen, on account of the kerchief (of flowered cotton) which is passed over it, hood fashion, and half tied under the chin.  This head-kerchief is in place of the bonnet—­a thing not to be seen among the whole five hundred females who make up this pleasant show.  Indeed, varying the colours of the different articles, this description applies to every dress of the whole assembly; except that in some the fineness of the day has dispensed with the kerchief, and left the snow-white cap exposed; and in others, the whole figure (except the head) is coyishly covered and concealed by a large hooded cloak of black cloth, daintily lined with silk, and confined close up to the throat by an embossed silver clasp, but hanging loosely down to the heels, in thick, full folds.  The petticoat is very short; the trim ancles are cased in close-fit hose of dark, sober, slate colour; and the shoes, though thick and serviceable like all the rest of the costume, fit the foot as neatly as those which are not made to walk in.

Patmore tells us that his first meeting with the Lambs was immediately after they had first seen his book; and they left the house intent upon reading it.

“My sister’s verses.”  I think these would probably be the lines on Emma learning Latin which I have quoted above.

Here should come a very pleasant letter from Lamb to Dodwell, of the India House, dated October 7, 1827.  Lamb thanks Dodwell, to whom there is an earlier letter extant, for a pig.  He first describes his new house at Enfield, and then breaks off about the cooking of the pig, bidding Becky do it “nice and crips.”  The rest is chaff concerning the India House and Dodwell’s fellow-clerks.]

LETTER 436

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM HONE

[No date. ?  Oct., 1827.]

Dear Hone,—­having occasion to write to Clarke I put in a bit to you.  I see no Extracts in this N’o.  You should have three sets in hand, one long one in particular from Atreus and Thyestes, terribly fine.  Don’t spare ’em; with fragments, divided as you please, they’ll hold out to Xmas.  What I have to say is enjoined me most seriously to say to you by Moxon.  Their country customers grieve at getting the Table Book so late.  It is indispensable it should appear on Friday.  Do it but once, & you’ll never know the difference.

FABLE

Page 182

A boy at my school, a cunning fox, for one penny ensured himself a hot roll & butter every morning for ever.  Some favor’d ones were allowed a roll & butter to their breakfasts.  He had none.  But he bought one one morning.  What did he do?  He did not eat it, but cutting it in two, sold each one of the halves to a half-breakfasted Blue Boy for his whole roll to-morrow.  The next day he had a whole roll to eat, and two halves to swap with other two boys, who had eat their cake & were still not satiated, for whole ones to-morrow.  So on ad infinitum.  By one morning’s abstinence he feasted seven years after.

APPLICATION

Bring out the next N’o. on Friday, for country correspondents’ sake.  I[t] will be one piece of exertion, and you will go right ever after, for you will have just the time you had before, to bring it out ever after by the Friday.

You don’t know the difference in getting a thing early.  Your correspondents are your authors.  You don’t know how an author frets to know the world has got his contribution, when he finds it not on his breakfast table.

ONCE in this case is EVER without a grain of trouble afterw’ds.

I won’t like you or speak to you if you don’t try it once.

Yours, on that condition,

C. LAMB.

[This letter is dated by Mr. Hazlitt conjecturally 1826, but I think it more probably October, 1827, as the extracts (passages from Crowne’s “Thyestes”) contributed by Lamb to Hone’s Table Book were printed late in 1827.

In Lamb’s next note to Hone he says how glad he was to receive the Table Book early on Friday:  the result of the fable.]

LETTER 437

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS HOOD

[No date. ? 1827.]

Dear H.,—­Emma has a favour, besides a bed, to ask of Mrs. Hood.  Your parcel was gratifying.  We have all been pleased with Mrs. Leslie; I speak it most sincerely.  There is much manly sense with a feminine expression, which is my definition of ladies’ writing.

[Mrs. Leslie and Her Grandchildren, 1827, was the title of a book for children by Mrs. Reynolds, mother of John Hamilton Reynolds and Mrs. Hood, and wife of the Writing Master at Christ’s Hospital.]

LETTER 438

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[No date.  Late 1827.]

My dear B.B.—­You will understand my silence when I tell you that my sister, on the very eve of entering into a new house we have taken at Enfield, was surprised with an attack of one of her sad long illnesses, which deprive me of her society, tho’ not of her domestication, for eight or nine weeks together.  I see her, but it does her no good.  But for this, we have the snuggest, most comfortable house, with every thing most compact and desirable. 

Page 183

Colebrook is a wilderness.  The Books, prints, etc., are come here, and the New River came down with us.  The familiar Prints, the Bust, the Milton, seem scarce to have changed their rooms.  One of her last observations was “how frightfully like this room is to our room in Islington”—­our up-stairs room, she meant.  How I hope you will come some better day, and judge of it!  We have tried quiet here for four months, and I will answer for the comfort of it enduring.

On emptying my bookshelves I found an Ulysses, which I will send to A.K. when I go to town, for her acceptance—­ unless the Book be out of print.  One likes to have one copy of every thing one does.  I neglected to keep one of “Poetry for Children,” the joint production of Mary and me, and it is not to be had for love or money.  It had in the title-page “by the author of Mrs. Lester’s School.”  Know you any one that has it, and would exchange it?

Strolling to Waltham Cross the other day, I hit off these lines.  It is one of the Crosses which Edw’d 1st caused to be built for his wife at every town where her corpse rested between Northamptonsh’r and London.

        A stately Cross each sad spot doth attest,
        Whereat the corpse of Elinor did rest,
        From Herdby fetch’d—­her Spouse so honour’d her—­
        To sleep with royal dust at Westminster. 
        And, if less pompous obsequies were thine,
        Duke Brunswick’s daughter, princely Caroline,
        Grudge not, great ghost, nor count thy funeral losses: 
        Thou in thy life-time had’st thy share of crosses.

My dear B.B.—­My head akes with this little excursion.  Pray accept 2 sides for 3 for once.

And believe me
Yours sadly C.L.

Chace side Enfield.

["An Ulysses”—­Lamb’s book for children, The Adventures of Ulysses, 1808.

The Poetry for Children.  The known copies of the first edition of this work can be counted on the fingers.

“A stately Cross...”  These verses were printed in the Englishman’s Magazine in September, 1831.  Lamb’s sympathies were wholly with Caroline of Brunswick, as his epigrams in The Champion show (see Vol.  IV. of this edition).]

LETTER 439

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  December 4, 1827.]

My dear B.B.—­I have scarce spirits to write, yet am harass’d with not writing.  Nine weeks are completed, and Mary does not get any better.  It is perfectly exhausting.  Enfield and every thing is very gloomy.  But for long experience, I should fear her ever getting well.

I feel most thankful for the spinsterly attentions of your sister.  Thank the kind “knitter in the sun.”

What nonsense seems verse, when one is seriously out of hope and spirits!  I mean that at this time I have some nonsense to write, pain of incivility.  Would to the fifth heaven no coxcombess had invented Albums.

Page 184

I have not had a Bijoux, nor the slightest notice from Pickering about omitting 4 out of 5 of my things.  The best thing is never to hear of such a thing as a bookseller again, or to think there are publishers:  second hand Stationers and Old Book Stalls for me.  Authorship should be an idea of the Past.

Old Kings, old Bishops, are venerable.  All present is hollow.

I cannot make a Letter.  I have no straw, not a pennyworth of chaff, only this may stop your kind importunity to know about us.

Here is a comfortable house, but no tenants.  One does not make a household.

Do not think I am quite in despair, but in addition to hope protracted, I have a stupifying cold and obstructing headache, and the sun is dead.

I will not fail to apprise you of the revival of a Beam.

Meantime accept this, rather than think I have forgotten you all.

Best rememb

& Yours and theirs truly, C.L.

LETTER 440

CHARLES LAMB TO LEIGH HUNT

[No date.  December, 1827.]

Dear H.,—­I am here almost in the eleventh week of the longest illness my sister ever had, and no symptoms of amendment.  Some had begun, but relapsed with a change of nurse.  If she ever gets well, you will like my house, and I shall be happy to show you Enfield country.

As to my head, it is perfectly at your or any one’s service; either M[e]yers’ or Hazlitt’s, which last (done fifteen or twenty years since) White, of the Accountant’s office, India House, has; he lives in Kentish Town:  I forget where, but is to be found in Leadenhall daily.  Take your choice.  I should be proud to hang up as an alehouse sign even; or, rather, I care not about my head or anything, but how we are to get well again, for I am tired out.

God bless you and yours from the worst calamity.—­Yours truly, C.L.

Kindest remembrances to Mrs. Hunt.  H.’s is in a queer dress.  M.’s would be preferable ad populum.

[Leigh Hunt had asked Lamb for his portrait to accompany his Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries.  Lamb had been painted by Hazlitt in 1804, and by Henry Meyer, full size, in May, 1826, as well as by others.  Hunt chose Meyer’s picture, which was beautifully engraved, for his book, in the large paper edition.  The original is now in the India Office; a reproduction serves as the frontispiece to this volume.  The Hazlitt portrait, representing Lamb in the garb of a Venetian senator, is now in the National Portrait Gallery; a reproduction serves as the frontispiece to Vol.  I. of this edition.]

LETTER 441

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM HONE

[P.M.  Dec. 15, 1827.]

Page 185

My dear Hone, I read the sad accident with a careless eye, the newspaper giving a wrong name to the poor Sufferer, but learn’d the truth from Clarke.  God send him ease, and you comfort in your thick misfortunes.  I am in a sorry state.  Tis the eleventh week of the illness, and I cannot get her well.  To add to the calamity, Miss James is obliged to leave us in a day or two.  We had an Enfield Nurse for seven weeks, and just as she seem’d mending, she was call’d away.  Miss J.’s coming seem’d to put her back, and now she is going.  I do not compare my sufferings to yours, but you see the world is full of troubles.  I wish I could say a word to comfort you.  You must cling to all that is left.  I fear to ask you whether the Book is to be discontinued.  What a pity, when it must have delighted so many!  Let me hear about you and it, and believe me with deepest fellow feeling

Your friend C. LAMB.  Friday eveng.

[Hone’s son Alfred, who had met with an accident, was a sculptor.  The Table Book was to close with the year.]

LETTER 442

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[No date. ?  Middle Dec., 1827.]

My dear Allsop—­Thanks for the Birds.  Your announcement puzzles me sadly as nothing came.  I send you back a word in your letter, which I can positively make nothing [of] and therefore return to you as useless.  It means to refer to the birds, but gives me no information.  They are at the fire, however.

My sister’s illness is the most obstinate she ever had.  It will not go away, and I am afraid Miss James will not be able to stay above a day or two longer.  I am desperate to think of it sometimes.  ’Tis eleven weeks!

The day is sad as my prospects.

With kindest love to Mrs. A. and the children,

Yours, C.L.

No Atlas this week.  Poor Hone’s good boy Alfred has fractured his skull, another son is returned “dead” from the Navy office, & his Book is going to be given up, not having answered.  What a world of troubles this is!

[The Atlas was the paper which Allsop sent to Lamb every week.]

LETTER 443

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[December 20, 1827.]

My dear Allsop—­I have writ to say to you that I hope to have a comfortable Xmas-day with Mary, and I can not bring myself to go from home at present.  Your kind offer, and the kind consent of the young Lady to come, we feel as we should do; pray accept all of you our kindest thanks:  at present I think a visitor (good & excellent as we remember her to be) might a little put us out of our way.  Emma is with us, and our small house just holds us, without obliging Mary to sleep with Becky, &c.

We are going on extremely comfortably, & shall soon be in capacity of seeing our friends.  Much weakness is left still.  With thanks and old rememb’rs, Yours, C.L.

Page 186

LETTER 444

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

[P.M.  Dec. 22, 1827.]

My dear Moxon, I am at length able to tell you that we are all doing well, and shall be able soon to see our friends as usual.  If you will venture a winter walk to Enfield tomorrow week (Sunday 3Oth) you will find us much as usual; we intend a delicious quiet Christmas day, dull and friendless, for we have not spirits for festivities.  Pray communicate the good news to the Hoods, and say I hope he is better.  I should be thankful for any of the books you mention, but I am so apprehensive of their miscarriage by the stage,—­at all events I want none just now.  Pray call and see Mrs. Lovekin, I heard she was ill; say we shall be glad to see them some fine day after a week or so.

May I beg you to call upon Miss James, and say that we are quite well, and that Mary hopes she will excuse her writing herself yet; she knows that it is rather troublesome to her to write.  We have rec’d her letter.  Farewell, till we meet.

Yours truly,

C. LAMB.

Enfield.

LETTER 445

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[No date.  End of 1827.]

My dear B.—­We are all pretty well again and comfortable, and I take a first opportunity of sending the Adventures of Ulysses, hoping that among us—­Homer, Chapman, and C’o.—­we shall afford you some pleasure.  I fear, it is out of print, if not, A.K. will accept it, with wishes it were bigger; if another copy is not to be had, it reverts to me and my heirs for ever.  With it I send a trumpery book; to which, without my knowledge, the Editor of the Bijoux has contributed Lucy’s verses:  I am asham’d to ask her acceptance of the trash accompanying it.  Adieu to Albums—­for a great while, I said when I came here, and had not been fixed two days but my Landlord’s daughter (not at the Pot house) requested me to write in her female friend’s, and in her own; if I go to [blank space:  something seems to be missing] thou art there also, O all pervading ALBUM!  All over the Leeward Islands, in Newfoundland, and the Back Settlements, I understand there is no other reading.  They haunt me.  I die of Albo-phobia!

["A trumpery book.”  I have not found it.  Writing in the Englishman’s Magazine in 1831, in a review of his own Album Verses, Lamb amplifies his sentiments on albums (see Vol.  I.).]

LETTER 446

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[January 9, 1828.]

Page 187

Dear Allsop—­I have been very poorly and nervous lately, but am recovering sleep, &c.  I do not invite or make engagements for particular days; but I need not say how pleasant your dropping in any Sunday morn’g would be.  Perhaps Jameson would accompany you.  Pray beg him to keep an accurate record of the warning I sent by him to old Pan, for I dread lest he should at the 12 months’ end deny the warning.  The house is his daughter’s, but we took it through him, and have paid the rent to his receipts for his daughter’s.  Consult J. if he thinks the warning sufficient.  I am very nervous, or have been, about the house; lost my sleep, & expected to be ill; but slumbered gloriously last night golden slumbers.  I shall not relapse.  You fright me with your inserted slips in the most welcome Atlas.  They begin to charge double for it, & call it two sheets.  How can I confute them by opening it, when a note of yours might slip out, & we get in a hobble?  When you write, write real letters.  Mary’s best love & mine to Mrs. A.

Yours ever, C. LAMB.

[I cannot explain the business part of this letter.]

LETTER 447

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

[P.M. (?  January, Sunday) 1828.]

Dear Moxon I have to thank you for despatching so much business for me.  I am uneasy respecting the enclosed receipts which you sent me and are dated Jan. 1827.  Pray get them chang’d by Mr. Henshall to 182_8_.  I have been in a very nervous way since I saw you.  Pray excuse me to the Hoods for not answering his very pleasant letter.  I am very poorly.  The “Keepsake” I hope is return’d.  I sent it back by Mrs. Hazlitt on Thursday.  ’Twas blotted outside when it came.  The rest I think are mine.  My heart bleeds about poor Hone, that such an agreeable book, and a Book there seem’d no reason should not go on for ever, should be given up, and a thing substituted which in its Nature cannot last.  Don’t send me any more “Companions,” for it only vexes me about the Table Book.  This is not weather to hope to see any body to day, but without any particular invitations, pray consider that we are at any time most glad to see you, You (with Hunt’s “Lord Byron” or Hazlitt’s “Napoleon” in your hand) or You simply with your switch &c.  The night was damnable and the morning is not too bless-able.  If you get my dates changed, I will not trouble you with business for some time.  Best of all rememb’ces to the Hoods, with a malicious congratulation on their friend Rice’s advancem’t.

Yours truly C. LAMB.

[Hone’s Table Book ceased with 1827:  it was succeeded by a reprint, in monthly parts, of Strutt’s Sports and Pastimes.

The Companion would be the periodical started by Leigh Hunt in 1828.

“Hazlitt’s ‘Napoleon.’” Of this work the first two volumes appeared in 1828, and the next two in 1830.

Page 188

“Their friend Rice’s advancement.”  I cannot say to what this would refer.  Rice was Edward Rice.]

LETTER 448

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

[P.M.  Feb. 18, 1828.]

Dear M. I had rather thought to have seen you yesterday, or I should have written to thank you for your attentions in the Book way &c.  Hone’s address is, 22 Belvidere Place, Southwark.  ’Tis near the Obelisk.  I can only say we shall be most glad to see you, when weather suits, and that it will be a joyful surprisal to see the Hoods.  I should write to them, but am poorly and nervous.  Emma is very proud of her Valentine.  Mary does not immediately want Books, having a damn’d consignment of Novels in MS. from Malta:  which I wish the Mediterranean had in its guts.  Believe me yours truly C.L.

Monday.

[Emma’s valentine probably came from Moxon, who, I feel sure, in spite of Lamb’s utterance in a previous letter, had not yet told his love, if it had really budded.

“Novels in MS.”—­Lady Stoddart’s, we may suppose (see letter above).]

LETTER 449

CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES COWDEN CLARKE

Enfield, 25 Feb. [1828].

My dear Clarke,—­You have been accumulating on me such a heap of pleasant obligations that I feel uneasy in writing as to a Benefactor.  Your smaller contributions, the little weekly rills, are refreshments in the Desart, but your large books were feasts.  I hope Mrs. Hazlitt, to whom I encharged it, has taken Hunt’s Lord B. to the Novellos.  His picture of Literary Lordship is as pleasant as a disagreeable subject can be made, his own poor man’s Education at dear Christ’s is as good and hearty as the subject.  Hazlitt’s speculative episodes are capital; I skip the Battles.  But how did I deserve to have the Book?  The Companion has too much of Madam Pasta.  Theatricals have ceased to be popular attractions.  His walk home after the Play is as good as the best of the old Indicators.  The watchmen are emboxed in a niche of fame, save the skaiting one that must be still fugitive.  I wish I could send a scrap for good will.  But I have been most seriously unwell and nervous a long long time.  I have scarce mustered courage to begin this short note, but conscience duns me.

I had a pleasant letter from your sister, greatly over-acknowledging my poor sonnet.  I think I should have replied to it, but tell her I think so.  Alas for sonnetting, ’tis as the nerves are; all the summer I was dawdling among green lanes, and verses came as thick as fancies.  I am sunk winterly below prose and zero.

But I trust the vital principle is only as under snow.  That I shall yet laugh again.

I suppose the great change of place affects me, but I could not have lived in Town, I could not bear company.

Page 189

I see Novello flourishes in the Del Capo line, and dedications are not forgotten.  I read the Atlas.  When I pitched on the Ded’n I looked for the Broom of “Cowden knows” to be harmonized, but ’twas summat of Rossini’s.

I want to hear about Hone, does he stand above water, how is his son?  I have delay’d writing to him, till it seems impossible.  Break the ice for me.

The wet ground here is intolerable, the sky above clear and delusive, but under foot quagmires from night showers, and I am cold-footed and moisture-abhorring as a cat; nevertheless I yesterday tramped to Waltham Cross; perhaps the poor bit of exertion necessary to scribble this was owing to that unusual bracing.

If I get out, I shall get stout, and then something will out —­I mean for the Companion—­you see I rhyme insensibly.

Traditions are rife here of one Clarke a schoolmaster, and a runaway pickle named Holmes, but much obscurity hangs over it.  Is it possible they can be any relations?

’Tis worth the research, when you can find a sunny day, with ground firm, &c.  Master Sexton is intelligent, and for half-a-crown he’ll pick you up a Father.

In truth we shall be most glad to see any of the Novellian circle, middle of the week such as can come, or Sunday, as can’t.  But Spring will burgeon out quickly, and then, we’ll talk more.

You’d like to see the improvements on the Chase, the new Cross in the market-place, the Chandler’s shop from whence the rods were fetch’d.  They are raised a farthing since the spread of Education.  But perhaps you don’t care to be reminded of the Holofernes’ days, and nothing remains of the old laudable profession, but the clear, firm, impossible-to-be-mistaken schoolmaster text hand with which is subscribed the ever-welcome name of Chas. Cowden C. Let me crowd in both our loves to all.  C.L.

Let me never be forgotten to include in my rememb’ces my good friend and whilom correspondent Master Stephen.

How, especially, is Victoria?

I try to remember all I used to meet at Shacklewell.  The little household, cake-producing, wine-bringing out Emma—­the old servant, that didn’t stay, and ought to have staid, and was always very dirty and friendly, and Miss H., the counter-tenor with a fine voice, whose sister married Thurtell.  They all live in my mind’s eye, and Mr. N.’s and Holmes’s walks with us half back after supper.  Troja fuit!

["The Companion.”  Leigh Hunt’s paper lasted only for seven months.  Madame Pasta, of whom too much was written, was Giudetta Pasta (1798-1865), a singer of unusual compass, for whom Bellini wrote “La Somnambula.”

The following is the account of the Sliding Watchman in the essay, “Walks Home by Night in Bad Weather.  Watchmen":—­

Page 190

But the oddest of all was the Sliding Watchman.  Think of walking up a street in the depth of a frosty winter, with long ice in the gutters, and sleet over head, and then figure to yourself a sort of bale of a man in white, coming towards you with a lantern in one hand, and an umbrella over his head.  It was the oddest mixture of luxury and hardship, of juvenility and old age!  But this looked agreeable.  Animal spirits carry everything before them; and our invincible friend seemed a watchman for Rabelais.  Time was run at and butted by him like a goat.  The slide seemed to bear him half through the night at once; he slipped from out of his box and his common-places at one rush of a merry thought, and seemed to say, “Everything’s in imagination;—­here goes the whole weight of my office.”

“Your sister”—­Mrs. Isabella Jane Towers, author of The Children’s Fireside, 1828, and other books for children, to whom Lamb had sent a sonnet (see Vol.  IV.).

“Novello... dedications...  I read the Atlas.”  In The Atlas for February 17 was reviewed Select Airs from Spohr’s celebrated Opera of Faust, arranged as duetts for the Pianoforte and inscribed to his friend Charles Cowden Clarke by Vincent Novello.  Holmes was musical critic for The Atlas.

“One Clarke a schoolmaster.”  See note to the letter to Clarke in the summer of 1821.

“Holofernes’ days”—­Holofernes, the schoolmaster, in “Love’s Labour’s Lost.”  Cowden Clarke had assisted his father.

“Master Stephen.”  I do not identify Stephen.

“Victoria”—­Mary Victoria Novello, afterwards Mrs. Charles Cowden Clarke.

“At Shacklewell”—­the Novellos’ old home.  They now lived in Bedford Street, Covent Garden.

“Whose sister married Thurtell.”  Thurtell, the murderer of Mr. Weare, I suppose.

In the Boston Bibliophile edition there is also a brief note to Clarke.]

LETTER 450

CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY CRABB ROBINSON

[P.M.  Feb. 26, 1828.]

My dear Robinson, It will be a very painful thing to us indeed, if you give up coming to see us, as we fear, on account of the nearness of the poor Lady you inquire after.  It is true that on the occasion she mentions, which was on her return from last seeing her daughter, she was very heated and feverish, but there seems to be a great amendment in her since, and she has within a day or two passed a quiet evening with us.  At the same time I dare not advise any thing one way or another respecting her daughter coming to live with her.  I entirely disclaim the least opinion about it.  If we named any thing before her, it was erroneously, on the notion that she was the obstacle to the plan which had been suggested of placing her daughter in a Private Family, which seem’d your wish.  But I have quite done with the subject.  If we can be of any amusement to the poor Lady, without self disturbance, we will.  But come and see us after Circuit, as if she were not.  You have no more affect’te friends than C. AND M. LAMB.

Page 191

["The poor Lady” was, I imagine, the widow of Antony Robinson.]

LETTER 451

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

March 19th, 1828.

My dear M.—­It is my firm determination to have nothing to do with “Forget-me-Nots”—­pray excuse me as civilly as you can to Mr. Hurst.  I will take care to refuse any other applications.  The things which Pickering has, if to be had again, I have promised absolutely, you know, to poor Hood, from whom I had a melancholy epistle yesterday; besides that, Emma has decided objections to her own and her friend’s Album verses being published; but if she gets over that, they are decidedly Hood’s.

Till we meet, farewell.  Loves to Dash.  C.L.

[Moxon seems to have asked Lamb for a contribution for one of Hurst’s annuals, probably the Keepsake.

Hood was to edit The Gem for 1829.

“Dash.”—­Moxon seems to have been the present master of the dog.

Here should come a letter from Lamb to Edward Irving, introducing Hone, who in later life became devout and preached at the Weigh House Chapel in Eastcheap.]

LETTER 452

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  April 21, 1828.]

DEAR B.B.—­You must excuse my silence.  I have been in very poor health and spirits, and cannot write letters.  I only write to assure you, as you wish’d, of my existence.  All that which Mitford tells you of H.’s book is rhodomontade, only H. has written unguardedly about me, and nothing makes a man more foolish than his own foolish panegyric.  But I am pretty well cased to flattery, or its contrary.  Neither affect[s] me a turnip’s worth.  Do you see the Author of May you Like it?  Do you write to him?  Will you give my present plea to him of ill health for not acknowledge a pretty Book with a pretty frontispiece he sent me.  He is most esteem’d by me.  As for subscribing to Books, in plain truth I am a man of reduced income, and don’t allow myself 12 shillings a-year to buy OLD BOOKS with, which must be my Excuse.  I am truly sorry for Murray’s demur, but I wash my hands of all booksellers, and hope to know them no more.  I am sick and poorly and must leave off, with our joint kind remembrances to your daughter and friend A.K.  C.L.

["H.’s book.”  In Hunt’s Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries Lamb was praised very warmly.

“The Author of May you Like it”—­the Rev. C.B.  Tayler.  The book with a pretty frontispiece was A Fireside Book, 1828, with a frontispiece by George Cruikshank.

“Murray’s demur"-an unfavourable reply, possibly to a suggestion of Barton’s concerning a new volume.]

LETTER 453

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

Page 192

[May 1st, 1828.]

Dear A.—­I am better.  Mary quite well.  We expected to see you before.  I can’t write long letters.  So a friendly love to you all.

Yours ever,

C.L.

Enfield.

This sunshine is healing.

LETTER 454

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

[P.M.  May 3rd, 1828.]

Dear M.,—­My friend Patmore, author of the “Months,” a very pretty publication, [and] of sundry Essays in the “London,” “New Monthly,” &c., wants to dispose of a volume or two of “Tales.”  Perhaps they might Chance to suit Hurst; but be that as it may, he will call upon you, under favor of my recommendation; and as he is returning to France, where he lives, if you can do anything for him in the Treaty line, to save him dancing over the Channel every week, I am sure you will.  I said I’d never trouble you again; but how vain are the resolves of mortal man!  P. is a very hearty friendly fellow, and was poor John Scott’s second, as I will be yours when you want one.  May you never be mine!

Yours truly, C.L.

Enfield.

[Patmore was the author of The Mirror of the Months, 1826.]

LETTER 455

CHARLES LAMB TO WALTER WILSON

[Dated at end:  17 May (1828).]

Dear Walter, The sight of your old name again was like a resurrection.  It had passed away into the dimness of a dead friend.  We shall be most joyful to see you here next week,—­if I understand you right—­for your note dated the 10th arrived only yesterday, Friday the 16th.  Suppose I name Thursday next.  If that don’t suit, write to say so.  A morning coach comes from the Bell or Bell & Crown by Leather Lane Holborn, and sets you down at our house on the Chase Side, next door to Mr. Westwood’s, whom all the coachmen know.

I have four more notes to write, so dispatch this with again assuring you how happy we shall be to see you, & to discuss Defoe & old matters.

Yours truly

C. LAMB.

Enf’d.  Satur’dy. 17th May.

[The last letter to Wilson was on Feb. 24, 1823.  Lamb wrote to Hone a few days later:  “Valter Vilson dines with us to-morrow.  Vell!  How I should like to see Hone!”]

LETTER 456

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS NOON TALFOURD

[P.M.  May 20, 1828.]

My dear Talfourd, we propose being with you on Wednesday not unearly, Mary to take a bed with you, and I with Crabbe, if, as I understand, he be of the party.

Yours ever,

CH.  LAMB.

[Lamb’s future biographer was then living at 26 Henrietta Street, Brunswick Square.  He had married in 1822.  Crabb Robinson’s Diary for May 21 tells us that Talfourd’s party consisted of the Lambs, Wordsworth, Miss Anne Rutt, three barristers and himself.  Lamb was in excellent spirits.  He slept at Robinson’s that night.]

Page 193

LETTER 457

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

[No date.  May, 1828.]

Dear Wordsworth, we had meant to have tried to see Mrs. Wordsworth and Dora next Wednesday, but we are intercepted by a violent toothache which Mary has got by getting up next morning after parting with you, to be with my going off at 1/2 past 8 Holborn.  We are poor travellers, and moreover we have company (damn ’em) good people, Mr. Hone and an old crony not seen for 20 years, coming here on Tuesday, one stays night with us, and Mary doubts my power to get up time enough, and comfort enough, to be so far as you are.  Will you name a day in the same or coming week that we can come to you in the morning, for it would plague us not to see the other two of you, whom we cannot individualize from you, before you go.  It is bad enough not to see your Sister Dorothy.

God bless you sincerely

C. LAMB.

[Robinson dates this letter 1810, but this is clearly wrong.  It was obviously written after Lamb’s liberation from the India House.  If, as I suppose, the old crony is Walter Wilson, we get the date from Lamb’s letters to him and to Hone, mentioned above.

By “the other two of you” Lamb means Dora Wordsworth and Johnny Wordsworth.  Lamb had already seen William.  The address of the present letter is W. Wordsworth, Esq., 12 Bryanstone Street, Portman Square.

Here should come a letter from Lamb to Cary, dated June 10, 1828, declining on account of ill-health an invitation to dinner, to meet Wordsworth.  Instead he asks Cary to Enfield with Darley and Procter.]

LETTER 458

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. MORGAN

Enfield, 17 June, 1828.

The gentleman who brings this to you has been 12 years principal assistant at the first School in Enfield, and bears the highest character for carefulness and scholarship.  He is about opening an Establishment of his own, a Classical and Commercial Academy at Peckham.  He has just married a very notable and amiable young person, our next neighbour’s daughter, and I do not doubt of their final success, but everything must have a beginning and he wants pupils.  It strikes me, that one or two of Mr. Thompson’s sons may be about leaving you,—­in that case, if you can recommend my friend’s school, you will much oblige me.  I can answer for the very excellent manner in which he has conducted himself here as an assistant, for I have talked it over with Dr. May’s brother and I know him to be very learned.  He will explain to you the situation of our cottage, where we hope to see you soon—­with Mary’s kind love.

[The gentleman was a Mr. Sugden.]

LETTER 459

MARY LAMB TO THE THOMAS HOODS

[No date. ?  Summer, 1828.]

Page 194

My dear Friends,—­My brother and Emma are to send you a partnership letter, but as I have a great dislike to my stupid scrap at the fag end of a dull letter, and, as I am left alone, I will say my say first; and in the first place thank you for your kind letter; it was a mighty comfort to me.  Ever since you left me, I have been thinking I know not what, but every possible thing that I could invent, why you should be angry with me for something I had done or left undone during your uncomfortable sojourn with us, and now I read your letter and think and feel all is well again.  Emma and her sister Harriet are gone to Theobalds Park, and Charles is gone to Barnet to cure his headache, which a good old lady has talked him into.  She came on Thursday and left us yesterday evening.  I mean she was Mrs. Paris, with whom Emma’s aunt lived at Cambridge, and she had so much to [tell] her about Cambridge friends, and to [tell] us about London ditto, that her tongue was never at rest through the whole day, and at night she took Hood’s Whims and Oddities to bed with her and laught all night.  Bless her spirits!  I wish I had them and she were as mopey as I am.  Emma came on Monday, and the week has passed away I know not how.  But we have promised all the week that we should go and see the Picture friday or saturday, and stay a night or so with you.  Friday came and we could not turn Mrs. Paris out so soon, and on friday evening the thing was wholly given up.  Saturday morning brought fresh hopes; Mrs. Paris agreed to go to see the picture with us, and we were to walk to Edmonton.  My Hat and my new gown were put on in great haste, and his honor, who decides all things here, would have it that we could not get to Edmonton in time; and there was an end of all things.  Expecting to see you, I did not write.

Monday evening.

Charles and Emma are taking a second walk.  Harriet is gone home.  Charles wishes to know more about the Widow.  Is it to be made to match a drawing?  If you could throw a little more light on the subject, I think he would do it, when Emma is gone; but his time will be quite taken up with her; for, besides refreshing her Latin, he gives her long lessons in arithmetic, which she is sadly deficient in.  She leaves in a week, unless she receives a renewal of her holydays, which Mrs. Williams has half promised to send her.  I do verily believe that I may hope to pass the last one, or two, or three nights with you, as she is to go from London to Bury.  We will write to you the instant we receive Mrs. W.’s letter.  As to my poor sonnet—­and it is a very poor sonnet, only [it] answered very well the purpose it was written for—­Emma left it behind her, and nobody remembers more than one line of it, which is, I think, sufficient to convince you it would make no great impression in an Annual.  So pray let it rest in peace, and I will make Charles write a better one instead.

This shall go to the Post to-night.  If any [one] chooses to add anything to it they may.  It will glad my heart to see you again.

Page 195

Yours (both yours) truly and affectionately, M. LAMB.

Becky is going by the Post office, so I will send it away.  I mean to commence letter-writer to the family.

[Mr. Hazlitt dates this letter April, 1828.  The reference to the Widow, towards the end, shows that Hood was preparing The Gem, and, what is not generally known, that Lamb had been asked to write on that subject.  As it happened, Hood wrote the essay for him and signed it Elia (see note below).  Mrs. Paris we have met.  Harriet, Emma Isola’s sister, we do not hear of again.  I was recently shown a copy of Lamb’s Works, 1818, inscribed in his hand to Miss Isola:  this would be Harriet Isola.  Emma had just begun her duties at Fornham, in Suffolk, where she taught the children of a Mr. Williams, a clergyman.  I cannot say what the Picture was.  The sonnet was probably that printed in the note to the letter to Mrs. Shelley of July 26, 1827.  Charles Lamb’s and Emma’s joint letter has not been preserved.]

LETTER 460

CHARLES LAMB TO B.R.  HAYDON

August, 1828.

Dear Haydon,—­I have been tardy in telling you that your Chairing the Member gave me great pleasure;—­’tis true broad Hogarthian fun, the High Sheriff capital.  Considering, too, that you had the materials imposed upon you, and that you did not select them from the rude world as H. did, I hope to see many more such from your hand.  If the former picture went beyond this I have had a loss, and the King a bargain.  I longed to rub the back of my hand across the hearty canvas that two senses might be gratified.  Perhaps the subject is a little discordantly placed opposite to another act of Chairing, where the huzzas were Hosannahs,—­but I was pleased to see so many of my old acquaintances brought together notwithstanding.

Believe me, yours truly,

C. LAMB.

[Haydon’s “Chairing the Member” was exhibited in Bond Street this year, together with “Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem,” and other of his works.  “The former picture” was his “Mock Election,” which the King had bought for 500 guineas.  For “Chairing the Member” Haydon received only half that price.

Here should come a letter to Rickman, dated September 11, 1828, in which Lamb thanks him for a present of nuts and apples, but is surprised that apples should be offered to the owner of a “whole tree, almost an orchard,” and “an apple chamber redolent” to boot.

Here should come a letter from Lamb to Louisa Holcroft, dated October 2, 1828, in which, so soon after Mary Lamb’s determination to be the letter writer of the family, he says, “Mary Lamb has written her last letter in this world,” adding that he has been left her writing legatee.  He calls geese “those pretty birds that look like snow in summer, and cackle like ice breaking up.”

Here should come a long Latin letter to Rickman, dated October 4, 1828.  Canon Ainger prints the Latin.  I append an English version:—­]

Page 196

LETTER 461

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN RICKMAN

(Translation)

[Postmark Oct. 3, 1828.]

I have been thinking of sending some kind of an answer in Latin to your very elaborate letter, but something has arisen every day to hinder me.  To begin with our awkward friend M.B. has been with us for a while, and every day and all day we have had such a lecture, you know how he stutters, on legal, mind, nothing but legal notices, that I have been afraid the Latin I want to write might prove rather barbaro-forensic than Ciceronian.  He is swallowed up, body and soul, in law; he eats, drinks, plays (at the card table) Law, nothing but Law.  He acts Ignoramus in the play so thoroughly, that you w’d swear that in the inmost marrow of his head (is not this the proper anatomical term?) there have housed themselves not devils but pettifoggers, to bemuddle with their noisy chatter his own and his friends’ wits.  He brought here, ’twas all his luggage, a book, Fearn on Contingent Remainders.  This book he has read so hard, and taken such infinite pains to understand, that the reader’s brain has few or no Remainders to continge.  Enough, however, of M.B. and his luggage.  To come back to your claims upon me.  Your return journey, with notes, I read again and again, nor have I done with them yet.  You always make something fresh out of a hackneyed theme.  Our milestones, you say, bristle with blunders, but I must shortly explain why I cannot comply with your directions herein.

Suppose I were to consult the local magnates about a matter of this kind.—­Ha! says one of our waywardens or parish overseers,—­What business is this of yours?  Do you want to drop the Lodger and come out as a Householder?—­Now you must know that I took this house of mine at Enfield, by an obvious domiciliary fiction, in my Sister’s name, to avoid the bother and trouble of parish and vestry meetings, and to escape finding myself one day an overseer or big-wig of some sort.  What then w’d be my reply to the above question?

Leisure I have secured:  but of dignity, not a tittle.  Besides, to tell you the truth, the aforesaid irregularities are, to my thinking, most entertaining, and in fact very touching indeed.  Here am I, quit of worldly affairs of every kind; for if superannuation does not mean that, what does it mean?  The world then, being, as the saying is, beyond my ken, and being myself entirely removed from any accurate distinctions of space or time, these mistakes in road-measure do not seriously offend me.  For in the infinite space of the heavens above (which in this contracted sphere of mine I desire to imitate so far as may be) what need is there of milestones?  Local distance has to do with mortal affairs.  In my walks abroad, limited though they must be, I am quite at my own disposal, and on that account I have a good word for our Enfield clocks too.  Their hands generally

Page 197

point without any servile reference to this Sun of our World, in his sub-Empyrean position.  They strike too just as it happens, according to their own sweet wiles,—­one—­two—­three—­anything they like, and thus to me, a more fortunate Whittington, they pleasantly announce, that Time, so far as I am concerned, is no more.  Here you have my reasons for not attending in this matter to the requests of a busy subsolar such as you are.

Furthermore, when I reach the milestone that counts from the Hicks-Hall that stands now, I own at once the Aulic dignity, and, were I a gaol-bird, I should shake in my shoes.  When I reach the next which counts from the site of the old Hall, my thoughts turn to the fallen grandeur of the pile, and I reflect upon the perishable condition of the most imposing of human structures.  Thus I banish from my soul all pride and arrogance, and with such meditations purify my heart from day to day.  A wayfarer such as I am, may learn from Vincent Bourne, in words terser and neater than any of mine, the advantages of milestones properly arranged.  The lines are at the end of a little poem of his, called Milestones—­(Do you remember it or shall I write it all out?)

        How well the Milestones’ use doth this express,
        Which make the miles [seem] more and way seem less.

What do you mean by this—­I am borrowing hand and style from this youngster of mine—­your son, I take it.  The style looks, nay on careful inspection by these old eyes, is most clearly your very own, and the writing too.  Either R’s or the Devil’s.  I will defer your explanation till our next meeting—­may it be soon.

My Latin failing me, as you may infer from erasures above, there is only this to add.  Farewell, and be sure to give Mrs. Rickman my kind remembrances.

C. LAMB.

Enfield, Chase Side, 4th Oct., 1828.  I can’t put this properly into
Latin.  Dabam—­what is it?

LETTER 462

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  October 11, 1828.]

A splendid edition of Bunyan’s Pilgrim—­why, the thought is enough to turn one’s moral stomach.  His cockle hat and staff transformed to a smart cockd beaver and a jemmy cane, his amice gray to the last Regent Street cut, and his painful Palmer’s pace to the modern swagger.  Stop thy friend’s sacriligious hand.  Nothing can be done for B. but to reprint the old cuts in as homely but good a style as possible.  The Vanity Fair, and the pilgrims there—­the silly soothness in his setting out countenance—­the Christian idiocy (in a good sense) of his admiration of the Shepherds on the Delectable Mountains—­the Lions so truly Allegorical and remote from any similitude to Pidcock’s.  The great head (the author’s) capacious of dreams and similitudes dreaming in the dungeon.  Perhaps you don’t know my edition, what I had when a child:  if you do, can you bear new designs from—­Martin, enameld into copper or silver plate by—­Heath, accompanied with verses from Mrs. Heman’s pen O how unlike his own—­

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        Wouldst thou divert thyself from melancholy? 
        Wouldst thou be pleasant, yet be far from folly? 
        Wouldst thou read riddles and their explanation? 
        Or else be drowned in thy contemplation? 
        Dost thou love picking meat? or wouldst thou see
        A man i’ th’ clouds, and hear him speak to thee? 
        Wouldst thou be in a dream, and yet not sleep? 
        Or wouldst thou in a moment laugh and weep? 
        Or wouldst thou lose thyself, and catch no harm,
        And find thyself again without a charm? 
        Wouldst read thyself, and read thou knowst not what,
        And yet know whether thou art blest or not
        By reading the same lines?  O then come hither,
        And lay my book, thy head and heart together.

        JOHN BUNYAN.

Shew me such poetry in any of the 15 forthcoming combinations of show and emptiness, yclept Annuals.  Let me whisper in your ear that wholesome sacramental bread is not more nutritious than papistical wafer stuff, than these (to head and heart) exceed the visual frippery of Mitford’s Salamander God, baking himself up to the work of creation in a solar oven, not yet by the terms of the context itself existing.  Blake’s ravings made genteel.  So there’s verses for thy verses; and now let me tell you that the sight of your hand gladdend me.  I have been daily trying to write to you, but paralysed.  You have spurd me on this tiny effort, and at intervals I hope to hear from and talk to you.  But my spirits have been in a deprest way for a long long time, and they are things which must be to you of faith, for who can explain depression?  Yes I am hooked into the Gem, but only for some lines written on a dead infant of the Editor’s, which being as it were his property, I could not refuse their appearing, but I hate the paper, the type, the gloss, the dandy plates, the names of contributors poked up into your eyes in 1st page, and whistled thro’ all the covers of magazines, the barefaced sort of emulation, the unmodest candidateship, bro’t into so little space—­in those old Londons a signature was lost in the wood of matter—­the paper coarse (till latterly, which spoil’d them)—­in short I detest to appear in an Annual.  What a fertile genius (an[d] a quiet good soul withal) is Hood.  He has 50 things in hand, farces to supply the Adelphi for the season, a comedy for one of the great theatres, just ready, a whole entertainment by himself for Mathews and Yates to figure in, a meditated Comic Annual for next year, to be nearly done by himself.—­ You’d like him very much.  Wordsworth I see has a good many pieces announced in one of em, not our Gem.  W. Scott has distributed himself like a bribe haunch among ’em.  Of all the poets, Cary has had the good sense to keep quite clear of ’em, with Clergy-gentle-manly right notions.  Don’t think I set up for being proud in this point, I like a bit of flattery tickling my vanity

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as well as any one.  But these pompous masquerades without masks (naked names or faces) I hate.  So there’s a bit of my mind.  Besides they infallibly cheat you, I mean the booksellers.  If I get but a copy, I only expect it from Hood’s being my friend.  Coleridge has lately been here.  He too is deep among the Prophets—­the Yearservers—­the mob of Gentlemen Annuals.  But they’ll cheat him, I know.

And now, dear B.B., the Sun shining out merrily, and the dirty clouds we had yesterday having washd their own faces clean with their own rain, tempts me to wander up Winchmore Hill, or into some of the delightful vicinages of Enfield, which I hope to show you at some time when you can get a few days up to the great Town.  Believe me it would give both of us great pleasure to show you all three (we can lodge you) our pleasant farms and villages.—­

We both join in kindest loves to you and yours.—­

CH.  LAMB REDIVIVUS.

Saturday.

[The edition of Bunyan was that published for Barton’s friend, John Major, and John Murray in 1830, with a life of Bunyan by Southey, and illustrations by John Martin and W. Harvey, and a prefatory poem not by Mrs. Hemans but by Bernard Barton immediately before Bunyan’s “Author’s Apology for his Book,” from which Lamb quotes.

“Pidcock’s.”  Pidcock showed his lions at Bartholomew Fair; he was succeeded by Polito of Exeter Change.

“Heath.”  This was Charles Heath (1785-1848), son of James Heath, a great engraver of steel plates for the Annuals.

“Mitford’s Salamander God.”  I cannot explain this, except by Mr. Macdonald’s supposition that Lamb meant to write “Martin’s.”

“The Gem.”  See note below, p. 839.

Hood’s entertainment for Mathews and Frederick Yates, then joint-managers of the Adelphi, I have not identified.  Authors’ names on play-bills were, in those days, unimportant.  The play was the thing.

Cary.  The Rev. H.F.  Cary, translator of Dante.

Coleridge and the Annuals.  For example, Coleridge’s “Names” was in the Keepsake for 1829; his “Lines written in the Album at Elbingerode” in part in the Amulet for 1829.  He had also contributed previously to the Literary Souvenir, the Amulet and the Bijou.

Here should come an unprinted note from Lamb to Charles Mathews, dated October 27, 1828, referring to the farce “The Pawnbroker’s Daughter,” which Lamb offered to Mathews for the Adelphi.  As I have said, this farce was never acted.]

LETTER 463

CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES COWDEN CLARKE

[Enfield, October, 1828.]

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Dear Clarke,—­We did expect to see you with Victoria and the Novellos before this, and do not quite understand why we have not.  Mrs. N. and V. [Vincent] promised us after the York expedition; a day being named before, which fail’d.  ’Tis not too late.  The autumn leaves drop gold, and Enfield is beautifuller—­to a common eye—­than when you lurked at the Greyhound.  Benedicks are close, but how I so totally missed you at that time, going for my morning cup of ale duly, is a mystery.  ’Twas stealing a match before one’s face in earnest.  But certainly we had not a dream of your appropinquity.  I instantly prepared an Epithalamium, in the form of a Sonata—­which I was sending to Novello to compose—­but Mary forbid it me, as too light for the occasion—­as if the subject required anything heavy—­ so in a tiff with her I sent no congratulation at all.  Tho’ I promise you the wedding was very pleasant news to me indeed.  Let your reply name a day this next week, when you will come as many as a coach will hold; such a day as we had at Dulwich.  My very kindest love and Mary’s to Victoria and the Novellos.  The enclosed is from a friend nameless, but highish in office, and a man whose accuracy of statement may be relied on with implicit confidence.  He wants the expose to appear in a newspaper as the “greatest piece of legal and Parliamentary villainy he ever rememb’d,” and he has had experience in both; and thinks it would answer afterwards in a cheap pamphlet printed at Lambeth in 8’o sheet, as 16,000 families in that parish are interested.  I know not whether the present Examiner keeps up the character of exposing abuses, for I scarce see a paper now.  If so, you may ascertain Mr. Hunt of the strictest truth of the statement, at the peril of my head.  But if this won’t do, transmit it me back, I beg, per coach, or better, bring it with you.  Yours unaltered, C. LAMB.

[Clarke had married Mary Victoria Novello on July 5, 1828, and they had spent their honeymoon at the Greyhound, Enfield, unknown to the Lambs.  See the next letter.

“The enclosed.”  This has vanished.  Hunt was Leigh Hunt.]

LETTER 464

CHARLES LAMB TO VINCENT NOVELLO

[Enfield, November 6, 1828.]

My dear Novello,—­I am afraid I shall appear rather tardy in offering my congratulations, however sincere, upon your daughter’s marriage.  The truth is, I had put together a little Serenata upon the occasion, but was prevented from sending it by my sister, to whose judgment I am apt to defer too much in these kind of things; so that, now I have her consent, the offering, I am afraid, will have lost the grace of seasonableness.  Such as it is, I send it.  She thinks it a little too old-fashioned in the manner, too much like what they wrote a century back.  But I cannot write in the modern style, if I try ever so hard.  I have attended to the proper divisions for the music, and you will have little difficulty in composing it.  If I may advise, make Pepusch your model, or Blow.  It will be necessary to have a good second voice, as the stress of the melody lies there:—­

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SERENATA, FOR TWO VOICES,

On the Marriage of Charles Cowden Clarke, Esqre., to Victoria,
eldest daughter of Vincent Novello, Esqre.

DUETTO

Wake th’ harmonious voice and string,
Love and Hymen’s triumph sing,
Sounds with secret charms combining,
In melodious union joining,
Best the wondrous joys can tell,
That in hearts united dwell.

RECITATIVE

First Voice.—­To young Victoria’s happy fame
Well may the Arts a trophy raise,
Music grows sweeter in her praise. 
And, own’d by her, with rapture speaks her name. 
To touch the brave Cowdenio’s heart,
The Graces all in her conspire;
Love arms her with his surest dart,
Apollo with his lyre.

AIR

The list’ning Muses all around her
Think ‘tis Phoebus’ strain they hear;
And Cupid, drawing near to wound her,
Drops his bow, and stands to hear.

RECITATIVE

Second Voice.—­While crowds of rivals with despair
Silent admire, or vainly court the Fair,
Behold the happy conquest of her eyes,
A Hero is the glorious prize! 
In courts, in camps, thro’ distant realms renown’d,
Cowdenio comes!—­Victoria, see,
He comes with British honour crown’d,
Love leads his eager steps to thee.

AIR

In tender sighs he silence breaks,
The Fair his flame approves,
Consenting blushes warm her cheeks,
She smiles, she yields, she loves.

RECITATIVE

First Voice.—­Now Hymen at the altar stands,
And while he joins their faithful hands,
Behold! by ardent vows brought down,
Immortal Concord, heavenly bright,
Array’d in robes of purest light,
Descends, th’ auspicious rites to crown. 
Her golden harp the goddess brings;
Its magic sound
Commands a sudden silence all around,
And strains prophetic thus attune the strings.

DUETTO

First Voice.—­ The Swain his Nymph possessing,
Second Voice.—­ The Nymph her swain caressing,
First and Second.—­ Shall still improve the blessing,
For ever kind and true.
Both.—­ While rolling years are flying,
Love, Hymen’s lamp supplying,
With fuel never dying,
Shall still the flame renew.

To so great a master as yourself I have no need to suggest that the peculiar tone of the composition demands sprightliness, occasionally checked by tenderness, as in the second air,—­

She smiles,—­she yields,—­she loves.

Again, you need not be told that each fifth line of the two first recitatives requires a crescendo.

And your exquisite taste will prevent your falling into the error of Purcell, who at a passage similar to that in my first air,

Drops his bow, and stands to hear,

directed the first violin thus:—­

Here the first violin must drop his bow.

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But, besides the absurdity of disarming his principal performer of so necessary an adjunct to his instrument, in such an emphatic part of the composition too, which must have had a droll effect at the time, all such minutiae of adaptation are at this time of day very properly exploded, and Jackson of Exeter very fairly ranks them under the head of puns.

Should you succeed in the setting of it, we propose having it performed (we have one very tolerable second voice here, and Mr. Holmes, I dare say, would supply the minor parts) at the Greyhound.  But it must be a secret to the young couple till we can get the band in readiness.

Believe me, dear Novello,

Yours truly,

C. LAMB.

Enfield, 6 Nov., ’28.

[Mrs. Cowden Clarke remarks in her notes on this letter that the references to Purcell and to Jackson of Exeter are inventions.  For Mr. Holmes see note above.

Here should come a letter from Lamb to Laman Blanchard, dated Enfield, November 9, 1828, thanking him for a book and dedication.  Samuel Laman Blanchard (1804-1845), afterwards known as a journalist, had just published, through Harrison Ainsworth, a little volume entitled Lyric Offerings, which was dedicated to Lamb.  After Lamb’s death Blanchard contributed to the New Monthly Magazine some additional Popular Fallacies.]

LETTER 465

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS HOOD

Late autumn, 1828.

Enfield.

Dear Lamb—­You are an impudent varlet; but I will keep your secret.  We dine at Ayrton’s on Thursday, and shall try to find Sarah and her two spare beds for that night only.  Miss M. and her tragedy may be dished:  so may not you and your rib.  Health attend you.

Yours, T. HOOD, ESQ.

Miss Bridget Hood sends love.

[In The Gem, 1829, in addition to his poem, “On an Infant Dying as Soon as Born,” Lamb was credited with the following piece of prose, entitled “A Widow,” which was really the work of Hood (see letter above):—­

A WIDOW

Hath always been a mark for mockery:—­a standing butt for wit to level at.  Jest after jest hath been huddled upon her close cap, and stuck, like burrs, upon her weeds.  Her sables are a perpetual “Black Joke.”
Satirists—­prose and verse—­have made merry with her bereavements.  She is a stock character on the stage.  Farce bottleth up her crocodile tears, or labelleth her empty lachrymatories.  Comedy mocketh her precocious flirtations—­Tragedy even girdeth at her frailty, and twitteth her with “the funeral baked meats coldly furnishing forth the marriage tables.”
I confess when I called the other day on my kinswoman G.—­then in the second week of her widowhood—­and saw her sitting, her young boy by her side, in her recent sables,

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I felt unable to reconcile her estate with any risible associations.  The Lady with a skeleton moiety—­in the old print, in Bowles’ old shop window—­seemed but a type of her condition.  Her husband,—­a whole hemisphere in love’s world—­was deficient.  One complete side—­her left—­was death-stricken.  It was a matrimonial paralysis, unprovocative of laughter.  I could as soon have tittered at one of those melancholy objects that drag their poor dead-alive bodies about the streets.
It seems difficult to account for the popular prejudice against lone women.  There is a majority, I trust, of such honest, decorous mourners as my kinswoman:  yet are Widows, like the Hebrew, a proverb and a byeword amongst nations.  From the first putting on of the sooty garments, they become a stock joke—­chimney-sweep or blackamoor is not surer—­by mere virtue of their nigritude.
Are the wanton amatory glances of a few pairs of graceless eyes, twinkling through their cunning waters, to reflect so evil a light on a whole community?  Verily the sad benighted orbs of that noble relict—­the Lady Rachel Russell—­blinded through unserene drops for her dead Lord,—­might atone for such oglings!
Are the traditional freaks of a Dame of Ephesus, or a Wife of Bath, or a Queen of Denmark, to cast so broad a shadow over a whole sisterhood.  There must be, methinks, some more general infirmity—­common, probably, to all Eve-kind—­to justify so sweeping a stigma.
Does the satiric spirit, perhaps, institute splenetic comparisons between the lofty poetical pretensions of posthumous tenderness and their fulfilment?  The sentiments of Love especially affect a high heroical pitch, of which the human performance can present, at best, but a burlesque parody.  A widow, that hath lived only for her husband, should die with him.  She is flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone; and it is not seemly for a mere rib to be his survivor.  The prose of her practice accords not with the poetry of her professions.  She hath done with the world,—­and you meet her in Regent Street.  Earth hath now nothing left for her—­but she swears and administers.  She cannot survive him—­and invests in the Long Annuities.
The romantic fancy resents, and the satiric spirit records, these discrepancies.  By the conjugal theory itself there ought to be no Widows; and, accordingly, a class, that by our milder manners is merely ridiculed, on the ruder banks of the Ganges is literally roasted.  C. LAMB.

“Miss M. and her tragedy.”  I fancy Miss M. would be Miss Mitford, and her tragedy “Rienzi,” produced at Drury Lane October 9, 1828.  It was a success.  Hood’s rib would probably be the play I have not identified.  See letter to Barton of October 11.

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Here, a little out of its order, might come a letter from Lamb to Hood, December 17, 1828, which is facsimiled in a privately-printed American bibliography of Lamb, the owner of which declines to let not only me but the Boston Bibliophile Society include it with the correspondence.  In it Lamb expresses regret, not so much that Hood had signed “The Widow” with Lamb’s name, but that an unfortunately ambiguous jest, pointed out to him by certain friends, had crept into it.  He asks that the subject may never be referred to again.

Here perhaps should come a note to Miss Reynolds, Hood’s sister-in-law, accompanying Lamb’s Essay on Hogarth.]

LETTER 466

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

[No date.  Dec., 1828.]

Dear M.,—­As I see no blood-marks on the Green Lanes Road, I conclude you got in safe skins home.  Have you thought of inquiring Miss Wilson’s change of abode?  Of the 2 copies of my drama I want one sent to Wordsworth, together with a complete copy of Hone’s “Table Book,” for which I shall be your debtor till we meet.  Perhaps Longman will take charge of this parcel.  The other is for Coleridge at Mr. Gilman’s, Grove, Highgate, which may be sent, or, if you have a curiosity to see him you will make an errand with it to him, & tell him we mean very soon to come & see him, if the Gilmans can give or get us a bed.  I am ashamed to be so troublesome.  Pray let Hood see the “Ecclectic Review”—­a rogue!  The 2’d parts of the Blackwood you may make waste paper of.  Yours truly,

C.L.

[I do not identify Miss Wilson.  Lamb’s drama was “A Wife’s Trial” in Blackwood for December, 1828.  The same number of the Eclectic Review referred to Hood’s parody of Lamb, “The Widow,” as profaning Leslie’s picture of the widow by its “heartless ribaldry.”  By the 2d parts of Blackwood Lamb referred, I imagine, to the pages on which his play was not printed.]

LETTER 467

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  December 5, 1828.]

Dear B.B.—­I am ashamed to receive so many nice Books from you, and to have none to send you in return; You are always sending me some fruits or wholesome pot-herbs, and mine is the garden of the Sluggard, nothing but weeds or scarce they.  Nevertheless if I knew how to transmit it, I would send you Blackwood’s of this month, which contains a little Drama, to have your opinion of it, and how far I have improved, or otherwise, upon its prototype.  Thank you for your kind Sonnet.  It does me good to see the Dedication to a Christian Bishop.  I am for a Comprehension, as Divines call it, but so as that the Church shall go a good deal more than halfway over to the Silent Meeting house.  I have ever said that the Quakers are the only Professors of Christianity as I read it in the Evangiles; I say Professors—­marry,

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as to practice, with their gaudy hot types and poetical vanities, they are much at one with the sinful.  Martin’s frontispiece is a very fine thing, let C.L. say what he please to the contrary.  Of the Poems, I like them as a volume better than any one of the preceding; particularly, Power and Gentleness; The Present; Lady Russell—­with the exception that I do not like the noble act of Curtius, true or false, one of the grand foundations of old Roman patriotism, to be sacrificed to Lady R.’s taking notes on her husband’s trial.  If a thing is good, why invidiously bring it into light with something better?  There are too few heroic things in this world to admit of our marshalling them in anxious etiquettes of precedence.  Would you make a poetn on the Story of Ruth (pretty Story!) and then say, Aye, but how much better is the story of Joseph and his Brethren!  To go on, the Stanzas to “Chalon” want the name of Clarkson in the body of them; it is left to inference.  The Battle of Gibeon is spirited again—­but you sacrifice it in last stanza to the Song at Bethlehem.  Is it quite orthodox to do so.  The first was good, you suppose, for that dispensation.  Why set the word against the word?  It puzzles a weak Christian.  So Watts’s Psalms are an implied censure on David’s.  But as long as the Bible is supposed to be an equally divine Emanation with the Testament, so long it will stagger weaklings to have them set in opposition.  Godiva is delicately touch’d.  I have always thought it a beautiful story characteristic of old English times.  But I could not help amusing myself with the thought—­if Martin had chosen this subject for a frontispiece, there would have been in some dark corner a white Lady, white as the Walker on the waves—­riding upon some mystical quadruped —­and high above would have risen “tower above tower a massy structure high” the Tenterden steeples of Coventry, till the poor Cross would scarce have known itself among the clouds, and far above them all, the distant Clint hills peering over chimney pots, piled up, Ossa-on-Olympus fashion, till the admiring Spectator (admirer of a noble deed) might have gone look for the Lady, as you must hunt for the other in the Lobster.  But M. should be made Royal Architect.  What palaces he would pile—­but then what parliamentary grants to make them good! ne’ertheless I like the frontispiece.  The Elephant is pleasant; and I am glad you are getting into a wider scope of subjects.  There may be too much, not religion, but too many good words into a book, till it becomes, as Sh. says of religion, a rhapsody of words.  I will just name that you have brought in the Song to the Shepherds in four or five if not six places.  Now this is not good economy.  The Enoch is fine; and here I can sacrifice Elijah to it, because ’tis illustrative only, and not disparaging of the latter prophet’s departure.  I like this best in the Book.  Lastly, I much like the Heron, ’tis exquisite:  know you Lord Thurlow’s Sonnet to a Bird of

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that sort on Lacken water?  If not, ’tis indispensable I send it you, with my Blackwood, if you tell me how best to send them.  Fludyer is pleasant.  You are getting gay and Hood-ish.  What is the Enigma? money—­if not, I fairly confess I am foiled—­and sphynx must [here are words crossed through] 4 times I’ve tried to write eat—­eat me—­and the blotting pen turns it into cat me.  And now I will take my leave with saying I esteem thy verses, like thy present, honour thy frontispicer, and right-reverence thy Patron and Dedicatee, and am, dear B.B.

Yours heartily, C.L.

Our joint kindest Loves to A.K. and your Daughter.

[Barton’s new book was A New Year’s Eve and other Poems, 1828, dedicated to Charles Richard Sumner, Bishop of Winchester.  This volume contains Barton’s “Fireside Quatrains to Charles Lamb” (quoted in Vol.  IV.) and also the following “Sonnet to a Nameless Friend,” whom I take to be Lamb:—­

SONNET TO A NAMELESS FRIEND

    In each successive tome that bears my name
      Hast thou, though veiled thy own from public eyes,
      Won from my muse that willing sacrifice
    Which worth and talents such as thine should claim: 
    And I should close my minstrel task with shame,
      Could I forget the indissoluble ties
      Which every grateful thought of thee supplies
    To one who deems thy friendship more than fame. 
    Accept then, thus imperfectly, once more,
      The homage of thy poet and thy friend;
      And should thy partial praise my lays commend,
    Versed as thou art in all the gentle lore
    Of English poesy’s exhaustless store,
      Whom I most love they never can offend.

Martin’s frontispiece represented Christ walking on the water.  Lamb recalls his remarks in a previous letter about this painter, who though he never became Royal Architect was the originator of the present Thames Embankment.  Macaulay, in his essay on Southey’s edition of the Pilgrim’s Progress, in the Edinburgh for December, 1831, makes some very similar remarks about Martin and the way in which he would probably paint Lear.

In the poem “Lady Rachel Russell; or, A Roman Hero and an English Heroine Compared,” Barton compared the act of Curtius, who leaped into the gulf in the Forum, with Lady Russell standing beside her lord.

Chalon was the painter of a portrait of Thomas Clarkson.

The “Battle of Gibeon” is a poem inspired by Martin’s picture of Joshua; the last stanza runs thus:—­

        Made known by marvels awfully sublime! 
          Yet far more glorious in the Christian’s sight
        Than these stern terrors of the olden time,
          The gentler splendours of that peaceful night,
        When opening clouds displayed, in vision bright,
          The heavenly host to Bethlehem’s shepherd train,
        Shedding around them more than cloudless light! 
          “Glory to God on high!” their opening strain,
        Its chorus, “Peace on Earth!” its theme Messiah’s reign!

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“In the Lobster.”  Referring to that part of a lobster which is called Eve.

“The Elephant.”  Some mildly humorous verses “To an Elephant.”

“As Sh. says of religion”—­Shakespeare, I assume, in “Hamlet,” III., 4, 47, 48:—­

            And sweet Religion makes
      A rhapsody of words.

I quote in the Appendix the poem which Lamb liked best.  Barton had written a poem called “Syr Heron.”  This is Lord Thurlow’s sonnet, of which Lamb was very fond.  He quoted it in a note to his Elia essay on the sonnets of Sidney in the London Magazine, and copied it into his album:—­

TO A BIRD, THAT HAUNTED THE WATERS OF LACKEN, IN THE WINTER

    O melancholy Bird, a winter’s day,
      Thou standest by the margin of the pool,
      And, taught by God, dost thy whole being school
    To Patience, which all evil can allay. 
    God has appointed thee the fish thy prey;
      And giv’n thyself a lesson to the fool
      Unthrifty, to submit to moral rule,
    And his unthinking course by thee to weigh. 
      There need not schools, nor the professor’s chair,
    Though these be good, true wisdom to impart: 
      He, who has not enough, for these, to spare,
    Of time, or gold, may yet amend his heart,
      And teach his soul, by brooks, and rivers fair: 
    Nature is always wise in every part.

“Fludyer” was a poem to Sir Charles Fludyer on the devastation effected on his marine villa at Felixstowe by the encroachments of the sea.  The answer to the enigma, Mrs. FitzGerald (Lucy Barton) told Canon Ainger, was not money but an auctioneer’s hammer.

Here should come a letter from Lamb to Louisa Holcroft, dated December 5, 1828.  Louisa Holcroft was a daughter of Thomas Holcroft, Lamb’s friend, whose widow married Kenney.  A good letter with some excellent nonsense about measles in it.]

LETTER 468

CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES COWDEN CLARKE

[December, 1828.]

My dear three C.’s—­The way from Southgate to Colney Hatch thro’ the unfrequentedest Blackberry paths that ever concealed their coy bunches from a truant Citizen, we have accidentally fallen upon—­the giant Tree by Cheshunt we have missed, but keep your chart to go by, unless you will be our conduct—­at present I am disabled from further flights than just to skirt round Clay Hill, with a peep at the fine back woods, by strained tendons, got by skipping a skipping-rope at 53—­heu mihi non sum qualis.  But do you know, now you come to talk of walks, a ramble of four hours or so—­there and back—­to the willow and lavender plantations at the south corner of Northaw Church by a well dedicated to Saint Claridge, with the clumps of finest moss rising hillock fashion, which I counted to the number of two hundred and sixty, and are called “Claridge’s covers”—­the

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tradition being that that saint entertained so many angels or hermits there, upon occasion of blessing the waters?  The legends have set down the fruits spread upon that occasion, and in the Black Book of St. Albans some are named which are not supposed to have been introduced into this island till a century later.  But waiving the miracle, a sweeter spot is not in ten counties round; you are knee deep in clover, that is to say, if you are not above a middling man’s height; from this paradise, making a day of it, you go to see the ruins of an old convent at March Hall, where some of the painted glass is yet whole and fresh.

If you do not know this, you do not know the capabilities of this country, you may be said to be a stranger to Enfield.  I found it out one morning in October, and so delighted was I that I did not get home before dark, well a-paid.

I shall long to show you the clump meadows, as they are called; we might do that, without reaching March Hall.  When the days are longer, we might take both, and come home by Forest Cross, so skirt over Pennington and the cheerful little village of Churchley to Forty Hill.

But these are dreams till summer; meanwhile we should be most glad to see you for a lesser excursion—­say, Sunday next, you and another, or if more, best on a weekday with a notice, but o’ Sundays, as far as a leg of mutton goes, most welcome.  We can squeeze out a bed.  Edmonton coaches run every hour, and my pen has run out its quarter.  Heartily farewell.

[Much of the “Lamb country” touched upon in this letter is now built on.  In my large edition I give a map of Lamb’s favourite walking region.

“The giant Tree by Cheshunt” is Goff’s Oak.

“The Black Book of St. Albans.”  The Black Books exposed abuses in the church.]

LETTER 469

CHARLES LAMB TO T.N.  TALFOURD

[No date.  End of 1828.]

Dear Talfourd,—­You could not have told me of a more friendly thing than you have been doing.  I am proud of my namesake.  I shall take care never to do any dirty action, pick pockets, or anyhow get myself hanged, for fear of reflecting ignominy upon your young Chrisom.  I have now a motive to be good.  I shall not omnis moriar;—­my name borne down the black gulf of oblivion.

I shall survive in eleven letters, five more than Caesar.  Possibly I shall come to be knighted, or more:  Sir C.L.  Talfourd, Bart.!

Yet hath it an authorish twang with it, which will wear out my name for poetry.  Give him a smile from me till I see him.  If you do not drop down before, some day in the week after next I will come and take one night’s lodging with you, if convenient, before you go hence.  You shall name it.  We are in town to-morrow speciali gratia, but by no arrangement can get up near you.

Believe us both, with greatest regards, yours and Mrs. Talfourd’s.

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CHARLES LAMB-PHILO-TALFOURD

I come as near it as I can.

[This may be incorrectly dated, but I place it here because in that to Hood of December 17, summarised above, Lamb speaks of his godson at Brighton.

Talfourd (who himself dates this letter 1829) had named his latest child Charles Lamb Talfourd.  The boy lived only until 1835.  I quote in the Appendix the verses which Talfourd wrote on his death.  Another of Lamb’s name children, Charles Lamb Kenney, grew to man’s estate and became a ready writer.]

LETTER 470

CHARLES LAMB TO GEORGE DYER

[No date. ?  January, 1829.]

Dear Dyer, My very good friend, and Charles Clarke’s father in law, Vincent Novello, wishes to shake hands with you.  Make him play you a tune.  He is a damn’d fine musician, and what is better, a good man and true.  He will tell you how glad we should be to have Mrs. Dyer and you here for a few days.  Our young friend, Miss Isola, has been here holydaymaking, but leaves us tomorrow.

Yours Ever CH.  LAMB.

Enfield.

[Added in a feminine hand:] Emma’s love to Mr. and Mrs. Dyer.

[The date of this note is pure conjecture on my part, but is unimportant.  Novello had become Charles Clarke’s father-in-law in 1828, and Emma Isola, who was now teaching the children of a clergyman named Williams, at Fornham, in Suffolk, spent her Christmas holidays with the Lambs that year.

Here, perhaps, should come an undated letter from Lamb to Louisa Martin.  Lamb begins “Dear Monkey,” and refers to his “niece,” Mrs. Dowden, and some business which she requires him to transact, Mrs. Dowden being Mrs. John Lamb’s daughter-in-law.  Lamb describes himself as “a sick cat that loves to be alone on housetops or at cellar bottoms.”]

LETTER 471

CHARLES LAMB TO B.W.  PROCTER

[19th Jan., 1829.]

My dear Procter,—­I am ashamed to have not taken the drift of your pleasant letter, which I find to have been pure invention.  But jokes are not suspected in Boeotian Enfield.  We are plain people; and our talk is of corn, and cattle, and Waltham markets.  Besides, I was a little out of sorts when I received it.  The fact is, I am involved in a case which has fretted me to death; and I have no reliance, except on you, to extricate me.  I am sure you will give me your best legal advice, having no professional friend besides but Robinson and Talfourd, with neither of whom at present I am on the best terms.  My brother’s widow left a will, made during the lifetime of my brother, in which I am named sole executor, by which she bequeaths forty acres of arable property, which it seems she held under Covert Baron, unknown to my brother, to the heirs of the body of Elizabeth

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Dowden, her married daughter by a first husband, in fee-simple, recoverable by fine—­invested property, mind; for there is the difficulty—­subject to leet and quit-rent; in short, worded in the most guarded terms, to shut out the property from Isaac Dowden, the husband.  Intelligence has just come of the death of this person in India, where he made a will, entailing this property (which seem’d entangled enough already) to the heirs of his body, that should not be born of his wife; for it seems by the law in India, natural children can recover.  They have put the cause into Exchequer process, here removed by Certiorari from the native Courts; and the question is, whether I should, as executor, try the cause here, or again re-remove it to the Supreme Sessions at Bangalore? (which I understand I can, or plead a hearing before the Privy Council here).  As it involves all the little property of Elizabeth Dowden, I am anxious to take the fittest steps, and what may be least expensive.  Pray assist me, for the case is so embarrassed, that it deprives me of sleep and appetite.  M. Burney thinks there is a case like it in Chapt. 170, sect. 5, in Fearne’s Contingent Remainders.  Pray read it over with him dispassionately, and let me have the result.  The complexity lies in the questionable power of the husband to alienate....

I had another favour to beg, which is the beggarliest of beggings.

A few lines of verse for a young friend’s Album (six will be enough).  M. Burney will tell you who she is I want ’em for.  A girl of gold.  Six lines—­make ’em eight—­signed Barry C——.  They need not be very good, as I chiefly want ’em as a foil to mine.  But I shall be seriously obliged by any refuse scrap.  We are in the last ages of the world, when St. Paul prophesied that women should be “headstrong, lovers of their own wills, having Albums.”  I fled hither to escape the Albumean persecution, and had not been in my new house twenty-four hours, when the daughter of the next house came in with a friend’s Album to beg a contribution, and the following day intimated she had one of her own.  Two more have sprung up since.  If I take the wings of the morning and fly unto the uttermost parts of the earth, there will Albums be.  New Holland has Albums.  But the age is to be complied with.  M.B. will tell you the sort of girl I request the ten lines for.  Somewhat of a pensive cast, what you admire.  The lines may come before the Law question, as that can not be determined before Hilary Term, and I wish your deliberate judgment on that.  The other may be flimsy and superficial.  And if you have not burnt your returned letter, pray re-send it me, as a monumental token of my stupidity.  ’Twas a little unthinking of you to touch upon a sore subject.  Why, by dabbling in those accursed Albums, I have become a byword of infamy all over the kingdom.  I have sicken’d decent women for asking me to write in Albums.  There be “dark jests” abroad, Master Cornwall; and some riddles may live to be clear’d up.  And ’tis not every saddle is put on the right steed; and forgeries and false Gospels are not peculiar to the Age following the Apostles.  And some tubs don’t stand on their right bottoms.  Which is all I wish to say in these ticklish Times—­and so your Servant,

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CHS.  LAMB.

[We do not know the nature of the “bite” that Procter had put upon Lamb; but Lamb quickly retaliated with the first paragraph of this letter, which is mainly invention.  In his Old Acquaintance Mr. Fields wrote:  “He [Procter] told me that the law question raised in this epistle was a sheer fabrication of Lamb’s, gotten up by him to puzzle his young correspondent, the conveyancer.  The coolness referred to between himself and Robinson and Talfourd, Procter said, was also a fiction invented by Lamb to carry out his legal mystification.”

At the end of the first paragraph came some words in another hand:  “in usum enfeoffments whereof he was only collaterally seized, &c.,” beneath which Lamb wrote:  “The above is some of M. Burney’s memoranda which he has left me, and you may cut out and give him.”

Procter’s verses for Emma Isola’s album I have not seen, but Canon Ainger says that they refer to “Isola Bella, whom all poets love,” the island in Lago di Maggiore.

This is a list of the contents of Emma Isola’s Album, all autographs (from Quaritch’s catalogue, September, 1886):—­

CHARLES LAMB.  “What is an Album?” a poem addressed to
     Miss Emma Isola.

    “To Emma on her Twenty-first Birthday,” May 25, 1830.

    “Harmony in Unlikeness.”  Without date.

JOHN KEATS.  “To my Brother,” a sonnet on the birthday of his
     brother Tom, dated Nov. 18 (? 1814 or 1815).

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.  “She dwelt among the untrodden
     ways,” three verses of his poem on Lucy, copied in his
     own hand on March 18, 1837.

    “Blessings be with them, and enduring praise,” five lines of
     a sonnet dated Rydal, 1838.

ALFRED TENNYSON.  “When Lazarus left his charnel-cave,” four
     stanzas, undated.

THOMAS MOORE.  “Woman gleans but sorrow,” and note to
     Moxon, June, 1844.

LEIGH HUNT.  “Apollo’s Autograph,” from an unpublished poem
     called “The Feast of the Violets.”  Undated, circa 1838.

THOMAS HOOD.  “Dreams,” a prose fragment, without date, circa
     1840.

JAMES HOGG.  “I’m a’ gaen wrang,” a song by the Ettrick Shepherd,
     circa 1830.

JOANNA BAILLIE.  “Up! quit thy bower,” a song, undated, circa
     1830.

ROBERT SOUTHEY.  Epitaph on himself, in verse, Feb. 18, 1837.

THOMAS CAMPBELL.  “Victoria’s sceptre o’er the waves,” circa
     1837.

ALLAN CUNNINGHAM.  “The Pirate’s Song,” circa 1838.

CHARLES DIBDIN.  “An Album’s like the Dream of Hope,” circa
     1827.

BERNARD BARTON.  “To Emma,” with a note by Charles Lamb
     at foot, 1827.

WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.  “To Emma Isola,” circa 1827.

BARRY CORNWALL.  “To the Spirit of Italy,” circa 1827.

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SAMUEL ROGERS.  Two letters, and a poem, “My Last,” 1829-36.

FREDERICK LOCKER (afterwards Locker-Lampson).  A quatrain,
     dated July, 1873.

George Dyer, J.B.  Dibdin, George Darley, Matilda Betham, H.F. 
     Cary, Mrs. Piozzi, Edward Moxon, T.N.  Talfourd, are
     the other writers.]

LETTER 472

CHARLES LAMB TO B.W.  PROCTER

Jan. 22nd, 1829.

Don’t trouble yourself about the verses.  Take ’em coolly as they come.  Any day between this and Midsummer will do.  Ten lines the extreme.  There is no mystery in my incognita.  She has often seen you, though you may not have observed a silent brown girl, who for the last twelve years has run wild about our house in her Christmas holidays.  She is Italian by name and extraction.  Ten lines about the blue sky of her country will do, as it’s her foible to be proud of it.  But they must not be over courtly or Lady-fied as she is with a Lady who says to her “go and she goeth; come and she cometh.”  Item, I have made her a tolerable Latinist.  The verses should be moral too, as for a Clergyman’s family.  She is called Emma Isola.  I approve heartily of your turning your four vols. into a lesser compass.  ’Twill Sybillise the gold left.  I shall, I think, be in town in a few weeks, when I will assuredly see you.  I will put in here loves to Mrs. Procter and the Anti-Capulets, because Mary tells me I omitted them in my last.  I like to see my friends here.  I have put my lawsuit into the hands of an Enfield practitioner—­a plain man, who seems perfectly to understand it, and gives me hopes of a favourable result.

Rumour tells us that Miss Holcroft is married; though the varlet has not had the grace to make any communication to us on the subject.  Who is Badman, or Bed’em?  Have I seen him at Montacute’s?  I hear he is a great chymist.  I am sometimes chymical myself.  A thought strikes me with horror.  Pray heaven he may not have done it for the sake of trying chymical experiments upon her,—­young female subjects are so scarce!  Louisa would make a capital shot.  An’t you glad about Burke’s case?  We may set off the Scotch murders against the Scotch novels—­Hare, the Great Un-hanged.

Martin Burney is richly worth your knowing.  He is on the top scale of my friendship ladder, on which an angel or two is still climbing, and some, alas! descending.  I am out of the literary world at present.  Pray, is there anything new from the admired pen of the author of the Pleasures of Hope?  Has Mrs. He-mans (double masculine) done anything pretty lately?  Why sleeps the lyre of Hervey, and of Alaric Watts?  Is the muse of L.E.L. silent?  Did you see a sonnet of mine in Blackwood’s last?  Curious construction! Elaborata facilitas!  And now I’ll tell.  ’Twas written for the “Gem;” but the editors declined it, on the plea that it would shock all mothers; so they published “The Widow” instead.  I am born out of time.  I have no conjecture about what the present world calls delicacy.  I thought “Rosamund Gray” was a pretty modest thing.  Hessey assures me that the world would not bear it.  I have lived to grow into an indecent character.  When my sonnet was rejected, I exclaimed, “Damn the age; I will write for Antiquity!”

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Erratum in sonnet:—­Last line but something, for tender, read tend.  The Scotch do not know our law terms; but I find some remains of honest, plain, old writing lurking there still.  They were not so mealy-mouthed as to refuse my verses.  Maybe, ’tis their oatmeal.

Blackwood sent me L20 for the drama.  Somebody cheated me out of it next day; and my new pair of breeches, just sent home, cracking at first putting on, I exclaimed, in my wrath, “All tailors are cheats, and all men are tailors.”  Then I was better. [Rest lost.]

["Your four vols.”  Procter’s poetical works, in three volumes, were published in 1822.  Since then he had issued The Flood of Thessaly, 1823.  He was perhaps meditating a new one-volume selection.

“Anti-Capulets”—­the Basil Montagus (Montacutes).

“Badman.”  Louisa Holcroft married Carlyle’s friend Badams, a manufacturer and scientific experimentalist of Birmingham, with whom the philosopher spent some weeks in 1827 in attempting a cure for dyspepsia (see the Early Recollections).

“Burke’s case.”  William Burke and William Hare, the body-snatchers and murderers of Edinburgh, who killed persons to sell their corpses to Knox’s school of anatomy.  Burke was hanged a week later than this letter, on January 28.  Hare turned King’s evidence and disappeared.  A “shot” was a subject in these men’s vocabulary.  The author of the Waverley novels—­the Great Unknown—­ had, of course, become known long before this.

“M.B.”—­Martin Burney.  In 1818 Lamb had dedicated the prose volume of his Works to Burney, in a sonnet ending with the lines:—­

        Free from self-seeking, envy, low design,
        I have not found a whiter soul than thine.

Hervey was Thomas Kibble Hervey (1799-1859), a great album poet.

“A sonnet of mine in Blackwood”—­in the number for January, 1829 (see below).

“Hessey”—­of the firm of Taylor & Hessey, the late publishers of the London Magazine.

Another letter from Lamb to Procter, repeating the request for verses, was referred to by Canon Ainger in the preface to his edition of the correspondence.  Canon Ainger printed a delightful passage.  It is disappointing not to find it among the letters proper in his latest edition.

Here (had I permission from its American owner to print it, which I have not) I should place Lamb’s instructions as to playing whist drawn up for Mrs. Badams’ use and as an introduction to Captain Burney’s treatise on the game.  It is a very interesting document and England has never seen it yet.

The Boston Bibliophile edition also gives a letter from Lamb to Badams apologising for his heatedness yesterday and explaining it by saying that he had been for some hours dissuading a friend from settling at Enfield “which friend would have attracted down crowds of literary men, which men would have driven me wild.”]

Page 214

LETTER 473

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

Jan. 28, 1829.

Dear Allsop—­Old Star is setting.  Take him and cut him into Little Stars.  Nevertheless the extinction of the greater light is not by the lesser light (Stella, or Mrs. Star) apprehended so nigh, but that she will be thankful if you can let young Scintillation (Master Star) twinkle down by the coach on Sunday, to catch the last glimmer of the decaying parental light.  No news is good news; so we conclude Mrs. A. and little a are doing well.  Our kindest loves, C.L.

[I cannot explain the mystery of these Stars.]

LETTER 474

CHARLES LAMB TO B.W.  PROCTER

[?  Jan. 29th, 1829.]

When Miss Ouldcroft (who is now Mrs. Beddome, and Bed—­dom’d to her!) was at Enfield, which she was in summertime, and owed her health to its sun and genial influences, she wisited (with young lady-like impertinence) a poor man’s cottage that had a pretty baby (O the yearnling!), and gave it fine caps and sweetmeats.  On a day, broke into the parlour our two maids uproarious.  “O ma’am, who do you think Miss Ouldcroft (they pronounce it Holcroft) has been working a cap for?” “A child,” answered Mary, in true Shandean female simplicity.  “It’s the man’s child as was taken up for sheep-stealing.”  Miss Ouldcroft was staggered, and would have cut the connection; but by main force I made her go and take her leave of her protegee (which I only spell with a g because I can’t make a pretty j).  I thought, if she went no more, the Abactor or Abactor’s wife (vide Ainsworth) would suppose she had heard something; and I have delicacy for a sheep-stealer.  The overseers actually overhauled a mutton-pie at the baker’s (his first, last, and only hope of mutton-pie), which he never came to eat, and thence inferred his guilt. Per occasionem cujus I framed the sonnet; observe its elaborate construction.  I was four days about it.

THE GYPSY’S MALISON

Suck, baby, suck, Mother’s love grows by giving,
Drain the sweet founts that only thrive by wasting;
Black Manhood comes, when riotous guilty living
Hands thee the cup that shall be death in tasting. 
Kiss, baby, kiss, Mother’s lips shine by kisses,
Choke the warm breath that else would fall in blessings;
Black Manhood comes, when turbulent guilty blisses
Tend thee the kiss that poisons ’mid caressings. 
Hang, baby, hang, mother’s love loves such forces,
Choke the fond neck that bends still to thy clinging;
Black Manhood comes, when violent lawless courses
Leave thee a spectacle in rude air swinging. 
So sang a wither’d Sibyl energetical,
And bann’d the ungiving door with lips prophetical.

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Barry, study that sonnet.  It is curiously and perversely elaborate.  ’Tis a choking subject, and therefore the reader is directed to the structure of it.  See you? and was this a fourteener to be rejected by a trumpery annual? forsooth, ’twould shock all mothers; and may all mothers, who would so be shocked, bed dom’d! as if mothers were such sort of logicians as to infer the future hanging of their child from the theoretical hangibility (or capacity of being hanged, if the judge pleases) of every infant born with a neck on.  Oh B.C., my whole heart is faint, and my whole head is sick (how is it?) at this damned, canting, unmasculine unbawdy (I had almost said) age!  Don’t show this to your child’s mother or I shall be Orpheusized, scattered into Hebras.  Damn the King, lords, commons, and specially (as I said on Muswell Hill on a Sunday when I could get no beer a quarter before one) all Bishops, Priests and Curates.  Vale.

["Ainsworth.”  Referring to Robert Ainsworth’s Thesaurus, 1736. Abactor (see Forcellini), a stealer or driver away of cattle.  Ainsworth gives only abactus—­to drive away by force.

“The Gypsy’s Malison.”  This is the sonnet in Blackwood for January, 1829.]

LETTER 475

(Fragment)

CHARLES LAMB TO B.W.  PROCTER

[No date.  Early 1829.]

The comings in of an incipient conveyancer are not adequate to the receipt of three twopenny post non-paids in a week.  Therefore, after this, I condemn my stub to long and deep silence, or shall awaken it to write to lords.  Lest those raptures in this honeymoon of my correspondence, which you avow for the gentle person of my Nuncio, after passing through certain natural grades, as Love, Love and Water, Love with the chill off, then subsiding to that point which the heroic suitor of his wedded dame, the noble-spirited Lord Randolph in the play, declares to be the ambition of his passion, a reciprocation of “complacent kindness,”—­should suddenly plump down (scarce staying to bait at the mid point of indifference, so hungry it is for distaste) to a loathing and blank aversion, to the rendering probable such counter expressions as this,—­“Damn that infernal twopenny postman” (words which make the not yet glutted inamorato “lift up his hands and wonder who can use them.”) While, then, you are not ruined, let me assure thee, O thou above the painter, and next only under Giraldus Cambrensis, the most immortal and worthy to be immortal Barry, thy most ingenious and golden cadences do take my fancy mightily.  They are at this identical moment under the snip and the paste of the fairest hands (bating chilblains) in Cambridge, soon to be transplanted to Suffolk, to the envy of half of the young ladies in Bury.  But tell me, and tell me truly, gentle Swain, is that Isola Bella a true spot in geographical denomination,

Page 216

or a floating Delos in thy brain?  Lurks that fair island in verity in the bosom of Lake Maggiore, or some other with less poetic name, which thou hast Cornwallized for the occasion?  And what if Maggiore itself be but a coinage of adaptation?  Of this pray resolve me immediately, for my albumess will be catechised on this subject; and how can I prompt her?  Lake Leman, I know, and Lemon Lake (in a punch bowl) I have swum in, though those lymphs be long since dry.  But Maggiore may be in the moon.  Unsphinx this riddle for me, for my shelves have no gazetteer.  And mayest thou never murder thy father-in-law in the Trivia of Lincoln’s Inn New Square Passage, where Searl Street and the Street of Portugal embrace, nor afterwards make absurd proposals to the Widow M. But I know you abhor any such notions.  Nevertheless so did O-Edipus (as Admiral Burney used to call him, splitting the diphthong in spite or ignorance) for that matter.  C.L.

["Above the painter”—­James Barry, R.A., but I do not understand the allusion here.

“Giraldus Cambrensis”—­the historian, Giraldus de Barri.

Procter’s poem for Emma Isola’s album, as we have seen, mentions Isola Bella, the island in Lago de Maggiore.  Delos was the floating island which Neptune fixed in order that Latona might rest there and Apollo and Diana be born.

Oedipus, who solved the riddle of the Sphinx, was the murderer of his father.  Basil Montagu was Procter’s father-in-law.  Procter’s address was 10 Lincolns Inn, New Square.

At the end of the letter came a passage which for family reasons cannot be printed.]

LETTER 476

CHARLES LAMB TO B.W.  PROCTER

February 2, 1829.

Facundissime Poeta! quanquam istiusmodi epitheta oratoribus potius quam poetis attinere facile scio—­tamen, facundissime!

Commoratur nobiscum jamdiu, in agro Enfeldiense, scilicet, leguleius futurus, illustrissimus Martinus Burneius, otium agens, negotia nominalia, et officinam clientum vacuam, paululum fugiens.  Orat, implorat te—­nempe, Martinus—­ut si (quod Dii faciant) forte fortuna, absente ipso, advenerit tardus cliens, eum certiorem feceris per literas huc missas.  Intelligisne? an me Anglice et barbarice ad te hominem perdoctum scribere oportet?

Si status de franco tenemento datur avo, et in codem facto si mediate vel immediate datur haeredibus vel haeredibus corporis dicti avi, postrema, haec verba sunt Limitations, non Perquisitionis.

Dixi.

CARLAGNULUS.

[Mr. Stephen Gwynn has made the following translation for me:—­

“Most eloquent Poet:  though I know well such epithet befits orators rather than poets—­and yet, Most eloquent!

“There has been staying with us this while past at our country seat of Enfield to wit, the future attorney, the illustrious Martin Burney, taking his leisure, flying for a space from his nominal occupations, and his office empty of clients.  He—­that is, Martin—­begs and entreats of you that if (heaven send it so!) by some stroke of fortune, in his absence there should arrive a belated client, you would inform him by letter here.  Do you understand? or must I write in barbarous English to a scholar like you?

Page 217

“If an estate in freehold is given to an ancestor, and if in the same deed directly or indirectly the gift is made to the heir or heirs of the body of the said ancestor, these last words have the force of Limitation not of Purchase.

“I have spoken.

CHARLES LAMB.”

The last passage was copied probably direct from some law book of
Burney’s, and is unintelligible except to students of law-Latin.]

LETTER 477

CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES COWDEN CLARKE

Edmonton, Feb. 2, 1829.

Dear Cowden,—­Your books are as the gushing of streams in a desert.  By the way, you have sent no autobiographies.  Your letter seems to imply you had.  Nor do I want any.  Cowden, they are of the books which I give away.  What damn’d Unitarian skewer-soul’d things the general biographies turn out.  Rank and Talent you shall have when Mrs. May has done with ’em.  Mary likes Mrs. Bedinfield much.  For me I read nothing but Astrea—­it has turn’d my brain—­I go about with a switch turn’d up at the end for a crook; and Lambs being too old, the butcher tells me, my cat follows me in a green ribband.  Becky and her cousin are getting pastoral dresses, and then we shall all four go about Arcadizing.  O cruel Shepherdess!  Inconstant yet fair, and more inconstant for being fair!  Her gold ringlets fell in a disorder superior to order!

Come and join us.

I am called the Black Shepherd—­you shall be Cowden with the Tuft.

Prosaically, we shall be glad to have you both,—­or any two of you—­drop in by surprise some Saturday night.  This must go off.

Loves to Vittoria.  C.L.

["Rank and Talent"-a novel by W.P.  Scargill, 1829.

Mrs. Bedinfield wrote Longhollow:  a Country Tale, 1829.

“Astrea.”  Probably the romance by Honore D’Urfe.

“Cowden with the Tuft.”  So called from his hair, and from Riquet with the Tuft, the fairy tale.  We read in the Cowden Clarkes’ Recollections of Writers: “The latter name (’Cowden with the Tuft’) slyly implies the smooth baldness with scant curly hair distinguishing the head of the friend addressed, and which seemed to strike Charles Lamb so forcibly, that one evening, after gazing at it for some time, he suddenly broke forth with the exclamation, ’’Gad, Clarke! what whiskers you have behind your head!’”]

LETTER 478

CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY CRABB ROBINSON

[P.M.  February 27, 1829.]

Dear R.—­Expectation was alert on the receit of your strange-shaped present, while yet undisclosed from its fuse envelope.  Some said,’tis a viol da Gamba, others pronounced it a fiddle.  I myself hoped it a Liquer case pregnant with Eau de Vie and such odd Nectar.  When midwifed into daylight, the gossips were at loss to pronounce upon its species.  Most took it for a marrow spoon,

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an apple scoop, a banker’s guinea shovel.  At length its true scope appeared, its drift—­ to save the backbone of my sister stooping to scuttles.  A philanthropic intent, borrowed no doubt from some of the Colliers.  You save people’s backs one way, and break ’em again by loads of obligation.  The spectacles are delicate and Vulcanian.  No lighter texture than their steel did the cuckoldy blacksmith frame to catch Mrs. Vulcan and the Captain in.  For ungalled forehead, as for back unbursten, you have Mary’s thanks.  Marry, for my own peculium of obligation, ’twas supererogatory.  A second part of Pamela was enough in conscience.  Two Pamelas in a house is too much without two Mr. B.’s to reward ’em.

Mary, who is handselling her new aerial perspectives upon a pair of old worsted stockings trod out in Cheshunt lanes, sends love.  I, great good liking.  Bid us a personal farewell before you see the Vatican.

Chas. Lamb, Enfield.

[Crabb Robinson, just starting for Rome, had sent Lamb a copy of Pamela under the impression that he had borrowed one.

“Two Mr. B.’s.”  In Richardson’s novel Pamela marries the young Squire B. and reforms him.]

LETTER 479

CHARLES LAMB TO SAMUEL ROGERS

Chase, Enfield:  22nd Mar., 1829.

My dear Sir,—­I have but lately learned, by letter from Mr. Moxon, the death of your brother.  For the little I had seen of him, I greatly respected him.  I do not even know how recent your loss may have been, and hope that I do not unseasonably present you with a few lines suggested to me this morning by the thought of him.  I beg to be most kindly remembered to your remaining brother, and to Miss Rogers.

Your’s truly, CHARLES LAMB.

        Rogers, of all the men that I have known
        But slightly, who have died, your brother’s loss
        Touched me most sensibly.  There came across
        My mind an image of the cordial tone
        Of your fraternal meetings, where a guest
        I more than once have sate; and grieve to think,
        That of that threefold cord one precious link
        By Death’s rude hand is sever’d from the rest. 
        Of our old gentry he appear’d a stem;
        A magistrate who, while the evil-doer
        He kept in terror, could respect the poor,
        And not for every trifle harass them—­
        As some, divine and laic, too oft do. 
        This man’s a private loss and public too.

[Daniel Rogers, the banker’s elder brother, had just died.]

LETTER 480

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  March 25, 1829.]

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Dear B.B.—­I send you by desire Barley’s very poetical poem.  You will like, I think, the novel headings of each scene.  Scenical directions in verse are novelties.  With it I send a few duplicates, which are therefore no value to me, and may amuse an idle hour.  Read “Christmas,” ’tis the production of a young author, who reads all your writings.  A good word from you about his little book would be as balm to him.  It has no pretensions, and makes none.  But parts are pretty.  In “Field’s Appendix” turn to a Poem called the Kangaroo.  It is in the best way of our old poets, if I mistake not.  I have just come from Town, where I have been to get my bit of quarterly pension.  And have brought home, from stalls in Barbican, the old Pilgrim’s Progress with the prints—­Vanity Fair, &c.—­now scarce.  Four shillings.  Cheap.  And also one of whom I have oft heard and had dreams, but never saw in the flesh—­that is, in sheepskin—­The whole theologic works of—­

THOMAS AQUINAS!

My arms aked with lugging it a mile to the stage, but the burden was a pleasure, such as old Anchises was to the shoulders of Aeneas—­or the Lady to the Lover in old romance, who having to carry her to the top of a high mountain—­the price of obtaining her—­clamber’d with her to the top, and fell dead with fatigue.

O the glorious old Schoolmen!

There must be something in him.  Such great names imply greatness.  Who hath seen Michael Angelo’s things—­of us that never pilgrimaged to Rome—­and yet which of us disbelieves his greatness.  How I will revel in his cobwebs and subtleties, till my brain spins!

N.B.  I have writ in the old Hamlet, offer it to Mitford in my name, if he have not seen it.  Tis woefully below our editions of it.  But keep it, if you like. (What is M. to me?)

I do not mean this to go for a letter, only to apprize you, that the parcel is booked for you this 25 March 1829 from the Four Swans Bishopsgate.

With both our loves to Lucy and A.K.  Yours Ever

C.L.

["Darley’s... poem”—­Sylvia; or, The May Queen, by George Darley.

“Christmas”—­a poem by Edward Moxon, dedicated to Lamb.

“Field’s Appendix”—­Geographical Memoirs on New South Wales, edited by Barron Field, with his First-Fruits of Australian Poetry as Appendix.

The old romance, Dr. Paget Toynbee points out, is Les Dous Amanz of Marie of France, which Lamb had read in Miss Betham’s metrical translation, The Lay of Marie.]

LETTER 481

CHARLES LAMB TO MISS SARAH JAMES

[No date. ?  April, 1829.]

We have just got your letter.  I think Mother Reynolds will go on quietly, Mrs. Scrimpshaw having kittened.  The name of the late Laureat was Henry James Pye, and when his 1st Birthday Ode came out, which was very poor, somebody being asked his opinion of it, said:—­

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And when the Pye was open’d
The birds began to sing,
And was not this a dainty dish
To set before the King!

Pye was brother to old Major Pye, and father to Mrs. Arnold, and uncle to a General Pye, all friends of Miss Kelly.  Pye succeeded Thos.  Warton, Warton succeeded Wm. Whitehead, Whitehead succeeded Colley Cibber, Cibber succeeded Eusden, Eusden succeeded Thos.  Shadwell, Shadwell succeeded Dryden, Dryden succeeded Davenant, Davenant God knows whom.  There never was a Rogers a Poet Laureat; there is an old living Poet of that name, a Banker as you know, Author of the “Pleasures of Memory,” where Moxon goes to breakfast in a fine house in the green Park, but he was never Laureat.  Southey is the present one, and for anything I know or care, Moxon may succeed him.  We have a copy of “Xmas” for you, so you may give your own to Mary as soon as you please.  We think you need not have exhibited your mountain shyness before M.B.  He is neither shy himself, nor patronizes it in others.—­So with many thanks, good-bye.  Emma comes on Thursday.  C.L.

The Poet Laureat, whom Davenant succeeded was Rare ‘Ben Jonson,’ who I believe was the first regular Laureat with the appointment of L100 a year and a Butt of Sack or Canary—­so add that to my little list.—­C.L.

[Mr. Macdonald dates this letter December 31, 1828, perhaps rightly.  I have dated it at a venture April, 1829, because Moxon’s Christmas was published in March of that year.  It is the only letter to Mary Lamb’s nurse, Miss James, that exists.  Mrs. Reynolds was Lamb’s aged pensioner, whom we have met.  Pye died in 1813 and was succeeded by Southey.  The author of the witticism on his first ode was George Steevens, the critic.  The comment gained point from the circumstance that Pye had drawn largely on images from bird life in his verses.]

LETTER 482

CHARLES LAMB TO H. CRABB ROBINSON

[P.M.  April ? 1829.]

Dear Robinson, we are afraid you will slip from us from England without again seeing us.  It would be charity to come and see me.  I have these three days been laid up with strong rheumatic pains, in loins, back, shoulders.  I shriek sometimes from the violence of them.  I get scarce any sleep, and the consequence is, I am restless, and want to change sides as I lie, and I cannot turn without resting on my hands, and so turning all my body all at once like a log with a lever.  While this rainy weather lasts, I have no hope of alleviation.  I have tried flannels and embrocation in vain.  Just at the hip joint the pangs sometimes are so excruciating, that I cry out.  It is as violent as the cramp, and far more continuous.  I am ashamed to whine about these complaints to you, who can ill enter into them.  But indeed they are sharp.  You go about, in rain or fine at all hours without discommodity.  I envy you your immunity at a time of life not much

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removed from my own.  But you owe your exemption to temperance, which it is too late for me to pursue.  I in my life time have had my good things.  Hence my frame is brittle—­yours strong as brass.  I never knew any ailment you had.  You can go out at night in all weathers, sit up all hours.  Well, I don’t want to moralise.  I only wish to say that if you are enclined to a game at Doubly Dumby, I would try and bolster up myself in a chair for a rubber or so.  My days are tedious, but less so and less painful than my nights.  May you never know the pain and difficulty I have in writing so much.  Mary, who is most kind, joins in the wish.

C. LAMB.

LETTER 483

CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY CRABB ROBINSON

[P.M.  April 17, 1829.]

I do confess to mischief.  It was the subtlest diabolical piece of malice, heart of man has contrived.  I have no more rheumatism than that poker.  Never was freer from all pains and aches.  Every joint sound, to the tip of the ear from the extremity of the lesser toe.  The report of thy torments was blown circuitously here from Bury.  I could not resist the jeer.  I conceived you writhing, when you should just receive my congratulations.  How mad you’d be.  Well, it is not in my method to inflict pangs.  I leave that to heaven.  But in the existing pangs of a friend, I have a share.  His disquietude crowns my exemption.  I imagine you howling, and pace across the room, shooting out my free arms legs &c.

[Illustration:  Handrawn lines]

this way and that way, with an assurance of not kindling a spark of pain from them.  I deny that Nature meant us to sympathise with agonies.  Those face-contortions, retortions, distortions, have the merriness of antics.  Nature meant them for farce—­not so pleasant to the actor indeed, but Grimaldi cries when we laugh, and ’tis but one that suffers to make thousands rejoyce.

You say that Shampooing is ineffectual.  But per se it is good, to show the introv[ol]utions, extravolutions, of which the animal frame is capable.  To show what the creature is receptible of, short of dissolution.

You are worst of nights, a’nt you?

Twill be as good as a Sermon to you to lie abed all this night, and meditate the subject of the day.  ’Tis Good Friday.  How appropriate!

Think when but your little finger pains you, what endured to white-wash you and the rest of us.

Nobody will be the more justified for your endurance.  You won’t save the soul of a mouse.  ’Tis a pure selfish pleasure.

You never was rack’d, was you?  I should like an authentic map of those feelings.

You seem to have the flying gout.

You can scarcely scrue a smile out of your face—­can you?  I sit at immunity, and sneer ad libitum.

’Tis now the time for you to make good resolutions.  I may go on breaking ’em, for any thing the worse I find myself.

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Your Doctor seems to keep you on the long cure.  Precipitate healings are never good.

Don’t come while you are so bad.  I shan’t be able to attend to your throes and the dumbee at once.

I should like to know how slowly the pain goes off.  But don’t write, unless the motion will be likely to make your sensibility more exquisite.

Your affectionate and truly healthy friend C. LAMB.

Mary thought a Letter from me might amuse you in your torment—­

[Robinson was the victim of a sudden attack of acute rheumatism.  He had a course of Turkish baths at Brighton to cure him.]

LETTER 484

CHARLES LAMB TO GEORGE DYER

Enfield, April 29, 1829.

Dear Dyer—­As well as a bad pen can do it, I must thank you for your friendly attention to the wishes of our young friend Emma, who was packing up for Bury when your sonnet arrived, and was too hurried to express her sense of its merits.  I know she will treasure up that and your second communication among her choicest rarities, as from her grandfather’s friend, whom not having seen, she loves to hear talked of.  The second letter shall be sent after her, with our first parcel to Suffolk, where she is, to us, alas dead and Bury’d; we solely miss her.  Should you at any hour think of four or six lines, to send her, addressed to herself simply, naming her grandsire, and to wish she may pass through life as much respected, with your own G. Dyer at the end, she would feel rich indeed, for the nature of an Album asks for verses that have not been in print before; but this quite at your convenience:  and to be less trouble to yourself, four lines would be sufficient.  Enfield has come out in summer beauty.  Come when you will and we will give you a bed.  Emma has left hers, you know.  I remain, my dear Dyer, your affectionate friend,

CHARLES LAMB.

[From The Mirror, 1841.  Lamb made the same pun—­Bury’d—­to George Dyer in his letter of December 5, 1808.  His Album verses for Miss Isola I have not seen.]

LETTER 485

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS HOOD

[No date. ?  May, 1829.]

Dear Hood,—­We will look out for you on Wednesday, be sure, tho’ we have not eyes like Emma, who, when I made her sit with her back to the window to keep her to her Latin, literally saw round backwards every one that past, and, O, [that] she were here to jump up and shriek out “There are the Hoods!” We have had two pretty letters from her, which I long to show you—­together with Enfield in her May beauty.

Loves to Jane.

[Here follow rough caricatures of Charles and his sister, and] “I can’t draw no better.”

[I have dated this letter May, 1829, because Miss Isola had just gone to Fornham, in Suffolk, whence presumably the two letters had come.]

Page 223

LETTER 486

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

[No date.]

Calamy is good reading.  Mary is always thankful for Books in her way.  I won’t trouble you for any in my way yet, having enough to read.  Young Hazlitt lives, at least his father does, at 3 or 36 [36 I have it down, with the 6 scratch’d out] Bouverie Street, Fleet Street.  If not to be found, his mother’s address is, Mrs. Hazlitt, Mrs. Tomlinson’s, Potters Bar.  At one or other he must be heard of.  We shall expect you with the full moon.  Meantime, our thanks.

C.L.

We go on very quietly &c.

["Calamy” would be Edmund Calamy (1671-1732), the historian of Nonconformity.

Mr. W.C.  Hazlitt in his Memoir of Hazlitt says that his grandfather moved in 1829 to 3 Bouverie Street, and in the beginning of 1830 to 6 Frith Street, Soho.  Young Hazlitt was William junior, afterwards Mr. Registrar Hazlitt and then seventeen years of age.]

LETTER 487

CHARLES LAMB TO WALTER WILSON

May 28, 1829.

Dear W.,—­Introduce this, or omit it, as you like.  I think I wrote better about it in a letter to you from India H. If you have that, perhaps out of the two I could patch up a better thing, if you’d return both.  But I am very poorly, and have been harassed with an illness of my sister’s.

The Ode was printed in the “New Times” nearly the end of 1825, and I have only omitted some silly lines.  Call it a corrected copy.

Yours ever, C. LAMB.

Put my name to either or both, as you like.

[This letter contains Lamb’s remarks on the Secondary Novels of Defoe, printed in Wilson’s Life and Times of De Foe, Chapter XVII. of Vol.  III., and also his “Ode to the Treadmill,” which Wilson omitted from that work.  See Vols.  I. and IV. of the present edition for both pieces.]

LETTER 488

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  June 3, 1829.]

Dear B.B.—­I am very much grieved indeed for the indisposition of poor Lucy.  Your letter found me in domestic troubles.  My sister is again taken ill, and I am obliged to remove her out of the house for many weeks, I fear, before I can hope to have her again.  I have been very desolate indeed.  My loneliness is a little abated by our young friend Emma having just come here for her holydays, and a schoolfellow of hers that was, with her.  Still the house is not the same, tho’ she is the same.  Mary had been pleasing herself with the prospect of seeing her at this time; and with all their company, the house feels at times a frightful solitude.  May you and I in no very long time have a more cheerful theme to write about, and congratulate upon a daughter’s and a Sister’s perfect recovery.  Do not be long without telling me how Lucy goes on.  I have a right to call her by her quaker-name, you know.

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Emma knows that I am writing to you, and begs to be remembered to you with thankfulness for your ready contribution.  Her album is filling apace.  But of her contributors one, almost the flower of it, a most amiable young man and late acquaintance of mine, has been carried off by consumption, on return from one of the Azores islands, to which he went with hopes of mastering the disease, came back improved, went back to a most close and confined counting house, and relapsed.  His name was Dibdin, Grandson of the Songster.  You will be glad to hear that Emma, tho’ unknown to you, has given the highest satisfaction in her little place of Governante in a Clergyman’s family, which you may believe by the Parson and his Lady drinking poor Mary’s health on her birthday, tho’ they never saw her, merely because she was a friend of Emma’s, and the Vicar also sent me a brace of partridges.  To get out of home themes, have you seen Southey’s Dialogues?  His lake descriptions, and the account of his Library at Keswick, are very fine.  But he needed not have called up the Ghost of More to hold the conversations with, which might as well have pass’d between A and B, or Caius and Lucius.  It is making too free with a defunct Chancellor and Martyr.

I feel as if I had nothing farther to write about—­O!  I forget the prettiest letter I ever read, that I have received from “Pleasures of Memory” Rogers, in acknowledgment of a Sonnet I sent him on the Loss of his Brother.  It is too long to transcribe, but I hope to shew it you some day, as I hope sometime again to see you, when all of us are well.  Only it ends thus “We were nearly of an age (he was the elder).  He was the only person in the world in whose eyes I always appeared young.”—­

I will now take my leave with assuring you that I am most interested in hoping to hear favorable accounts from you.—­

With kindest regards to A.K. and you

Yours truly, C.L.

["Lucy”—­Lucy Barton.

“Your ready contribution.”  I do not find that Barton ever printed his lines for Emma Isola’s album.

“Dibdin"-John Bates Dibdin died in May, 1828.

Southey’s Sir Thomas More; or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society, had just been published.

This was Rogers’ letter:—­

Many, many thanks.  The verses are beautiful.  I need not say with what feelings they were read.  Pray accept the grateful acknowledgments of us all, and believe me when I say that nothing could have been a greater cordial to us in our affliction than such a testimony from such a quarter.  He was —­for none knew him so well—­we were born within a year or two of each other—­a man of a very high mind, and with less disguise than perhaps any that ever lived.  Whatever he was, that we saw.  He stood before his fellow beings (if I may be forgiven for saying so) almost as before his Maker:  and God grant

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that we may all bear as severe an examination.  He was an admirable scholar.  His Dante and his Homer were as familiar to him as his Alphabets:  and he had the tenderest heart.  When a flock of turkies was stolen from his farm, the indignation of the poor far and wide was great and loud.  To me he is the greatest loss, for we were nearly of an age; and there is now no human being alive in whose eyes I have always been young.

Under the date June 10, 1829, Mr. Macdonald prints a note from Lamb to Ayrton, which states that he has two young friends in the house.  Here, therefore, I think, should come a letter from Lamb to William Hazlitt, Junior, in which Lamb says that he cannot see Mrs. Hazlitt this time.  He adds that the ladies are very pleasant.  Emma Isola adds a letter which tells us that the ladies are herself and her friend Maria.  This would be the Maria of Lamb’s sonnet “Harmony in Unlikeness,” evidently written at this time (see Vol.  IV.).]

LETTER 489

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

Enfield Chase Side

Saturday 25 July A.D. 1829.—­11 A.M.

There—­a fuller plumper juiceier date never dropt from Idumean palm.  Am I in the dateive case now? if not, a fig for dates, which is more than a date is worth.  I never stood much affected to these limitary specialities.  Least of all since the date of my superannuation.

  What have I with Time to do? } Dear B.B.—­Your hand writing has
  Slaves of desks, twas meant for you.} conveyed much pleasure to me

in report of Lucy’s restoration.  Would I could send you as good news of my poor Lucy.  But some wearisome weeks I must remain lonely yet.  I have had the loneliest time near 10 weeks, broken by a short apparition of Emma for her holydays, whose departure only deepend the returning solitude, and by 10 days I have past in Town.  But Town, with all my native hankering after it, is not what it was.  The streets, the shops are left, but all old friends are gone.  And in London I was frightfully convinced of this as I past houses and places—­empty caskets now.  I have ceased to care almost about any body.  The bodies I cared for are in graves, or dispersed.  My old Clubs, that lived so long and flourish’d so steadily, are crumbled away.  When I took leave of our adopted young friend at Charing Cross, ’twas heavy unfeeling rain, and I had no where to go.  Home have I none—­and not a sympathising house to turn to in the great city.  Never did the waters of the heaven pour down on a forlorner head.  Yet I tried 10 days at a sort of a friend’s house, but it was large and straggling—­one of the individuals of my old long knot of friends, card players, pleasant companions—­that have tumbled to pieces into dust and other things—­and I got home on Thursday, convinced that I was better to get home to my hole at Enfield, and hide like a sick cat in my corner.  Less than a month I hope

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will bring home Mary.  She is at Fulham, looking better in her health than ever, but sadly rambling, and scarce showing any pleasure in seeing me, or curiosity when I should come again.  But the old feelings will come back again, and we shall drown old sorrows over a game at Picquet again.  But ’tis a tedious cut out of a life of sixty four, to lose twelve or thirteen weeks every year or two.  And to make me more alone, our illtemperd maid is gone, who with all her airs, was yet a home piece of furniture, a record of better days; the young thing that has succeeded her is good and attentive, but she is nothing—­and I have no one here to talk over old matters with.  Scolding and quarreling have something of familiarity and a community of interest—­they imply acquaintance—­they are of resentment, which is of the family of dearness.  I can neither scold nor quarrel at this insignificant implement of household services; she is less than a cat, and just better than a deal Dresser.  What I can do, and do overdo, is to walk, but deadly long are the days—­these summer all-day days, with but a half hour’s candlelight and no firelight.  I do not write, tell your kind inquisitive Eliza, and can hardly read.  In the ensuing Blackwood will be an old rejected farce of mine, which may be new to you, if you see that same dull Medley.  What things are all the Magazines now!  I contrive studiously not to see them.  The popular New Monthly is perfect trash.  Poor Hessey, I suppose you see, has failed.  Hunt and Clarke too.  Your “Vulgar truths” will be a good name—­and I think your prose must please—­me at least—­but ’tis useless to write poetry with no purchasers.  ’Tis cold work Authorship without something to puff one into fashion.  Could you not write something on Quakerism—­for Quakers to read—­but nominally addrest to Non Quakers? explaining your dogmas—­waiting on the Spirit—­by the analogy of human calmness and patient waiting on the judgment?  I scarcely know what I mean, but to make Non Quakers reconciled to your doctrines, by shewing something like them in mere human operations—­but I hardly understand myself, so let it pass for nothing.  I pity you for over-work, but I assure you no-work is worse.  The mind preys on itself, the most unwholesome food.  I brag’d formerly that I could not have too much time.  I have a surfeit.  With few years to come, the days are wearisome.  But weariness is not eternal.  Something will shine out to take the load off, that flags me, which is at present intolerable.  I have killed an hour or two in this poor scrawl.  I am a sanguinary murderer of time, and would kill him inchmeal just now.  But the snake is vital.  Well, I shall write merrier anon.—­’Tis the present copy of my countenance I send—­and to complain is a little to alleviate.—­May you enjoy yourself as far as the wicked wood will let you—­and think that you are not quite alone, as I am.  Health to Lucia and to Anna and kind rememb’ces.

Yours forlorn.

Page 227

C.L.

["Out of a life of sixty-four.”  Mary Lamb was born December 3, 1764.

“Your kind ...  Eliza”—­Eliza Barton, Bernard’s sister.

“Rejected farce.”  “The Pawnbroker’s Daughter” was printed in Blackwood, January, 1830.

“I brag’d formerly.”  Referring I think to his sonnet “Leisure.”]

LETTER 490

CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP

[No date.  Late July, 1829.]

My dear Allsop—­I thank you for thinking of my recreation.  But I am best here, I feel I am.  I have tried town lately, but came back worse.  Here I must wait till my loneliness has its natural cure.  Besides that, though I am not very sanguine, yet I live in hopes of better news from Fulham, and can not be out of the way.  ’Tis ten weeks to-morrow.—­I saw Mary a week since, she was in excellent bodily health, but otherwise far from well.  But a week or so may give a turn.  Love to Mrs. A. and children, and fair weather accomp’y you.

C.L.

Tuesday.

LETTER 491

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

[P.M.  Sept. 22, 1829.]

Dear Moxon, If you can oblige me with the Garrick Papers or Ann of Gierstien, I shall be thankful.  I am almost fearful whether my Sister will be able to enjoy any reading at present for since her coming home, after 12 weeks, she has had an unusual relapse into the saddest low spirits that ever poor creature had, and has been some weeks under medical care.  She is unable to see any yet.  When she is better I shall be very glad to talk over your ramble with you.  Have you done any sonnets, can you send me any to overlook?  I am almost in despair, Mary’s case seems so hopeless.

Believe me

Yours

C.L.

I do not want Mr. Jameson or Lady Morgan.

Enfield

Wedn’y

["The Garrick Papers.”  Lamb refers, I suppose, to the Private Correspondence of David Garrick, in some form previous to its publication in 1832.

“Anne of Geierstein.”  Scott’s novel was published this year.

“Mr. Jameson.”  I cannot find any book by a Mr. Jameson likely to have been offered to Lamb; but Mrs. Jameson’s Loves of the Poets was published this year.  Probably he meant to write Mrs. Jameson.  Lady Morgan was the author of The Wild Irish Girl and other novels.  Her 1829 book was The Book of the Boudoir.]

LETTER 492

CHARLES LAMB TO JAMES GILLMAN

Chase-Side, Enfield, 26th Oct., 1829.

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Dear Gillman,—­Allsop brought me your kind message yesterday.  How can I account for having not visited Highgate this long time?  Change of place seemed to have changed me.  How grieved I was to hear in what indifferent health Coleridge has been, and I not to know of it!  A little school divinity, well applied, may be healing.  I send him honest Tom of Aquin; that was always an obscure great idea to me:  I never thought or dreamed to see him in the flesh, but t’other day I rescued him from a stall in Barbican, and brought him off in triumph.  He comes to greet Coleridge’s acceptance, for his shoe-latchets I am unworthy to unloose.  Yet there are pretty pro’s and con’s, and such unsatisfactory learning in him.  Commend me to the question of etiquette—­ “utrum annunciatio debuerit fieri per angelum”—­Quaest. 30, Articilus 2.  I protest, till now I had thought Gabriel a fellow of some mark and livelihood, not a simple esquire, as I find him.  Well, do not break your lay brains, nor I neither, with these curious nothings.  They are nuts to our dear friend, whom hoping to see at your first friendly hint that it will be convenient, I end with begging our very kindest loves to Mrs. Gillman.  We have had a sorry house of it here.  Our spirits have been reduced till we were at hope’s end what to do—­ obliged to quit this house, and afraid to engage another, till in extremity I took the desperate resolve of kicking house and all down, like Bunyan’s pack; and here we are in a new life at board and lodging, with an honest couple our neighbours.  We have ridded ourselves of the cares of dirty acres; and the change, though of less than a week, has had the most beneficial effects on Mary already.  She looks two years and a half younger for it.  But we have had sore trials.

God send us one happy meeting!—­Yours faithfully,

C. LAMB.

["The question of etiquette.”  See the Summa Theologies, Pars Tertia, Quest.  XXX., Articulus II.  It would be interesting to know whether Lamb remembered an earlier letter in which he had set Coleridge some similar “nuts.”

“In a new life.”  The Lambs moved next door, to the Westwoods.  The house, altered externally, still stands (1912) and is known as “Westwood Cottage.”]

LETTER 493

CHARLES LAMB TO VINCENT NOVELLO

[P.M.  Probably Nov. 10, 1829.]

Dear FUGUE-IST,

or hear’st thou rather

CONTRAPUNTIST—?

We expect you four (as many as the Table will hold without squeeging) at Mrs. Westwood’s Table D’Hote on Thursday.  You will find the White House shut up, and us moved under the wing of the Phoenix, which gives us friendly refuge.  Beds for guests, marry, we have none, but cleanly accomodings at the Crown & Horseshoe.

Yours harmonically,

C.L.

[Addressed:  Vincentio (what Ho!) Novello, a Squire, 66, Great Queen Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields.]

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["The Phoenix.”  Mr. Westwood was agent for the Phoenix Insurance Company, and the badge of that office was probably on the house.]

LETTER 494

CHARLES LAMB TO WALTER WILSON

Enfield, 15th November, 1829.

My dear Wilson,—­I have not opened a packet of unknown contents for many years, that gave me so much pleasure as when I disclosed your three volumes.  I have given them a careful perusal, and they have taken their degree of classical books upon my shelves.  De Foe was always my darling; but what darkness was I in as to far the larger part of his writings!  I have now an epitome of them all.  I think the way in which you have done the “Life” the most judicious you could have pitched upon.  You have made him tell his own story, and your comments are in keeping with the tale.  Why, I never heard of such a work as “the Review.”  Strange that in my stall-hunting days I never so much as lit upon an odd volume of it.  This circumstance looks as if they were never of any great circulation.  But I may have met with ’em, and not knowing the prize, overpast ’em.  I was almost a stranger to the whole history of Dissenters in those reigns, and picked my way through that strange book the “Consolidator” at random.  How affecting are some of his personal appeals! what a machine of projects he set on foot! and following writers have picked his pocket of the patents.  I do not understand where-abouts in Roxana he himself left off.  I always thought the complete-tourist-sort of description of the town she passes through on her last embarkation miserably unseasonable and out of place.  I knew not they were spurious.  Enlighten me as to where the apocryphal matter commences.  I, by accident, can correct one A.D.  “Family Instructor,” vol. ii. 1718; you say his first volume had then reached the fourth edition; now I have a fifth, printed for Eman.  Matthews, 1717.  So have I plucked one rotten date, or rather picked it up where it had inadvertently fallen, from your flourishing date tree, the Palm of Engaddi.  I may take it for my pains.  I think yours a book which every public library must have, and every English scholar should have.  I am sure it has enriched my meagre stock of the author’s works.  I seem to be twice as opulent.  Mary is by my side just finishing the second volume.  It must have interest to divert her away so long from her modern novels.  Colburn will be quite jealous.  I was a little disappointed at my “Ode to the Treadmill” not finding a place; but it came out of time.  The two papers of mine will puzzle the reader, being so akin.  Odd that, never keeping a scrap of my own letters, with some fifteen years’ interval I should nearly have said the same things.  But I shall always feel happy in having my name go down any how with De Foe’s, and that of his historiographer.  I promise myself, if not immortality, yet diuternity of being read in consequence.  We

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have both had much illness this year; and feeling infirmities and fretfulness grow upon us, we have cast off the cares of housekeeping, sold off our goods, and commenced boarding and lodging with a very comfortable old couple next door to where you found us.  We use a sort of common table.  Nevertheless, we have reserved a private one for an old friend; and when Mrs. Wilson and you revisit Babylon, we shall pray you to make it yours for a season.  Our very kindest remembrances to you both.  From your old friend and fellow-journalist, now in two instances,

C. LAMB.

Hazlitt is going to make your book a basis for a review of De Foe’s Novels in the “Edinbro’.”  I wish I had health and spirits to do it.  Hone I have not seen, but I doubt not he will be much pleased with your performance.  I very much hope you will give us an account of Dunton, &c.  But what I should more like to see would be a Life and Times of Bunyan.  Wishing health to you and long life to your healthy book, again I subscribe me,

Yours in verity,

C.L.

[Wilson’s Memoirs of the Life and Times of Daniel De Foe had just been published in three volumes, with the date 1830.

Defoe’s Review was started in February, 1704, under the title, A Review of the Affairs of France.... purged from the Errors and Partiality of News-writers, and Petty-Statesmen, of all sides.  It continued until May, 1713. The Consolidator; or, Memoirs of sundry Transactions from the world in the moon.  Translated from the Lunar Language, was published in 1765, a political satire, which, it has been thought, gave hints to Swift for Gulliver.

Lamb had sent Wilson his “Ode to the Treadmill.”  The substance of his letter of December 16, 1822, was printed by Wilson in Chapter XXII. of Vol.  III.; the new material which he wrote especially for the book, was printed in Chapter XVII. of the same volume.  The space dividing them was not fifteen years but seven.

“Diuternity.”  Spelt “diuturnity.”  A rare word signifying long duration.

Fellow-journalist.”  The other instance would be in connection with the journals of the India House, where Wilson had once been a clerk with Lamb.

Hazlitt’s review of Wilson’s book is in the Edinburgh for January, 1830, with this reference to Lamb’s criticisms:  “Captain Singleton is a hardened, brutal desperado, without one redeeming trait, or almost human feeling; and, in spite of what Mr. Lamb says of his lonely musings and agonies of a conscience-stricken repentance, we find nothing of this in the text.”

“Dunton.”  This would be John Dunton (1659-1733), the bookseller, and author of The Athenian Gazette, Dunton’s Whipping-Post, and scores of pamphlets and satires.]

LETTER 495

(_?  Fragment_)

CHARLES LAMB TO JAMES GILLMAN

Page 231

[No date. ?  November 29, 1829.]

Pray trust me with the “Church History,” as well as the “Worthies.”  A moon shall restore both.  Also give me back Him of Aquinum.  In return you have the light of my countenance.  Adieu.

P.S.—­A sister also of mine comes with it.  A son of Nimshi drives her.  Their driving will have been furious, impassioned.  Pray God they have not toppled over the tunnel!  I promise you I fear their steed, bred out of the wind without father, semi-Melchisedecish, hot, phaetontic.  From my country lodgings at Enfield.

C.L.

[The Church History and the Worthies are by Fuller.

“Light of my countenance.”  Mr. Hazlitt says that this was a copy of Brook Pulham’s etching.

“The tunnel”—­the Highgate Archway.]

LETTER 496

CHARLES LAMB TO JAMES GILLMAN

30 Nov., 1829.

Dear G.,—­The excursionists reached home, and the good town of Enfield a little after four, without slip or dislocation.  Little has transpired concerning the events of the back-journey, save that on passing the house of ’Squire Mellish, situate a stone-bow’s cast from the hamlet, Father Westwood, with a good-natured wonderment, exclaimed, “I cannot think what is gone of Mr. Mellish’s rooks.  I fancy they have taken flight somewhere; but I have missed them two or three years past.”  All this while, according to his fellow-traveller’s report, the rookery was darkening the air above with undiminished population, and deafening all ears but his with their cawings.  But nature has been gently withdrawing such phenomena from the notice of Thomas Westwood’s senses, from the time he began to miss the rooks.  T. Westwood has passed a retired life in this hamlet of thirty or forty years, living upon the minimum which is consistent with gentility, yet a star among the minor gentry, receiving the bows of the tradespeople and courtesies of the alms’ women daily.  Children venerate him not less for his external show of gentry, than they wonder at him for a gentle rising endorsation of the person, not amounting to a hump, or if a hump, innocuous as the hump of the buffalo, and coronative of as mild qualities.  ’Tis a throne on which patience seems to sit—­the proud perch of a self-respecting humility, stooping with condescension.  Thereupon the cares of life have sate, and rid him easily.  For he has thrid the angustiae domus with dexterity.  Life opened upon him with comparative brilliancy.  He set out as a rider or traveller for a wholesale house, in which capacity he tells of many hair-breadth escapes that befell him; one especially, how he rode a mad horse into the town of Devizes; how horse and rider arrived in a foam, to the utter consternation of the expostulating hostlers, inn-keepers, &c.  It seems it was sultry weather, piping hot; the steed tormented into frenzy with gad-flies, long past being roadworthy;

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but safety and the interest of the house he rode for were incompatible things; a fall in serge cloth was expected; and a mad entrance they made of it.  Whether the exploit was purely voluntary, or partially; or whether a certain personal defiguration in the man part of this extraordinary centaur (non-assistive to partition of natures) might not enforce the conjunction, I stand not to inquire.  I look not with ’skew eyes into the deeds of heroes.  The hosier that was burnt with his shop, in Field-lane, on Tuesday night, shall have past to heaven for me like a Marian Martyr, provided always, that he consecrated the fortuitous incremation with a short ejaculation in the exit, as much as if he had taken his state degrees of martyrdom in forma in the market vicinage.  There is adoptive as well as acquisitive sacrifice.  Be the animus what it might, the fact is indisputable, that this composition was seen flying all abroad, and mine host of Daintry may yet remember its passing through his town, if his scores are not more faithful than his memory.  After this exploit (enough for one man), Thomas Westwood seems to have subsided into a less hazardous occupation; and in the twenty-fifth year of his age we find him a haberdasher in Bow Lane:  yet still retentive of his early riding (though leaving it to rawer stomachs), and Christmasly at night sithence to this last, and shall to his latest Christmas, hath he, doth he, and shall he, tell after supper the story of the insane steed and the desperate rider.  Save for Bedlam or Luke’s no eye could have guessed that melting day what house he rid for.  But he reposes on his bridles, and after the ups and downs (metaphoric only) of a life behind the counter—­hard riding sometimes, I fear, for poor T.W.—­with the scrapings together of the shop, and one anecdote, he hath finally settled at Enfield; by hard economising, gardening, building for himself, hath reared a mansion, married a daughter, qualified a son for a counting-house, gotten the respect of high and low, served for self or substitute the greater parish offices:  hath a special voice at vestries; and, domiciliating us, hath reflected a portion of his house-keeping respectability upon your humble servants.  We are greater, being his lodgers, than when we were substantial renters.  His name is a passport to take off the sneers of the native Enfielders against obnoxious foreigners.  We are endenizened.  Thus much of T. Westwood have I thought fit to acquaint you, that you may see the exemplary reliance upon Providence with which I entrusted so dear a charge as my own sister to the guidance of a man that rode the mad horse into Devizes.  To come from his heroic character, all the amiable qualities of domestic life concentre in this tamed Bellerophon.  He is excellent over a glass of grog; just as pleasant without it; laughs when he hears a joke, and when (which is much oftener) he hears it not; sings glorious old sea songs on festival nights; and but upon a slight acquaintance of two years, Coleridge, is as dear a deaf old man to us, as old Norris, rest his soul! was after fifty.  To him and his scanty literature (what there is of it, sound) have we flown from the metropolis and its cursed annualists, reviewers, authors, and the whole muddy ink press of that stagnant pool.

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Now, Gillman again, you do not know the treasure of the Fullers.  I calculate on having massy reading till Christmas.  All I want here, is books of the true sort, not those things in boards that moderns mistake for books—­what they club for at book clubs.

I did not mean to cheat you with a blank side; but my eye smarts, for which I am taking medicine, and abstain, this day at least, from any aliments but milk-porridge, the innocent taste of which I am anxious to renew after a half-century’s dis-acquaintance.  If a blot fall here like a tear, it is not pathos, but an angry eye.

Farewell, while my specilla are sound.

Yours and yours,

C. LAMB.

[This letter records the safe return of Mary Lamb with the Fullers.

“Squire Mellish.”  William Mellish, M.P. for Middlesex for some years.

Thomas Westwood’s son, for whom Lamb found an appointment, wrote some excellent articles in Notes and Queries many years later describing the Lambs’ life at his father’s.

“Old Norris.”  See letter to Crabb Robinson, Jan. 20, 1827.

Specilla is probably a slip for Conspicilla.]

LETTER 497

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  December 8, 1829.]

My dear B.B.—­You are very good to have been uneasy about us, and I have the satisfaction to tell you, that we are both in better health and spirits than we have been for a year or two past; I may say, than we have been since we have been at Enfield.  The cause may not appear quite adequate, when I tell you, that a course of ill health and spirits brought us to the determination of giving up our house here, and we are boarding and lodging with a worthy old couple, long inhabitants of Enfield, where everything is done for us without our trouble, further than a reasonable weekly payment.  We should have done so before, but it is not easy to flesh and blood to give up an ancient establishment, to discard old Penates, and from house keepers to turn house-sharers. (N.B.  We are not in the Work-house.) Dioclesian in his garden found more repose than on the imperial seat of Rome, and the nob of Charles the Fifth aked seldomer under a monk’s cowl than under the diadem.  With such shadows of assimilation we countenance our degradation.  With such a load of dignifyd cares just removed from our shoulders, we can the more understand and pity the accession to yours, by the advancement to an Assigneeship.  I will tell you honestly B.B. that it has been long my deliberate judgment, that all Bankrupts, of what denomination civil or religious whatever, ought to be hang’d.  The pity of mankind has for ages run in a wrong channel, and has been diverted from poor Creditors (how many I have known sufferers!  Hazlitt has just been defrauded of L100 by his Bookseller-friend’s breaking) to scoundrel Debtors.  I know all the

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topics, that distress may come upon an honest man without his fault, that the failure of one that he trusted was his calamity &c. &c.  Then let both be hang’d.  O how careful it would make traders!  These are my deliberate thoughts after many years’ experience in matters of trade.  What a world of trouble it would save you, if Friend * * * * * had been immediately hangd, without benefit of clergy, which (being a Quaker I presume) he could not reasonably insist upon.  Why, after slaving twelve months in your assign-business, you will be enabled to declare seven pence in the Pound in all human probabilty.  B.B., he should be hanged.  Trade will never re-flourish in this land till such a Law is establish’d.  I write big not to save ink but eyes, mine having been troubled with reading thro’ three folios of old Fuller in almost as few days, and I went to bed last night in agony, and am writing with a vial of eye water before me, alternately dipping in vial and inkstand.  This may enflame my zeal against Bankrupts—­but it was my speculation when I could see better.  Half the world’s misery (Eden else) is owing to want of money, and all that want is owing to Bankrupts.  I declare I would, if the State wanted Practitioners, turn Hangman myself, and should have great pleasure in hanging the first after my salutary law should be establish’d.  I have seen no annuals and wish to see none.  I like your fun upon them, and was quite pleased with Bowles’s sonnet.  Hood is or was at Brighton, but a note, prose or rhime, to him, Robert Street, Adelphi, I am sure would extract a copy of his, which also I have not seen.  Wishing you and yours all Health, I conclude while these frail glasses are to me—­eyes.

C.L.

["Dioclesian.”  The Emperor Diocletian abdicated the throne after twenty-one years’ reign, and retired to his garden.  Charles V. of Germany imitated the Roman Emperor, and after thirty-six years took the cowl.

“Hazlitt has just been defrauded.”  The failure of Hunt & Clarke, the publishers of the Life of Napoleon, cost Hazlitt L500.  He had received only L140 towards this, in a bill which on their insolvency became worthless.

“Friend * * * * *.”  Not identifiable.]

LETTER 498

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

[P.M.  January 22, 1830.]

And is it a year since we parted from you at the steps of Edmonton Stage?  There are not now the years that there used to be.  The tale of the dwindled age of men, reported of successional mankind, is true of the same man only.  We do not live a year in a year now.  ’Tis a punctum stans.  The seasons pass us with indifference.  Spring cheers not, nor winter heightens our gloom, Autumn hath foregone its moralities, they are hey-pass re-pass [as] in a show-box.  Yet as far as last year occurs back, for they scarce shew a reflex now, they make no memory as heretofore—­’twas sufficiently gloomy.  Let the sullen nothing pass.

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Suffice it that after sad spirits prolonged thro’ many of its months, as it called them, we have cast our skins, have taken a farewell of the pompous troublesome trifle calld housekeeping, and are settled down into poor boarders and lodgers at next door with an old couple, the Baucis and Baucida of dull Enfield.  Here we have nothing to do with our victuals but to eat them, with the garden but to see it grow, with the tax gatherer but to hear him knock, with the maid but to hear her scolded.  Scot and lot, butcher, baker, are things unknown to us save as spectators of the pageant.  We are fed we know not how, quietists, confiding ravens.  We have the otium pro dignitate, a respectable insignificance.  Yet in the self condemned obliviousness, in the stagnation, some molesting yearnings of life, not quite kill’d, rise, prompting me that there was a London, and that I was of that old Jerusalem.  In dreams I am in Fleetmarket, but I wake and cry to sleep again.  I die hard, a stubborn Eloisa in this detestable Paraclete.  What have I gained by health? intolerable dulness.  What by early hours and moderate meals?—­a total blank.  O never let the lying poets be believed, who ’tice men from the chearful haunts of streets—­or think they mean it not of a country village.  In the ruins of Palmyra I could gird myself up to solitude, or muse to the snorings of the Seven Sleepers, but to have a little teazing image of a town about one, country folks that do not look like country folks, shops two yards square, half a dozen apples and two penn’orth of overlookd gingerbread for the lofty fruiterers of Oxford Street—­and, for the immortal book and print stalls, a circulating library that stands still, where the shew-picture is a last year’s Valentine, and whither the fame of the last ten Scotch novels has not yet travel’d (marry, they just begin to be conscious of the Red Gauntlet), to have a new plasterd flat church, and to be wishing that it was but a Cathedral.  The very blackguards here are degenerate.  The topping gentry, stock brokers.  The passengers too many to ensure your quiet, or let you go about whistling, or gaping—­too few to be the fine indifferent pageants of Fleet Street.  Confining, room-keeping thickest winter is yet more bearable here than the gaudy months.  Among one’s books at one’s fire by candle one is soothed into an oblivion that one is not in the country, but with the light the green fields return, till I gaze, and in a calenture can plunge myself into Saint Giles’s.  O let no native Londoner imagine that health, and rest, and innocent occupation, interchange of converse sweet and recreative study, can make the country any thing better than altogether odious and detestable.  A garden was the primitive prison till man with promethean felicity and boldness luckily sinn’d himself out of it.  Thence followd Babylon, Nineveh, Venice, London, haberdashers, goldsmiths, taverns, playhouses, satires, epigrams, puns—­these all came in on the town part, and the thither side of innocence.  Man found out inventions.

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From my den I return you condolence for your decaying sight, not for any thing there is to see in the country, but for the miss of the pleasure of reading a London newspaper.  The poets are as well to listen to, any thing high may, nay must, be read out—­you read it to yourself with an imaginary auditor—­but the light paragraphs must be glid over by the proper eye, mouthing mumbles their gossamery substance.  ’Tis these trifles I should mourn in fading sight.  A newspaper is the single gleam of comfort I receive here, it comes from rich Cathay with tidings of mankind.  Yet I could not attend to it read out by the most beloved voice.  But your eyes do not get worse, I gather.  O for the collyrium of Tobias inclosed in a whiting’s liver to send you with no apocryphal good wishes!  The last long time I heard from you, you had knock’d your head against something.  Do not do so.  For your head (I do not flatter) is not a nob, or the top of a brass nail, or the end of a nine pin—­unless a Vulcanian hammer could fairly batter a Recluse out of it, then would I bid the smirch’d god knock and knock lustily, the two-handed skinker.  What a nice long letter Dorothy has written!  Mary must squeeze out a line propria manu, but indeed her fingers have been incorrigibly nervous to letter writing for a long interval.  ’Twill please you all to hear that, tho’ I fret like a lion in a net, her present health and spirits are better than they have been for some time past:  she is absolutely three years and a half younger, as I tell her, since we have adopted this boarding plan.  Our providers are an honest pair, dame Westwood and her husband—­he, when the light of prosperity shined on them, a moderately thriving haberdasher within Bow Bells, retired since with something under a competence, writes himself parcel gentleman, hath borne parish offices, sings fine old sea songs at threescore and ten, sighs only now and then when he thinks that he has a son on his hands about 15, whom he finds a difficulty in getting out into the world, and then checks a sigh with muttering, as I once heard him prettily, not meaning to be heard, “I have married my daughter however,”—­takes the weather as it comes, outsides it to town in severest season, and a’ winter nights tells old stories not tending to literature, how comfortable to author-rid folks! and has one anecdote, upon which and about forty pounds a year he seems to have retired in green old age.  It was how he was a rider in his youth, travelling for shops, and once (not to baulk his employer’s bargain) on a sweltering day in August, rode foaming into Dunstable upon a mad horse to the dismay and expostulary wonderment of innkeepers, ostlers &c. who declared they would not have bestrid the beast to win the Darby.  Understand the creature gall’d to death and desperation by gad flies, cormorants winged, worse than beset Inachus’ daughter.  This he tells, this he brindles and burnishes on a’ winter’s eves, ’tis his star of set glory, his rejuvenescence

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to descant upon.  Far from me be it (dii avertant) to look a gift story in the mouth, or cruelly to surmise (as those who doubt the plunge of Curtius) that the inseparate conjuncture of man and beast, the centaur-phenomenon that staggerd all Dunstable, might have been the effect of unromantic necessity, that the horse-part carried the reasoning, willy nilly, that needs must when such a devil drove, that certain spiral configurations in the frame of Thomas Westwood unfriendly to alighting, made the alliance more forcible than voluntary.  Let him enjoy his fame for me, nor let me hint a whisper that shall dismount Bellerophon.  Put case he was an involuntary martyr, yet if in the fiery conflict he buckled the soul of a constant haberdasher to him, and adopted his flames, let Accident and He share the glory!  You would all like Thomas Westwood.

[Illustration:  Hand drawn sketch]

How weak is painting to describe a man!  Say that he stands four feet and a nail high by his own yard measure, which like the Sceptre of Agamemnon shall never sprout again, still you have no adequate idea, nor when I tell you that his dear hump, which I have favord in the picture, seems to me of the buffalo—­indicative and repository of mild qualities, a budget of kindnesses, still you have not the man.  Knew you old Norris of the Temple, 60 years ours and our father’s friend, he was not more natural to us than this old W. the acquaintance of scarce more weeks.  Under his roof now ought I to take my rest, but that back-looking ambition tells me I might yet be a Londoner.  Well, if we ever do move, we have encumbrances the less to impede us:  all our furniture has faded under the auctioneer’s hammer, going for nothing like the tarnishd frippery of the prodigal, and we have only a spoon or two left to bless us.  Clothed we came into Enfield, and naked we must go out of it.  I would live in London shirtless, bookless.  Henry Crabb is at Rome, advices to that effect have reach’d Bury.  But by solemn legacy he bequeath’d at parting (whether he should live or die) a Turkey of Suffolk to be sent every succeeding Xmas to us and divers other friends.  What a genuine old Bachelor’s action!  I fear he will find the air of Italy too classic.  His station is in the Hartz forest, his soul is Bego’ethed.  Miss Kelly we never see; Talfourd not this half-year; the latter flourishes, but the exact number of his children, God forgive me, I have utterly forgotten, we single people are often out in our count there.  Shall I say two?  One darling I know they have lost within a twelvemonth, but scarce known to me by sight, and that was a second child lost.  We see scarce anybody.  We have just now Emma with us for her holydays; you remember her playing at brag with Mr. Quillinan at poor Monkhouse’s!  She is grown an agreeable young woman; she sees what I write, so you may understand me with limitations.  She was our inmate for a twelvemonth, grew natural to us, and then they told us it was best for her to go out as a Governess, and so she went out, and we were only two of us, and our pleasant house-mate is changed to an occasional visitor.  If they want my sister to go out (as they call it) there will be only one of us.  Heaven keep us all from this acceding to Unity!

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Can I cram loves enough to you all in this little O?  Excuse particularizing.

C.L.

LETTER 499

MARY LAMB TO DOROTHY WORDSWORTH

(Same letter)

My dear Miss Wordsworth, Charles has left me space to fill up with my own poor scribble; which I must do as well as I can, being quite out of practise, and after he has been reading his queer letter out to us I can hardly put down in a plain style all I had to tell you, how pleasant your handwriting was to me.  He has lumped you all together in one rude remembrance at the end, but I beg to send my love individually and by name to Mr. and Mrs. Wordsworth, to Miss Hutchinson, whom we often talk of, and think of as being with you always, to the dutiful good daughter and patient amanuensis Dora, and even to Johanna, whom we have not seen, if she will accept it.  Charles has told you of my long illness and our present settlement, which I assure you is very quiet and comfortable to me, and to him too, if he would own it.  I am very sorry we shall not see John, but I never go to town, nor my brother but at his quarterly visits at the India House, and when he does, he finds it melancholy, so many of our old friends being dead or dispersed, and the very streets, he says altering every day.  Many thanks for your Letter and the nice news in it, which I should have replied to more at large than I see he has done.  I am sure it deserved it.  He has not said a word about your intentions for Rome, which I sincerely wish you health one day to accomplish.  In that case we may meet by the way.  We are so glad to hear dear little William is doing well.  If you knew how happy your letters made us you would write I know more frequently.  Pray think of this.  How chearfully should we pay the postage every week.

Your affectionate

MARY LAMB.

["Baucis and Baucida.”  A slip, I suppose, for Philemon and Baucis (Ovid, Metamorphoses).

Redgauntlet dated from 1824.

“In a calenture.”  A calenture is a form of fever at sea in which the sufferer believes himself to be surrounded by green fields, and often leaps overboard.  Wordsworth describes one in “The Brothers.”

“A Recluse”—­Wordsworth’s promised poem, that was never completed.  First printed in 1888.

Inachus’ daughter was Io, persecuted by a malignant insect sent by Juno.

“Henry Crabb.”  Crabb Robinson was a personal friend of Goethe’s.  He had spent some days with him at Weimar in the summer of 1829.  Goethe told Robinson that he admired Lamb’s sonnet “The Family Name.”

“Mr. Quillinan”—­Edward Quillinan, afterwards Wordsworth’s son-in-law.

“Johanna.”  Joanna Hutchinson, Mrs. Wordsworth’s sister.  Joanna of the laugh.

“John.”  John Wordsworth, Wordsworth’s eldest son, was now twenty-six; William, Wordsworth’s second son, no longer little, was nineteen.]

Page 239

LETTER 500

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M. 25 February, 1830.]

Dear B.B.—­To reply to you by return of post, I must gobble up my dinner, and dispatch this in propria Persona to the office, to be in time.  So take it from me hastily, that you are perfectly welcome to furnish A.C. with the scrap, which I had almost forgotten writing.  The more my character comes to be known, the less my veracity will come to be suspected.  Time every day clears up some suspected narrative of Herodotus, Bruce, and others of us great Travellers.  Why, that Joseph Paice was as real a person as Joseph Hume, and a great deal pleasanter.  A careful observer of life, Bernard, has no need to invent.  Nature romances it for him.  Dinner plates rattle, and I positively shall incur indigestion by carrying it half concocted to the Post House.  Let me congratulate you on the Spring coming in, and do you in return condole with me for the Winter going out.  When the old one goes, seldome comes a better.  I dread the prospect of Summer, with his all day long days.  No need of his assistance to make country places dull.  With fire and candle light, I can dream myself in Holborn.  With lightsome skies shining in to bed time, I can not.  This Meseck, and these tents of Kedar—­I would dwell in the skirts of Jericho rather, and think every blast of the coming in Mail a Ram’s Horn.  Give me old London at Fire and Plague times, rather than these tepid gales, healthy country air, and purposeless exercise.  Leg of mutton absolutely on the table.

Take our hasty loves and short farewell.

C.L.

[A.C. was Allan Cunningham, who wanted Lamb’s letter on Blake (see above) for his Lives of the Painters.  It was not, however, used there until included in Mrs. Charles Heaton’s edition in Bohn’s Library.

“Bruce”—­the Abyssinian explorer, whom the Christ’s Hospital boys used to emulate, as Lamb tells us in the Elia essay on Newspapers.

“Joseph Paice”—­a Director of the South-Sea Company and Lamb’s first employer, of whom he writes in the Elia essay on “Modern Gallantry” (see notes to Vol.  II.).

Here should come a letter to Moxon, February 21, 1830, saying that a letter has just arrived from Mrs. Williams indicating that Miss Isola was not well and must have a long holiday.  The illness increased very rapidly, becoming a serious attack of brain fever.]

LETTER 501

CHARLCHARLES TO MRS. WILLIAMS

[February 26, 1830.]

Dear Madam,—­May God bless you for your attention to our poor Emma!  I am so shaken with your sad news I can scarce write.  She is too ill to be removed at present; but we can only say that if she is spared, when that can be practicable, we have always a home for her.  Speak to her of it, when she is capable of understanding, and let me conjure you to let us know from day to day, the state she is in.  But one line is all we crave.  Nothing we can do for her, that shall not be done.  We shall be in the terriblest suspense.  We had no notion she was going to be ill.  A line from anybody in your house will much oblige us.  I feel for the situation this trouble places you in.

Page 240

Can I go to her aunt, or do anything?  I do not know what to offer.  We are in great distress.  Pray relieve us, if you can, by somehow letting us know.  I will fetch her here, or anything.  Your kindness can never be forgot.  Pray excuse my abruptness.  I hardly know what I write.  And take our warmest thanks.  Hoping to hear something, I remain, dear Madam,

Yours most faithfully,

C. LAMB.

Our grateful respects to Mr. Williams.

LETTER 502

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. WILLIAMS

Enfield, 1 March, 1830.

Dear Madam,—­We cannot thank you enough.  Your two words “much better” were so considerate and good.  The good news affected my sister to an agony of tears; but they have relieved us from such a weight.  We were ready to expect the worst, and were hardly able to bear the good hearing.  You speak so kindly of her, too, and think she may be able to resume her duties.  We were prepared, as far as our humble means would have enabled us, to have taken her from all duties.  But, far better for the dear girl it is that she should have a prospect of being useful.

I am sure you will pardon my writing again; for my heart is so full, that it was impossible to refrain.  Many thanks for your offer to write again, should any change take place.  I dare not yet be quite out of fear, the alteration has been so sudden.  But I will hope you will have a respite from the trouble of writing again.  I know no expression to convey a sense of your kindness.  We were in such a state expecting the post.  I had almost resolved to come as near you as Bury; but my sister’s health does not permit my absence on melancholy occasions.  But, O, how happy will she be to part with me, when I shall hear the agreeable news that I may come and fetch her.  She shall be as quiet as possible.  No restorative means shall be wanting to restore her back to you well and comfortable.

She will make up for this sad interruption of her young friend’s studies.  I am sure she will—­she must—­after you have spared her for a little time.  Change of scene may do very much for her.  I think this last proof of your kindness to her in her desolate state can hardly make her love and respect you more than she has ever done.  O, how glad shall we be to return her fit for her occupation.  Madam, I trouble you with my nonsense; but you would forgive me, if you knew how light-hearted you have made two poor souls at Enfield, that were gasping for news of their poor friend.  I will pray for you and Mr. Williams.  Give our very best respects to him, and accept our thanks.  We are happier than we hardly know how to bear.  God bless you!  My very kindest congratulations to Miss Humphreys.

Believe me, dear Madam,

Your ever obliged servant,

C. LAMB.

LETTER 503

CHARLES LAMB TO SARAH HAZLITT

Page 241

March 4th, 1830.

Dear Sarah,—­I was meditating to come and see you, but I am unable for the walk.  We are both very unwell, and under affliction for poor Emma, who has had a very dangerous brain fever, and is lying very ill at Bury, from whence I expect a summons to fetch her.  We are very sorry for your confinement.  Any books I have are at your service.  I am almost, I may say quite, sure that letters to India pay no postage, and may go by the regular Post Office, now in St. Martin’s le Grand.  I think any receiving house would take them—­

I wish I could confirm your hopes about Dick Norris.  But it is quite a dream.  Some old Bencher of his surname is made Treasurer for the year, I suppose, which is an annual office.  Norris was Sub-Treasurer, quite a different thing.  They were pretty well in the Summer, since when we have heard nothing of them.  Mrs. Reynolds is better than she has been for years; she is with a disagreeable woman that she has taken a mighty fancy to out of spite to a rival woman she used to live and quarrel with; she grows quite fat, they tell me, and may live as long as I do, to be a tormenting rent-charge to my diminish’d income.  We go on pretty comfortably in our new plan.  I will come and have a talk with you when poor Emma’s affair is settled, and will bring books.  At present I am weak, and could hardly bring my legs home yesterday after a much shorter stroll than to Northaw.  Mary has got her bonnet on for a short expedition.  May you get better, as the Spring comes on.  She sends her best love with mine.

C.L.

[Addressed to “Mrs. Hazlitt, Mrs. Tomlinson’s, Northaw, near Potter’s Bar, Herts.”

Mrs. Hazlitt was in later years a sufferer from rheumatism.  Dick Norris was the son of Randal Norris.  He had retired to Widford.  Mrs. Reynolds, Lamb’s old schoolmistress and dependant, we have met.]

LETTER 504

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. WILLIAMS

Enfield, 5 Mar., 1830.

Dear Madam,—­I feel greatly obliged by your letter of Tuesday, and should not have troubled you again so soon, but that you express a wish to hear that our anxiety was relieved by the assurances in it.  You have indeed given us much comfort respecting our young friend, but considerable uneasiness respecting your own health and spirits, which must have suffered under such attention.  Pray believe me that we shall wait in quiet hope for the time when I shall receive the welcome summons to come and relieve you from a charge, which you have executed with such tenderness.  We desire nothing so much as to exchange it with you.  Nothing shall be wanting on my part to remove her with the best judgment I can, without (I hope) any necessity for depriving you of the services of your valuable housekeeper.  Until the day comes, we entreat that you will spare yourself the trouble of writing, which we should be ashamed to impose upon you in your present weak state.  Not hearing from you, we shall be satisfied in believing that there has been no relapse.  Therefore we beg that you will not add to your troubles by unnecessary, though most kind, correspondence.  Till I have the pleasure of thanking you personally, I beg you to accept these written acknowledgments of all your kindness.  With respects to Mr. Williams and sincere prayers for both your healths, I remain,

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Your ever obliged servant,

C. LAMB.

My sister joins me in respects and thanks.

LETTER 505

CHARLES LAMB TO JAMES GILLMAN

March 8th, 1830.

My dear G.,—­Your friend Battin (for I knew him immediately by the smooth satinity of his style) must excuse me for advocating the cause of his friends in Spitalfields.  The fact is, I am retained by the Norwich people, and have already appeared in their paper under the signatures of “Lucius Sergius,” “Bluff,” “Broad-Cloth,” “No-Trade-to-the-Woollen-Trade,” “Anti-plush,” &c., in defence of druggets and long camblets.  And without this pre-engagement, I feel I should naturally have chosen a side opposite to ——­, for in the silken seemingness of his nature there is that which offends me.  My flesh tingles at such caterpillars.  He shall not crawl me over.  Let him and his workmen sing the old burthen,

“Heigh ho, ye weavers!”

for any aid I shall offer them in this emergency.  I was over Saint Luke’s the other day with my friend Tuthill, and mightily pleased with one of his contrivances for the comfort and amelioration of the students.  They have double cells, in which a pair may lie feet to feet horizontally, and chat the time away as rationally as they can.  It must certainly be more sociable for them these warm raving nights.  The right-hand truckle in one of these friendly recesses, at present vacant, was preparing, I understood, for Mr. Irving.  Poor fellow! it is time he removed from Pentonville.  I followed him as far as to Highbury the other day, with a mob at his heels, calling out upon Ermigiddon, who I suppose is some Scotch moderator.  He squinted out his favourite eye last Friday, in the fury of possession, upon a poor woman’s shoulders that was crying matches, and has not missed it.  The companion truck, as far as I could measure it with my eye, would conveniently fit a person about the length of Coleridge, allowing for a reasonable drawing up of the feet, not at all painful.  Does he talk of moving this quarter?  You and I have too much sense to trouble ourselves with revelations; marry, to the same in Greek you may have something professionally to say.  Tell C. that he was to come and see us some fine day.  Let it be before he moves, for in his new quarters he will necessarily be confined in his conversation to his brother prophet.  Conceive the two Rabbis foot to foot, for there are no Gamaliels there to affect a humbler posture!  All are masters in that Patmos, where the law is perfect equality—­Latmos, I should rather say, for they will be Luna’s twin darlings; her affection will be ever at the full.  Well; keep your brains moist with gooseberry this mad March, for the devil of exposition seeketh dry places.

C.L.

[The letter is assigned to the Rev. James Gillman by some editors; but I think that a mistake.  See the reference below to a medical matter.  Battin was interested in the Spitalfields weavers to the detriment of the Norwich.

Page 243

Major Butterworth in a letter to Notes and Queries, March 24, 1906, thus explains the reference to Battin:—­

“In lately going over the pages of The New Monthly Magazine for 1826 I came across a paragraph in the June number, extracted from a daily newspaper, in which the following occurs:  ’Great merit is due to Mr. Lamb junior for his exertions to relieve the weavers of Norwich.’...
“As his ‘Reminiscences of Juke Judkins, Esq.,’ was printed in the same number of the Magazine, Lamb’s attention would no doubt be arrested by the remarks about his namesake, which would probably be retained in his memory, to be used subsequently, as occasion served, in mystifying his friend.”

Tuthill, whom we have met, was one of the physicians at St. Luke’s Hospital for the insane.

“He squinted out....”  Irving had sight only in one eye, an obliquity caused, it is suggested, by lying when a baby in a wooden cradle, the sides of which prevented the other from gathering light.

“To the same in Greek.”  An atrocious pun, which I leave to the reader to discover.  Gillman was a doctor.]

LETTER 506

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM AYRTON

Mr. Westwood’s, Chase Side, Enfield,

14th March, 1830.

My dear Ayrton,—­Your letter, which was only not so pleasant as your appearance would have been, has revived some old images; Phillips (not the Colonel), with his few hairs bristling up at the charge of a revoke, which he declares impossible; the old Captain’s significant nod over the right shoulder (was it not?); Mrs. Burney’s determined questioning of the score, after the game was absolutely gone to the devil, the plain but hospitable cold boiled-beef suppers at sideboard; all which fancies, redolent of middle age and strengthful spirits, come across us ever and anon in this vale of deliberate senectitude, ycleped Enfield.

You imagine a deep gulf between you and us; and there is a pitiable hiatus in kind between St. James’s Park and this extremity of Middlesex.  But the mere distance in turnpike roads is a trifle.  The roof of a coach swings you down in an hour or two.  We have a sure hot joint on a Sunday, and when had we better?  I suppose you know that ill health has obliged us to give up housekeeping; but we have an asylum at the very next door—­only twenty-four inches further from town, which is not material in a country expedition—­where a table d’hote is kept for us, without trouble on our parts, and we adjourn after dinner, when one of the old world (old friends) drops casually down among us.  Come and find us out, and seal our judicious change with your approbation, whenever the whim bites, or the sun prompts.  No need of announcement, for we are sure to be at home.

I keep putting off the subject of my answer.  In truth I am not in spirits at present to see Mr. Murray on such a business; but pray offer him my acknowledgments and an assurance that I should like at least one of his propositions, as I have so much additional matter for the SPECIMENS, as might make two volumes in all, or ONE (new edition) omitting such better known authors as Beaumont and Fletcher, Jonson, &c.

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But we are both in trouble at present.  A very dear young friend of ours, who passed her Christmas holidays here, has been taken dangerously ill with a fever, from which she is very precariously recovering, and I expect a summons to fetch her when she is well enough to bear the journey from Bury.  It is Emma Isola, with whom we got acquainted at our first visit to your sister at Cambridge, and she has been an occasional inmate with us—­and of late years much more frequently—­ever since.  While she is in this danger, and till she is out of it and here in a probable way to recovery, I feel that I have no spirits for an engagement of any kind.  It has been a terrible shock to us; therefore I beg that you will make my handsomest excuses to Mr. Murray.

Our very kindest loves to Mrs. A. and the younger A.’s.

Your unforgotten,

C. LAMB.

["Phillips.”  This would be Edward Phillips, who, I think, succeeded Rickman as secretary to Abbot (afterwards Lord Colchester), the Speaker.  Colonel Erasmus Phillips we have also met.  The Captain was Captain Burney.

Mr. Murray’s propositions.  I presume that Murray had, through Ayrton, suggested either the republication of the Dramatic Specimens, 1808, in one volume, or in two volumes, with the Garrick Extracts added.  The plan came to nothing.  Moxon published them in the two volume style in 1835.  Murray had refused Lamb’s “Works” some twelve years before.  For the Dramatic Specimens see Vol.  IV. of my large edition.]

LETTER 507

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. WILLIAMS

[Dated at end:  March 22 (1830).]

Dear Madam,—­Once more I have to return you thanks for a very kind letter.  It has gladdened us very much to hear that we may have hope to see our young friend so soon, and through your kind nursing so well recovered.  I sincerely hope that your own health and spirits will not have been shaken:  you have had a sore trial indeed, and greatly do we feel indebted to you for all which you have undergone.  If I hear nothing from you in the mean time, I shall secure myself a place in the Cornwallis Coach for Monday.  It will not be at all necessary that I shall be met at Bury, as I can well find my way to the Rectory, and I beg that you will not inconvenience yourselves by such attention.  Accordingly as I find Miss Isola able to bear the journey, I intend to take the care of her by the same stage or by chaises perhaps, dividing the journey; but exactly as you shall judge fit.  It is our misfortune that long journeys do not agree with my sister, who would else have taken this care upon herself, perhaps more properly.  It is quite out of the question to rob you of the services of any of your domestics.  I cannot think of it.  But if in your opinion a female attendant would be requisite on the journey, and if you or Mr. Williams would feel more comfortable by her being in charge of two, I will most gladly engage one of her nurses or any young person near you, that you can recommend; for my object is to remove her in the way that shall be most satisfactory to yourselves.

Page 245

On the subject of the young people that you are interesting yourselves about, I will have the pleasure to talk to you, when I shall see you.  I live almost out of the world and out of the sphere of being useful; but no pains of mine shall be spared, if but a prospect opens of doing a service.  Could I do all I wish, and I indeed have grown helpless to myself and others, it must not satisfy the arrears of obligation I owe to Mr. Williams and yourself for all your kindness.

I beg you will turn in your mind and consider in what most comfortable way Miss Isola can leave your house, and I will implicitly follow your suggestions.  What you have done for her can never be effaced from our memories, and I would have you part with her in the way that would best satisfy yourselves.

I am afraid of impertinently extending my letter, else I feel I have not said half what I would say.  So, dear madam, till I have the pleasure of seeing you both, of whose kindness I have heard so much before, I respectfully take my leave with our kindest love to your poor patient and most sincere regards for the health and happiness of Mr. Williams and yourself.

May God bless you.  CH.  LAMB.

Enfield, Monday, 22 March.

LETTER 508

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. WILLIAMS

Enfield, 2 Apr., 1830.

Dear Madam

I have great pleasure in letting you know that Miss Isola has suffered very little from fatigue on her long journey.  I am ashamed to say that I came home rather the more tired of the two.  But I am a very unpractised traveller.  She has had two tolerable nights’ sleeps since, and is decidedly not worse than when we left you.  I remembered the Magnesia according to your directions, and promise that she shall be kept very quiet, never forgetting that she is still an invalid.  We found my Sister very well in health, only a little impatient to see her; and, after a few hysterical tears for gladness, all was comfortable again.  We arrived here from Epping between five and six.  The incidents of our journey were trifling, but you bade me tell them.  We had then in the coach a rather talkative Gentleman, but very civil, all the way, and took up a servant maid at Stamford, going to a sick mistress.  To the latter, a participation in the hospitalities of your nice rusks and sandwiches proved agreeable, as it did to my companion, who took merely a sip of the weakest wine and water with them.  The former engaged me in a discourse for full twenty miles on the probable advantages of Steam Carriages, which being merely problematical, I bore my part in with some credit, in spite of my totally un-engineer-like faculties.  But when somewhere about Stanstead he put an unfortunate question to me as to the “probability of its turning out a good turnip season;” and when I, who am still less of an agriculturist than

Page 246

a steam-philosopher, not knowing a turnip from a potato ground, innocently made answer that I believed it depended very much upon boiled legs of mutton, my unlucky reply set Miss Isola a laughing to a degree that disturbed her tranquility for the only moment in our journey.  I am afraid my credit sank very low with my other fellow-traveller, who had thought he had met with a well-informed passenger, which is an accident so desirable in a Stage Coach.  We were rather less communicative, but still friendly, the rest of the way.  How I employed myself between Epping and Enfield the poor verses in the front of my paper may inform you which you may please to Christen an Acrostic in a Cross Road, and which I wish were worthier of the Lady they refer to.  But I trust you will plead my pardon to her on a subject so delicate as a Lady’s good name.  Your candour must acknowledge that they are written strait.  And now dear Madam, I have left myself hardly space to express my sense of the friendly reception I found at Fornham.  Mr. Williams will tell you that we had the pleasure of a slight meeting with him on the road, where I could almost have told him, but that it seemed ungracious, that such had been your hospitality, that I scarcely missed the good Master of the Family at Fornham, though heartily I should [have] rejoiced to have made a little longer acquaintance with him.  I will say nothing of our deeper obligations to both of you, because I think we agreed at Fornham, that gratitude may be over-exacted on the part of the obliging, and over-expressed on the part of the obliged, person.  My Sister and Miss Isola join in respects to Mr. Williams and yourself, and I beg to be remembered kindly to the Miss Hammonds and the two gentlemen whom I had the good fortune to meet at your house.  I have not forgotten the Election in which you are interesting yourself, and the little that I can, I will do immediately.  Miss Isola will have the pleasure of writing to you next week, and we shall hope, at your leisure, to hear of your own health, etc.  I am, Dear Madam, with great respect,

your obliged

CHARLES LAMB.

[Added in Miss Isola’s hand:] I must just add a line to beg you will let us hear from you, my dear Mrs. Williams.  I have just received the forwarded letter.  Fornham we have talked about constantly, and I felt quite strange at this home the first day.  I will attend to all you said, my dear Madam.

[I do not know which of Lamb’s acrostics was the one in question.  Possibly this, on Mrs. Williams’ youngest daughter, Louisa Clare Williams:—­

        Least Daughter, but not least beloved, of Grace
        O frown not on a stranger, who from place
        Unknown and distant these few lines hath penn’d. 
        I but report what thy Instructress Friend
        So oft hath told us of thy gentle heart. 
        A pupil most affectionate thou art,

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Careful to learn what elder years impart. Louisa—­Clare—­by which name shall I call thee?  A prettier pair of names sure ne’er was found, Resembling thy own sweetness in sweet sound.  Ever calm peace and innocence befal thee!

See Vol.  IV. of this edition.]

LETTER 509

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. WILLIAMS

Enfield, Good Friday [April 9, 1830].

P.S.—­I am the worst folder-up of a letter in the world, except certain Hottentots, in the land of Caffre, who never fold up their letters at all, writing very badly upon skins, &c.

Dear Madam,—­I do assure you that your verses gratified me very much, and my sister is quite proud of them.  For the first time in my life I congratulated myself upon the shortness and meanness of my name.  Had it been Schwartzenberg or Esterhazy, it would have put you to some puzzle.  I am afraid I shall sicken you of acrostics; but this last was written to order.  I beg you to have inserted in your county paper something like this advertisement.  “To the nobility, gentry, and others, about Bury.—­C.  Lamb respectfully informs his friends and the public in general, that he is leaving off business in the acrostic line, as he is going into an entirely new line.  Rebuses and charades done as usual, and upon the old terms.  Also, Epitaphs to suit the memory of any person deceased.”  I thought I had adroitly escaped the rather unpliable name of “Williams,” curtailing your poor daughters to their proper surnames; but it seems you would not let me off so easily.  If these trifles amuse you, I am paid.  Tho really ’tis an operation too much like—­“A, apple-pye; B, bit it.”  To make amends, I request leave to lend you the “Excursion,” and to recommend, in particular, the “Churchyard Stories,” in the seventh book, I think.  They will strengthen the tone of your mind after its weak diet on acrostics.  Miss Isola is writing, and will tell you that we are going on very comfortably.  Her sister is just come.  She blames my last verses, as being more written on Mr. Williams than on yourself; but how should I have parted whom a Superior Power has brought together?  I beg you will jointly accept of our best respects, and pardon your obsequious if not troublesome Correspondent, C.L.

[Mr. Cecil Turner, a grandson of Mrs. Williams, tells me that her acrostic on Lamb ran thus:—­

TO CHARLES LAMB

      Answer to Acrostics on the Names of Two Friends

      Charmed with the lines thy hand has sent,
      Honour I feel the compliment,
      Amongst thy products that have won the ear,
      Ranged in thy verse two friends most dear. 
      Lay not thy winning pen away,
      Each line thou writest we bid thee stay,
      Still ask to charm us with another lay.

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Long liked, long lived by public Fame
A friend to misery, whate’er its claim. 
Marvel I must if e’er we find
Bestowed by heaven a kindlier mind.

The two friends were probably Edward Hogg and Cecilia Catherine Lawton, on whose names Lamb wrote acrostics (see Vol.  IV.).

This was Lamb’s effort:—­

Go little Poem, and present
Respectful terms of compliment;
A gentle lady bids thee speak! 
Courteous is she, tho’ thou be weak—­
Evoke from Heaven as thick as manna

Joy after joy on Grace Joanna: 
On Fornham’s Glebe and Pasture land
A blessing pray.  Long, long may stand,
Not touched by Time, the Rectory blithe;
No grudging churl dispute his Tithe;
At Easter be the offerings due

With cheerful spirit paid; each pew
In decent order filled; no noise
Loud intervene to drown the voice,
Learning, or wisdom of the Teacher;
Impressive be the Sacred Preacher,
And strict his notes on holy page;
May young and old from age to age
Salute, and still point out, “The good man’s Parsonage!”]

LETTER 510

CHARLES LAMB TO JAMES GILLMAN

[?  Early Spring, 1830.]

Dear Gillman,—­Pray do you, or S.T.C., immediately write to say you have received back the golden works of the dear, fine, silly old angel, which I part from, bleeding, and to say how the Winter has used you all.

It is our intention soon, weather permitting, to come over for a day at Highgate; for beds we will trust to the Gate-House, should you be full:  tell me if we may come casually, for in this change of climate there is no naming a day for walking.  With best loves to Mrs. Gillman, &c.

Yours, mopish, but in health,

C. LAMB.

I shall be uneasy till I hear of Fuller’s safe arrival.

[See letter to Gillman above.  The “dear, fine, silly old angel” was Thomas Fuller.]

LETTER 511

CHARLES LAMB TO JACOB VALE ASBURY

[?  April, 1830.]

Dear Sir—­Some draughts and boluses have been brought here which we conjecture were meant for the young lady whom you saw this morning, though they are labelled for

MISS ISOLA LAMB.

No such person is known on the Chase Side, and she is fearful of taking medicines which may have been made up for another patient.  She begs me to say that she was born an Isola and christened Emma.  Moreover that she is Italian by birth, and that her ancestors were from Isola Bella (Fair Island) in the kingdom of Naples.  She has never changed her name and rather mournfully adds that she has no prospect at present of doing so.  She is literally I. SOLA, or single, at present.  Therefore she begs that the obnoxious monosyllable may be omitted on future Phials,—­an innocent syllable enough, you’ll say, but she has no claim to it.  It is the bitterest pill of the seven you have sent her.  When a lady loses her good name, what is to become of her?  Well she must swallow it as well as she can, but begs the dose may not be repeated.

Page 249

Yours faithfully,

CHARLES LAMB (not Isola).

[Asbury was a doctor at Enfield.  I append another letter to him, without date:—­]

LETTER 512

CHARLES LAMB TO JACOB VALE ASBURY

Dear Sir, It is an observation of a wise man that “moderation is best in all things.”  I cannot agree with him “in liquor.”  There is a smoothness and oiliness in wine that makes it go down by a natural channel, which I am positive was made for that descending.  Else, why does not wine choke us? could Nature have made that sloping lane, not to facilitate the down-going?  She does nothing in vain.  You know that better than I. You know how often she has helped you at a dead lift, and how much better entitled she is to a fee than yourself sometimes, when you carry off the credit.  Still there is something due to manners and customs, and I should apologise to you and Mrs. Asbury for being absolutely carried home upon a man’s shoulders thro’ Silver Street, up Parson’s Lane, by the Chapels (which might have taught me better), and then to be deposited like a dead log at Gaffar Westwood’s, who it seems does not “insure” against intoxication.  Not that the mode of conveyance is objectionable.  On the contrary, it is more easy than a one-horse chaise.  Ariel in the “Tempest” says

               “On a Bat’s back do I fly,
               After sunset merrily.”

Now I take it that Ariel must sometimes have stayed out late of nights.  Indeed, he pretends that “where the bee sucks, there lurks he,” as much as to say that his suction is as innocent as that little innocent (but damnably stinging when he is provok’d) winged creature.  But I take it, that Ariel was fond of metheglin, of which the Bees are notorious Brewers.  But then you will say:  What a shocking sight to see a middle-aged gentleman-and-a-half riding upon a Gentleman’s back up Parson’s Lane at midnight.  Exactly the time for that sort of conveyance, when nobody can see him, nobody but Heaven and his own conscience; now Heaven makes fools, and don’t expect much from her own creation; and as for conscience, She and I have long since come to a compromise.  I have given up false modesty, and she allows me to abate a little of the true.  I like to be liked, but I don’t care about being respected.  I don’t respect myself.  But, as I was saying, I thought he would have let me down just as we got to Lieutenant Barker’s Coal-shed (or emporium) but by a cunning jerk I eased myself, and righted my posture.  I protest, I thought myself in a palanquin, and never felt myself so grandly carried.  It was a slave under me.  There was I, all but my reason.  And what is reason? and what is the loss of it? and how often in a day do we do without it, just as well?  Reason is only counting, two and two makes four.  And if on my passage home, I thought it made five, what matter?  Two and two will just make four, as it always did, before I

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took the finishing glass that did my business.  My sister has begged me to write an apology to Mrs. A. and you for disgracing your party; now it does seem to me, that I rather honoured your party, for every one that was not drunk (and one or two of the ladies, I am sure, were not) must have been set off greatly in the contrast to me.  I was the scapegoat.  The soberer they seemed.  By the way is magnesia good on these occasions? iii pol:  med:  sum:  ante noct:  in rub:  can:.  I am no licentiate, but know enough of simples to beg you to send me a draught after this model.  But still you’ll say (or the men and maids at your house will say) that it is not a seemly sight for an old gentleman to go home pick-a-back.  Well, may be it is not.  But I have never studied grace.  I take it to be a mere superficial accomplishment.  I regard more the internal acquisitions.  The great object after supper is to get home, and whether that is obtained in a horizontal posture or perpendicular (as foolish men and apes affect for dignity) I think is little to the purpose.  The end is always greater than the means.  Here I am, able to compose a sensible rational apology, and what signifies how I got here?  I have just sense enough to remember I was very happy last night, and to thank our kind host and hostess, and that’s sense enough, I hope.

CHARLES LAMB.

N.B.—­What is good for a desperate head-ache?  Why, Patience, and a determination not to mind being miserable all day long.  And that I have made my mind up to.

So, here goes.  It is better than not being alive at all, which I might have been, had your man toppled me down at Lieut.  Barker’s Coal-shed.  My sister sends her sober compliments to Mrs. A. She is not much the worse.

Yours truly,

C. LAMB.

["Ariel.”  In two other of his letters, Lamb confesses similarly to a similar escapade.  And in his Elia essay “Rejoicings on the New Year’s Coming of Age,” he sends Ash Wednesday home in the same manner.

Lieut.  John Barker, R.N., was a local character, a coal merchant and a man with a grievance.  He had thirteen children, some of whose names probably greatly amused Lamb—­John Thomas, William Charles, Frederick Alexander, Marius Collins, Caius Marcius, Marcus Aurelius Antonius, Coriolanus Aurelius, Horatius Tertius Decimus, Elizabeth Mary, Concordia, Lousia Clarissa, Caroline Maria Quiroja and Volumnia Hortensia.]

LETTER 513

CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. WILLIAMS

Enfield, Tuesday [April 21, 1830].

Dear Madam,—­I have ventured upon some lines, which combine my old acrostic talent (which you first found out) with my new profession of epitaph-monger.  As you did not please to say, when you would die, I have left a blank space for the date.  May kind heaven be a long time in filling it up.  At least you cannot say that these lines are not about you, though not much to the purpose.  We were very sorry to hear that you have not been very well, and hope that a little excursion may revive you.  Miss Isola is thankful for her added day; but I verily think she longs to see her young friends once more, and will regret less than ever the end of her holydays.  She cannot be going on more quietly than she is doing here, and you will perceive amendment.

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I hope all her little commissions will all be brought home to your satisfaction.  When she returns, we purpose seeing her to Epping on her journey.  We have had our proportion of fine weather and some pleasant walks, and she is stronger, her appetite good, but less wolfish than at first, which we hold a good sign.  I hope Mr. Wing will approve of its abatement.  She desires her very kindest respects to Mr. Williams and yourself, and wishes to rejoin you.  My sister and myself join in respect, and pray tell Mr. Donne, with our compliments, that we shall be disappointed, if we do not see him.  This letter being very neatly written, I am very unwilling that Emma should club any of her disproportionate scrawl to deface it.

Your obliged servant,

C. LAMB.

[Addressed to “Mrs. Williams, W.B.  Donne, Esq., Matteshall, East Dereham, Norfolk.”

Mr. Wing was probably Miss Isola’s doctor.  Mr. Donne was William Bodham Donne (1807-1882), the friend of Edward FitzGerald, and Examiner of Plays.

This was Lamb’s acrostic-epitaph on Mrs. Williams:—­

               Grace Joanna here doth lie: 
               Reader, wonder not that I
               Ante-date her hour of rest. 
               Can I thwart her wish exprest,
               Ev’n unseemly though the laugh

               Jesting with an Epitaph? 
               On her bones the turf lie lightly,
               And her rise again be brightly! 
               No dark stain be found upon her—­
               No, there will not, on mine honour—­
               Answer that at least I can.

               Would that I, thrice happy man,
               In as spotless garb might rise,
               Light as she will climb the skies,
               Leaving the dull earth behind,
               In a car more swift than wind. 
               All her errors, all her failings,
               (Many they were not) and ailings,
               Sleep secure from Envy’s railings.

Here should come an undated note from Lamb to Basil Montagu, in which Lamb asks for help for Hone in his Coffee-House.  “If you can help a worthy man you will have two worthy men obliged to you.”  Hone, having fallen upon bad times, Lamb helped in the scheme to establish him in the Grasshopper Coffee-House, at 13 Gracechurch Street (see next letter).]

LETTER 514

CHARLES LAMB TO ROBERT SOUTHEY

May 10, 1830.

Dear Southey,—­My friend Hone, whom you would like for a friend, I found deeply impressed with your generous notice of him in your beautiful “Life of Bunyan,” which I am just now full of.  He has written to you for leave to publish a certain good-natured letter.  I write not this to enforce his request, for we are fully aware that the refusal of such publication would be quite consistent

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with all that is good in your character.  Neither he nor I expect it from you, nor exact it; but if you would consent to it, you would have me obliged by it, as well as him.  He is just now in a critical situation:  kind friends have opened a coffee-house for him in the City, but their means have not extended to the purchase of coffee-pots, credit for Reviews, newspapers, and other paraphernalia.  So I am sitting in the skeleton of a possible divan.  What right I have to interfere, you best know.  Look on me as a dog who went once temporarily insane, and bit you, and now begs for a crust.  Will you set your wits to a dog?

Our object is to open a subscription, which my friends of the “Times” are most willing to forward for him, but think that a leave from you to publish would aid it.

But not an atom of respect or kindness will or shall it abate in either of us if you decline it.  Have this strongly in your mind.

Those “Every-Day” and “Table” Books will be a treasure a hundred years hence; but they have failed to make Hone’s fortune.

Here his wife and all his children are about me, gaping for coffee customers; but how should they come in, seeing no pot boiling!

Enough of Hone.  I saw Coleridge a day or two since.  He has had some severe attack, not paralytic; but, if I had not heard of it, I should not have found it out.  He looks, and especially speaks, strong.  How are all the Wordsworths and all the Southeys? whom I am obliged to you if you have not brought up haters of the name of

C. LAMB.

P.S.—­I have gone lately into the acrostic line.  I find genius (such as I had) declines with me, but I get clever.  Do you know anybody that wants charades, or such things, for Albums?  I do ’em at so much a sheet.  Perhaps an epigram (not a very happy-gram) I did for a school-boy yesterday may amuse.  I pray Jove he may not get a flogging for any false quantity; but ’tis, with one exception, the only Latin verses I have made for forty years, and I did it “to order.”

SUUM CUIQUE

Adsciscit sibi divitias et opes alienas
Fur, rapiens, spolians, quod mihi, quod-que tibi,
Proprium erat, temnens haec verba, Meum-que, Suum-que;
Omne suum est:  tandem Cui-que Suum tribuit. 
Dat laqueo collum; vestes, vah! carnifici dat;
Sese Diabolo:  sic bene:  Cuique Suum.

I write from Hone’s, therefore Mary cannot send her love to Mrs. Southey, but I do.

Yours ever, C.L.

[Major’s edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress, mentioned in a letter to Barton above, was issued in 1830 with a memoir of Bunyan by Southey.  It was reviewed in The Times for May 7, 1830, I think probably by Lamb, in the following terms:—­

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The public is aware that the unexhausted diligence and unwearied pen of Mr. Southey have produced a new and excellent edition of the celebrated Pilgrim’s Progress, with the Life of the Author prefixed.  This Life is, no doubt, an interesting work, though we wish the author, both in that and in the account, which is attributed to him, of the founder of the Jesuits, contained in a recent periodical work, had taken more time.  The narrative in both is hasty and tumultuary, if we may use the latter expression:  there is no time or room for reflection; and when a reflection comes, it is so mixed and jambed in with the story, or with quotations from the works or words of the respective heroes of the history, that it escapes unobserved.  Could we, without grievous offence, recommend, both to Mr. Southey and Sir Walter Scott, to recollect the man spoken of by Horace?—­

quem fama est esse librisque Ambustum propriis.”—­Sat, i., 61.

Yet still, as we said above, the Life of Bunyan is an interesting work.  How different the origin of all the sects and their founders, from that of our sober, staid, and, we trust, permanent establishment, and the learned and pious reformers from whom it sprang!
But that for which we chiefly notice this work of Mr. Southey, is the very last sentence in it, wherein is contained his frank and honourable recommendation (though not more than they deserve) of the works of one whom the iron hand of oppression would have levelled with the dust:—­
“In one of the volumes collected from various quarters, which were sent to me for this purpose, I observe the name of W. Hone, and notice it that I may take the opportunity of recommending his Every-Day Book and Table Book to those who are interested in the preservation of our national and local customs.  By these very curious publications their compiler has rendered good service in an important department of literature; and he may render yet more, if he obtain the encouragement which he well deserves.”
Not only we, and the person mentioned in this paragraph, but all the friends of pure English literature,—­all the curious in old English customs,—­in short, all intelligent men, with the hearts of Englishmen in them,—­owe Mr. Southey their gratitude for this recommendation:  it springs from a just taste and right feeling united.

Hone wrote to The Times at once to thank both the paper and Southey for the compliment.  A few days later, on May 21, appeared an article in The Times containing correspondence between Hone and Southey.  I quote the introduction, again probably the work of Lamb, and Southey’s letter (see Lamb’s letter to Hone below):—­

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We alluded some days ago to the handsome notice of Mr. Hone in Mr. Southey’s Life of Bunyan.  The following correspondence has since been sent to us:  it displays in an advantageous light the modesty of Mr. Hone and the amiable and candid disposition of Mr. Southey.  The business, wholly foreign to Mr. Hone’s former pursuits, which is alluded to in the letter, is explained in an advertisement in this day’s paper.

* * * * *

    “To Mr. Hone, 13, Gracechurch-Street,

    “Keswick, April 26.

“Sir,—­Your letter has given me both pain and pleasure.  I am sorry to learn that you are still, in the worldly sense of the word, an unfortunate man,—­that you are withdrawn from pursuits which were consonant to your habits and inclinations, and that a public expression of respect and good-will, made in the hope that it might have been serviceable to you, can have no such effect.
“When I observed your autograph in the little book, I wrote to inquire of Mr. Major whether it had come to his hands from you, directly or indirectly, for my use, that, in that case, I might thank you for it.  It proved otherwise, but I would not lose an opportunity which I had wished for.
“Judging of you (as I would myself be judged) by your works, I saw in the editor of the Every-Day and Table Books a man who had applied himself with great diligence to useful and meritorious pursuits.  I thought that time, and reflection, and affliction, (of which it was there seen that he had had his share,) had contributed to lead him into this direction, which was also that of his better mind.  What alteration had been produced in his opinions it concerned not me to inquire; here there were none but what were unexceptionable,—­no feelings but what were to be approved.  From all that appeared, I supposed he had become ‘a sadder and a wiser man:’  I therefore wished him success in his literary undertakings.

    “The little parcel which you mention I shall receive with pleasure.

“I wish you success in your present undertaking, whatever it be, and that you may one day, under happier circumstances, resume a pen which has, of late years, been so meritoriously employed.  If your new attempt prosper, you will yet find leisure for intellectual gratification, and for that self-improvement which may be carried on even in the busiest concerns of life.

    “I remain, Sir, yours with sincere good will,

    “ROBERT SOUTHEY.”

In the advertisement columns of the same issue of The Times (May 21) was the following notice, drawn up, I assume, by Lamb:—­

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THE FAMILY OF WILLIAM HONE, in the course of last winter, were kindly assisted by private friends to take and alter the premises they now reside in, No. 13, Gracechurch-street, for the purpose of a coffeehouse, to be managed by Mrs. Hone and her elder daughters; but they are in a painful exigency which increases hourly, and renders a public appeal indispensable.  The wellwishers to Mr. Hone throughout the kingdom, especially the gratified readers of his literary productions (in all of which he has long ceased to have an interest, and from none of which can he derive advantage), are earnestly solicited to afford the means of completing the fittings and opening the house in a manner suited to its proposed respectability.  If this aid be yielded without loss of time, it will be of indescribable benefit, inasmuch as it will put an end to many grievous anxieties and expenses, inseparable from the lengthened delay which has hitherto been inevitable, and will enable the family to immediately commence the business, which alone they look forward to for support.  Subscriptions will be received by the following bankers:—­Messrs. Ransom and Co., Pall-mall east; Messrs. Dixon, Sons, and Brookes, Chancery-lane; Messrs. Ladbroke and Co., Bank-buildings, Cornhill; and by Mr. Clowes, printer, 14, Charing-cross; Mr. Thomas Rodd, bookseller, 2, Great Newport-street; Mr. Griffiths, bookseller, 13, Wellington-street, Strand; Mr. Effingham Wilson, bookseller, Royal Exchange; and Messrs. Fisher and Moxhay, biscuit-bakers, 55, Threadneedle-street.

The first list of subscriptions, headed by “Charles Lamb, Esq., Enfield, L10,” came to L103.  This was Monday, May 31.  The next list was published on June 10, accompanied by the following note in the body of the paper:—­

The subscriptions for Mr. Hone, it will be perceived, are going on favourably.  In the list now published is the name of the Duke of Bedford, who has sent 20_l_.  His cause has been warmly espoused by the provincial journals, more than 20 of which have inserted his appeal gratuitously, with offers to receive and remit subscriptions.  The aphorism, “he gives twice who gives quickly,” could not receive a more cogent application than in the present instance, for the funds are required to enable Mr. Hone to commence business in his new undertaking, where he is already placed with his family, liable to rent and taxes, and other claims, but gaining nothing until his outfit is completed.

    Hone, however, did not prosper, in spite of his friends, who were
    not sufficiently numerous to find the requisite capital.

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“Suum Cuique.”  The boy for whom this epigram was composed was a son of Hessey, the publisher, afterwards Archdeacon Hessey.  He was at the Merchant Taylors’ School, where it was a custom to compose Latin and English epigrams for speech day, the boys being permitted to get help.  Archdeacon Hessey wrote as follows in the Taylorian a few years ago:—­
The subjects for 1830 were Suum Cuique and Brevis esse laboro.  After some three or four exercise nights I confess that I was literally “at my wits’ end.”  But a brilliant idea struck me.  I had frequently, boy as I was, seen Charles Lamb at my father’s house, and once, in 1825 or 1826, I had been taken to have tea with him and his sister, Mary Lamb, at their little house, Colebrook Cottage, a whitish-brown tenement, standing by itself, close to the New River, at Islington.  He was very kind, as he always was to young people, and very quaint.  I told him that I had devoured his “Roast Pig”; he congratulated me on possessing a thorough schoolboy’s appetite.  And he was pleased when I mentioned my having seen the boys at Christ’s Hospital at their public suppers, which then took place on the Sunday evenings in Lent.  “Could this good-natured and humorous old gentleman be prevailed upon to give me an Epigram?” “I don’t know,” said my father, to whom I put the question, “but I will ask him at any rate, and send him the mottoes.”  In a day or two there arrived from Enfield, to which Lamb had removed some time in 1827, not one, but two epigrams, one on each subject.  That on Suum Cuique was in Latin, and was suggested by the grim satisfaction which had recently been expressed by the public at the capture and execution of some notorious highwayman.

See also Vol.  IV. of this edition for a slightly differing version.  Lamb had many years before, he says in a letter to Godwin, written similar epigrams.

“With one exception.”  Perhaps the Latin verses on Haydon’s picture.  See Vol.  IV.]

LETTER 515

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

Enfield, Tuesday. [P.M.  May 12, 1830.]

Dear M. I dined with your and my Rogers at Mr. Gary’s yesterday.  Gary consulted me on the proper bookseller to offer a Lady’s MS novel to.  I said I would write to you.  But I wish you would call on the Translator of Dante at the British Museum, and talk with him.  He is the pleasantest of clergymen.  I told him of all Rogers’s handsome behaviour to you, and you are already no stranger.  Go.  I made Rogers laugh about your Nightingale sonnet, not having heard one.  ’Tis a good sonnet notwithstanding.  You shall have the books shortly.

C.L.

[Samuel Rogers had just lent Moxon L500 on which to commence publisher.

Moxon had dedicated his first book to Rogers.  This is Moxon’s “Sonnet to the Nightingale,” but I cannot explain why Rogers laughed:—­

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        Lone midnight-soothing melancholy bird,
          That send’st such music to my sleepless soul,
          Chaining her faculties in fast controul,
        Few listen to thy song; yet I have heard,
        When Man and Nature slept, nor aspen stirred,
          Thy mournful voice, sweet vigil of the sleeping
        And liken’d thee to some angelic mind,
          That sits and mourns for erring mortals weeping. 
        The genius, not of groves, but of mankind,
          Watch at this solemn hour o’er millions keeping. 
          In Eden’s bowers, as mighty poets tell,
        Did’st thou repeat, as now that wailing call—­
          Those sorrowing notes might seem, sad Philomel,
        Prophetic to have mourned of man the fall.]

LETTER 516

CHARLES LAMB TO VINCENT NOVELLO

Friday. [P.M.  May 14, 1830.]

Dear Novello, Mary hopes you have not forgot you are to spend a day with us on Wednesday.  That it may be a long one, cannot you secure places now for Mrs. Novello yourself and the Clarkes?  We have just table room for four.  Five make my good Landlady fidgetty; six, to begin to fret; seven, to approximate to fever point.  But seriously we shall prefer four to two or three; we shall have from 1/2 past 10 to six, when the coach goes off, to scent the country.  And pray write now, to say you do so come, for dear Mrs. Westwood else will be on the tenters of incertitude.

C. LAMB.

LETTER 517

CHARLES LAMB TO VINCENT NOVELLO

[May 20, 1830.]

Dear N.—­pray write immediately to say “The book has come safe.”  I am anxious, not so much for the autographs, as for that bit of the hair brush.  I enclose a cinder, which belonged to Shield, when he was poor, and lit his own fires.  Any memorial of a great Musical Genius, I know, is acceptable; and Shield has his merits, though Clementi, in my opinion, is far above him in the Sostenuto.  Mr. Westwood desires his compliments, and begs to present you with a nail that came out of Jomelli’s coffin, who is buried at Naples.

[Vincent Novello writes on this:  “A very characteristic note from Dear Charles Lamb, who always pretended to Rate all kinds of memorials and Relics, and assumed a look of fright and horror whenever he reproached me with being a Papist, instead of a Quaker, which sect he pretended to doat upon.”  The book would be Novello’s album, with Lamb’s “Free Thoughts on Eminent Composers” in it (see next letter but one).

Shield was William Shield (1748-1829), the composer.  He was buried in Westminster Abbey in the same grave as Clementi.  Nicolo Jomelli (1714-1774) was a Neapolitan composer.]

LETTER 518

Page 258

CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM HONE

May 21, 1830.

Dear Hone—­I thought you would be pleased to see this letter.  Pray if you have time to, call on Novello, No. 66, Great Queen St. I am anxious to learn whether he received his album I sent on Friday by our nine o’clock morning stage.  If not, beg inquire at the Old Bell, Holborn.

CHARLES LAMB.

Southey will see in the Times all we proposed omitting is omitted.

[See notes to the letter to Southey above.]

LETTER 519

CHARLES LAMB TO SARAH HAZLITT

[Enfield, Saturday, May 24th, 1830.]

Mary’s love?  Yes.  Mary Lamb quite well.

Dear Sarah,—­I found my way to Northaw on Thursday and a very good woman behind a counter, who says also that you are a very good lady but that the woman who was with you was naught.  These things may be so or not.  I did not accept her offered glass of wine (home-made, I take it) but craved a cup of ale, with which I seasoned a slice of cold Lamb from a sandwich box, which I ate in her back parlour, and proceeded for Berkhampstead, &c.; lost myself over a heath, and had a day’s pleasure.  I wish you could walk as I do, and as you used to do.  I am sorry to find you are so poorly; and, now I have found my way, I wish you back at Goody Tomlinson’s.  What a pretty village ’tis!  I should have come sooner, but was waiting a summons to Bury.  Well, it came, and I found the good parson’s lady (he was from home) exceedingly hospitable.

Poor Emma, the first moment we were alone, took me into a corner, and said, “Now, pray, don’t drink; do check yourself after dinner, for my sake, and when we get home to Enfield, you shall drink as much as ever you please, and I won’t say a word about it.”  How I behaved, you may guess, when I tell you that Mrs. Williams and I have written acrostics on each other, and she hoped that she should have “no reason to regret Miss Isola’s recovery, by its depriving her of our begun correspondence.”  Emma stayed a month with us, and has gone back (in tolerable health) to her long home, for she comes not again for a twelvemonth.  I amused Mrs. Williams with an occurrence on our road to Enfield.  We travelled with one of those troublesome fellow-passengers in a stage-coach, that is called a well-informed man.  For twenty miles we discoursed about the properties of steam, probabilities of carriages by ditto, till all my science, and more than all, was exhausted, and I was thinking of escaping my torment by getting up on the outside, when, getting into Bishops Stortford, my gentleman, spying some farming land, put an unlucky question to me:  “What sort of a crop of turnips I thought we should have this year?” Emma’s eyes turned to me, to know what in the world I could have to say; and she burst into a violent fit of laughter, maugre her pale, serious

Page 259

cheeks, when, with the greatest gravity, I replied, that “it depended, I believed, upon boiled legs of mutton.”  This clench’d our conversation; and my Gentleman, with a face half wise, half in scorn, troubled us with no more conversation, scientific or philosophical, for the remainder of the journey.  Ayrton was here yesterday, and as learned to the full as my fellow-traveller.  What a pity that he will spoil a wit and a devilish pleasant fellow (as he is) by wisdom!  He talk’d on Music; and by having read Hawkins and Burney recently I was enabled to talk of Names, and show more knowledge than he had suspected I possessed; and in the end he begg’d me to shape my thoughts upon paper, which I did after he was gone, and sent him.

      FREE THOUGHTS ON SOME EMINENT COMPOSERS

        Some cry up Haydn, some Mozart,
        Just as the whim bites.  For my part,
        I do not care a farthing candle
        For either of them, or for Handel. 
        Cannot a man live free and easy,
        Without admiring Pergolesi! 
        Or thro’ the world with comfort go
        That never heard of Doctor Blow! 
        So help me God, I hardly have;
        And yet I eat, and drink, and shave,
        Like other people, (if you watch it,)
        And know no more of stave and crotchet
        Than did the un-Spaniardised Peruvians;
        Or those old ante-queer-Diluvians
        That lived in the unwash’d world with Jubal,
        Before that dirty Blacksmith Tubal,
        By stroke on anvil, or by summ’at,
        Found out, to his great surprise, the gamut. 
        I care no more for Cimerosa
        Than he did for Salvator Rosa,
        Being no Painter; and bad luck
        Be mine, if I can bear that Gluck! 
        Old Tycho Brahe and modern Herschel
        Had something in them; but who’s Purcel? 
        The devil, with his foot so cloven,
        For aught I care, may take Beethoven;
        And, if the bargain does not suit,
        I’ll throw him Weber in to boot! 
        There’s not the splitting of a splinter
        To chuse ’twixt him last named, and Winter. 
        Of Doctor Pepusch old queen Dido
        Knew just as much, God knows, as I do. 
        I would not go four miles to visit
        Sebastian Bach-or Batch-which is it? 
        No more I would for Bononcini. 
        As for Novello and Rossini,
        I shall not say a word about [to grieve] ’em,
        Because they’re living.  So I leave ’em.

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Martin Burney is as odd as ever.  We had a dispute about the word “heir,” which I contended was pronounced like “air;” he said that might be in common parlance; or that we might so use it, speaking of the “Heir-at-Law,” a comedy; but that in the Law Courts it was necessary to give it a full aspiration, and to say Hayer; he thought it might even vitiate a cause, if a Counsel pronounced it otherwise.  In conclusion, he “would consult Serjeant Wilde;” who gave it against him.  Sometimes he falleth into the water, sometimes into the fire.  He came down here, and insisted on reading Virgil’s “Eneid” all through with me (which he did,) because a Counsel must know Latin.  Another time he read out all the Gospel of St. John, because Biblical quotations are very emphatic in a Court of Justice.  A third time, he would carve a fowl, which he did very ill-favoredly, because “we did not know how indispensable it was for a Barrister to do all those sort of things well.  Those little things were of more consequence than we supposed.”  So he goes on, harassing about the way to prosperity, and losing it.  With a long head, but somewhat a wrong one—­harum-scarum.  Why does not his guardian angel look to him?  He deserves one—­:  may be, he has tired him out.

I am——­with this long scrawl, but I thought in your exile, you might like a letter.  Commend me to all the wonders in Derbyshire, and tell the devil I humbly kiss—­my hand to him.  Yours ever,

C. LAMB.

["Free Thoughts.”  The version in Ayrton’s album differs a little from this, the principal difference being in line 13, “primitive” for “un-Spaniardised.”  Lamb’s story of the origin of the verses is not necessarily correct.  I fancy that he had written them for Novello before he produced them in reply to Ayrton’s challenge.  When sending the poem to Ayrton in a letter at this time, not available for this edition (written apparently just after Novello had paid the visit, referred to above), Lamb wrote that it was written to gratify Novello.

Mary Lamb (or Charles Lamb, personating her) appended the following postscript to the verses in Novello’s album:—­

      The reason why my brother’s so severe,
      Vincentio is—­my brother has no ear: 
      And Caradori her mellifluous throat
      Might stretch in vain to make him learn a note. 
      Of common tunes he knows not anything,
      Nor “Rule, Britannia” from “God save the King.” 
      He rail at Handel!  He the gamut quiz! 
      I’d lay my life he knows not what it is. 
      His spite at music is a pretty whim—­
      He loves not it, because it loves not him.

M. LAMB.

“Serjeant Wilde"-Thomas Wilde (1782-1855), afterwards Lord Truro, a friend of Lamb’s, who is said to have helped him with squibs in the Newark election in 1829, when Martin Burney was among his supporters (see Vol.  V. of my large edition, page 341).

Here had I permission, I would print Lamb’s letter to Ayrton, given in the Boston Bibliophile edition, incorporating the same poem.]

Page 261

LETTER 520

CHARLES LAMB TO SARAH HAZLITT

June 3, 1830.

Dear Sarah,—­I named your thought about William to his father, who expressed such horror and aversion to the idea of his singing in public, that I cannot meddle in it directly or indirectly.  Ayrton is a kind fellow, and if you chuse to consult him by Letter, or otherwise, he will give you the best advice, I am sure, very readily. I have no doubt that M. Burney’s objection to interfering was the same—­with mine. With thanks for your pleasant long letter, which is not that of an Invalid, and sympathy for your sad sufferings, I remain, in haste,

Yours Truly,

Mary’s kindest Love.

[There was some talk of William Hazlitt Junr. becoming a pupil of Braham and taking up music seriously.  He did not do so.

Here should come a note from Lamb to Hone, dated Enfield, June 17, 1830, in which Lamb offers Hone L1 per quarter for yesterday’s Times, after the Coffee-House customers have done with it.  He ends with the wish, “Vivant Coffee, Coffee-potque!”]

LETTER 521

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M.  June 28, 1830.]

DEAR B.B.—­Could you dream of my publishing without sending a copy to you?  You will find something new to you in the vol. particularly the Translations.  Moxon will send to you the moment it is out.  He is the young poet of Xmas, whom the Author of the Pleasures of Memory has set up in the bookvending business with a volunteer’d loan of L500—­such munificence is rare to an almost stranger.  But Rogers, I am told, has done many goodnatured things of this nature.  I need not say how glad to see A.K. and Lucy we should have been,—­and still shall be, if it be practicable.  Our direction is Mr. Westwood’s, Chase Side Enfield, but alas I know not theirs.  We can give them a bed.  Coaches come daily from the Bell, Holborn.

You will see that I am worn to the poetical dregs, condescending to Acrostics, which are nine fathom beneath Album verses—­but they were written at the request of the Lady where our Emma is, to whom I paid a visit in April to bring home Emma for a change of air after a severe illness, in which she had been treated like a daughter by the good Parson and his whole family.  She has since return’d to her occupation.  I thought on you in Suffolk, but was 40 miles from Woodbridge.  I heard of you the other day from Mr. Pulham of the India House.

Long live King William the 4th.

S.T.C. says, we have had wicked kings, foolish kings, wise kings, good kings (but few) but never till now have we had a Blackguard King—­

Charles 2d was profligate, but a Gentleman.

I have nineteen Letters to dispatch this leisure Sabbath for Moxon to send about with Copies-so you will forgive me short measure—­and believe me

Page 262

Yours ever

C.L.

Pray do let us see your Quakeresses if possible.

[Lamb’s Album Verses was almost ready.  The translations were those from Vincent Bourne.

William IV. came to the throne on June 26, 1830.

“I have nineteen Letters.”  The fact that none of these is forthcoming helps to illustrate the imperfect state of Lamb’s correspondence as (even among so many differing editions) we now have it.  But of course the number may have been an exaggeration.

Here should come a note from Lamb to Hone, dated July 1, 1830, in which Lamb asks that the newspaper be kept as he is meditating a town residence (see next letter).

Here probably should come an undated letter to Mrs. John Rickman, accompanying a gift of Album Verses.  Lamb says:  “Will you re-give, or lend me, by the bearer, the one Volume of juvenile Poetry?  I have tidings of a second at Brighton.”  He proposes that he and Mrs. Rickman shall some day play old whist for the two.]

LETTER 522

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

[P.M. 30 August, 1830.]

Dear B.B.—­my address is 34 Southampton Buildings, Holborn.  For God’s sake do not let me [be] pester’d with Annuals.  They are all rogues who edit them, and something else who write in them.  I am still alone, and very much out of sorts, and cannot spur up my mind to writing.  The sight of one of those Year Books makes me sick.  I get nothing by any of ’em, not even a Copy—­

Thank you for your warm interest about my little volume, for the critics on which I care [? not] the 5 hundred thousandth part of the tythe of a half-farthing.  I am too old a Militant for that.  How noble, tho’, in R.S. to come forward for an old friend, who had treated him so unworthily.  Moxon has a shop without customers, I a Book without readers.  But what a clamour against a poor collection of album verses, as if we had put forth an Epic.  I cannot scribble a long Letter—­I am, when not at foot, very desolate, and take no interest in any thing, scarce hate any thing, but annuals.  I am in an interregnum of thought and feeling—­

What a beautiful Autumn morning this is, if it was but with me as in times past when the candle of the Lord shined round me—­

I cannot even muster enthusiasm to admire the French heroism.

In better times I hope we may some day meet, and discuss an old poem or two.  But if you’d have me not sick no more of Annuals.

C.L.  Ex-Elia.

Love to Lucy and A.K. always.

[The Literary Gazette, Jerdan’s paper, had written offensively of Album Verses and its author’s vanity in the number for July 10, 1830.  Southey published in The Times of August 6 some lines in praise of Lamb and against Jerdan.  It was Southey’s first public utterance on Lamb since the famous letter by Elia to himself, and is the more noble in consequence.  The lines ran thus:—­

Page 263

TO CHARLES LAMB

On the Reviewal of his Album Verses in the Literary Gazette

Charles Lamb, to those who know thee justly dear
For rarest genius, and for sterling worth,
Unchanging friendship, warmth of heart sincere,
And wit that never gave an ill thought birth,
Nor ever in its sport infix’d a sting;
To us who have admired and loved thee long,
It is a proud as well as pleasant thing
To hear thy good report, now borne along
Upon the honest breath of public praise: 
We know that with the elder sons of song
In honouring whom thou hast delighted still,
Thy name shall keep its course to after days. 
The empty pertness, and the vulgar wrong,
The flippant folly, the malicious will,
Which have assailed thee, now, or heretofore,
Find, soon or late, their proper meed of shame;
The more thy triumph, and our pride the more,
When witling critics to the world proclaim,
In lead, their own dolt incapacity. 
Matter it is of mirthful memory
To think, when thou wert early in the field,
How doughtily small Jeffrey ran at thee
A-tilt, and broke a bulrush on thy shield. 
And now, a veteran in the lists of fame,
I ween, old Friend! thou art not worse bested
When with a maudlin eye and drunken aim,
Dulness hath thrown a jerdan at thy head.

        SOUTHEY.

Leigh Hunt attacked Jerdan in the Examiner in a number of “Rejected Epigrams” signed T.A.  See later.  He also took up the matter in the Tatler, in the first number of which the following “Inquest Extraordinary” was printed:—­

        Last week a porter died beneath his burden;
        Verdict:  Found carrying a Gazette from Jerdan.

Moxon’s shop without customers was at 64 New Bond Street.  “The candle of the Lord.”  In my large edition I gave this reference very thoughtlessly to Proverbs xx. 27.  It is really to Job. xxix. 3.

“The French heroism.”  The July Revolution, in which the Bourbons were routed and Louis Philippe placed on the throne.]

LETTER 523

CHARLES LAMB TO SAMUEL ROGERS

[Dated at end:  Oct. 5, 1830.]

Dear Sir,—­I know not what hath bewitch’d me that I have delayed acknowledging your beautiful present.  But I have been very unwell and nervous of late.  The poem was not new to me, tho’ I have renewed acquaintance with it.  Its metre is none of the least of its excellencies.  ’Tis so far from the stiffness of blank verse—­it gallops like a traveller, as it should do—­no crude Miltonisms in [it].  Dare I pick out what most pleases me?  It is the middle paragraph in page thirty-four.  It is most tasty.  Though I look on every impression as a proof of your kindness, I am jealous of the ornaments, and should have prized the verses naked on whitybrown paper.

Page 264

I am, Sir, yours truly,

C. LAMB.

Oct. 5th.

[Rogers had sent Lamb a copy of his Italy, with illustrations by Turner and Stothard, which was published by Moxon with other firms in 183O.  This is the middle paragraph on page 34:—­

        Here I received from thee, Basilico,
        One of those courtesies so sweet, so rare!
        When, as I rambled thro’ thy vineyard-ground
        On the hill-side, thou sent’st thy little son,
        Charged with a bunch almost as big as he,
        To press it on the stranger.  May thy vats
        O’erflow, and he, thy willing gift-bearer,
        Live to become a giver; and, at length,
        When thou art full of honour and wouldst rest,
        The staff of thine old age!]

LETTER 524

CHARLES LAMB TO VINCENT NOVELLO

[P.M.  November 8, 1830.]

        Tears are for lighter griefs.  Man weeps the doom
        That seals a single victim to the tomb. 
        But when Death riots, when with whelming sway
        Destruction sweeps a family away;
        When Infancy and Youth, a huddled mass,
        All in an instant to oblivion pass,
        And Parent’s hopes are crush’d; what lamentation
        Can reach the depth of such a desolation? 
        Look upward, Feeble Ones! look up, and trust
        That He, who lays this mortal frame in dust,
        Still hath the immortal Spirit in His keeping. 
        In Jesus’ sight they are not dead, but sleeping.

Dear N., will these lines do?  I despair of better.  Poor Mary is in a deplorable state here at Enfield.

Love to all,

C. LAMB.

[The four sons and two daughters of John and Ann Rigg, of York, had been drowned in the Ouse.  A number of poets were asked for verses, the best to be inscribed on a monument in York Minster.  Those of James Montgomery were chosen.

It was possibly the death of Hazlitt, on September 18, while the Lambs were in their London lodgings, that brought on Mary Lamb’s attack.]

LETTER 525

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

November 12, 1830.

Dear Moxon,—­I have brought my sister to Enfield, being sure that she had no hope of recovery in London.  Her state of mind is deplorable beyond any example.  I almost fear whether she has strength at her time of life ever to get out of it.  Here she must be nursed, and neither see nor hear of anything in the world out of her sick chamber.  The mere hearing that Southey had called at our lodgings totally upset her.  Pray see him, or hear of him at Mr. Rickman’s, and excuse my not writing to him.  I dare not write or receive a letter in her presence; every little task so agitates her.  Westwood will receive any letter for me, and give it me privately.  Pray assure Southey of my kindliest feelings towards him; and, if you do not see him, send this to him.

Page 265

Kindest remembrances to your sister, and believe me ever yours, C. LAMB.

Remember me kindly to the Allsops.

[Southey was visiting Rickman, then Clerk Assistant to the House of Commons, where he lived.]

LETTER 526

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

[No date. ?  Dec., 1830.]

Dear M. Something like this was what I meant.  But on reading it over, I see no great fun or use in it.  It will only stuff up and encroach upon the sheet you propose.  Do as, and what, you please.  Send Proof, or not, as you like.  If you send, send me a copy or 2 of the Album Verses, and the Juvenile Poetry if bound.

I am happy to say Mary is mending, but not enough to give me hopes of being able to leave her.  I sadly regret that I shall possibly not see Southey or Wordsworth, but I dare not invite either of them here, for fear of exciting my sister, whose only chance is quiet.  You don’t know in what a sad state we have been.

I think the Devil may come out without prefaces, but use your discretion.

Make my kindest remembces to Southey, with my heart’s thanks for his kind intent.  I am a little easier about my Will, and as Ryle is Executor, and will do all a friend can do at the Office, and what little I leave will buy an annuity to piece out tolerably, I am much easier.

Yours ever

C.L.

To 64 New Bond St.

[I cannot say to what the opening sentences refer:  probably an advertisement for Satan in Search of a Wife ("the Devil"), which Lamb had just written and Moxon was publishing.

The reference to the Juvenile Poetry suggests that Moxon had procured some of the sheets of the Poetry for Children which Godwin brought out in 1809, and was binding up a few.  This theory is borne out by the statement in the letter to Mrs. Norris, later, that the book was not to be had for love or money, and the circumstance that in 1833 Lamb seems to send her a copy.  Ryle was Charles Ryle. an India House clerk, and Lamb’s executor with Talfourd.]

LETTER 527

CHARLES LAMB TO GEORGE DYER

Dec. 20, 1830.

Dear Dyer,—­I would have written before to thank you for your kind letter, written with your own hand.  It glads us to see your writing.  It will give you pleasure to hear that, after so much illness, we are in tolerable health and spirits once more.  Miss Isola intended to call upon you after her night’s lodging at Miss Buffam’s, but found she was too late for the stage.  If she comes to town before she goes home, she will not miss paying her respects to Mrs. Dyer and you, to whom she desires best love.  Poor Enfield, that has been so peaceable hitherto, has caught the inflammatory fever, the tokens are upon her! and a great fire was blazing last night in the barns and haystacks of a

Page 266

farmer, about half a mile from us.  Where will these things end?  There is no doubt of its being the work of some ill-disposed rustic; but how is he to be discovered?  They go to work in the dark with strange chemical preparations unknown to our forefathers.  There is not even a dark lantern to have a chance of detecting these Guy Fauxes.  We are past the iron age, and are got into the fiery age, undream’d of by Ovid.  You are lucky in Clifford’s Inn where, I think, you have few ricks or stacks worth the burning.  Pray keep as little corn by you as you can, for fear of the worst.

It was never good times in England since the poor began to speculate upon their condition.  Formerly, they jogged on with as little reflection as horses:  the whistling ploughman went cheek by jowl with his brother that neighed.  Now the biped carries a box of phosphorus in his leather-breeches; and in the dead of night the half-illuminated beast steals his magic potion into a cleft in a barn, and half a country is grinning with new fires.  Farmer Graystock said something to the touchy rustic that he did not relish, and he writes his distaste in flames.  What a power to intoxicate his crude brains, just muddlingly awake, to perceive that something is wrong in the social system!-what a hellish faculty above gunpowder!

Now the rich and poor are fairly pitted; we shall see who can hang or burn fastest.  It is not always revenge that stimulates these kindlings.  There is a love of exerting mischief.  Think of a disrespected clod that was trod into earth, that was nothing, on a sudden by damned arts refined into an exterminating angel, devouring the fruits of the earth and their growers in a mass of fire!  What a new existence!—­what a temptation above Lucifer’s!  Would clod be any thing but a clod, if he could resist it?  Why, here was a spectacle last night for a whole country!—­a Bonfire visible to London, alarming her guilty towers, and shaking the Monument with an ague fit—­all done by a little vial of phosphor in a Clown’s fob!  How he must grin, and shake his empty noddle in clouds, the Vulcanian Epicure!  Can we ring the bells backward?  Can we unlearn the arts that pretend to civilize, and then burn the world?  There is a march of Science; but who shall beat the drums for its retreat?  Who shall persuade the boor that phosphor will not ignite?

Seven goodly stacks of hay, with corn-barns proportionable, lie smoking ashes and chaff, which man and beast would sputter out and reject like those apples of Asphaltes and bitumen.  The food for the inhabitants of earth will quickly disappear.  Hot rolls may say:  “Fuimus panes, fuit quartern-loaf, et ingens gloria Apple-pasty-orum.”  That the good old munching system may last thy time and mine, good un-incendiary George, is the devout prayer of thine,

To the last crust,

CH.  LAMB.

[Incendiarism, the result of agricultural distress and in opposition to the competition of the new machinery, was rife in the country at this time.]

Page 267

LETTER 528

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

[No date. ?  Christmas, 1830.]

Dear M. A thousand thanks for your punctualities.  What a cheap Book is the last Hogarth you sent me!  I am pleased now that Hunt diddled me out of the old one.  Speaking of this, only think of the new farmer with his 30 acres.  There is a portion of land in Lambeth parish called Knaves Acre.  I wonder he overlook’d it.  Don’t show this to the firm of Dilk & C’o.  I next want one copy of Leicester School, and wish you to pay Leishman, Taylor, 2 Blandford Place, Pall Mall, opposite the British Institution, L6. 10. for coat waistcoat &c.  And I vehemently thirst for the 4th No. of Nichols’s Hogarth, to bind ’em up (the 2 books) as “Hogarth, and Supplement.”  But as you know the price, don’t stay for its appearance; but come as soon as ever you can with your bill of all demands in full, and, as I have none but L5 notes, bring with you sufficient change.  Weather is beautiful.  I grieve sadly for Miss Wordsworth.  We are all well again.  Emma is with us, and we all shall be glad of a sight of you.  COME ON Sunday, if you can; better, if you come before.  Perhaps Rogers would smile at this.—­A pert half chemist half apothecary, in our town, who smatters of literature and is immeasurable unletterd, said to me “Pray, Sir, may not Hood (he of the acres) be reckon’d the Prince of wits in the present day?” to which I assenting, he adds “I had always thought that Rogers had been reckon’d the Prince of Wits, but I suppose that now Mr. Hood has the better title to that appellation.”  To which I replied that Mr. R. had wit with much better qualities, but did not aspire to the principality.  He had taken all the puns manufactured in John Bull for our friend, in sad and stupid earnest.  One more Album verses, please.

Adieu.

C.L.

["Hunt.”  This would, I think, be not Leigh Hunt but his nephew, Hunt of Hunt & Clarke.  The diddling I cannot explain.  Leishman was the husband of Mrs. Leishman, the Lambs’ old landlady at Enfield.

“Miss Wordsworth”—­Dorothy Wordsworth, who was ill.

“Perhaps Rogers would smile at this.”  I take the following passage from the Maclise Portrait Gallery:—­

    In the early days of the John Bull it was the fashion to lay every
    foundling witticism at the door of Sam Rogers; and thus the refined
    poet and man of letters became known as a sorry jester.

John Bull was Theodore Hook’s paper.  Maginn wrote in Fraser’s Magazine:—­

Page 268

Joe Miller vails his bonnet to Sam Rogers; in all the newspapers, not only of the kingdom but its dependencies,—­Hindostan, Canada, the West Indies, the Cape, from the tropics,—­nay, from the Antipodes to the Orkneys, Sam is godfather—­ general to all the bad jokes in existence.  The Yankees have caught the fancy, and from New Orleans to New York it is the same,—­Rogers is synonymous with a pun.  All British-born or descended people,—­yea the very negro and the Hindoo—­father their calembourgs on Rogers.  Quashee, or Ramee-Samee, who knows nothing of Sir Isaac Newton, John Milton, or Fraser’s Magazine, grins from ear to ear at the name of the illustrious banker, and with gratified voice exclaims, “Him dam funny, dat Sam!”]

LETTER 529

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

[P.M.  February 3, 1831.]

Dear Moxon, The snows are ancle deep slush and mire, that ’tis hard to get to the post office, and cruel to send the maid out.  ’Tis a slough of despair, or I should sooner have thankd you for your offer of the Life, which we shall very much like to have, and will return duly.  I do not know when I shall be in town, but in a week or two at farthest, when I will come as far as you if I can.  We are moped to death with confinement within doors.  I send you a curiosity of G. Dyer’s tender-conscience.  Between 30 and 40 years since, G. published the Poet’s Fate, in which were two very harmless lines about Mr. Rogers, but Mr. R. not quite approving of them, they were left out in a subsequent edition 1801.  But G. has been worryting about them ever since; if I have heard him once, I have heard him a hundred times express a remorse proportiond to a consciousness of having been guilty of an atrocious libel.  As the devil would have it, a fool they call Barker, in his Parriana has quoted the identical two lines as they stood in some obscure edition anterior to 1801, and the withers of poor G. are again wrung.  His letter is a gem—­with his poor blind eyes it has been laboured out at six sittings.  The history of the couplet is in page 3 of this irregular production, in which every variety of shape and size that Letters can be twisted into, is to be found.  Do shew his part of it to Mr. R. some day.  If he has bowels, they must melt at the contrition so queerly character’d of a contrite sinner.  G. was born I verily think without original sin, but chuses to have a conscience, as every Christian Gentleman should have.  His dear old face is insusceptible of the twist they call a sneer, yet he is apprehensive of being suspected of that ugly appearance.  When he makes a compliment, he thinks he has given an affront.  A name is personality.  But shew (no hurry) this unique recantation to Mr. R.  ’Tis like a dirty pocket handkerchief muck’d with tears of some indigent Magdalen.  There is the impress of sincerity in every pot-hook and hanger.  And then the gilt

Page 269

frame to such a pauper picture!  It should go into the Museum.  I am heartily sorry my Devil does not answer.  We must try it a little longer, and after all I think I must insist on taking a portion of the loss upon myself.  It is too much you should lose by two adventures.  You do not say how your general business goes on, and I should very much like to talk over it with you here.  Come when the weather will possibly let you.  I want to see the Wordsworths, but I do not much like to be all night away.  It is dull enough to be here together, but it is duller to leave Mary; in short it is painful, and in a flying visit I should hardly catch them.  I have no beds for them, if they came down, and but a sort of a house to receive them in, yet I shall regret their departure unseen.  I feel cramped and straiten’d every way.  Where are they?

We have heard from Emma but once, and that a month ago, and are very anxious for another letter.

You say we have forgot your powers of being serviceable to us. That we never shall.  I do not know what I should do without you when I want a little commission.  Now then.  There are left at Miss Buffam’s, the Tales of the Castle, and certain vols.  Retrospective Review.  The first should be conveyd to Novello’s, and the Reviews should be taken to Talfourd’s office, ground floor, East side, Elm Court, Middle Temple, to whom I should have written, but my spirits are wretched.  It is quite an effort to write this.  So, with the Life, I have cut you out 3 Pieces of service.  What can I do for you here, but hope to see you very soon, and think of you with most kindness.  I fear tomorrow, between rains and snows, it would be impossible to expect you, but do not let a practicable Sunday pass.  We are always at home!

Mary joins in remembrances to your sister, whom we hope to see in any fine-ish weather, when she’ll venture.

Remember us to Allsop, and all the dead people—­to whom, and to London, we seem dead.

["The Life.”  The Life which every one was then reading was Moore’s Life of Byron.

“George Dyer’s.”  The explanation is that years before, in his Poems, 1801, Dyer had written in a piece called “The Poet’s Fate”—­

        And Rogers, if he shares the town’s regard,
        Was first a banker ere he rose a bard.

In the second edition Dyer altered this to—­

        And Darwin, if he share the town’s regard,
        Was first a doctor ere he rose a bard.

Lamb notes the alteration in his copy of the second edition, now in the British Museum.  In 1828-1829 appeared Parriana, by Edmund Henry Barker, which quoted the couplet in its original form, to Dyer’s distress.

Tales of the Castle.  By the Countess de Genlis.  Translated by Thomas Holcroft]

LETTER 530

CHARLES LAMB TO GEORGE DYER

Page 270

Feb. 22nd, 1831.

Dear Dyer,—­Mr. Rogers, and Mr. Rogers’s friends, are perfectly assured, that you never intended any harm by an innocent couplet, and that in the revivification of it by blundering Barker you had no hand whatever.  To imagine that, at this time of day, Rogers broods over a fantastic expression of more than thirty years’ standing, would be to suppose him indulging his “Pleasures of Memory” with a vengeance.  You never penned a line which for its own sake you need (dying) wish to blot.  You mistake your heart if you think you can write a lampoon.  Your whips are rods of roses.  Your spleen has ever had for its objects vices, not the vicious-abstract offences, not the concrete sinner.  But you are sensitive, and wince as much at the consciousness of having committed a compliment, as another man would at the perpetration of an affront.  But do not lug me into the same soreness of conscience with yourself.  I maintain, and will to the last hour, that I never writ of you but con amore.  That if any allusion was made to your near-sightedness, it was not for the purpose of mocking an infirmity, but of connecting it with scholar-like habits:  for is it not erudite and scholarly to be somewhat near of sight, before age naturally brings on the malady?  You could not then plead the obrepens senectus.  Did I not moreover make it an apology for a certain absence, which some of your friends may have experienced, when you have not on a sudden made recognition of them in a casual street-meeting, and did I not strengthen your excuse for this slowness of recognition, by further accounting morally for the present engagement of your mind in worthy objects?  Did I not, in your person, make the handsomest apology for absent-of-mind people that was ever made?  If these things be not so, I never knew what I wrote or meant by my writing, and have been penning libels all my life without being aware of it.  Does it follow that I should have exprest myself exactly in the same way of those dear old eyes of yours now—­now that Father Time has conspired with a hard task-master to put a last extinguisher upon them?  I should as soon have insulted the Answerer of Salmasius, when he awoke up from his ended task, and saw no more with mortal vision.  But you are many films removed yet from Milton’s calamity.  You write perfectly intelligibly.  Marry, the letters are not all of the same size or tallness; but that only shows your proficiency in the hands—­text, german-hand, court-hand, sometimes law-hand, and affords variety.  You pen better than you did a twelvemonth ago; and if you continue to improve, you bid fair to win the golden pen which is the prize at your young gentlemen’s academy.  But you must beware of Valpy, and his printing-house, that hazy cave of Trophonius, out of which it was a mercy that you escaped with a glimmer.  Beware of MSS. and Variae Lectiones.  Settle the text for once in your mind, and stick to it.  You have some years’ good sight in you yet, if you do not tamper with it.  It is not for you (for us I should say) to go poring into Greek contractions, and star-gazing upon slim Hebrew points.  We have yet the sight

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        Of sun, and moon, and star, throughout the year,
        And man and woman.

You have vision enough to discern Mrs. Dyer from the other comely gentlewoman who lives up at staircase No. 5; or, if you should make a blunder in the twilight, Mrs. Dyer has too much good sense to be jealous for a mere effect of imperfect optics.  But don’t try to write the Lord’s Prayer, Creed, and Ten Commandments, in the compass of a halfpenny; nor run after a midge or a mote to catch it; and leave off hunting for needles in bushels of hay, for all these things strain the eyes.  The snow is six feet deep in some parts here.  I must put on jack-boots to get at the post-office with this.  It is not good for weak eyes to pore upon snow too much.  It lies in drifts.  I wonder what its drift is; only that it makes good pancakes, remind Mrs. Dyer.  It turns a pretty green world into a white one.  It glares too much for an innocent colour, methinks.  I wonder why you think I dislike gilt edges.  They set off a letter marvellously.  Yours, for instance, looks for all the world like a tablet of curious hieroglyphics in a gold frame.  But don’t go and lay this to your eyes.  You always wrote hieroglyphically, yet not to come up to the mystical notations and conjuring characters of Dr. Parr.  You never wrote what I call a schoolmaster’s hand, like Clarke; nor a woman’s hand, like Southey; nor a missal hand, like Porson; nor an all-of-the-wrong-side-sloping hand, like Miss Hayes; nor a dogmatic, Mede-and-Persian, peremptory hand, like Rickman; but you ever wrote what I call a Grecian’s hand; what the Grecians write (or used) at Christ’s Hospital; such as Whalley would have admired, and Boyer have applauded, but Smith or Atwood (writing-masters) would have horsed you for.  Your boy-of-genius hand and your mercantile hand are various.  By your flourishes, I should think you never learned to make eagles or corkscrews, or flourish the governors’ names in the writing-school; and by the tenor and cut of your letters I suspect you were never in it at all.  By the length of this scrawl you will think I have a design upon your optics; but I have writ as large as I could out of respect to them—­too large, indeed, for beauty.  Mine is a sort of deputy Grecian’s hand; a little better, and more of a worldly hand, than a Grecian’s, but still remote from the mercantile.  I don’t know how it is, but I keep my rank in fancy still since school-days.  I can never forget I was a deputy Grecian!  And writing to you, or to Coleridge, besides affection, I feel a reverential deference as to Grecians still.  I keep my soaring way above the Great Erasmians, yet far beneath the other.  Alas! what am I now? what is a Leadenhall clerk or India pensioner to a deputy Grecian?  How art thou fallen, O Lucifer!  Just room for our loves to Mrs. D., &c.

C. LAMB.

["I never writ of you but con amore.”  Lamb refers particularly to the Elia essay “Oxford in the Vacation” in the London Magazine, where G.D.’s absence of mind and simplicity of character were dwelt upon more intimately than Dyer liked (see Vol.  II.).

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Dyer was gradually going blind.

“The Answerer of Salmasius”—­Milton.

“Comely” Mrs. Dyer.  But in the letter to Mrs. Shelley, Mrs. D. had been “plain”!

Dyer had been a Grecian before Lamb was born.  Clarke would be Charles Cowden Clarke, with whose father Dyer had been an usher.  Miss Hayes we have met.  The Rev. Peter Whalley was Upper Grammar Master in Dyer’s day; Boyer, Lamb and Coleridge’s master, succeeded him in 1776.  Smith was Writing Master at the end of the seventeenth century.

Lamb had never become a Grecian, having an impediment in his speech which made it impossible that he should take orders, the natural fate of Grecians, with profit.  Great Erasmus and Little Erasmus are still the names of classes in the Blue-Coat School.  Grecians were the Little Erasmians.

Here should come a letter from Lamb to P.G.  Patmore, dated April 10, 1831, in which Lamb says of the publisher of the New Monthly Magazine:  “Nature never wrote Knave upon a face more legible than upon that fellow’s—­’Coal-burn him in Beelzebub’s deepest pit.’  I can promise little help if you mean literary, when I reflect that for 5 years I have been feeling the necessity of scribbling but have never found the power.... Moxon is my go between, call on him, 63 New Bond St., he is a very good fellow and the bookseller is not yet burn’d into him.”  Patmore was seeking a publisher for, I imagine, his Chatsworth.

Here should come a letter from Lamb, dated April 13, 1831, which Canon Ainger considers was written to Gary and Mr. Hazlitt to Coleridge.  It states that Lamb is daily expecting Wordsworth.]

LETTER 531

CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON

April 30, 1831.

Vir Bone!—­Recepi literas tuas amicissimas, et in mentem venit responsuro mihi, vel raro, vel nunquam, inter nos intercedisse Latinam linguam, organum rescribendi, loquendive.  Epistolae tuae, Plinianis elegantiis (supra quod TREMULO deceat) refertae, tam a verbis Plinianis adeo abhorrent, ut ne vocem quamquam (Romanam scilicet) habere videaris, quam “ad canem,” ut aiunt, “rejectare possis.”  Forsan desuetudo Latinissandi ad vernaculam linguam usitandam, plusquam opus sit, coegit.  Per adagia quaedam nota, et in ore omnium pervulgata, ad Latinitatis perditae recuperationem revocare te institui.

Felis in abaco est, et aegre videt.  Omne quod splendet nequaquam aurum putes.  Imponas equo mendicum, equitabit idem ad diabolum.  Fur commode a fure prenditur.  O MARIA, MARIA, valde CONTRARIA, quomodo crescit hortulus tuus?  Nunc majora canamus.  Thomas, Thomas, de Islington, uxorem duxit die nupera Dominica.  Reduxit domum postera.  Succedenti baculum emit.  Postridie ferit illam.  Aegrescit ilia subsequenti.  Proxima (nempe Veneris) est Mortua.  Plurimum gestiit Thomas, quod appropinquanti Sabbato efferenda sit.

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Horner quidam Johannulus in angulo sedebat, artocreas quasdam deglutiens.  Inseruit pollices, pruna nana evellens, et magna voce exclamavit “Dii boni, quam bonus puer fio!”

Diddle-diddle-dumkins! meus unicus filius Johannes cubitum ivit, integris braccis, caliga una tantum, indutus.  Diddle-diddle, etc.  DA CAPO.

Hie adsum saltans Joannula.  Cum nemo adsit mihi, semper resto sola.

Aenigma mihi hoc solvas, et Oedipus fies.

Qua ratione assimulandus sit equus TREMULO?

Quippe cui tota communicatio sit per HAY et NEIGH, juxta consilium illud
Dominicum, “Fiat omnis communicatio vestra YEA et NAY.”

In his nugis caram diem consume, dum invigilo valetudini carioris nostras Emmae, quae apud nos jamdudum aegrotat.  Salvere vos jubet mecum Maria mea, ipsa integra valetudine.

ELIA.

Ab agro Enfeldiense datum, Aprilis nescio quibus Calendis—­ Davus sum, non Calendarius.

P.S.—­Perdita in toto est Billa Reformatura.

    [Mr. Stephen Gwynn gives me the following translation:—­

Good Sir, I have received your most kind letter, and it has entered my mind as I began to reply, that the Latin tongue has seldom or never been used between us as the instrument of converse or correspondence.  Your letters, filled with Plinian elegancies (more than becomes a Quaker), are so alien to Pliny’s language, that you seem not to have a word (that is, a Roman word) to throw, as the saying is, at a dog.  Perchance the disuse of Latinising had constrained you more than is right to the use of the vernacular.  I have determined to recall you to the recovery of your lost Latinity by certain well-known adages common in all mouths.

        The cat’s in the cupboard and she can’t see. 
        All that glitters is not gold. 
        Set a beggar on horseback and he’ll ride to the Devil. 
        Set a thief to catch a thief. 
        Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? 
                    Now let us sing of weightier matters.

Tom, Tom, of Islington, wed a wife on Sunday.  He brought her home on Monday.  Bought a stick on Tuesday.  Beat her well on Wednesday.  She was sick on Thursday.  Dead on Friday.  Tom was glad on Saturday night to bury his wife on Sunday.

    Little Jack Homer sat in a corner, eating his Christmas pie.  He put
    in his thumb and drew out a plum, and cried “Good Heavens, what a
    good boy am I!”

    Diddle, diddle, dumkins! my son John Went to bed with his breeches
    on; One shoe off and the other shoe on, Diddle, diddle, etc. (Da
    Capo.)

    Here am I, jumping Joan.  When no one’s by, I’m all alone.

    Solve me this enigma, you shall be an Oedipus.

    Why is a horse like a Quaker?

    Because all his communication is by Hay and Neigh, after the Lord’s
    counsel, “Let all your communication be Yea and Nay.”

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In these trifles I waste the precious day, while watching over the health of our more precious Emma, who has been sick in our house this long time.  My Mary sends you greeting with me, she herself in sound health.

    Given from the Enfield country seat, on I know not what Calends of
    April—­I am Davus not an Almanac.[l]

    P.S.—­The Reform Bill is lost altogether.

The Reform Bill was introduced on March 1, 1831, by Lord John Russell; the second reading was carried on March 22 by a majority of 1.  On its commitment on April 19 there was a majority of 8 against the Government.  Four days later the Government was again defeated by 22 and Parliament was dissolved.  But later, of course, the Reform Bill was passed.]

[Footnote 1:  Allusion to the phrase of Davus the servant in Plautus—­“Davus sum non Oedipus.”]

LETTER 532

CHARLES LAMB TO H.F.  CARY

[Dated at end:] Datum ab agro Enfeldiensi, Maii die sexta, 1831.

Assidens est mihi bona soror, Euripiden evolvens, donum vestrum, carissime Cary, pro quo gratias agimus, lecturi atque iterum lecturi idem.  Pergratus est liber ambobus, nempe “Sacerdotis Commiserationis,” sacrum opus a te ipso Humanissimae Religionis Sacerdote dono datum.  Lachrymantes gavisuri sumus; est ubi dolor fiat voluptas; nee semper dulce mihi est ridere; aliquando commutandum est he! he! he! cum heu! heu! heu!

A Musis Tragicis me non penitus abhorruisse lestis sit Carmen Calamitosum, nescio quo autore lingua prius vernaculi scriptum, et nuperrime a me ipso Latine versum, scilicet, “Tom Tom of Islington.”  Tenuistine?

        “Thomas Thomas de Islington,
        Uxorem duxit Die quadam Solis,
        Abduxit domum sequenti die,
        Emit baculum subsequenti,
        Vapulat ilia postera,
        Aegrotat succedenti, Mortua fit crastina.”

Et miro gaudio afficitur Thomas luce postera quod subsequenti (nempe, Dominica) uxor sit efferenda.

        “En Iliades Domesticas! 
        En circulum calamitatum! 
        Plane hebdomadalem tragoediam.”

I nunc et confer Euripiden vestrum his luctibus, hac morte uxoria; confer Alcesten!  Hecuben! quasnon antiquas Heroinas Dolorosas.

Suffundor genas lachrymis, tantas strages revolvens.  Quid restat nisi quod Tecum Tuam Caram salutamus ambosque valere jubeamus, nosmet ipsi bene valentes.  ELIA.

[Mr. Stephen Gwynn gives me the following translation:—­

Sitting by me is my good sister, turning over Euripides, your gift, dear Cary [a pun here, “carissime care"], for which we thank you, and will read and re-read it.  Most acceptable to both of us is this book of “Pity’s Priest,” a sacred work of your bestowing, yourself a priest of the most humane Religion.  We shall take our pleasure weeping; there are times when pain turns

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pleasure, and I would not always be laughing:  sometimes there should be a change—­heu heu! for he! he!
That I have not shrunk from the Tragic Muses, witness this Lamentable Ballad, first written in the vernacular by I know not what author and lately by myself put into Latin T. T. of Islington.  Have you heard it? (See translation of preceding letter.)

    And Thomas is possessed with a wondrous joy on the following
    morning, because on the next day, that is, Sunday, his wife must be
    buried.

        Lo, your domestic Iliads! 
        Lo, the wheel of Calamities
        The true tragedy of a week.

    Go to now, compare your Euripides with these sorrows, this death of
    a wife!  Compare Alcestis!  Hecuba! or what not other sorrowing
    Heroines of antiquity.

    My cheeks are tear-bedewed as I revolve such slaughter.  What more to
    say, but to salute you Cary and your Cara, and wish you health,
    ourselves enjoying it.

In Mary and Charles Lamb, 1874, by W.C.  Hazlitt, in the Catalogue of Charles Lamb’s Library, for sale by Bartlett and Welford, New York, is this item:—­“Euripidis Tragediae, interp.  Lat. 8vo.  Oxonii, 1821”.  “C. and M. Lamb, from H.F.  Cary,” on flyleaf.  This must be the book referred to.  Euripides has been called the priest of pity.]

LETTER 533

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

[P.M.  July 14, 1831.]

Collier’s Book would be right acceptable.  And also a sixth vol. just publish’d of Nichols’s Illustrations of the Literary History of 18th Century.  I agree with you, and do yet not disagree with W.W., as to H. It rejoyced my heart to read his friendly spirited mention of your publications.  It might be a drawback to my pleasure, that he has tried to decry my “Nicky,” but on deliberate re- and reperusal of his censure I cannot in the remotest degree understand what he means to say.  He and I used to dispute about Hell Eternities, I taking the affirmative.  I love to puzzle atheists, and—­parsons.  I fancy it runs in his head, that I meant to rivet the idea of a personal devil.  Then about the glorious three days! there was never a year or day in my past life, since I was pen-worthy, that I should not have written precisely as I have.  Logic and modesty are not among H.’s virtues.  Talfourd flatters me upon a poem which “nobody but I could have written,” but which I have neither seen nor heard of—­“The Banquet,” or “Banqueting Something,” that has appeared in The Tatler.  Know you of it?  How capitally the Frenchman has analysed Satan!  I was hinder’d, or I was about doing the same thing in English, for him to put into French, as I prosified Hood’s midsummer fairies.  The garden of cabbage escap’d him, he turns it into a garden of pot herbs.  So local allusions perish in translation. 

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About 8 days before you told me of R.’s interview with the Premier, I, at the desire of Badams, wrote a letter to him (Badams) in the most moving terms setting forth the age, infirmities &c. of Coleridge.  This letter was convey’d to [by] B. to his friend Mr. Ellice of the Treasury, Brother in Law to Lord Grey, who immediately pass’d it on [to] Lord Grey, who assured him of immediate relief by a grant on the King’s Bounty, which news E. communicated to B. with a desire to confer with me on the subject, on which I went up to THE Treasury (yesterday fortnight) and was received by the Great Man with the utmost cordiality, (shook hands with me coming and going) a fine hearty Gentleman, and, as seeming willing to relieve any anxiety from me, promised me an answer thro’ Badams in 2 or 3 days at furthest.  Meantime Gilman’s extraordinary insolent letter comes out in the Times!  As to my acquiescing in this strange step, I told Mr. Ellice (who expressly said that the thing was renewable three-yearly) that I consider’d such a grant as almost equivalent to the lost pension, as from C.’s appearance and the representations of the Gilmans, I scarce could think C.’s life worth 2 years’ purchase.  I did not know that the Chancellor had been previously applied to.  Well, after seeing Ellice I wrote in the most urgent manner to the Gilmans, insisting on an immediate letter of acknowledgment from Coleridge, or them in his name to Badams, who not knowing C. had come forward so disinterestedly amidst his complicated illnesses and embarrassments, to use up an interest, which he may so well need, in favor of a stranger; and from that day not a letter has B. or even myself, received from Highgate, unless that publish’d one in the Times is meant as a general answer to all the friends who have stirr’d to do C. service!  Poor C. is not to blame, for he is in leading strings.—­I particularly wish you would read this part of my note to Mr. Rogers.  Now for home matters—­Our next 2 Sundays will be choked up with all the Sugdens.  The third will be free, when we hope you will show your sister the way to Enfield and leave her with us for a few days.  In the mean while, could you not run down some week day (afternoon, say) and sleep at the Horse Shoe?  I want to have my 2d vol.  Elias bound Specimen fashion, and to consult you about ’em.  Kenney has just assured me, that he has just touch’d L100 from the theatre; you are a damn’d fool if you don’t exact your Tythe of him, and with that assurance I rest

Your Brother fool C.L.

[Collier’s book would be his History of English Dramatic Poetry, 1831.  Nichols’s Illustrations had been begun by John Nichols, and six volumes were published between 1817 and 1831.  It was completed in two more volumes by his son, John Bowyer Nichols, in 1848 and 1858.

“H.”—­Leigh Hunt.  We do not know what W.W., presumably Wordsworth, had to say of him; but this is how Hunt had referred to Moxon’s publications and Lamb’s Satan in Search of a Wife in The Tatler for June 4, 1831, the occasion being a review of “Selections from Wordsworth” for schools:—­

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Mr. Moxon has begun his career as a bookseller in singularly high taste.  He has no connection but with the select of the earth.  The least thing he does, is to give us a dandy poem, suitable to Bond street, and not without wit.  We allude to the Byronian brochure, entitled “Mischief.”  But this is a mere condescension to the elegance of the street he lives in.  Mr. Moxon commenced with some of the primaeval delicacies of Charles Lamb.  He then astonished us with Mr. Rogers’ poems on Italy....  Of some of these publications we have already spoken,—­Mr. Lamb’s Album Verses among them.  And why (the reader may ask) not have noticed his Satan in Search of a Wife?  Because, to say the truth, we did not think it worthy of him.  We rejoice in Mr. Lamb’s accession to the good cause advocated by Sterne and Burns, refreshed by the wholesome mirth of Mr. Moncrieff, and finally carried (like a number of other astonished humanities, who little thought of the matter, and are not all sensible of it now) on the triumphant shoulders of the Glorious Three Days.  But Mr. Lamb, in the extreme sympathy of his delight, has taken for granted, that everything that can be uttered on the subject will be held to be worth uttering, purely for its own sake, and because it could not well have been said twelve months ago.  He merges himself, out of the pure transport of his good will, into the joyous common-places of others; just as if he had joined a great set of children in tossing over some mighty bowl of snap-dragon, too scalding to bear; and thought that nothing could be so good as to echo their “hurras!” Furthermore, we fear that some of his old friends, on the wrong side of the House, would think a little of his merriment profane:  though for our parts, if we are certain of anything in this world, it is that nothing can be more Christian.

“The Banquet.”  I cannot find this poem.  It is, I think, not in The Tatler.

“How capitally the Frenchman ...”  I cannot find any French paraphrase of Satan in Search of a Wife, nor has a search at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris revealed one.

“R.’s interview with the Premier.”  R. would be Rogers.  Perhaps the best explanation of this portion of Lamb’s letter is the following passage from Mr. Dykes Campbell’s memoir of Coleridge:—­

On June 26, 1830, died George IV., and with him died the pensions of the Royal Associates.  Apparently they did not find this out until the following year.  In the Englishman’s Magazine for June, 1831, attention was directed to the fact that “intimation had been given to Mr. Coleridge and his brother Associates that they must expect their allowances ‘very shortly’ to cease”—­the allowances having been a personal bounty of the late King.  On June 3, 1831, Gillman wrote a letter to the Times, “in consequence of a paragraph which appeared in the Times of this day.”  He states

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that on the sudden suppression of the honorarium, representations on Coleridge’s behalf were made to Lord Brougham, with the result that the Treasury (Lord Grey) offered a private grant of L200, which Coleridge “had felt it his duty most respectfully to decline.”  Stuart, however, wrote to King William’s son, the Earl of Munster, pointing out the hardship entailed on Coleridge, “who is old and infirm, and without other means of subsistence.”  He begs the Earl to lay the matter before his royal father.  To this a reply came, excusing the King on account of his “very reduced income,” but promising that the matter shall be laid before His Majesty.  To these letters, which are printed in Letters from the Lake Poets (pages 319-322), the following note is appended:  “The annuity ... was not renewed, but a sum of L300 was ultimately handed over to Coleridge by the Treasury.”  Even apart from this bounty, Coleridge was not a sufferer by the withdrawal of the King’s pension, for Frere made it up to him annually.

It is interesting to know that Lamb played so useful and characteristic a part in this matter.

“The Sugdens.”  I do not identify these friends.

“2d vol.  Elias.”  This would refer, I think, to the American volume, published without authority, in 1828, under the title Elia; or, Second Series, which Lamb told N.P.  Willis he liked.  It contained three pieces not by Lamb; the rest made up from the Works and the London Magazine (see Vol.  II., notes).]

LETTER 534

CHARLES LAMB TO EDWARD MOXON

Pray forward the enclosed, or put it in the post.

[No date.  Early August, 1831.]

Dear M.—­The R.A. here memorised was George Dawe, whom I knew well and heard many anecdotes of, from DANIELS and WESTALL, at H. Rogers’s—­to each of them it will be well to send a Mag. in my name.  It will fly like wild fire among the R. Academicians and artists.  Could you get hold of Proctor—­his chambers are in Lincoln’s Inn at Montagu’s—­or of Janus Weathercock?—­both of their prose is capital.  Don’t encourage poetry.  The Peter’s Net does not intend funny things only.  All is fish.  And leave out the sickening Elia at the end.  Then it may comprise letters and characters addrest to Peter—­but a signature forces it to be all characteristic of the one man Elia, or the one man Peter, which cramped me formerly.  I have agreed not for my sister to know the subjects I chuse till the Mag. comes out; so beware of speaking of ’em, or writing about ’em, save generally.  Be particular about this warning.  Can&rsq