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.]
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.]
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.