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.]
CHARLES LAMB TO MRS. BASIL MONTAGU
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:
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.*
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.