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,
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.]
CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS HOOD
Late autumn, 1828.
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):—
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,