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.
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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.