Your ever obliged servant,
My sister joins me in respects and thanks.
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.
[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.