The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 6 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 705 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 6.
took the finishing glass that did my business.  My sister has begged me to write an apology to Mrs. A. and you for disgracing your party; now it does seem to me, that I rather honoured your party, for every one that was not drunk (and one or two of the ladies, I am sure, were not) must have been set off greatly in the contrast to me.  I was the scapegoat.  The soberer they seemed.  By the way is magnesia good on these occasions? iii pol:  med:  sum:  ante noct:  in rub:  can:.  I am no licentiate, but know enough of simples to beg you to send me a draught after this model.  But still you’ll say (or the men and maids at your house will say) that it is not a seemly sight for an old gentleman to go home pick-a-back.  Well, may be it is not.  But I have never studied grace.  I take it to be a mere superficial accomplishment.  I regard more the internal acquisitions.  The great object after supper is to get home, and whether that is obtained in a horizontal posture or perpendicular (as foolish men and apes affect for dignity) I think is little to the purpose.  The end is always greater than the means.  Here I am, able to compose a sensible rational apology, and what signifies how I got here?  I have just sense enough to remember I was very happy last night, and to thank our kind host and hostess, and that’s sense enough, I hope.


N.B.—­What is good for a desperate head-ache?  Why, Patience, and a determination not to mind being miserable all day long.  And that I have made my mind up to.

So, here goes.  It is better than not being alive at all, which I might have been, had your man toppled me down at Lieut.  Barker’s Coal-shed.  My sister sends her sober compliments to Mrs. A. She is not much the worse.

Yours truly,


["Ariel.”  In two other of his letters, Lamb confesses similarly to a similar escapade.  And in his Elia essay “Rejoicings on the New Year’s Coming of Age,” he sends Ash Wednesday home in the same manner.

Lieut.  John Barker, R.N., was a local character, a coal merchant and a man with a grievance.  He had thirteen children, some of whose names probably greatly amused Lamb—­John Thomas, William Charles, Frederick Alexander, Marius Collins, Caius Marcius, Marcus Aurelius Antonius, Coriolanus Aurelius, Horatius Tertius Decimus, Elizabeth Mary, Concordia, Lousia Clarissa, Caroline Maria Quiroja and Volumnia Hortensia.]



Enfield, Tuesday [April 21, 1830].

Dear Madam,—­I have ventured upon some lines, which combine my old acrostic talent (which you first found out) with my new profession of epitaph-monger.  As you did not please to say, when you would die, I have left a blank space for the date.  May kind heaven be a long time in filling it up.  At least you cannot say that these lines are not about you, though not much to the purpose.  We were very sorry to hear that you have not been very well, and hope that a little excursion may revive you.  Miss Isola is thankful for her added day; but I verily think she longs to see her young friends once more, and will regret less than ever the end of her holydays.  She cannot be going on more quietly than she is doing here, and you will perceive amendment.

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The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 6 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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