not immediately to be recognised, garters, hose, waistcoat,
neckerchief, arranged in dreadful order and proportion,
which I knew was not mine own. ’Tis the
common symptom, on awaking, I judge my last night’s
condition from. A tolerable scattering on the
floor I hail as being too probably my own, and if
the candlestick be not removed, I assoil myself.
But this finical arrangement, this finding everything
in the morning in exact diametrical rectitude, torments
me. By whom was I divested? Burning blushes!
not by the fair hands of nymphs, the Buffam Graces?
Remote whispers suggested that I coached
home in triumph—far be that from working
pride in me, for I was unconscious of the locomotion;
that a young Mentor accompanied a reprobate old Telemachus;
that, the Trojan like, he bore his charge upon his
shoulders, while the wretched incubus, in glimmering
sense, hiccuped drunken snatches of flying on the
bats’ wings after sunset. An aged servitor
was also hinted at, to make disgrace more complete:
one, to whom my ignominy may offer further occasions
of revolt (to which he was before too fondly inclining)
from the true faith; for, at a sight of my helplessness,
what more was needed to drive him to the advocacy
of independency? Occasion led me through Great
Russell Street yesterday. I gazed at the great
knocker. My feeble hands in vain essayed to lift
it. I dreaded that Argus Portitor, who doubtless
lanterned me out on that prodigious night. I called
the Elginian marbles. They were cold to my suit.
I shall never again, I said, on the wide gates unfolding,
say without fear of thrusting back, in a light but
a peremptory air, “I am going to Mr. Cary’s.”
I passed by the walls of Balclutha. I had imaged
to myself a zodiac of third Wednesdays irradiating
by glimpses the Edmonton dulness. I dreamed of
Highmore! I am de-vited to come on Wednesdays.
Villanous old age that, with second childhood, brings
linked hand in hand her inseparable twin, new inexperience,
which knows not effects of liquor. Where I was
to have sate for a sober, middle-aged-and-a-half gentleman,
literary too, the neat-fingered artist can educe no
notions but of a dissolute Silenus, lecturing natural
philosophy to a jeering Chromius or a Mnasilus.
Pudet. From the context gather the lost name
["The Buffam Graces.” Lamb’s landladies
at Southampton Buildings.
“I passed by the walls of Balclutha.”
From Ossian. Lamb uses this quotation in his
Elia essay on the South-Sea House.
“Highmore.” I cannot explain this
Not long before Mrs. Procter’s death a letter
from Charles Lamb to Mrs. Basil Montagu was sold,
in which Lamb apologised for having become intoxicated
while visiting her the night before. Some one
mentioned the letter in Mrs. Procter’s presence.
“Ah,” she said, “but they haven’t
seen the second letter, which I have upstairs, written
next day, in which he said that my mother might ask
him again with safety as he never got drunk twice
in the same house.” Unhappily, a large number
of Lamb’s and other letters were burned by Mrs.