Richard Savage was considered to be the natural son of the Countess of Macclesfield and Earl Rivers. His mother at first disowned him, but afterwards, when this became impossible, repulsed him. Johnson says in his “Life of Savage,” that it was his hero’s “practice to walk in the dark evenings for several hours before her door in hopes of seeing her as she might come by accident to the window or cross her apartment with a candle in her hand.”
Swift and Defoe were steady enemies, although I do not find that either mentions the other by name. But Swift in The Examiner often had Defoe in mind, and Defoe in one of his political writings refers to Swift, apropos Wood’s halfpence, as “the copper farthing author.”
Pope referred to Defoe twice in the Dunciad: once as standing high, fearless and unabashed in the pillory, and once, libellously, as the father of Norton, of the Flying Post.
Philip Quarll was the first imitation of Robinson Crusoe. It was published in 1727, purporting to be the narrative of one Dorrington, a merchant, and Quarll’s discoverer. The title begins, The Hermit; or, The Unparalleled Sufferings and Surprising Adventures of Mr. Philip Quarll, an Englishman ... Lamb says in his essay on Christ’s Hospital that the Blue-Coat boys used to read the book. The authorship of the book is still unknown.
Steele’s account of Selkirk is in The Englishman, No. 26, Dec. 1, 1713. Wilson quoted it.
Defoe’s fictitious Military Memoirs of Capt. George Carleton was published in 1728.
I cannot explain Puzzelli or Donald M’Leod. Later Lamb sent Wilson, who seems to have asked for some verse about Defoe, the “Ode to the Treadmill,” but Wilson did not use it.
“My old compound.” Robinson’s Diary (Vol. I., page 333) has this: “The large room in the accountant’s office at the East India House is divided into boxes or compartments, in each of which sit six clerks, Charles Lamb himself in one. They are called Compounds. The meaning of the word was asked one day, and Lamb said it was ‘a collection of simples.’”]
CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON
[Dated at end: March 11, 1823.]
Dear Sir—The approbation of my little book by your sister is very pleasing to me. The Quaker incident did not happen to me, but to Carlisle the surgeon, from whose mouth I have twice heard it, at an interval of ten or twelve years, with little or no variation, and have given it as exactly as I could remember it. The gloss which your sister, or you, have put upon it does not strike me as correct. Carlisle drew no inference from it against the honesty of the Quakers, but only in favour of their surprising coolness—that they should be capable of committing a good joke, with an utter insensibility to its being any jest at all. I have reason to believe in the truth of it, because, as I have said, I heard him repeat it without variation at such an interval. The story loses sadly in print, for Carlisle is the best story teller I ever heard. The idea of the discovery of roasting pigs, I also borrowed, from my friend Manning, and am willing to confess both my plagiarisms.