The Works of Charles Lamb in Four Volumes, Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 408 pages of information about The Works of Charles Lamb in Four Volumes, Volume 4.

I never shall forget meeting my rascal,—­I mean the fellow who officiated for me,—­in London last winter.  I think I see him now,—­in a waistcoat that had been mine,—­smirking along as if he knew me——­

In some parts of Germany, that fellow’s office is by law declared infamous, and his posterity incapable of being ennobled.  They have hereditary hangmen, or had at least, in the same manner as they had hereditary other great officers of state; and the hangmen’s families of two adjoining parishes intermarried with each other, to keep the breed entire.  I wish something of the same kind were established in England.

But it is time to quit a subject which teems with disagreeable images——­

Permit me to subscribe myself, Mr. Editor,

Your unfortunate friend,


* * * * *


          “Sedet, asternumque sedebit,
   Infelix Theseus.”  VIRGIL.

That there is a professional melancholy, if I may so express myself, incident to the occupation of a tailor, is a fact which I think very few will venture to dispute.  I may safely appeal to my readers, whether they ever knew one of that faculty that was not of a temperament, to say the least, far removed from mercurial or jovial.

Observe the suspicious gravity of their gait.  The peacock is not more tender, from a consciousness of his peculiar infirmity, than a gentleman of this profession is of being known by the same infallible testimonies of his occupation.  “Walk, that I may know thee.”

Do you ever see him go whistling along the footpath like a carman, or brush through a crowd like a baker, or go smiling to himself like a lover?  Is he forward to thrust into mobs, or to make one at the ballad-singer’s audiences?  Does he not rather slink by assemblies and meetings of the people, as one that wisely declines popular observation?

How extremely rare is a noisy tailor! a mirthful and obstreperous tailor!

“At my nativity,” says Sir Thomas Browne, “my ascendant was the earthly sign of Scorpius; I was born in the planetary hour of Saturn, and I think I have a piece of that leaden planet in me.”  One would think that he were anatomizing a tailor! save that to the latter’s occupation, methinks, a woollen planet would seem more consonant, and that he should be born when the sun was in Aries.—­He goes on; “I am no way facetious, nor disposed for the mirth and galliardise of company.”  How true a type of the whole trade!  Eminently economical of his words, you shall seldom hear a jest come from one of them.  He sometimes furnishes subject for a repartee, but rarely (I think) contributes one ore proprio.

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The Works of Charles Lamb in Four Volumes, Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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