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.

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I was sent for the other morning to the assistance of a gentleman, who had been wounded in a duel,—­and his wounds by unskilful treatment had been brought to a dangerous crisis.

The uncommonness of the name, which was Matravis, suggested to me, that this might possibly be no other than Allan’s old enemy.  Under this apprehension, I did what I could to dissuade Allan from accompanying me—­but he seemed bent upon going, and even pleased himself with the notion, that it might lie within his ability to do the unhappy man some service.  So he went with me.

When we came to the house, which was in Soho-square, we discovered that it was indeed the man—­the identical Matravis, who had done all that mischief in times past—­but not in a condition to excite any other sensation than pity in a heart more hard than Allan’s.

Intense pain had brought on a delirium—­we perceived this on first entering the room—­for the wretched man was raving to himself—­talking idly in mad unconnected sentences—­that yet seemed, at times, to have reference to past facts.

One while he told us his dream.  “He had lost his way on a great heath, to which there seemed no end—­it was cold, cold, cold,—­and dark, very dark—­an old woman in leading-strings, blind, was groping about for a guide”—­and then he frightened me,—­for he seemed disposed to be jocular, and sang a song about “an old woman clothed in gray,” and said “he did not believe in a devil.”

Presently he bid us “not tell Allan Clare.”—­Allan was hanging over him at that very moment, sobbing.—­I could not resist the impulse, but cried out, “This is Allan Clare—­Allan Clare is come to see you, my dear Sir.”—­The wretched man did not hear me, I believe, for he turned his head away, and began talking of charnel-houses, and dead men, and “whether they knew anything that passed in their coffins.”

Matravis died that night.

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To comfort the desponding parent with the thought that, without diminishing the stock which is imperiously demanded to furnish the more pressing and homely wants of our nature, he has disposed of one or more perhaps out of a numerous offspring, under the shelter of a care scarce less tender than the paternal, where not only their bodily cravings shall be supplied, but that mental pabulum is also dispensed, which HE hath declared to be no less necessary to our sustenance, who said, that, “not by bread alone man can live”:  for this Christ’s Hospital unfolds her bounty.  Here neither, on the one hand, are the youth lifted up above their family, which we must suppose liberal, though reduced; nor on the other hand, are they liable

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