Charles Lamb.

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cise of it should remain with the pre-
sent possessor. At the same time, he
slily rounded the first lady in the ear,
that an action might lie against the
Crown for bi-geny.

It beginning to grow a little dusk-
ish. Candlemas lustily bawled out for
lights, which was opposed by all the
Days, who protested against burning
day-light. Then fair water was
handed round in silver ewers, and
the same lady was observed to take
an unusual time in washing Yier^elt

May Day, with that sweetness
which is peculiar to her, in a neat
speech proposing the health of the
founder, crowned her goblet (and
by her example the rest of the
company) with garlands. This being
done, the lordly New Year from the
upper end of the table, in a cordial
but somewhat lofty tone, returned
thanks. He felt proud on an occasion
of meeting so many of his worthy
father's late tenants, promised to im-
prove their farms, and at the same
time to abate (if any thing was found
unreasonable) in their rents.

At the mention of this, the four
Qua?'ter Days involuntarily looked at
each other, and smiled ; April Fool
whistled to an old tune of '^ New
Brooms ; " and a surly old rebel at
the farther end of the table (who
Avas discovered to be no other than
the Fifth of November), muttered
out, distinctly enough to be heard
by the whole company, words to this
effect, that, ^'when the' old one is gone,
he is a fool that looks for a better."
Which rudeness of his the guests
resenting, unanimously voted his ex-
pulsion ; and the mafe-content w^as
thrust out neck and heels into the
cellar^ as the properest place for


Hejoicings upon the New Year*s coming of Age,

such a boutefeu and firebrand as he
had shown himself.

Order being restored — the young
lord (who, to say truth, had been
a little ruffled, and put beside his
oratory) hi as few, and yet as
oblighig words as possible, assured
them of entire welcome ; and, with
a graceful turn, singling out poor
.Twenty Ninth of February, that had
sate all this while mum-chance at
the side-board, begged to couple his
health with that of the good com-
pany before him — which he drank
accordingly ; observing, that he had
not seen his honest face any time
these four years, with a number of
endearing expressions besides. At
the same time, removing the solitary
JOay from the forlorn seat which had
been assigned him, he stationed him
at his own board, somewhere be-
tween the Greek Calends and Latter

Ash Wednesday, being now called
upon for a song, with his eyes fast
stuck in his head, and as well as the
Canary he had swallowed would give
him leave, struck up a Carol, which
Christmas Day had taught him for
the nonce; and was followed by the
latter, who gave " Miserere " in fine
style, hitting off the mupiping tones
and lengthened drawl of Old Mortis
fication with infinite humour. April
Fool swore they had exchanged con-
ditions : but Good Friday was ob-
served to look extremely grave ; and
Sunday held her fan before her ^ice,
that she might not be seen to smile.

Shrove- fide. Lord JMayor's Day, and
April Fool, next joined in a glee —

Which is the properest day to drink ?

in which all the Days chiming in^
made a merry burden.

They next fell to quibbles and co-
nundrums. The question being pro-
posed, who had the greatest nimiber
of followers — the Quarter Days said,
there could be no question as to that ;
for they had all the creditors in the
world dogging their heels. But April
Fool gave it in favour of the Forty
Days before Easter; because the deb-
tors in all cases out-numbered the
creditors, and they kept lent all the

All this while, Valentine's Day
kept courting pretty May, who sate
nexthim, slipping amorous billets-doux

under the table, till the Dog Days
(who are naturally of a warm con-
stitution,) began to be jealous, and to
bark and rage exceedingly. Apinl
Fool, who likes a bit of sport above
measure, and had some pretensions
to the lady besides, as being but a
cousin once removed, — clapped and
halloo'd them on ; and as fast as
their indignation cooled, those mad
wags, the Ember Days, were at it
with their bellows, to blow it into a
flame ; and all was in a ferment: till
old Madam Septuagesima {whohoasis
herself the Mother of the Days) wise-
ly diverted the conversation with a
tedious tale of the lovers which she
could reckon when she was young ;
and cf one Master Rogation Day in
particular, who was for ever putting
the (juestion to her, but she kept him
at a distance, as the chronicle would
•tell — by which I apprehend she
meant the Almanack. Then she
rambled on to the Days that were gone,
the good old Days, and so to the
Days before the Flood — which plainly
showed her old head to be little better
than crazed and doited.

Day being ended, the Days called
for their cloaks and great coats, and
took their leaves. Lord Mayor s Day
went off in a Mist, as usual ; Shortest
Day in a deep black Fog, that wrapt
the little gentleman all round like a
hedge-hog. Two Fig ils— so watch-
men are called in heaven — saw Christ-
mas Day safe home — they had been
used to the business before. Another
Vigil — a stout, sturdy patrole, called
the Eve of St. Christopher — seeing
Ash Wednesday hi a condition little
better than he should be, e'en whipt
him over his shoulders, pick-a-back
fashion, and Old Mortifieation went
floating home, singing —

On the bafs back do Ifly-t

and a number of old snatches besides,
between drunk and sober, but very
few Aves or Penitentiaries (you may
believe me) were among them.
Longest Day set off westward in
beautiful crimson and gold — the rest,
some in one fashion, some in another;
— but Valentine and pretty May took
their departure together in one of the
prettiest silvery twilights a Lover's
Day would wish to set in.

Eua's Ghost,


This gentleman, who for some
months past had been in a declining-
way, hath at length paid his final
tribute to nature. He just lived long
enough (it was what he wished) to
see his papers collected into a volume.
The pages of the Lonpon Maga-
zine will henceforth know him no

Exactly at twehe last night his
queer spirit departed, and the bells
of Saint Bride's rang him out with
the old year. The mournful vibra-
tions were caught in the dining
room of his friends T. and H. ; and
the company, assembled there to
welcome in another First of January,
checked their carousals in mid-mirth,
and were silent. Janus wept. The
gentle P r, in a whisper, signi-
fied his intention of devoting an

Elegy ; and Allan C , nobly

forgetful of his countrymen's wrongs^

vowed a Memoir to his nmncs, full
and friendly as a Tale of Lyddal-

To say tmth, it is time he were
gone. The humour of the thing, if
there was ever much in it, was
pretty well exhausted; and a two
years' and a half existence has been
a tolerable duration for a phantom.

I am now at liberty to confess,
that much which I have heard ob-
jected to my late friend's writings
was well-founded. Crude they are,
I grant you — a sort of uniicked, in-
condite things — villainously pranked
in an affected array of antique modes
and phrases. They had not been his,
if they had been other than such ;
and better it is, that a writer should
be natural in a self-pleasing quaint-
ness, than to affect a naturalness (so
called) that should be strange to
him. Egotistical they have been


pronouiiced by some who did not
knoW;, that what he tells us, as of
himself, was often true only (histo-
rically) of another; as in his Fourth
Essay (to save many instances) —
where under the first person (his fa-
vourite figure) he shadows forth the
forlorn estate of a country-boy placed
at a London school, far from his
friends and connections— in direct
opposition to his own early history.
— If it be egotism to imply and
twine with his own identity the
griefs and affections of another —
making himself many, or reducing
many unto himself— then is the skil-
ful novelist, who all along brings in
his hero, or heroine, speaking of
themselves, the greatest egotist of
all; who yet has never, therefore,
been accused of that narrowness.
And how shall the intenser drama-
tist escape being faulty, who doubt-
less, under cover of passion uttered
by another, oftentimes gives blame-
less vent to his most inward feelings,
and expresses his own story mo-
destly ?

My late friend was in many res-
pects a singular character. Those
who did not like him, hated him ;
and some, who once liked him, after-
wards became his bitterest haters.
The truth is, he gave himself too
little concern what he uttered, and
in whose presence. He observed
neither time nor place, and would
e'en out with vvhat came uppermost.
With the severe religionist he would
pass for a free-thinker ; while the
other faction set him down for a
bigot, or persuaded themselves that
he belied his sentiments. Few
imderstood him ; and I am not cer-
tain that at all times he quite under-
stood himself. He too much af-
fected that dangerous figure — irony.
He sowed doubtful speeches, and
reaped plain, unequivocal hatred. —
He would interrupt the gravest dis-
cussion with some light jest ; and
yet, perhaps, not quite irrelevant in
ears that could understand it. Your
long and much talkers hated him.
The informal habit of his mind,
joined to an inveterate impediment
of speech, forbade him to be an
orator; and he seemed determined
that no one else should play that
part when he was present. He was
petit and ordinary in his person and
appearance. I have seen him some-
times in what is called good com-

pany, but where he has been a
stranger, sit silent, and be suspected
for an odd fellow ; till some unlucky
occasion provoking it, he would stut-
ter out some senseless pun (not alto-
gether senseless perhaps, if rightly
taken), which has stamped his char
racter for the evening. It was hit or
miss with him ; but nine times out
of ten, he contrived by this device
to send away a whole company his
enemies. His conceptions rose kind-
lier than his utterance, and his hap-
piest impromptus had the appearance
of effort. He has been accused of
trying to be witty, when in truth he
was but struggling to give his poor
thoughts articulation. He chose hig
companions for some individuality of
character which they manifested. — ■
Hence, not many persons of science,
and few professed literati, were of his
councils. They were, for the most part,
persons of an uncertain fortune; and,
as to such people commonly nothing is
more obnoxious than a gentleman of
settled (though moderate) income,
he passed with most of them for a
great miser. To my knowledge this
was a mistake. His intimados, to
confess a truth, were in the world's
eye a ragged regiment. He found
them floating on the surface of so-
ciety ; and the colour, or something
else, in the weed pleased him. The
burrs stuck to him— but they were
good and loving bvurs for all that.
He never greatly cared for the society
of what are called good people. If
any of these were scandalised (and
offences were sure to arise), he could
not help it. When he has been re-
monstrated with for not making more
concessions to the feelings of good
people, he would retort by asking,
what one point did these good people
ever concede to him ? He was tem-
perate in his meals and diversions,
but always kept a little on this side
of abstemiousness. Only in the use
of the Indian weed he might be
thought a little excessive. He took
it, he would say, as a solvent of
speech. Marry — as the friendly va-
pour ascended, how his prattle
would curl up sometimes with it !
the ligaments, which tongue-tied
him, were loosened, and the stam-
merer proceeded a statist !

I do not know whether I' ought to
bemoan or rejoice that my old friend
is departed. His jests were begin -
ning to grow obsolete, and his stories

A Character of the late Elia.

He felt the ap-
proaches of age ; and while he pre-
tended to cling to lifcj you saw how
slender were the ties left to bind
him. Discourshig with him latterly
on this subject, he expressed himself
with a pettishness, which 1 thought
unworthy of him. In our walks
about his suburban retreat (as he
called it) at Shacklewellj some chil-
dren belonging to a school of indus-
try had met us, and bowed and curt-
seyed, as he thought, in an especial
manner to him. " They take me for
a visiting governor," he muttered
earnestly. He had a horror, which
he carried to a foible, of looking like
any thing important and parochial.
He thought that he approached nearer
to that stamp daily. He had a ge-
neral aversion from being treated like
a grave or respectable character, and
kept a wary eye upon the advances of
age that should so entitle him. He
herded always, while it was pos-
sible, with people younger than him-
self. He did not conform to the
march of time, but was dragged a-
long in the procession. His manners
lagged behind his years. He was
too much of the boy-man. The toga
virilis never sate gracefully on his
shoulders. The impressions of in-
fancy had burnt into him, and he re-
sented the impertinence of manhood.
These were weaknesses ; but such as
they were, they are a key to explicate
some of his writings.

He left little property behind him.
Of course, the little that is left
(chiefly in India bonds) devolves
upon his cousin Bridget. A few cri-
tical dissertations were found in his
escrutoire, which have been handed
over to the Editor of this Magazine,
in which it is to be hoped they will
shortly appear, retaining his accus-
tomed signature.

He has himself not obscurely
hinted that his employment lay in a
public office. The gentlemen in the
Export department of the East
India House will forgive me, if I ac-
knowledge the readiness with which
they assisted me in the retrieval of
his few manuscripts. They pointed
out in a most obliging manner the
desk, at which he had been planted
for forty years ; showed me ponder-
ous tomes of figures, in his own re-
markably neat hand, Avhich, more
properly than his few printed tracts,
Jan. 1823.

might be called his " Works." They
seemed , affectionate to his memory,
and universally commended his ex-
pertness in book-keeping. It seems
he was the inventor of some ledger,
which should combine the precision
and certainty of the Italian double-
entry (I think they called it) with
the brevity and facility of some newer
German system — but I am not able
to appreciate the worth of the disco-
very. I have often heard him ex-
press a warm regard for his asso-
ciates in office, and how fortunate he
considered himself in having his lot
thrown in amongst them. There is
more sense, more discourse, more
shrewdness, and even talent, among
these clerks (he would say) than in
twice the number of authors by pro-
fession that I have conversed with.
He would brighten up sometimes
upon the " old days of the India
House," when he consorted with
Woodroffe, and Wissett, and Peter
Corbet (a descendant and worthy re-
presentative, bating the point of
sanctity, of old facetious bishop Cor-
bet), and Hoole who translated Tas-
so, and Bartlemy Brown whose
father (God assoil him therefore) mo-
dernized Walton — and sly warm-
hearted old Jack Cole (King Cole
they called him in those days), and
Campe, and Fombelle — and a world
of choice spirits, more than I can re-
member to name, who associated m
those days with Jack Burrell (the
ban vivant of the South Sea House),
and little Eyton (said to be a. fac
simile of Pope — he was a miniature
of a gentleman) that was cashier
under him, and Dan Voight of the
Custom House that left the famous

Well, Elia is gone — for aught I
know, to be reunited with them —
and these poor traces of his pen are
all we have to show for it. How lit-
tle survives of the wordiest authors !
Of all they said or did in their life-
time, a few glittering words only I
His Essays found some favourers, as
they appeared separately ; they shuf-
fled their way in the crowd well
enough singly ; how they will read,
now they are brought together, is a
question for the publishers, who have
thus ventured to draw out into one
piece his " weaved-up follies."




I HAVE an almost feminine parti-
ality for old china. When I go to
see any great house, I inquire for
the china closet, and next for the
picture gallery. I cannot defend the
order of preference, but by saying,
that we have all some taste or other,
of too ancient a date to admit of our
remembering distinctly that it was
an acquired one. I can call to niiud

the first play, and the first exhibi-
tion, that I was taken to ; but I am
not conscious of a thne when china
jars and saucers were introduced into
my imagination.

I had no repugnance then — why
should I now have ? — to those little,
lawless, azure-tinctured grotesques,
that under the notion of men and
women, float about, unciicum-


Old China,


scribed by any element, in that
worid before perspective — a china

I like to see my old friends — whom
distance cannot diminish — figuring
up in the air (so they appear to our
optics), yet on terra Jirma still — for
so we must in courtesy interpret
that speck of deeper blue, which the
decorous artist, to prevent absurdity,
has made to spring up beneath their

I love the men with women's faces,
and the women, if possible, with still
more womanish expressions.

Here is a young and courtly Man-
darin, handing tea to a lady from a
salver — two miles off. See how dis-
tance seems to set off respect ! And
here the same lady, or another — for
likeness is identity on tea-cups — is
stepping into a little fairy boat,
moored on the hither side of this
calm garden river, with a dainty
mincing foot, which in a right angle
of incidence (as angles go in our
world^ must infallibly land her in
the midst of a flowery mead — a fur-
long off on the other side of the same
strange stream !

Farther on — if far or near can be
predicated of their world — see horses,
trees, pagodas, dancing the hays.

Here — a cow and rabbit couchant,
and co-extensive — so objects show,
seen through the lucid atmosphere of
fine Cathay !

I was pointing out to my cousin
last evening, over our Hyson, (which
we are old fashioned enough to drink
unmixed still of an afternoon) some
of these speciosa miracula upon a set
of extraordinary old blue china (a
recent purchase) which we were now
for the first time using; and could
not help remarking, how favourable
circumstances had been to us of late
years, that we could afford to please
the eye sometimes with trifles of
this sort — when a passing sentiment
seemed to over-shade the brows of
my companion. I am quick at
detecting these summer clouds in

*' I wish the good old times would
come again," "She said, '' when we
were not quite so rich. I do not
mean, that I want to be poor; but
there was a middle state ;" — so she
was pleased to ramble on, — '^' in
which I am sure we were a great

deal happier. A purchase is but
a purchase, now that you have
money enough and to spare. For-
merly it used to be a triumph. When
we coveted a cheap luxury (and, O!
how much ado I had to get you to
consent to it in those times !) we
were used to have a debate two or
three days before, and to weigh the
for and against, and think what we
might spare out of, and what saving
we could hit upon, that should be
an equivalent. A thing was worth
buying then, when we felt the money
that we paid for it.

'^ Do you remember the brown suit,
which you made to hang upon you,
till all your friends cried shame upon
you, it grew so thread-bare — and all
because of that folio Beaumont and
Fletcher, which you dragged home
late at night, from Barker's in Co-
vent-garden? Do you remember
how we eyed it for weeks before we
could make up our minds to the pur-
chase, and had not come to a deter-
mination till it was near ten o'clock
of the Saturday night, when you set
off from Islington, fearing you should
be too late — and when the old book-
seller with some grumbling opened
his shop, and by the twinkling taper
(for he was setting bedwards) lighted
out the relic from his dusty treasures
— and when you lugged it home>
wishing it were twice as cumber-
some — and when you presented it to
me — and when we were exploring
the perfectness of it (collating you
called it) — and while I was repairing
some of the loose leaves with paste,
which your impatience would not
suffer to be left till day-break — was
there no pleasure in being a poor
man ? or can those neat black clothes
which you wear now, and are so
careful to keep brushed, since we
have become rich and finical, give
you half the honest vanity, with
which you flaunted it about in that
over- worn suit — your old corbeau —
for four or five weeks longer than
you should have done, to pacify your
conscience for the mighty sum of
fifteen — or sixteen shillings was it ?
— a great affair we thought it then —
which you had lavished on the old
folio ? Now you can afford to buy
any book that pleases you, but I do
not see that you ever bring me home
any nice old purchases now.


Old China.

27 J

''When you came home with twen-
ty apologies for laying out a less num-
ber of shillings upon that print after
Lionardo, which we christened the
' Lady Blanch ; ' when you looked
at the purchase, and thought of the
money — and thought of the money,
and looked again at the picture —
was there no pleasure in being a poor
man ? Now, you have nothing to
do but to walk into Colnaghi's (as
W calls it) and buy a wilder-
ness of Lionardos. Yet do you ?

*' Then, do you remember our plea-
sant walks to Enfield, and Potter's
Bar, and Waltham, when we had
a holyday — holydays, and all other
fun, are gone, now we are rich — and
the little hand-basket in which I used
to deposit our day's fare of savory
cold lamb and salad— and how you
would pry about at noon-tide for
some decent house, where we might
go in, and produce our store — only
paying for the ale that you must call
for — and speculate upon the looks of
the landlady, and whether she was
likely to allow us a table-cloth, — and
wish for such another honest hostess,
as Izaak Walton has described many
a one on the pleasant banks of the
Lea, when he went a fishing — and
sometimes they would prove obliging
enough, and sometimes they would
look grudgingly upon us — but we had
cheerful looks still for one another,
and would eat our plain food sa-
vorily, scarcely grudging Piscator his
Trout Hall ? Now, when we go out
a day's pleasuring, which is seldom
moreover, we ride part of the way —
and go into a fine inn, and order the
best of dinners, never debating the
expense — which, after all, never has
half the relish of those chance coun-
try snaps, when we were at the
mercy of uncertain usage, and a pre-
carious welcome.

" You are too proud to see a play
anywhere now but in the pit or boxes.
Do you remember where it was we
used to sit, when we saw the Battle
of Hexham, and the Surrender of
Calais, and Bannister and Mrs. Bland
in the Children in the Wood — when
we squeezed out ourshillings a-piece
to sit three or four times in a season
in the one- shilling gallery — where
you felt all the time that you ought
not to have brought me — and more
strongly I felt obligation to you for

having brought me— and the pleasure
was the better for a little shame— and
when the curtain drew up, what cared
we for our place in the house, or what
mattered it where we were sitting,
when our thoughts were with Rosa-
lind in Arden, or with Viola at the
Court of Illyria ? You used to say,
that the gallery was the best place of
all for enjoying a play socially — that
the relish of such exhibitions must be
in proportion to the infrequency of
going— that the company we met
there, not being in general readers of
plays, were obliged to attend the
more, and did attend, to what was
going on, on the stage — because a
word lost would have been a chasm,
which it was impossible for them to
fill up. With such reflections we
consoled our pride then — and I appeal
to you, whether, as a woman, I met
generally with less attention and ac-
commodation, than I have done since
in more expensive situations in the
house ? The getting in indeed, and

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