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than I ; so I quietly let it occupy the place it had
usurped upon my shelves, and should never have thought
of issuing an ejectment against it ; for why should I be
so bigoted as to allow rites of hospitality to none but my
own books, children, etc. 1 — a species of egotism I abhor
from my heart. No ; let 'em all snug together, Hebrews
and Proselytes of the gate ; no selfish partiality of mine
shall make distinction between them. I charge no ware-

TO HUNT. 119

house room for my friends' commodities ; they are wel-
come to come and stay as long as they like, without
paying rent. I have several such strangers that I treat
with more than Arabian courtesy. There's a copy of
More's fine poem, which is none of mine, but I cherish
it as my own. I am none of those churlish landlords
that advertise the goods to be taken away in ten days'
time, or then to be sold to pay expenses. So you see I
had no right to lend you that book. I may lend you
my own books, because it is at my own hazard ; but it
is not honest to hazard a friend's property; I always
make that distinction. I hope you will bring it with
you, or send it by Hartley ; or he can bring that, and
you the Polemical Discourses, and come and eat some
atoning mutton with us one of these days shortly. We
are engaged two or three Sundays deep, but always dine
at home on week-days at half-past four. So come all
four — men and books I mean. My third shelf (northern
compartment) from the top has two devilish gaps, where
you have knocked out its two eye-teeth.

Your wronged friend, 0. Lamb.


Letter CCLIII.] [End of 1824.]

Illustrezzimo Signor — I have obeyed your mandate
to a tittle. I accompany this with a volume ; but what
have you done with the first I sent you 1 ? Have you
swapped it with some lazzaroni for macaroni, or pledged
it with a gondolierer for a passage 1 Peradventuri the
Cardinal Gonsalvi took a fancy to it : his Eminence has
done my Nearness an honour. 'Tis but a step to the
Vatican. As you judge, my works do not enrich the
workman ; but I get vat I can for 'em. They keep
dragging me on, a poor, worn mill-horse, in the eternal


round of the damned magazine ; but 'tis they are blind,
not I. Colburn (where I recognise with delight the gay
W. Honeycomb renovated) hath the ascendency. I was
with the Novellos last week. They have a large, cheap
house and garden, with a dainty library (magnificent)
without books ; but what will make you bless yourself
(I am too old for wonder), something has touched the
right organ in Vincentio at last. He attends a Wesleyan
chapel on Kingsland Green. He at first tried to laugh
it off ; he only went for the singing ; but the cloven foot
— I retract — the lamb's trotters are at length apparent.
Mary Isabella attributes it to a lightness induced by his
headaches ; but I think I see in it a less accidental
influence. Mr. Clark is at perfect staggers ! the whole
fabric of his infidelity is shaken. He has no one to join
him in his horse-insults and indecent obstreperousnesses
against Christianity; for Holmes (the bonny Holmes)
is gone to Salisbury to be organist, and Isabella and the
Clark make but a feeble quorum. The children have all
neat little clasped pray-books ; and I have laid out seven
shillings and eightpence in Watts's Hymns for Christmas
presents for them. The eldest girl alone holds out. She
has been at Boulogne, skirting upon the vast focus of
Atheism, and imported bad principles in patois French.
But the strongholds are crumbling. N. appears as yet
to have but a confused notion of the Atonement. It
makes him giddy, he says, to think much about it ; but
such giddiness is spiritual sobriety. Well, Byron is gone ;

and is now the best poet in England. Fill up the

gap to your fancy. Barry Cornwall has at last carried
the pretty A[nne] S[kepper]. They are just in the
treacle-moon. Hope it won't clog his wings (gaum, we
used to say at school). Mary, my sister, has worn me
out with eight weeks' cold and toothache, her average
complement in the "Winter ; and it will not go away.
She is otherwise well, and reads novels all day long. She
has had an exempt year, a good year ; for which, forget-
ting the minor calamity, she and I are most thankful.


Alsager is in a flourishing house, with wife and children
about him, in Mecklenburg Square, — almost too fine to
visit. Barron Field is come home from Sydney ; but as
yet I can hear no tidings of a pension. He is plump
and friendly ; his wife, really a very superior woman.
He resumes the bar. I have got acquainted with Mr.
Irving, the Scotch preacher, whose fame must have
reached you. He is an humble disciple at the foot of
Gamaliel S. T. 0. Judge how his own sectarists must
stare, when I tell you he has dedicated a book to S. T. C,
acknowledging to have learnt more of the nature of faith,
Christianity, and Christian Church, from him than from
all the men he ever conversed with ! He is a most
amiable, sincere, modest man in a room, this Boanerges
in the temple. Mrs. Montague told him the dedication
would do him no good. " That shall be a reason for
doing it," was his answer. Judge, now, whether this
man be a quack. Dear H., take this imperfect notelet
for a letter : it looks so much the more like conversing
on nearer terms. Love to all the Hunts, old friend
Thornton, and all.

Yours ever, C. Lamb.


Colebrook Cottage, Islington,
Letter CCLIV.] January 7, 1825.

Dear Allsop — I acknowledge with thanks the receipt
of a draft on Messrs. Wins, for £81 : 11 : 3 which I haste
to cash in the present alarming state of the money market.
Hurst and Robinson gone. I have imagined a Chorus of
ill-used Authors singing on the Occasion :

"What should we when Booksellers break 1

We should rejoice.
Da capo.

We regret exceedingly Mrs. Allsop's being unwell.


Mary or both will come and see her soon. The frost is
cruel, and we have both colds. I take Pills again, which
battle with your Wine ; and Victory hovers doubtful.
By the by, tho' not disinclined to presents, I remember
our bargain to take a dozen at sale price, and must demur.

With once again thanks and best loves to Mrs. A.

Turn over — Yours, C. Lamb.


Letter CCLV.] E. I. ff., January 11, 1825.

My Dear Sir — Pray return my best thanks to your
father for his little volume. It is like all of his I have
seen — spirited, good-humoured, and redolent of the wit
and humour of a century ago. He should have lived
with Gay and his set. The Chessiad is so clever that I
relished it in spite of my total ignorance of the game. I
have it not before me, but I remember a capital simile of
the Charwoman letting in her Watchman husband, which
is better than Butler's Lobster turned to Red. Hazard is
a grand character — Jove in his Chair. When you are
disposed to leave your one room for my six, Colebrooke
is where it was ; and my sister begs me to add that as
she is disappointed of meeting your sister your way, we
shall be most happy to see her our way, when you have
an evening to spare. Do not stand on ceremonies and
introductions, but come at once. I need not say that if
you can induce your father to join the party it will be so
much the pleasanter. Can you name an evening next
week ? I give you long credit.

Meantime am, as usual, yours truly, C. L.

When I saw the Chessiad advertised by C. D. the
younger, I hoped it might be yours. What title is left
for you 1

Charles Dibdin the younger, junior.

no, you are Timothy !



Letter CCLVL]

The brevity of this is owing to scratching it off at my
desk amid expected interruptions. By habit, I can write
letters only at office.

January 20, 1825.

Dear Miss H. — Thank you for a noble goose, which
wanted only the massive incrustation that we used to
pick-axe open, about this season, in Old Gloucester Place.
When shall we eat another goose pie together? The
pheasant, too, must not be forgotten ; twice as big, and
half as good as a Partridge. You ask about the editor
of the London ; I know of none. This first specimen
is flat and pert enough to justify subscribers who grudge
t'other shilling. De Quincey's " Parody " was submitted
to him before printed, and had his Probation. The
" Horns " is in a poor taste, resembling the most laboured
papers in the Spectator. I had signed it "Jack Horner" ;
but Taylor and Hessey said it would be thought an
offensive article unless I put my known signature to it,
and wrung from me my slow consent. But did you read
the " Memoir of Liston " 1 — and did you guess whose it
was 1 Of all the lies I ever put off, 1 value this most.
It is from top to toe, every paragraph, Pure Invention,
and has passed for gospel ; has been republished in news-
papers, and in the penny play-bills of the night, as an
authentic account. I shall certainly go to the naughty
man some day for my ribbings. In the next Number I
figure as a Theologian ! and have attacked my late
brethren, the Unitarians. What Jack-Pudding tricks I
shall play next, I know not ; I am almost at the end of
my tether. Coleridge is quite blooming, but his book
has not budded yet. I hope I have spelt Torquay right
now, and that this will find you all mending, and looking
forward to a London flight with the Spring. Winter,


we have had none, but plenty of foul weather. I have
lately picked up an epigram which pleased me —

" Two noble earls, whom if I quote,
Some folks might call me sinner,
The one invented half a coat,
The other half a dinner.

" The plan was good, as some will say ;
And fitted to console one ;
Because, in this poor starving day,
Few can afford a whole one."

I have made the lame one still lamer by imperfect
memory; but spite of bald diction, a little done to it
might improve it into a good one. You have nothing
else to do at Torquay. Suppose you try it. Well, God
bless you all, as wishes Mary most sincerely, with many
thanks for letter, etc. Elia.


Letter CCLVII.] February 10, 1825.

Dear B. B. — I am vexed that ugly paper should have
offended. I kept it as clear from objectionable phrases
as possible, and it was Hessey's fault, and my weakness,
that it did not appear anonymous. No more of it, for
God's sake. The "Spirit of the Age" is by Hazlitt.
The characters of Coleridge, etc. he had done better in
former publications, the praise and the abuse much
stronger, etc. ; but the new ones are capitally done.
Home Tooke is a matchless portrait. My advice is, to
borrow it rather than buy it. I have it. He has laid
too many colours on my likeness ; but I have had so
much injustice done me in my own name, that I make a
rule of accepting as much over-measure to Elia as gentle-
men think proper to bestow. Lay it on and spare not.
Your gentleman brother sets my mouth a-watering after
liberty. Oh that I were kicked out of Leadenhall with
every mark of indignity, and a competence in my fob !
The birds of the air would not be so free as I should.


How I would prance and curvet it, and pick up cowslips,
and ramble about purposeless, as an idiot ! The Author-
in ometer is a good fancy. I have caused great specula-
tion in the dramatic (not thy) world by a lying " Life of
Liston," all pure invention. The town has swallowed
it, and it is copied into newspapers, play -bills, etc., as
authentic. You do not know the Droll, and possibly
missed reading the article (in our first Number, new
series). A life more improbable for him to have lived
would not be easily invented. But your rebuke, coupled
with " Dream on J. Bunyan," checks me. I'd rather do
more in my favourite way, but feel dry. I must laugh
sometimes. I am poor Hypochondriacus, and not Liston.
The second Number is all trash. What are T. and H.
about 1 ? Why did poor Scott die 1 ? There was comfort
in writing with such associates as were his little band of
scribblers ; some gone away, some affronted away, and I
am left as the solitary widow looking for water-cresses.
The only clever hand they have is Darley, who has written
on the Dramatists under the name of John Lacy. But
his fimction seems suspended.

I have been harassed more than usually at office,
which has stopt my correspondence lately. I write with
a confused aching head, and you must accept this apology
for a letter.

I will do something soon, if I can, as a peace-offering
to the queen of the East Angles — something she shan't
scold about. For the present farewell.

Thine, C. L.

I am fifty years old this day. Drink my health.


Letter CCLVIIL] [Early in 1825.]

My dear M. — You might have come inopportunely a
week since, when we had an inmate. At present and
for as long as ever you like, our castle is at your service.


I saw T[u thill] yesternight, who has done for me
what may

" To all my nights and days to come,
Give solely sovran sway and masterdom."

But I dare not hope, for fear of disappointment. I can-
not be more explicit at present. But I have it under
his own hand, that I am non- capacitated (I cannot
write it in-) for business. joyous imbecility ! Not a
susurration of this to anybody /

Mary's love. C. Lamb.


Letter CCLIX.] March 23, 1825.

Dear B. B. — I have had no impulse to write, or
attend to any single object but myself for weeks past —
my single self, I — by myself — I. I am sick of hope
deferred. The grand wheel is in agitation, that is to
turn up my Fortune ; but round it rolls, and will turn up
nothing. I have a glimpse of freedom, of becoming a
Gentleman at large ; but I am put off from day to day.
I have offered my resignation, and it is neither accepted
nor rejected. Eight weeks am I kept in this fearful
suspense. Guess what an absorbing stake I feel it. I
am not conscious of the existence of friends present or
absent. The East India Directors alone can be that
thing to me or not. I have just learned that nothing
will be decided this week. Why the next 1 Why any
week 1 It has fretted me into an itch of the fingers ; I
rub 'em against paper, and write to you, rather than not
allay this scorbuta.

While I can write, let me abjure you to have no
doubts of Irving. Let Mr. Mitford drop his disrespect.
Irving has prefixed a dedication (of a missionary subject,
first part) to Coleridge, the most beautiful, cordial, and
sincere. He there acknowledges his obligation to S. T. C.


for his knowledge of Gospel truths, the nature of a
Christian Church, etc., to the talk of Samuel Taylor
Coleridge (at whose Gamaliel feet he sits weekly), rather
than to that of all the men living. This from him, the
great dandled and petted sectarian — to a religious character
so equivocal in the world's eye as that of S. T. C, so
foreign to the Kirk's estimate — can this man be a quack 1
The language is as affecting as the spirit of the dedication.
Some friend told him, " This dedication will do you no
good," i.e. not in the world's repute, or with your own
people. " That is a reason for doing it," quoth Irving.

I am thoroughly pleased with him. He is firm, out-
speaking, intrepid, and docile as a pupil of Pythagoras.
You must like him.

Yours, in tremors of painful hope, C. Lamb.


Letter CCLX.] Colebrook Cottage, April 6. 1825.

Dear Wordsworth — I have been several times medi-
tating a letter to you concerning the good thing which
has befallen me, but the thought of poor Monkhouse
came across me. He was one that I had exulted in the
prospect of congratulating me. He and you were to
have been the first participators, for indeed it has been
ten weeks since the first motion of it. Here am I then,
after thirty-three years' slavery, sitting in my own room
at eleven o'clock this finest of all April mornings, a freed
man, with £441 a year for the remainder of my life, live
I as long, as John Dennis, who outlived his annuity and
starved at ninety; £441, i.e. £450, with a deduction of
£9 for a provision secured to my sister, she being sur-
vivor, the pension guaranteed by Act Georgii Tertii, etc.

I came home for ever on Tuesday in last week.
The incomprehensibleness of my condition overwhelmed
me. It was like passing from life into eternity. Every


year to be as long as three, i.e. to have three times as
much real time (time that is my own) in it ! I wandered
about thinking I was happy, but feeling I was not. But
that tumultuousness is passing off, and I begin to under-
stand the nature of the gift. Holydays, even the annual
month, were always uneasy joys ; their conscious fugitive-
ness ; the craving after making the most of them. Now,
when all is holyday, there are no holydays. I can sit at
home, in rain or shine, without a restless impulse for
walkings. I am daily steadying, and shall soon find it as
natural to me to be my own master, as it has been irksome
to have had a master. Mary wakes every morning with
an obscure feeling that some good has happened to us.

Leigh Hunt and Montgomery, after their releasements,
describe the shock of their emancipation much as I feel
mine. But it hurt their frames. I eat, drink, and sleep
as sound as ever. I lay no anxious schemes for going
hither and thither, but take things as they occur. Yester-
day I excursioned twenty miles ; to-day I write a few
letters. Pleasuring was for fugitive play-days ; mine are
fugitive only in the sense that life is fugitive. Freedom
and life co-existent !

At the foot of such a call upon you for gratulation, I
am ashamed to advert to that melancholy event. Monk-
house was a character I learned to love slowly, but it
grew upon me, yearly, monthly, daily. What a chasm
has it made in our pleasant parties ! His noble friendly
face was always coming before me, till this hurrying
event in my life came, and for the time has absorbed all
interest ; in fact it has shaken me a little. My old desk
companions, with whom I have had such merry hours,
seem to reproach me for removing my lot from among
them. They were pleasant creatures ; but to the anxieties
of business, and a weight of possible worse ever impending,
I was not equal. Tuthill and Gillman gave me my certi-
ficates. I laughed at the friendly lie implied in them ;
but my sister shook her head, and said it was all true.
Indeed, this last Winter I was jaded out : Winters were

ro BARTON. 129

always worse than other parts of the year, because the
spirits are worse, and I had no daylight. In Summer I
had day-light evenings. The relief was hinted to me
from a superior Power, when I, poor slave, had not a
hope but that I must wait another seven years with
Jacob : and lo ! the Rachel which I coveted is brought
to me !

Have you read the noble dedication of Irving's " Mis-
sionary Orations " to S. T. C. 1 Who shall call this man
a quack hereafter? What the Kirk will think of it
neither I nor Irving care. When somebody suggested to
him that it would not be likely to do him good, videlicet,
among his own people, " That is a reason for doing it,"
was his noble answer. That Irving thinks he has profited
mainly by S. T. C, I have no doubt. The very style of
the Dedication shows it.

Communicate my news to Southey, and beg his
pardon for my being so long acknowledging his kind
present of the " Church," which circumstances, having no
reference to himself, prevented at the time. Assure him
of my deep respect and friendliest feelings.

Divide the same, or rather each take the whole to
you — I mean you and all yours. To Miss Hutchinson I
must write separate.

Farewell ! and end at last, long selfish letter.

C. Lamb.


Letter CCLXI.] April 6, 1825.

Dear B. B. — My spirits are so tumultuary with the
novelty of my recent emancipation, that I have scarce
steadiness of hand, much more mind, to compose a letter.
I am free, B. B. — free as air !

" The little bird that wings the sky
Knows no such liberty."


I was set free on Tuesday in last week at four o'clock.
I came home for ever !

I have been describing my feelings as well as I can to
Wordsworth in a long letter, and don't care to repeat.
Take it briefly, that for a few days I was painfully
oppressed by so mighty a change, but it is becoming
daily more natural to me. I went and sat among 'em all
at my old thirty-three years' desk yester morning ; and,
deuce take me, if I had not yearnings at leaving all my
old pen-and-ink fellows, merry, sociable lads, at leaving
them in the lurch, fag, fag, fag ! — The comparison of my
own superior felicity gave me anything but pleasure.

B. B., I would not serve another seven years for seven
hundred thousand pounds ! I have got £441 net for
life, sanctioned by Act of Parliament, with a provision
for Mary if she survives me. I will live another fifty
years ; or, if I live but ten, they will be thirty, reckoning
the quantity of real time in them, i.e. the time that is
a man's own. Tell me how you like " Barbara S." Will
it be received in atonement for the foolish "Vision"? — I
mean by the lady. A-propos, I never saw Mrs. Crawford
in my life ; nevertheless 'tis all true of somebody.

Address me, in future, Colebrook Cottage, Islington.
I am really nervous (but that will wear off), so take
this brief announcement.

Yours truly, C. L.


Letter CCLXII.] April 18, 1825.

Dear Miss Hutchinson — You want to know all about
my gaol delivery. Take it then. About twelve weeks
since I had a sort of intimation that a resignation might
be well accepted from me. This was a kind bird's
whisper. On that hint I spake. Gillman and Tuthill


furnished me with certificates of wasted health and sore
spirits — not much more than the truth, I promise you —
and for nine weeks I was kept in a fright. I had gone
too far to recede, and they might take advantage, and
dismiss me with a much less sum than I had reckoned
on. However, liberty came at last, with a liberal pro-
vision. I have given up what I could have lived on in
the country ; but have enough to live here, by manage-
ment and scribbling occasionally. I would not go back
to my prison for seven years longer for £10,000 a year ;
seven years after one is fifty, is no trifle to give up. Still
I am a young pensioner, and have served but thirty-three
years ; very few, I assure you, retire before forty, forty-
five, or fifty years' service.

You will ask how I bear my freedom 1 Faith, for
some days I was staggered ; could not comprehend the
magnitude of my deliverance ; was confused, giddy ;
knew not whether I was on my head or my heel, as they
say. But those giddy feelings have gone away, and my
weather-glass stands at a degree or two above


I go about quiet, and have none of that restless hunt-
ing after recreation which made holydays formerly uneasy
joys. All being holydays, I feel as if I had none, as they
do in heaven, where 'tis all red-letter days. I have a
kind letter from the Wordsworths, congratulatory not
a little. It is a damp, I do assure you, amid all my
prospects, that I can receive none from a quarter upon
which I had calculated, almost more than from any,
upon receiving congratulations. I had grown to like
poor Monkhouse more and more. I do not esteem a soul
living or not living more warmly than I had grown to
esteem and value him. But words are vain. We have
none of us to count upon many years. That is the only
cure for sad thoughts. If only some died, and the rest
were permanent on earth, what a thing a friend's death
woidd be then !


I must take leave, having put off answering a load of
letters to this morning ; and this, alas ! is the first.
Our kindest remembrances to Mrs. Monkhouse,

And believe us yours most truly, C. Lamb.


Colebrook, Tuesday,
Letter CCLXIII.] April 25, 1825.

Dear Novello — My sister's cold is as obstinate as an
old Handelian, whom a modern amateur is trying to con-
vert to Mozart-ism. As company must, and always does,
injure it, Emma and I propose to come to you in the
evening of to-morrow, instead of meeting here. An early
bread-and-cheese supper at half-past eight will oblige us.
Loves to the bearer of many children. C. Lamb.

I sign with a black seal, that you may [begin]
to think her cold lias killed Mary; which will be an
agreeable unsurprise when you read the note.

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