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Mrs. Procter and the anti-Capulets, because Mary tells
me I omitted them in my last. I like to see my friends
here. I have put my lawsuit into the hands of an
Enfield practitioner, a plain man, who seems perfectly to
understand it, and gives me hopes of a favourable result.

Rumour tells us that Miss Holcroft is married. Who
is Badman, or Bed'em 1 Have I seen him at Montacute's 1
I hear he is a great chymist. I am sometimes chymical
myself. A thought strikes me with horror. Pray
heaven he may not have done it for the sake of trying
chymical experiments upon her, — young female subjects
are so scarce. Louisa would make a capital shot. Arn't
you glad about Burke's case 1 ? We may set off the
Scotch murders against the Scotch novels : Hare, the
Great Un-hanged !

M. B. is richly worth your knowing. He is on the
top scale of my friendship ladder, on which an angel or
two is still climbing, and some, alas ! descending. I am
out of the literary world at present. Pray, is there any-
thing new from the admired pen of the author of the
Pleasures of Hope ? Has Mrs. He-mans (double mascu-
line) done anything pretty lately 1 Why sleeps the lyre



TO HOOD. 217

of Hervey, and of Alaric Watts 1 Is the muse of L. E. L.
silent? Did you see a sonnet of mine in Blackwood's
last 1 Curious construction ! Elaborata facilitas ! And
now I'll tell. 'Twas written for the Gem, but the editors
declined it, on the plea that it would shock all mothers ;
so they published the " Widow," instead. I am born out
of time. I have no conjecture about what the present
world calls delicacy. I thought Rosamund Gray was
a pretty modest thing. Hessey assures me that the
world would not bear it. I have lived to grow into an
indecent character. When my sonnet was rejected,
I exclaimed, " Damn the age ! I will write for
Antiquity."

Erratum in Sonnet : — Last line but something, for
"tender," read tend. The Scotch do not know our
law terms ; but I find some remains of honest, plain,
old writing lurking there still. They were not so
mealy-mouthed to refuse my verses. Maybe 'tis their
oatmeal.

Blackwood sent me .£20 for the drama. Somebody
cheated me out of it next day; and my new pair of
breeches, just sent home, cracking at first putting on, I
exclaimed, in my wrath, "All tailors are cheats, and all
men are tailors." Then I was better. C. L.



To THOMAS HOOD.

Letter CCCXXXVII. ] Enfield [1829. ]

Dear Lamb — You are an impudent varlet ; but I will
keep your secret. We dine at Ayrton's on Thursday, and
shall try to find Sarah and her two spare beds for that
night only. Miss M. and her tragedy may be dished :
so may not you and your rib. Health attend you.

Yours, T. Hood, Esq.

Miss Bridget Hood sends love.



218 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

To B. W. PROCTER.

Letter CCCXXXVIIL] January 29, 1829.

When Miss Ouldcroft (who is now Mrs. Beddome,
and Bed — dom'd to her) was at Enfield, which she was
in Summer time, and owed her health to its suns and
genial influences, she visited (with young ladylike imper-
tinence) a poor man's cottage that had a pretty baby
(0 the yearnling !) gave it fine caps and sweetmeats.
On a day, broke into the parlour our two maids uproarious.
" ma'am, who do you think Miss Ouldcroft (they pro-
nounce it Hoi croft) has been working a cap for ? " "A
child," answered Mary, in true Shandean female simplicity.
" 'Tis the man's child as was taken up for sheep-stealing."
Miss Ouldcroft was staggered, and would have cut the
connexion, but by main force I made her go and take
her leave of her protegee. I thought, if she went no
more, the Abactor or the Abactor's wife (vide Ainsworth)
would suppose she had heard something, and I have
delicacy for a sheep -stealer. The overseers actually
overhauled a mutton pie at the Baker's (his first, last,
and only hope of mutton pie,) which he never came to
eat, and thence inferred his guilt. Per occasionem cujus,
I framed the sonnet ; observe its elaborate construction.
I was four days about it.

THE GYPSY'S MALISON.

" Suck, baby, suck ! mother's love grows by giving,

Drain the sweet founts that only thrive by wasting ;
Black manhood comes, when riotous guilty living

Hands thee the cup that shall be death in tasting.
Kiss, baby, kiss ! Mother's lips shine by kisses,

Choke the warm breath that else would fall in blessings ;
Black Manhood comes, when turbulent guilty blisses

Tend thee the kiss that poisons 'mid caressings.
Hang, baby, hang ! mother's love loves such forces,

Strain the fond neck that bends still to thy clinging ;
Black manhood comes, when violent lawless courses
Leave thee a spectacle in rude air swinging."
So sang a wither'd Sybil energetical,
And bann'd the ungiving door with lips prophetical.



TO PROCTER. 219

Barry, study that sonnet. It is curiously and per-
versely elaborate. Tis a choking subject, and therefore
the reader is directed to the structure of it. See you 1
and was this a fourteener to be rejected by a trumpery
annual 1 Forsooth, 'twould shock all mothers ; and may
all mothers, who would so be shocked, bed-domd ! as if
mothers were such sort of logicians as to infer the future
hanging of their child from the theoretical hangibility (or
capacity of being hanged, if the judge pleases) of every
infant born with a neck on. Oh B. C. ! my whole heart
is faint, and my whole head is sick (how is it f) at this
damn'd canting unmasculine age !



Letter CCCXXXIX.] [1829.]

The comings in of an incipient conveyancer are not
adequate to the receipt of three twopenny post nonpaids
in a week. Therefore, after this, I condemn my stub to
long and deep silence, or shall awaken it to write to
Lords. Lest those raptures in this honeymoon of my
correspondence, which you avow for the gentle person of
my Nuncio, after passing through certain natural grades,
as Love, Love and Water, Love with the chill off, then
subsiding to that point which the Heroic Suitor of his
wedded dame, the noble-spirited Lord Randolph in the
Play, declares to be the ambition of his passion, a reci-
procation of "complacent kindness," — should suddenly
plump down (scarce staying to bait at the mid point of
indifference, so hungry it is for distaste) to a loathing
and blank aversion, to the rendering probable such counter
expressions as this, — "Damn that infernal twopenny
postman " (words which make the not yet glutted inamo-
rato " lift up his hands and wonder who can use them.")
While, then, you are not ruined, let me assure thee,
thou above the Painter, and next only under Giraldus
Cambrensis, the most immortal and worthy to be im-
mortal Barry, thy most ingenious and golden cadences do
take my fancy mightily. They are at this identical



220 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

moment under the snip and the paste of the fairest
hands (bating chilblains) in Cambridge, soon to be trans-
planted to Suffolk, to the envy of half of the young ladies
in Bury. But tell me, and tell me truly, gentle Swain,
is that Isola Bella a true spot in geographical denomi-
nation, or a floating Delos in thy brain 1 Lurks that
fair island in verity in the bosom of Lake Maggiore, or
some other with less poetic name, which thou hast
Cornwallised for the occasion 1 And what if Maggiore
itself be but a coinage of adaptation 1 Of this, pray re-
solve me immediately, for my Albumess will be catechised
on this subject; and how can I prompt her? Lake Leman,
I know, and Lemon Lake (in a Punch Bowl) I have swum
in, though those Lymphs be long since dry. But Maggiore
may be in the moon. Unsphinx this riddle for me, for
my shelves have no Gazetteer. And mayest thou never
murder thy father-in-law in the Trivia of Lincoln's Inn
New Square Passage, nor afterwards make absurd pro-
posals to the Widow M[ontagu]. But I know you
abhor any such notions. Nevertheless so did O-Edipus (as
Admiral Burney used to call him, splitting the diphthong
in spite or ignorance) for that matter. 0. L.



Letter CCCXL.] February 2, 1829.

Facundissime Poeta ! quanquam istiusmodi epitheta
oratoribus potius quam poetis attinere facile scio — tamen,
facundissime !

Commoratur nobiscum jamdiu, in agro Enfeldiense,
scilicet, leguleius futurus, illustrissimus Martinus Burneius
otium agens, negotia nominalia, et ofticinam clientum
vacuam, paululum fugiens. Orat, implorat te — nempe,
Martinus — ut si (quod Dii faciant) forte fortuna, absente
ipso, advenerit tardus cliens, eum certiorem feceris per
literas hue missas. Intelligisne ? an me Anglice et
barbarice ad te hominem perdoctum scribere oportet 1

C. Agnus.



TO CLARKE. 221

Si status de franco tenemento datur avo, et in eodem
facto si mediate vel immediate datur hceredibus vel hcere-
dibus corporis dicti avi, postrema haec verba sunt Limita-
tionis non Perquisitionis.

Dixi. Carlagnulus.



To COWDEN CLARKE.

Letter CCCXLL] Edmonton, February 2, 1829.

Dear Cowden — Your books are as the gushing of streams
in a desert. By the way, you have sent no autobiographies.
Your letter seems to imply you had. Nor do I want
any. Cowden, they are of the books which I give away.
What damn'd Unitarian skewer-soul'd things the general
biographies turn out ! " Rank and Talent " you shall
have when Mrs. May has done with 'em. Mary likes Mrs.
Bediufield much. For me, I read nothing but Astrea
— it has turn'd my brain — I go about with a switch
turn'd up at the end for a crook ; and Lambs being too
old, the butcher tells me, my cat follows me in a green
ribband. Becky and her cousin are getting pastoral
dresses, and then we shall all four go about Arcadising.
cruel Shepherdess ! Inconstant, yet fair, and more
inconstant for being fair ! Her gold ringlets fell in a
disorder superior to order ! Come and join us.

I am called the Black Shepherd — you shall be Cowden
with the Tuft.

Prosaically, we shall be glad to have you both — or any
two of you — drop in by surprise some Saturday night.

This must go off.

Loves to Vittoria. C. L.

To H. C. ROBINSON.

Letter CCCXLII.] Enfield, February 27, 1829.

Dear R. — Expectation was alert on the receipt of
your strange-shaped present, while yet undisclosed from



222 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

its fuse envelope. Some said, 'tis a viol da Gamba,
others pronounced it a fiddle; I, myself, hoped it a
liqueur case, pregnant with eau-de-vie and such odd
nectar. When midwifed into daylight, the gossips were
at a loss to pronounce upon its species. Most took it
for a marrow spoon, an apple scoop, a banker's guinea
shovel; at length its true scope appeared, its drift, to
save the back-bone of my sister stooping to scuttles : a
philanthropic intent ; borrowed, no doubt, from some of
the Colliers. You save people's backs one way, and
break 'em again by loads of obligation. The spectacles
are delicate and Vulcanian. No lighter texture than
their steel did the cuckoldy blacksmith frame to catch
Mrs. Vulcan and the Captain in. For ungalled forehead,
as for back unbursten, you have Mary's thanks. Marry,
for my own peculium of obligation, 'twas supererogatory.
A second part of Pamela was enough in conscience. Two
Pamelas in a house are too much, without two Mr. B.'s
to reward 'em.

Mary, who is handselling her new aerial perspectives
upon a pair of old worsted stockings trod out in Cheshunt
lanes, sends her love : I, great good-liking. Bid us a
personal farewell before you see the Vatican.

Charles Lamb.



To BERNARD BARTON.
Letter CCCXLIIL] March 25, 1829.

Dear B. B. — I send you by desire Darley's very
poetical poem. You will like, I think, the novel head-
ings of each scene. Scenical directions in verse are
novelties. With it I send a few duplicates, which are
therefore of no value to me ; and may amuse an idle
hour. Read " Christmas ": 'tis the production of a young
author, who reads all your writings. A good word from
you about his little book would be as balm to him. It
has no pretensions, and makes none. But parts are



TO ROBINSON. 223

pretty. In Field's Appendix turn to a poem called the
Kangaroo. It is in the best way of our old poets, if I
mistake not. I have just come from town, where I have
been to get my bit of quarterly pension ; and have
brought home, from stalls in Barbican, the old " Pilgrim's
Progress" with the prints — Vanity Fair, etc. — now scarce.
Four shillings. Cheap. And also one of whom I have
oft heard and had dreams, but never saw in the flesh —
that is in sheepskin — "The whole theologic works of

THOMAS AQUINAS."

My arms ached with lugging it a mile to the stage ;
but the burden was a pleasure, such as old Anchises was
to the shoulders of iEneas, or the Lady to the Lover in
old romance, who having to carry her to the top of a
high mountain (the price of obtaining her,) clambered
with her to the top, and fell dead with fatigue.

" Oh the glorious old Schoolmen ! "
There must be something in him. Such great names
imply greatness. Who hath seen Michael Angelo's
things — of us that never pilgrimaged to Rome — and yet
which of us disbelieves his greatness 1 How I will revel
in his cobwebs and subtleties, till my brain spins !

N.B. I have writ in the old Hamlet : offer it to
Mitford in my name, if he have not seen it. 'Tis woe-
fully below our editions of it. But keep it, if you like.
(What is M. to me ?)

I do not mean this to go for a letter, only to apprise
you that the parcel is booked for you this 25th March,
1829, from the Four Swans, Bishopsgate. With both
our loves to Lucy and A. K. Yours ever, C. L.



To H. C. ROBINSON.
Letter CCCXLIV.] April 10, 1829.

Dear Robinson — We are afraid you will slip from us
from England without again seeing us. It would be



224 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

charity to come and see me. I have these three days
been laid up with strong rheumatic pains, in loins, back,
shoulders. I shriek sometimes from the violence of
them. I get scarce any sleep, and the consequence is, I
am restless, and want to change sides as I lie, and I can-
not turn without resting on my hands, and so turning
all my body all at once, like a log with a lever. While
this rainy weather lasts, I have no hope of alleviation.
I have tried flannels and embrocation in vain. Just at
the hip joint the pangs sometimes are so excruciating,
that I cry out. It is as violent as the cramp, and far
more continuous. I am ashamed to whine about these
complaints to you, who can ill enter into them ; but
indeed they are sharp. You go about, in rain or fine,
at all hours, without discommodity. I envy you your
immunity at a time of life not much removed from my
own. But you owe your exemption to temperance,
which it is too late for me to pursue. I, in my lifetime,
have had my good things. Hence my frame is brittle —
yours strong as brass. I never knew any ailment you
had. You can go out at night in all weathers, sit up all
hours. Well, I don't want to moralise ; I only wish to
say that if you are inclined to a game at double-dumby,
I would try and bolster myself in a chair for a rubber
or so. My days are tedious, but less so, and less painful
than my nights. May you never know the pain and
difficulty I have in writing so much ! Mary, who is
most kind, joins in the wish. C. Lamb.



Letter CCCXLV.] April 17, 1829.

I do confess to mischief. It was the subtlest dia-
bolical piece of malice heart of man has contrived. I
have no more rheumatism than that poker. Never was
freer from all pains and aches. Every joint sound, to
the tip of the ear from the extremity of the lesser toe.
The report of thy torments was blown circuitously here



TO ROBINSON. 225

from Bury. I could not resist the jeer. I conceived
you writhing when you should just receive my congratu-
lations. How mad you'd be! Well, it is not in my
method to inflict pangs. I leave that to Heaven : but
in the existing pangs of a friend I have a share. His
disquietude crowns my exemption. I imagine you howl-
ing, and pace across the room, shooting out my free arms,
legs, etc., this way and that way, with an assurance of
not kindling a spark of pain from them. I deny that
Nature meant us to sympathise with agonies. Those
face-contortions, retortions, distortions have the merriness
of antics. Nature meant them for farce — not so pleasant
to the actor, indeed ; but Grimaldi cries when we laugh,
and 'tis but one that suffers to make thousands rejoice.

You say that shampooing is ineffectual ; but, per se,
it is good, to show the in tro volutions, extravolutions, of
which the animal frame is capable — to show what the
creature is receptible of, short of dissolution.

You are worst of nights, an't you 1 You never was
rack'd, was you 1 ? I should like an authentic map of
those feelings.

You seem to have the flying gout. You can scarcely
screw a smile out of your face, can you? I sit at
immunity and sneer ad libitum. Tis now the time for
you to make good resolutions. I may go on breaking
'em for anything the worse I find myself. Your doctor
seems to keep you on the long cure. Precipitate healings
are never good. Don't come while you are so bad ; I
shan't be able to attend to your throes and the dumby at
once. I should like to know how slowly the pain goes
off. But don't write, unless the motion will be likely to
make your sensibility more exquisite.

Your affectionate and truly healthy friend,

C. Lamb.

Mary thought a letter from me might amuse you in
your torment.

vol. ii. . Q



226 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.



To WALTER WILSON.

Letter CCCXLVL] May 28, 1829.

Dear W. — Introduce this, or omit it, as you like.
I think I wrote better about it in a letter to you from
India H. If you have that, perhaps out of the two I
could patch up a better thing, if you'd return both. But
I am very poorly, and have been harassed with an illness
of my sister's.

The Ode was printed in the Neiv Times nearly the
end of 1825, and I have only omitted some silly lines,
call it a corrected copy.

Yours ever, 0. Lamb.

Put my name to either, or both, as you like.

Walter Wilson, Esq. ,
Burnett House,

Near Bath, Somersetshire.



To THOMAS ALLSOP.

Letter CCCXLVIL] [Summer 1829].

At midsummer, or soon after (I will let you know the
previous day), I will take a day with you in the purlieus
of my old haunts. No offence has been taken, any more
than meant. My house is full at present, but empty of
its chief pride. She is dead to me for many months.
But when I see you, then I will say, Come and see me.
With undiminished friendship to you both.

Your faithful, but queer, 0. L.

How you frighted me ! Never write again, " Cole-
ridge is dead," at the end of a line, and tamely come in
with, " to his friends " at the beginning of another. Love
is quicker, and fear from love, than the transition ocular
from line to line.



TO BARTON. 227

To BERNARD BARTON.

Letter CCCXLVIIL] July 3, 1829.

Dear B. B. — I am very much grieved indeed for the
indisposition of poor Lucy. Your letter found me in
domestic troubles. My sister is again taken ill, and I
am obliged to remove her out of the house for many
weeks, I fear, before I can hope to have her again. I
have been very desolate indeed. My loneliness is a little
abated by our young friend Emma having just come here
for her holidays, and a schoolfellow of hers that was,
with her. Still the house is not the same, though she
is the same. Mary had been pleasing herself with the
prospect of seeing her at this time ; and with all their
company, the house feels at times a frightful solitude.
May you and I in no very long time have a more cheer-
ful theme to write about, and congratulate upon a
daughter's and a sister's perfect recovery. Do not be long
without telling me how Lucy goes on. I have a right
to call her by her quaker-name, you know. Emma knows
that I am writing to you, and begs to be remembered to
you with thankfulness for your ready contribution. Her
album is filling apace. But of her contributors, one,
almost the flower of it, a most amiable young man and
late acquaintance of mine, has been carried off by con-
sumption, on return from one of the Azores islands, to
which he went with hopes of mastering the disease, came
back improved, went back to a most close and confined
counting-house, and relapsed. His name was Dibdin,
grandson of the songster.

To get out of home themes, have you seen Southey's
Dialogues'? His lake descriptions, and the account
of his library at Keswick, are very fine. But he
needed not have called up the ghost of More to hold
the conversations with ; which might as well have
passed between A and B, or Caius and Lucius. It is
making too free with a defunct Chancellor and Martyr.



228 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

I feel as if I had nothing farther to write about. I
forget the prettiest letter I ever read, that I have received
from " Pleasures of Memory " Rogers, in acknowledgment
of a sonnet I sent him on the loss of his brother.

It is too long to transcribe, but I hope to show it you
some day, as I hope some time again to see you, when all
of us are well. Only it ends thus : " We were nearly of
an age ; he was the elder. He was the only person in
the world in whose eyes I always appeared young."
I will now take my leave with assuring you that I am
most interested in hoping to hear favourable accounts
from you. With kindest regards to A. K. and you, yours
truly, C. L.



Enfield Chase Side, Saturday,
Letter CCCXLIX.] 2Uh of July, a.d. 1829, 11 a.m.

There ! — a fuller, plumper, juicier date never dropt
from Idumean palm. Am I in the date-ive case now 1 If
not, a fig for dates, which is more than a date is worth.
I never stood much affected to these limitary specialities ;
least of all, since the date of my superannuation.

" What have I with time to do ?
Slaves of desks, 'twas meant for you."

Dear B. B. — Your handwriting has conveyed much
pleasure to me in report of Lucy's restoration. Would
I could send you as good news of my poor Lucy. But
some wearisome weeks I must remain lonely yet. I have
had the loneliest time, near ten weeks, broken by a short
apparition of Emma for her holidays, whose departure
only deepened the returning solitude, and by ten days I
have past in town. But town, with all my native hanker-
ing after it, is not what it was. The streets, the shops
are left ; but all old friends are gone ! And in London
I was frightfully convinced of this as I passed houses and
places, empty caskets now. I have ceased to care almost
about anybody. The bodies I cared for are in graves,



TO BARTON. 229

or dispersed. My old clubs, that lived so long and
flourished so steadily, are crumbled away. When I took
leave of our adopted young friend at Charing Cross, 'twas
heavy unfeeling rain, and I had nowhere to go. Home
have I none, and not a sympathising house to turn to in
the great city. Never did the waters of heaven pour
down on a forlorner head. Yet I tried ten days at a
sort of friend's house, but it was large and straggling, —
one of the individuals of my old long knot of friends, card-
players, pleasant companions, that have tumbled to pieces,
into dust and other things ; and I got home on Thursday,
convinced that I was better to get home to my hole at
Enfield, and hide like a sick cat in my corner. Less
than a month I hope will bring home Mary. She is at
Fulham, looking better in her health than ever, but sadly
rambling, and scarce showing any pleasure in seeing me,
or curiosity when I should come again. But the old
feelings will come back again, and we shall drown old
sorrows over a game of picquet again. But 'tis a tedious
cut out of a life of 64, to lose 12 or 13 weeks every year
or two. And to make me more alone, our ill-tempered
maid is gone, who, with all her airs, was yet a home-
piece of furniture, a record of better days. The young
thing that has succeeded her is good and attentive, but
she is nothing. And I have no one here to talk over
old matters with. Scolding and quarrelling have some-
thing of familiarity, and a community of interest ; they
imply acquaintance ; they are of resentment, which is of
the family of dearness.

I can neither scold nor quarrel at this insignificant
implement of household services : she is less than a cat,
and just better than a deal dresser. What I can do, and
do over-do, is to walk ; but deadly long are the days,
these Summer all-day days, with but a half hour's candle-
light, and no fire-light. I do not write, tell your kind
inquisitive Eliza, and can hardly read. In the ensuing
Blackwood will be an old rejected farce of mine, which
may be new to you, if you see that same medley. What



230 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

things are all the magazines now ! I contrive studiously



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