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not to see them. The popular New Monthly is perfect
trash. Poor Hessey, I suppose you see, has failed ; Hunt
and Clarke too. Your " Vulgar Truths " will be a good
name ; and I think your prose must please — me at least.
But 'tis useless to write poetry with no purchasers.
'Tis cold work authorship, without something to puff one
into fashion. Could you not write something on Quaker-
ism, for Quakers to read, but nominally addressed to
Non-Quakers, explaining your dogmas — waiting on the
Spirit — by the analogy of human calmness and patient
waiting on the judgment? I scarcely know what I
mean, but to make Non-Quakers reconciled to your
doctrines, by showing something like them in mere human
operations ; but I hardly understand myself ; so let it
pass for nothing. I pity you for over-work ; but I assure
you, no work is worse. The mind preys on itself, the
most unwholesome food. I bragged formerly that I
could not have too much time. I have a surfeit.
With few years to come, the days are wearisome. But
weariness is not eternal. Something will shine out to
take the load off that flags me, which is at present
intolerable. I have killed an hour or two in this poor
scrawl. I am a sanguinary murderer of time, and would
kill him inch -meal just now. But the snake is vital.
Well : I shall write merrier anon. 'Tis the present copy
of my countenance I send, and to complain is a little
to alleviate. May you enjoy yourself as far as the
wicked wood will let you, and think that you are not
quite alone as I am ! Health to Lucia, and to Anna,
and kind remembrances.

Your forlorn, C. L.

To SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE.

Letter CCCL.] 1829.

Dear Coleridge — Your sonnet is capital. The paper
is ingenious, only that it split into four parts (besides a



TO COLERIDGE. 231

side splinter) in the carriage. I have transferred it to
the common English paper manufactured of rags, for
better preservation. I never knew before how the Iliad
and Odyssey were written. 'Tis strikingly corroborated
by observations on Cats. These domestic animals, put
'em on a rug before the fire, wink their eyes up, and
listen to the kettle, and then purr, which is their poetry.
On Sunday week we kiss your hands (if they are
clean). This next Sunday I have been engaged for some
time.

With remembrances to your good host and hostess,
Yours ever, C. Lamb.



Letter CCCLL] Tuesday 1829.

My dear Coleridge — With pain and grief, I must
entreat you to excuse us on Thursday. My head, though
externally correct, has had a severe concussion in my
long illness, and the very idea of an engagement hanging
over for a day or two, forbids my rest, and I get up
miserable. I am not well enough for company. I do
assure you, no other thing prevents my coming. I
expect Field and his brothers this or to-morrow evening,
and it worries me to death that I am not ostensibly ill
enough to put 'em off. I will get better, when I shall
hope to see your nephew. He will come again. Mary
joins in best love to the Gillmans. Do, I earnestly
entreat you, excuse me. I assure you, again, that I am
not fit to go out yet.

Yours (though shattered), C. Lamb.



To Mr. SERJEANT TALFOURD.

Letter CCCLIL] [1829.]

Dear Talfourd — You could not have told me of a
more friendly thing than you have been doing. I am
proud of my namesake. I shall take care never to do



232 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

any dirty action, pick pockets, or anyhow get myself
hanged, for fear of reflecting ignominy upon your young
Chrisom. I have now a motive to be good. I shall not
omnis mortar; — my name borne down the black gulf of
oblivion.

I shall survive in eleven letters, five more than Caesar.
Possibly I shall come to be knighted, or more ! Sir C.
L. Talfourd, Bart. !

Yet hath it an authorish twang with it, which will
wear out my name for poetry. Give him a smile from
me till I see him. If you do not drop down before, some
day in the week after next I will come and take one night's
lodging with you, if convenient, before you go hence.
You shall name it. We are in town to-morrow speciali
gratid, but by no arrangement can get up near you.

Believe us both, with greatest regards, yours and Mrs.

Talfourd's. ^

Charles Lamb-Philo-Talfourd.

I come as near it as I can.



To GILLMAK

Letter CCCLIII.] Chase Side, Enfield, October 26, 1829.

Dear Gillman — Allsop brought me your kind message
yesterday. How can I account for having not visited
Highgate this long time? Change of place seemed to
have changed me. How grieved I was to hear in what
indifferent health Coleridge has been, and I not to know
of it ! A little school divinity, well applied, may be
healing. I send him honest Tom of Aquin ; that was
always an obscure great idea to me : I never thought or
dreamed to see him in the flesh, but t'other day I rescued
him from a stall in Barbican and brought him off in
triumph. He comes to greet Coleridge's acceptance, for
his shoe-latchets I am unworthy to unloose. Yet there
are pretty pro's and con's, and such unsatisfactory
learning in him. Commend me to the question of



TO NOVELLO. 233

etiquette — " utrutn annunciatlo debuerit fieri per
angelum " — Qucest. 30, Articulus 2. I protest, till now
I had thought Gabriel a fellow of some mark and liveli-
hood, not a simple esquire, as I find him. Well, do not
break your lay brains, nor I neither, with these curious
nothings. They are nuts to our dear friend, whom
hoping to see at your first friendly hint that it will be
convenient, I end with begging our very kindest loves to
Mrs. Gillman. We have had a sorry house of it here.
Our spirits have been reduced till we were at hope's end
what to do. Obliged to quit this house, and afraid to
engage another, till in extremity, I took the desperate
resolve of kicking house and all down, like Bunyan's
pack ; and here we are in a new life at board and lodging,
with an honest couple our neighbours. We have ridded
ourselves of the cares of dirty acres ; and the change,
though of less than a week, has had the most beneficial
effects on Mary already. She looks two years and a
half younger for it. But we have had sore trials.
God send us one happy meeting ! — Yours faithfully,

0. Lamb.



To VINCENT NOVELLO.

Letter CCCLIV.] [October 1829.]

Dear Fugueist,

or hear'st thou rather
Contrapuntist 1 —

We expect you four (as many as the table will hold
without squeezing) at Mrs. Westwood's Table d'Hote on
Thursday. You will find the White House shut up, and
us moved under the wing of the Phcenix, which gives us
friendly refuge. Beds for guests, marry, we have none,
but cleanly accomodings at the Crown and Horse-Shoe.

Yours harmonically, C. L.

Vincentio (what, ho !) Novello, a Squire,

66, Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields.



234 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.



To WALTER WILSON.

Letter CCCLV.] Enfield, November 15, 1829.

My dear Wilson — I have not opened a packet of
unknown contents for many years that gave me so much
pleasure as when I disclosed your three volumes. I
have given them a careful perusal, and they have taken
their degree of classical books upon my shelves. De Foe
was always my darling ; but what darkness was I in as
to far the larger part of his writings ! I have now an
epitome of them all. I think the way in which you
have done the "Life " the most judicious you could have
pitched upon. You have made him tell his own story,
and your comments are in keeping with the tale. Why,
I never heard of such a work as the Review. Strange
that in my stall -hunting days I never so much as lit
upon an odd volume of it. This circumstance looks as
if they were never of any great circulation. But I may
have met with 'em, and not knowing the prize, overpast
'em. I was almost a stranger to the whole history of
Dissenters in those reigns, and picked my way through
that strange book the " Consolidator " at random. How
affecting are some of his personal appeals ! What a
machine of projects he set on foot ! and following writers
have picked his pocket of the patents. I do not under-
stand whereabouts in " Roxana " he himself left off. I
always thought the complete-tourist-sort of description of
the town she passes through on her last embarkation
miserably unseasonable and out of place. I knew not
they were spurious. Enlighten me as to where the
apocryphal matter commences. I, by accident, can
correct one A. D., "Family Instructor," vol. ii. 1718;
you say his first volume had then reached the fourth
edition ; now I have a fifth, printed for Eman Matthews,
1717. So have I plucked one rotten date, or rather
picked it up where it had inadvertently fallen, from your
flourishing date tree, the Palm of Engaddi. I may take



TO WILSON. 235

it for my pains. I think yours a book which every
public library must have, and every English scholar should
have. I am sure it has enriched my meagre stock of the
author's works. I seem to be twice as opulent. Mary
is by my side, just finishing the second volume. It must
have interest to divert her away so long from her modern
novels. Colburn will be quite jealous. I was a little
disappointed at my "Ode to the Treadmill" not finding
a place, but it came out of time. The two papers of
mine will puzzle the reader, being so akin. Odd, that
never keeping a scrap of my own letters, with some
fifteen years' interval I should nearly have said the same
things. But I shall always feel happy in having my
name go down anyhow with De Foe's, and that of his
historiographer. I promise myself, if not immortality,
yet diuternity of being read in consequence. We have
both had much illness this year ; and feeling infirmities
and fretfulness grow upon us, we have cast off the cares
of housekeeping, sold off our goods, and commenced
boarding and lodging with a very comfortable old couple
next door to where you found us. We use a sort of
common table. Nevertheless, we have reserved a private
one for an old friend ; and when Mrs. Wilson and you
revisit Babylon, we shall pray you to make it yours for a
season. Our very kindest remembrances to you both.

From your old friend and fellow-journalist, now in
two instances, C. Lamb.

Hazlitt is going to make your book a basis for a
review of De Foe's Novels in the "Edinbro'." I wish I
had health and spirits to do it. Hone I have not seen,
but I doubt not he will be much pleased with your per-
formance. I very much hope you will give us an account
of Dunton, etc. But what I should more like to see
would be a Life and Times of Bunyan. Wishing health
to you, and long life to your healthy book, again I
subscribe me,

Yours in verity, C. L.



236 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

To Mr. GILLMAN.

Letter CCCLVL] November 30, 1829.

Dear G. — The excursionists reached home, and the
good town of Enfield, a little after four, without slip or
dislocation. Little has transpired concerning the events
of the back-journey, save that on passing the house of
'Squire Mellish, situate a stone -bow's cast from the
hamlet, Father Westwood, with a good-natured wonder-
ment, exclaimed, " I cannot think what is gone of Mr.
Mellish's rooks. I fancy they have taken flight some-
where, but I have missed them two or three years
past." All this while, according to his fellow-traveller's
report, the rookery was darkening the air above with
undiminished population, and deafening all ears but his
with their cawings. But Nature has been gently with-
drawing such phenomena from the notice of two of Thomas
Westwood's senses, from the time he began to miss the
rooks. T. Westwood has passed a retired life in this
hamlet, of thirty or forty years, living upon the minimum
which is consistent with gentility, yet a star among the
minor gentry, receiving the bows of the tradespeople, and
courtesies of the alms-women, daily. Children venerate
him not less for his external show of gentry, than they
wonder at him for a gentle rising endorsation of the
person, not amounting to a hump, or if a hump, innocuous
as the hump of the buffalo, and coronative of as mild
qualities. 'Tis a throne on which patience seems to sit, —
the proud perch of a self-respecting humility, stooping
with condescension. Thereupon the cares of life have
sate, and rid him easily. For he has thrid the angustice
domus with dexterity. Life opened upon him with com-
parative brilliancy. He set out as a rider or traveller
for a wholesale house, in which capacity he tells of many
hair-breadth escapes that befell him ; one especially, how
he rode a mad horse into the town of Devizes ; how
horse and rider arrived in a foam, to the utter consterna-



TO GILLMAN. 237

tion of the expostulating hostlers, inn-keepers, etc. It
seems it was sultry weather, piping hot ; the steed
tormented into frenzy with gad-flies, long past being
road-worthy ; but safety and the interest of the house
he rode for were incompatible things ; a fall in serge
cloth was expected, and a mad entrance they made of it.
Whether the exploit was purely voluntary, or partially ;
or whether a certain personal defiguration in the man
part of this extraordinary centaur (non- assistive to
partition of natures) might not enforce the conjunction, I
stand not to inquire. I look not with 'skew eyes into
the deeds of heroes. The hosier that was burnt with his
shop, in Field Lane, on Tuesday night, shall have past to
heaven for me like a Marian Martyr, provided always
that he consecrated the fortuitous incremation with a
short ejaculation in the exit, as much as if he had taken
his state degrees of martyrdom in formd in the market
vicinage. There is adoptive as well as acquisitive
sacrifice. Be the animus what it might, the fact is
indisputable, that this composition was seen flying all
abroad, and mine host of Daintry may yet remember
its passing through his town, if his scores are not more
faithful than his memory. After this exploit (enough
for one man), Thomas Westwood seems to have subsided
into a less hazardous occupation : and in the twenty-fifth
year of his age we find him a haberdasher in Bow Lane :
yet still retentive of his early riding (though leaving it
to rawer stomachs), and Christmasly at night sithence to
this last, and shall to his latest Christmas, hath he, doth
he, and shall he, tell after supper the story of the insane
steed and the desperate rider. Save for Bedlam or
Luke's no eye could have guessed that melting day what
house he rid for. But he reposes on his bridles, and
after the ups and downs (metaphoric only) of a life
behind the counter — hard riding sometimes, I fear, for
poor T. W. — with the scrapings together of the shop, and
one anecdote, he hath finally settled at Enfield ; by hard
economising, gardening, budding for himself, hath reared



238 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

a mausion ; married a daughter ; qualified a son for a
counting-house; gotten the respect of high and low;
served for self or substitute the greater parish offices ;
hath a special voice at vestries ; and, domiciliating us,
hath reflected a portion of his house-keeping respectability
upon your humble servants. We are greater, being his
lodgers, than when we were substantial renters. His
name is a passport to take off the sneers of the native
Enfielders against obnoxious foreigners. We are en-
denizened. Thus much of T. Westwood have I thought
fit to acquaint you, that you may see the exemplary
reliance upon Providence with which I entrusted so dear
a charge as my own sister to the guidance of a man
that rode the mad horse into Devizes. To come from his
heroic character, all the amiable qualities of domestic life
concentre in this tamed Bellerophon. He is excellent
over a glass of grog; just as pleasant without it ; laughs
when he hears a joke, and when (which is much oftener)
he hears it not ; sings glorious old sea -songs on festival
nights ; and but upon a slight acquaintance of two years,
Coleridge, is as dear a deaf old man to us as old Norris
(rest his soul !) was after fifty. To him and his scanty
literature (what there is of it, sound) have we flown from the
metropolis and its damn'd annualists, reviewers, authors,
and the whole muddy ink press of that stagnant pool.

Now, Gillman again, you do not know the treasure of
the Fullers. I calculate on having massy reading till
Christmas. All I want here is books of the true sort,
not those things in boards that moderns mistake for
books, what they club for at book-clubs.

I did not mean to cheat you with a blank side, but
my eye smarts, for which I am taking medicine, and
abstain, this day at least, from any aliments but milk-
porridge, the innocent taste of which I am anxious to
renew after a half-century's disacquaintance. If a blot
fall here like a tear, it is not pathos, but an angry eye.

Farewell, while my specilla are sound.

Yours and yours, C. Lamb.



TO GILLMAN. 239

Letter CCCLVII.] [December] 1829.

Pray trust me with the " Church History," as well as
the " Worthies." A moon shall restore both. Also give
me back "Him of Aquinum." In return you have the
light of my countenance. Adieu.

P..S'. — A sister also of mine comes with it. A son of
Nimshi drives her. Their driving will have been furious,
impassioned. Pray God they have not toppled over
the tunnel ! I promise you I fear their steed, bred out
of the wind without father, semi-Melchisedecish, hot,
phaetontic. From my country lodgings at Enfield.

C. L.



Letter CCCLVIII.] [December] 1829.

Dear Gillman — Pray do you, or S. T. C, immediately
write to say you have received back the golden works of
the dear, fine, silly old angel, which I part from, bleeding,
and to say how the Winter has used you all.

It is our intention soon, weather permitting, to come
over for a day at Highgate ; for beds we will trust to the
Gate-House, should you be full : tell me if we may come
casually, for in this change of climate there is no naming
a day for walking. With best loves to Mrs. Gillman, etc.

Yours, mopish, but in health, C. Lamb.

I shall be uneasy till I hear of Fuller's safe arrival.



To BERNARD BARTON.

Letter OCCLIX.] December 8, 1829.

My dear B. B. — You are very good to have been
uneasy about us, and I have the satisfaction to tell you
that we are both in better health and spirits than we
have been for a year or two past ; I may say than we



240 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

have been since we have been at Enfield. The cause
may not appear quite adequate, when I tell you that
a course of ill -health and spirits brought us to the
determination of giving up our house here, and we are
boarding and lodging with a worthy old couple, long
inhabitants of Enfield, where everything is done for us
without our trouble, further than a reasonable weekly pay-
ment. We should have done so before, but it is not easy
to flesh and blood to give up an ancient establishment,
to discard old Penates, and from house keepers to turn
house sharers. (N.B. We are not in the workhouse.)
Diocletian, in his garden, found more repose than on the
imperial seat of Rome ; and the nob of Charles the Fifth
ached seldomer under a monk's cowl than under the
diadem. With such shadows of assimilation we coun-
tenance our degradation. With such a load of dignified
cares just removed from our shoulders, we can the more
understand and pity the accession to yours, by the
advancement to an assigneeship. I will tell you honestly,
B. B., that it has been long my deliberate judgment that
all bankrupts, of whatsoever denomination, civil or reli-
gious, ought to be hanged. The pity of mankind has
for ages run in a wrong channel, and has been diverted
from poor creditors — (how many I have known sufferers !
Hazlitt has just been defrauded of £100 by his bookseller-
friends breaking) — to scoundrel debtors. I know all
the topics — that distress may come upon an honest man
without his fault ; that the failure of one that he trusted
was his calamity, etc. Then let both be hanged. how
careful it would make traders ! These are my deliberate
thoughts, after many years' experience in matters of trade.
What a world of trouble it would have saved you, if
Friend * * * * had been immediately hanged, without
benefit of clergy, which (being a Quaker I presume) he
could not reasonably insist upon. Why, after slaving
twelve months in your assign-business, you will be enabled
to declare 7d. in the pound in all human probability.
B. B., he should be hanged. Trade will never re-flourish



TO WORDSWORTH. 241

in this land till such a law is established. I write big,
not to save ink but eyes, mine having been troubled with
reading through three folios of old Fuller in almost as
few days, and I went to bed last night in agony, and am
writing with a vial of eye-water before me, alternately
dipping in vial and inkstand. This may inflame my zeal
against bankrupts, but it was my speculation when I
could see better. Half the world's misery (Eden else) is
owing to want of money, and all that want is owing to
bankrupts. I declare I would, if the state wanted practi-
tioners, turn hangman myself, and should have great
pleasure in hanging the first bankrupt after my salutary
law should be established. I have seen no Annuals, and
wish to see none. I like your fun upon them, and was
quite pleased with Bowles's sonnet. Hood is, or was, at
Brighton ; but a note (prose or rhyme) to him, Robert
Street, Adelphi, I am sure, would extract a copy of his,
which also I have not seen. Wishing you and yours all
health, I conclude while these frail glasses are to me —
eyes. C. L.



To WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

Lbttkr CCCLX.] January 22, 1830.

And is it a year since we parted from you at the steps
of Edmonton stage 1 There are not now the years that
there used to be. The tale of the dwindled age of men,
reported of successional mankind, is true of the same man
only. We do not live a year in a year now. 'Tis a
picnctum stans. The seasons pass us with indifference.
Spring cheers not, nor Winter heightens our gloom ;
Autumn hath foregone its moralities, — they are " hey-pass
repass," as in a show-box. Yet, as far as last year occurs
back, — for they scarce show a reflex now, they make no
memory as heretofore, — 'twas sufficiently gloomy. Let
the sullen nothing pass. Suffice it, that after sad spirits,

vol. ii. n



242 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

prolonged through many of its months, as it called them,
we have cast our skins ; have taken a farewell of the
pompous, troublesome trifle, called housekeeping, and
are settled down into poor boarders and lodgers at next
door with an old couple, the Baucis and Baucida of dull
Enfield. Here we have nothing to do with our victuals
but to eat them ; with the garden but to see it grow ;
with the tax-gatherer but to hear him knock ; with the
maid but to hear her scolded. Scot and lot, butcher,
baker, are things unknown to us, save as spectators of the
pageant. We are fed we know not how ; quietists — con-
fiding ravens. We have otiwnpro dignitate, a respectable
insignificance. Yet in the self-condemned obliviousness, in
the stagnation, some molesting yearnings of life, not quite
killed, rise, prompting me that there was a London, and
that I was of that old Jerusalem. In dreams I am in
Fleet Market, but I wake and cry to sleep again. I die
hard, a stubborn Eloisa in this detestable Paraclete.
What have I gained by health 1 Intolerable dulness.
What by early hours and moderate meals 1 A total blank.
never let the lying poets be believed, who 'tice men
from the cheerful haimts of streets, or think they mean
it not of a country village. In the ruins of Palmyra I
could gird myself up to solitude, or muse to the snorings
of the Seven Sleepers ; but to have a little teazing image
of a town about one ; country folks that do not look like
country folks ; shops two yards square, half-a-dozen apples,
and two penn'orth of overlooked ginger-bread for the lofty
fruiterers of Oxford Street ; and, for the immortal book
and print stalls, a circulating library that stands still,
where the show-picture is a last year's Valentine, and
whither the fame of the last ten Scotch novels has not yet
travelled, — (marry, they just begin to be conscious of the
Redgauntlet :) — to have a new plastered flat church, and
to be wishing that it was but a cathedral ! The very
blackguards here are degenerate ; the topping gentry stock-
brokers ; the passengers too many to insure your quiet, or
let you go about whistling or gaping, too few to be the



TO WORDSWORTH. 243

fine indifferent pageants of Fleet Street. Confining, room-
keeping, thickest Winter, is yet more bearable here than
the gaudy months. Among one's books at one's fire by



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