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candle, one is soothed into an oblivion that one is not in the
country ; but with the light the green fields return, till I
gaze, and in a calenture can plunge myself into St. Giles's.

let no native Londoner imagine that health, and rest,
and innocent occupation, interchange of converse sweet, and
recreative study, can make the country anything better
than altogether odious and detestable ! A garden was
the primitive prison, till man, with Promethean felicity
and boldness, luckily sinned himself out of it. Thence
followed Babylon, Nineveh, Venice, London, haberdashers,
goldsmiths, taverns, playhouses, satires, epigrams, puns, —
these all came in on the town part, and the thither side
of innocence. Man found out inventions. From my den

1 return you condolence for your decaying sight ; not for
anything there is to see in the country, but for the miss
of the pleasure of reading a London newspaper. The
poets are as well to listen to ; anything high may, nay
must, be read out; you read it to yourself with an
imaginary auditor ; but the light paragraphs must be glid
over by the proper eye; mouthing mumbles their gos-
samery substance. 'Tis these trifles I should mourn in
fading sight. A newspaper is the single gleam of comfort
I receive here ; it comes from rich Cathay with tidings of
mankind. Yet I could not attend to it, read out by the
most beloved voice. But your eyes do not get worse, I
gather. for the collyrium of Tobias inclosed in a
whiting's liver, to send you with no apocryphal good
wishes ! The last long time I heard from you, you had
knocked your head against something. Do not do so ;
for your head (I do not flatter) is not a knob, or the top
of a brass nail, or the end of a nine pin, — unless a
Vulcanian hammer could fairly batter a " Recluse " out of
it ; then would I bid the smirched god knock and knock
lustily, the two-handed skinker. Mary must squeeze out
a line proprid manu, but indeed her fingers have been



244 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

incorrigibly nervous to letter writing for a long interval.
'Twill please you all to hear, that though I fret like a lion
in a net, her present health and spirits are better than
they have been for some time past. She is absolutely
three years and a half younger, as I tell her, since we
have adopted this boarding plan.

Our providers are an honest pair, Dame W[estwood]
and her husband. He, when the light of prosperity
shined on them, a moderately thriving haberdasher, within
Bow bells, retired since with something under a compe-
tence ; writes himself parcel gentleman ; hath borne parish
offices ; sings fine old sea songs at threescore and ten ;
sighs only now and then when he thinks that he has a son
on his hands, about fifteen, whom he finds a difficulty in
getting out into the world, and then checks a sigh with
muttering, as I once heard him prettily, not meaning to
be heard, " I have married my daughter, however ;" takes
the weather as it comes ; outsides it to town in severest
season ; and o' winter nights tells old stories not tending to
literature (how comfortable to author-rid folks !), and has
one anecdote, upon which and about forty pounds a year
he seems to have retired in green old age. It was how
he was a rider in his youth, travelling for shops, and once
(not to balk his employer's bargain) on a sweltering day
in August, rode foaming into Dunstable upon a mad horse,
to the dismay and expostulatory wonderment of innkeepers,
ostlers, etc., who declared they would not have bestrid
the beast to win the Derby. Understand, the creature
galled to death and desperation by gad-flies, cormorant-
winged, worse than beset Inachus's daughter. This he
tells, this he brindles and burnishes on a Winter's eve ;
'tis his star of set glory, his rejuvenescence, to descant
upon. Far from me be it (dii avertant) to look a gift
story in the mouth, or cruelly to surmise (as those who
doubt the plunge of Curtius) that the inseparate con-
juncture of man and beast, the centaur-phenomenon that
staggered all Dunstable, might have been the effect of un-
romantic necessity ; that the horse-part carried the reason-



TO WORDSWORTH. 245

ing, willy nilly ; that needs must when such a devil drove ;
that certain spiral configurations in the frame of T[homas]
W[estwood] unfriendly to alighting, made the alliance
more forcible than voluntary. Let him enjoy his fame
for me, nor let me hint a whisper that shall dismount
Bellerophon. But in case he was an involuntary martyr,
yet if in the fiery conflict he buckled the soul of a constant
haberdasher to him, and adopted his flames, let accident
and him share the glory. You would all like Thomas
Westwood. How weak is painting to describe a man !
Say that he stands four feet and a nail high by his own
yard measure, which, like the sceptre of Agamemnon, shall
never sprout again, still you have no adequate idea ; nor
when I tell you that his dear hump, which I have favoured
in the picture, seems to me of the buffalo — indicative and
repository of mild qualities, a budget of kindnesses — still
you have not the man. Knew you old Norris of the
Temple 1 sixty years ours and our father's friend 1 He
was not more natural to us than this old W., the acquaint-
ance of scarce more weeks. Under his roof now ought I
to take my rest, but that back-looking ambition tells me
I might yet be a Londoner ! Well, if we ever do move,
we have incumbrances the less to impede us; all our
furniture has faded under the auctioneer's hammer, going
for nothing, like the tarnished frippery of the prodigal,
and we have only a spoon or two left to bless us. Clothed
we came into Enfield, and naked we must go out of it.
I would live in London shirtless, bookless. Henry
Crabb is at Rome ; advices to that effect have reached
Bury. But by solemn legacy he bequeathed at parting
(whether he should live or die) a turkey of Suffolk to
be sent every succeeding Christmas to us and divers
other friends. What a genuine old bachelor's action ! I
fear he will find the air of Italy too classic. His station
is in the Harz forest ; his soul is be-Goethed. Miss Kelly
we never see ; Talfourd not this half-year : the latter
flourishes, but the exact number of his children (God for-
give me !) I have utterly forgotten. We single people are



246 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

often out in our count there. Shall I say two 1 We
see scarce anybody. Can I cram loves enough to you all
in this little 1 Excuse particularising. C. L.



To BERNARD BARTON.

Letter CCCLXI.] February 25, 1830.

Dear B. B. — To reply to you by return of post, I
must gobble up my dinner and despatch this in proprid
persond to the office, to be in time. So take it from me
hastily, that you are perfectly welcome to furnish A. C.
with the scrap, which I had almost forgotten writing.
The more my character comes to be known, the less my
veracity will come to be suspected. Time every day clears
up some suspected narrative of Herodotus, Bruce, and
others of us great travellers. Why, that Joseph Paice
was as real a person as Joseph Hume, and a great deal
pleasanter. A careful observer of life, Bernard, has no
need to invent. Nature romances it for him. Dinner
plates rattle, and I positively shall incur indigestion by
carrying it half concocted to the post-house. Let me
congratulate you on the Spring coming in, and do you in
return condole with me on the Winter going out. When
the old one goes, seldom comes a better. I dread the
prospect of Summer, with his all-day-long days. No need
of his assistance to make country places dull. With fire
and candle-light I can dream myself in Holborn. With
lightsome skies shining in to bed-time I can not. This
Mesech, and these tents of Kedar — I would dwell in the
skirts of Jericho rather, and think every blast of the
coming-in mail a ram's horn. Give me old London at
fire and plague times, rather than these tepid gales, healthy
country air, and purposeless exercise.

Leg of mutton absolutely on the table.

Take our hasty loves and short farewell. C. L.



TO MRS. HAZLITT. 247



To Mrs. HAZLITT.

Letter CCCLXIL] March 4, 1830.

Dear Sarah — I was meditating to come and see you,
but I am unable for the walk. We are both very unwell,
and under affliction for poor Emma, who has had a very
dangerous brain fever, and is lying very ill at Bury, from
whence I expect a summons to fetch her. We are very
sorry for your confinement. Any books I have are at your
service. I am almost, I may say quite sure, that letters to
India pay no postage, and may go by the regular Post
Office, now in St. Martin' les Grand. I think any receiv-
ing house would take them. I wish I could confirm your
hopes about Dick Norris. But it is quite a dream. Some
old Bencher of his surname is made Treasurer for the year,
I suppose, which is an annual office. Norris was Sub-
Treasurer, quite a different thing. They were pretty well
in the Summer; since when we have heard nothing of
them.

Mrs. Reynolds is better than she has been for years.
She is with a disagreeable woman that she has taken a
mighty fancy to, out of spite to a rival woman she used
to live and quarrel with. She grows quite fat, they tell
me, and may live as long as I do, to be a tormenting rent-
charge to my diminished income. We go on pretty com-
fortably in our new place. I will come and have a talk
with you when poor Emma's affair is settled, and will
bring books. At present I am weak, and could hardly
bring my legs home yesterday after a much shorter stroll
than to Northaw. Mary has got her bonnet on for a
short expedition. May you get better, as the Spring
comes on. She sends her best love

With mine. 0. L.

Mrs. Hazlitt,

Mrs. Tomlinson's,

Northaw, near Potter's Bar, Herts.



248 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.



To Rev. JAMES GILLMAN.

Letter CCCLXIIL] March 8, 1830.

My dear G. — Your friend Battin (for I knew him
immediately by the smooth satinity of his style) must
excuse me for advocating the cause of his friends in Spital-
fields. The fact is, I am retained by the Norwich
people, and have already appeared in their paper under
the signatures of "Lucius Sergius," "Bluff," "Broad-
Cloth," "No-trade-to-the-Woollen-Trade," "Anti-plush,"
etc., in defence of druggets and long camblets. And
without this pre-engagement, I feel I should naturally

have chosen a side opposite to , for in the silken

seemingness of his nature there is that which offends me.
My flesh tingles at such caterpillars. He shall not crawl
me over. Let him and his workmen sing the old burthen,

"Heigh ho, ye weavers !"

for any aid I shall offer them in this emergency. I was
over St. Luke's the other day with my friend Tuthill, and
mightily pleased with one of his contrivances for the
comfort and amelioration of the students. They have
double cells, in which a pair may lie feet to feet horizon-
tally, and chat the time away as rationally as they can.
It must certainly be more sociable for them these warm
raving nights. The right-hand truckle in one of these
friendly recesses, at present vacant, was preparing, I un-
derstood for Mr. Irving. Poor fellow ! it is time he
removed from Pentonville. I followed him as far as to
Highbury the other day, with a mob at his heels, calling
out upon Ermigiddon, who I suppose is some Scotch
moderator. He squinted out his favourite eye last Friday,
in the fury of possession, upon a poor woman's shoulders
that was crying matches, and has not missed it. The
companion truck, as far as I could measure it with my
eye, would conveniently fit a person about the length of



TO WILLIAM AYRTON. 249

Coleridge, allowing for a reasonable drawing up of the
feet, not at all painful. Does he talk of moving this
quarter 1 You and I have too much sense to trouble our-
selves with revelations ; marry, to the same in Greek,
you may have something professionally to say. Tell C.
that he was to come and see us some fine day. Let it be
before he moves, for in his new quarters he will necessarily
be confined in his conversation to his brother prophet.
Conceive the two Eabbis foot to foot, for there are no
Gamaliels there to affect an humbler posture ! All are
masters in that Patmos, where the law is perfect equality ;
Latmos I should rather say, for they will be Luna's twin
darlings ; her affection will be ever at the full. Well ;
keep your brains moist with gooseberry this mad March,
for the devil of exposition seeketh dry places.

C. L.



To WILLIAM AYRTON.

Letter CCCLXIV.] Mr. Westwood's, Chase Side, Enfield,

March 14, 1830.

My dear Ayr ton — Your letter, which was only not
so pleasant as your appearance would have been, has revived
some old images, — Phillips (not the Colonel), with his
few hairs bristling up at the charge of a revoke, which
he declares impossible ; the old Captain's significant nod

over the right shoulder (was it not 1) ; Mrs. B 's

determined questioning of the score, after the game was
absolutely gone to the d — 1; the plain but hospitable
cold boiled-beef suppers at sideboard : all which fancies,
redolent of middle age and strengthful spirits, come across
us ever and anon in this vale of deliberate senectitude,
ycleped Enfield.

You imagine a deep gulf between you and us ; and
there is a pitable hiatus in hind between St. James's
Park and this extremity of Middlesex. But the mere



250 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

distance in turnpike roads is a trine. The roof of a
coach swings you down in an hour or two. We have a
sure hot joint on a Sunday ; and when had we better ?
I suppose you know that ill health has obliged us to give
up housekeeping ; but we have an asylum at the very
next door (only twenty-four inches further from town,
which is not material in a country expedition), where a
table d'hote is kept for us, without trouble on our parts,
and we adjourn after dinner, when one of the old world
(old friends) drops casually down among us. Come and
find us out ; and seal our judicious change with your
approbation, whenever the whim bites, or the sun prompts.
No need of announcement, for we are sure to be at
home.

I keep putting off the subject of my answer. In truth
I am not in spirits at present to see Mr. Murray on such
a business ; but pray offer him my acknowledgments, and
an assurance that I should like at least one of his pro-
positions, as I have so much additional matter for the
Specimens as might make two volumes in all ; or one
(new edition), omitting such better-known authors as
Beaumont and Fletcher, Jonson, etc.

But we are both in trouble at present. A very dear
young friend of ours, who passed her Christmas holidays
here, has been taken dangerously ill with a fever, from
which she is very precariously recovering, and I expect a
summons to fetch her when she is well enough to bear the
journey from Bury. It is Emma Isola, with whom we
got acquainted at our first visit to your sister at Cam-
bridge, and she has been an occasional inmate with us
(and of late years much more frequently) ever since.
While she is in this danger, and till she is out of it, and
here in a probable way to recovery, I feel that I have no
spirits for an engagement of any kind. It has been a
terrible shock to us ; therefore I beg that you will make
my handsomest excuses to Mr. Murray.

Our very kindest loves to Mrs. A. and the younger A.'s.

Your unforgotten, C. Lamb.



TO MRS. WILLIAMS. 251



To Mrs. WILLIAMS.



Letter CCCLXV.] Enfield, April 2, 1830.

Dear Madam — I have great pleasure in letting you
know Miss Isola has suffered very little from fatigue on
her long journey. I am ashamed to say that I came
home rather the more tired of the two ; but I am a very
unpractised traveller. We found my sister very well in
health, only a little impatient to see her ; and after a few
hysterical tears for gladness, all was comfortable again.
We arrived here from Epping between five and six.

The incidents of our journey were trifling, but you
bade us tell them. We had then in the coach a rather
talkative gentleman, but very civil all the way ; and took
up a servant maid at Stamford going to a sick mistress.
To the latter a participation in the hospitalities of your
nice rusks and sandwiches proved agreeable, as it did to
my companion, who took merely a sip of the weakest wine
and water with them. The former engaged me in a dis-
course for full twenty miles, on the probable advantages
of steam carriages, which, being merely problematical, I
bore my part in with some credit, in spite of my totally
un-engiueer-like faculties. But when, somewhere about
Stanstead, he put an unfortunate question to me, as to
"the probability of its turning out a good turnip season,"
and when I, who am still less of an agriculturist than a
steam philosopher, not knowing a turnip from a potato
ground, innocently made answer, " I believe it depends
very much upon boiled legs of mutton," my unlucky reply
set Miss Isola a laughing to a degree that disturbed her
tranquillity for the only moment in our journey. I am
afraid my credit sank very low with my other fellow-
traveller, who had thought he had met with a well-
informed passenger, which is an accident so desirable in
a stage coach. We were rather less communicative, but
still friendly, the rest of the way.



252 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

How I employed myself between Epping and Enfield,
the poor verses in the front of my paper may inform you,
which you may please to christen an " Acrostic in a Cross
Road," and which I wish were worthier of the lady they
refer to ; but I trust you will plead my pardon to her on
a subject so delicate as a lady's good name. Your candour
must acknowledge that they are written straight. And
now, dear Madam, I have left myself hardly space to
express my sense of the friendly reception I found at
Fornham. Mr. Williams will tell you that we had the
pleasure of a slight meeting with him on the road, where
I could almost have told him, but that it seemed un-
gracious, that such had been your hospitality, that I
scarcely missed the good master of the family at Fornham,
though heartily I should have rejoiced to have made a
little longer acquaintance with him. I will say nothing
of our deeper obligations to both of you, because I think
we agreed at Fornham that gratitude may be over-
exacted on the part of the obliging, and over-expressed
on the part of the obliged person.

My sister and Miss Isola join in respects to Mr.
Williams and yourself. Miss Isola will have the pleasure
of writing to you next week, and we shall hope at your
leisure to hear of your own health, etc.

I am, dear Madam, with great respect, your obliged

Charles Lamb.



Letter CCCLXVI.] Enfield, Good Friday, 1830.

Dear Madam — I do assure you that your verses gratified
me very much, and my sister is quite proud of them.
For the first time in my life I congratulated myself upon
the shortness and meanness of my name. Had it been
Schwartzenberg or Esterhazy, it would have put you to
some puzzle. I am afraid I shall sicken you of acrostics,
but this last was written to order. I beg you to have
inserted in your county paper something like this adver-
tisement : " To the nobility, gentry, and others, about



TO SOUTHEY. 253

Bury. — 0. Lamb respectfully informs his friends and the
public in general, that he is leaving off business in the
acrostic line, as he is going into an entirely new line.
Rebuses and Charades done as usual, and upon the old
terms. Also, Epitaphs to suit the memory of any person
deceased."

I thought I had adroitly escaped the rather unpliable
name of " Williams," curtailing your poor daughters to
their proper surnames ; but it seems you would not let
me off so easily. If these trifles amuse you, I am paid.
Though really 'tis an operation too much like — " A, apple-
pie; B, bit it." To make amends, I request leave to
lend you the " Excursion," and to recommend, in par-
ticular, the " Churchyard Stories," — in the seventh book,
I think. They will strengthen the tone of your mind
after its weak diet on acrostics.

Miss Isola is writing, and will tell you that we are
going on very comfortably. Her sister is just come.
She blames my last verses, as being more written on Mr.
Williams than on yourself ; but how should I have parted
whom a Superior Power has brought together? I beg
you will jointly accept of our best respects, and pardon
your obsequious if not troublesome correspondent,

C. L.

P.S. — I am the worst folder-up of a letter in the
world, except certain Hottentots, in the land of Caffre,
who never fold up their letters at all, writing very badly
upon skins, etc.



To ROBERT SOUTHEY.

Letter CCCLXVIL] May 10, 1830.

Dear Southey — My friend Hone, whom you would
like for a friend, I found deeply impressed with your
generous notice of him in your beautiful Life of Bunyan,



254 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

which I am just now full of. He has written to you for
leave to publish a certain good-natured letter. I write not
this to enforce his request, for we are fully aware that the
refusal of such publication would be quite consistent with
all that is good in your character. Neither he nor I
expect it from you, nor exact it ; but if you would consent
to it, you would oblige me by it, as well as him. He is
just now in a critical situation : kind friends have opened
a coffee-house for him in the City, but their means have
not extended to the purchase of coffee-pots, credit for
Reviews, newspapers, and other paraphernalia. So I am
sitting in the skeleton of a possible divan. What right
I have to interfere, you best know. Look on me as a dog
who went once temporarily insane, and bit you, and now
begs for a crust. Will you set your wits to a dog 1

Our object is to open a subscription, which my friends
of the Times are most willing to forward for him, but
think that a leave from you to publish would aid it.

But not an atom of respect or kindness will or shall it
abate in either of us if you decline it. Have this strongly
in your mind.

Those Every-Day and Table Books will be a treasure
a hundred years hence, but they have failed to make
Hone's fortune.

Here his wife and all his children are about me, gaping
for coffee customers ; but how should they come in, seeing
no pot boiling !

Enough of Hone. I saw Coleridge a day or two since.
He has had some severe attack, not paralytic ; but if I
had not heard of it I should not have found it out. He
looks, and especially speaks, strong. How are all the
Wordsworths and all the Southeys ? whom I am obliged
to you if you have not brought up haters of the name of

C. Lamb.

P.S. — I have gone lately into the acrostic line. I find
genius (such as I had) declines with me, but I get clever.
Do you know anybody that wants charades, or such things,



TO MOXON. 255

for Albums 1 I do 'em at so much a sheet. Perhaps an
epigram (not a very happy-gram) I did for a school-boy
yesterday may amuse. I pray Jove he may not get a
flogging for any false quantity ; but 'tis, with one excep-
tion, the only Latin verses I have made for forty years ;
and I did it "to order."

CUIQUE SUUM.
Adsciscit sibi divitias et opes alienas

Fur, rapiens, spolians quod mihi, quodque tibi,
Proprium erat, temnens haec verba, meumque tuumqua ;

Omne suum est : tandem cuique suum tribuit :
Dat resti collum ; vestes, vah ! carnifici dat ;

Se se Diabolo : sic bene, Cuique suum.

I write from Hone's ; therefore Mary cannot send her
love to Mrs. Southey, but I do.

Yours ever, C. L.

To Mr. MOXON.

Letter CCCLXVIIL] May 12, 1830.

Dear M. — I dined with your and my Rogers, at Mr.
Cary's, yesterday. Cary consulted me on the proper
bookseller to offer a lady's MS. novel to. I said I would
write to you. But I wish you would call on the translator
of Dante, at the British Museum, and talk with him.
He is the pleasantest of clergymen. I told him of all
Rogers's handsome behaviour to you, and you are already
no stranger. Go ! I made Rogers laugh about your
Nightingale Sonnet, not having heard one. 'Tis a good
sonnet, notwithstanding. You shall have the books
shortly. 0. L.

To Dr. ASBURY.

Letter CCCLXIX.] [May 1830.]

Dear Sir — Some draughts and boluses have been
brought here which we conjecture were meant for the



256 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

young lady whom you saw this morning, though they are
labelled for

Miss ISOLA LAMB.

No such person is known on the Chase Side, and she is
fearful of taking medicines which may have been made
up for another patient. She begs me to say that she
was born an Isola and christened Emma. Moreover
that she is Italian by birth, and that her ancestors were



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