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THE WORKS



OP



CHARLES LAMB.



THE



WORKS



OF



CHARLES LAMB. '79-^



IN FOUK VOLUMES.
VOL. III.



A NEW EDITION.



BOSTON:
WILLIAM VEAZIE.

NEW YORK:

HURD AXD HOUGHTON.

1864.



CAJi bridge:

stereotyped by h. o. houghton.

boston:
printed by john wilson and son.



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CONTENTS.



— « —

ELIA.

PAcn
the south-sea house 9

oxford in the vacation 19

Christ's hospital five-and-thirty years ago . . 27

THE two RACES OF MEN 44

new-year's eve 51

MRS. battle's opinions ON WHIST .... 60

A CHAPTER ON EARS 69

ALL fools' day 75

A QUAKERS' MEETING 80

THE OLD AND THE NEW SCHOOLMASTER ... 86

IMPERFECT SYMPATHIES 98

witches, and other night fears .... 108

valentine's day 117

MY RELATIONS 121

MACKERY END, IN HERTFORDSHIRE 129

MY FIRST PLAY . 136

MODERN GALLANTRY 142

THE OLD BENCHERS OF THE INNER TEMPLE . . 147






Vi CONTENTS.

PAGE

grace before meat 162

dream-children; a revert 171

DISTANT correspondents 176

THE PRAISE OF CHIMNEY-SWEEPERS . . . . 184
A COMPLAINT OF THE DECAY OF BEGGARS IN THE ME-
TROPOLIS 193

A DISSERTATION UPON ROAST PIG .... 203
A bachelor's COMPLAINT OF THE BEHAVIOR OF MAR-
RIED PEOPLE 212

ON SOME OP THE OLD ACTORS 221

ON THE ARTIFICIAL COMEDY OF THE LAST CENTURY . 237
ON THE ACTING OF MUNDEN 247



THE LAST ESSAYS OF ELIA.



BLAKESMOOR IN H SHIRE 257

POOR RELATIONS 264

DETACHED THOUGHTS ON BOOKS AND READING . . 273

STAGE ILLUSION 281

TO THE SHADE OF ELLISTON 285

ELLISTONIANA 289

THE OLD MARGATE HOY 296

THE CONVALESCENT 306

SANITY OF TRUE GENIUS 312

CAPTAIN JACKSON 316



CONTENTS. vii

PAOB

THE SUPERANNUATED MAN 322

THE GENTEEL STYLE IN WRITING , . . . 331

BARBARA S 337

THE TOMBS IN THE ABBEY 344

AMICUS REDIVIVUS 348

SOME SONNETS OF SIR PHILIP SYDNEY . . . 354

NEWSPAPERS THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AGO .... 363
BARRENNESS OF THE IMAGINATIVE FACULTY IN THE

PRODUCTIONS OF MODERN ART .... 373

THE WEDDING 388

REJOICINGS UPON THE NEW YEAR'S COMING OF AGE 395

OLD CHINA 402

THE CHILD-ANGEL ; A DREAM 410

CONFESSIONS OF A DRUNKARD 414



POPULAR FALLACIES —

I. THAT A BULLY IS ALWAYS A COWARD . . 425

II. THAT ILL-GOTTEN GAIN NEVER PROSPERS . . 426

III. THAT A MAN MUST NOT LAUGH AT HIS OWN JEST 427

IV. THAT SUCH A ONE SHOWS HIS BREEDING — THAT

IT IS EASY TO PERCEIVE HE IS NO GENTLEMAN 427
V. THAT THE POOR COPY THE VICES OF THE RICH . 428
VI. THAT ENOUGH IS AS GOOD A3 A FEAST . . 430

VII. OF TWO DISPUTANTS THE WARMEST IS GENERALLY

IN THE WRONG 431

VIII. THAT VERBAL ALLUSIONS ARE NOT WIT, BECAUSE

THEY WILL NOT BEAR A TRANSLATION . . 433

IX. THAI THE WORST PUNS ARE THE BEST . . . 433



VUl CONTENTS.

POPULAR FAIXACIES — {Continued) paok

X. THAT HANDSOME IS THAT HANDSOME DOES . . 436

XI. THAT WE MUST NOT LOOK A GIFT-HORSE IN THE

MOUTH 439

XII. THAT HOME IS HOME, THOUGH IT IS NEVER SO

HOMELY 442

XIIL THAT YOU MUST LOVE ME, AND LOVE MY DOG . 448

XIV. THAT WE SHOULD RISE WITH THE LARK . . 452

XV. THAT WE SHOULD LIE DOWN WITH THE LAMB . 455

XVI. THAT A SULKY TEMPER IS A MISFORTUNE . . 458



ELIA.



THE SOUTH-SEA HOUSE.

Reader, in thy passage from the Bank — where
thou hast heen receiving thy half-yearly dividends
(supposing thou art a lean annuitant like myself) —
to the Flow^er Pot, to secure a place for Dalston, or
Shacklewell, or some other thy suburban retreat north-
erly, — didst thou never observe a melancholy-looking,
handsome, brick and stone edifice, to the left — where
Threadneedle-street abuts upon Bishopsgate ? I dare
say thou hast often admired its magnificent portals ever
gaping wide, and disclosing to view a grave court, with
cloisters, and pillars, with few or no traces of goers-
in or comers-out, — a desolation something like Bal-
clutha's.*

This was once a house of trade, — a centre of busy
interests. The throng of merchants was here — the
quick pulse of gain — and here some forms of business
are still kept up, though the soul be long since fled.
Here are still to be seen stately porticos ; imposing
stah'cases, offices roomy as the state apartments in
palaces — deserted, or thinly peopled with a few strag-

* I passed by the walls of Balclutha, and they were desolate.

OssiAN



10 THE SOUTH-SEA HOUSE.

o-lins clerks ; the still more sacred interiors of court
and committee-rooms, with venerable faces of beadles,
door-keepers — directors seated in form on solemn days
(to proclaim a dead dividend), at long worm-eaten
tables, that have been mahogany, with tarnished gilt-
leather coverings, supporting massy silver inkstands
long since dry ; — the oaken wainscots hung with
pictures of deceased governors and sub-governors, of
Queen Anne, and the two first monarchs of the
Brunswick dynasty ; — huge charts, which subsequent
discoveries have antiquated; dusty maps of Mexico,
dim as dreams, — and soundings of the Bay of Panama I
The long passages hung with buckets, appended, in
idle row, to walls, whose substance might defy any,
short of the last, conflagration : — with vast ranges of
cellarage under all, where dollars and pieces-of-eight
once lay, an " unsunned heap," for Mammon to have
solaced his solitary heart withal, — long since dissi-
pated, or scattered into air at the blast of the breaking

of that famous Bubble.

Such is the South-Sea House. At least, such it
was forty years ago, when I knew it, — a magnificent
relic! What alterations may have been made in it
since, I have had no opportunities of verifying. Time,
I take for granted, has not freshened it. No wind
has resuscitated the face of the sleeping waters. A
thicker crust by this time stagnates upon it. The
moths that were then battening upon its obsolete
ledgers and daybooks, have rested fl-om their depre-
dations, but other light generations have succeeded,
making fine fretwork among their single and double
entries. Layers of dust have accumulated (a super-
foetation of dirt!) upon the old layers, that seldom



THE SOUTH-SEA HOUSE. 11

used to be disturbed, save by some curious finger, now
and then, inquisitive to explore the mode of bookkeep-
ing in Queen Anne's reign ; or, with less hallowed
curiosity, seeking to unveil some of the mysteries of
that tremendous hoax, whose extent the petty pecula-
tors of our day look back upon with the same expres-
sion of incredulous admiration, and hopeless ambition
of rivalry, as would become the puny face of modem
conspiracy contemplating the Titan size of Vaux's
superhuman plot.

Peace to the manes of the Bubble ! Silence and
destitution are upon thy walls, proud house, for a me-
morial !

Situated as thou art, in the very heart of stirring
and living commerce, — amid the fret and fever of
speculation, — with the Bank, and the 'Change, and
the India-House about thee, in the heyday of present
prosperity, with their important faces, as it were, in-
sulting thee, their poor neighbor out of business, — to
the idle and merely contemplative, — to such as me,
old house ! there is a charm in thy quiet : — a cessa-
tion — a coolness from business — an indolence almost
cloistral — which is deliffhtftd ! With what reverence
have I paced thy great bare rooms and courts at even-
tide ! They spoke of the past : — the shade of some
dead accountant, with visionary pen in ear, would flit
by me, stiff as in life. Living accounts and accoimt-
ants puzzle me. I have no skill in figuring. But thy
great dead tomes, which scarce three degenerate clerks
of the present day could lift from their enshrining
shelves — with their old fantastic flom'ishes, and dec-
orative rubric interlacings — their sums in triple col-
umniations, set down with formal superfluity of ciphers



12 THE SOUTH-SEA HOUSE.

— with pious sentences at the beginning, without which
our religious ancestors never ventured to open a book
of business, or bill of lading — the costly vellum covers
of some of them almost persuading us that we are
got into some letter library, — are very agreeable and
edifying spectacles. I can look upon these defunct
dragons with complacency. Thy heavy, odd-shaped,
ivory-handled penknives (our ancestors had every-
thing on a larger scale than we have hearts for) are as
good as anything from Herculaneum. The pounce-
boxes of our days have gone retrograde.

The very clerks which I remember in the South-Sea
House — I speak of forty years back — had an air very
different from those in the public offices that I have
had to do with since. They partook of the genius of
the place !

They were mostly (for the establishment did not
admit of superfluous salaries) bachelors. Generally
(for they had not much to do) persons of a curious
and speculative turn of mind. Old-fashioned, for a
reason mentioned before. Himiorists, for they were
of all descriptions ; and, not having been brought to-
gether in early life (which has a tendency to assimi-
late the members of corporate bodies to each other),
but, for the most part, placed in this house in ripe or
middle age, they necessarily carried into it their sepa-
rate habits and oddities, unqualified, if I may so speak,
as into a common stock. Hence they formed a sort of
Noah's ark. Odd fishes. A lay-monastery. Domestic
retainers in a great house, kept more for show than
use. Yet pleasant fellows, full of chat, — and not a
few among them had arrived at considerable profi-
ciency on the German flute.



THE SOUTH-SEA HOUSE. 13

The cashier at that time was one Evans, a Cambro-
Briton. He had something of the choleric complexion
of his countiymen stamped on his visage, but was a
worthy sensible man at bottom. He wore his hair,
to the last, powdered and frizzed out, in the fashion
which I remember to have seen in caricatures of what
were termed, in my young days, Maccaronies. He
was the last of that race of beaux. Melancholy as a
gibcat, over his counter all the forenoon, I think I see
him, maldng up his cash (as they call it) with tremu-
lous fingers, as if he feared every one about him was a
defaulter; in his hypochondry ready to imagine him-
self one ; haunted, at least, with the idea of the possi-
bihty of his becoming one ; his tristful visage clearing
up a little over his roast neck of veal at Anderton's at
two (where his picture still hangs, taken a httle before
his death by desire of the master of the coffee-house,
which he had frequented for the last five-and-twenty
years,) but not attaining the meridian of its animation
till evening brought on the hour of tea and visiting.
The simultaneous sound of his well-known rap at the
door with the stroke of the clock announcing six, was a
topic of never-failing mirth in the families which this
dear old bachelor gladdened with his presence. Then
was his forte^ his glorified hour ! How would he chirp,
and expand, over a muffin ! How would he dilate into
secret history. His countryman. Pennant himself, in
particular, could not be more eloquent than he in rela-
tion to old and new London — the site of old theatres,
churches, streets gone to decay — where Rosamond's
Pond stood — the Mulberry-gardens — and the Con-
duit in Cheap — with many a pleasant anecdote, de-
rived from paternal tradition, of those grotesque figures



14 THE SOUTH-SEA HOUSE.

which Hogarth has immortalized in his picture of Noon,
— the worthy descendants of those heroic confessors,
who, flying to this country, from the wrath of Louis
the Fourteenth and his dragoons, kept alive the flame
of pure religion in the sheltering obscurities of Hog-
lane, and the vicinity of the Seven Dials I

Deputy, under Evans, was Thomas Tame. He had
the air and stoop of a nobleman. You would have
taken him for one, had you met him in one of the
passages leading to Westminster-hall. By stoop, I
mean that gentle bending of the body forwards, which,
in great men, must be supposed to be the effect of an
habitual condescending attention to the apphcations of
their inferiors. While he held you in converse, you
felt strained to the height in the colloquy. The con-
ference over, you were at leisure to smile at the com-
parative insignificance of the pretensions which had
just awed you. His intellect was of the shallowest
order. It did not reach to a saw or a proverb. His
mind was in its original state of white paper. A
sucking-babe might have posed him. What was it
then ? Was he rich ? Alas, no ! Thomas Tame
was very poor. Both he and his wife looked out-
wardly gentlefolks, when I fear all was not well at all
times within. She had a neat meagre person, which it
was evident she had not sinned in over-pampering ; but
in its veins was noble blood. She traced her descent,
by some labyrinth of relationship, which I never thor-
oughly understood, — much less can explain with any
heraldic certainty at this time of day, — to the illus-
trious, but unfortunate house of Derwentwater. This
was the secret of Thomas's stoop. This was the
thought — the sentiment — the bright solitary star of



THE SOUTH-SEA HOUSE. 15

your lives, — ye mild and liappy pair, — whicli cheered
you in the night of intellect, and in the obscui'ity of
your station ! This was to you instead of riches, in-
stead of rank, instead of glittering attainments ; and it
was worth them all together. You insulted none with
it ; but, while you wore it as a piece of defensive
armor only, no insult likewise could reach you through
it. Decus et solamen.

Of quite another stamp was the then accountant,
John Tipp. He neither pretended to high blood, nor,
in good truth, cared one fig about the matter. He
" thought an accountant the greatest character in the
world, and himself the greatest accountant in it."
Yet John was not without his hobby. The fiddle
relieved his vacant hours. He sang, certainly, with
other notes than to the Orphean lyre. He did, in-
deed, scream and scrape most abominably. His fine
suite of official rooms in Threadneedle-street, which,
without anything very substantial appended to them,
were enough to enlarge a man's notions of himself that
lived in them, (I know not who is the occupier of them
now,) resounded fortnightly to the notes of a concert
of " sweet breasts," as our ancestors would have called
them, culled from club-rooms and orchestras — chorus-
singers — first and second violoncellos — double basses
— and clarionets — who ate his cold mutton and drank
his punch, and praised his ear. He sate like Lord
Midas among them. But at the desk Tipp was quite
another sort of creature. Thence all ideas, that were
purely ornamental, were banished. You could not
speak of anything romantic without rebuke. Politics
were excluded. A newspaper was thought too refined
and abstracted. The whole duty of man consisted in



16 THE SOUTH-SEA HOUSE.

writing off dividend warrants. The striking of the
annual balance in the company's books (which, per-
haps, differed from the balance of last year in the sum
of 251. Is. 6t?.) occupied his days and nights for a
month previous. Not that Tipp was blind to the dead-
ness of things (as they call them in the city) in his
beloved house, or did not sigh for a return of the old
stirring days when South-Sea hopes were young — (he
was indeed equal to the wielding of any the most in-
tricate accounts of the most flourishing company in
these or those days) ; — but to a genuine accountant
the difference of proceeds is as nothing. The fractional
farthing is as dear to his heart as the thousands which
stand before it. He is the true actor, who, whether
his part be a prince or a peasant, must act it with like
intensity. With Tipp form was everything. His life
was formal. His actions seemed ruled with a ruler.
His pen was not less erring than his heart. He made
the best executor in the world ; he was plagued with
incessant executorships accordingly, which excited his
spleen and soothed his vanity in equal ratios. He
would swear (for Tipp swore) at the little orphans,
whose rights he would guard with a tenacity like the
grasp of the dying hand, that commended their interests
to his protection. With all this there was about him
a sort of timidity — (his few enemies used to give it a
worse name) — a something which, in reverence to the
dead, we will place, if you please, a Httle on this side
of the heroic. Nature certainly had been pleased to
endow John Tipp with a sufficient measure of the
principle of self-preservation. There is a cowardice
which we do not despise, because it has nothing base
or treacherous in its elements ; it betrays itself, not



THE SOUTH-SEA HOUSE. 17

you ; it is mere temperament ; the absence of the
romantic and the enterprising ; it sees a lion in the
way, and will not, with Fortinbras, " greatly find
quarrel in a straw," when some supposed honor is at
stake. Tipp never mounted the box of a stage-coach
in his life ; or leaned against the rails of a balcony ;
or waUced upon the ridge of a parapet ; or looked down
a precipice ; or let off a gun ; or went upon a water-
party ; or would willmgly let you go, if he could have
helped it ; neither was it recorded of him, that for
lucre, or for intimidation, he ever forsook friend or
principle.

Whom next shall we summon fi'om the dusty dead,
in whom common qualities become uncommon ? Can
I forget thee, Henry Man, the wit, the polished man
of letters, the author, of the South-Sea House ? who
never enteredst thy office in a morning, or quittedst it
in mid-day — (what didst thou in an office?) — with-
out some quirk that left a sting ! Thy gibes and thy
jokes are now extinct, or survive but in two forgotten
volumes, which I had the good fortune to rescue from
a stall in Barbican, not three days ago, and found thee
terse, fresh, epigrammatic, as alive. Thy wit is a little
gone by in these fastidious days — thy topics are staled
by the " new-born gauds " of the time ; — but great
thou used to be in Public Ledgers, and in Chronicles,
upon Chatham, and Shelburne, and Rockingham, and
Howe, and Burgoyne, and Clinton,, and the war which
ended in the tearing from Great Britain her rebellious
colonies, — and Keppel, and Wilkes, and Sawbridge,
and Bull, and Dunning, and Pratt, and Richmond, —
and such small politics.

A little less facetious, and a gi'eat deal more obstrep-

VOL. III. 2



18 THE SOUTH-SEA HOUSE.

erous, was fine rattling, rattle-lieaded Plumer. He
was descended, — not in a right line, reader, (for liia
lineal pretensions, like his personal, favored a little of
the sinister bend,) from the Plumers of Hertfordshire.
So tradition gave him out ; and certain family features
not a little sanctioned the opinion. Certainly old
Walter Plumer (his reputed author) had been a rake
in his days, and visited much m Italy, and had seen
the world. He was uncle, bachelor-uncle, to the fine
old whig still living, who has represented the county
in so many successive parliaments, and has a fine old
mansion near Ware. Walter flourished in George
the Second's days, and was the same who was sum-
moned before the House of Commons about a busi-
ness of franks, with the old Duchess of Marlborough.
You may read of it in Johnson's " Life of Cave." Cave
came off cleverly in that business. It is certain our
Plumer did nothing to discountenance the rumor.
He rather seemed pleased whenever it was, with all
'gentleness, insmuated. But, besides his family pre-
tensions, Plumer was an engagmg fellow, and sang

gloriously.

Not so sweetly sang Plumer as thou sangest, mild,

childlike, pastoral M ; a flute's breathing less

divinely whispering than thy Arcadian melodies, when,
in tones worthy of Arden, thou didst chant that song
sung by Amiens to the banished Duke, which pro-
claims the winter wind more lenient than for a man

to be ungrateful. Thy sire was old surly M , the

unapproachable churchwarden of Bishopsgate. He
knew not what he did, when he begat thee, like spring,
gentle offspring of blustering winter : — only unfortu-
nate in thy ending, which should have been mild, con-
ciliatory, swan-Hke.



OXFORD IN THE VACATION. 19

Much remains to sing. Many fantastic shapes rise
up, hut they must be mme in private ; — ah^eady I
have fooled the reader to the top of his hent ; — else
could I omit that strange creature Woollett, who
existed in trying the question, and bought litigations ?
— and still stranger, mimitable, solemn Hepworth,
fi-om whose gravity Newton might have deduced the
law of gravitation. How profoundly would he nib
a pen — with what deliberation would he wet a
wafer !

But it is time to close — night's wheels are rattling
fast over me — it is proper to have done with this
solemn mockery.

Reader, what if I have been playing vnth thee all
this while? — peradventure the very nmnes, which I
have summoned up before thee, are fantastic — insub-
stantial — like Henry Pimpernel, and old John Naps
of Greece ;

Be satisfied that somethmg answermg to them has
had a being. Their importance is from the past.



OXFORD IN THE VACATION.

Casting a preparatory glance at the bottom of this
article — as the wary connoisseur in prints, with cur-
sory eye, (which, while it reads, seems as though it
read not,) never fails to consult the quis seulpsit in
the corner, before he pronounces some rare piece to

be a Vivares, or a "Woollett methinks I hear you

exclaim. Reader, Who is Mia ?

Because in my last I tried to divert thee with some



20 OXFOKD IN THE VACATION.

half-forgotten humors of some old clerks defunct, in
an old house of busmess, long since gone to decay,
doubtless you have already set me down in your mind

as one of the self-same college a votary of the

desk — a notched and cropt scrivener — one that sucks
his sustenance, as certain sick people are said to do,
through a quill.

Well, I do agnize something of the sort. I confess
that it is my humor, my fancy — in the forepart of
the day, when the mind of yom- man of letters requires
some relaxation — (and none better than such as at
first sight seems most abhorrent from his beloved
studies) — to while away some good hours of my
time in the contemplation of indigos, cottons, raw
silks, piece-goods, flowered or otherwise. In the
first place .......

and then it sends you home with such increased appe-
tite to your books . .....

not to say, that your outside sheets, and waste wrap-
pers of foolscap, do receive into them, most kindly
and naturally, the impression of sonnets, epigrams,
essays — so that the very parings of a counting-house
are, in some sort, the settings up of an author. The
enfranchised quill, that has plodded all the morning
among the cart-rucks of figures and ciphers, frisks
and curvets so at its ease over the flowery carpet-
ground of a midnight dissertation. — It feels its pro-
motion. ........

So that you see, upon the whole, the literary dignity
of Elia is very little, if at all, compromised in the
condescension.

Not that, in my anxious detail of the many com-
modities incidental to the life of a public office, I



OXFORD IN THE VACATION. 21

would be thought blind to certam flaws, which a
cunning carpei- might be able to pick in this Joseph's
vest. And here I must have leave, in the fulness of
my soul, to regret the abolition, and doing-away-with
altogether, of those consolatory interstices, and sprink-
lings of fi-eedom, through the four seasons, — the red-
letter dai/s, now become, to all intents and purposes,
dead-letter days. There was Paul, and Stephen, and
Barnabas —

Andrew and John, men famous in old times

— we were used to keep all their days holy, as long
back as I was at school at Christ's. I remember
their effigies, by the same token, in the old Basket
Prayer Book. There hung Peter in his uneasy

posture holy Bartlemy in the troublesome act of

flaying, after the famous Marsyas by Spagnoletti.

1 honored them all, and could almost have wept

the defalcation of Iscariot — so much did we love to
keep holy memories sacred ; — only methought I a
little grudged at the coalition of the better Jade with
Simon — clubbing (as it were) their sanctities together,
to make up one poor gaudy-day between them — as an
economy unworthy of the dispensation.

These were bright visitations in a scholar's and a
clerk's life — "far oif their coming shone." — I was as



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