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tions him; Pope does. I forget if D'Isracli has. Dunlop I think has nothing of him. He is quite new ground, and scarce known beyond 'Crusoe.' I do not know who wrote 'Quarl.' I never thought of 'Quarl' as having an author. It is a poor imitation; the monkey is the best in it, and his pretty dishes made of shells. Do you know the paper in the 'Englishman' by Sir Richard Steele, giving an account of Selkirk? It is admirable, and has all the germs of 'Crusoe.' You must quote it entire. Captain G. Carleton wrote his own memoirs, they are about Lord Peterborough's campaign in Spain, and a good book. 'Puzzelli' puzzles me, and I am in a cloud about 'Donald M'Leod.' I never heard of them; so you see, my dear Wilson, what poor assistances I can give in the way of information. I wish your book out, for I shall like to see anything about De Foe or from you. Your old friend, C. Lamb.

"From my and your old compound."

The following is the fragment of a letter addressed in the beginning of 1823 to Miss Hutchinson at Ramsgate, whither she had gone with an invalid relative.


"April 25th, 1823. "Dear Miss H.,—It gives me great pleasure (the letter now begins) to hear that you got

down so smoothly, and that Mrs. M 's

spirits are so good and enterprising. It shows whatever her posture may be, that her mind at least is not supine. I hope the excursion will enable the former to keep pace with its outstripping neighbour. Pray present our kindest wishes to her and all; (that sentence should properly have come into the Postscript, hut we airy mercurial spirits, there is no keeping us in). 'Time' (as was said of one of us)' toils after us in vain.' I am afraid our co-visit with Coleridge was a dream. I shall not get away before the end (or middle) of June, and then you will be frog-hopping at Boulogne; and besides, I think the Gilmans would scarce trust him with us; I have a malicious knack at cutting of apronstrings. The Saints' days you speak of have long since fled to heaven, with Astrsea, and the cold piety of the age lacks fervour to recall them; only Peter left his key—the

iron one of the two that' shuts amain'—and that is the reason I am locked up. Meanwhile of afternoons we pick up primroses at Dalston, and Mary corrects me when I call 'em cowslips. God bless you all, and pray, remember me euphoniously to Mr. G .

That Lee Priory must be a dainty bower. Is it built of flints ?—and does it stand at Kingsgate 1"

In this year, Lamb made his greatest essay in house-keeping, by occupying Colebrook Cottage at Islington, on the banks of his beloved New River. There occurred the immersion of George Dyer at noontide, which supplies the subject of one of "The Last Essays of Elia ;" and which is veritably related in the following letter of Lamb, which is curious, as containing the germ of that delightful article, and the first sketches of the Brandy-and-Water Doctor therein celebrated as miraculous.


"November, 1823. "Dear Mrs. H.,—Sitting down to write a letter is such a painful operation to Mary, that you must accept me as her proxy. You have seen our house. What I now tell you is literally true. Yesterday week, George Dyer called upon us, at one o'clock, (bright noon day) on his way to dine with Mrs. Barbauld, at Newington. He sat with Mary about half an hour, and took leave. The maid saw him go out, from her kitchen window, but suddenly losing sight of him, ran up in a fright to Mary. G. D., instead of keeping the slip that leads to the gate, had deliberately, staff in hand, in broad open day, marched into the New River. He had not his spectacles on, and you know his absence. Who helped him out, they can hardly tell, but between 'em they got him out, drenched thro' and thro'. A mob collected by that time, and accompanied him in. 'Send for the Doctor!' they said : and a one-eyed fellow, dirty and drunk, was fetched from the public-house at the end, where it seems he lurks, for the sake of picking up water-practice; having formerly had a medal from the Humane Society, for some rescue. By his advice, the patient was put between blankets ; and when I came home at four, to dinner, I found G. D. a-bed, and raving, light-headed, with the brandy-and water which the doctor had administered. He sung, laughed, whimpered, screamed, babbled of guardian angels, would get up and go home; but we kept him there by force; and by next morning he departed sobered, and seems to have received no injury. All my friends are open-mouthed about having paling before the river, but I cannot see, because an absent man chooses to walk into a river, with his eyes open, at midday, I am any the more likely to be drowned in it, coming home at midnight.

"I have had the honour of dining at the Mansion House, on Thursday last, by special card from the Lord Mayor, who never saw my face, nor I his; and all from being a writer in a magazine! The dinner costly, served on massy plate, champagne, pines, &c.; forty-seven present, among whom, the Chairman, and two other directors of the India Company. There's for you! and got away pretty sober! Quite saved my credit!

"We continue to like our house prodigiously. Our kind remembrances to you and yours.—Yours truly, C. Lamb.

"I am pleased that H. liked my letter to the Laureate."

Requested by the Quaker Poet, to advise him on a proposal for appropriating a large sum of money raised by a few admiring friends to his comfort in advancing years, Lamb gave his wise and genial judgment in the following letter


"March 24th, 1824.

"Dear B. B.,—I hasten to say that if my opinion can strengthen you in your choice, it is decisive for your acceptance of what has been so handsomely offer'd. 1 can see nothing injurious to your most honourable sense. Think that you are called to a poetical Ministry—nothing worse—the Minister is worthy of the hire.—The only objection I feel is founded on a fear that the acceptance may be a temptation to you to let fall the bone (hard as it is) which is in your mouth and must afford tolerable pickings, for the shadow of independence. You cannot propose to become independent on what the low state of interest could afford you from such a

principal as you mention; and the most graceful excuse for the acceptance, would be, that it left you free to your voluntary functions. That is the less light part of the scruple. It has no darker shade. I put in darker, because of the ambiguity of the word light, which Donne in his admirable poem on the Metempsychosis, has so ingeniously illustrated in his invocation—

12 1 2

1 Make my dark heavy poem, tight and light.'

where two senses of light are opposed to different opposites. A trifling criticism.—I can see no reason for any scruple then but what arises from your own interest; which is in your own power of course to solve. If you still have doubts, read over Sanderson's Cases of Conscience, and Jeremy Taylor's Ductor Dubitantium, the first a moderate octavo, the latter a folio of 900 close pages, and when you have thoroughly digested the admirable reasons pro and con which they

give for every possible case, you will be

just as wise as when you began. Every man is his own best Casuist; and after all, as Ephraim Smooth in the pleasant comedy of 'Wild Oats,' has it,'there is no harm in a Guinea.' A fortiori there is less in 2000.

"I therefore most sincerely congratulate with you, excepting so far as excepted above. If you have fair prospects of adding to the principal, cut the Bank; but in either case do not refuse an honest Service. Your heart tells you it is not offered to bribe you from any duty, but to a duty which you feel to be your vocation. Farewell heartily.

"C. L."

The following, with its grotesque sketches, is addressed also


"December Ut, 1824. "Dear B. B.,—If Mr. Mitford will send me a full and circumstantial description of his desired vases, I will transmit the same to a gentleman resident at Canton, whom I think I have interest enough in to take the proper care for their execution. But Mr. M. must have patience. China is a great way off, further perhaps than he thinks; and his next year's roses must be content to wither in a Wedgwood pot. He will please to say whether he should like his Arms upon them, &c. I send herewith some patterns which

[merged small][graphic]

The last pattern is obviously fitted for ranunculuses only. The two former may indifferently hold daisies, marjoram, sweet williams, and that sort. My friend in Canton is Inspector of Te;is, his name is Ball; and I can think of no better tunnel. I shall expect Mr. M.'s decision.

"Taylor and Hessey finding their magazine goes off very heavily at 2s. 6d. are prudently going to raise their price another shilling; and having already more authors than they want, intend to increase the number of them. If they set up against the New Monthly, they must change their present hands. It is not tying the dead carcase of a Review to a half-dead Magazine will do their business. It is like G. D. multiplying his volumes to make 'em sell better. When he finds one will not go off, he publishes two; two stick, he tries three; three hang fire, he is confident that four will have a better chance. C. L."

The following letter to Miss Hutchinson, at Torquay, refers to some of Lamb's later articles,published in the "London Magazine," which, in extending its size and pretensions to a three-and-sixpenny miscellany, had lost much of its spirit. He exults, however, in his veracious "Memoir of Liston!"


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

"January 50th, 1825.

"Dear Miss H.,—Th;ink you for a noble goose, which wanted only the massive incrustation that we used to pick-axe open, about this season, in old Gloster Place. When shall we eat another goose pie togetherl The pheasant, too, must not be forgotten; twice as big, and half as good as a partridge.

You ask about the editor of the 'London ;' I know of none. This first specimen is flat and pert enough to justify subscribers who grudge t'other shilling. De Quincy's' Parody' was submitted to him before printed, and had his Prohatum* The 'Horns' is in a poor taste, resembling the most laboured papers in the ' Spectator.' I had signed it 'Jack Horner'; but Taylor and Hessey said it would be thought an offensive article, unless I put my known signature to it, and wrung from me my slow consent. But did you read the ' Memoir of Liston' 1—and did you guess whose it was? Of all the lies I ever put off, I value this most. It is from top to toe, every paragraph, pure invention, and has passed for gospel; has been republished in newspapers, and in the penny playbills of the night, as an authentic account. I shall certainly go to the naughty man some day for my fibbings. In the next number I figure as a theologian ! and have attacked my late brethren, the Unitarians. What Jack Pudding tricks I shall play next, I know not; I am almost at the end of my tether. Coleridge is quite blooming, but his book has not budded yet. I ho[>e I have spelt Torquay right now, and that this will find you all mending, and looking forward to a London flight with the Spring. Winter, we have had none, but plenty of foul weather. I have lately picked up an epigram which pleased me—

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

The plan was good, as some will say,

And fitted to console one;
Because, in this poor starving day,

Few can afford a whole one.'

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

• Mr. dc Quincy had commenced a series of letters in the *' London Magazine," *' To a Young Man whose education has been neglected," as a vehicle for conveying miscellaneous information in his admirable style. Upon this hint Lamb, with the assent which Mr. de Quincy could well afford to give, contributed a parody on the scheme, in "A Letter to an Old Gentleman whose education has been neglected."

The first dawning hope of Lamb's emancipation from the India House is suggested in the following note to Manning, proposing a visit, in which he refers to a certificate of non-capacity for hard desk-work, given by a medical friend.


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

saw T yesternight, who has done for me

what may

'To all my nights and days to come,

Give solely sovran sway and masterdom.'

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

"Mary's love. C.lamb."

The dream was realised—in April 1825, the "world-wearied clerk" went home for ever—with what delight has been told in the elaborate raptures of his " Superannuated Man," and in the letters already published. The following may be now added to these, illucidative of his too brief raptures.


"Dear W.—I write post-haste to ensure a frank. Thanks for your hearty congratulations! I may now date from the sixth week of my ' Hegira, or Flight from Leadenhall.' I have lived so much in it, that a summer seems already past; and 'tis but early May yet with you and other people. How I look down on the slaves and drudges of the world! Its inhabitants are a vast cotton-web of spin-spin-spinners! O the carking cares! O the money-grubbers! Sempiternal muckworms!

"Your Virgil I have lost sight of, but suspect it is in the hands of Sir G. Beaumont; I think that circumstance made me shy of procuring it before. Will you write to him about it ?—and your commands shall be obeyed to a tittle.

"Coleridge has just finished his prize

by which, if it get the prize, he'll touch an additional 100?. I fancy. His book, too, (' Commentary on Bishop Leighton,') is quite finished, and penes Taylor and Hessey.

"In the 'London' which is just out (1st May,) are two papers entitled the 'Superannuated Man,' which I wish you to see; and also, 1st April, a little thing called

'Barbara S ,' a story gleaned from Miss

Kelly. The L. M., if you can get it, will save my enlargement upon the topic of my manumission.

"I must scribble to make up my hiatus crumenoi; for there are so many ways, pious and profligate, of getting rid of money in this vast city and suburbs, that I shall miss my Thirds. But couragio! I despair not. Your kind hint of the cottage was well thrown out; an anchorage for age and school of economy, when necessity comes; but without this latter, I have an unconquerable terror of changing place. It does not agree with us. I say it from conviction; else I do sometimes ruralise in fancy.

"Some d—d people are come in, and I must finish abruptly. By d—d, I only mean deuced. 'Tis these suitors of Penelope that make it necessary to authorise a little for gin and mutton, and such trifles.

"Excuse my abortive scribble.

"Yours, not in more haste than heart,

"C. L.

"Love and recollects to all the Wms., Doras, Maries round your Wrekin.

"Mary is capitally well. Do write to Sir G. B., for I am shyish of applying to him."


T.rrosRs op Laxb's I.ast Yxars.
[1825 to 1834.]

How imperfectly the emancipation, so rapturously hailed, fulfilled its promises; how Lamb left Islington for Enfield, and there, after a while, subsided into a lodger; and how, at last, he settled at Edmonton to die, sufficiently appear in the former series of his letters. Those which occupy this chapter, scattered through nine years, have either been subsequently communicated by the kindness of the possessors, or were omitted for some personal reason which has lost its force in time. The following, addressed in 1829 to the Editor, on occasion of his giving to a child the name of "Charles Lamb," though withheld from an indisposition to intrude matters so personal to himself on the reader, may now, on his taking farewell of the subject, find its place.


"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 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 moriar;—my name borne down the black gulf of oblivion.

"I shall survive in eleven letters, five more than Csesar. 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 with 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." *

• The child who bore the name so honoured by hia parents, survived his god-father only a year—dying at Brighton, whither he had been taken in the vain hope of restoration, on the 3rd December, 1835. Will the reader forgive the weakness which prompts the desire, in this place, to link their memories together, by inserting a few verses which, having been only published at the end of the last small edition of the Editor's dramas, may have missed some of the friendly eyes for which they were written?

Our gentle Charles has pass'd away

From earth's short bondage free,
And left to us its leaden day

And mist-enshrouded sea.

The following eight Letters, evoked by Lamb's excellent and indefatigable correspondent, Barton, speak for themselves:—


"July 2nd, 1825.

"My dear B. B.,—My nervous attack has so unfitted me that I have not courage to sit down to a letter. My poor pittance in the 'London' you will see is drawn from my sickness. Your book is very acceptable to me, because most of it is new to me; but your book itself we cannot thank you for more sincerely than for the introduction you* favoured us with to Anne Knight. Now cannot I write Mrs. Anne Knight for the

life of me. She is a very pleas , but I

won't write all we have said of her so often to ourselves, because I suspect you would read it to her. Only give my sister's and my kindest remembrances to her, and how

Here, by the ocean's terraced side,
Sweet hours of hope were known,

When first the triumph of its tide
Secm'd omen of our own.

That eager joy the sea-breeze gave,

When first it raised his hair,
Sunk with each day's retiring wave,

Beyond the reach of prayer.

The sun-blink that through drizzling mist,

To nickering hope akin,
Lone waves with feeble fondness kiss'd,

No smile as faint can win;

Yet not in vain with radiance weak

The heavenly stranger gleams—
Not of the world it lights to speak,

But that from whence it streams.

That world our patient sufferer sought,

Serene with pitying eyes,
As if his mounting spirit caught

The wisdom of the skies.

With boundless love it look'd abroad

For one bright moment given,
Shone with a ioveliness that awed.

And quiver'd into Heaven.

A year made slow by care and toil

Has paced its weary round,
Since Death enrich'd with kindred spoil

The snow-clad, frost-ribb'd ground.

Then I.amb, with whose endearing name

Our boy we proudly graced,
Shrank from the warmth of swecter fame

Than ever bard embraced.

Still 'twas a mournful joy to think

Our darling might supply,
For years to us, a living link

With name that cannot die.

And though such fancy gleam no more

On earthly sorrow's night,
Truth's nobler torch unveils the shore

Which lends to both its light.

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