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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Barron Field, 22 September 1822

Contents vol. VI
Letters: 1796
Letters: 1797
Letters: 1798
Letters: 1799
Letters: 1800
Letters: 1801
Letters: 1802
Letters: 1803
Letters: 1804
Letters: 1805
Letters: 1806
Letters: 1807
Letters: 1808
Letters: 1809
Letters: 1810
Letters: 1811
Letters: 1812
Letters: 1814
Letters: 1815
Letters: 1816
Letters: 1817
Letters: 1818
Letters: 1819
Letters: 1820
Letters: 1821
Contents vol. VII
Letters: 1821
Letters: 1822
Letters: 1823
Letters: 1824
Letters: 1825
Letters: 1826
Letters: 1827
Letters: 1828
Letters: 1829
Letters: 1830
Letters: 1831
Letters: 1832
Letters: 1833
Letters: 1834
Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III
List of Letters
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Produced by CATH
Sept. 22, 1822.

MY dear F.,—I scribble hastily at office. Frank wants my letter presently. I & sister are just returned from Paris!! We have eaten frogs. It has been such a treat! You know our monotonous general Tenor. Frogs are the nicest little delicate things—rabbity-flavoured. Imagine a Lilliputian rabbit! They fricassee them; but in my mind, drest seethed, plain, with parsley and butter, would have been the decision of Apicius. Shelley the great Atheist has gone down by water to eternal fire! Hunt and his young fry are left stranded at Pisa, to be adopted by the remaining duumvir, Lord Byron—his wife and 6 children & their maid. What a cargo of Jonases, if they had foundered too! The only use I can find of friends, is that they do to borrow money of you. Henceforth I will consort with none but rich rogues. Paris is a glorious picturesque old City. London looks mean and New to it, as the town of Washington would, seen after it. But they have no St. Paul’s or Westminster Abbey. The Seine, so much despised by Cockneys, is exactly the size to run thro’ a magnificent street; palaces a mile long on one side, lofty Edinbro’ stone (O the glorious antiques!): houses on the other. The Thames disunites London & Southwark. I had Talma to supper with me. He has picked up, as I believe, an authentic portrait of Shakspere. He paid a broker about £40 English for it. It is painted on the one half of a pair of bellows—a lovely picture, corresponding with the Folio head. The bellows has old carved wings round it, and round the visnomy is inscribed, near as I remember, not divided into rhyme—I found out the rhyme—
“Whom have we here,
Stuck on this bellows,
But the Prince of good fellows,
At top—
“O base and coward luck!
To be here stuck.—Poins.”
At bottom—
“Nay! rather a glorious lot is to him assign’d,
Who, like the Almighty, rides upon the wind.—Pistol.”

This is all in old carved wooden letters. The countenance smiling, sweet, and intellectual beyond measure, even as He was
immeasurable. It may be a forgery. They laugh at me and tell me
Ireland is in Paris, and has been putting off a portrait of the Black Prince. How far old wood may be imitated I cannot say. Ireland was not found out by his parchments, but by his poetry. I am confident no painter on either side the Channel could have painted any thing near like the face I saw. Again, would such a painter and forger have expected £40 for a thing, if authentic, worth £4000? Talma is not in the secret, for he had not even found out the rhymes in the first inscription. He is coming over with it, and, my life to Southey’s Thalaba, it will gain universal faith.

The letter is wanted, and I am wanted. Imagine the blank filled up with all kind things.

Our joint hearty remembrances to both of you. Yours as ever,

C. Lamb.