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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Letters: 1830

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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(In two parts)
[p.m. January 22, 1830.]

AND is it a year since we parted from you at the steps of Edmonton Stage? 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 punctum stans. The seasons pass us with indifference. Spring cheers not, nor winter heightens our gloom, Autumn hath foregone its moralities, they are hey-pass re-pass [as] in a show-box. Yet as far as last year occurs back, for they scarce shew a reflex now, they make no memory as heretofore—’twas sufficiently gloomy. Let the sullen nothing pass.

Suffice it that after sad spirits prolonged thro’ many of its months, as it called them, we have cast our skins, have taken a farewell of the pompous troublesome trifle calld 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, confiding ravens. We have the otium pro dignitate, a respectable insignificance. Yet in the self condemned obliviousness, in the stagnation, some molesting yearnings of life, not
quite kill’d, rise, prompting me that there was a London, and that I was of that old Jerusalem. In dreams I am in Fleetmarket, but I wake and cry to sleep again. I die hard, a stubborn
Eloisa in this detestable Paraclete. What have I gained by health? intolerable dulness. What by early hours and moderate meals?—a total blank. O never let the lying poets be believed, who ’tice men from the chearful haunts 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 overlookd gingerbread for the lofty fruiterers of Oxford Street—and, for the immortal book and print stalls, a circulating library that stands still, where the shew-picture is a last year’s Valentine, and whither the fame of the last ten Scotch novels has not yet travel’d (marry, they just begin to be conscious of the Red Gauntlet), to have a new plasterd 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 ensure your quiet, or let you go about whistling, or gaping—too few to be the 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 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 Saint Giles’s. O let no native Londoner imagine that health, and rest, and innocent occupation, interchange of converse sweet and recreative study, can make the country any thing better than altogether odious and detestable. A garden was the primitive prison till man with promethean felicity and boldness luckily sinn’d himself out of it. Thence followd 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 I return you condolence for your decaying sight, not for any thing 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, any thing 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 gossamery 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. O 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 knock’d your head against something. Do not do so. For your head (I do not flatter) is not a nob, 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 smirch’d god knock and knock lustily, the two-handed skinker. What a nice long letter Dorothy has written! Mary must squeeze out a line propriâ manu, but indeed her fingers have been incorrigibly nervous to letter writing for a long interval. ’Twill please you all to hear that, tho’ 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 Westwood 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 competence, 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 15, 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 a’ 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 baulk his employer’s bargain) on a sweltering day in August, rode foaming into Dunstable upon a mad horse to the dismay and expostulary wonderment of innkeepers, ostlers &c. who declared they would not have bestrid the beast to win the Darby. Understand the creature gall’d to death and desperation by gad flies, cormorants winged, worse than beset Inachus’ daughter. This he tells, this he brindles and burnishes on a’ winter’s eves, ’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 conjuncture of man and beast, the centaur-phenomenon that staggerd all Dunstable, might have been the effect of unromantic necessity, that the horse-part carried the reasoning, willy nilly, that needs must when such a devil drove, that certain spiral configurations in the frame of Thomas Westwood 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. Put 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 He share the glory! You would all like Thomas Westwood. [figure] 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 favord 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, 60 years ours and our father’s friend, he was not more natural to us than this old W. the acquaintance 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 encumbrances the less to impede us: all our furniture has faded under the auctioneer’s hammer, going for nothing like the tarnishd 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 reach’d Bury. But by solemn legacy he bequeathed at parting (whether he should live or die) a Turkey of Suffolk to be sent every succeeding Xmas 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 Hartz forest, his soul is Bego’ethed. Miss Kelly we never see; Talfourd not this half-year; the latter flourishes, but the exact number of his children, God forgive me, I have utterly forgotten, we single people are often out in our count there. Shall I say two? One darling I know they have lost within a twelvemonth, but scarce known to me by sight, and that was a second child lost. We see scarce anybody. We have just now Emma with us for her holydays: you remember her playing at brag with Mr. Quillinan at poor Monkhouse’s! She is grown an agreeable young woman; she sees what I write, so you may understand me with limitations. She was our inmate for a twelvemonth, grew natural to us, and then they told us it was best for her to go out as a Governess, and so she went out, and we were only two of us, and our pleasant house-mate is changed to an occasional visitor. If
they want my sister to go out (as they call it) there will be only one of us. Heaven keep us all from this acceding to Unity!

Can I cram loves enough to you all in this little O? Excuse particularizing.

C. L.
LETTER 476 (continued)

MY dear Miss Wordsworth, Charles has left me space to fill up with my own poor scribble; which I must do as well as I can, being quite out of practise, and after he has been reading his queer letter out to us I can hardly put down in a plain style all I had to tell you, how pleasant your handwriting was to me. He has lumped you all together in one rude remembrance at the end, but I beg to send my love individually and by name to Mr. and Mrs. Wordsworth, to Miss Hutchinson, whom we often talk of, and think of as being with you always, to the dutiful good daughter and patient amanuensis Dora, and even to Johanna, whom we have not seen, if she will accept it. Charles has told you of my long illness and our present settlement, which I assure you is very quiet and comfortable to me, and to him too, if he would own it. I am very sorry we shall not see John, but I never go to town, nor my brother but at his quarterly visits at the India House, and when he does, he finds it melancholy, so many of our old friends being dead or dispersed, and the very streets, he says altering every day. Many thanks for your Letter and the nice news in it, which I should have replied to more at large than I see he has done. I am sure it deserved it. He has not said a word about your intentions for Rome, which I sincerely wish you health one day to accomplish. In that case we may meet by the way. We are so glad to hear dear little William is doing well. If you knew how happy your letters made us you would write I know more frequently. Pray think of this. How chearfully should we pay the postage every week.

Your affectionate

Mary Lamb.

[Now for the first time printed in full, with Mary Lamb’s addition.

“Baucis and Baucida.” A slip, I suppose, for Philemon and Baucis (Ovid, Metamorphoses).

“Eloisa . . . Paraclete.” The hermitage to which Abelard, Eloisa’s lover, retired became a monastic school known as Paraclete.

Redgauntlet dated from 1824.

1830 “NO NEED TO INVENT” 831

“In a calenture.” A calenture is a form of fever at sea in which the sufferer believes himself to be surrounded by green fields, and often leap overboard. Wordsworth describes one in “The Brothers.”

“From rich Cathay.” A recollection of a passage in The Seasons, “Winter,” 807-809:—
the caravan
Bends to the golden coast of rich Cathay
With news of human kind.

“The collyrium of Tobias.” See Tobit xi. 11-13. Tobias restored his father’s sight with the gall of a fish.

A Recluse”—Wordsworth’s promised poem, that was never completed. First printed in 1888.

Dii avertant”—“The gods forbid” (Cicero, Phil., III., 14, 35).

“Henry Crabb.” Crabb Robinson was a personal friend of Goethe’s. He had spent some days with him at Weimar in the summer of 1829. Goethe told Robinson that he admired Lamb’s sonnet “The Family Name.”

“Mr. Quillinan”—Edward Quillinan, afterwards Wordsworth’s son-in-law.

“Johanna.” Joanna Hutchinson, Mrs. Wordsworth’s sister. Joanna of the laugh.

“John.” John Wordsworth, Wordsworth’s eldest son, was now twenty-six; William, Wordsworth’s second son, no longer little, was nineteen.]

[p.m. 25 February 1830.]’

DEAR B. B.—To reply to you by return of post, I must gobble up my dinner, and dispatch this in propriâ Personâ to the office, to be in 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 con-
gratulate you on the Spring coming in, and do you in return condole with me for the Winter going out. When the old one goes, seldome 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 Meseck, 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.

[A. C. was Allan Cunningham, who wanted Lamb’s letter on Blake (see page 642) for his Lives of the Painters. It was not, however, used there until included in Mrs. Charles Heaton’s edition in Bohn’s Library.

Bruce”—the Abyssinian explorer, whom the Christ’s Hospital boys used to emulate, as Lamb tells us in the Elia essay on Newspapers.

Joseph Paice”—a Director of the South-Sea Company and Lamb’s first employer, of whom he writes in the Elia essay on “Modern Gallantry” (see notes to Vol. II., page 361).

“This Meseck”—“Woe is me that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar” (Psalms cxx. 5). Lamb was very fond of this verse. See also Joshua vi.

Mr. Hazlitt prints a letter in his Bohn edition to Moxon, which he dates February 21, 1831 (should be 1830), saying that a letter has just arrived from Mrs. Williams indicating that Miss Isola was not well and must have a long holiday. The illness increased very rapidly, becoming a serious attack of brain fever.]

[February 26, 1830.]

DEAR Madam,—May God bless you for your attention to our poor Emma! I am so shaken with your sad news I can scarce write. She is too ill to be removed at present; but we can only say that if she is spared, when that can be practicable, we have always a home for her. Speak to her of it, when she is
capable of understanding, and let me conjure you to let us know from day to day, the state she is in. But one line is all we crave. Nothing we can do for her, that shall not be done. We shall be in the terriblest suspense. We had no notion she was going to be ill. A line from anybody in your house will much oblige us. I feel for the situation this trouble places you in.

Can I go to her aunt, or do anything? I do not know what to offer. We are in great distress. Pray relieve us, if you can, by somehow letting us know. I will fetch her here, or anything. Your kindness can never be forgot. Pray excuse my abruptness. I hardly know what I write. And take our warmest thanks. Hoping to hear something, I remain, dear Madam,

Yours most faithfully,
C. Lamb.

Our grateful respects to Mr. Williams.

Enfield, 1 March, 1830.

DEAR Madam,—We cannot thank you enough. Your two words “much better” were so considerate and good. The good news affected my sister to an agony of tears; but they have relieved us from such a weight. We were ready to expect the worst, and were hardly able to bear the good hearing. You speak so kindly of her, too, and think she may be able to resume her duties. We were prepared, as far as our humble means would have enabled us, to have taken her from all duties. But, far better for the dear girl it is that she should have a prospect of being useful.

I am sure you will pardon my writing again; for my heart is so full, that it was impossible to refrain. Many thanks for your offer to write again, should any change take place. I dare not yet be quite out of fear, the alteration has been so sudden. But I will hope you will have a respite from the trouble of writing again. I know no expression to convey a sense of your kindness. We were in such a state expecting the post. I had almost resolved to come as near you as Bury; but my sister’s health does not permit my absence on melancholy occasions. But, O, how happy will she be to part with me, when I shall hear the agreeable news that I may come and fetch her. She shall be as quiet as possible. No restorative means shall be wanting to restore her back to you well and comfortable.


She will make up for this sad interruption of her young friend’s studies. I am sure she will—she must—after you have spared her for a little time. Change of scene may do very much for her. I think this last proof of your kindness to her in her desolate state can hardly make her love and respect you more than she has ever done. O, how glad shall we be to return her fit for her occupation. Madam, I trouble you with my nonsense; but you would forgive me, if you knew how light-hearted you have made two poor souls at Enfield, that were gasping for news of their poor friend. I will pray for you and Mr. Williams. Give our very best respects to him, and accept our thanks. We are happier than we hardly know how to bear. God bless you! My very kindest congratulations to Miss Humphreys.

Believe me, dear Madam,
Your ever obliged servant,
C. Lamb.
March 4th, 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’s le Grand. I think any receiving 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 diminish’d income. We go on pretty comfortably in our new plan. 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.

C. L.

[Addressed to “Mrs. Hazlitt, Mrs. Tomlinson’s, Northaw, near Potter’s Bar, Herts.”

Mrs. Hazlitt was in later years a sufferer from rheumatism. Dick Norris was the son of Randal Norris (see Letter 386). He had retired to Widford. Mrs. Reynolds, Lamb’s old schoolmistress and dependant, we have met.]

Enfield, 5 Mar., 1830.

DEAR Madam,—I feel greatly obliged by your letter of Tuesday, and should not have troubled you again so soon, but that you express a wish to hear that our anxiety was relieved by the assurances in it. You have indeed given us much comfort respecting our young friend, but considerable uneasiness respecting your own health and spirits, which must have suffered under such attention. Pray believe me that we shall wait in quiet hope for the time when I shall receive the welcome summons to come and relieve you from a charge, which you have executed with such tenderness. We desire nothing so much as to exchange it with you. Nothing shall be wanting on my part to remove her with the best judgment I can, without (I hope) any necessity for depriving you of the services of your valuable housekeeper. Until the day comes, we entreat that you will spare yourself the trouble of writing, which we should be ashamed to impose upon you in your present weak state. Not hearing from you, we shall be satisfied in believing that there has been no relapse. Therefore we beg that you will not add to your troubles by unnecessary, though most kind, correspondence. Till I have the pleasure of thanking you personally, I beg you to accept these written acknowledgments of all your kindness. With respects to Mr. Williams and sincere prayers for both your healths, I remain,

Your ever obliged servant,
C. Lamb.

My sister joins me in respects and thanks.

March 8th, 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 Spitalfields. 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,” &c., 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 Saint 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 horizontally, 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 understood, 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 Coleridge, allowing for a reasonable drawing up of the feet, not at all painful. Does he talk of moving this quarter? You and I have too much sense to trouble ourselves 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 Rabbis foot to foot, for there are no Gamaliels there to affect a 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.

[The letter is assigned to the Rev. James Gillman by some editors; but I think that a mistake. See the reference below to a medical matter. Who Battin was I know not; but he seems to have been interested in the Spitalfields weavers to the detriment of the Norwich.

“Heigh ho, ye weavers!” In “The Two Noble Kinsmen,” Act II., Scene 3, we have—
Ha, boys, heigh for the weavers!
Weavers proverbially sang at their work.

Tuthill, whom we have met, was one of the physicians at St. Luke’s Hospital for the insane.

“He squinted out . . .” Irving had sight only in one eye, an obliquity caused, it is suggested, by lying when a baby in a wooden cradle, the sides of which prevented the other from gathering light.

“To the same in Greek.” An atrocious pun, which I leave to the reader to discover. Gillman was a doctor.

“Latmos”—the mountain where Endymion was visited by Diana, or Luna.]

Mr. Westwood’s, Chase Side, Enfield,
14th March, 1830.

MY dear Ayrton,—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?); Mrs. Burney’s determined questioning of the score, after the game was absolutely gone to the devil, 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
pitiable hiatus in kind between St. James’s Park and this extremity of Middlesex. But the mere distance in turnpike roads is a trifle. 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’hôte 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 propositions, 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, &c.

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 Cambridge, 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.

[“Phillips.” This would be Edward Phillips, who, I think, succeeded Rickman as secretary to Abbot (afterwards Lord Colchester), the Speaker. Colonel Erasmus Phillips we have also met (see page 346). The Captain was Captain Burney.

Mr. Murray’s propositions. I presume that Murray had, through Ayrton, suggested either the republication of the Dramatic Specimens, 1808, in one volume, or in two volumes, with the Garrick Extracts added. The plan came to nothing. Moxon published them in the two volume style in 1835.]

[Dated at end: March 22 (1830).]

DEAR Madam,—Once more I have to return you thanks for a very kind letter. It has gladdened us very much to hear that we may have hope to see our young friend so soon, and through your kind nursing so well recovered. I sincerely hope that your own health and spirits will not have been shaken: you have had a sore trial indeed, and greatly do we feel indebted to you for all which you have undergone. If I hear nothing from you in the mean time, I shall secure myself a place in the Cornwallis Coach for Monday. It will not be at all necessary that I shall be met at Bury, as I can well find my way to the Rectory, and I beg that you will not inconvenience yourselves by such attention. Accordingly as I find Miss Isola able to bear the journey, I intend to take the care of her by the same stage or by chaises perhaps, dividing the journey; but exactly as you shall judge fit. It is our misfortune that long journeys do not agree with my sister, who would else have taken this care upon herself, perhaps more properly. It is quite out of the question to rob you of the services of any of your domestics. I cannot think of it. But if in your opinion a female attendant would be requisite on the journey, and if you or Mr. Williams would feel more comfortable by her being in charge of two, I will most gladly engage one of her nurses or any young person near you, that you can recommend; for my object is to remove her in the way that shall be most satisfactory to yourselves.

On the subject of the young people that you are interesting yourselves about, I will have the pleasure to talk to you, when I shall see you. I live almost out of the world and out of the sphere of being useful; but no pains of mine shall be spared, if but a prospect opens of doing a service. Could I do all I wish, and I indeed have grown helpless to myself and others, it must not satisfy the arrears of obligation I owe to Mr. Williams and yourself for all your kindness.

I beg you will turn in your mind and consider in what most comfortable way Miss Isola can leave your house, and I will implicitly follow your suggestions. What you have done for her can never be effaced from our memories, and I would have you part with her in the way that would best satisfy yourselves.

I am afraid of impertinently extending my letter, else I feel I have not said half what I would say. So, dear madam, till I have the pleasure of seeing you both, of whose kindness I have heard so
much before, I respectfully take my leave with our kindest love to your poor patient and most sincere regards for the health and happiness of
Mr. Williams and yourself. May God bless you.

Ch. Lamb.
Enfield, Monday, 22 March.
Enfield, 2 Apr., 1830.
DEAR Madam

I have great pleasure in letting you know that 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. She has had two tolerable nights’ sleeps since, and is decidedly not worse than when we left you. I remembered the Magnesia according to your directions, and promise that she shall be kept very quiet, never forgetting that she is still an invalid. 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 me 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 discourse 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-engineer-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 that I believed it depended very much upon boiled legs of mutton, my unlucky reply set Miss Isola a laughing to a degree that disturbed her tranquility 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. 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 strait. 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 ungracious, 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, and I beg to be remembered kindly to the Miss Hammonds and the two gentlemen whom I had the good fortune to meet at your house. I have not forgotten the Election in which you are interesting yourself, and the little that I can, I will do immediately. 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.

[Added in Miss Isola’s hand:] I must just add a line to beg you will let us hear from you, my dear Mrs. Williams. I have just received the forwarded letter. Fornham we have talked about constantly, and I felt quite strange at this home the first day. I will attend to all you said, my dear Madam.


[I do not know which of Lamb’s acrostics was the one in question. Possibly this, on Mrs. Williams’ youngest daughter, Louisa Clare Williams:—
Least Daughter, but not least beloved, of Grace!
O frown not on a stranger, who from place
Unknown and distant these few lines hath penn’d.
I but report what thy Instructress Friend
So oft hath told us of thy gentle heart.
A pupil most affectionate thou art,
Careful to learn what elder years impart.
Louisa—Clare—by which name shall I call thee?
A prettier pair of names sure ne’er was found,
Resembling thy own sweetness in sweet sound.
Ever calm peace and innocence befal thee!
See Vol. V. of this edition, pages 43, 45, 60, 61 and 94.]

Enfield, Good Friday [April 9, 1830].

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, &c.

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 advertisement. “To the nobility, gentry, and others, about Bury.—C. 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. Tho really ’tis an operation too much like—“A, apple-pye; B, bit it.” To make amends, I request leave to lend you the “Excursion,” and to recommend, in particular, 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.

[Mrs. Williams’ acrostic is no longer preserved. This was Lamb’s effort:—

Go little Poem, and present
Respectful terms of compliment;
A gentle lady bids thee speak!
Courteous is she, tho’ thou be weak—
Evoke from Heaven as thick as manna
Joy after joy on Grace Joanna:
On Fornham’s Glebe and Pasture land
A blessing pray. Long, long may stand,
Not touched by Time, the Rectory blithe;
No grudging churl dispute his Tithe;
At Easter be the offerings due
With cheerful spirit paid; each pew
In decent order filled; no noise
Loud intervene to drown the voice,
Learning, or wisdom of the Teacher;
Impressive be the Sacred Preacher,
And strict his notes on holy page;
May young and old from age to age
Salute, and still point out, “The good man’s Parsonage!”]
[? Early Spring, 1830.]

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, &c.

Yours, mopish, but in health,

C. Lamb.

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


[See Letter 473. The “dear, fine, silly old angel” was Thomas Fuller.]

[? April, 1830.]

DEAR Sir—Some draughts and boluses have been brought here which we conjecture were meant for the young lady whom you saw this morning, though they are labelled for

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 from Isola Bella (Fair Island) in the kingdom of Naples. She has never changed her name and rather mournfully adds that she has no prospect at present of doing so. She is literally I. SOLA, or single, at present. Therefore she begs that the obnoxious monosyllable may be omitted on future Phials,—an innocent syllable enough, you’ll say, but she has no claim to it. It is the bitterest pill of the seven you have sent her. When a lady loses her good name, what is to become of her? Well she must swallow it as well as she can, but begs the dose may not be repeated.

Yours faithfully,
Charles Lamb(not Isola).

[Asbury was a doctor at Enfield.

I append another letter to Dr. Asbury, without date:—]


DEAR Sir, It is an observation of a wise man that “moderation is best in all things.” I cannot agree with him “in liquor.” There is a smoothness and oiliness in wine that makes it go down by a natural channel, which I am positive was made for that descending. Else, why does not wine choke us? could Nature have made that sloping lane, not to facilitate the down-going? She does nothing in vain. You know that better than I. You know how often she has helped you at a dead lift, and how much better entitled she is to a fee than yourself sometimes, when you carry off” the credit. Still there is something due to manners and customs, and I should apologise to you and Mrs. Asbury for being absolutely carried home upon a man’s shoulders thro’ Silver Street, up Parson’s Lane, by the Chapels (which might have taught me better), and then to be deposited like a dead log at Gaffar Westwood’s, who it seems does not “insure” against intoxication. Not that the mode of conveyance is objectionable. On the contrary, it is more easy than a one-horse chaise. Ariel in the “Tempest” says
“On a Bat’s back do I fly, after sunset merrily.”
Now I take it that Ariel must sometimes have stayed out late of nights. Indeed, he pretends that “where the bee sucks, there lurks he,” as much as to say that his suction is as innocent as that little innocent (but damnably stinging when he is provok’d) winged creature. But I take it, that Ariel was fond of metheglin, of which
the Bees are notorious Brewers. But then you will say: What a shocking sight to see a middle-aged gentleman-and-a-half riding upon a Gentleman’s back up Parson’s Lane at midnight. Exactly the time for that sort of conveyance, when nobody can see him, nobody but Heaven and his own conscience; now Heaven makes fools, and don’t expect much from her own creation; and as for conscience, She and I have long since come to a compromise. I have given up false modesty, and she allows me to abate a little of the true. I like to be liked, but I don’t care about being respected. I don’t respect myself. But, as I was saying, I thought he would have let me down just as we got to Lieutenant Barker’s Coal-shed (or emporium) but by a cunning jerk I eased myself, and righted my posture. I protest, I thought myself in a palanquin, and never felt myself so grandly carried. It was a slave under me. There was I, all but my reason. And what is reason? and what is the loss of it? and how often in a day do we do without it, just as well? Reason is only counting, two and two makes four. And if on my passage home, I thought it made five, what matter? Two and two will just make four, as it always did, before I took the finishing glass that did my business. My sister has begged me to write an apology to Mrs. A. and you for disgracing your party; now it does seem to me, that I rather honoured your party, for every one that was not drunk (and one or two of the ladies, I am sure, were not) must have been set off greatly in the contrast to me. I was the scapegoat. The soberer they seemed. By the way is magnesia good on these occasions? iii pol: med: sum: ante noct: in rub: can:. I am no licentiate, but know enough of simples to beg you to send me a draught after this model. But still you will say (or the men and maids at your house will say) that it is not a seemly sight for an old gentleman to go home picka-back. Well, may be it is not. But I never studied grace. I take it to be a mere superficial accomplishment. I regard more the internal acquisitions. The great object after supper is to get home, and whether that is obtained in a horizontal posture or perpendicular (as foolish men and apes affect for dignity) I think is little to the purpose. The end is always greater than the means. Here I am, able to compose a sensible rational apology, and what signifies how I got here? I have just sense enough to remember I was very happy last night, and to thank our kind host and hostess, and that’s sense enough, I hope.

Charles Lamb.

N.B.—What is good for a desperate head-ache? Why, patience, and a determination not to mind being miserable all day long. And that I have made my mind up to. So, here goes. It is better than not being alive at all, which I might have been, had your man
toppled me down at Lieut. Barker’s Coal-shed. My sister sends her sober compliments to Mrs. A. She is not much the worse.

Yours truly,
C. Lamb.

[“Ariel.” In Letter 174, on page 898, Lamb confesses similarly to a similar escapade. And in his Elia essay “Rejoicings on the New Year’s Coming of Age,” he sends Ash Wednesday home in the same manner. On page 938 will be found another letter of similar character.]

Enfield, Tuesday [April 21, 1830].

DEAR Madam,—I have ventured upon some lines, which combine my old acrostic talent (which you first found out) with my new profession of epitaph-monger. As you did not please to say, when you would die, I have left a blank space for the date. May kind heaven be a long time in filling it up. At least you cannot say that these lines are not about you, though not much to the purpose. We were very sorry to hear that you have not been very well, and hope that a little excursion may revive you. Miss Isola is thankful for her added day; but I verily think she longs to see her young friends once more, and will regret less than ever the end of her holydays. She cannot be going on more quietly than she is doing here, and you will perceive amendment.

I hope all her little commissions will all be brought home to your satisfaction. When she returns, we purpose seeing her to Epping on her journey. We have had our proportion of fine weather and some pleasant walks, and she is stronger, her appetite good, but less wolfish than at first, which we hold a good sign. I hope Mr. Wing will approve of its abatement. She desires her very kindest respects to Mr. Williams and yourself, and wishes to rejoin you. My sister and myself join in respect, and pray tell Mr. Donne, with our compliments, that we shall be disappointed, if we do not see him.

This letter being very neatly written, I am very unwilling that Emma should club any of her disproportionate scrawl to deface it.

Your obliged servant,
C. Lamb.

[Addressed to “Mrs. Williams, W. B. Donne, Esq., Matteshall, East Dereham, Norfolk.”

Of Mr. Wing I know nothing, but Mr. Donne was William Bodham Donne (1807-1882), the friend of Edward FitzGerald, and Examiner of Plays.

This was Lamb’s acrostic-epitaph on Mrs. Williams:—
Grace Joanna here doth lie:
Reader, wonder not that I
Ante-date her hour of rest.
Can I thwart her wish exprest,
Ev’n unseemly though the laugh
Jesting with an Epitaph?
On her bones the turf lie lightly,
And her rise again be brightly!
No dark stain be found upon her—
No, there will not, on mine honour—
Answer that at least I can.
Would that I, thrice happy man,
In as spotless garb might rise,
Light as she will climb the skies,
Leaving the dull earth behind,
In a car more swift than wind.
All her errors, all her failings,
(Many they were not) and ailings,
Sleep secure from Envy’s railings.

Here should come an undated note from Lamb to Basil Montagu, in which Lamb asks for help for Hone in his Coffee-House. “If you can help a worthy man you will have two worthy men obliged to you.” Hone, having fallen upon bad times, Lamb helped in the scheme to establish him in the Grasshopper Coffee-House, at 13 Grace-church Street (see next letter).]

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,” 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 have me obliged 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?

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, for Albums? 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 exception, the only Latin verses I have made for forty years, and I did it “to order.”

Adsciscit sibi divitias et opes alienas
Fur, rapiens, spolians, quod mihi, quod-que tibi,
Proprium erat, temnens haec verba, Meum-que, Suum-que;
Omne suum est: tandem Cui-que Suum tribuit.
Dat laqueo collum; vestes, vah! carnifici dat;
Sese 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.

[Major’s edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress, mentioned in the letter to Barton on page 779, was issued in 1830 with a memoir of Bunyan by Southey. It was reviewed in The Times for May 7, 1830, I think probably by Lamb, in the following terms:—

The public is aware that the unexhausted diligence and unwearied pen of Mr. Southey have produced a new and excellent edition of the celebrated Pilgrim’s Progress, with the Life of the Author prefixed. This Life is, no doubt, an interesting work, though we wish the author, both in that and in the account, which is attributed to him, of the founder of the Jesuits, contained in a recent periodical work, had taken more time. The narrative in both is hasty and tumultuary, if we may use the latter expression: there is no time or room for reflection; and when a reflection comes, it is so mixed and jambed in with the story, or with quotations from the works or words of the respective heroes of the history, that it escapes unobserved. Could we, without grievous offence, recommend, both to Mr. Southey and Sir Walter Scott, to recollect the man spoken of by Horace?—
Quale fuit Cassî, rapido ferventius amni,
Ingenium, capsis quern fama est esse librisque
Ambustum propriis.”—Sat. i., 6i.

Yet still, as we said above, the Life of Bunyan is an interesting work. How different the origin of all the sects and their founders, from that of our sober, staid, and, we trust, permanent establishment, and the learned and pious reformers from whom it sprang!

But that for which we chiefly notice this work of Mr. Southey, is the very last sentence in it, wherein is contained his frank and honourable recommendation (though not more than they deserve) of the works of one whom the iron hand of oppression would have levelled with the dust:—

“In one of the volumes collected from various quarters, which were sent to me for this purpose, I observe the name of W. Hone, and notice it that I may take the opportunity of recommending his Every-Day Book and Table Book to those who are interested in the preservation of our national and local customs. By these very curious publications their compiler has rendered good service in an important department of literature; and he may render yet more, if he obtain the encouragement which he well deserves.”

Not only we, and the person mentioned in this paragraph, but all the friends of pure English literature,—all the curious in old English customs,—in short, all intelligent men, with the hearts of Englishmen in them,—owe Mr. Southey their gratitude for this recommendation: it springs from a just taste and right feeling united.

Hone wrote to The Times at once to thank both the paper and Southey for the compliment. A few days later, on May 21, appeared an article in The Times containing correspondence between Hone and Southey. I quote the introduction, again probably the work of Lamb, and Southey’s letter (see Lamb’s to Hone on page 853):—

We alluded some days ago to the handsome notice of Mr. Hone in Mr. Southey’s Life of Bunyan. The following correspondence has since been sent to us: it displays in an advantageous light the modesty of Mr. Hone and the amiable and candid disposition of Mr. Southey. The business, wholly foreign to Mr. Hone’s former pursuits, which is alluded to in the letter, is explained in an advertisement in this day’s paper.

* * * * * * * * * *
“To Mr. Hone, 13, Gracechurch-Street,
“Keswick, April 26.

“Sir,—Your letter has given me both pain and pleasure. I am sorry to learn that you are still, in the worldly sense of the word, an unfortunate man,—that you are withdrawn from pursuits which were consonant to your habits and inclinations, and that a public expression of respect and good-will, made in the hope that it might have been serviceable to you, can have no such effect.

“When I observed your autograph in the little book, I wrote to inquire of Mr. Major whether it had come to his hands from you, directly or indirectly, for my use, that, in that case, I might thank you for it. It proved otherwise, but I would not lose an opportunity which I had wished for.

“Judging of you (as I would myself be judged) by your works, I saw in the editor of the Every-Day and Table Books a man who had applied himself with great diligence to useful and meritorious pursuits. I thought that time, and reflection, and affliction, (of which it was there seen that he had had his share,) had contributed to lead him into this direction, which was also that of his better mind. What alteration had been produced in his opinions it concerned not me to inquire; here there were none but what were unexceptionable,—no feelings but what were to be approved. From all that appeared, I supposed he had become ‘a sadder and a wiser man:’ I therefore wished him success in his literary undertakings.

“The little parcel which you mention I shall receive with pleasure.

“I wish you success in your present undertaking, whatever it be, and that you may one day, under happier circumstances, resume a pen which has, of late years, been so meritoriously employed. If your new attempt prosper, you will yet find leisure for intellectual gratification, and for that self-improvement which may be carried on even in the busiest concerns of life.

“I remain, Sir, yours with sincere good will,

“Robert Southey.”

In the advertisement columns of the same issue of The Times (May 21) was the following notice, drawn up, I assume, by Lamb:—

The Family of William Hone, in the course of last winter, were kindly assisted by private friends to take and alter the premises they now reside in, No. 13, Gracechurch-street, for the purpose of a coffeehouse, to be managed by Mrs. Hone and her elder daughters; but they are in a painful exigency which increases hourly, and renders a public appeal indispensable. The wellwishers to Mr. Hone throughout the kingdom, especially the gratified readers of his literary productions (in all of which he has long ceased to have an interest, and from none of which can he derive advantage), are earnestly solicited to afford the means of completing the fittings and opening the house in a manner suited to its proposed respectability. If this aid be yielded without loss of time, it will be of indescribable benefit, inasmuch as it will put an end to many grievous anxieties and expenses, inseparable from the lengthened delay which has hitherto been inevitable, and will enable the family to immediately commence the business, which alone they look forward to for support. Subscriptions will be received by the following bankers:—Messrs. Ransom and Co., Pall-mall east; Messrs. Dixon, Sons, and Brookes, Chancery-lane; Messrs. Ladbroke and Co., Bank-buildings, Cornhill; and by Mr. Clowes, printer, 14, Charing-cross; Mr. Thomas Rodd, bookseller, 2, Great Newport-street; Mr. Griffiths, bookseller, 13, Wellington-street, Strand; Mr. Effingham Wilson, bookseller, Royal Exchange; and Messrs. Fisher and Moxhay, biscuit-bakers, 55, Threadneedle-street.

The first list of subscriptions, headed by “Charles Lamb, Esq., Enfield, £10,” came to £103. This was Monday, May 31. The next list was published on June 10, accompanied by the following note in the body of the paper:—


The subscriptions for Mr. Hone, it will be perceived, are going on favourably. In the list now published is the name of the Duke of Bedford, who has sent 20l. His cause has been warmly espoused by the provincial journals, more than 20 of which have inserted his appeal gratuitously, with offers to receive and remit subscriptions. The aphorism, “he gives twice who gives quickly,” could not receive a more cogent application than in the present instance, for the funds are required to enable Mr. Hone to commence business in his new undertaking, where he is already placed with his family, liable to rent and taxes, and other claims, but gaining nothing until his outfit is completed.

Hone, however, did not prosper, in spite of his friends, who were not sufficiently numerous to find the requisite capital.

“Suum Cuique.” The boy for whom this epigram was composed was a son of Hessey, the publisher, afterwards Archdeacon Hessey. He was at the Merchant Taylors’ School, where it was a custom to compose Latin and English epigrams for speech day, the boys being permitted to get help. Archdeacon Hessey wrote as follows in the Taylorian a few years ago:—

The subjects for 1830 were Suum Cuique and Brevis esse laboro. After some three or four exercise nights I confess that I was literally “at my wits’ end.” But a brilliant idea struck me. I had frequently, boy as I was, seen Charles Lamb at my father’s house, and once, in 1825 or 1826, I had been taken to have tea with him and his sister, Mary Lamb, at their little house, Colebrook Cottage, a whitish-brown tenement, standing by itself, close to the New River, at Islington. He was very kind, as he always was to young people, and very quaint. I told him that I had devoured his “Roast Pig”; he congratulated me on possessing a thorough schoolboy’s appetite. And he was pleased when I mentioned my having seen the boys at Christ’s Hospital at their public suppers, which then took place on the Sunday evenings in Lent. “Could this good-natured and humorous old gentleman be prevailed upon to give me an Epigram?” “I don’t know,” said my father, to whom I put the question, “but I will ask him at any rate, and send him the mottoes.” In a day or two there arrived from Enfield, to which Lamb had removed some time in 1827, not one, but two epigrams, one on each subject. That on Suum Cuique was in Latin, and was suggested by the grim satisfaction which had recently been expressed by the public at the capture and execution of some notorious highwayman.

See also Vol. V. of this edition for a slightly differing version. Lamb had many years before, he says in Letter 112, to Godwin, on page 281, written similar epigrams.

“With one exception.” Perhaps the Latin verses on Haydon’s picture. See Vol. V. page 82.]

Enfield, Tuesday, [p.m. 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.

C. L.

[Samuel Rogers had just lent Moxon £500 on which to commence publisher.

Moxon had dedicated his first book to Rogers. This is Moxon’s “Sonnet to the Nightingale,” but I cannot explain why Rogers laughed:—
Lone midnight-soothing melancholy bird,
That send’st such music to my sleepless soul,
Chaining her faculties in fast controul,
Few listen to thy song; yet I have heard,
When Man and Nature slept, nor aspen stirred,
Thy mournful voice, sweet vigil of the sleeping—
And liken’d thee to some angelic mind,
That sits and mourns for erring mortals weeping.
The genius, not of groves, but of mankind,
Watch at this solemn hour o’er millions keeping.
In Eden’s bowers, as mighty poets tell,
Did’st thou repeat, as now, that wailing call—
Those sorrowing notes might seem, sad Philomel,
Prophetic to have mourned of man the fall.]

Friday, [p.m. May 14, 1830.]

DEAR Novello, Mary hopes you have not forgot you are to spend a day with us on Wednesday. That it may be a long one, cannot you secure places now for Mrs. Novello yourself and the Clarkes? We have just table room for four. Five make my good Landlady fidgetty; six, to begin to fret; seven, to approximate to fever point. But seriously we shall prefer four to two or three; we shall have from ½ past 10 to six, when the coach goes off, to scent the country. And pray write now, to say you do so come, for dear Mrs. Westwood else will be on the tenters of incertitude.

C. Lamb.
[No date. May, 1830.]

DEAR N.—pray write immediately to say “The book has come safe.” I am anxious, not so much for the autographs, as for that bit of the hair brush. I enclose a cinder, which belonged to
Shield, when he was poor, and lit his own fires. Any memorial of a great Musical Genius, I know, is acceptable; and Shield has his merits, though Clementi, in my opinion, is far above him in the Sostenuto. Mr. Westwood desires his compliments, and begs to present you with a nail that came out of Jomelli’s coffin, who is buried at Naples.


[Vincent Novello writes on this: “A very characteristic note from Dear Charles Lamb, who always pretended to Rate all kinds of memorials and Relics, and assumed a look of fright and horror whenever he reproached me with being a Papist, instead of a Quaker, which sect he pretended to doat upon.” The book would be Novello’s album, with Lamb’s “Free Thoughts on Eminent Composers” in it (see Letter 496).

Shield was William Shield (1748-1829), the composer. He was buried in Westminster Abbey in the same grave as Clementi. Nicolo Jomelli (1714-1774) was a Neapolitan composer.]

May 21, 1830.

DEAR Hone—I thought you would be pleased to see this letter. Pray if you have time to, call on Novello, No. 66, Great Queen St. I am anxious to learn whether he received his album I sent on Friday by our nine o’clock morning stage. If not, beg him inquire at the Old Bell, Holborn.

Charles Lamb.

Southey will see in the Times all we proposed omitting is omitted.


[See notes to Letter 491, to Southey, above.]

[Enfield, Saturday, May 24th, 1830.]

Mary’s love? Yes. Mary Lamb quite well.

DEAR Sarah,—I found my way to Northaw on Thursday and a very good woman behind a counter, who says also that you are a very good lady but that the woman who was with you
was naught. These things may be so or not. I did not accept her offered glass of wine (home-made, I take it) but craved a cup of ale, with which I seasoned a slice of cold Lamb from a sandwich box, which I ate in her back parlour, and proceeded for Berkhampstead, &c.; lost myself over a heath, and had a day’s pleasure. I wish you could walk as I do, and as you used to do. I am sorry to find you are so poorly; and, now I have found my way, I wish you back at Goody Tomlinson’s. What a pretty village ’tis! I should have come sooner, but was waiting a summons to Bury. Well, it came, and I found the good parson’s lady (he was from home) exceedingly hospitable.

Poor Emma, the first moment we were alone, took me into a corner, and said, “Now, pray, don’t drink; do check yourself after dinner, for my sake, and when we get home to Enfield, you shall drink as much as ever you please, and I won’t say a word about it.” How I behaved, you may guess, when I tell you that Mrs. Williams and I have written acrostics on each other, and she hoped that she should have “no reason to regret Miss Isola’s recovery, by its depriving her of our begun correspondence.” Emma stayed a month with us, and has gone back (in tolerable health) to her long home, for she comes not again for a twelvemonth. I amused Mrs. Williams with an occurrence on our road to Enfield. We travelled with one of those troublesome fellow-passengers in a stage-coach, that is called a well-informed man. For twenty miles we discoursed about the properties of steam, probabilities of carriages by ditto, till all my science, and more than all, was exhausted, and I was thinking of escaping my torment by getting up on the outside, when, getting into Bishops Stortford, my gentleman, spying some farming land, put an unlucky question to me: “What sort of a crop of turnips I thought we should have this year?” Emma’s eyes turned to me, to know what in the world I could have to say; and she burst into a violent fit of laughter, maugre her pale, serious cheeks, when, with the greatest gravity, I replied, that “it depended, I believed, upon boiled legs of mutton.” This clench’d our conversation; and my Gentleman, with a face half wise, half in scorn, troubled us with no more conversation, scientific or philosophical, for the remainder of the journey. Ayrton was here yesterday, and as learned to the full as my fellow-traveller. What a pity that he will spoil a wit and a devilish pleasant fellow (as he is) by wisdom! He talk’d on Music; and by having read Hawkins and Burney recently I was enabled to talk of Names, and show more knowledge than he had suspected I possessed; and-in the end he begg’d me to shape my thoughts upon paper, which I did after he was gone, and sent him.

Some cry up Haydn, some Mozart,
Just as the whim bites. For my part,
I do not care a farthing candle
For either of them, or for Handel.
Cannot a man live free and easy,
Without admiring Pergolesi!
Or thro’ the world with comfort go
That never heard of Doctor Blow!
So help me God, I hardly have;
And yet I eat, and drink, and shave,
Like other people, (if you watch it,)
And know no more of stave and crotchet
Than did the un-Spaniardised Peruvians;
Or those old ante-queer-Diluvians
That lived in the unwash’d world with Jubal,
Before that dirty Blacksmith Tubal,
By stroke on anvil, or by summ’at,
Found out, to his great surprise, the gamut.
I care no more for Cimerosa
Than he did for Salvator Rosa,
Being no Painter; and bad luck
Be mine, if I can bear that Gluck!
Old Tycho Brahe and modern Herschel
Had something in them; but who’s Purcel?
The devil, with his foot so cloven,
For aught I care, may take Beethoven;
And, if the bargain does not suit,
I’ll throw him Weber in to boot!
There’s not the splitting of a splinter
To chuse ’twixt him last named, and Winter.
Of Doctor Pepusch old queen Dido
Knew just as much, God knows, as I do.
I would not go four miles to visit
Sebastian Bach—or Batch—which is it?
No more I would for Bononcini.
As for Novello and Rossini,
I shall not say a word about [to grieve] ’em,
Because they’re living. So I leave ’em.

Martin Burney is as odd as ever. We had a dispute about the word “heir,” which I contended was pronounced like “air;” he said that might be in common parlance; or that we might so use it, speaking of the “Heir-at-Law,” a comedy; but that in the Law Courts it was necessary to give it a full aspiration, and to say Hayer; he thought it might even vitiate a cause, if a Counsel pronounced it otherwise. In conclusion, he “would consult Serjeant Wilde;” who gave it against him. Sometimes he falleth into the water, sometimes into the fire. He came down here, and insisted on reading Virgil’sEneid” all through with me (which he did,) because a Counsel must know Latin. Another time he read out all the Gospel of St. John, because Biblical quotations are very emphatic in a Court of Justice. A third time, he would carve a fowl, which he did very ill-favoredly, because “we did not know how indispensable it was for a Barrister to do all those sort of things well.
Those little things were of more consequence than we supposed.” So he goes on, harassing about the way to prosperity, and losing it. With a long head, but somewhat a wrong one—harum-scarum. Why does not his guardian angel look to him? He deserves one—: may be, he has tired him out.

I am —— with this long scrawl, but I thought in your exile, you might like a letter. Commend me to all the wonders in Derbyshire, and tell the devil I humbly kiss—my hand to him. Yours ever,

C. Lamb.

[Addressed to Mrs. Hazlitt at Buxton.

“Free Thoughts.” The version in Ayrton’s album differs a little from this, the principal difference being in line 13, “primitive” for “un-Spaniardised.” Lamb’s story of the origin of the verses is not necessarily correct. I fancy that he had written them for Novello before he produced them in reply to Ayrton’s challenge. When sending the poem to Ayrton in a letter at this time, not available for this edition (written apparently just after Novello had paid the visit, referred to in Letter 494), Lamb wrote that it was written to gratify Novello. Mary Lamb (or Charles Lamb, personating her) appended the following postscript to the verses in Novello’s album:—
The reason why my brother’s so severe,
Vincentio is—my brother has no ear:
And Caradori her mellifluous throat
Might stretch in vain to make him learn a note.
Of common tunes he knows not anything,
Nor “Rule, Britannia” from “God save the King.”
He rail at Handel! He the gamut quiz!
I’d lay my life he knows not what it is.
His spite at music is a pretty whim—
He loves not it, because it loves not him.
M. Lamb.

“Serjeant Wilde”—Thomas Wilde (1782-1855), afterwards Lord Truro, a friend of Lamb’s, who is said to have helped him with squibs in the Newark election in 1829, when Martin Burney was among his supporters (see Vol. V. of this edition, page 341).]

June 3, 1830.

DEAR Sarah,—I named your thought about William to his father, who expressed such horror and aversion to the idea of his singing in public, that I cannot meddle in it directly or
Ayrton is a kind fellow, and if you chuse to consult him by Letter, or otherwise, he will give you the best advice, I am sure, very readily. I have no doubt that M. Burney’s objection to interfering was the same with mine. With thanks for your pleasant long letter, which is not that of an Invalid, and sympathy for your sad sufferings, I remain, in haste,

Yours Truly.

Mary’s kindest Love.


[There was some talk of William Hazlitt Junr. becoming a pupil of Braham and taking up music seriously. He did not do so.

Here should come a note from Lamb to Hone, dated Enfield, June 17, 1830, in which Lamb offers Hone £l per quarter for yesterday’s Times, after the Coffee-House customers have done with it. He ends with the wish, “Vivant Coffee, Coffee-potque!”]

[p.m. June 28, 1830.]

DEAR B. B.—Could you dream of my publishing without sending a copy to you? You will find something new to you in the vol. particularly the Translations. Moxon will send to you the moment it is out. He is the young poet of Xmas, whom the Author of the Pleasures of Memory has set up in the bookvending business with a volunteer’d loan of £500—such munificence is rare to an almost stranger. But Rogers, I am told, has done many goodnatured things of this nature.

I need not say how glad to see A. K. and Lucy we should have been,—and still shall be, if it be practicable. Our direction is Mr. Westwood’s, Chase Side Enfield, but alas I know not theirs. We can give them a bed. Coaches come daily from the Bell, Holborn.

You will see that I am worn to the poetical dregs, condescending to Acrostics, which are nine fathom beneath Album verses—but they were written at the request of the Lady where our Emma is, to whom I paid a visit in April to bring home Emma for a change of air after a severe illness, in which she had been treated like a daughter by the good Parson and his whole family. She has since return’d to her occupation. I thought on you in Suffolk, but was 40 miles from Woodbridge. I heard of you the other day from Mr. Pulham of the India House.


Long live King William the 4th.

S. T. C. says, we have had wicked kings, foolish kings, wise kings, good kings (but few) but never till now have we had
a Blackguard King—

Charles 2d was profligate, but a Gentleman.

I have nineteen Letters to dispatch this leisure Sabbath for Moxon to send about with Copies—so you will forgive me short measure—and believe me

Yours ever
C. L.

Pray do let us see your Quakeresses if possible.


[Lamb’s Album Verses was almost ready. The translations were those from Vincent Bourne.

William IV. came to the throne on June 26, 1830.

“I have nineteen Letters.” The fact that none of these is forthcoming helps to illustrate the imperfect state of Lamb’s correspondence as (even among so many differing editions) we now have it. But of course the number may have been an exaggeration.

Here should come a note from Lamb to Hone, dated July 1, 1830, in which Lamb asks that the newspaper be kept as he is meditating a town residence (see next letter).

See also Appendix II., page 978, for a letter to Mrs. Rickman.]

[p.m. 30 August, 1830.]

DEAR B. B.—my address is 34 Southamptn Buildings, Holborn. For God’s sake do not let me [be] pester’d with Annuals. They are all rogues who edit them, and something else who write in them. I am still alone, and very much out of sorts, and cannot spur up my mind to writing. The sight of one of those Year Books makes me sick. I get nothing by any of ’em, not even a Copy—

Thank you for your warm interest about my little volume, for the critics on which I care [? not] the 5 hundred thousandth part of the tythe of a half-farthing. I am too old a Militant for that. How noble, tho’, in R. S. to come forward for an old friend, who had treated him so unworthily. Moxon has a shop without customers, I a Book without readers. But what a clamour against a poor collection of album verses, as if we had put forth an Epic. I cannot scribble a long Letter—I am, when not at foot, very desolate, and
take no interest in any thing, scarce hate any thing, but annuals. I am in an interregnum of thought and feeling—

What a beautiful Autumn morning this is, if it was but with me as in times past when the candle of the Lord shined round me—

I cannot even muster enthusiasm to admire the French heroism.

In better times I hope we may some day meet, and discuss an old poem or two. But if you’d have me not sick
no more of Annuals.

C. L. Ex-Elia.

Love to Lucy and A. K. always.


[The Literary Gazette, Jerdan’s paper, had written offensively of Album Verses and its author’s vanity in the number for July 10, 1830. Southey published in The Times of August 6 some lines in praise of Lamb and against Jerdan. It was Southey’s first public utterance on Lamb since the famous letter by Elia to himself, and is the more noble in consequence. The lines ran thus:—

On the Reviewal of his Album Verses in the Literary Gazette
Charles Lamb, to those who know thee justly dear
For rarest genius, and for sterling worth,
Unchanging friendship, warmth of heart sincere,
And wit that never gave an ill thought birth,
Nor ever in its sport infix’d a sting;
To us who have admired and loved thee long,
It is a proud as well as pleasant thing
To hear thy good report, now borne along
Upon the honest breath of public praise:
We know that with the elder sons of song
In honouring whom thou hast delighted still,
Thy name shall keep its course to after days.
The empty pertness, and the vulgar wrong,
The flippant folly, the malicious will,
Which have assailed thee, now, or heretofore,
Find, soon or late, their proper meed of shame;
The more thy triumph, and our pride the more,
When witling critics to the world proclaim,
In lead, their own dolt incapacity.
Matter it is of mirthful memory
To think, when thou wert early in the field,
How doughtily small Jeffrey ran at thee
A-tilt, and broke a bulrush on thy shield.
And now, a veteran in the lists of fame,
I ween, old Friend! thou art not worse bested
When with a maudlin eye and drunken aim,
Dulness hath thrown a jerdan at thy head.


Leigh Hunt attacked Jerdan in the Examiner in a number of “Rejected Epigrams” signed T. A. See page 992. He also took up the matter in the Tatler, in the first number of which the following “Inquest Extraordinary” was printed:—
Last week a porter died beneath his burden;
Verdict: Found carrying a Gazette from Jerdan.

Moxon’s shop without customers was at 64 New Bond Street.

“The candle of the Lord.” See Proverbs xx. 27.

“The French heroism.” The July Revolution, in which the Bourbons were routed and Louis Philippe placed on the throne.]

[Dated at end: Oct. 5, 1830.]

DEAR Sir,—I know not what hath bewitch’d me that I have delayed acknowledging your beautiful present. But I have been very unwell and nervous of late. The poem was not new to me, tho’ I have renewed acquaintance with it. Its metre is none of the least of its excellencies. ’Tis so far from the stiffness of blank verse—it gallops like a traveller, as it should do—no crude Miltonisms in [it]. Dare I pick out what most pleases me? It is the middle paragraph in page thirty-four. It is most tasty. Though I look on every impression as a proof of your kindness, I am jealous of the ornaments, and should have prized the verses naked on whity-brown paper.

I am, Sir, yours truly,
C. Lamb.
Oct. 5th.

[Rogers had sent Lamb a copy of his Italy, with illustrations by Turner and Stothard, which was published by Moxon with other firms in 1830. This is the middle paragraph on page 34:—
Here I received from thee, Basilico,
One of those courtesies so sweet, so rare!
When, as I rambled thro’ thy vineyard-ground
On the hill-side, thou sent’st thy little son,
Charged with a bunch almost as big as he,
To press it on the stranger. May thy vats
O’erflow, and he, thy willing gift-bearer,
Live to become a giver; and, at length,
When thou art full of honour and wouldst rest,
The staff of thine old age!]

[p.m. November 8, 1830.]
Tears are for lighter griefs. Man weeps the doom
That seals a single victim to the tomb.
But when Death riots, when with whelming sway
Destruction sweeps a family away;
When Infancy and Youth, a huddled mass,
All in an instant to oblivion pass,
And Parent’s hopes are crush’d; what lamentation
Can reach the depth of such a desolation?
Look upward, Feeble Ones! look up, and trust
That He, who lays this mortal frame in dust,
Still hath the immortal Spirit in His keeping.
In Jesus’ sight they are not dead, but sleeping.

DEAR N., will these lines do? I despair of better. Poor Mary is in a deplorable state here at Enfield.

Love to all,
C. Lamb.

[The four sons and two daughters of John and Ann Rigg, of York, had been drowned in the Ouse. A number of poets were asked for verses, the best to be inscribed on a monument in York Minster. Those of James Montgomery were chosen.

It was possibly the death of Hazlitt, on September 18, while the Lambs were in their London lodgings, that brought on Mary Lamb’s attack.]

November 12, 1830.

DEAR Moxon,—I have brought my sister to Enfield, being sure that she had no hope of recovery in London. Her state of mind is deplorable beyond any example. I almost fear whether she has strength at her time of life ever to get out of it. Here she must be nursed, and neither see nor hear of anything in the world out of her sick chamber. The mere hearing that Southey had called at our lodgings totally upset her. Pray see him, or hear of him at Mr. Rickman’s, and excuse my not writing to him. I dare not write or receive a letter in her presence; every little task so agitates her. Westwood will receive any letter for me, and give it me privately.


Pray assure Southey of my kindliest feelings towards him; and, if you do not see him, send this to him.

Kindest remembrances to your sister, and believe me ever yours,

C. Lamb.

Remember me kindly to the Allsops.


[Southey was visiting Rickman, then Clerk Assistant to the House of Commons, where he lived.]

[No date. ? Dec., 1830.]

DEAR M. Something like this was what I meant. But on reading it over, I see no great fun or use in it. It will only stuff up and encroach upon the sheet you propose. Do as, and what, you please. Send Proof, or not, as you like. If you send, send me a copy or 2 of the Album Verses, and the Juvenile Poetry if bound.

I am happy to say Mary is mending, but not enough to give me hopes of being able to leave her. I sadly regret that I shall possibly not see Southey or Wordsworth, but I dare not invite either of them here, for fear of exciting my sister, whose only chance is quiet. You don’t know in what a sad state we have been.

I think the Devil may come out without prefaces, but use your discretion.

Make my kindest remembces to Southey, with my heart’s thanks for his kind intent. I am a little easier about my Will, and as Ryle is Executor, and will do all a friend can do at the Office, and what little I leave will buy an annuity to piece out tolerably, I am much easier.

Yours ever
C. L.
To 64 New Bond St.

[I cannot say to what the opening sentences refer: probably an advertisement for Satan in Search of a Wife (“the Devil”), which Lamb had just written and Moxon was publishing.

The reference to the Juvenile Poetry suggests that Moxon had procured some of the sheets of the Poetry for Children which Godwin brought out in 1809, and was binding up a few. This
theory is borne out by the statement in the letter to
Mrs. Norris, on page 914, that the book was not to be had for love or money, and the circumstance that in 1833 Lamb seems to send her a copy.

Ryle was Charles Ryle, an India House clerk, and Lamb’s executor with Talfourd.]

Dec. 20, 1830.

DEAR Dyer,—I would have written before to thank you for your kind letter, written with your own hand. It glads us to see your writing. It will give you pleasure to hear that, after so much illness, we are in tolerable health and spirits once more. Miss Isola intended to call upon you after her night’s lodging at Miss Buffam’s, but found she was too late for the stage. If she comes to town before she goes home, she will not miss paying her respects to Mrs. Dyer and you, to whom she desires best love. Poor Enfield, that has been so peaceable hitherto, has caught the inflammatory fever, the tokens are upon her! and a great fire was blazing last night in the barns and haystacks of a farmer, about half a mile from us. Where will these things end? There is no doubt of its being the work of some ill-disposed rustic; but how is he to be discovered? They go to work in the dark with strange chemical preparations unknown to our forefathers. There is not even a dark lantern to have a chance of detecting these Guy Fauxes. We are past the iron age, and are got into the fiery age, undream’d of by Ovid. You are lucky in Clifford’s Inn where, I think, you have few ricks or stacks worth the burning. Pray keep as little corn by you as you can, for fear of the worst.

It was never good times in England since the poor began to speculate upon their condition. Formerly, they jogged on with as little reflection as horses: the whistling ploughman went cheek by jowl with his brother that neighed. Now the biped carries a box of phosphorus in his leather-breeches; and in the dead of night the half-illuminated beast steals his magic potion into a cleft in a barn, and half a country is grinning with new fires. Farmer Graystock said something to the touchy rustic that he did not relish, and he writes his distaste in flames. What a power to intoxicate his crude brains, just muddlingly awake, to perceive that something is wrong in the social system!—what a hellish faculty above gunpowder!


Now the rich and poor are fairly pitted; we shall see who can hang or burn fastest. It is not always revenge that stimulates these kindlings. There is a love of exerting mischief. Think of a disrespected clod that was trod into earth, that was nothing, on a sudden by damned arts refined into an exterminating angel, devouring the fruits of the earth and their growers in a mass of fire! What a new existence!—what a temptation above Lucifer’s! Would clod be any thing but a clod, if he could resist it? Why, here was a spectacle last night for a whole country!—a Bonfire visible to London, alarming her guilty towers, and shaking the Monument with an ague fit—all done by a little vial of phosphor in a Clown’s fob! How he must grin, and shake his empty noddle in clouds, the Vulcanian Epicure! Can we ring the bells backward? Can we unlearn the arts that pretend to civilize, and then burn the world? There is a march of Science; but who shall beat the drums for its retreat? Who shall persuade the boor that phosphor will not ignite?

Seven goodly stacks of hay, with corn-barns proportionable, lie smoking ashes and chaff, which man and beast would sputter out and reject like those apples of Asphaltes and bitumen. The food for the inhabitants of earth will quickly disappear. Hot rolls may say: “Fuimus panes, fuit quartern-loaf, et ingens gloria Apple-pasty-orum.” That the good old munching system may last thy time and mine, good un-incendiary George, is the devout prayer of thine,

To the last crust,

Ch. Lamb.

[Incendiarism, the result of agricultural distress and in opposition to the competition of the new machinery, was rife in the country at this time.

Fuimus panes . . .” We loaves have had our day, &c. See page 456.]

[No date. ? Christmas, 1830.]

DEAR M. A thousand thanks for your punctualities. What a cheap Book is the last Hogarth you sent me! I am pleased now that Hunt diddled me out of the old one. Speaking of this, only think of the new farmer with his 30 acres. There is a portion of land in Lambeth parish called Knaves Acre. I wonder he overlook’d it. Don’t show this to the firm of Dilk & Co. I
next want one copy of Leicester School, and wish you to pay Leishman, Taylor, 2 Blandford Place, Pall Mall, opposite the British Institution, £6. 10. for coat waistcoat &c. And I vehemently thirst for the 4th No. of
Nichols’s Hogarth, to bind ’em up (the 2 books) as “Hogarth, and Supplement.” But as you know the price, dont stay for its appearance; but come as soon as ever you can with your bill of all demands in full, and, as I have none but £5 notes, bring with you sufficient change. Weather is beautiful. I grieve sadly for Miss Wordsworth. We are all well again. Emma is with us, and we all shall be glad of a sight of you. Come On Sunday, if you can; better, if you come before. Perhaps Rogers would smile at this.—A pert half chemist half apothecary, in our town, who smatters of literature and is immeasurable unletterd, said to me “Pray, Sir, may not Hood (he of the acres) be reckon’d the Prince of wits in the present day?” to which I assenting, he adds “I had always thought that Rogers had been reckon’d the Prince of Wits, but I suppose that now Mr. Hood has the better title to that appellation.” To which I replied that Mr. R. had wit with much better qualities, but did not aspire to the principality. He had taken all the puns manufactured in John Bull for our friend, in sad and stupid earnest. One more Album verses, please.

C. L.

[“Hunt.” This would, I think, be not Leigh Hunt but his nephew, Hunt of Hunt & Clarke (see page 826). The diddling I cannot explain.

Leishman was the husband of Mrs. Leishman, the Lambs’ old landlady at Enfield.

“Miss Wordsworth”—Dorothy Wordsworth, who was ill.

“Perhaps Rogers would smile at this.” I take the following passage from the Maclise Portrait Gallery:

In the early days of the John Bull it was the fashion to lay every foundling witticism at the door of Sam Rogers; and thus the refined poet and man of letters became known as a sorry jester.

John Bull was Theodore Hook’s paper. Maginn wrote in Fraser’s Magazine:—

Joe Miller vails his bonnet to Sam Rogers; in all the newspapers, not only of the kingdom but its dependencies,—Hindostan, Canada, the West Indies, the Cape, from the tropics,—nay, from the Antipodes to the Orkneys, Sam is godfather-general to all the bad jokes in existence. The Yankees have caught the fancy, and from New Orleans to New York it is the same,—Rogers is synonymous with a pun. All British-born or descended people,—yea the very negro and the Hindoo—father their calembourgs on Rogers. Quashee, or Ramee-Samee, who knows nothing of Sir Isaac Newton, John Milton, or Fraser’s Magazine, grins from ear to ear at the name of the illustrious banker, and with gratified voice exclaims, “Him dam funny, dat Sam!”]