« PreviousContinue »
to his friend · Eugenius.'
feelings tell me so; because I felt it impossible for me to do anything that is ungracious towards you. It is not every hour, or day, or weck of a man's life, that is a fit season for the duties of Friendship. Sentiment is not always at hand; pride and folly, and what is called business, often-times keep it at a distance; and, without Sentiment, what is Friendship ?-a name! a shadow ! But to prevent a misapplication of all this (though why should I fear it from so kind and gentle a spirit as yours ?) you must know, that by the carelessness of my curate, or his wife, or his maid, or some one within his gates, the parsonage
house at was about a fortnight ago burnt to the ground, with the furniture which belonged to me, and a pretty good collection of books. The loss about three hundred and fifty pounds.
poor man, with his wife, took the wings of the next morning and fled away. This has given me real vexation ; for so much was my pity and esteem for him, that, as soon as I heard of this disaster, I sent to desire he would come and take up his abode with me till another habitation was ready to receive him ; but he was gone, and, as I am told, through fear of my prosecution ! Heavens ! how little did he know me, to suppose I was among the number of those wretches that heap misfortune upon misfortune ! and when the ad is Imost insupportable, still add to the weight. God, who reads my heart, knows it to be true, that I wish rather to share than increase the burden of the miserable ; to dry up, instead of adding a single drop to the stream of sorrow. As for the dirty trash of this world, I regard it not ! the loss of it does not cost me a sigh ; for, after all, I may say with the Spanish captain, that I am as good a gentleman as the King, only not quite so rich.—But to the point.
Shall I expect you here this summer? I much wish that you may make it convenient to gratify me in a visit 70
for a few weeks : I will give you a roast fowl for your dinner, and a clean table-cloth every day, and tell you a story by way of dessert. In the heat of the day we will sit in the shade, and, in the evening, the fairest of all the milk-maids, who pass by my gate, shall weave a garland for you. If I should not be so fortunate to see you here, do contrive to meet me here the beginning of October. I shall stay here about a fortnight, and then seek a kindlier climate. This plaguy cough of mine seems to gain ground, and will bring me at last to my grave, in spite of all I can do ; but while I have strength to run away from it, I will—I have been wrestling with it for these twenty years past ; and what with laughter and good spirits have prevented it giving me a fall; but my antagonist presses closer than ever upon me, and I have nothing left on my side but another abroad! A-propos
-are you for a scheme of that sort ? If not, perhaps you will be so good as to accompany me as far as Dover, that we may laugh together on the beach, to put Neptune in a good humour before I embark. God bless you. Adieu.
CHARLES LAMB TO P. G. PATMORE. DEAR P.,-I am so poorly! I have been to a funeral, where I made a pun, to the consternation of the rest of the mourners. And we had wine. I can't describe to you the howl which the widow set up at proper intervals. Dash could, for it was not unlike what he makes.
The letter I sent you was one directed to the care of E. White, India House, for Mrs. Hazlitt. Which Mrs. Hazlitt I don't yet know, but A. has taken it to France on speculation. Really it is embarrassing. There is Mrs. present H., Mrs. late H., and Mrs. John H., and to which of the three Mrs. Wigginses it appertains I don't know. I wanted to open but it's transportation.
to P. G. Patmore.
I am sorry you are plagued about your book. I would strongly recommend you to take for one story Massinger's 'Old Law. It is exquisite. I can think of no other.
Dash is frightful this morning. He whines and stands up on his hind legs. He misses Becky, who is gone to town. I took him to Barnet the other day, and he couldn't eat his victuals after it. Pray God his intellects be not slipping
Mary is gone out for some soles. I suppose it's no use to ask you to come and partake of 'em ; else there's
; a steam-vessel.
I am doing a tragi-comedy in two acts, and have got on tolerably ; but it will be refused, or worse. I never had luck with anything my name was put to.
Oh, I am so poorly! I waked it at my cousin's the bookbinder's, who is now with God; or if he is not, it's no fault of mine.
We hope the Frank wines do not disagree with Mrs. Patmore. By the way, I like her.
Did you ever taste frogs ? Get them, if you can. They are like little Lilliput rabbits, only a thought nicer.
Christ, how sick I am !-not of the world, but of the widow's shrub. She's sworn under £6000, but I think she perjured herself. She howls in E la, and I comfort her in B flat. You understand music ?
If you haven't got Massinger, you have nothing to do but go to the first bibliothèque you can light upon at Boulogne, and ask for it (Gifford's edition), and if they haven't got it, you can have ‘Athalie;' par Monsieur Racine, and make the best of it. But that “Old Law' is delicious.
“No shrimps !' (That's in answer to Mary's question about how the soles are to be done.)
I am uncertain where this wandering letter may reach
A• Wandering' Letter.
you. What you mean by Poste Restante, God knows. Do you mean I must pay the postage? So I do, to Dover.
We had a merry passage with the widow at the Commons. She was howling-part howling and part giving directions to the proctor—when crash! down went my sister through a crazy chair, and made the clerks grin, and I grinned, and the widow tittered-and then I knew that she was not inconsolable. Mary was more frightened than hurt.
She'd make a good match for anybody by she, I mean the widow)
• If he bring but a relict away,
SHENSTONE. Procter has got a wen growing out at the nape of his neck, which his wife wants him to have cut off ; but I think it rather an agreeable excrescence—like his poetry - redundant. Hone has hanged himself for debt. Godwin was taken up for picking pockets. Becky takes to bad courses. Her father was blown up in a steam machine. The coroner found it insanity. I should not like him to sit on my letter.
Do you observe my direction ? Is it Gallic?—Classical?
Do try and get some frogs. You must ask for 'grenouilles' (green-eels). They don't understand ‘frogs,' though it's a common phrase with us.
If you go through Bulloign (Boulogne), inquire if old Godfrey is living, and how he got home from the Crusades. He must be a very old man now.
If there is anything new in politics or literature in France, keep it till I see you again, for I'm in no hurry. Chatty-Briant (Chateaubriand) is well, I hope.
I think I have no more news ; only give both our loves
(“all three,' says Dash) to Mrs. Patmore, and bid her get quite well, as I am at present, bating qualms, and the grief incident to losing a valuable relation. C. L.
LONDRES, July 19, 1827.
ROBERT SOUTHEY TO JOSEPH COTTLE.
201h April 1808. Do you 'suppose, Cottle, that I have forgotten those true and essential acts of friendship which you showed me when I stood most in need of them! Your house was my house when I had no other. The very money with which I bought my wedding-ring and paid my marriage fees was supplied by you. It was with your sisters that I left Edith during my six months' absence, and for the six months after my return ; it was from you that I received, week by week, the little on which we lived, till I was enabled to live by other means. It is not the settling of a cash account that can cancel obligations like these. You are in the habit of preserving your letters; and if you were not, I would entreat you to preserve this, that it might be seen hereafter. Sure I am, that there never was a more generous or kinder heart than yours; and you will believe me when I add, that there does not live a man upon earth whom I remember with more gratitude and more affection. My heart throbs and my eyes burn with these recollections. Good night, my dear old friend and benefactor, R. S.
REV. SYDNEY SMITH TO LORD JEFFREY.
1818. MY DEAR JEFFREY,-I am truly obliged by your kindness in inviting Mrs. Sydney and me to come and see you. I know nothing that would give us more pleasure ; but poverty, agriculture, children, clerical confinement,