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mitting with a wise cheerfulness to ne- | Lamb spent six weeks in a lunatic asylum cessity, and of standing upright under his at Hoston. He writes to Coleridge in burthen instead of stooping to make it 1796, saying .The six weeks that finished heavier. Not but what he at times kicked last year and began this your humble against the clerk's stool, and almost cursed servant spent very agreeably in a mad.. the desk at which he sat. He found his du- house. I am somewhat rational now, and ties continually interfering, with his ten- don't bite any one; but mad I was.' And dency to write those delightful epistles to he tells his friend, * At some future time I his frieuds. He complains to Cottle of will amuse you with an account as full those bothering clerks and brokers who al. as memory will permit of the strange turn ways press in proportion as you seem to be my fancy took. I look back upon it at doing something that is not business. I times with a gloomy kind of envy; for, could' exclaim a little profanely, but I while it lasted, I had many, many hours of think you do not like swearing: On an- pure happiness. Dream not, Coleridge, other occasion he did break out in what he of having tasted all the grandeur and wild

maddish letter' to Wordsworth, ness of fancy till you have gone mad. All and exclaim a little profanely.' In de- now seems to me vapid - comparatively şpite of which, the clerkship was Lamb's so. Excuse this selfish digression. His best and only means of living by his pen. sister Mary had previously suffered from Hazlitt, who wrote with ten times the the same fearful malady. facility of Lamb, could hardly earn his In this year (1796) occurred the dreadbread by it. It was well for Lamb that he ful deed which beclouded the whole of had not to live by literature. Six or seven Lamb's after life. The family had removed hours' labour a day, with a steady income, from the Temple to Little Queen Street, always sure, always increasing, was a more Holborn. The father had left the service sensible, a saner thing for Charles Lamb of Mr. Salt, and the mother was ill and bedthan if he had sought to work his imagina- ridden. Mary bad been nursing her tion alone. The time came when he had mother day and night with the utmost enough to brood over, and he did not need devotedness : • Of all people in the world,' more brooding-time. To find an anchorage says Lamb, she was most thoroughly desix hours a day for his hurt mind and void of all selfishness.' In the September vagrant temperament, to be taken out of this year she became moody and queer, of his introspective self, was a god-send to and on the 23rd of the month her madness Charles Lamb. It is also better for the broke loose. Just before dinner-time she world. The literary result of his life is, snatched up a case-knife and ran round the that we have his best expressed in the room after the little girl who was her smallest compass; and if we can get a apprentice; hurled about the knives and man's best in four volumes, it is a pity that forks, one of which struck her father on the circumstances should compel him to dilute forehead and felled him to the floor; then, it into twenty.

as a climax to her frenzied fit, she stabbed They do say that Lamb was late at office her mother to the heart. Charles was at sometimes, and that his superior remon- hand, but could only seize the knife and strated with him. “Mr. Lamb,' says he, prevent her doing further mischief. Mary 'I am sorry to find that you are the last to was placed in an asylum for a time, wbere arrive of a morning.' . Oh, yes,' replied her temporary recovery was rapid. But Lamb; “but then you know, I make up what a recovery!the cloud of madness for it. I am always the first to leave in the only passing away to reveal all the more astornoon. The official is said to have clearly what the poor thing had done! perceived something logical in the ex- Now arose the question whether the sister planation, but to have had only a confused sbould be confined for life. The brother sense of its satisfactoriness.

John advocated this, and other friends I repeat, the time came when the dull chimed in with his view. Mary herself exdrudgery at the India House was a blessing pected it would be so. to poor Lamb, and the desk was a tangible something on which to lay hold and steady

Poor thing (writes Charles], they say she his confused senses. There was an heredi

was but the other morning saying she knew she tary taint of insanity in Lamb's family, brothers would have it so; the other would wish

must go to Bethlem for life; that one of her And when Charles had turned his twentieth it not, but be obliged to go with the stream; year this broke out in bimself. He refers that she had often, as she passed Bethlem, to the immediate cause of madness in thought it likely: Here it may be my fate tó words to be yet quoted. On this occasion end my days.' FOURTH SERIES.

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145.

LIVING AGE.

VOL. V.

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Charles, however, pleaded for her re- farewell to his love's young dream — his one lease, and promised to take her, and care tender passion for some fair · Alice W-n.' for her and watch over her. And well he He many times mentions this young lady. kept his word. Only one despairing cry did In his Dream Children: a Reverie, he has 'he utter through long years of painful en- a vision of what might have been had he durance. In a letter to Coleridge, written married her; and he says: May 12th, 1800, he almost wishes that poor Mary were dead. He had just seen her off

I told how, for seven long years, in hope to the asylum the day before. • She will sometimes, sometimes in despair, yet persisting get better again,' he says; but this con- ever, I courted the fair Alice W—-n; and, as stant liability to relapse is dreadful.' Nor much as children could understand, I explained is it the least of their evils that her case and to them what coyness, and difficulty, and denial, their story are so well known. They are

meant in maidens. in a manner marked, and have to hear the whisperings around them. On this He speaks of a picture which he had seen occasion he writes with nothing in the as — house but Hetty's dead body to keep him company: • To-morrow I bury her (an that beauty with the cool blue pastoral drapery, old maid-servant of theirs); and then and a lamb; with the bright yellow HertfordI shall be quite alone. My heart is quite shire hair, and eye of walchet hue — so like my

Alice. sunk. I am completely shipwrecked. I almost wish that Mary were dead.' Indeed,

After he had been in the lunatic asylum, this tale of the Lambs, brother and sister, he tells Coleridge that his head had run going forth into their wilderness of woe to live their life of dual loneliness is touch- upon him a good deal in his madness,

as much almost as on another person, who ing as anything that ever took place since

was the more immediate cause of my the going forth of Ishmael and his mother into the desert. It is a tale to shake the Alice, kept a little journal of his love for

frenzy.' He wrote poetry, too, about his hearts of

grown men, and make them yearn her, and tells us that his sister Mary would over this forlorn pair feelingly as ever the often lend an ear to his desponding loveheart of childhood aches over those pretty sick lay' But the poetry is lost for us : babes' who wandered hand in hand to and the joúrnal was burnt, his passion was put fro in the wood, and

away, as it were a childish thing, when When they saw the darksome night,

Lamb rose up in his sterner manhood for

his terrible conflict with calamity. Did the They sat them down and cried.

lovely Alice quite fade away, one wonders;

or did she not live on in that image of closely as Lamb and his sister clung. to purity which ever nestled and smiled at the gether, and dear as grew their companion- heart of Charles Lamb's life, clear and ship in such desolation, they were com- tremulous as the dew-drop in a flower, pelled to part so often, after all, to part breathing sweetness and shedding grace? with the bitterness of that separation when the mind of the one is about to enter its thing heroic in thus giving up all to live

Mind you, Lamb had no notion of any. cloud and leave all life dark for both — the for his sister

, yet the act, as De Quincy one lost in the darkness within, the other left groping unavailingly in the darkness justly says, rises into a grandeur not parall

eled once in a generation. And so we linwithout. They generally knew when the worst fits of insanity were coming on, and ger over it, and say all honour to him Charles would ask for a day's absence from office as if for a day's pleasure. He would Whom neither shape of danger could dismay, take his sister by the arm, and these two Nor thought of tender happiness betray; poor anguished souls made the best of their Who, doomed to go in company with Pain, way to the asylum. They have been met,

Turned his necessity to glorious gain. carrying the strait waistcoat with them, the tears running down their cheeks, hurry- Lamb was in his twenty-first year when ing along as fast as they could on purpose be stood alone in the world, and took upon to get there before the gathering blackness bimself the burthen of his family. It was a burst and they were caught in the full fury desolate home and a desolate outlook to of the storm.

which Mary returned after the awful deed In electing to live alone for his sister, that deprived them of a mother. Great was Charles Lamb was undoubtedly. bidding their need of reliance on Him who, as

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Charles said with his pathetic wit, ' tempers | memorable evenings once a week. There the wind to the shorn Lambs.'

was Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt, Barnes of the

Times, and Haydon the painter, Carey the My poor, dear, dearest sister (Lamb writes], translator of Dante, Godwin and Thelwall, the anhappy, and unconscious instrument of the Jem White and George Dyer; sometimes Almighty's judgment on our house, is restored Coleridge and Wordsworth, Manning and to her senses - to a dreadful sense of what has Talfourd, Hood, and the gay and gentlepassed ; awful to her mind, but tempered with manly murderer Janus Weathercock. a religious resignation. She knows how to distinguish between a deed committed in a tit of in his love of books. Speaking of Lamb's

Lamb was as catholic in his friendship as frenzy and the terrible guilt of a mother's murder. She bears her situation as one who has no

library, Leigh Hunt observes : right to complain.

There Mr. Southey takes his place again with With what entireness Lamb lived for his an old radical friend; there Jeremy Collier is sister, and with what affectionate solicitude at peace with Dryden; there the lion Martin he sought to solace her we may partly gath- Luther lies down with the Quaker lamb Sewer from one of his letters; he is speaking of ell

. visiting, and says:

So was it with his personal friends. His

was the solvent of It was not a family where I could take Mary sweetness of nature with me, and I am afraid there is something strongest differences; his attraction was of dishonesty in any pleasures I take with powerful enough to gather and hold togethout her.

er the widest opposites. Lamb had many

illustrious friends, with whose names his He was all conscience and tender heart' own will be handed on in immortal companto his sister. God love her!'he exclaims; ionship. But we do not feel that his best may we two never love each other less.' known literary friends were those who got And it may be added they never did. Mary the nearest to him. He himself proclaims Lamb was altogether worthy of her brothers that his intimados' were, to confess the love. In addition to the bond of affection truth, a “ragged regiment’in the eye of the which bound them together through aflic- world — men whom he had found floating tion, she was a woman of great mental at- on the surface of society, and the colour or tractions. She was a continual reader. something else in the weed pleased him. When in the asylum, Charles took care to The burrs stuck to him ; but they were furnish her with plenty of books, for they good, loving burrs for all that.' Some of were like her daily bread. She was a de- Lamb's friends were strange characters,' lightful writer. Hazlitt held her to be the says Wordsworth, 'whom his philanthropic only woman he had met who could reason. peculiarities induced him to countenance.

Were I to give way to my feelings,' says And the stranger the character, that is, the Wordsworth, in the note to his poem on more original and unsophisticated, the closer Charles Lamb, 'I should dwell not only on Lamb stuck to them. There was Jem her genius and intellectual powers, but upon White; he is nothing to the world now, yet, the delicacy and refinement of manner living, he was one of Lamb's earliest friends which she maintained inviolable under and most beloved of chums;' whoin he most trying circumstances. She was loved could thoroughly cordialise' with ; and and honoured by all her brother's friends.' when he died, Lamb says, ' He carried away

After the death of his father, whose with him half the fun of the world, querulous selfishness in his dotage Lamb world, at least.' This pleasant fellow enbad borne with much meekness, he and his deared himself to Lamb, by giving an annusister removed to Pentonville, where Lamb al supper to the poor boy chimney-sweepers fell in love with the beautiful Quakeress of London, upon which occasions Lamb who used to pass him day after day, serene- presided at one of the tables.

His descriply unconscious of having a place in his re- tion of the feast is as good as Burns's Jolly gards. From Pentonville they removed to Beggars, the humour of the thing being Southampton Buildings, on their way back akin in some respects. Jem White was in to the Temple. This was in the year 1800. his glory doing an act of kindness which In the Temple, first at No. 16, Mitre Court, yielded so much fun for Lamb, who laughed and next at No. 4, Inner Temple Lane, till his eyes filled with tears to see the sable they dwelt for some sixteen years. And younkers' lick in the unctuous meat,' and there it was that Lamb gathered about him listen to Jem's • more unctuous sayings,' folsuch a group of famous men, and held his lowed by a cheer from the whole dark host,

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at which · hundreds of grinning teeth start- turns everything topsy-turvy. Of Martin led the sight with their brightness.' Burney, Lamb said he was on the top round

If Jem White was one half the fun of of his ladder of friendship up which angels Lamb's world, surely George Dyer was the were yet climbing, and one or two, alas, deother balf. He was guileless as Nathaniel ; scending. simple and prodigious' as Dominie Samp- Well

known is the great love of Charles son; an unsophisticated native of the golden Lamb for his favourite London. He was a age; a mild Arcadian, ever blooming true child of its streets by birth; its scenery with fresh delight for Lamb; a daily beauty formed his earliest picture-books; the first in the London streets, his verdant simplicity awakening images of his young life. The looking like a bit of evergreen there. He 'fresco of the Virtues which Italianised the was as absent-minded us Bowles when he end of Paper Buildings 'gave him his earlipresented a friend with a copy of the Bible, est hint of Allegory. His nature had struck and inscribed it from the author.' He had root among the bricks of the old City, and a head uniformly wrong, a heart uniformly there it clung lovingly and blossomed like right, and he dwelt in Clifford's Inn, said some fragrant trailer breathing sweetness Lamb, • like a dove on the asp's nest.' He and freshness as if all Cockneydom was in was a friend indeed to Lam). It was not flower. London was his bome in spite of its merely what he said or did when present; homelessness for those who so often migrate be was for ever doing something that lasted as Lamb had done. He never breathed so Lamb for weeks in laughter. The very freely as in its thronged thoroughfares. He thought of him tickled Lamb to the heart loved its very smoke because it had been roots. On one occasion he informed George the medium most familiar to his vision. He that Lord Castlereagh was the author of liked to feel the pulse of its mighty heart the Waverley novels, and off he trotted to and be in the rush of its great river of life. communicate the fact to Leigh Hunt, who, Its murmurs made a music that he could apbeing a public writer, ought to be immedi- preciate; he had an ear' for that! I ately niade acquainted with a secret so im- would live in London,' he cries, shirtless, portant.

bookless. I love the sweet security of • Is it true,' said Lamb to him, “as com- streets, and would set up my tabernacle monly reported, that you are to be made a there. He tells us how he would walk the lord ? Oh dear no, Mr. Lamb, I could streets with the tears running down his face not think of such a thing; it is not true, I for joy and sympathy with the fulness of its assure you.' 'I thought not,' said Lamb, life : 6 and I contradict it wherever I go: but the Government will not ask your consent ; Streets, streets, streets ; markets, theatres, they may raise you to the peerage without churches ; Covent Gardens; shops sparkling your ever knowing it... I hope not, Mr. with pretty faces of industrious milliners, neat Lamb; indeed, indeed, I hope not; it would sempstresses, ladies cheapening, gentlemen benot suit me at all!' And Dyer went his hind counters lying ; authors in the streets, with way greatly bewildered, still pondering over their gait); lamps lit at night; pastry-cooks?

spectacles – George Dyers (you know them by the possibility of such a thing. The dear, and silver smiths' shops ; beautiful Quakers of good soul! What a god-send to Lamb was Pentonville; noise of coaches ; drowsy cry of his unfathomable simplicity. How Lamb mechanic watchmen at night, with bucks reclmust have doated on his delightful unworld- ing home drunk; if you happen to wake at liness and crooned over him with murmurs midnight, cries of Fire !' and 'Stop thief!' made to bless.'

inns-of-court, with their learned air, and halls Other of his friends, such as Manning, and butteries just like Cambridge colleges ; old Rickman, and Burney, Lamb must have book-stalls, Jeremy Taylors, Burtons on Melanbeen more fraternally familiar with than he these are thy pleasures, O London with the

choly, and Religio Medicis, on every stall ; could have been with the more famous men. many-sins. o City, abounding in “I am glad you esteem Manning,' he writes these may Keswick and her giant-brood go .to Coleridge in 1826, though you see but hang.

. He not, world without any one hardly but me know- Wordsworth, who was as great a lover of ing how stupendous a creature he is.' This bis mountain solitudes as was Lamb of his was the gentleman who went to China, as London streets. The poet held that his Lamb suggested, to teach perspective to the friend was a scorner of the fields' more in Chinese, and to whom he wrote some of his show than truth. But it does not seem to most amazing letters, in which his humour have been so. Lamb declares that his love

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for natural scenery would be abundantly nourishment from the country world of satisfied by the patches of long waving grass grass and leaves, jargoning of birds, lapse and the stunted trees that blackened in of pleasant waters, field scents or freshness some of the old church yards bordering on of Aowers. He asked not the baptism of the Thames, and that a mob of bappy faces the dewy dawn, or benediction of the closcrowding up at the pit door of Drury Lane ing day in any rural solitude. He could Theatre, just at the hour of six, gave him live and grow, and keep bis nature leafy in ten thousand sincerer pleasures than he London. This is a fact in human nature as could have received from all the flocks of interesting in a literary point of view, silly sheep that ever whitened the plains of and as surprising as is the novel fact, so Arcadia or Epsom Downs.

delightful to boyhood when it learns, for the As he told Wordsworth, he certainly was first time, that mustard and cress may be not in the least romance-bit about Nature. grown with a bit of flannel and a drop of He paid the great poet a visit in 1802. He water, and does not need to take root in the entered the Lake country towards the close earth at all. of a splendid day, and saw the monntains After his thirty-three years' service at the lying grand in a gorgeous sunset:

India House, Lamb was set free with a pen

sion of 4001. a year. He made immense Such an impression [he says] I never received fun of his situation, or rather his out-offrom objects of sight. "Glorious creatures ! I situation. He was like a man suddenly reshall never forget how ye lay about, in the dusk, leased from the law of gravitation, who like an entrenchment -gone to bed, as it seem- could not touch solid earth, and was blown ed, for the night.

hither and thither by every gust of his new

life. At first he could but dimly apprehend They haunted him after his return to his felicity, and was too confused to taste London. Bnt the great live city soon re- its fulness. He tells us that he wandered gained its old supremacy in his regards. about thinking he was happy and knowing Mountains he admitted were grand things to be was not. He could scarcely trust himlook at, but houses in streets were the places self with himself. It was like passing out to live in! And it was there that he most of time into eternity — for it is a sort of appreciated the country. He liked to hear eternity when a man has all his time to the waters murmur, and leaves rustle, and himself. Unfortunately Lamb found that birds sing, in the pages of some favourite no work was worse than overwork. More book, he being shut in and safe within the particularly when he had retired into the sound of London. “But, he remarks by country to spend his Latter days. His leavway of warning, 'let not the lying poets be ing London we look upon as a huge misbelieved, who entice men from the cheerful take. London was his true city of refuge ; streets.'

he who shared so largely in that feeling He preferred to be shut in-doors with a which made Charles Lloyd take lodgings in book on a winter's evening to the finest his more melancholy fits, at a brazier's shop summer sunset. I dread the prospect of in Fetter Lane, close to Fleet Street, to summer,' he exclaimed, when he was in the drown his morbid thoughts with the roar of country, with his all-day long days. No the city. The pity was that he and Mary need of his assistance to make the country could not have found such a home as Cole. dull.' On being asked how he felt when ridge did among wise and generous friends. amongst the mountains and lakes of Cum- It is curious to note in connection with this berland, he said, humorously, he was obliged life-long feeling of Lamb's that he died at to think of the ham and beef shop at the last and was buried in the country. He corner of St. Martin's Lane. As though died at Edmonton on December 27thi, 1834, he felt it necessary to steady himself upon his end being somewhat sudden. His old this common-place bit of well known reality friends had been failing and fading away amid the dizzying sublimities of nature. one by one; he greatly missed their old

One of the most provocative and enter- familiar faces especially that of Coleridge, taining aspects of Lamb's character lies in his friend for fifty years. One day when this discovery, that all his manifold simplici- out for a morning walk he stumbled against ties of nature and fragrant blossoming of a loose stone and fell. This, as he would delicate fancies, his love of the choice have been delighted to point out, would things in poetry, his keen zest for unsophis- hardly have happened in London. His face ticated human beings, his sensibilities of a was slightly wounded and erysipelas followtremulous tenderness, had no root in a love ed. He had not the strength left to comof external nature. He needed no mental | bat the disease, and he sank gradually, be

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