صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

little wood. He will soon see the venerable old Jacobean mansion, properly called Mackrye End, and close to it a whitish farmhouse, which is the one occupied by Lamb's relatives, the Gladmans, at the time of the pilgrimage recorded in this essay. The present writer has visited the spot, also in the "heart of June," and bears the pleasantest testimony to its rural beauty and seclusion. The farmhouse has had an important addition to it since Lamb's day, but a large portion of the building is evidently still the same as when the image of welcome" came forth from it to greet the brother and sister. May I, without presumption, call attention to the almost unique beauty of this prose idyll? But thou that didst appear so fair To fond imagination. -Wordsworth's "Yarrow Visited."

[ocr errors]


B. F.-Barron Field, who accompanied Lamb and his sister on this expedition. See the essay on Distant Correspondents. Compare a letter of Lamb to Manning in May 1819. are my cousins, the Gladmans of Wheathampstead, and farmer Bruton? Mrs. Bruton is a glorious woman. 'Hail, Mackery End.' This is a fragment of a blank verse poem which I once meditated, but got no further."

(London Magazine, December 1821.)


The only landed property I could ever call my own.— Procter informs me that a relative of Lamb's did actually bequeath to him a small "landed estate "-probably no more than a single field-producing a pound or two of rent, and that Lamb was fond of referring to the circumstance, and declaring that it had revolutionised his views of Property.

The first appearance to me of Mrs. Siddons in Isabella.-One of Lamb's earliest, perhaps his first sonnet, was inspired by this great actress. It was published, with some of Coleridge's, in the columns of the Morning Chronicle in 1794.

As when a child, on some long winter's night
Affrighted clinging to its grandam's knees
With eager wondering and perturbed delight
Listens strange tales of fearful dark decrees
Muttered to wretch by necromantic spell;
Or of those hags, who at the witching time
Of murky midnight ride the air sublime,
And mingle foul embrace with fiends of Hell :
Cold Horror drinks its blood! Anon the tear
More gentle starts, to hear the beldame tell


Of pretty babes that loved each other dear,
Murdered by cruel Uncle's mandate fell:
Even such the shivering joys thy tones impart,
Even so thou, Siddons, meltest my sad heart!


(London Magazine, November 1822).

Joseph Paice, of Bread Street Hill, merchant.-Some very interesting particulars of the life and character of this generous and self-sacrificing person, in whom most unquestionably manners were not idle," will be found in the Athenæum for the year 1841 (pp. 366 and 387), contributed by the late Miss Anne Manning. Thomas Edwards, author of Canons of Criticism, a very acute commentary upon Warburton's emendations of Shakspeare, was his uncle. Edwards was a mediocre poet, but his sonnets are carefully constructed on the Miltonic scheme, which perhaps accounts for Lamb's exaggerated epithet. The sonnet may be given here as at least a curiosity :


Joseph, the worthy son of worthy sire,
Who well repay'st thy pious parents' care
To train thee in the ways of Virtue fair,
And early with the Love of Truth inspire,
What farther can my closing eyes desire
To see, but that by wedlock thou repair
The waste of death; and raise a virtuous heir
To build our House, e'er I in peace retire?

Youth is the time for Love: Then choose a wife,
With prudence choose; 'tis Nature's genuine voice;
And what she truly dictates must be good;
Neglected once that prime, our remnant life
Is soured, or saddened, by an ill-timed choice,

Or lonely, dull, and friendless solitude.


P. 118.

(London Magazine, September 1821.)

Charles Lamb was born on the 10th of February 1775, in Crown Office Row, Temple, where Samuel Salt, a Bencher of the Inn, owned two sets of chambers. This was Lamb's home for the seven years preceding his admission into Christ's Hospital in 1782, and afterwards, in holiday seasons, till he left school in 1789, and later, at least till Salt's death in 1792. recent editor of Lamb's works has stated that, with the exception of Salt, almost all the names of Benchers given in this essay



are "purely imaginary." The reverse of this is the fact. the names here celebrated are to be found in the records of the honourable society.

There when they came, whereas those bricky towers,

-Spenser's Prothalamion, stanza viii.

Of building strong, albeit of Paper hight.

-Paper Buildings, facing King's Bench Walk in the Temple. The line is doubtless improvised for the occasion.

That fine Elizabethan hall.—The hall of the Middle Temple. The fountain still plays, but "quantum mutatus.”

Ah! yet doth beauty like a dial hand.

-Shakspeare's Sonnet, No. 104.

"Carved it out quaintly in the sun.'

-III. Henry VI., ii. 5.

The roguish eye of J-ll.-Jekyll, the Master in Chancery. The wit, and friend of wits, among the old Benchers-the Sir George Rose of his day. Called to the Bench 1805; died 1837.

Thomas Coventry, nephew of William, fifth Earl of Coventry; of North Cray Place, Bexley, Kent.-Called to the Bench in 1766; died in 1797.

Samuel Salt.-Called to the Bench 1782; died in 1792. The Bencher in whom Lamb had the most peculiar interest. John Lamb, the father, was in the service of Salt for some five and forty years-he acting as clerk and confidential servant, and his wife as housekeeper. As we have seen, Mr. Salt occupied two sets of chambers in Crown Office Row, forming a substantial house. He had two indoor servants, besides John and Elizabeth Lamb, and kept his carriage. Salt died in 1792. By his will, dated 1786, he gives "To my servant, John Lamb, who has lived with me near forty years," £500 South Sea stock; and "to Mrs. Lamb £100 in money, well deserved for her care and attention during my illness." By a codicil, dated December 20, 1787, his executors are directed to employ John Lamb to receive the testator's "Exchequer annuities of £210 and £14 during their term, and to pay him £10 a-year for his trouble so long as he shall receive them," a delicate and ingenious way of retaining John Lamb in his service, as it were, after his own decease. By a later codicil, he gives another hundred pounds to Mrs. Lamb. These benefactions, and not the small pension erroneously stated, on the authority of Talfourd, in my memoir of Lamb, formed the provision made by Salt for his faithful pair of attendants. The appointment of Charles to the clerkship

in the India House in 1792 must have been the last of the many kind acts of Samuel Salt to the family. Where the Lamb family moved to after Salt's death in 1792, and how they struggled on between that date and the fatal year 1796, is one of the unsettled points of Lamb's history. Mary Lamb's skill with her needle was probably used as a means of increasing the common income. Crabb Robinson tells us of an article on needlework contributed by her some years later to one of the magazines.

The unfortunate Miss Blandy. The heroine of a cause célèbre in the year 1752. Her whole story will be found, àpropos of the town of Henley, in Mr. Leslie's charming book on the Thames, entitled Our River. Miss Blandy, the daughter of an attorney at Henley, with good expectations from her father, attracted the attention of an adventurer, a certain Captain Cranstoun. The father disapproved of the intimacy, and the Captain entrusted Miss Blandy with a certain powder which she administered to her father with a fatal result. Her defence was that she believed the powder to be of the nature of a love-philtre, which would have the effect of making her father well-affected towards her lover. The defence was not successful, and Miss Blandy was found guilty of murder, and executed at Oxford in April 1752.

Susan P -Susannah Pierson, sister of Salt's brotherBencher, Peter Pierson, mentioned in this essay, and one of Salt's executors. By his second codicil, Salt bequeaths her, as a mark of regard, £500; his silver inkstand; and the "works of Pope, Swift, Shakspeare, Addison, and Steele ;" also Sherlock's Sermons (Sherlock had been Master of the Temple), and any other books she likes to choose out of his library, hoping that, "by reading and reflection," they will "make her life more comfortable." How oddly touching this bequest seems to us, in the light thrown on it by Lamb's account of the relation between Salt and his friend's sister! What a pleasant glimpse, again, is here afforded of the "spacious closet of good old English reading" into which Charles and Mary were "tumbled," as he told us, at an early age, when they "browsed at will upon that fair and wholesome pasturage."

I knew this Lovel.-Lamb's father, John Lamb. The sketch of him given in Mr. Procter's memoir of Charles, taken doubtless from the portrait here mentioned, confirms the statement of a general resemblance to Garrick. Mrs. Arthur Tween, a daughter of Randal Norris, has in her possession a medallion portrait of Samuel Salt, executed in plaster of Paris by John Lamb. He published a collection of his verses, "Poetical Pieces on several occasions," in a rough pamphlet of quarto size.


few lines from the (rather doggerel) verses describing the life of a footman in the last century (doubtless reflecting his own experiences of the time when he wore "the smart new livery") may be given as a sample of his efforts in the manner of " Swift and Prior." The footman has just been sent on an errand to inquire after the health of a friend of his mistress who has lost her monkey :

"Then up she mounts-down I descend,

To shake hands with particular friend;
And there I do some brothers meet,
And we each other kindly greet;
Then cards they bring and cribbage-board,
And I must play upon their word,

Altho' I tell them I am sent

To know how th' night a lady spent.
'Pho! make excuse, and have one bout,
And say the lady was gone out;'
Th' advice I take, sit down and say,
'What is the sum for which we play?'

'I care not much,' another cries,

'But let it be for Wets and Drys.'"

[ocr errors]

"A remnant most forlorn of what he was. -One of Lamb's quotations from himself. It occurs in the lines (February 1797) "written on the day of my aunt's funeral :

"One parent yet is left,―a wretched thing,

A sad survivor of his buried wife,

A palsy-smitten, childish, old, old man,
A semblance most forlorn of what he was,
A merry cheerful man.

John Lamb lingered till April 1799.

Peter Pierson.-Called to the Bench 1800, died 1808. It will be seen that Salt and Pierson, though friends and contemporaries at the Bar, were not so as Benchers. Salt had been some years dead when his friend was called to the Bench.

Daines Barrington.—The antiquary, naturalist, and correspondent of White of Selborne. Called to the Bench in 1777, died 1800.

Thomas Barton.-Called to the Bench 1775, died 1791.

John Read.-Called to the Bench 1792, died in 1804.

Twopenny. There never was a Bencher of the Inner Temple of this name. The gentleman here intended, Mr. Richard Twopeny, was a stockbroker, a member of the Kentish family of that name, who, being a bachelor, lived in chambers in the Temple. On his retirement from business he resided at West

« السابقةمتابعة »