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ment, and £8000 out of the Treasury towards the expense attending the management of their affairs, which is done by a Governor, Sub-Governor, Deputy-Governor, and twenty-one Directors annually chosen on the 6th of February by a majority of votes." Pennant (who is referred to in this Essay, and wrote in 1790) says "In this (Threadneedle) Street also stands the South-Sea House, the place in which the Company did business, when it had any to transact."
Henry Man, the Wit, etc.-The two "forgotten volumes" "Miscellaneous Works in Verse and Prose of the late Henry Man. London, 1802"-are now before me. They contain a variety of light and amusing papers in verse and prose. The humour of them, however, is naturally still more out of date now than in Lamb's day. One of the epigrams found there may be said to have become classical,-that upon the two Earls (Spencer and Sandwich) who invented respectively "half a coat" and "half a dinner.' Henry Man was Deputy-Secretary in 1793.
Rattle-headed Plumer.-Lamb had a special interest in the family bearing this name, because his grandmother, Mary Field, was for more than half a century housekeeper at the Dower House of the family, Blakesware in Hertfordshire. The present Mr. Plumer, of Allerton, Totness, a grandson of Richard Plumer of the South-Sea House, by no means acquiesces in the tradition here recorded as to his grandfather's origin. He believes that though the links are missing, Richard Plumer was descended in regular line from the Baronet, Sir Walter Plumer, who died at the end of the seventeenth century. Lamb's memory has failed him here in one respect. The "Bachelor Uncle," Walter Plumer, uncle of William Plumer of Blakesware, was most certainly not a bachelor (see the Pedigree of the family in Cussans' Hertfordshire). Lamb is further inaccurate as to the connection of this Walter Plumer with the affair of the franks. A reference to Johnson's Life of Cave will show that it was Cave, and not Plumer, who was summoned before the House of Commons. Walter Plumer, member for Aldborough and Appleby, had given a frank to the Duchess of Marlborough, which had been challenged by Cave, who held the post of Clerk of the Franks in the House of Commons. For this, Cave was cited before the House, as a Breach of Privilege.
In the passage on John Tipp, Lamb, speaking of his fine suite of rooms in Threadneedle Street, adds-"I know not who is the occupier of them now. When the Essay first appeared in the London Magazine, the note in brackets was appended. Thus we learn that John Lamb was still, in 1820, occupying rooms in the old building.
Mild, child-like, pastoral MMaynard, hang'd himself" (Lamb's "Key"). Mr. T. Maynard was chief clerk of the Old Annuities and Three per Cents from 1788 to 1793. His name does not appear in the almanacs of the day after this date.
OXFORD IN THE VACATION.-P. 10.
Lamb was fond of spending his annual holiday in one or other of the great university towns, more often perhaps in Cambridge. It was on one such visit, it will be remembered, that Charles and Mary first made the acquaintance of little Emma Isola. On its first appearance in the London, the paper was dated August 5, 1820. From my rooms facing the Bodleian. A sonnet writen a year before at Cambridge, tells of the charm that University associations had for one who had been debarred through infirmity of health and poverty from a university education:
"I was not trained in Academic bowers,
And to those learned streams I nothing owe
Which copious from those twin fair founts do flow;
My brow seems tightening with the Doctor's cap,
Strange forms of logic clothe my admiring speech,
And my skull teems with notions infinite.
Be still, ye reeds of Camus, while I teach
Truths which transcend the searching schoolmen's vein,
"Andrew and John, men famous in old times," quoted, quite at random, from Paradise Regained, ii. 7.
G. D.-George Dyer (1755-1841), educated at Christ's Hospital and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. A compiler and editor and general worker for the booksellers, short-sighted, absent-minded, and simple, for whom Lamb had a life-long affection. He compiled, among other books, a History of the University and Colleges of Cambridge, and contributed the original matter (preface excepted) to Valpy's edition of the Classics. The account of him given by Crabb Robinson in his Diary well illustrates Lamb's frequent references to this singular character. "He was one of the best creatures, morally, that ever breathed. He was the son of a watchman in Wapping,
and was put to a charity school by some pious Dissenting ladies. He afterwards went to Christ's Hospital, and from there was sent to Cambridge. He was a scholar, but to the end of his days (and he lived to be eighty-five) was a bookseller's drudge. He led a life of literary labour in poverty. He made indexes, corrected the press, and occasionally gave lessons in Latin and Greek. When an undergraduate at Cambridge he became a hearer of Robert Robinson, and consequently a Unitarian. This closed the church against him, and he never had a fellowship. He wrote one good book-The Life of Robert Robinson, which I have heard Wordsworth mention as one of the best works of biography in the language. Dyer had the kindest heart and simplest manners imaginable. It was literally the case with him that he would give away his last guinea. Not many years before his death he married his laundress, by the advice of his friends-a very worthy woman. He said to me once, 'Mrs. Dyer is a woman of excellent natural sense, but she is not literate.' That is, she could neither read nor write. Dyer was blind for a few years before his death. I used occasionally to go on a Sunday morning to read to him. After he came to London, Dyer lived always in some very humble chambers in Clifford's Inn, Fleet Street."
Give me Agur's Wish.-See the Book of Proverbs xxx. 10.
Our friend M.'s in Bedford Square.-M. was Basil Montagu, Q.C., and editor of Bacon. Mrs. M. was of course Irving's "noble lady," so familiar to us from Carlyle's Reminiscences. Pretty A. S." was Mrs. Montagu's daughter, Anne Skepper, afterwards the wife of Mr. Procter (Barry Cornwall). In his Memoir of Lamb, Mr. Procter significantly remarks that he could vouch personally for the truth of this anecdote of Dyer's absent-mindedness.
Still less have I curiosity to disturb the elder repose of MSS.In the London Magazine was appended the following note:
"There is something to me repugnant at any time in written hand. The text never seems determinate. Print settles it. I had thought of the Lycidas as of a full-grown beauty-as springing up with all its parts absolute-till, in an evil hour,
was shown the original copy of it, together with the other minor poems of its author, in the library of Trinity, kept like some treasure, to be proud of. I wish they had thrown them in the Cam, or sent them after the latter Cantos of Spenser, into the Irish Channel. How it staggered me to see the fine things in their ore! interlined, corrected! as if their words were mortal, alterable, displaceable at pleasure! as if they might have been otherwise, and just as good! as if inspiration were made up of parts, and these fluctuating, successive, in
different! I will never go into the workshop of any great artist again, nor desire a sight of his picture till it is fairly off the easel no, not if Raphael were to be alive again, and painting another Galatea."
CHRIST'S HOSPITAL FIVE-AND-THIRTY YEARS AGO. -P. 17.
(London Magazine, November 1820.)
The first collected edition of Lamb's Prose and Verse appeared in the year 1818, published by C. and J. Ollier. Among other papers it contained one entitled Recollections of Christ's Hospital. The Essay was a reprint from the Gentleman's Magazine for June 1813, where it originally owed its appearance to an alleged abuse of the presentation system in force at the Blue Coat School.
This earlier article on Christ's Hospital had been written in a serious and genuine vein of enthusiasm for the value and dignity of the old Foundation. Lamb now seems to have remembered that there were other aspects of schoolboy life under its shelter that might be profitably dealt with. The 'poor friendless boy," in whose character he now writes, was his old schoolfellow Coleridge, and the general truth of the sketch is shown by Coleridge's own reference to his schooldays in the early chapters of his Biographia Literaria. "In my friendless wanderings on our leave-days (for I was an orphan, and had scarce any connections in London) highly was I delighted if any passenger, especially if he were dressed in black, would enter into conversation with me.'
Lamb's love of mystification shows itself in this Essay in many forms. "Sweet Calne in Wiltshire" is a quite gratuitous substitution for Ottery St. Mary in Devonshire, the home after which young Coleridge did actually yearn. Coleridge did, however, reside for a time at Calne in later life. Moreover, as will be seen, the disguise of identity with Coleridge is dropped altogether towards the close of the Essay. The general account of the school here given it is interesting to compare with that given by Leigh Hunt in his autobiography.
L.'s governor (so we called the patron who presented us to the foundation) lived in a manner under his paternal roof.-It was under Samuel Salt's roof that John Lamb and his family lived, and as the presentation to Christ's was obtained from a friend of Salt's, Lamb considers it fair to speak of the old Bencher as the actual benefactor.
There was one H.-Hodges (Lamb's "Key").
"To feed our mind with idle portraiture," a line apparently
extemporised by Lamb as a translation of the passage in Virgil to which he refers, "animum picturâ pascit inani."
He ate strange flesh."
As usual, a new quotation formed out of Lamb's general recollection of an old one. He had in his mind, no doubt, a passage in Antony and Cleopatra (Act I. Sc. 4):
"It is reported thou didst eat strange flesh
Mr. Hathaway, the then Steward.-Perry was steward in Lamb's day (see the former Essay on Christ's Hospital). Leigh Hunt says of his successor :- "The name of the steward, a thin stiff man of invincible formality of demeanour, admirably fitted to render encroachment impossible, was Hathaway. We of the grammar school used to call him 'the Yeoman' on account of Shakspeare having married the daughter of a man of that name, designated as 'a substantial yeoman.'
The Rev. James Boyer became upper master of Christ's in 1777. For the better side of Boyer's qualifications as a teacher, see Coleridge's Biographia Literaria, the passage beginning, "At school I enjoyed the inestimable advantage of a very sensible, though at the same time a very severe master." Elsewhere Coleridge entirely confirms Lamb's and Leigh Hunt's accounts of Boyer's violent temper, and severe discipline. Lamb never reached the position of Grecian, but it is the tradition in Christ's Hospital that he was under Boyer's instruction some time before leaving school.
The Rev. Matthew Field.-Some charming additional traits in this character, entirely confirming Lamb's account, will be found in Leigh Hunt's autobiography. "A man of a more handsome incompetence for his situation perhaps did not exist. He came late of a morning; went away soon in the afternoon; and used to walk up and down, languidly bearing his cane, as if it were a lily, and hearing our eternal Dominuses and As in praesentis with an air of ineffable endurance. Often he did not hear at all. It was a joke with us when any of our friends came to the door, and we asked his permission to go to them, to address him with some preposterous question wide of the mark ; to which he used to assent. We would say, for instance, 'Are you not a great fool, sir?' or 'Isn't your daughter a pretty girl?' to which he would reply, 'Yes, child.' When he condescended to hit us with the cane, he made a face as if he were taking physic."
The Author of the Country Spectator.—For an amusing ac