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TailpieceRejoicings upon the New Year's Coming of Age. 171 Headpiece—The Wedding

172 • The cold reasonings of a father'

174 • No Miss Emily to fill it for him'

177 TailpieceThe Wedding

181 HeadpieceThe Child Angel

182 Headpiece-Old China.

186 "Lighted out the relic from his dusty treasures'.

188 • Poor gallery scramblers'.

193 Headpiece-Confessions of a Drunkard

195 • A morning pipe' Tailpiece Confessions of a Drunkard . "A modest inoffensive deportment does not necessarily imply valour'.

209 The first to be tickled with it' 'She would put up with the calls of the most impertinent visitor'

215 Your tall disputants have always the advantage' • Prithee, friend, is that thy own hare, or a wig ?' • He takes an interest in the dressing of it'

229 • It has learned to go to market' • Superfluous establishment of six boys'

239 "A book . ... in sultry arbours'

247 · A serious misfortune to a man's friends'

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CHARLES LAMB

IN

N the early part of the Eighteenth Century there

Stamford, in Lincolnshire : a stout journey from London, as distances went then, and very far from the trees in Temple Garden, and the cloisters, and the pump

in Hare Court. The Lambs seem to have been in well-to-do, though probably not affluent circumstances; and had this state of middle prosperity continued, it is a great chance we should never have heard of them. But trouble broke in ; and there were losses; and a removal of the domicile to Lincoln; and therewith some scattering of the household. It is with this cloud upon its fortunes that a family which the whole world has taken most dearly to its heart first comes within our knowledge, and dawns, through poverty and, it may be, worse disaster, into the twilight of its fame.

At the character of the disaster a guess may be hazarded later ; sufficient to note here that, in the general disburdening, a mere child—a little boy of seven-had to leave his home and go up to service in London. Some interest in the world, however, perhaps some ancient equal friendship in better days, had still so much effect in favour of the distressed and driven family that little John Lamb was sold to no metropolitan chimney-sweep nor caught into that infant band of house-top Pulpiteers toward whom Elia had so kindly a heart, so quaint and searching a sympathy. The little lad had a servant's position in some friendly house at first, but more than a servant's share of interest bestowed upon him, and much more than an ordinary servant's education and furtherance in life provided. He was put in a way to fill that position in which we find him, more than forty years later, of a barrister's clerk. More accurately, he was to Samuel Salt, Esq., of the Inner Temple, when we find him, “at once his clerk, his good servant, his dresser, his friend, his 'flapper,' his guide, stop-watch, auditor, treasurer.” His son, who so describes him, under the name of Lovel, in one of the Essays, tells us also of his mercurial vivacity, his many dexterities and accomplishments, his multifarious giftedness in the little ways of doing things and being good company. Yet of all his gifts the best and the worst was this that he was “a man of an incorrigible and losing honesty. A good fellow withal, and would strike,” never counting odds in the cause of the oppressed, but as ready to flush with a generous indignation as to make a joke or a jingle of rhymes.

It was scarcely more than he deserved, that to this gay and admirable fellow should have been born a son who was to write, some day, the Essays of Elia : in which so much serious character and incorrigible honesty of mind comes to us distilled into sweetness and mirth, and in which humour becomes, perhaps for the first time in literature, not only an occasion for enjoyment but a cause of love.

Charles Lamb was born in the Inner Temple on February 10, 1775; John Lamb, with his wife and two children, being then domiciled as part of the establishment of Samuel Salt, and occupying one of the two suites of rooms tenanted by that worthy Old Bencher of the Inner Temple at No. 2 Crown Office Row. John Lamb seems to have married somewhat late in life; and of seven children born to him, Charles was the youngest, almost the child of his old age.

Of the other six, only two grew up; the younger John, who was twelve years old, and Mary, who was ten, when Charles was born. Besides those three children and their parents, there was another member of the close-packed little family. This was Aunt Hetty, an unmarried sister of John Lamb, who had a small annuity, the instalments of which were her contribution to the family funds. She is an interesting figure, this Aunt Hetty; and that annuity of hers is interesting also, seeming to open a glimpse into the half-light of an earlier time. Very little is known, to be sure ; but I think there is ground enough for an inference that this annuity of Aunt Hetty's was something saved from the wreck-or recovered from it later--what time the Lambs moved to Lincoln early in the century. However that be, here is the certainty regarding Aunt Hetty herself which is important for us. “I had an Aunt, a dear and good one. She was one whom single blessedness had soured to the world. She often used to say that I was the only thing in it which she loved; and, when she thought I was quitting it, she grieved over me with a mother's tears. So if we step forward three or four years, to the great nutritive and formative period of life, we see the brown-eyed, gentle-natured little lad— still “trailing clouds of glory” and full of wondertaking his bearings in a strange but kindly world in which he had three mothers provided for him. First, there was the mother who bore him, and who loved him, to be sure, but on this side motherly foolishness, as all accounts go to show. Next there was Aunt Hetty, who, I think, loved him better; with an unreasoning silent partiality, a watchful jealousy and protection, ever anticipating neglect of that child, ever making neglect utterly impossible. Lastly, his

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