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see the criticism, would hear the voice the lady: the two above referred to, and recognize it as Lamb's? I love to and the proposal and its sequel, in the linger over these delicate incidents of collection of Mr. Huntington of New Lamb's courtship, whtch was all too York, where I saw them not long ago. brief.
I have held valuable letters in my hand before, but this letter of Lamb! I con
fess to an emotional feeling with which But what of Mary? I think she can- the mere book-collector is rarely crednot but have contemplated the likeli- ited. The earlier and briefer letter is hood of her brother's marriage and de pasted into a copy of the first edition termined upon the line she would take of the Works of Charles Lamb, 1818, in that event. Years before she had ‘in boards, shaken,' which occupies a written, ‘You will smile when I tell you place of honor on my shelves. It reads: I think myself the only woman in the ‘Mr. Lamb, having taken the liberty of world who could live with a brother's addressing a slight compliment to Miss wife, and make a real friend of her, part- Kelly in his first volume, respectfully ly from early observations of the un- requests her acceptance of the collechappy example I have just given you, tion, 7 June, 1818. The compliment, of and partly from a knack I know I course, is the sonnet already quoted. have of looking into people's real char- The second letter was written just acter, and never expecting them to ten days before Lamb asked Miss act out of it — never expecting another Kelly to marry him. The bones playto do as I would in the same case.' fully referred to were small ivory discs,
Mary Lamb was an exceptional about the size of a two-shilling piece, woman; and even though her brother which were allotted to leading performmight have thought he kept the secret ers for the use of their friends, giving adof his love to himself, she would know mission to the pit. On one side was the and, I fancy, approve. Was it not name of the theatre; on the other the agreed between them that she was to name of the actor or actress to whom die first? and when she was gone, who they were allotted. The letter reads:would be left to care for Charles ? Before I come to the little drama
DEAR Miss KELLY, — tragedy one could hardly call it - of
If your bones are not engaged on MonLamb's love-affair as told in his own
day night, will you favor us with the use of
them? I know, if you can oblige us, you will way by his letters, I may be permitted
make no bones about it; if you cannot, it to refer to two letters of his to Miss
shall break none betwixt us. We might ask Kelly, one of them relatively unim- somebody else; but we do not like the bones portant, the other a few lines only, both of any strange animal. We should be welunpublished, which form a part of my come to dear Miss Linton's, but then she is . own Lamb collection. These letters, so plump there is no getting at them. I before they fell from high estate, form
should prefer Miss Iver's — they must be ed a part of the 'Sentimental Library'
ivory, I take it for granted — but she is of Harry B. Smith, to whom I am in
married to Mr. —, and become bone of
his bone; consequently can have none of debted for much information concern
her own to dispose of. Well, it all comes to ing them. It will be seen that both
this: if you can let us have them, you will, these letters work themselves into the
I dare say; if you cannot, God rest your story of Lamb's love-affair, which I am
bones. I am at an end of my bon-mots. trying to tell. So far as is known, four
C. LAMB. letters are all that he ever addressed to 9th July, 1819. VOL. 121 - N0.5
This characteristic note in Lamb's than them all. Can you quit these shad. best punning manner (ʻI fancy I suc- ows of existence, & come & be a reality to ceed best in epistles of mere fun; puns
us? Can you leave off harassing yourself to and that nonsense') may be regarded please a thankless multitude, who knos as a prologue to the drama played ten
nothing of you, & begin at last to live to days later, the whole occupying but the yourself & your friends? ,
As plainly & frankly as I have seen you space of a single day.
give or refuse assent in some feigned scene, And now the curtain is lifted on the
so frankly do me the justice to answer me play in which Lamb and Miss Kelly are It is impossible I should feel injured or the chief actors. Lamb is in his lodgings aggrieved by your telling me at once, that in Great Russell Street, Covent Gar- the proposal does not suit you. It is imposden, the individual spot he likes best in
sible that I should ever think of molesting all London. Bow Street Police Court
you with idle importunity and persecution can be seen through the window, and
after your mind (is) once firmly spoken – Mary Lamb seated thereby, knitting,
but happier, far happier, could I have leave
to hope a time might come when our friends glances into the busy street as she
might be your friends; our interests yours: sees a crowd of people follow in the
our book-knowledge, if in that inconsidwake of a constable, conducting a thief
erable particular we have any little adto his examination. Lamb is seated
vantage, might impart something to you, at a table, writing. We, unseen, may which you would every day have it in your glance over his shoulder and see the power ten thousand fold to repay by the letter which he has just finished.
added cheerfulness and joy which you could
not fail to bring as a dowry into whatever DEAR Miss KELLY, — We had the pleas- family should have the honor and happiness ure, pain I might better call it, of seeing
of receiving you, the most welcome accesyou last night in the new Play. It was sion that could be made to it. a most consummate piece of acting, but In haste, but with entire respect & deepwhat a task for you to undergo! at a time est affection, I subscribe myself when your heart is sore from real sorrow!
C. LAMB. It has given rise to a train of thinking, 20 July, 1819. which I cannot suppress.
Would to God you were released from No punning or nonsense here. It is this way of life; that you could bring your the most serious letter Lamb ever mind to consent to take your lot with us,
- a letter so fine, so manly, so and throw off forever the whole burden of
honorable in the man who wrote it, so your Profession. I neither expect nor wish you to take notice of this which
I am writ- honoring to the woman to whom it was ing, in your present over-occupied & hurried addressed, that, knowing Lamb as we state. — But to think of it at your pleasure. do, it can hardly be read without a I have quite income enough, if that were lump in the throat and eyes suffused to justify me for making such a proposal, with tears. The letter is folded and with what I may call even a handsome pro- sealed and sent by a serving-maid to vision for my survivor. What you possess of the lady, who lives hard by in Henriyour own would naturally be appropriated etta Street, just the other side of Covto those for whose sakes chiefly you have
ent Garden - and the curtain falls. made so many hard sacrifices. I am not so
Before the next act we are at liberty foolish as not to know that I am a most unworthy match for such a one as you, but
to wonder how Lamb passed the time you have for years been a principal object while Miss Kelly was writing her reply. in my mind. In many a sweet assumed
Did he go off to the 'dull drudgery of character I have learned to love you, but the desk's dead wood' at East India simply as F. M. Kelly I love you better House, and there busy himself with
the prices of silks or tea or indigo, or would comfort him if we could. But did he wander about the streets of his read slowly one of the finest letters in beloved London? I fancy the latter. all literature: a letter in which he acIn any event the curtain rises a few cepts defeat instantly, but with a smile hours later, and Lamb and his sister are on his face; tears there may have been seen as before. She has laid aside her in his eyes, but she was not to see them. knitting. It is late afternoon. Lamb See Lamb in his supreme rôle- of a is seated at the table endeavoring to man. How often had he urged his read, when a maid enters and hands friends to play that difficult part — him a letter; he breaks the seal eagerly. which no one could play better than he. Again we look over his shoulder and The letter reads: read:
DEAR Miss KELLY, - Your injunctions HENRIETTA STREET, July 20th,1819. shall be obeyed to a tittle. I feel myself in a An early & deeply rooted attachment has lackadaisical no-how-ish kind of a humor. fixed my heart on one from whom no I believe it is the rain, or something. I had worldly prospect can well induce me to thought to have written seriously, but I withdraw it, but while I thus frankly & de- fancy I succeed best in epistles of mere fun; cidedly decline your proposal, believe me, puns & that nonsense. You will be good I am not insensible to the high honour friends with us, will you not? Let what has which the preference of such a mind as past ‘break no bones' between us. You will yours confers upon me let me, however, not refuse us them next time we send for hope that all thought upon this subject will them? end with this letter, & that you henceforth
Yours very truly, encourage no other sentiment towards me
C. L. than esteem in my private character and a continuance of that approbation of my
P. S. Do you observe the delicacy of not humble talents which you have already ex
signing my full name? pressed so much and so often to my advan
N. B. Do not paste that last letter of tage and gratification. Believe me I feel proud to acknowledge
mine into your book. myself
We sometimes say the English are Your obliged friend
not good losers. To think of Charles F. M. KELLY.
Lamb may help us to correct that Lamb rises from his chair and at- opinion. All good plays of the period tempts to walk over to where Mary is have an epilogue. By all means this sitting; but his feelings overcome him, should have one; and ten days later and he sinks back in his chair again as Lamb himself provided it. It appeared the curtain falls. It moves quickly, the in The Examiner, where, speaking of action of this little drama. The curtain Fanny Kelly's acting in 'The Hypois down but a moment, suggesting the crite,' he said, passage of a single hour. When it is 'She is in truth not framed to tease raised, Lamb is alone; he is but forty- or torment even in jest, but to utter a five, but looks an old man. The cur- hearty Yes or No; to yield or refuse tains are drawn, lighted candles are on assent with a noble sincerity. We have the table. We hear the rain against the not the pleasure of being acquainted windows. Lamb is writing, and for the with her, but we have been told that last time we intrude upon his privacy. she carries the same cordial manners
Now poor Charles Lamb, now dear into private life.' Charles Lamb, 'Saint Charles,' if
The curtain falls! The play is at an will! Our hearts go out to him; we end.
THE RUSSIAN CHARACTER
BY A. G. TOLFREE
PAUL T-was a Tolstoyan. Not, from the classics, and the châtelaine however, if one believed his family, a held on her lap Peter, the fat guineaTolstoyan at second-hand. From child- pig, — he made, at uncertain intervals, hood he had demonstrated tendencies a tangential descent. Always unanwhich Tolstoy developed later in life. nounced, he came riding on a peasant's To a succession of bewildered tutors cart or sledge. Formal greetings — any and governesses he had presented a other ritual of approach, devised by series of insoluble problems, and, human beings for the purposes of so promptly upon attainment of his ma- cial intercourse were gestures apparjority, he had made partition of the ently cimian to him, and ignored. His woods and fields constituting his share presence was first proclaimed by the of the family estates among the peas- crashing of lively tunes on the drawants on the land. He had never mar- ing-room piano, to which every youthful ried. He had kept for his own use a
soul in the house promptly responded. small house with a strip of garden in Every child hung upon him. He spoke front; otherwise similar to other peas- a language children understood; but he ant houses on the wide sandy thorough- was mystery, also; he was different fare of the village street.
from every one else; colored lights, as An elderly housekeeper looked after of fairy tales, hung about him. A his wants when he was there. But he big man, in shabby, baggy clothes,
, was not often there. Where was he? with a large black-and-gray beard, he Mother and sisters, brothers-in-law, had all the peasant uncouthness, until nephews and nieces, had long since he spoke. Then the man of the world ceased speculating. Paul T lived emerged, together with something raamong the peasants, a peasant himself; diant in his whole personality, at once helping them in their work, gathering subtle, triumphant, and caustic. in the crops, moving about from one Paul was such a charming man!' village to another, but not for years his sisters would sigh. having stepped beyond the confines of 'He is a charming man now.' his province. When his relations were “Ah, but how can you say it? But in St. Petersburg or Moscow they never is it not terrible? With all his talent! saw him. He abhorred the towns, and He used to play so well. Now he never the way of life of his relations, and plays. He never reads. He is losing his of every one of his class, in the towns. intelligence. If a man spends his whole
But into the country-house life time with ignorant peasants, it can't be among the wheatfields of Orel,
the otherwise. You use your intelligence, late breakfasts, the large lunches of or you lose it. What use have you of many courses, the afternoon drives, your brains if you talk, live, work, eat, the afternoon teas, when the English sleep, with ignorance, and those who governess cut bread-and-butter, with have no brains?' jam, and the French tutor read aloud And ‘Uncle Paul' rarely left without
turning round and round the point of four languages, they lived in St. Petersthe barb in the flesh. If he stayed for burg when they were not on their esdinner, he spoke fraternally to the ser- tates; their sons went into the Empervants as they went about the table; and, or's body-guard; but they were homeeating sparingly himself of one or two loving, rather simple-minded people, plain articles of food, he attacked the
neither averse to the gayeties of the useless luxury of cookery and service. world nor dependent on them; people
The care-free happiness of the man, of dignity, charm, and poise, on the and his underlying charm, dísarmed, whole, yet on the whole, and in the best even while he stirred up every inher- sense, commonplace. ited antagonism. Presently he van- In spite of all this, it was clear that ished without good-byes; leaving be- the vein which had shown itself in the hind him a smouldering resentment,
brother who had turned muzhik did oddly complicated by a thwarted fam- not begin and end with him. He had ily adoration.
his explanation in an extraordinary old
grandmother, whose husband had at By any outward test possible to one time been court chamberlain, who apply, Paul T was an absolutely had lived always in an atmosphere of happy man. He was happy because he semi-barbaric show and wastage, but was free to live his life according to his whose inner life apparently had been instincts; and that, for a Russian, is one of unceasing religious tension, and always the first condition of happiness. Other-worldly quest. There was outHe was happy because he had given wardly nothing to suggest the mystic, , his sense of community between the nothing of the Madame Swetchine, in peasant and himself a concrete demon- this little old bent imperious lady, with stration. With all Russians of a certain her piercing eyes, and the stick she type the word compassion has a very leaned on, that went pounding fiercely full conceptual meaning. It is literally over the wooden floors. But in her own compassion. The feeling that the peas- apartments, where the sacred images ant belonged to the land, that he had stood in every corner, prayers were behuman rights to it of which he was ing said, and services held, for hours at deprived, was a genuine passion with a time, the pope coming from the vilPaul T—. It was a passion with lage and staying long into the evening. him to secure, so far as might be, equal And here also, in this religious devotitle to comfort and happiness for the tion, there was passion - the same under-dog. Having satisfied itself, the intensity, not satisfied with the lukepassion had perfectly healthy reactions. warm and the tame, which had led the
Paul T- seems in retrospect a other member of the family to leave more normal and vigorous personality outright the life of his class. than Tolstoy; and, by that much, the 'Elle est morte,' wrote her daughter question of genius aside, a more repre- when the end had come, 'après avoir sentative example of a class of Russian prié toute la nuit. Tout en Dieu, without understanding whom it is im- comme elle a vécu.' possible to understand Russia to-day. Those were days when the black
The T-8 were, generally speak- earth belt still had its agricultural riching, an average Russian family of the ness, impaired in latter years — days large landowning, small-noble class. when the life of the landholders still They were cultivated, they knew all the had the full Turgeniev flavor. And European capitals, they spoke three or how photographic had been Turge