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If our excitable neighbours across the Channel were to carry out their threat of invasion, a danger which at least the Spectator thinks impending, I make no doubt whatever that the Anglo-Saxon race throughout the world would assert its solidarity by helping the mother country. Even in the United States, with its hostile Irish party and its keen commercial rivalry, there is a strong feeling in the heart of the true American of love to the land whence his ancestors sprung. I am certain, from an intimate knowledge of the best classes of educated Americans, that these stirring lines of H. L. G., a Californian poet, express a real sentiment which would inspire prompt action were our dear old country violated by a foreign host :Mother England ! Mother England ! down the ages blood will tell, From the spears that baffled Cæsar to the field where Symons fell. Down through rugged Gael and Saxon, brawny Norsk and stalwart
Danes, Still the blood of Bruce and Cromwell tingles in our Yankee veins.
Mother England ! Mother England! if all Europe rise and roar, We will meet them, we will beat them, on the sea and on the
shore; Then our stalwart Anglo-Saxons, side by side, on land and sea, Shall march on and sail together to one world-wide destiny.
And this “world-wide destiny” of Anglo-Saxondom is not to promote war, but to teach the dark races peaceful arts, and the white races friendly commerce; and by spreading a living Christianity to prepare all the world for the coming Era of Millennial Peace.
By Rev. W. E. SIMS.
NEARLY seventy years have passed away since the “Gentle Elia” was laid in Edmonton Churchyard, where, amid grass-covered mouldering heaps, a stone with inscription still legible, indicates to the pensive disciple of Hervey indulging in Meditations Among the Tombs his quiet resting place.
But while in the busy years that have since elapsed many literary lights have kindled and faded into darkness, the reputation of Charles Lamb shines with undiminished lustre, a planet in the firmament of letters. His essays take rank among English classics. His poems, criticisms, and letters are edited and re-edited. His ephemeral squibs, sayings, jokes, and anecdotes are collected with eager relish. The very "dust of his writings" is treasured
“” as fine gold. Amateur collectors and lovers of rarities pore over catalogues at book sales in search of first editions. And Elia has taken his place among the “masters of laughter and tears."
Many authors of excellent repute do not awaken in us any personal interest. We read their works without desire to penetrate the mystery of the writer's personality. We do not wish to know where they lived, nor what their appearance, nor wherewithal they were clothed. They are mere abstractions, the title-pages of their books acquaint us with their names, and from the same source we gather the names of their publishers; both facts are on the same dead level of the uninteresting. We “care for none of
“ those things."
But the works of Charles Lamb are read not merely because of their subject matter, they derive an additional interest as a revelation of himself, they are stamped with the impress of a remarkable personality. As one of his friends observed, “the syllables lurk up and down the writings of Lamb which decipher his eccentric nature, his character lies there dispersed in anagram, and to any attentive reader the regathering and restoration of the total word from its scattered parts is inevitable without an effort.” This interpenetration of his work with subjective allusion partly accounts for its unique quality. “Nobody (says Professor Saintsbury) has ever succeeded in imitating him even in his most obvious quaintnesses, while the blending of those quaintnesses with a pathos that is never mere sentiment is a secret not merely undiscovered yet by imitators, but escaping even any complete analysis."
Charles Lamb's father was confidential clerk and general factotum to a Mr. Samuel Salt, a barrister of the Inner Temple, an easy, good-natured man, who left the management of all his affairs to his humble friend. “He was not to be trusted with himself with impunity.”
Lovel took care of everything. He was at once his clerk, his good servant, his dresser, his friend, his 'flapper,' his guide, stopwatch, auditor, treasurer. He did nothing without consulting Lovel, or failed in anything without expecting and fearing his admonishing. He put himself almost too much in his hands, had they not been the purest in the world.” Under the name of Lovel the elder Lamb is thus described by his son. man of an incorrigible and losing honesty ; “the liveliest little fellow breathing; possessed of a fine turn for humorous poetry;” “moulded heads in clay or plaster of
“ He was a
Paris to admiration, by dint of natural genius merely ; turned cribbage boards and such small cabinet toys. to perfection ; took a hand at quadrille or bowls with equal facility; made punch better than any man of his degree in England; had the merriest quips and conceits, and was altogether as brimful of rogueries and inventions as you could desire."
John Lamb married the daughter of a Mrs. Field, who occupied the position of housekeeper at an old country mansion, and seven children were born, four of whom died; the survivors being John, a thoroughly selfish, free and easy, good natured man, who does not figure largely or with much credit to himself in the family history; Mary, the afflicted sister, to whom Charles devoted his life; and the subject of this paper.
Charles Lamb was born in the Inner Temple on February 10th, 1775. His childhood was passed amid the dry and dusty surroundings of a lawyer's sanctum. His young eyes were familiarised with parchment deeds and the dull brown leather covers of huge legal books, mammoth Blackstones and elephantine Cokes, portentous monsters, awful in the eyes of a child. Escaping from their uncongenial vicinity he was free to wander at will in the retired courtyards and secluded paths skirting the Temple Gardens; or, straying beyond these sacred but dingy precincts into the adjacent narrow and busy streets, gaze wistfully at the glittering contents of shop windows, or pause to examine with awakening interest the prints and pictures displayed upon some old bookstall; for Charles was never a child in the ordinary sense of the word, he was never really young, no youthful diversions attracted his infant tastes; a tiny city hermit, as oldfashioned as Paul Dombey, he shared in few or none of the amusements of children of his own age.