Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 31.djvu/429

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Lamb
Lamb
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Recollections of Lady Caroline Lamb’ (1829). Eleven letters written by her to her friend Lady Morgan are preserved in ‘Lady Morgan's Memoirs’ (i. 442–3, ii. 174–9, 203–4, 206–13, 240), and seven written to William Godwin in Mr. C. K. Paul's ‘William Godwin, his Friends and Contemporaries,’ 1876 (ii. 266–8, 285–6, 302–4). There is a whole-length engraving of Lady Caroline Lamb with her boy by Cheeseman, and a charming print by W. Finden, from ‘an original drawing in the possession of Mr. Murray,’ will be found in Finden's ‘Illustrations of the Life and Works of Lord Byron,’ 1833, vol. ii.

[Torrens's Memoirs of Viscount Melbourne, 1878, vol. i.; Lady Morgan's Memoirs, ed. by W. H. Dixon, 1863; Smiles's Memoir and Corr. of John Murray, 1891; Life of Edward Bulwer, Lord Lytton, by his Son, 1883, i. 327–30, 333–58; Moore's Life of Byron, 1847; article by Mr. S. R. Townshend Mayer in Temple Bar, liii. 174–92; G. and P. Wharton's Queens of Society, 1867, pp. 435–50; Literary Gazette, 1828, pp. 107–8; Monthly Magazine, 1828, new ser. v. 436–7; Ann. Biog. and Obituary for 1829, xiii. 51–7; Ann. Reg. 1784 and 1785 pp. 249, 1828 App. to Chron. pp. 216–17; Gent. Mag. 1828, pt. i. p. 269; Burke's Extinct Peerage, 1883, p. 313; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. x. 88, 125, 167, 193, 197, 235, 256, 315, 356; Halkett and Laing's Dict. of Anon. and Pseudon. Literature, 1882–8; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

G. F. R. B.

LAMB, CHARLES (1775–1834), essayist and humourist, was born on 10 Feb. 1775 in Crown Office Row in the Temple, London. His father, John Lamb, who is described under the name of Lovel in Charles Lamb's essay ‘The Old Benchers of the Inner Temple,’ was the son of poor parents in Lincolnshire, and had come up as a boy to London and entered domestic service. He ultimately became clerk and servant to Samuel Salt, a bencher of the Inner Temple, and continued to fill that position until Salt's death in 1792. He married Elizabeth Field, whose mother was for more than fifty years housekeeper at Blakesware in Hertfordshire, a few miles from Ware, a dower-house of the Plumers, a well-known county family. This Mary Field, Charles Lamb's grandmother, played an important part in the early development of his affections, and is a familiar presence in some of the most characteristic and pathetic of his writings.

To John and Elizabeth Lamb, in Crown Office Row, were born a family of seven children, of whom only three survived their infancy. The eldest of these three was John Lamb, born in 1763; the second Mary Ann, better known as Mary, born in 1764; and the third Charles, baptised 10 March 1775 ‘by the Rev. Mr. Jeffs.’ The baptisms of the entire family duly appear in the registers of the Temple Church, and were first printed by Mr. Charles Kent in his ‘Centenary Edition of Lamb's Works’ in 1875.

The block of buildings in which Samuel Salt occupied one or more sets of chambers, and in which the Lamb family were born and reared, is at the eastern end of Crown Office Row, and though considerably modified since in its interior arrangements, still bears upon its outer wall the date 1737.

Charles Lamb received his earliest education at a humble day-school kept by a Mr. William Bird in a court leading out of Fetter Lane (see Lamb's paper, ‘Captain Starkey,’ in Hone's Every-day Book, 21 July 1826). It was a school for both boys and girls, and Mary Lamb also attended it. At the age of seven Charles obtained a nomination to Christ's Hospital (the ‘Blue Coat School’), through the influence of his father's employer, and within its venerable walls he passed the next seven years of his life, his holidays being spent with his parents in the Temple or with his grandmother, Mrs. Field, in Hertfordshire.

What Charles Lamb learned at Christ's Hospital, what friendships he formed, and what merits and demerits he detected in the arrangements, manners, and customs of the school, are all familiar to us from the two remarkable essays he has left us, ‘On Christ's Hospital, and the Character of the Christ's Hospital Boys,’ published in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ in 1813, and the later essay ‘Christ's Hospital Five-and-thirty Years Ago,’ one of the Elia series, in the ‘London Magazine’ of November 1820. On the whole he seems to have been happy in the school, and to have acquired considerable skill in its special studies, notably in Latin, which he was fond of reading, and in a rough-and-ready way writing, to the end of his life. At the time of quitting the school he had not attained the highest position, that of ‘Grecian,’ but the nearest in rank to it, that of deputy Grecian. Perhaps the school authorities were not careful to promote him to the superior rank, seeing that he was not to proceed to the university. As a Grecian Lamb would have been entitled to an exhibition, but it was understood that the privilege was intended for those who were to enter holy orders, and a fatal impediment of speech—an insurmountable and painful stutter—made that profession impossible for him even if his gifts and inclinations had pointed that way. He left Christ's Hospital in November 1789, carrying with him, among other precious possessions, the friendship of