Bernard Barton

Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton, 9 January 1823; Barton, Memoir, Letters, and Poems (1850) 24-25.

Keep to your bank, and the bank will keep you. Trust not to the public: you may hang, starve, drown yourself for any thing that worthy personage cares. I bless every star that Providence, not seeing good to make me independent, has seen it next good to settle me upon the stable foundation of Leadenhall. Sit down, good B. B., in the banking office: what! is there not from six to eleven, P.M. six days in the week, and is there not all Sunday! Fie! what a superfluity of man's time, if you could think so! Enough for relaxation, mirth, converse, poetry, good thoughts, quiet thoughts. O the corroding, torturing, tormenting thoughts that disturb the brain of the unlucky wight, who must draw upon it for daily sustenance! Henceforth I retract all my fond complaints of mercantile employment — look upon them as lovers' quarrels. I was but half in earnest. Welcome dead timber of a desk that gives me life. A little grumbling is a wholesome medicine for the spleen, but in my inner heart I do approve and embrace this our close but unharrassing way of life. I am quite serious.