Back to: Charles Lamb Essays
The story is about the memories that often linger longer than the characters that made them. Among the characters of such stories are places and buildings that provide the scene for interactions and activities. Often people may forget such places even though they may stay unmoved.
One such building is the South Sea House. The writer narrates his tale of the place lived through many people he had the honour of meeting in it. They may be long gone but their memories are still buried in the walls of the Sea House.
The story begins with an account of the glorious past of an old but splendid building on the banks of England. Overlooking the waters, the place was once a hotbed of trade with people from all sorts of businesses converging to exchange their supplies and make profits. The place which is dead quiet now was once vibrant with hopes, noise and optimism.
The writer remembers working in the place as a young man and seeing other young aspiring men toil and frolic in the place. It is almost half a decade later than he finds the silence and deathly inactivity of the place comforting and nostalgic.
He remembers his mates sharing jokes and having fun. They were conservative in outlook but hopeful in their attitudes. One such character was Evans. He hailed from Wales and was quite passive all day until he would have his fill of some sweet muffins.
On the other hand, his deputy Thomas was arrogant and boastful. But all his pomp was in stark contrast to his meagre means as he and his wife struggled to make ends meet.
Then comes Tip, the man with the accounts. He was boring and self-disciplined. He always played safe but had a soft spot for the disprivileged kids of the world. Then was Henry the writer who was intelligent and eloquent and Maynard who was a skilled singer.
However, Maynard was dead by then and so were many old souls that haunted the Sea House once. The memory of a place that once thrived with activity and laughter was reduced to a picture of quiet and inescapable sadness and solitude.