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For a while, he felt disoriented like the Bastille prisoner let free after four decades. It felt as if he had entered the realm of Eternity. He felt he was a man of great wealth whose property was to be managed by a full-time manager.A mix of hallucinatory euphoria swept through his mind.
Besides Sundays, Lamb loved the Easter and the Christmas holidays that allowed him to escape to his native place Hertfordshire where he indulged in his simple pleasures in gay abandon. In the darkness of night, he wondered if he had made any mistake in the many entries and the number juggling he did during the course of his work in the office.
This escape from his dreary office to his home’s rejuvenating environment helped him to banish his woes and recharge himself for another year of monotony and boredom. He reached 50, with no hope of freedom from the stranglehold of his dreadful work.
‘The Superannuated Man’ is an account of Lamb’s lament of his life’s travails from his school days to the job in Counting House in Mincing-lane in London.
He took up the job at fourteen and languished there for ‘six and thirty’ years leading up to his retirement.
Now, the environment appeared not the least unfriendly or oppressive.
He bid good bye to his friends promising to come again, and imploring them to do their work diligently. He wandered around as he pleased, did what he liked, and lived the way that pleased him most.On facing the team, he could see a small smile in Mr. For a moment he thought his company — the house of Boldero, Merryweather, Bosanquet, and Lacy – was the most caring company on earth. A ceaseless torrent of happiness raced through his mind.It took a long time for the just-retired (or just-freed) employee to let the joy sink in.At times, he was in the Bond Street at 11 in the morning. Nor did he experience the typical mid-week feeling on Wednesday. Now all days of the week appeared equal with no torment, no anxiety and no worries.He often dropped into Soho – his favourite bookshop. He felt as if it was thirty years since he retired. Now, the author could visit the church on Sundays without worrying about the scarce time being lost. He could pay an unannounced visit to a very busy person.But the much-awaited seven days’ holidays came and went too fast. The speaker’s colleagues, puzzled at his pallid face and sagging spirit would inquire about his well being. L—, a junior partner of the firm, called him to his side and very kindly asked him the reason of his torment. For a whole week after this encounter, the speaker regretted his indiscretion.Before he could plan how to make the best use of it, it vanished. Perhaps, his discomfiture in the work place had been taken note of by his employers, he feared. Confronted with such a searching question, he admitted that he was finding it hard to cope up with the work pressure. He thought he should not have divulged his inadequacies. On 12th April, a very tense moment arrived when he was asked to stay back after the office hours. B — made some brief inquiries about his wealth and property.Yet he had to submit to the oppressive rigour of his office just as a jungle animal submits to its life in a cage till it becomes subdued and emasculated.Eagerly did he await the Sunday for a respite from his colourless monotonous work. It gave him respite from the office, but the day was insufferably lifeless. There was not a trace of the hustle and bustle, the colour and fun, the glitter and cheer of London’s streets.Inventing the persona of “Elia” allowed Lamb to be shockingly honest and to gain a playful distance for self-examination.The Charles Lamb, one of the most engaging personal essayists of all time, began publishing his unforgettable, entertaining Elia essays in the London Magazine in 1820; they were so immediately popular that a book-length collection was published in 1823.