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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Mary Lamb to Sarah Stoddart Hazlitt [27 June 1806]

Contents vol. VI
Letters: 1796
Letters: 1797
Letters: 1798
Letters: 1799
Letters: 1800
Letters: 1801
Letters: 1802
Letters: 1803
Letters: 1804
Letters: 1805
Letters: 1806
Letters: 1807
Letters: 1808
Letters: 1809
Letters: 1810
Letters: 1811
Letters: 1812
Letters: 1814
Letters: 1815
Letters: 1816
Letters: 1817
Letters: 1818
Letters: 1819
Letters: 1820
Letters: 1821
Contents vol. VII
Letters: 1821
Letters: 1822
Letters: 1823
Letters: 1824
Letters: 1825
Letters: 1826
Letters: 1827
Letters: 1828
Letters: 1829
Letters: 1830
Letters: 1831
Letters: 1832
Letters: 1833
Letters: 1834
Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III
List of Letters
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[No date. ? Begun on Friday, July 4, 1806.]

CHARLES and Hazlitt are going to Sadler’s Wells, and I am amusing myself in their absence with reading a manuscript of Hazlitt’s; but have laid it down to write a few lines, to tell you how we are going on. Charles has begged a month’s hollidays, of which this is the first day, and they are all to be spent at home. We thank you for your kind invitations, and were half-inclined to come down to you; but after mature deliberation, and many wise consultations, such as you know we often hold, we came to the resolution of staying quietly at home: and during the hollidays we are both of us to set stoutly to work and finish the Tales, six of them being yet to do. We thought, if we went anywhere and left them undone, they would lay upon our minds; and that when we returned, we should feel unsettled, and our money all spent besides: and next summer we are to be very rich, and then we can afford a long journey some where, I will not say to Salisbury, because I really think it is better for you to come to us; but of that we will talk another time.

The best news I have to send you is, that the Farce is accepted. That is to say, the manager has written to say it shall be brought out when an opportunity serves. I hope that it may come out by next Christmas: you must come and see it the first night; for if it succeeds, it will be a great pleasure to you, and if it should not, we shall want your consolation. So you must come.

I shall soon have done my work, and know not what to begin next. Now, will you set your brains to work and invent a story, either for a short child’s story, or a long one that would make a kind of Novel, or a Story that would make a play. Charles wants
me to write a play, but I am not over anxious to set about it; but seriously will you draw me out a skeleton of a story, either from memory of any thing that you have read, or from your own invention, and I will fill it up in some way or other.

The reason I have not written so long is, that I worked, and worked, in hopes to get through my task before the hollidays began; but at last I was not able, for Charles was forced to get them now, or he could not have had any at all: and having picked out the best stories first, these latter ones take more time, being more perplext and unmanageable. But however I hope soon to tell you that they are quite completed. I have finished one to-day which teazed me more than all the rest put together. The[y] sometimes plague me as bad as your Lovers do you. How do you go on, and how many new ones have you had lately?

I met Mrs. Fenwick at Mrs. Holcroft’s the other day; she loo[ked very] placid and smiling, but I was so disconcerted that I hardly knew how to sit upon my chair. She invited us to come and see her, but we did not invite her in return; and nothing at all was said in an explanatory sort: so that matter rests at present.

Mrs. Rickman continues very ill—so ill, that there are no hopes of her recovery—for which I am very sorry indeed.

I am sorry you are altogether so uncomfortable; I shall be glad to hear you are settled at Salisbury: that must be better than living in a lone house, companionless as you are. I wish you could afford to bring your Mother up to London; but that is quite impossible.

Your brother wrote a letter a week ago (which passed through our hands) to Wordsworth, to tell him all he knew of Coleridge; but as he had not heard from C. for some time, there was nothing in the letter we did not know before.

Thanks for your brother’s letters. I preserve them very carefully, and you shall have them (as the Manager says) when opportunity serves.

Mrs. Wordsworth is brought to bed; and I ought to write to Miss Wordsworth to thank her for the information, but I suppose I shall defer it till another child is coming. I do so hate writing letters. I wish all my friends would come and live in town. Charles has been telling me even it is better [than] two months that he ought to write to your brother. [It is not] my dislike to writing letters that prevents my [writing] to you, but sheer want of time, I assure you, because [I know] you care not how stupidly I write, so as you do but [hear at the] time what we are about.

Let me hear from you soon, and do let me hear some [good news,] and don’t let me hear of your walking with sprained ancles again; no business is an excuse for making yourself lame.


I hope your poor Mother is better, and Aunty and Maid jog on pretty well; remember me to them all in due form and order. Charles’s love, and our best wishes that all your little busy affairs may come to a prosperous conclusion.

Yours affectionately,
M. Lamb.
Friday evening.

[Added later:—]

They (Hazlitt and Charles) came home from Sadler’s Wells so dismal and dreary dull on Friday, that I gave them both a good scolding—quite a setting to rights; and I think it has done some good, for Charles has been very chearful ever since. I begin to hope the home hollidays will go on very well. Mrs. Rickman is better. Rickman we saw at Captain Burney’s for the first time since her illness last night.

Write directly, for I am uneasy about your Lovers; I wish something was settled. God bless you.

Once more, yours affectionately,

M. Lamb.

Sunday morning [July 6, or more probably 13].—I did not put this in the post, hoping to be able to write a less dull letter to you this morning; but I have been prevented, so it shall go as it is. I am in good spirits just at this present time, for Charles has been reading over the Tale I told you plagued me so much, and he thinks it one of the very best: it is All’s Well that Ends Well. You must not mind the many wretchedly dull letters I have sent you; for, indeed, I cannot help it, my mind is so dry always after poring over my work all day. But it will soon be over.

I am cooking a shoulder of Lamb (Hazlitt dines with us); it will be ready at two o’Clock, if you can pop in and eat a bit with us.