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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Mary Lamb to Sarah Stoddart Hazlitt [23 October 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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Produced by CATH
[p.m. October 23, 1806.]

MY dear Sarah—I thank you a thousand times for the beautiful work you have sent me, I received the parcel from a strange gentleman yesterday. I like the patterns very much, you have quite set me up in finery, but you should have sent the silk handkerchief too. Will you make a parcel of that and send it by the Salisbury coach—I should like to have it in a few days because we have not yet been to Mr. Babbs and that handkerchief would suit this time of year nicely.

I have received a long letter from your brother on the subject of your intended marriage. I have no doubt but you also have one on this business, therefore it is needless to repeat what he says. I am well pleased to find that upon the whole he does not seem to see it in an unfavorable light. He says that, if Mr. D. is a worthy man he shall have no objection to become the brother of a farmer, and he makes an odd request to me that I shall set out to Salisbury to look at and examine into the merits of the said Mr. D., and speaks very confidently as if you would abide by my determination. A pretty sort of an office truly.—Shall I come?

The objections he starts are only such as you and I have already talked over, such as the difference in age, education, habits of life, &c.

You have gone too far in this affair for any interference to be at all desirable, and if you had not, I really do not know what my wishes would be. When you bring Mr. Dowling at Christmas I suppose it will be quite time enough for me to sit in judgement upon him, but
my examination will not be a very severe one. If you fancy a very young man, and he likes an elderly gentlewoman; if he likes a earned and accomplished lady, and you like a not very learned youth, who may need a little polishing, which probably he will never acquire; it is all very well, and God bless you both together and may you be both very long in the same mind.

I am to assist you too, your brother says, in drawing up the marriage settlements—another thankful office! I am not, it seems, to suffer you to keep too much money in your own power, and yet I am to take care of you in case of bankruptcy &c., and I am to recommend to you, for the better management of this point, the serious perusal of Jeremy Taylor his opinion on the marriage state, especially his advice against separate interests in that happy state, and I am also to tell you how desirable it is that the husband should have the intire direction of all money concerns, except, as your good brother adds, in the case of his own family, where the money, he observes, is very properly deposited in Mrs. Stoddart’s hands, she being better suited to enjoy such a trust than any other woman, and therefore it is fit that the general rule should not be extended to her.

We will talk over these things when you come to town, and as to settlements, which are matters of which, I never having had a penny in my own disposal, I never in my life thought of—and if I had been blessed with a good fortune, and that marvellous blessing to boot, a husband, I verily believe I should have crammed it all uncounted into his pocket—But thou hast a cooler head of thy own, and I dare say will do exactly what is expedient and proper, but your brother’s opinion seems somewhat like Mr. Barwis’s and I dare say you will take it into due consideration, yet perhaps an offer of your own money to take a farm may make uncle do less for his nephew, and in that case Mr. D. might be a loser by your generosity. Weigh all these things well, and if you can so contrive it, let your brother settle the settlements himself when he returns, which will most probably be long before you want them.

You are settled, it seems, in the very house which your brother most dislikes. If you find this house very inconvenient, get out of it as fast as you can, for your brother says he sent you the fifty pound to make you comfortable, and by the general tone of his letter I am sure he wishes to make you easy in money matters: therefore why straiten yourself to pay the debt you owe him, which I am well assured he never means to take? Thank you for the letter and for the picture of pretty little chubby nephew John.

I have been busy making waistcoats and plotting new work to succeed the Tales. As yet I have not hit upon any thing to my mind.


Charles took an emendated copy of his farce to Mr. Wroughton the Manager yesterday. Mr. Wroughton was very friendly to him, and expressed high approbation of the farce, but there are two, he tells him, to come out before it, yet he gave him hopes that it will come out this season, but I am afraid you will not see it by Christmas. It will do for another jaunt for you in the spring. We are pretty well and in fresh spirits about this farce. Charles has been very good lately in the matter of Smoking.

When you come bring the gown you wish to sell. Mrs. Coleridge will be in town then, and if she happens not to fancy it, perhaps some other person may.

Coleridge I believe is gone home; he left us with that design but we have not heard from him this fortnight.

Louisa sends her love; she has been very unwell lately.

My respects to Coridon, Mother, and Aunty.

Farewel, my best wishes are with you.

Yours affectionately,
M. Lamb.

When I saw what a prodigious quantity of work you had put into the finery I was quite ashamed of my unreasonable request, I will never serve you so again, but I do dearly love worked muslin.