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Memoirs of William Hazlitt
Ch. X 1807
William Hazlitt to Sarah Stoddart [Hazlitt]; [January 1808]

Chap. I 1778-1811
Ch. II: 1791-95
Ch. III 1795-98
Ch. IV 1798
Ch. V 1798
Ch. VI 1792-1803
Ch. VII 1803-05
Ch. VIII 1803-05
Ch. IX
Ch. X 1807
Ch. XI 1808
Ch. XII 1808
Ch. XII 1812
Ch. XIV 1814-15
Ch. XV 1814-17
Ch. XVI 1818
Ch. XVII 1820
Ch. XX 1821
Ch. I 1821
Ch. II 1821-22
Ch. III 1821-22
Ch. IV 1822
Ch. V 1822
Ch. VI 1822
Ch. VII 1822-23
Ch. VIII 1822
Ch. IX 1823
Ch. X 1824
Ch. XI 1825
Ch. XII 1825
Ch. XIII 1825
Ch. XIV 1825
Ch. XV 1825
Ch. XVI 1825-27
Ch. XVII 1826-28
Ch. XVIII 1829-30
Ch. XX
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“Tuesday night.
“My dear Love,

“Above a week has passed, and I have received no letter—not one of those letters ‘in which I live, or have no life at all.’ What is become of you? Are you married, hearing that I was dead (for so it has been reported)? Or are you gone into a nunnery? Or are you fallen in love with some of the amorous heroes of Boccaccio? Which of them is it? Is it with Chynon, who was transformed from a clown into a lover, and learned to spell by the force of beauty? Or with Lorenzo, the lover of Isabella, whom her three brethren hated (as your brother does me), who was a merchant’s clerk? Or with Federigo Alberigi, an honest gentleman, who ran through his fortune, and won his mistress by cooking a fair falcon for her dinner, though it was the only means he had left of getting a dinner for himself? This last is the man; and I am the more persuaded of it, because I think I won your good liking myself by giving you an entertainment—of sausages, when I had no money to buy them with. Nay now, never deny it! Did not I ask your consent that very night after, and did you not give it? Well, I should be confoundedly jealous of those fine gallants, if I did not know that a living dog is better than a dead lion: though, now I think of it, Boccaccio does not in general make much of his lovers: it is his women who are so delicious. I almost wish I had lived in those times, and had been a little more amiable. Now if a woman had written the book, it would not have had this effect upon
me: the men would have been heroes and angels, and the women nothing at all. Isn’t there some truth in that? Talking of departed loves, I met my old flame* the other day in the street. I did dream of her one night since, and only one: every other night I have had the same dream I have had for these two months past. Now, if you are at all reasonable, this will satisfy you.

Thursday morning.—The book is come. When I saw it I thought that you had sent it back in a huff, tired out by my sauciness, and coldness, and delays, and were going to keep an account of dimities and sayes, or to salt pork and chronicle small beer as the dutiful wife of some fresh-looking, rural swain; so that you cannot think how surprised and pleased I was to find them all done. I liked your note as well or better than the extracts; it is just such a note as such a nice rogue as you ought to write after the provocation you had received. I would not give a pin for a girl ‘whose cheeks never tingle,’ nor for myself if I could not make them tingle sometimes. Now, though I am always writing to you about ‘lips and noses,’ and such sort of stuff, yet as I sit by my fireside (which I do generally eight or ten hours a day), I oftener think of you in a serious, sober light. For, indeed, I never love you so well as when I think of sitting down with you to dinner on a boiled scrag-end of mutton, and hot potatoes. You please my fancy more then than when I think of you

* This is the reference I meant. I suspect it was Miss Shepherd—Sally Shepherd, daughter of Dr. Shepherd of Gateacre. See above, p. 103.—W. C. H.

in—no, you would never forgive me if I were to finish the sentence. Now I think of it, what do you mean to be dressed in when we are married? But it does not much matter! I wish you would let your hair grow; though perhaps nothing will be better than ‘the same air and look with which at first my heart was took.’ But now to business. I mean soon to call upon your
brother in form, namely, as soon as I get quite well, which I hope to do in about another fortnight; and then I hope you will come up by the coach as fast as the horses can carry you, for I long mightily to be in your ladyship’s presence—to vindicate my character. I think you had better sell the small house, I mean that at 4. 10, and I will borrow 100l. So that we shall set off merrily in spite of all the prudence of Edinburgh.

“Good-bye, little dear!

“W. H.
“Miss Stoddart,