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Memoirs of William Hazlitt
Ch. XI 1808
Mary Lamb to Sarah Stoddart [Hazlitt] [16 March 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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“16 March, 1808.
“My dear Sarah,

“Do not be very angry that I have not written to you. I have promised your brother to be at your wedding, and that favour you must accept as an atonement for my offences. You have been in no want of correspondence lately, and I wished to leave you both to your own inventions.

“The border you are working for me I prize at a very high rate, because I consider it as the last work you can do for me, the time so fast approaching that you must no longer work for your friends. Yet my old fault of giving away presents has not left me, and I am desirous of even giving away this your last gift. I had intended to have given it away without your knowledge, but I have intrusted my secret to Hazlitt, and I suppose it will not remain a secret long, so I condescend to consult you.

“It is to Miss Hazlitt to whose superior claim I wish to give up my right to this precious worked border. Her brother William is her great favourite, and she
would be pleased to possess his bride’s last work. Are you not to give the fellow border to one sister-in-law, and therefore has she not a just claim to it? I never heard in the annals of weddings (since the days of Nausicaa, and she only washed her old gowns for that purpose) that the brides ever furnished the apparel of their maids. Besides, I can be completely clad in your work without it, for the spotted muslin will serve both for cap and hat (nota bene, my hat is the same as yours), and the gown you sprigged for me has never been made up, therefore I can wear that. Or, if you like better, I will make up a new silk which
Manning has sent me from China. Manning would like to hear I wore it for the first time at your wedding. It is a very pretty light colour, but there is an objection (besides not being your work, and that is a very serious objection), and that is, Mrs. Hazlitt tells me that all Winterslow would be in an uproar if the bridesmaid was to be dressed in anything but white; and although it is a very light colour, I confess we cannot call it white, being a sort of a dead-whiteish-bloom colour. Then silk perhaps in a morning is not so proper, though the occasion, so joyful, might justify a full dress. Determine for me in this perplexity between the sprig and the China-Manning silk. But do not contradict my whim about Miss Hazlitt having the border, for I have set my heart upon the matter. If you agree with me in this, I shall think you have forgiven me for giving away your pin; that was a mad trick; but I had many obligations and no money. I repent me of the deed, wishing I had
it now to send to Miss H. with the border; and I cannot, will not, give her the
Doctor’s pin, for having never had any presents from gentlemen in my young days, I highly prize all they now give me, thinking my latter days are better than my former.

“You must send this same border in your own name to Miss Hazlitt, which will save me the disgrace of giving away your gift, and make it amount merely to a civil refusal.

“I shall have no present to give you on your marriage, nor do I expect I shall be rich enough to give anything to baby at the first christening. But at the second, or third child’s, I hope to have a coral or so to spare out of my own earnings. Do not ask me to be godmother, for I have an objection to that—but there is, I believe, no serious duties attached to a bridesmaid, therefore I come with a willing mind, bringing nothing with me but merry wishes, and not a few hopes, and a very little fear—of happy years to come.

“I am, dear Sarah,
“Yours ever most affectionately,
“M. Lamb.

“What has Charles done that nobody invites him to the wedding?

“Miss Stoddart, Winterslow, near Salisbury.”