This is the last letter written by Mary Lamb that is known to exist. She died
peacefully in her bed on 20 May 1847, at the age of eighty-three.91 Having
survived not only her brother, but also Coleridge, Byron, Keats, Shelley, and Blake, she had outlived all the major figures of the British Romantic Age except
the Wordsworths. Her passing almost symbolized the passing of an era.
Mary was buried next to her brother in Edmonton churchyard on May 28. The
funeral was a small, solemn affair, most of those who might have attended
having already preceded her to the grave. No one questioned why Dorothy
Wordsworth was absent; she would not have understood what was happening
anyway. Like her friend, she had long been rendered mentally incapacitated, in
her case from arteriosclerosis. Among those who did attend the ceremony, only Edward Moxon and Henry Crabb Robinson could say they knew Mary
intimately. And yet amid his sadness, the diarist noted, there was also a feeling
of relief, if not exactly happiness. Liberated now from her many sufferings, Mary
could once more join her brother. As they stood together in life, so now they
could stand together in history.
NOTES: PART ONE
Percy Fitzgerald, ed. The Life, Letters and Writings of Charles Lamb ( London: Constable, 1875), vol. 1, 78.
Edward V. Lucas, The Life of Charles Lamb ( New York: Putnam's, 1905), vol. 1, 4.
William Carew Hazlitt, The Lambs ( London: Matthews, 1897), 16.
Lucas, The Life, 55-56.
Mary Lamb, The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, ed.
E. V. Lucas
( London: Methuen, 1904), vol. 3, 306.
Barry Cornwall ( Bryan Waller Procter), Charles Lamb: A Memoir ( London: Moxon, 1876), 33.
Hazlitt, The Lambs, xii.
Mary Lamb, The Complete Letters of Charles and Mary Lamb, ed.
E. V. Lucas
( London: Methuen, 1935), vol. 1, 39-40.
London Morning Chronicle, 26 September 1796.
Charles Lamb, The Selected Letters of Charles Lamb, ed.
T. S. Matthews ( New
York: Farrar, Strauss and Cudahy), 1956, 13.
Lamb, Complete Letters, 47.
Lucas, The Life, 159.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Prominent Sisters:Mary Lamb, Dorothy Wordsworth, and Sarah Disraeli.
Contributors: Michael Polowetzky - Author.
Place of publication: Westport, CT.
Publication year: 1996.
Page number: 44.
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