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Mary Lamb in Little Queen Street – Frances Gapper

When she is gibbous, I dread. When full, I madden. Waning, she is a jealous old woman. I sew cloaks all day and into the night. My sleep is fractured by her complaints. As I’m preparing dinner, she shouts at me. I stab her breast. My brother Charles runs into the room crying, ‘Mary! Mary!’ At once I feel calmer and let go of the knife.

‘Lunacy,’ say the jury, ‘not wilful murder’.

The cuts on my hands begin to heal, my mind lightens. I am released into my brother’s care. He will write the tragedies and I the comedies.

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