In August 1820, at the age of forty-two, William Hazlitt moved into a lodging house on Southampton Row. Three days later, the nineteen-year-old daughter of the house, Sarah Walker, brought him breakfast in his room and turned in the doorway to look at him; in that instant, Hazlitt fell desperately in love. Over the next few months, Sarah sat on his knee, kissed him, allowed him certain ‘liberties’ – though never the ultimate one – and somehow made him feel, though she would make no avowals, that for the first time ever his love was returned.
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