Charles Lamb wrote of his sister that: "When she is not violent, her rambling chat is better to me than the sense and sanity of this world. Her heart is obscured, not buried; it breaks out occasionally; and one can discern a strong mind struggling with the billows that have gone over it. I could be nowhere happier than under the same roof with her. Her memory is unnaturally strong; and from ages past, if we may so call the earliest records of our poor life, she fetches thousands of names and things that never would dawned on me again, and thousands from the ten years she lived before me. What took place from early girlhood to her coming of age principally lives again (every important thing and every trifle) in her brain with the vividness of real presence. For twelve hours incessantly she will pour out without intermission all her past life, forgetting nothing, pouring our name after name to the Waldens [the keepers of the madhouse, where they both lived at this time in their lives] as if in a dream; sense and nonsense; truth and errors huddled together; a medley between inspiration and possession." [Burton, 2003, 370-371]
Charles Lamb's friend and biographer said of Mary that "Though her conversation in sanity was never marked by smartness or repartee; seldom rising beyond that of a sensible quiet gentlewoman appreciating and enjoying the talents of her friends, it was otherwise in her madness... She would fancy herself in the days of Queen Anne or George the First; and describe the brocaded dames and courtly manners, as though she had been bred among them, in the best styhle of the old comedy. It was all broken and disjointed, so that her hearer could remember little of her discourse; but the fragmets werre like jewelled speeches of Congeve, only shaken from their setting. Thjere was sometimes even a vein of crazy logic running through them, associating things essentially most dissimilar but connecting them by a verbal association in strange order. As a mere physical instance of deranged intellect, her condition was, I believe, extraordinary; it was as if the finest elements of mind had been shaken into fantastic combinatiions like those of a kaleidoscope... [Burton, 2003, 241-2].