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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. X. 1797
William Godwin to Anthony Carlisle, 15 September 1797

Contents Vol. I
Ch. I. 1756-1785
Ch. II. 1785-1788
Ch. III. 1788-1792
Ch. IV. 1793
Ch. V. 1783-1794
Ch. VI. 1794-1796
Ch. VII. 1759-1791
Ch. VII. 1791-1796
Ch. IX. 1797
Ch. X. 1797
Ch. XI. 1798
Ch. XII. 1799
Ch. XIII. 1800
Contents Vol. II
Ch. I. 1800
Ch. II. 1800
Ch. III. 1800
Ch. IV. 1801-1803
Ch. V. 1802-1803
Ch. VI. 1804-1806
Ch. VII. 1806-1811
Ch. VIII. 1811-1814
Ch. IX. 1812-1819
Ch. X. 1819-1824
Ch. XI. 1824-1832
Ch. XII. 1832-1836
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Produced by CATH
Sep. 15th, 1797.

My dear Carlisle,—I am here, sitting alone in Mr Marshal’s lodgings during my wife’s funeral. My mind is extremely sunk and languid. But I husband my thoughts, and shall do very well. I have been but once since you saw me, in a train of thought that gave me alarm. One of my wife’s books now lies near me, but I avoid opening it. I took up a book on the education of children, but that impressed me too forcibly with my forlorn and disabled state with respect to the two poor animals left under my protection, and I threw it aside.

“Nothing could be more soothing to my mind than to dwell in a long letter upon her virtues and accomplishments, and our mutual happiness, past and in prospect. But the attractions of this subject are delusive, and I dare not trust myself with it

“I may dwell however with perfect safety upon your merits and kindness, and the indelible impression they have left on my mind. Your generous and unintermitted attendance upon the dear deceased constituted the greatest consolation it was possible for me to receive in that dreadful period when I most needed consolation. I may say to you on paper, what I observed to you in our last interview, that I never, in the whole course of my life, met with the union of so clear and capacious an understanding, with so much goodness of heart and sweetness of manners.

“It is pleasing to be loved by those we feel ourselves impelled to love. It is inexpressibly gratifying, when we find those qualities that most call forth our affections, to be regarded by that person with some degree of a correspondent feeling. If you have any of that kind of consolation in store for me, be at the pains to bestow it. But, above all, be severely sincere. I ought to be acquainted
with my own defects, and to trace their nature in the effects they produce.—Yours, with fervent admiration and regard.”