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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. XI. 1798
John Arnot to William Godwin, 8 December 1798

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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Dresden, Saturday, 8th Dec. 1798.

Dear Godwin,—Your letter has given me no small degree of pleasure, but I confess it has also given me anxiety. It seems the letter of a man who once thought well of me, but who now finds with regret that he has reason in a great measure to retract his good opinion. It is worse. It seems to me to be written in a tone of melancholy despondency. I don’t know what to think of
it. What a disappointment that you have not said a word of my friends. Not a word of
Louisa [Jones]—not a word of Fanny—not a word of sister Mary, who was so fond of me—nor of Miss Godwin, nor Marshall, nor Dyson, nor Dibbin, nor anybody. Ah, Godwin, you would not have forgot that, had you received my letter from Petersburg, or had you known how nearly I feel my happiness allied to theirs. Are they well? or have they forgot me? or can you think I have forgot them?

“Curse the news—what care I for Egypt? But that was my own thoughtlessness and impertinence. . . .

“I took the route of Livonia, Poland, and Silesia. I passed through Riga, Warsaw, Cracow, Teschen, Olmütz, Brünn, to Vienne. So far from having kept a copious journal; between Petersburg and Warsaw I marked only the days of the month, and the place where I slept each night, when that place had a name and I knew it. Before I reached Warsaw I lost my inkholder—a loss which in the capital of Poland could not be supplied, so that I did not afterwards write another word, but trusted solely to my memory. I regret this. . . .

“I am quite of your opinion that it would be better to visit countries which are not traversed every day. Hungary, however, I scarcely expect to see, or any part of the Emperor’s dominions, so difficult is it to procure admittance, and so closely are you watched when admitted. . . . Fortune, indeed, has not smiled upon my early youth, and my infant years have been years of misery; but among the few happy periods of my life I shall ever rank the time I spent in walking through Poland. And yet I met with nothing there to make me happy; the generality of young men in my situation would have considered their condition as most desperate and deplorable. My happiness was founded in hope, and in thinking of the Polygon. . . .”