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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. VII. 1759-1791
Mary Wollstonecraft to Everina Wollstonecraft, [November 1783]

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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Saturday Afternoon [November 1783].

“I expected to have seen you before this, but the extreme coldness of the weather is a sufficient apology. I cannot yet give any certain account of Bess, or form a rational conjecture with respect to the termination of her disorder. She has not had a violent fit of frenzy since I saw you, but her mind is in a most unsettled state, and attending to the constant fluctuation of it is far more harassing than the watching those raving fits that had not the least tincture of reason. Her ideas are all disjointed, and a number of wild whims float on her imagination, and fall from her unconnectedly, something like strange dreams when judgment sleeps, and fancy sports at a fine rate. Don’t smile at my language, for I am so constantly forced to observe her—lest she run into mischief—that my thoughts continually turn on the unaccountable wanderings of her mind. She seems to think she has been very ill used, and, in short, till I see some more favourable symptoms, I shall only suppose that her malady has assumed a new and more distressing appearance.

“One thing, by way of comfort, I must tell you, that persons who recover from madness are generally in this way before they are
perfectly restored, but whether
Bess’s faculties will ever regain their former tone, time only will show. At present I am in suspense. Let me hear from you or see you, and believe me to be yours affectionately,

M. W.

“Mr D. promised to call last night, and I intended sending this by him. We have been out in a coach, but still Bess is far from being well. Patience—Patience. Farewell.

Sunday, noon.”