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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. VII. 1759-1791
Mary Wollstonecraft to George Blood, 4 February [1786]

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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Newington Green, Feby. 4th, [1786].

“I write to you, my dear George, lest my silence should make you uneasy, yet what have I to say that will not have the same effect? Things do not go well with me, and my spirits seem for ever flown. I was a month on my passage, and the weather was so tempestuous, we were several times in imminent danger. I did not expect ever to have reached land. If it had pleased Heaven to have called me hence, what a world of care I should have missed. I have lost all relish for pleasure, and life seems a burden almost too heavy to be endured. My head is stupid, and my heart sick and exhausted. But why should I worry you? and yet, if I do not tell you my vexations, what can I write about?

“Your father and mother are tolerably well, and enquire most affectionately concerning you. They do not suspect that you have left Lisbon, and I do not intend informing them of it till you are provided for. I am very unhappy on their account, for though I am determined they shall share my last shilling, yet I have every reason to apprehend extreme distress, and of course they must be involved in it. The school dwindles to nothing,
and we shall soon lose our last boarder, Mrs Disney. She and the girls quarrelled while I was away, which contributed to make the house very disagreeable. Her sons are to be whole boarders at Mrs Cockburn’s. Let me turn my eyes on which side I will, I can only anticipate misery. Are such prospects as these likely to heal an almost broken heart? The loss of
Fanny was sufficient of itself to have thrown a cloud over my brightest days: what effect then must it have, when I am bereft of every other comfort? I have too many debts. I cannot think of remaining any longer in this house, the rent is so enormous, and where to go, without money or friends, who can point out? My eyes are very bad and my memory gone. I am not fit for any situation, and as for Eliza, I don’t know what will become of her. My constitution is impaired, I hope I shan’t live long, yet I may be a tedious time dying.

“Well, I am too impatient. The will of Heaven be done! I will labour to be resigned. ‘The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ I scarce know what I write, yet my writing at all when my mind is so disturbed is a proof to you that I can never be lost so entirely in misery as to forget those I love. I long to hear that you are settled. It is the only quarter from which I can reasonably expect any pleasure. I have received a very short, unsatisfactory letter from Lisbon. It was written to apologize for not sending the money to your father which he promised. It would have been particularly acceptable to them at this time, but he is prudent, and will not run any hazard to serve a friend. Indeed, delicacy made me conceal from him my dismal situation, but he must know how much I am embarrassed. . . .

“I am very low-spirited, and of course my letter is very dull. I will not lengthen it out in the same strain, but conclude with what alone will be acceptable, an assurance of love and regard.

“Believe me to be ever your sincere and affectionate friend,

Mary Wollstonecraft.”