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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. VII. 1759-1791
Mary Wollstonecraft to Everina Wollstonecraft, [5 January 1784]

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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Monday Morning [January 1784].

“I have nothing to tell you, my dear girl, that will give you pleasure. Yesterday was a dismal day, long and dreary. Bishop was very ill, &c., &c. He is much better to-day, but misery haunts this house in one shape or other. How sincerely do I join with you in saying that if a person has common sense they cannot make one completely unhappy. But to attempt to lead or govern a weak mind is impossible; it will ever press forward to what it wishes, regardless of impediments, and, with a selfish eagerness, believe what it desires practicable, though the contrary is as clear as the noonday. My spirits are hurried with listening to pros and cons; and my head is so confused, that I sometimes say no, when I ought to say yes. My heart is almost broken with listening to B. while he reasons the case. I cannot insult him with advice, which he would never have wanted, if he was capable of attending to it. May my habitation never be fixed among the tribe that can’t look beyond the present gratification—that draw fixed conclusions from general rules—that attend to the literal meaning only, and because a thing ought to be, expect that it will come to pass. B. has made a confidant of Skeys; and as I can never speak to him in private, I suppose his pity may cloud his judgment. If it does, I should not either wonder at it or blame him. For I that know, and am fixed in my opinion, cannot unwaveringly adhere to it; and when I reason, I am afraid of being unfeeling. Miracles don’t occur now, and only a miracle can alter the minds of some people. They grow old, and we can only discover by their countenances that they are so. To the end of the chapter will their misery last. I expect Fanny next Thursday, and she will stay with us but a few days. Bess desires her love; she grows better, and of course more sad.”