LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. IV. 1801-1803
John Horne Tooke to William Godwin, 6 December 1803

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
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
Wimbledon, Dec. 6, 1803.

My Dear Sir,—I this moment received your letter, and return an immediate answer, that you may not have an uneasy feeling one moment by my fault. What happened on Sunday to you may happen, and does happen to every one of my friends and acquaintance every day of my life. Bosville, his three friends, and Mr Wood, came first, spoke to me in my study a very few minutes, and went away, leaving me to shift myself. W. Scott should have walked with them, but I called him back, having particular and important business to converse upon. Whilst we were importantly engaged, you arrived and sent up your name: to avoid interruption, I answered that I would come down speedily. I intended to finish my conversation, to dress myself, and then to ask you upstairs, or myself to go down. I had not finished my business with W. Scott when the others returned; and they had not been in my room many minutes when they mentioned your being in the garden. I immediately begged them to call to you out of the window, at the same time telling them (what was very true) that I had quite forgot that you were there. You have the whole history, and ought to be ashamed of such womanish jealousy. You will consult your own happiness by driving such stuff from your thoughts. I know you do sometimes ask explanations from other persons, supposing that they fail in etiquette towards you: all compliments and explanations of the kind appear to me feeble and ridiculous. Every man can soon find out who is glad to see him or not, without compelling his friends to account for accidents of this kind, which must happen to every mortal.

“Your jealousy, like all other jealousy, is its own punishment. I wish you punished a little for compelling me to write this letter,
which is a great punishment to me; but I do not wish you to be tormented so much as this fractious habit will torment you if you indulge it. And besides, I should be very sorry that you missed any friends or valuable acquaintance by the apprehensions persons might entertain of your taking offence at trifles. You say
Mr Ward was a stranger. He is no stranger. He is Bosville’s nephew, and a frequent visitor of mine. He did not act like a stranger: he went away in the middle of dinner; but I was not displeased at the liberty, but wish all my friends to accommodate themselves; and if I shall ever suspect (which I am not likely to do) that any of them slight me, I shall never seek an explanation, but leave it to time, and a repetition of slights, to discover it to me.

“Hang you and your weakness, or rather Hang your weakness for making me write this stuff to you, upon such a foolish business.—I am, with great compassion for your nerves, very truly yours,

J. Horne Tooke.”