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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. IX. 1812-1819
William Godwin to Mary Jane Godwin, 10 September 1817

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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Produced by CATH
Skinner St., Sep. 10, 1818.

“Of all the cursed inventions that the devil has entailed upon mankind, since the establishment of posts by Cyrus, King of Persia, it has ever been my opinion that the sending of letters by a private hand is the worst. I am now arrived at the middle of the fourth day, since I have known nothing of your feelings, or even if you exist. It appears that on Sunday morning last you were alive, and able to hold a pen; but whether you lived to eat your duck I am still ignorant. I cannot come to you, for Mrs Lacey may have cried out, and you may have run away, at least six hours before my arrival.


Kenny seems to be entirely off from the idea of coming to Southend, so I shall not come with him, according to my project. In fact he is such a shilly-shally know-me-nothing fellow, that he was never worth your thought.

“They dined with me yesterday, and brought Tom with them, whom I have always taken notice of, and I like; the nurse and baby also. William Curran called in about half-an-hour before dinner, and I served him up to table. Mrs Giles provided so economically that by twelve at night there was not a morsel left; in other respects we did very well. The Lambs came in the evening, and I am sorry to say he went away high drunk.

“I cannot conceive for what reason, except to increase my perplexities, you have kept back the newspapers. The post would bring them, ten every day if you chose it, for nothing. Coleridge says that in his part of the country the poor people were very desirous to hear from their kindred at a distance, and could not afford the postage. They were therefore in the habit of going to the post office and saying, Is there a letter for me? which, when they looked at the direction of, they laid down again and went away, satisfied from having seen the handwriting of their relatives, of their locality at least, and that they lived. The Morning Chronicle would have served if you chose it, for that sort of economical daily communication between us, when you were indisposed to anything else. But you are indeed a niggard.

“I have kept this open to the latest hour of the post on Thursday. Still no intelligence. Seas roll to part us. Alps arise to intercept our intelligence, and all that is left me is to hope that we shall meet ‘in another, a better world.’

“Ever affectionately yours,

William Godwin.”