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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. VII. 1759-1791
Mary Wollstonecraft to Everina Wollstonecraft, 7 November 1787

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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London, Nov. 7th, 1788:

“. . . I am, my dear girl, once more thrown on the world; I have left Lord K.’s, and they return next week to Mitchelstown. I long since imagined that my departure would be sudden.” [From another letter. “The regret Margaret showed, when I left her for a short time, was Lady K.’s pretext for parting with me. They had frequent quarrels, and the consequence was this determination.”] “I have not seen Mrs Burgh, but I have informed her of this circumstance, and at the same time mentioned to her, that I was determined not to see any of my friends till I am in a way to earn my own subsistence. And to this determination I will adhere. You can conceive how disagreeable pity and advice would be at this juncture. I have two other cogent reasons. Before I go on will you pause, and if, after deliberating, you will promise not to mention to any one what you know of my designs, though you may think my requesting you to conceal them unreasonable, I will trust to your honour, and proceed. Mr Johnson, whose uncommon kindness, I believe, has saved me from despair and vexation, I shrink back from, and feared to encounter, assures me that if I exert my talents in writing I may support myself in a comfortable way. I am then going to be the first of a new genus; I tremble at the attempt, yet if I fail I only suffer, and should I succeed my dear girls will ever in sickness have a home, and a refuge, where for a few months in the year they may forget the cares that disturb
the rest I shall strain every nerve to obtain a situation for
Eliza nearer town: in short, I am once more involved in schemes, heaven only knows whether they will answer! yet while they are pursued life slips away. I would not on any account inform my father or Edward of my designs—you and Eliza are the only part of the family I am interested about, I wish to be a mother to you both. My undertaking would subject me to ridicule, and an inundation of friendly advice to which I cannot listen; I must be independent. I wish to introduce you to Mr Johnson, you would respect him, and his sensible conversation would soon wear away the impression that a formality, or rather stiffness of manners, first makes to his disadvantage. I am sure you will love him, did you know with what tenderness and humanity he has behaved to me. . . .

“I cannot write more explicitly. I have indeed been very much harassed. But Providence has been very kind to me, and when I reflect on past mercies, I am not without hope with respect to the future. And freedom, even uncertain freedom, is dear. . . . This project has long floated in my mind. You know I am not born to tread in the beaten track, the peculiar bent of my nature pushes me on.—Adieu, believe me ever your sincere friend and affectionate sister,

Mary Wollstonecraft.”

“Seas will not now divide us, nor years elapse before we see each other.”