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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. VII. 1806-1811
William Godwin to Mary Jane Godwin, 31 August 1811

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
Chichester, Aug. 31, 1811.

“My Best Love, . . .—I have passed few pleasanter days in my life than I passed yesterday. After some debate with myself, and finding that there was no means of public conveyance, I resolved to walk to Felpham (between seven and eight miles). The weather was very hot (the ‘literary hermit’ [Hayley] insisted on receiving me at noon), yet, to my astonishment, I was not at all fatigued. The literary hermit I dismiss in one word.—I do not like him. His wife, however, seems a pleasant, unaffected, animated girl (he swears he himself is only sixty-five); and his house is quite a toy. He has erected a turret on the top, with a corridor over that, for the sake of the prospect, and to this corridor he climbs at least once every day by a ladder, which can only be descended by crawling backwards, and which, being on the top of the house in the open air, looked to me frightful, but I escaped without breaking either my neck or my leg. Pictures, drawings, splendid books, and splendid bindings adorn every room in the house,
everything that cannot be consumed or worn out. He does not go out of his little domain, prison in that sense, I should call it, four times in a year, and he told me he made it a rule never to invite anybody to dinner. His
bookseller (with whom I have been negociating) tells me he was in the habit of dining with him every Sunday, but with a Chichester shopkeeper he could dispense with display. Thus he has everything for the eye, and nothing for the heart. Damn him.

“I say this in the sobriety of my deliberate judgment, and without a spice of resentment, for the moment I quitted his babyhouse my happiness began. I went to Bognor, I inhaled the lifegiving breezes of the sea, which I think, were I expiring with the imbecility of old age, would make me young again. Bognor is a sweet place. Why is it so? Merely because it is on the open beach of the sea, and is scattered over with neat little houses for the opulent, built for the purposes of health and recreation. Sarah Pink, the generous landlady of the hotel, gave me that dinner. which the frozen-hearted Hayley refused. . . . She completed all her other kindnesses by refusing me a chaise to bring me back to Chichester last night, so that I was compelled to spend till eleven at night—the beautiful, serene, moonlight evening of one of the most beautiful days I ever saw, on the open shore, and only quitted the beach to repair to my bed. . . . I have got my pencil-case. It was in the coat pocket where Betsey swore it was not. . . . Ever and ever yours,

W. Godwin.”