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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. XI. 1798
John Arnot to William Godwin, 10 August 1798

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
Petersburg, 10 August 1798, New Style.

Dear Sir,—I shall leave this place to-morrow. I am so happy that I have got my passport! And I assure you that it was no easy matter. It has detained me here for three weeks, living at no little expense, in the British tavern. . . .

“I arrived at Cronstadt after a tedious and very disagreeable passage of 30 days, and in 5 days more got my passport to Petersburg. It was rather odd that I should have pitched upon the worst ship in every respect, perhaps, of the whole fleet; my patience was tried more ways than one. I don’t think Job himself had more patience when he was my age.

“I declare I am afraid to write any more. I am writing to Godwin just as if I was writing to my good friend Peter Reid, scribble, scribble, scribble, I have fifty thousand things to say, and don’t know which to say first. I dare say my pen has run mad. If I were beside you, you would think my tongue were mad. . . .

“I intend to walk to Riga, and from Riga to Vienna. Indeed, I am determined to be at Vienna this winter, that is, if nothing happens to me by the way, which you know is possible. ‘Walk to Riga!! The poor lad has lost his wits. Do you know what you are doing? Such weather, such roads, such a country, and such a people. You may as well think of walking to the moon.’ But I’ll walk it for all that. ’Tis nothing at all.


“I don’t think I am half so courageous as when I left Scotland. I believe I could have taken a bear by the ear as coolly as you could take your dinner. But now that I have the prospect of being happy when I return—am I not happy already, at least at this moment?—I begin to think I am worth the taking care of, and therefore I am determined to take care of myself, and never to meddle with a bear unless the bear meddles with me, and to be wondrous civil to the boors and the booresses. . . .

“I have been obliged to lighten my parcel very much. I gave away ‘Tristram Shandy’ about five weeks ago, and my two flutes. I have laid aside all my pistol bullets, except about 20, and am thinking to throw away the only shirt and pair of stockings I have to spare. . . .—I am, with great esteem, yours, &c.

John Arnot.

“I keep no journal on my way to Vienna. I dare not”