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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. IV. 1793
Thomas Abthorpe Cooper to William Godwin, 19 July 1793

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
Winchester, July 19, 1793.
“‘It must be so. O guts, ye reason well,
Else whence those painful gripes, those inward workings,
This craving after something good to eat?
* * * * * * *
* * * Why shrinks the belly
To the back bone, and ’tween leaves no vacuum?
‘Tis this damned nothing that commoves within.
‘Tis starving’s self that stares us in the face
And indicates non-entity to man.’

“I am just come from the theatre, where we dismissed two from the theatre and one from the pit.

“I shall not come to London after all. We have played once this week, having got a bespeak from the Marquis of Buckingham: we are to open at Southampton on Monday week, so that it would not be worth while to come for so short a space; besides that, our managers mean to open their doors next week, as the week before.

“There are a few mistakes in your letter. When I say that my situation renders impracticable a diligent correspondence, I did not mean that it has that effect at present, for if I did, my actions would belie my words; but that it had in our frequent movings, and during the benefit time at Portsmouth. You are to write to me at full, as you need not expect to see me. In the next paragraph you say, ‘Not a word about your health,’ but that’s a mistake, for the last words of my letter are, ‘I am in perfect health, as I hope this will find you;’ but I suppose you had not patience to get through my bad handwriting.

“I’ll now relate a theatrical incident. George Barnwell was played: you recollect that the uncle comes on, and makes a soliloquy on death. The uncle had not, or did not choose to have leisure to learn the soliloquy, but thought, if he carried on a book of the play, that he might read it. He did not reflect that the stage would be darkened, and when he looked in the book, he found he could not read. He recollected the first words, ‘O
death!’ and repeated them three or four times in great agitation, calling at the same time for George Barnwell to come and kill him, but George was laughing so heartily behind the scenes that for some time he could not relieve his uncle, and his uncle said no more than ‘O death—do—do’—till his nephew came and stabbed him, and laughed at him in the agonies of death.

“I have just received information that the Coldstream is all killed except fifteen, and that the Duke is in the number of the slain. Among the rest of the information you are to give me, let the sale of your pamphlet and the title be included—what Mr Holcroft has lately written—what Mr Marshall is about. In short, tell me something about everybody. Do you know anything concerning the Dysons now?

“Remember me to all my acquaintance in London: say something for me to each, what you shall judge proper, just the same as if I had written.

T. Cooper.”