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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. VII. 1759-1791
Mary Wollstonecraft to Eliza Wollstonecraft Bishop, [November 1785]

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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[Lisbon, Nov. or Dec. 1785.]

“My dear Girls,—I am beginning to awake out of a terrifying dream, for in that light do the transactions of these two or three last days appear. Before I say more, let me tell you that, when I arrived here, Fanny was in labour, and that four hours after she was delivered of a boy. The child is alive and well, and considering the very very low state to which Fanny was reduced, she is better than could be expected. I am now watching her and the child. My active spirits have not been much at rest ever since I left England. I could not write to you on shipboard; the sea was so rough, and we had such hard gales of wind, the captain was afraid we should be dismasted. I cannot write to-night, or collect my scattered thoughts, my mind is so unsettled. Fanny is so worn out, her recovery would be almost a resurrection, and my reason
will scarce allow me to think it possible. I labour to be resigned, and by the time I am a little so, some faint hope sets my thoughts again afloat, and for a moment I look forward to days that will, alas! I fear, never come.

“I will try to-morrow to give you some little regular account of my journey, though I am almost afraid to look beyond the present moment. Was not my arrival providential? I can scarce be persuaded that I am here, and that so many things have happened in so short a time. My head grows light with thinking on it

“Friday morning.—Fanny has been so alarmingly ill since I wrote the above, I entirely gave her up, and yet I could not write and tell you so: it seemed like signing her death warrant. Yesterday afternoon some of the most alarming symptoms a little abated, and she had a comfortable night; yet I rejoice with trembling lips, and am afraid to indulge hopes: she is very low. The stomach is so weak it will scarce bear to receive the slightest nourishment; in short, if I were to tell you all her complaints, you would not wonder at my fears. The child, though a puny one, is well. I have got a wet-nurse for it. The packet does not sail till the latter end of next week, and I send this by a ship. I shall write by every opportunity. We arrived last Monday. We were only thirteen days at sea. The wind was so high, and the sea so boisterous, the water came in at the cabin windows, and the ship rolled about in such a manner, it was dangerous to stir. The women were sea-sick the whole time, and the poor invalid so oppressed by his complaints, I never expected he would live to see Lisbon. I have supported him for hours together, gasping for breath, and at night, if I had been inclined to sleep, his dreadful cough would have kept me awake. You may suppose that I have not rested much since I came here, yet I am tolerably well, and calmer than I could expect to be. Could I not look for comfort where only ’tis to be found, I should have been mad before this, but I feel that I am supported by that Being who alone can heal a wounded spirit. May He bless you both.—Yours,