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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. X. 1819-1824
William Godwin, jun. to Mary Shelley, 25 February 1823

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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“No. 195 Strand, 25th Feb., 1823.

” . . . . I am not aware how far my father may have informed you—I mean, of course, as to particulars—relative to our affairs, the Skinner Street business, &c.; but as I know he is not very minute in general, it may afford you some gratification for me to run them over, and discuss them as they strike me.

“On quitting Skinner Street in May [1822], which we were obliged to do at two days’ notice, we were glad to find anybody, you may well suppose, that would receive us. Read at the time that he brought into the house his ejectment, coupled with it a power to seize for his bill of costs £135. This was an oppressive circumstance indeed, for the ejectment compelled everything to be moved, under pain of being thrown into the street,* by the Saturday night—this was Thursday night—while the sheriff’s distress prevented us from moving a single thing. Well, as the money could not be raised to meet the writ, it was clear that we must submit to the seizure. So to prevent any time being lost in the clumsy way the auctioneer would set about making a catalogue, I wrote out overnight a list of our best bound books, and those most likely to fetch the required sum, so that by about 3 o’clock on the Friday, the auctioneer being satisfied, we were suffered to begin to move. In the morning of this day my mother had secured a lodging and a warehouse for us in the neighbourhood—the former in Pemberton Row, close to Gough Square, and the latter in Gunpowder Alley, close to Strahan the King’s Printer. . . . . Suffice it to say we were fortunate enough to get all our things out

* Understand this literally. At a pianoforte makers in Tottenham Court Road, where an ejectment was served, which he refused to obey, they actually tossed his pianofortes, finished and unfinished, from the second floor windows into the street.

by the appointed time, and bade a long farewell for ever to Skinner Street. In Pemberton Row we were put up for six weeks, first deciding what we would do, and then doing what we had decided. My father at last agreed for the house we now inhabit, at the awful rent of £210 per annum: how we shall get on God only knows: I have some fear, it is true, but, like Pandora’s box, I still find hope at the bottom. Subsequently Read obtained a verdict against us for £373, 6s. 8d., for rent from the beginning of 1820 with costs, but this we are in hopes will be met by my father’s friends.

“‘Valperga’ is finished”