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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. VII. 1806-1811
William Godwin to Mary Jane Godwin, 8 May 1808

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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Troston, May 8, 1808.

“My last letter was addressed to you from Dereham, the scene of the death and burial of Cowper. I was there on Thursday, taking shelter from the intense heat of the mid-day sun. I have suffered indeed (I wish we had another word less solemn than suffered to express these petty misfortunes) more than you can imagine, from the warmth of the season. The skin of the greater part of my face is completely peeled off, and my nose and nether lip are adorned with small protuberances, as a sort of fungus which Phoebus has raised from the richness of the soil.

“In the evening of Thursday I proceeded once more to Bradenham, where I felt no temptation to stay, and of consequence set off the next morning for Thetford. My brother conveyed me twelve miles out of the twenty, which separates his habitation from that town, and I walked the rest, having arrived there at three o’clock on Friday. I had written from Dereham to Mr Lofft, but was uncertain when my letter would reach him, and therefore only said I should sleep on Friday at Thetford, leaving to his mercy when he would appear there to release me. I might
have staid a day and a half longer at Bradenham, and this would have been economy. But though I tasked my resolution to bear the squalidness of the good people there, I assure you I felt it high time to get away after my breakfast of Friday. I had a serious motive for my journey into Norfolk, but one view that made me consider it with pleasure was that I contemplated in it a means of renewing my youth and recruiting my spirits. I sought, therefore, a little for indulgence and not altogether for penance. . . . Friday evening and Saturday morning were, if possible, hotter than the preceding days. Saturday (having just taken a slice of cold beef and a glass of brandy and water) I set off at half after four in the afternoon, on foot, for Troston: the distance seven miles. The evening was favourable, the extreme heat was gone, and the weather was apparently changing. When I had walked four miles and a half, and had already turned into an obscure cross road, I saw a handsome carriage advancing in the opposite direction. I gazed attentively upon it, and soon found that it contained Mr Capel Lofft. He, good man, had only received my letter at four o’clock, and, having gobbled up his dinner, set off in an immense hurry, in his list slippers, to meet me. . . .

Mr Lofft put into my hands your letter of Friday, the perusal of which quite revived my soul: it is so considerate, so provident, so encouraging! The bill of the Br. had begun to spread its raven wings over my head. I hope you will not have failed to write again on Monday, as you seem to promise. I will then remain at peace. . . . I shall be very happy to receive the children’s letters. Give my love to them all, and a kiss to William, whom you do not mention. I will endeavour, as you say, to keep up my spirits. I can bear prosperity, and I know I can bear adversity. The dreadful thing to endure is those uncertain moments, which seem to be the fall from one to the other, which call for exertions, and exhibit faint gleams of hope amidst the terrible tempest that gathers round.”