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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. VII. 1806-1811
William Godwin to Mary Jane Godwin, 18 May 1811

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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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
May 18, 1811.

My Dearest Love,—Saturday was my great and terrible day, and I was compelled to look about me, to see how it could be provided for. I had less than £20 remaining in my drawer. I sent Joseph to Lambert and Macmillan: no answer from either: Lambert not at home. Bradley then undertook the expedition to Mercu and Jabart: he preferred Friday to Saturday: I therefore desired him to take Lambert on the way. This time I was successful: the good creature sent me £100, and at six in the evening Macmillan sent me £50, having, as you remember, brought me the other £50 on Tuesday last. This was something, but as there is no sweet without its sour, about the same time came a note from Hume desiring he might have £40 on Monday.

“After dinner Fanny told me she was sure she had seen Mr and Miss Lamb walking arm-in-arm at a distance in the street. I could not be easy till I had ascertained the truth of this intelligence, and I hastened to the Temple. It was so: they were not at home; gone to the play: but their Jane told me that her mistress came home on Tuesday the 7th of May. Lamb returned my visit at breakfast this morning. To return to business.

“I began to cast about how I was to comply with Hume’s request. I was still short for my bills—£30 and £40 are
£70. I had, however,
Place’s bill in my possession, but who was to discount it? I thought perhaps Toulmin would do it, I looked upon my list of discounters. By some oversight I had omitted to put the name to the discounter of one of Hume’s bills. I thought by studying my journal I should be able to find it. I was unsuccessful. In the midst of this, however, my eye caught a bill of £140 of Place, that fell due next Friday. I had carefully put this out of my mind in the midst of the embarrassments of the present week, and had wholly forgotten it. Perhaps I never felt a more terrible sensation in my life, than when it thus returned to me. Lambert’s and Macmillan’s money had made me cheerful: I walked erect in my little sally to the Temple: I flung about my arms. with the air of a man who felt himself heart-whole. The moment I saw the £140 I felt a cold swelling in the inside of my throat—a sensation I am subject to in terrible situations—and my head ached in the most discomfortable manner. I had just been puzzling how I could discount the £100 I had by me: what was I to do with £140 beside? If Turner had not come in just then, I think I should have gone mad; as it was, the morsel of meat I put in my mouth at supper stuck in my throat. My ultimate determination was, that I had no resource but to write to Norwich.

“This morning, however, the first thing I did was to send a note to Place, to state the circumstances, and to ask whether he must have the money to a day. He immediately came to me by way of answer, and told me he could wait till the 30th: a glorious reprieve!

“. . . . The post of to-day brought me £100 upon the house of Baring. It comes from the great American manager, with directions for me to furnish books, according to certain rules he lays down, at the rate of £100 per annum—this £100 being the earnest for the first year. His letter is a very kind one: I daresay he takes this step with a view to serve me in a certain degree: at any rate never did windfall come more opportunely. I need not tell you that Theobald or anybody will discount a bill, when accepted, on the house of Baring. . . .


“. . . . Take care of yourself. Remember that you have gone to the place where you are in search of repose. The money and the time will be worse than thrown away if this is not the purchase. . . . . Tell Mary that, in spite of unfavourable appearances, I have still faith that she will become a wise and, what is more, a good and a happy woman. . . . . I have just been into the next room to ask the children if they have any messages. They are both anxious to hear from you. Jane says she hopes you stuck on the Goodwin sands, and that the sailors frightened you a little.