Assorted Letters

By Mary Wollstonecraft (1798)

Entry 11478


From: holdoffhunger [id: 1]


Untitled Feminism Assorted Letters

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(1759 - 1797)

Grandmother of Modern, Western Feminism

Mary Wollstonecraft was an English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women's rights. Until the late 20th century, Wollstonecraft's life, which encompassed several unconventional personal relationships at the time, received more attention than her writing. Today Wollstonecraft is regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers, and feminists often cite both her life and her works as important influences. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children's book. Wollstonecraft is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman , in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. She suggests that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason. After Wollstonecraft's death, her widower published a Memoir of her life, revealin... (From: / Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosoph....)


69 Chapters | 25,466 Words | 149,368 Characters

The following Letters may possibly be found to contain the finest examples of the language of sentiment and passion ever presented to the world. They bear a striking resemblance to the celebrated romance of Werter, though the incidents to which they relate are of a very different cast. Probably the readers to whom Werter is incapable of affording pleasure, will receive no delight from the present publication. The editor apprehends that, in the judgment of those best qualified to decide upon the comparison, these Letters will be admitted to have the superiority over the fiction of Goethe. They are the offspring of a glowing imagination, and a heart penetrated with the passion it essays to describe. To the series of lette... (From:
Two o'Clock. My dear love, after making my arrangements for our snug dinner to-day, I have been taken by storm, and obliged to promise to dine, at an early hour, with the Miss ——s, the only day they intend to pass here. I shall however leave the key in the door, and hope to find you at my fire-side when I return, about eight o'clock. Will you not wait for poor Joan?—whom you will find better, and till then think very affectionately of her. Yours, truly,                 * * * * I am sitting down to dinner; so do not send an answer. (From:
Past Twelve o'Clock, Monday night. [August.]        I obey an emotion of my heart, which made me think of wishing thee, my love, good-night! before I go to rest, with more tenderness than I can to-morrow, when writing a hasty line or two under Colonel ——'s eye. You can scarcely imagine with what pleasure I anticipate the day, when we are to begin almost to live together; and you would smile to hear how many plans of employment I have in my head, now that I am confident my heart has found peace in your bosom.—Cherish me with that dignified tenderness, which I have only found in you; and your own dear girl will try to keep under a quickness of feeling, that has sometimes given you p... (From:
Wednesday Morning. You have often called me, dear girl, but you would now say good, did you know how very attentive I have been to the —— ever since I came to Paris. I am not however going to trouble you with the account, because I like to see your eyes praise me; and, Milton insinuates, that, during such recitals, there are interruptions, not ungrateful to the heart, when the honey that drops from the lips is not merely words. Yet, I shall not (let me tell you before these people enter, to force me to huddle away my letter) be content with only a kiss of duty—you must be glad to see me—because you are glad—or I will make love to the shade of Mirabeau, to whom my heart continually turned, ... (From:
Friday Morning [September.][7-A] A man, whom a letter from Mr. —— previously announced, called here yesterday for the payment of a draft; and, as he seemed disappointed at not finding you at home, I sent him to Mr. ——. I have since seen him, and he tells me that he has settled the business. So much for business!—May I venture to talk a little longer about less weighty affairs?—How are you?—I have been following you all along the road this comfortless weather; for, when I am absent from those I love, my imagination is as lively, as if my senses had never been gratified by their presence—I was going to say caresses—and why should I not? I have found out that I have mo... (From:
Sunday Night. I have just received your letter, and feel as if I could not go to bed tranquilly without saying a few words in reply—merely to tell you, that my mind is serene, and my heart affectionate. Ever since you last saw me inclined to faint, I have felt some gentle twitches, which make me begin to think, that I am nourishing a creature who will soon be sensible of my care.—This thought has not only produced an overflowing of tenderness to you, but made me very attentive to calm my mind and take exercise, lest I should destroy an object, in whom we are to have a mutual interest, you know. Yesterday—do not smile!—finding that I had hurt myself by lifting precipitately a large log of wood, ... (From:
Friday Morning. I am glad to find that other people can be unreasonable, as well as myself—for be it known to thee, that I answered thy first letter, the very night it reached me (Sunday), though thou couldst not receive it before Wednesday, because it was not sent off till the next day.—There is a full, true, and particular account.— Yet I am not angry with thee, my love, for I think that it is a proof of stupidity, and likewise of a milk-and-water affection, which comes to the same thing, when the temper is governed by a square and compass.—There is nothing picturesque in this straight-lined equality, and the passions always give grace to the actions. Recollection now makes my heart bound ... (From:
Sunday Morning [December 29.] You seem to have taken up your abode at H——. Pray sir! when do you think of coming home? or, to write very considerately, when will business permit you? I shall expect (as the country people say in England) that you will make a power of money to indemnify me for your absence. — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — &mdash... (From:
Monday Night [December 30.] My best love, your letter to-night was particularly grateful to my heart, depressed by the letters I received by ——, for he brought me several, and the parcel of books directed to Mr. ——— was for me. Mr. ———'s letter was long and very affectionate; but the account he gives me of his own affairs, though he obviously makes the best of them, has vexed me. A melancholy letter from my sister ——— has also harrassed my mind—that from my brother would have given me sincere pleasure; but for    —    — — — — — — — — — — —... (From:
Tuesday Morning [December 31.] Though I have just sent a letter off, yet, as captain —— offers to take one, I am not willing to let him go without a kind greeting, because trifles of this sort, without having any effect on my mind, damp my spirits:—and you, with all your struggles to be manly, have some of this same sensibility.—Do not bid it begone, for I love to see it striving to master your features; besides, these kind of sympathies are the life of affection: and why, in cultivating our understandings, should we try to dry up these springs of pleasure, which gush out to give a freshness to days browned by care! The books sent to me are such as we may read together; so I shall not look into... (From:
Wednesday Night [January 1.] As I have been, you tell me, three days without writing, I ought not to complain of two: yet, as I expected to receive a letter this afternoon, I am hurt; and why should I, by concealing it, affect the heroism I do not feel? I hate commerce. How differently must ———'s head and heart be organized from mine! You will tell me, that exertions are necessary: I am weary of them! The face of things, public and private, vexes me. The "peace" and clemency which seemed to be dawning a few days ago, disappear again. "I am fallen," as Milton said, "on evil days;" for I really believe that Europe will be in a state of convulsion, during half a century at least. Life is but a labor of ... (From:
Monday Night. I have just received your kind and rational letter, and would fain hide my face, glowing with shame for my folly.—I would hide it in your bosom, if you would again open it to me, and nestle closely till you bade my fluttering heart be still, by saying that you forgave me. With eyes overflowing with tears, and in the humblest attitude, I intreat you.—Do not turn from me, for indeed I love you fondly, and have been very wretched, since the night I was so cruelly hurt by thinking that you had no confidence in me—— It is time for me to grow more reasonable, a few more of these caprices of sensibility would destroy me. I have, in fact, been very much indisposed for a few days past, and... (From:
Wednesday Morning. I will never, if I am not entirely cured of quarreling, begin to encourage "quick-coming fancies," when we are separated. Yesterday, my love, I could not open your letter for some time; and, though it was not half as severe as I merited, it threw me into such a fit of trembling, as seriously alarmed me. I did not, as you may suppose, care for a little pain on my own account; but all the fears which I have had for a few days past, returned with fresh force. This morning I am better; will you not be glad to hear it? You perceive that sorrow has almost made a child of me, and that I want to be soothed to peace. One thing you mistake in my character, and imagine that to be coldness which is just the co... (From:
Thursday Night. I have been wishing the time away, my kind love, unable to rest till I knew that my penitential letter had reached your hand—and this afternoon, when your tender epistle of Tuesday gave such exquisite pleasure to your poor sick girl, her heart smote her to think that you were still to receive another cold one.—Burn it also, my ——; yet do not forget that even those letters were full of love; and I shall ever recollect, that you did not wait to be mollified by my penitence, before you took me again to your heart. I have been unwell, and would not, now I am recovering, take a journey, because I have been seriously alarmed and angry with myself, dreading continually the fatal cons... (From:
Saturday Morning. The two or three letters, which I have written to you lately, my love, will serve as an answer to your explanatory one. I cannot but respect your motives and conduct. I always respected them; and was only hurt, by what seemed to me a want of confidence, and consequently affection.—I thought also, that if you were obliged to stay three months at H—, I might as well have been with you.—Well! well, what signifies what I brooded over—Let us now be friends! I shall probably receive a letter from you to-day, sealing my pardon—and I will be careful not to torment you with my querulous humors, at least, till I see you again. Act as circumstances direct, and I will not inquire wh... (From:
Sunday Morning. I wrote to you yesterday, my ——; but, finding that the colonel is still detained (for his passport was forgotten at the office yesterday) I am not willing to let so many days elapse without your hearing from me, after having talked of illness and apprehensions. I cannot boast of being quite recovered, yet I am (I must use my Yorkshire phrase; for, when my heart is warm, pop come the expressions of childhood into my head) so lightsome, that I think it will not go badly with me.—And nothing shall be wanting on my part, I assure you; for I am urged on, not only by an enlivened affection for you, but by a new-born tenderness that plays cheerly round my dilating heart. I was therefore, ... (From:
Tuesday Morning. I seize this opportunity to inform you, that I am to set out on Thursday with Mr. ———, and hope to tell you soon (on your lips) how glad I shall be to see you. I have just got my passport, so I do not foresee any impediment to my reaching H——, to bid you good-night next Friday in my new apartment—where I am to meet you and love, in spite of care, to smile me to sleep—for I have not caught much rest since we parted. You have, by your tenderness and worth, twisted yourself more artfully round my heart, than I supposed possible.—Let me indulge the thought, that I have thrown out some tendrils to cling to the elm by which I wish to be supported.—This... (From:
Wednesday Morning. I only send this as an avant-coureur, without jack-boots, to tell you, that I am again on the wing, and hope to be with you a few hours after you receive it. I shall find you well, and composed, I am sure; or, more properly speaking, cheerful.—What is the reason that my spirits are not as manageable as yours? Yet, now I think of it, I will not allow that your temper is even, though I have promised myself, in order to obtain my own forgiveness, that I will not ruffle it for a long, long time—I am afraid to say never. Farewell for a moment!—Do not forget that I am driving towards you in person! My mind, unfettered, has flown to you long since, or rather has never left you. I am we... (From:
H—, Thursday Morning, March 12. We are such creatures of habit, my love, that, though I cannot say I was sorry, childishly so, for your going, when I knew that you were to stay such a short time, and I had a plan of employment; yet I could not sleep.—I turned to your side of the bed, and tried to make the most of the comfort of the pillow, which you used to tell me I was churlish about; but all would not do.—I took nevertheless my walk before breakfast, though the weather was not very inviting—and here I am, wishing you a finer day, and seeing you peep over my shoulder, as I write, with one of your kindest looks—when your eyes glisten, and a suffusion creeps over your relaxing features. B... (From:
DO not call me stupid, for leaving on the table the little bit of paper I was to enclose.—This comes of being in love at the fag-end of a letter of business.—You know, you say, they will not chime together.—I had got you by the fire-side, with the gigot smoking on the board, to lard your poor bare ribs—and behold, I closed my letter without taking the paper up, that was directly under my eyes!—What had I got in them to render me so blind?—I give you leave to answer the question, if you will not scold; for I am Yours most affectionately                 * * * * (From:
Sunday, August 17. — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — I have promised ——— to go with him to his country-house, where he is now permitted to dine—I, and the little darling, to be sure[47-A]—whom I cannot help kissing with more fondness, since you left us. I think I shall enjoy the fine prospect, and that it will rather enliven, than satiate my imagination. I have called on Mrs. ———. She has the manners of a gentlewoman, with a dash of the easy Fren... (From:
H—, August 19, Tuesday. I received both your letters to-day—I had reckoned on hearing from you yesterday, therefore was disappointed, though I imputed your silence to the right cause. I intended answering your kind letter immediately, that you might have felt the pleasure it gave me; but ——— came in, and some other things interrupted me; so that the fine vapor has evaporated—yet, leaving a sweet scent behind, I have only to tell you, what is sufficiently obvious, that the earnest desire I have shown to keep my place, or gain more ground in your heart, is a sure proof how necessary your affection is to my happiness.—Still I do not think it false delicacy, or foolish pride, to wish... (From:
H—, August 20. I want to know what steps you have taken respecting ——. Knavery always rouses my indignation—I should be gratified to hear that the law had chastised ——— severely; but I do not wish you to see him, because the business does not now admit of peaceful discussion, and I do not exactly know how you would express your contempt. Pray ask some questions about Tallien—I am still pleased with the dignity of his conduct.—The other day, in the cause of humanity, he made use of a degree of address, which I admire—and mean to point out to you, as one of the few instances of address which do credit to the abilities of the man, without taking away from that co... (From:
September 22.[58-A] I have just written two letters, that are going by other conveyances, and which I reckon on your receiving long before this. I therefore merely write, because I know I should be disappointed at seeing any one who had left you, if you did not send a letter, were it ever so short, to tell me why you did not write a longer—and you will want to be told, over and over again, that our little Hercules is quite recovered. Besides looking at me, there are three other things, which delight her—to ride in a coach, to look at a scarlet waistcoat, and hear loud music—yesterday, at the fête, she enjoyed the two latter; but, to honor J. J. Rousseau, I intend to give her a sash, the first sh... (From:
Evening, Sept. 23. I have been playing and laughing with the little girl so long, that I cannot take up my pen to address you without emotion. Pressing her to my bosom, she looked so like you (entre nous, your best looks, for I do not admire your commercial face) every nerve seemed to vibrate to the touch, and I began to think that there was something in the assertion of man and wife being one—for you seemed to pervade my whole frame, quickening the beat of my heart, and lending me the sympathetic tears you excited. Have I any thing more to say to you? No; not for the present—the rest is all flown away; and, indulging tenderness for you, I cannot now complain of some people here, who have ruffled my tempe... (From:
Paris, Sept. 28. I have written to you three or four letters; but different causes have prevented my sending them by the persons who promised to take or forward them. The enclosed is one I wrote to go by B——; yet, finding that he will not arrive, before I hope, and believe, you will have set out on your return, I enclose it to you, and shall give it in charge to ——, as Mr. —— is detained, to whom I also gave a letter. I cannot help being anxious to hear from you; but I shall not harrass you with accounts of inquietudes, or of cares that arise from peculiar circumstances.—I have had so many little plagues here, that I have almost lamented that I left H——. —&mda... (From:
October 1. It is a heartless task to write letters, without knowing whether they will ever reach you.—I have given two to ——, who has been a-going, a-going, every day, for a week past; and three others, which were written in a low-spirited strain, a little querulous or so, I have not been able to forward by the opportunities that were mentioned to me. Tant mieux! you will say, and I will not say nay; for I should be sorry that the contents of a letter, when you are so far away, should damp the pleasure that the sight of it would afford—judging of your feelings by my own. I just now stumbled on one of the kind letters, which you wrote during your last absence. You are then a dear affectionate crea... (From:
October 26. My dear love, I began to wish so earnestly to hear from you, that the sight of your letters occasioned such pleasurable emotions, I was obliged to throw them aside till the little girl and I were alone together; and this said little girl, our darling, is become a most intelligent little creature, and as gay as a lark, and that in the morning too, which I do not find quite so convenient. I once told you, that the sensations before she was born, and when she is sucking, were pleasant; but they do not deserve to be compared to the emotions I feel, when she stops to smile upon me, or laughs outright on meeting me unexpectedly in the street, or after a short absence. She has now the advantage of having two good n... (From:
Dec. 26. I have been, my love, for some days tormented by fears, that I would not allow to assume a form—I had been expecting you daily—and I heard that many vessels had been driven on shore during the late gale.—Well, I now see your letter—and find that you are safe; I will not regret then that your exertions have hitherto been so unavailing. — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — Be that as it may, return to me when you have arranged the other matters, which —— ... (From:
December 28. — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — I do, my love, indeed sincerely sympathize with you in all your disappointments.—Yet, knowing that you are well, and think of me with affection, I only lament other disappointments, because I am sorry that you should thus exert yourself in vain, and that you are kept from me. ———, I know, urges you to stay, and is continually branching out into new projects, because he has the idle desire to amass a large fortune, rather ... (From:
December 29. Though I suppose you have later intelligence, yet, as ——— has just informed me that he has an opportunity of sending immediately to you, I take advantage of it to enclose you — — — — — — — — — — — How I hate this crooked business! This intercourse with the world, which obliges one to see the worst side of human nature! Why cannot you be content with the object you had first in view, when you entered into this wearisome labyrinth?—I know very well that you have imperceptibly been drawn on; yet why does one project, successful or abortive, only give place to two others? Is it not sufficient to avoid poverty?—I... (From:
December 30. Should you receive three or four of the letters at once which I have written lately, do not think of Sir John Brute, for I do not mean to wife you. I only take advantage of every occasion, that one out of three of my epistles may reach your hands, and inform you that I am not of ———'s opinion, who talks till he makes me angry, of the necessity of your staying two or three months longer. I do not like this life of continual inquietude—and, entre nous, I am determined to try to earn some money here myself, in order to convince you that, if you chuse to run about the world to get a fortune, it is for yourself—for the little girl and I will live without your assistance, unless you ... (From:
January 9. I just now received one of your hasty notes; for business so entirely occupies you, that you have not time, or sufficient command of thought, to write letters. Beware! you seem to be got into a whirl of projects and schemes, which are drawing you into a gulph, that, if it do not absorb your happiness, will infallibly destroy mine. Fatigued during my youth by the most arduous struggles, not only to obtain independence, but to render myself useful, not merely pleasure, for which I had the most lively taste, I mean the simple pleasures that flow from passion and affection, escaped me, but the most melancholy views of life were impressed by a disappointed heart on my mind. Since I knew you, I have been endeavo... (From:
Jan. 15. I was just going to begin my letter with the fag end of a song, which would only have told you, what I may as well say simply, that it is pleasant to forgive those we love. I have received your two letters, dated the 26th and 28th of December, and my anger died away. You can scarcely conceive the effect some of your letters have produced on me. After longing to hear from you during a tedious interval of suspense, I have seen a superscription written by you.—Promising myself pleasure, and feeling emotion, I have laid it by me, till the person who brought it, left the room—when, behold! on opening it, I have found only half a dozen hasty lines, that have damped all the rising affection of my soul. ... (From:
Jan. 30. From the purport of your last letters, I would suppose that this will scarcely reach you; and I have already written so many letters, that you have either not received, or neglected to acknowledge, I do not find it pleasant, or rather I have no inclination, to go over the same ground again. If you have received them, and are still detained by new projects, it is useless for me to say any more on the subject. I have done with it for ever—yet I ought to remind you that your pecuniary interest suffers by your absence. — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — &... (From:
February 9. The melancholy presentiment has for some time hung on my spirits, that we were parted for ever; and the letters I received this day, by Mr. ——, convince me that it was not without foundation. You allude to some other letters, which I suppose have miscarried; for most of those I have got, were only a few hasty lines, calculated to wound the tenderness the sight of the superscriptions excited. I mean not however to complain; yet so many feelings are struggling for utterance, and agitating a heart almost bursting with anguish, that I find it very difficult to write with any degree of coherence. You left me indisposed, though you have taken no notice of it; and the most fatiguing journey I ever ... (From:
Feb. 10. You talk of "permanent views and future comfort"—not for me, for I am dead to hope. The inquietudes of the last winter have finished the business, and my heart is not only broken, but my constitution destroyed. I conceive myself in a galloping consumption, and the continual anxiety I feel at the thought of leaving my child, feeds the fever that nightly devours me. It is on her account that I again write to you, to conjure you, by all that you hold sacred, to leave her here with the German lady you may have heard me mention! She has a child of the same age, and they may be brought up together, as I wish her to be brought up. I shall write more fully on the subject. To facilitate this, I shall give up my p... (From:
Feb. 19. When I first received your letter, putting off your return to an indefinite time, I felt so hurt, that I know not what I wrote. I am now calmer, though it was not the kind of wound over which time has the quickest effect; on the contrary, the more I think, the sadder I grow. Society fatigues me inexpressibly—So much so, that finding fault with every one, I have only reason enough, to discover that the fault is in myself. My child alone interests me, and, but for her, I should not take any pains to recover my health. As it is, I shall wean her, and try if by that step (to which I feel a repugnance, for it is my only solace) I can get rid of my cough. Physicians talk much of the danger attending any compl... (From:
April 7. Here I am at H——, on the wing towards you, and I write now, only to tell you, that you may expect me in the course of three or four days; for I shall not attempt to give vent to the different emotions which agitate my heart—You may term a feeling, which appears to me to be a degree of delicacy that naturally arises from sensibility, pride—Still I cannot indulge the very affectionate tenderness which glows in my bosom, without trembling, till I see, by your eyes, that it is mutual. I sit, lost in thought, looking at the sea—and tears rush into my eyes, when I find that I am cherishing any fond expectations.—I have indeed been so unhappy this winter, I find it as difficult to... (From:
Brighthelmstone, Saturday, April 11. Here we are, my love, and mean to set out early in the morning; and, if I can find you, I hope to dine with you to-morrow.—I shall drive to ———'s hotel, where ——— tells me you have been—and, if you have left it, I hope you will take care to be there to receive us. I have brought with me Mr. ——'s little friend, and a girl whom I like to take care of our little darling—not on the way, for that fell to my share.—But why do I write about trifles?—or any thing?—Are we not to meet soon?—What does your heart say! Yours truly                 * * * * I have w... (From:
London, Friday, May 22. I have just received your affectionate letter, and am distressed to think that I have added to your embarrassments at this troublesome juncture, when the exertion of all the faculties of your mind appears to be necessary, to extricate you out of your pecuniary difficulties. I suppose it was something relative to the circumstance you have mentioned, which made ——— request to see me to-day, to converse about a matter of great importance. Be that as it may, his letter (such is the state of my spirits) inconceivably alarmed me, and rendered the last night as distressing, as the two former had been. I have labored to calm my mind since you left me—Still I find that tranquility... (From:
Wednesday. I enclose you the letter, which you desired me to forward, and I am tempted very laconically to wish you a good morning—not because I am angry, or have nothing to say; but to keep down a wounded spirit.—I shall make every effort to calm my mind—yet a strong conviction seems to whirl round in the very center of my brain, which, like the fiat of fate, emphatically assures me, that grief has a firm hold of my heart. God bless you! Yours sincerely                 * * * * (From:
—, Wednesday, Two o'Clock. We arrived here about an hour ago. I am extremely fatigued with the child, who would not rest quiet with any body but me, during the night—and now we are here in a comfortless, damp room, in a sort of a tomb-like house. This however I shall quickly remedy, for, when I have finished this letter, (which I must do immediately, because the post goes out early), I shall sally forth, and inquire about a vessel and an inn. I will not distress you by talking of the depression of my spirits, or the struggle I had to keep alive my dying heart.—It is even now too full to allow me to write with composure.—*****,—dear *****, —am I always to be tossed about thus?—... (From:
Thursday. A lady has just sent to offer to take me to ———. I have then only a moment to exclaim against the vague manner in which people give information — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — But why talk of inconveniences, which are in fact trifling, when compared with the sinking of the heart I have felt! I did not intend to touch this painful string—God bless you! Yours truly, &ensp... (From:
Friday, June 12. I have just received yours dated the 9th, which I suppose was a mistake, for it could scarcely have loitered so long on the road. The general observations which apply to the state of your own mind, appear to me just, as far as they go; and I shall always consider it as one of the most serious misfortunes of my life, that I did not meet you, before satiety had rendered your senses so fastidious, as almost to close up every tender avenue of sentiment and affection that leads to your sympathetic heart. You have a heart, my friend, yet, hurried away by the impetuosity of inferior feelings, you have sought in vulgar excesses, for that gratification which only the heart can bestow. The common run of men, I ... (From:
Sunday, June 14. I rather expected to hear from you to-day—I wish you would not fail to write to me for a little time, because I am not quite well—Whether I have any good sleep or not, I wake in the morning in violent fits of trembling—and, in spite of all my efforts, the child—every thing—fatigues me, in which I seek for solace or amusement. Mr. —— forced on me a letter to a physician of this place; it was fortunate, for I should otherwise have had some difficulty to obtain the necessary information. His wife is a pretty woman (I can admire, you know, a pretty woman, when I am alone) and he an intelligent and rather interesting man.—They have behaved to me with great ho... (From:
June 15. I want to know how you have settled with respect to ———. In short, be very particular in your account of all your affairs—let our confidence, my dear, be unbounded.—The last time we were separated, was a separation indeed on your part—Now you have acted more ingenuously, let the most affectionate interchange of sentiments fill up the aching void of disappointment. I almost dread that your plans will prove abortive—yet should the most unlucky turn send you home to us, convinced that a true friend is a treasure, I should not much mind having to struggle with the world again. Accuse me not of pride—yet sometimes, when nature has opened my heart to its author, I have ... (From:
Tuesday Morning. The captain has just sent to inform me, that I must be on board in the course of a few hours.—I wished to have stayed till to-morrow. It would have been a comfort to me to have received another letter from you—Should one arrive, it will be sent after me. My spirits are agitated, I scarcely know why——The quitting England seems to be a fresh parting.—Surely you will not forget me.—A thousand weak forebodings assault my soul, and the state of my health renders me sensible to every thing. It is surprising that in London, in a continual conflict of mind, I was still growing better—whilst here, bowed down by the despotic hand of fate, forced into resignation by desp... (From:
Wednesday Morning. I was hurried on board yesterday about three o'clock, the wind having changed. But before evening it veered round to the old point; and here we are, in the midst of mists and water, only taking advantage of the tide to advance a few miles. You will scarcely suppose that I left the town with reluctance—yet it was even so—for I wished to receive another letter from you, and I felt pain at parting, for ever perhaps, from the amiable family, who had treated me with so much hospitality and kindness. They will probably send me your letter, if it arrives this morning; for here we are likely to remain, I am afraid to think how long. The vessel is very commodious, and the captain a civil, open... (From:
Thursday. Here I am still—and I have just received your letter of Monday by the pilot, who promised to bring it to me, if we were detained, as he expected, by the wind.—It is indeed wearisome to be thus tossed about without going forward.—I have a violent head-ache—yet I am obliged to take care of the child, who is a little tormented by her teeth, because ——— is unable to do any thing, she is rendered so sick by the motion of the ship, as we ride at anchor. These are however trifling inconveniences, compared with anguish of mind—compared with the sinking of a broken heart.—To tell you the truth, I never suffered in my life so much from depression of spirits—f... (From:
Saturday. This is the fifth dreary day I have been imprisoned by the wind, with every outward object to disgust the senses, and unable to banish the remembrances that sadden my heart. How am I altered by disappointment!—When going to ——, ten years ago, the elasticity of my mind was sufficient to ward off weariness—and the imagination still could dip her brush in the rainbow of fancy, and sketch futurity in smiling colors. Now I am going towards the North in search of sunbeams!—Will any ever warm this desolated heart? All nature seems to frown—or rather mourn with me.—Every thing is cold—cold as my expectations! Before I left the shore, tormented, as I now am, by these ... (From:
Sunday Morning. The captain last night, after I had written my letter to you intended to be left at a little village, offered to go to —— to pass to-day. We had a troublesome sail—and now I must hurry on board again, for the wind has changed. I half expected to find a letter from you here. Had you written one haphazard, it would have been kind and considerate—you might have known, had you thought, that the wind would not permit me to depart. These are attentions, more grateful to the heart than offers of service—But why do I foolishly continue to look for them? Adieu! adieu! My friend—your friendship is very cold—you see I am hurt.—God bless you! I may perhaps be, som... (From:
June 27, Saturday. I arrived in ——— this afternoon, after vainly attempting to land at ——. I have now but a moment, before the post goes out, to inform you we have got here; though not without considerable difficulty, for we were set ashore in a boat above twenty miles below. What I suffered in the vessel I will not now descant upon—nor mention the pleasure I received from the sight of the rocky coast.—This morning however, walking to join the carriage that was to transport us to this place, I fell, without any previous warning, senseless on the rocks—and how I escaped with life I can scarcely guess. I was in a stupour for a quarter of an hour; the suffusion of blood at ... (From:
June 29. I wrote to you by the last post, to inform you of my arrival; and I believe I alluded to the extreme fatigue I endured on ship-board, owing to ———'s illness, and the roughness of the weather—I likewise mentioned to you my fall, the effects of which I still feel, though I do not think it will have any serious consequences. ——— will go with me, if I find it necessary to go to ———. The inns here are so bad, I was forced to accept of an apartment in his house. I am overwhelmed with civilities on all sides, and fatigued with the endeavors to amuse me, from which I cannot escape. My friend—my friend, I am not well—a deadly weight of sorrow lie... (From:
July 1. I labor in vain to calm my mind—my soul has been overwhelmed by sorrow and disappointment. Every thing fatigues me—this is a life that cannot last long. It is you who must determine with respect to futurity—and, when you have, I will act accordingly—I mean, we must either resolve to live together, or part for ever, I cannot bear these continual struggles—But I wish you to examine carefully your own heart and mind; and, if you perceive the least chance of being happier without me than with me, or if your inclination leans capriciously to that side, do not dissemble; but tell me frankly that you will never see me more. I will then adopt the plan I mentioned to you—for we must ei... (From:
July 3. There was a gloominess diffused through your last letter, the impression of which still rests on my mind—though, recollecting how quickly you throw off the forcible feelings of the moment, I flatter myself it has long since given place to your usual cheerfulness. Believe me (and my eyes fill with tears of tenderness as I assure you) there is nothing I would not endure in the way of privation, rather than disturb your tranquility.—If I am fated to be unhappy, I will labor to hide my sorrows in my own bosom; and you shall always find me a faithful, affectionate friend. I grow more and more attached to my little girl—and I cherish this affection without fear, because it must be a long time be... (From:
July 4. I hope to hear from you by to-morrow's mail. My dearest friend! I cannot tear my affections from you—and, though every remembrance stings me to the soul, I think of you, till I make allowance for the very defects of character, that have given such a cruel stab to my peace. Still however I am more alive, than you have seen me for a long, long time. I have a degree of vivacity, even in my grief, which is preferable to the benumbing stupour that, for the last year, has frozen up all my faculties.—Perhaps this change is more owing to returning health, than to the vigor of my reason—for, in spite of sadness (and surely I have had my share), the purity of this air, and the being continually out in... (From:
July 7. I could not help feeling extremely mortified last post, at not receiving a letter from you. My being at ——— was but a chance, and you might have hazarded it; and would a year ago. I shall not however complain—There are misfortunes so great, as to silence the usual expressions of sorrow—Believe me, there is such a thing as a broken heart! There are characters whose very energy preys upon them; and who, ever inclined to cherish by reflection some passion, cannot rest satisfied with the common comforts of life. I have endeavored to fly from myself, and launched into all the dissipation possible here, only to feel keener anguish, when alone with my child. Still, could any thing plea... (From:
July 14. I am now on my journey to ———. I felt more at leaving my child, than I thought I should—and, whilst at night I imagined every instant that I heard the half-formed sounds of her voice,—I asked myself how I could think of parting with her for ever, of leaving her thus helpless? Poor lamb! It may run very well in a tale, that "God will temper the winds to the shorn lamb!" but how can I expect that she will be shielded, when my naked bosom has had to brave continually the pitiless storm? Yes; I could add, with poor Lear—What is the war of elements to the pangs of disappointed affection, and the horror arising from a discovery of a breach of confidence, that snaps every social ... (From:
July 18. I am here in ——, separated from my child—and here I must remain a month at least, or I might as well never have come. — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — I have begun ———— which will, I hope, discharge all my obligations of a pecuniary kind.—I am lowered in my own eyes,... (From:
July 30. I have just received two of your letters, dated the 26th and 30th of June; and you must have received several from me, informing you of my detention, and how much I was hurt by your silence. — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — Write to me then, my friend, and write explicitly. I have suffered, God knows, since I left you. Ah! you have never felt this kind of sickness of heart!—My mind however is at present painfully active, and the sympathy I feel almost rises to agony. But this i... (From:
August 5. Employment and exercise have been of great service to me; and I have entirely recovered the strength and activity I lost during the time of my nursing. I have seldom been in better health; and my mind, though trembling to the touch of anguish, is calmer—yet still the same.—I have, it is true, enjoyed some tranquility, and more happiness here, than for a long—long time past.—(I say happiness, for I can give no other appellation to the exquisite delight this wild country and fine summer have afforded me.)—Still, on examining my heart, I find that it is so constituted, I cannot live without some particular affection—I am afraid not without a passion—and I feel the want of... (From:
August 7. Air, exercise, and bathing, have restored me to health, braced my muscles, and covered my ribs, even whilst I have recovered my former activity.—I cannot tell you that my mind is calm, though I have snatched some moments of exquisite delight, wandering through the woods, and resting on the rocks. This state of suspense, my friend, is intolerable; we must determine on something—and soon;—we must meet shortly, or part for ever. I am sensible that I acted foolishly—but I was wretched—when we were together—Expecting too much, I let the pleasure I might have caught, slip from me. I cannot live with you—I ought not—if you form another attachment. But I promise you, m... (From:
August 9. Five of your letters have been sent after me from ——. One, dated the 14th of July, was written in a style which I may have merited, but did not expect from you. However this is not a time to reply to it, except to assure you that you shall not be tormented with any more complaints. I am disgusted with myself for having so long importuned you with my affection.—— My child is very well. We shall soon meet, to part no more, I hope—I mean, I and my girl.—I shall wait with some degree of anxiety till I am informed how your affairs terminate. Yours sincerely                 * * * * (From:
August 26. I arrived here last night, and with the most exquisite delight, once more pressed my babe to my heart. We shall part no more. You perhaps cannot conceive the pleasure it gave me, to see her run about, and play alone. Her increasing intelligence attaches me more and more to her. I have promised her that I will fulfill my duty to her; and nothing in future shall make me forget it. I will also exert myself to obtain an independence for her; but I will not be too anxious on this head. I have already told you, that I have recovered my health. Vigor, and even vivacity of mind, have returned with a renovated constitution. As for peace, we will not talk of it. I was not made, perhaps, to enjoy the calm contentment... (From:
September 6. I received just now your letter of the 20th. I had written you a letter last night, into which imperceptibly slipt some of my bitterness of soul. I will copy the part relative to business. I am not sufficiently vain to imagine that I can, for more than a moment, cloud your enjoyment of life—to prevent even that, you had better never hear from me—and repose on the idea that I am happy. Gracious God! It is impossible for me to stifle something like resentment, when I receive fresh proofs of your indifference. What I have suffered this last year, is not to be forgotten! I have not that happy substitute for wisdom, insensibility—and the lively sympathies which bind me to my fellow-creatures,... (From:
September 25. I have just finished a letter, to be given in charge to captain ———. In that I complained of your silence, and expressed my surprise that three mails should have arrived without bringing a line for me. Since I closed it, I hear of another, and still no letter.—I am laboring to write calmly—this silence is a refinement on cruelty. Had captain ——— remained a few days longer, I would have returned with him to England. What have I to do here? I have repeatedly written to you fully. Do you do the same—and quickly. Do not leave me in suspense. I have not deserved this of you. I cannot write, my mind is so distressed. Adieu! (From:
September 27. When you receive this, I shall either have landed, or be hovering on the British coast—your letter of the 18th decided me. By what criterion of principle or affection, you term my questions extraordinary and unnecessary, I cannot determine.—You desire me to decide—I had decided. You must have had long ago two letters of mine, from ———, to the same purport, to consider.—In these, God knows! there was but too much affection, and the agonies of a distracted mind were but too faithfully pourtrayed!—What more then had I to say?—The negative was to come from you.—You had perpetually recurred to your promise of meeting me in the autumn—Was it ext... (From:
Sunday, October 4. I wrote to you by the packet, to inform you, that your letter of the 18th of last month, had determined me to set out with captain ———; but, as we sailed very quick, I take it for granted, that you have not yet received it. You say, I must decide for myself.—I had decided, that it was most for the interest of my little girl, and for my own comfort, little as I expect, for us to live together; and I even thought that you would be glad, some years hence, when the tumult of business was over, to repose in the society of an affectionate friend, and mark the progress of our interesting child, whilst endeavoring to be of use in the circle you at last resolved to rest in; for you ... (From:


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