The Love Letters Of Mary Wollstonecraft To Gilbert Imlay

Revolt Library Feminism The Love Letters Of Mary Wollstonecraft To Gilbert Imlay

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[1] Dowden’s “Life of Shelley.” [2] The child is in a subsequent letter called the “barrier girl,” probably from a supposition that she owed her existence to this interview.—W. G. [3] This and the thirteen following letters appear to have been written during a separation of several months; the date, Paris.—W. G. [4] Some further letters, written during the remainder of the week, in a similar strain to the preceding, appear to have been destroyed by the person to whom they were addressed.—W. G. [5] Imlay went to Paris on March 11, after spending a fortnight at Havre, but he returned to Mary soon after the date of Letter XIX. In August he went to Paris, where he was followed by Mary. In Sep... (From :

Letter 77
[London, Dec. 1795.] You must do as you please with respect to the child.—I could wish that it might be done soon, that my name may be no more mentioned to you. It is now finished.—Convinced that you have neither regard nor friendship, I disdain to utter a reproach, though I have had reason to think, that the “forbearance” talked of, has not been very delicate.—It is however of no consequence.—I am glad you are satisfied with your own conduct. I now solemnly assure you, that this is an eternal farewel.—Yet I flinch not from the duties which tie me to life. That there is “sophistry” on one side or other, is certain; but now it matters not on which. On my part it has not been a questio... (From :

Letter 76
[London, Dec. 1795.] As the parting from you for ever is the most serious event of my life, I will once expostulate with you, and call not the language of truth and feeling ingenuity! I know the soundness of your understanding—and know that it is impossible for you always to confound the caprices of every wayward inclination with the manly dictates of principle. You tell me “that I torment you.”—Why do I?——Because you cannot estrange your heart entirely from me—and you feel that justice is on my side. You urge, “that your conduct was unequivocal.”—It was not.—When your coolness has hurt me, with what tenderness have you endeavored to remove the impression!—and even ... (From :

Letter 75
London, December 8 [1795]. Having just been informed that —— is to return immediately to Paris, I would not miss a sure opportunity of writing, because I am not certain that my last, by Dover has reached you. Resentment, and even anger, are momentary emotions with me—and I wished to tell you so, that if you ever think of me, it may not be in the light of an enemy. That I have not been used well I must ever feel; perhaps, not always with the keen anguish I do at present—for I began even now to write calmly, and I cannot restrain my tears. I am stunned!—Your late conduct still appears to me a frightful dream.—Ah! ask yourself if you have not condescended to employ a little address, I could almost say c... (From :

Letter 74
London, November 27 [1795]. The letter, without an address, which you put up with the letters you returned, did not meet my eyes till just now.—I had thrown the letters aside—I did not wish to look over a register of sorrow. My not having seen it, will account for my having written to you with anger—under the impression your departure, without even a line left for me, made on me, even after your late conduct, which could not lead me to expect much attention to my sufferings. In fact, “the decided conduct, which appeared to me so unfeeling,” has almost overturned my reason; my mind is injured—I scarcely know where I am, or what I do.—The grief I cannot conquer (for some cruel recollections never ... (From :

Blasts from the Past

[Sweden] July 4 [1795]. 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 i... (From :

[Tonsberg] August 9 [1795]. 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 Mary. (From :

Wednesday Night [Paris, Jan. 1, 1794]. 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... (From :

[Hull, May 28, 1795] Thursday. A lady has just sent to offer to take me to Beverley. 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, Mary. (From :

[Hull, June, 1795] 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 despa... (From :

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