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

[Paris] Feb. 19 [1795]. 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 complaint ... (From :

[Paris] Jan. 15 [1795]. 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. Well, ... (From :

[Hull] Sunday, June 14 [1795]. 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 hospital... (From :

[Paris] Feb. 10 [1795]. 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 ... (From :

[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 :

I Never Forget a Book


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