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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Dowden’s “Life of Shelley.” 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. This and the thirteen following letters appear to have been written during a separation of several months; the date, Paris.—W. G. 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. 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 September Imlay visited London on business. The child spoken of in some preceding letters, had now been born a considerable time. She was born, May... (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 question of words. Yet your understanding or mine must be strangely warped—for what you term “delicacy,” appears to me to be exactly the contrary. I have no criterion for morality, and have t... (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 before I returned to England, you took great pains to convince me, that all my uneasiness was occasioned by the effect of a worn-out constitution—and you concluded your letter with these words, &... (From :

Letter 75
London, December 8 . 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 cunning, unworthy of you?—Principles are sacred things—and we never play with truth, with impunity. The expectation (I have too fondly nourished it) of regaining your... (From :

Letter 74
London, November 27 . 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 quit me, banishing almost every other) I labor to conceal in total solitude.—My life therefore is but an exercise of fortitude, continually on the stretch—and hope never gleams in this tomb,... (From :

Blasts from the Past

[Paris] 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 —— has been crowding on you. I want to be sure that you are safe—and not separated from me by a sea that must be passed. For, feeling that I am happier than I ever was, do you wonder at my sometimes dreading that fate has not done persecuting me? Come to me, my dearest fri... (From :

[Paris] 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. Well, now for b... (From :

Havre, 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 confidence in his openness of hea... (From :

Tuesday Morning [Paris, Dec. 31, 1793]. 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 his 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 them till you ... (From :

[Hull] 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 know, with stro... (From :

I Never Forget a Book


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