19 March 1800

William Godwin to Mary Hays, Thursday 13 March [1800].1 


     Your last note has put a pas ^bar^ in the way of my calling on you, to which I was otherwise inclined. The answer I wrote ^you^ last week2 was prompted by no other sentiment, than sympathy for the unworthy treatment you had received, & an anxious desire to assuage the painfulness of your feelings on the subject.3 The distortion of mind with relation to me, that could make you find “asperity” in such an answer, is not a thing pleasant to contemplate.

    I have in a great measure removed the bar your note created, by the very act of mentioning to you how egregiously you perverted my meaning. – Explanation cannot alter any thing, either in my answer or your note, & will therefore best be omitted. I intend myself the pleasure, if you will allow me to interpret your silence into a permission to do so, of calling on you soon.4

                 your sincere well wisher

                                 W Godwin


Thursday, Mar. 13.

Address:  Miss Hays | 22 | Hatton Garden

Postmark: 13 March 1800

1 MS G 0322, Pforzheimer Collection, NYPL; Brooks, Correspondence 468-69; Clemit, Letters 2.129-30; Wedd, Love Letters 242 (dated 18 March). 

2 Hays's note and Godwin's response remain untraced.

3 A reference to Hays's unfortunate entanglement with Charles Lloyd, in which he made many public aspersions concerning her actions and character, causing her much embarrassment, pain, enough to push her to the point of taking legal action against him. 

4 According to Godwin's diary, he calls on Hays on 4 April and 22 April.