- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
6

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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farmer. Next year again he was a Londoner; and Mary
had influence enough to persuade him to choose a house at
Walworth, where she would be near to her friend Fanny.
Then, however, the conditions of her home life caused her
to be often on the point of going away to earn a living for
herself. In 1778, when she was nineteen, Mary
Wollstonecraft did leave home, to take a situation as companion with
a rich tradesman’s widow at Bath, of whom it was said that
none of her companions could stay with her. Mary
Wollstonecraft, nevertheless, stayed two years with the
difficult widow, and made herself respected. Her mother’s
failing health then caused Mary to return to her. The
father was then living at Enfield, and trying to save the
small remainder of his means by not venturing upon any
business at all. The mother died after long suffering,
wholly dependent on her daughter Mary’s constant care.
The mother’s last words were often quoted by Mary
Wollstonecraft in her own last years of distress—“A little
patience, and all will be over.”

After the mother’s death, Mary Wollstonecraft left home
again, to live with her friend, Fanny Blood, who was at
Walham Green. In 1782 she went to nurse a manned sister
through a dangerous illness. The father’s need of support
next pressed upon her. He had spent not only his own
money, but also the little that had been specially reserved
for his children. It is said to be the privilege of a passionate
man that he always gets what he wants; he gets to be
avoided, and they never find a convenient corner of their
own who shut themselves out from the kindly fellowship of
life.

In 1783 Mary Wollstonecraft—aged twenty-four—with
two of her sisters, joined Fanny Blood in setting up a day
school at Islington, which was removed in a few months to
Newington Green. Early in 1785 Fanny Blood, far gone
in consumption, sailed for Lisbon to marry an Irish surgeon
who was settled there. After her marriage it was evident
that she had but a few months to live; Mary
Wollstonecraft, deaf to all opposing counsel, then left her school, and,
with help of money from a friendly woman, she went out to
nurse her, and was by her when she died. Mary
Wollstonecraft remembered her loss ten years afterwards in these
“Letters from Sweden and Norway,” when she wrote:

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