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

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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“The grave has closed over a dear friend, the friend of my
youth; still she is present with me, and I hear her soft voice
warbling as I stray over the heath.”

Mary Wollstonecraft left Lisbon for England late in
December, 1785. When she came back she found Fanny’s
poor parents anxious to go back to Ireland; and as she had
been often told that she could earn by writing, she wrote a
pamphlet of 162 small pages—“Thoughts on the Education
of Daughters”—and got ten pounds for it. This she gave
to her friend’s parents to enable them to go back to their
kindred. In all she did there is clear evidence of an ardent,
generous, impulsive nature. One day her friend Fanny
Blood had repined at the unhappy surroundings in the home
she was maintaining for her father and mother, and longed
for a little home of her own to do her work in. Her friend
quietly found rooms, got furniture together, and told her
that her little home was ready; she had only to walk
into it. Then it seemed strange to Mary Wollstonecraft
that Fanny Blood was withheld by thoughts that had not
been uppermost in the mood of complaint. She thought
her friend irresolute, where she had herself been generously
rash. Her end would have been happier had she been
helped, as many are, by that calm influence of home in
which some knowledge of the world passes from father and
mother to son and daughter, without visible teaching and
preaching, in easiest companionship of young and old from
day to day.

The little payment for her pamphlet on the “Education of
Daughters” caused Mary Wollstonecraft to think more
seriously of earning by her pen. The pamphlet seems also
to have advanced her credit as a teacher. After giving up
her day school, she spent some weeks at Eton with the
Rev. Mr. Prior, one of the masters there, who
recommended her as governess to the daughters of Lord
Kingsborough, an Irish viscount, eldest son of the Earl of
Kingston. Her way of teaching was by winning love, and
she obtained the warm affection of the eldest of her pupils,
who became afterwards Countess Mount-Cashel. In the
summer of 1787, Lord Kingsborough’s family, including
Mary Wollstonecraft, was at Bristol Hot-wells, before
going to the Continent. While there, Mary Wollstonecraft
wrote her little tale published as “Mary, a Fiction,”

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