. . . her--through tedious years of doubt and pain, Fix'd in her choice, and faithful--but in vain.
'On the Death of Sir W. Russell', ll. 9-10
So far Cowper has been seen in a world of men, which is only a partial picture. From the death of his mother when he was six ( 1737) until the early 1750's, when he was at Chapman the solicitor's, he was like almost any other English boy of his station. It was scarcely possible for him to know any women, except, as he said, the maids at his boarding-house.1 But once the bonds of school life had been cut, Cowper moved quickly into the society of women. One he sought in particular: his cousin Theadora,2 whom he loved deeply.
She was a daughter of Ashley Cowper, who was a brother of William's father. The two young lawyers, Cowper and Thurlow, spent many hours with Theadora and her older sister Harriot (who married Sir Thomas Hesketh)3 and with her younger sister, Elizabeth Charlotte (who married Sir Archer Croft). Cowper slept at Mr Chapman's, but his days were spent in Southampton Row at Ashley's house, and here he and 'the future Lord Chancellor' were 'constantly____________________