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unquerulous submission to the inevitable : unless one interchanges that term with the term consent, the materials as yet published do nothing to invalidate Harriet's denial. Towards the end of the year she gave birth to a child, Charles Bysshe, who died in 1826.
On some day after 8th July, and therefore after the final separation from Harriet, Shelley avowed to Mary the love which he had, before that event, conceived for her. I will here borrow Lady Shelley's words, the first authentic published record of the fact. “ To her, as they met one eventful day in St. Pancras churchyard, by her mother's grave, Bysshe, in burning words, poured forth the tale of his wild past-how he had suffered, how he had been misled, and how, if supported by her love, he hoped in future years to enroll his name with the wise and good who had done battle for their fellow-men, and been true through all adverse storms to the cause of humanity. Unhesitatingly she placed her hand in his, and linked her fortune with his own." On the 28th of July they left England. Before his departure with Mary, which had been notified to Harriet, Shelley had ordered a settlement for the benefit of the latter (whether this settlement took full effect is not specified); towards November 1814 he informed her that there was money at his banker's, “and she might draw as much as she liked”; he set money apart for her in 1815, as we shall see further on; he corresponded with her during his stay on the continent, and after his return; called upon her immediately after relanding in England; and, at least as late as December 1814, he gave her good advice, and took trouble to advantage her. Mary also continued on amicable terms with Harriet--at any rate no open hostility ensued. I am told that, at some time after the return of Shelley and Mary from the continent in this year 1814, he consulted a legal friend with a view to reintroducing Harriet into his household as a permanent inmate—it is to be presumed, as strictly and solely a friend of the connubial pair, Mary and himself: and it required some little cogency of demonstration on the part of the lawyer to convince the primæval intellect of Shelley that such an arrangement had its weak side.
* See, in the Notes, vol. ii. p. 415, an extract from what Mr. Garnett has very ably said on the subject--with a view to the vindication of Shelley, but by no means to the depreciation of Harriet. His main point is that, at some time between a day of June when Shelley wrote a poem to Mary, and the 28th July when Shelley and Mary left England together, the poet must have discovered that Harriet was not anxious to continue living as his wife. For my own part, I question whether the poem indicates that Shelley, being in love with Mary, was then endeavouring to control his passion out of regard to Harriet: it may not less plausibly be construed as an evidence of the mutual love of Shelley and Mary, kept from the observation of outsiders through motives of prudence alone. If this latter view is adopted, the poem in question does not furnish a suggestion that any indifference of Harriet to Shelley was discovered afterwards, or at all. Distinct testimony to that effect may exist, but has not yet been published. I find, however, a very remarkable statement in Dr. Polidori's Diary (18th June), which I give for what it is worth :" He (Shelley) married; and, a friend of his liking his wife, he tried all he could to induce her to love him in turn. This Catonian transaction, if true at all, must no doubt be understood in the sense that Shelley, after he had discovered the mutual incompatibility between himself and Harriet, found also that the happiness of a friend of his could be promoted by Harriet, and that he then furthered his suit with her. At an earlier period of his wedded life, he had shown himself by no means tolerant of Hogg's misconduct with regard to Harriet. Mr. Foster, in his Life of Landor, intimated that he was in possession of documents which throw light upon the entire affair of the separation, but to what particular purpost he did not disclose.
Some points remain still to be revealed in this whole matter of the separation; but we are probably in a position to estimate already the main facts and their bearings. We shall never do justice to any one of the three parties concerned unless we consider these facts from their point of view, and not from that of persons whose opinions are fundamentally different.
Firstly, then, as regards Shelley, it appears to be certain that, after some two years or more of marriage, he found that Harriet did not suit him, partly through the limitations of her own mind and character, and partly through the baneful influence of her sister; that, having already reached this conclusion, he fell desperately in love with Mary Godwin; that this attachment (not then avowed nor confessedly reciprocated), combining with the previous motives, determined him to separate from Harriet; and that the separation, though at one moment a mere piece of abrupt de facto work on Shelley's part, was eventually carried out on a deliberate footing, and without decided neglect of her material interests. Shelley was an avowed opponent, on principle, to the formal and coercive tie of marriage :' therefore, in ceasing his marital connection with Harriet, and in assuming a similar but informal relation to Mary, he did nothing which he regarded as wrong—though (as far as anything yet published goes) it must distinctly be said that he consulted his own option rather than Harriet's.
Secondly, Harriet took no steps of her own accord to separate from Shelley, and had given no cause whatever for repudiation by breach or tangible neglect of wifely duty; but she did not offer a strenuous pertinacious resistance to the separation, nor exhibit a determined sense of wrong. Mr. Thornton Hunt, indeed, thinks that she may rather have courted the separation at the moment, but only with the idea that it would cause a revulsion in Shelley's mind, inducing him submissively to solicit her return. If Shelley connected himself with Mary, Harriet, after the separation, connected herself with some other protector, and this probably, from the principles she had imbibed, with a conscience equally void of offence-at least at first.
* See the strong expressions in the note to Queen Mab, pp. 223-25, written when Shelley was living in harmony with Harriet. Similar views are set forth in his correspondence, published and unpublished, close to the date of his eloping with and marrying her,
Thirdly, there is no evidence at all that Mary did anything reprehensible with a view to supplanting Harriet, and securing Shelley for herself. When he, after leaving Harriet, sought her love, she freely and warmly gave it; and, in so doing, she again acted strictly within the scope of her own code of right.
Such, as far as my authorities go, are the clear facts of this case. They are simple and unambiguous enough; but no doubt liable to be judged with great severity by those who start from contrary premisses. We find three persons fashioning their lives according to their own convictions, and in opposition to the moral rules of their time and country. Two of them act spontaneously, and with a view to their own happiness; the third has her course predetermined by the others, or by one of them, and adapts herself to it with inore or less acquiescence. For her it turns out very much amiss; and from her misfortunes or wrongs there will be a Nemesis to haunt the mutual peace of the others.
XI.-FIRST CONTINENTAL TRIP. The household of Godwin consisted of his second wife, who had previously been married to a Mr. Clairmont; Mary, his daughter by his first wife; and William, his son by his second wife. Also Frances (or Fanny) Wollstonecraft, the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft by Mr. Imlay, born before her marriage with Godwin, and always called Fanny Godwin; and two children of the second Mrs. Godwin by her former marriage-- Jane (who adopted instead the name of Claire) Clairmont, and Charles Clairmont Godwin, eminent as an author-admired for his powerful novel of Caleb Williams, and deeply reverenced by a knot of advanced thinkers as the philosopher of Political Justice and the Enquirer--carried on business as a bookseller at No. 41 Skinner Street. It is amusing to read of his displeasure if he was not addressed as “Esquire” on a letter-cover, and of Shelley's profound amazement at this displeasure. Mary was treated in a domineering and unsympathetic spirit by her stepmother, and was consequently not happy at home. Moreover, her connection with Shelley was not recognized but much resented by both stepmother and father. Their going abroad together was effected by the lovers without concealment or hurry on their own account. But Miss Clairmont was minded to ac- . company them, and this again was strongly objected to by Mrs. Godwin. The consequence is that the three young people started in secret on the 28th July, a singularly sultry day, and crossed from Dover to Calais in a small boat, encountering a perilous squall and thunderstorm. Mrs. Godwin, and a friend Mr. Marshall, pursued them to Calais, but without any avail.
Miss Clairmont was now sixteen years old, an Italian-looking brunette, "of great ability, strong feelings, lively temper, and, though not regularly handsome, of brilliant appearance. She shared Mary's independent opinions on questions such as that of marriage. From this time onwards she became almost a permanent member of Shelley's household, whether abroad or in England.
Having reached Paris (where Shelley pawned his watch, and sent the money, I am informed, to Harriet), the travellers resolved to perform the remainder of their journey on foot, with occasional lifts, and an ass to carry their portmanteau. The ass, however, proved to be “not trong enough for the place," and a mule was substituted when they quitted Charenton. Soon Shelley sprained his ankle; walking became impossible for him, and an open voiture drawn by another mule replaced the former animal. The route disclosed much horrible devas. tation perpetrated by the Cossacks and other invaders upon lately re-Bourbonized France. The Alps came into view soon before the tourists reached Neufchâtel : "their immensity (writes Mrs. Shelley, in her History of a Six Weeks' Tour, the authority for all these details) “ staggers the imagination, and so far surpasses all conception that it requires an effort of the understanding to believe that they indeed form a part of the
1The name of Miss Clairmont occurs in the sequel of this Memoir seldomer perhaps than some readers might expect. She is still living, and settled in Florence. The statement that she was sixteen years old in 1814 is taken by me from a letter of her mother's which I have seen; unless this was wilfully untrue, Mr. Kegan Paul (William Godwin, vol ü. p. 213) cannot be right in saying that she was “several years older than Fanny."
earth.” A cottage by the Lake of Uri was the desired termination of the tour; but want of money now dictated a return to England, and from Brunen, a village by that lake, the travellers set their faces homewards with all despatch. They took the Diligence par Eau along the Reuss to Loffenberg. “After having landed for refreshment in the middle of the day, we found, on our return to the boat, that our former seats were occupied. We took others; when the original possessors angrily, and almost with violence, insisted upon our leaving them. Their brutal rudeness to us, who did not understand their language, provoked Shelley to knock one of the foremost down. He did not return the blow; but continued his vociferations until the boatmen interfered, and provided us with other seats.” Shelley was a man of niost eminent physical as well as moral courage; and this small anecdote deserves to be remembered accordingly. From Loffenberg a leaky canoe took the trio on to Mumph : “It was a sight of some dread to see our frail boat winding among the eddies of the rocks, which it was death to touch, and when the slightest inclination on one side would instantly have overset it.” No doubt these experiences were utilised in Alastor. Returning by Basle, Mayence, and Cologne—finding some Germans " disgusting," and the Rhine a "paradise”—thence to Cleves, posting on to Rotterdam, and expending their last guinea at Marsluys—the travellers landed at Gravesend, after a rough passage, on the 13th of September.
The only literary result of this tour, on the part of Shelley, was the wild unfinished tale of The Assassins, which almost looks like a grave burlesque, but was no doubt written in all seriousness. He began it at Brunen, after reading aloud, on a rude pier on the lakė, the account of the siege of Jerusalem in Tacitus.
XII.- DOMESTIC LIFE WITH MARY:-ALASTOR. Soon after his return to London, and at the close of an interval of much pecuniary depression, a great improvement took place in Shelley's worldly position. His grandfather Sir Bysshe died on the 6th of January 1815; his father became Sir Timothy Shelley ; Percy was the 'next heir to the baronetcy and the entailed estate. The result was a new arrangement whereby, in consideration of his giving up some expectations, a clear annual income of £1000 a year from his father was secured to