Shelley and Mary, History of a Six Weeks’ Tour
In this section:
- Shelley and Oxford
- Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin
- The Young Shelley
- Shelley and Mary
- Copy of the portrait of Shelley as a boy
- Portrait of Mary Shelley
- Early letter from Shelley to Godwin
- Shelley's and Mary's elopement journal
- Shelley and Mary, History of a Six Weeks’ Tour
- Journal of Mary Shelley's step-sister, Claire Clairmont
- Copy of a letter from Shelley to his first wife, Harriet
- Mary's earliest surviving letter to Shelley
- Letter to Shelley and Mary from Mary's Step-sister Fanny Imlay
- Letter from Godwin to Shelley following Fanny Imlay's suicide
- Shelley's jottings and doodlings
- Harriet Shelley's suicide letter
- Harriet Shelley’s engagement ring
- Harriet Shelley’s scarf holder
- Mary's journal entry on Harriet Shelley's suicide
- Shelley's letter to Mary on Harriet
- Copy of the best-known portrait of Shelley
- Mary's letter to friends on her son's final illness
- Godwin's draft letter to Mary after her son's death
- Portrait of Lord Byron
- Letter from Claire Clairmont to Byron on their daughter Allegra
- Letter from Byron to Shelley on his daughter Allegra
- Letter from Allegra to her father Lord Byron
- Letter from Shelley to Mary denying scandalous rumours
- Shelley's Notebooks
- Shelley’s Last Days
- Mary Shelley in England
- William Godwin & Mary Shelley
- Mary Shelley, Editor
- The Poet's Son & Daughter-in-Law
- The Shelley Sanctum
Credit: Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
1817 (from journal entries made 18-19 August 1814)
Almost three years after their elopement tour of the Continent Mary turned to the journal entries she and Shelley had made and revised them for publication. The resulting narrative was published in 1817 as History of a Six Weeks’ Tour, accompanied by travel letters written during a second tour of Europe in 1816, and Shelley’s poem ‘Mont Blanc’.
Their journey of 1814 through a country ravaged by war had often been challenging. Here Mary relives two rather difficult days. Shelley had sprained his ankle, and been unable to work. They had hired a carriage but their driver (the ‘voiturier’) had caused endless trouble. At the ‘miserable village of Mort’ they had rejected the filthy beds and spent the night sitting by the kitchen fire. But at a high point on the road the following morning they had, at least, been rewarded with a fine view.
[A]bout a mile and half we found our voiturier at the door of a wretched inn having taken the mule from the voiture and obstinately determined to remain for the night at this miserable village of Mort.
For the We could only submit for he was deaf to all we could urge and to our remonstrances only replied, Je ne puis pas.
Our beds were too filthy to allow a thought of sleeping in them. We could only procure one room, and our hostess gave us to understand that our voiturier was to occupy the same appartment. It was of little consequence as we had
already determined previously resolved not to enter the beds. The evening was fine and after the rain the air was perfumed by many delicious scents. We climbed to a rocky seat on the hill that overlooked the village where we remained untill sunset. The night was passed by the kitchen fire in a wretched manner striving to catch a few moments of sleep which was denied to us. At three in the morning we pursued our journey.
Our road led to the summit of the hills that
surround environ Besançon. From the top of one of these we saw the whole expanse of the valley filled with a white undulating mist which was pierced like islands by [the] piny mountains. The sun had just risen, and a ray of red light lay upon the waves of this fluctuating vapour. To the west opposite the sun, it seemed driven by the light against the rocks in immense masses of foaming cloud, untill it became lost in the distance mixing its tints with the fleecy sky.
Our voiturier insisted on remaining two hours at the village of Noè although we were unable to procure any dinner and wished to go on to the next stage. I have already said that the hills scared his senses and he had become disobliging, sullen and stupid. While he waited we walked to the neighbouring wood. It was a pine forest, carpeted beautifully with moss and in various places overhung by rocks in whose crevices young pines had taken root and spread their branches for shade to those
bef below; the noon heat was intense and we were glad to shelter ourself ourselves from it in the shas shady rebr retreats of this lovely forest.
On our return to the village we found to our extreme surprise that the voiturier had departed
more than nearly an hour before leaving word that he expected to meet us on the road. S***’s sprain rendered him incapable of much exertion, but there was no remedy and we proceeded on foot to Maison Neuve an aberge four miles and a half distant. When we
Mary Shelley; (bequest, 1851) Sir Percy and Lady Shelley; (bequest, 1889) Lady Shelley; (bequest, 1899) Shelley Scarlett (later 5th Baron Abinger) and/or Robert Scarlett (later 6th Baron Abinger); (bequest, 1917) Robert Scarlett, 6th Baron Abinger; (bequest, 1927) Hugh Scarlett, 7th Baron Abinger; (bequest, 1943) James Scarlett, 8th Baron Abinger; (bequest, 2002) James Scarlett, 9th Baron Abinger; (purchase, 2004) Bodleian.