Wednesday, January 8, 2014

History of a six weeks' tour ..etc. by Mary Shelley

I read this on a website as HTML. It is a travel journal and a few letters, one of which is written by Percy Shelley. You can certainly tell when you start reading the letter that it was written by someone other than Mary Shelley.
Mary started writing this three years after the journey which started on July 28th, 1814. Mary, her step- sister Claire and Percy are taking this journey.  Percy and Mary are not married at this time.  They do not marry until 1816. I found this interesting bit on wikipedia...Together with Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont, they left for France and travelled through Europe; upon their return toEngland, Mary was pregnant with Percy's child. Over the next two years, she and Percy faced ostracism, constant debt, and the death of their prematurely born daughter. They married in late 1816 after the suicide of Percy Shelley's first wife, Harriet.

It is very hot and they take a boat over the English Channel to France.  The crossing is not a good one.  France has been devastated by the Napoleonic War which has recently ended. Why anyone would wish to travel through France at this time is beyond me.  Mostly they go on foot too!  They do not have very much money. Mary seems like a snotty thing.  She describes poor people horribly.  There was even one mention that people can be described as clean by knowing what religion they are.  I did not understand if she meant that Protestants are cleaner than Catholics or vice versa!
They traveled to Switzerland and back on 50-60 pounds.  Why? Was it because they did not have any money?  Sometimes Mary seemed to enjoy the journey and other times it seemed that it was the most horrible trip.  You can tell that she was very young!  She was around 20 when she wrote this.

You can read this book here.

Pages: Paperback version has 196 pages.
Published: 1817

1 comment:

Kate Maxwell said...

Cool! I had no idea! Will definitely check this out. I also want to see when Jane Austen wrote her first novel - that would be an interesting read as well! Thanks for participating in the Challenge!