Mary Shelley decided to fled with Percy Shelley without marrying him..
|" Beware, for I am strong, and therefore powerful"-Mary Shelley
Mary and Percy used to communicate by letters and Claire was their love messenger.Shelley used to write poetry for Mary.Percy Shelley was a man who preached the ideals of Godwin very strictly.Godwin,on the other hand had already given up some of his views and ideals especially his notion of marriage.Percy Shelley had eloped with the 16 year-old Harriet Westbrook and then married her.A daughter was born from the wedlock.When Mary and Percy met,Percy was already a married man.When Mary enquired Percy about his marriage, he admitted that it was a marriage devoid of love and care. Percy believed that a fire of misunderstandings and selfishness consumed both Harriet and him and he didn't wish to live with her anymore.However,Percy loved kids and was generous enough support his wife and his daughter.Love makes us accept and cherish our feelings but it doesn't prepare us for the sacrifice required to love a man like Percy Byshhe Shelley.
Mary and Percy went to Godwin to inform him about their plans but Godwin was infuriated.He did not want his beloved Mary to imitate the life of her mother.He was apprehensive of the consequences that Mary's choice was going to bring.Against Godwin's wishes,Percy and Mary fled taking with them Claire Clairemont.They travelled through various parts of Europe.The scandal became the talk of the town-"Percy Shelley has fled with two young women this time".
Percy and Mary had no plans to marry.They believed in free love.As love between the two was all fresh and new they both were very happy.Claire too managed to be happy as she got to travel with them.Over time the relationship became strained as Percy was a young poet,a charmer who developed the liking for women in almost every city they travelled to.Mary suspected that he was involved with Claire when Mary was pregnant or sad thinking about all she has lost but Claire on the other hand was just a young carefree girl.Godwin wished to have no contact with Mary but Mary Jane managed to convince Godwin that Claire had not fled willfully but was manipulated by Mary and Shelley.For Shelley's sake, Mary also tried to like and enjoy the companionship of Shelley's friend Thomas Hoggs.Mary too believed in the idea that love is free but she knew her truth and was brave enough to accept it. MY TRUTH IS THAT THERE IS NO ONE ELSE FOR ME
To be continued..
(Next ch. How Mary and Shelley got married..)
Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change" -Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley faced loss in her life-loss that one could only imagine.The decision of eloping with Percy changed her life altogether.Godwin severed ties with her.Her mother's friends didn't wish to see her.The man he left everything for soon lost interest in loving her.However, this was temporary. Mary was disappointed in Percy Shelley.They never settled for long at one place and Percy was so very philantrophic that most of his allowance went in helping his friends. He borrowed against his father's estate to such an extent that he was soon in debt and feared imprisonment.Mary used to write long melancholic letters of love to Percy which were besmirched with the anguish of separation to urge him to reunite with her.
One night they had to change their lodgings in a hurry.It was raining outside and the weather was very bad.After few days of arriving at their new lodgings Mary's first child died.To lose a child is the worst pain a mother could ever bear.Somehwere Mary held Percy responsible for her child's death.
When they all went to Geneva to meet Byron,Shelley got the news that his wife Harriet had drowned herself.It was in the December of 1816.The news came as a shock to Shelley.The 16 year old girl he fled with was now dead at just at the age of 21.Now the case arose of the custody of Shelley and Harriet's two children.With the reputation of a man known to entice young teenage girls the probability of Shelley winning the custody was very less.
A friend adviced him to get married to Mary as this would lessen their odds and will portray Shelley as a married man capable of giving all the Comforts to his children.And so they married on 30 December, 1816.The marriage, however, did not fulfill its purpose as Percy Shelley lost the case and custody went to Harriet sisters/relatives.On the other hand the marriage benefitted both Shelley and Mary as their place in society improved and Mary again became worthy of the love of her beloved father.The communication between father and daughter commenced by the way of letters.