By their very nature, flirtations seem a trivial matter. But now that I am on the trail of Mary Wollstonecraft, it has occurred to me that her dalliance with Henry Fuseli was preparing her for the next very serious steps she was about to take. By spending time alone with Henry, she broke with the convention of her times. By talking about sex with Henry, she broke another rule. Finally, by acknowledging her passionate feelings for him, a married man, she stepped outside the pale. So, this relationship was not just about love etc for MW, it was about learning to venture outside the boundaries of ordinary life — breaking rules.