Mary finishes Frankenstein
on May 13, 1817 despite the fact that she was five months pregnant, had a house brimming with guests and small children, and had to organize meals and keep everyone from fighting with one another. Shelley was no help whatsoever. As the resident genius, Shelley wandered in and out of the house with no sense of obligation to his guests or his children, let alone his wife. If he missed dinner, he sat at the kitchen table, munching bread and raisins. He spent hours outside in the woods, stuck flowers and vines in his hair, floated down the river in his boat, lying on the bottom, reading with “his face upwards to the sunshine.” Mary stayed indoors, reading Roman history, writing her new book, and making jellies for the children. She was only nineteen years old.
(In case you are new to my blog I am writing a book about Mary Shelley and her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft.)
I do not have house guests. I have one twelve year old and a microwave and I am not reading Roman history, nor am I cranking out Frankenstein. Instead I took a break to go swimming. I don’t think Mary went swimming ever. She probably did not know how to swim.