During her pre-Lodore period, Mary also did some traveling (with her eleven-year-old son to Southend for about a month in the summer of 1830. Now officially Southend-on-Sea, about forty miles due east of London, at the mouth of the Thames in the North Sea (Google tells me a train makes the journey in fifty-three minutes), the town was, for a while, a fashionable resort (thanks to the train that arrived in the nineteenth century). Mary had always loved the seaside, even though, now, it surely caused her to tremble to be reminded—every day, in sound and sight—that this was the sort of lovely water that had killed her husband.
Mary was also visiting friends, writing reviews and stories, and, as a favor, reading through the manuscript of Edward J. Trelawny’s memoir Adventures of a Younger Son, which would appear in 1831. In late December 1830, Mary wrote to Trelawny, who was eager (impatient, even) for news of her reaction. I am delighted with your work, she began; it is full of passion, energy & novelty—it concerns the sea & that is a subject of the greatest interest to me—I should imagine that it should command success—
But she was also fearful about some of what she read. She cautioned Trelawny about what she perceived to be excessive frankness about women. And his overall diction. Certain words & phrases, she wrote, pardoned in the days of Fielding are now justly interdicted—& any gross piece of ill taste will make your bookseller draw back. … Besides that I, your partial [here, meaning special, biased in your favor] friend, strongly object to coarseness ….
Their correspondence about the manuscript would continue—and Mary would work hard with London publishers to place his book (she succeeded), but Trelawny, never a grateful man, grew somewhat bitter about Mary, doubting whether she was really exerting her utmost for him. But in her letters, she seems to suggest that she and Trelawny might marry! What ensues is interesting, to say the least.