It’s probably time to return to our subject, eh? Mary’s 1835 novel, Lodore, which features a scene at Niagara Falls, a place she’d never visited? As I look back through this text, I see that I started a sub-section on Lodore on page 430; on page 449 I finally started writing about the plot of the text (earlier pages had dealt with her preparations and with some things that were going on in her life at the time she was thinking about and writing the novel); on page 450 I began dealing with Mary’s use of Niagara Falls—and with the role of the Falls in the lives of some others she knew (and some she didn’t). Now I’m on page 460 in the total manuscript, and I guess there’s no better evidence of my tendency to wander into the wilds of this story than this: a thirty-page series of digressions from the plot.
I’m betting not many of you remember any of the plot at this point—so a quick refresher: The grieving widower, Lord Lodore, takes his small daughter, from England to Illinois, where they live, pretty much away from society, for a dozen years. He decides to return to England—and it’s on their return trip that they visit Niagara Falls—and that he once again encounters a young woman, the daughter of an old school friend. Her name is Fanny Derham. She sees Lodore at the Falls and gives him a letter from her father, who wants to see Lodore. Who is delighted.
Okay … now we’re back on track (probably not—knowing me). But we’ll pick it up again in a few days and continue the story of Mary Shelley’s penultimate novel.