They eventually arrived at Lake Como, their destination, where Mary spent time ruminating and remembering. And she feels something surprising: hope. I had thought such ecstasy as that in which I now was lapped dead to me for ever, she writes, but the sun of Italy has thawed the frozen stream—the cup of life again sparkles to the brim. Will it be removed as I turn northward/ I fear it will.
Some of her writing is these pages is surprising. She writes, for example, about a brawl in an inn. One of the combatants—an acquaintance—had a deep gash in the thigh, and was nearly dead from loss of blood. … the root of the evil still rests in the absence of education and civilisation ….
Today, we could pluck those final fourteen words, paste them into Facebook, claim them as our own, and very quickly start a war of words on the Internet. So many of us agree (and disagree) with Mary Shelley—that so many answers to so many problems would arrive if we would dedicate ourselves to (among other things—like working to reduce income inequality) making our public schools the best in the world, to making sure that one of the principal lessons we teach, K–12, is about civilisation. A civil society. Treating one another with respect.
They visited Milan, where Mary remembered having seen a ballet performance of Othello; she says the company executed it all so well that words seemed superfluous for the expression of passion or incident ….
But there were money problems in Milan—funds had not arrived from England, and so she sent Percy and his friends home and waited alone in Italy for the arrival of the relevant letter.
It didn’t come. It didn’t come …
And then she found it; it had been there all the time—misplaced. And, again, I feel a unity with Mary Shelley, for these events resemble, on my much smaller scale, many moments in my life—especially in my … later years.