Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Friday, July 7, 2017

Frankenstein Sundae, 323

After a visit to Berlin, they move on to Dresden, where she revels in the loveliness of the city, the museums, the works of art. And then … on to Prague … and more visits to baths. But she tells us about an earlier experience at T√∂plitz (or Teplitz), where you go down a few marble steps into a basin of the same material, filled with water of delightful temperature and pellucid clearness. I never experienced a more agreeable bath.[1]
Volume II of Rambles continues her account of her stay in Prague, 1842, a volume she begins with some descriptions of the habits of Germans she has seen as she’s traveled. They have, she writes, a habit of staring … their eyes follow you with pertinacity, without any change of expression.[2] She complains as well about the quality of German bread, calling it a sour, black, damp, uneatable substance.[3]
Mary, in her youth, was a more amiable, generous traveler; now, as her ill health gains more and more control, she is more … grumpy, sounding at times almost like the clich√© of the whimpering, spoiled American tourist.
But soon she is back in Italy—and much happier. She is wise and light-hearted enough to recognize as a tourist trap the so-called “tomb of the Capulets” in Verona. But in Venice, she is reminded of the horrors of her earlier stay in 1818 when she and Bysshe buried their daughter, Clara Everina Shelley, barely a year old. Death hovered over the scene, she writes. … I saw those before me long departed; and I was agitated again by emotions—by passions—and those the deepest a woman’s heart can harbour—a dread to see her child even at that instant expire ….[4] Little Clara’s gravesite remains unknown.

[1] Ibid., 278.
[2] Ibid., 11.
[3] Ibid., 17.
[4] Ibid., 78.

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