Most of the display cases are full of letters and manuscripts, which have all been published in one form or another; their content is no surprise. It was good to see the portraits up close, and a novelty to contemplate the silver-topped bottles of Mary Shelley's toilet set, arrayed in its velvet case. How the other half lived! I doubt if her mother ever owned anything similar. There was Shelley's guitar, too -- in the days when guitars had connotations other than rock 'n' roll. Previously, my understanding of Sir Percy, the only surviving child of MS and Shelley, and thus the only grandchild of MW, was as a huntin', fishin', and shootin' squire. Shelley's Ghost confirms that he was not literary, but apparently his enthusiasms were cycling (a new-fangled hobby), amateur dramatics (his life lacked the real thing), and ... sailing (which killed his father).
A taste for rural scenes, in the present state of society, appears to be very often an artificial sentiment, rather inspired by poetry and romances, than a real perception of the beauties of nature. But, as it is reckoned a proof of refined taste to praise the calm pleasures which the country affords, the theme is never exhausted. Yet it may be made a question, whether this romantic kind of declamation, has much effect on the conduct of those, who leave, for a season, the crowded cities in which they were bred.
I have been led to these reflections, by observing, when I have resided for any length of time in the country, how few people seem to contemplate nature with their own eyes. I have "brushed the dew away" in the morning; but, pacing over the printless grass, I have wondered that, in such delightful situations, the sun was allowed to rise in solitary majesty, whilst my eyes alone hailed its beautifying beams. The webs of the evening have still been spread across the hedged path, unless some labouring man, trudging to work, disturbed the fairy structure; yet, in spite of this supineness, when I joined the social circle, every tongue rang changes on the pleasures of the country.
I have no doubt of seeing the animal to day; but must wait for Mrs. Blenkinsop to guess at the hour – I have sent for her – Pray send me the newspaper – I wish I had a novel, or some book of sheer amusement, to excite curiosity, and while away the time – Have you any thing of the kind?
Mrs. Blenkinsop tells me that Every thing is in a fair way, and that there is no fear of the event being put off till another day – still, at present, she thinks, I shall not immediately be freed from my load – I am very well – call before dinner-time, unless you receive another message from me –
Mrs. Blenkinsop tells me that I am in the most natural state, and can promise me a safe delivery – But that I must have a little Patience