Page:Mrs Shelley (Rossetti 1890).djvu/71

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
59
SHELLEY.

where she still was in July. What Harriet really aimed at by this foolish move is doubtful; it was certainly taken at the most fatal moment. To leave Shelley alone, near dear friends, when she had been repelling his advances to regain her affection, and making his home a place for him to dread to come into, was anything but wise; but wisdom was not Harriet's forte; she needed a husband to be wise for her. Shelley, however, had most gifts, except such wisdom at this time.

Beyond these facts, there seems little but surmises to judge by. It may always be a question how much Shelley really knew, or believed, of certain ideas of infidelity on his wife's part in connection with a Major Ryan—ideas which, even if believed, would not have justified his subsequent mode of action.

But here, for a time, we must leave poor Harriet—all her loveliness thrown away upon Shelley—all Shelley's divine gifts worthless to her. What a strange disunion to pass through life with! Only the sternest philosophy or callousness could have achieved it—and Shelley was still so young, with his philosophy all in theory.