NOTES TO _MATHILDA_
_F of F--A_ _The Fields of Fancy_, in Lord Abinger's notebook
_F of F--B_ _The Fields of Fancy_, in the notebook in the Bodleian Library
_S-R fr_ fragments of _The Fields of Fancy_ among the papers of the
late Sir John Shelley-Rolls, now in the Bodleian Library
 The name is spelled thus in the MSS of _Mathilda_ and _The Fields
of Fancy_, though in the printed _Journal_ (taken from _Shelley and
Mary_) and in the _Letters_ it is spelled _Matilda_. In the MS of the
journal, however, it is spelled first _Matilda_, later _Mathilda_.
 Mary has here added detail and contrast to the description in _F
of F--A_, in which the passage "save a few black patches ... on the
plain ground" does not appear.
 The addition of "I am alone ... withered me" motivates Mathilda's
state of mind and her resolve to write her history.
 Mathilda too is the unwitting victim in a story of incest. Like
Oedipus, she has lost her parent-lover by suicide; like him she leaves
the scene of the revelation overwhelmed by a sense of her own guilt,
"a sacred horror"; like him, she finds a measure of peace as she is
about to die.
 The addition of "the precious memorials ... gratitude towards
you," by its suggestion of the relationship between Mathilda and
Woodville, serves to justify the detailed narration.
 At this point two sheets have been removed from the notebook.
There is no break in continuity, however.
 The descriptions of Mathilda's father and mother and the account
of their marriage in the next few pages are greatly expanded from _F
of F--A_, where there is only one brief paragraph. The process of
expansion can be followed in _S-R fr_ and in _F of F--B_. The
development of the character of Diana (who represents Mary's own
mother, Mary Wollstonecraft) gave Mary the most trouble. For the
identifications with Mary's father and mother, see Nitchie, _Mary
Shelley_, pp. 11, 90-93, 96-97.
 The passage "There was a gentleman ... school & college vacations"
is on a slip of paper pasted on page 11 of the MS. In the margin are
two fragments, crossed out, evidently parts of what is supplanted by
the substituted passage: "an angelic disposition and a quick,
penetrating understanding" and "her visits ... to ... his house were
long & frequent & there." In _F of F--B_ Mary wrote of Diana's
understanding "that often receives the name of masculine from its
firmness and strength." This adjective had often been applied to Mary
Wollstonecraft's mind. Mary Shelley's own understanding had been
called masculine by Leigh Hunt in 1817 in the _Examiner_. The word was
used also by a reviewer of her last published work, _Rambles in
Germany and Italy, 1844_. (See Nitchie, _Mary Shelley_, p. 178.)
 The account of Diana in _Mathilda_ is much better ordered and more
coherent than that in _F of F--B_.
 The description of the effect of Diana's death on her husband is
largely new in _Mathilda_. _F of F--B_ is frankly incomplete; _F of
F--A_ contains some of this material; _Mathilda_ puts it in order and
fills in the gaps.
 This paragraph is an elaboration of the description of her aunt's
coldness as found in _F of F--B_. There is only one sentence in _F of
 The description of Mathilda's love of nature and of animals is
elaborated from both rough drafts. The effect, like that of the
preceding addition (see note 11), is to emphasize Mathilda's
loneliness. For the theme of loneliness in Mary Shelley's work, see
Nitchie, _Mary Shelley_, pp. 13-17.
 This paragraph is a revision of _F of F--B_, which is
fragmentary. There is nothing in _F of F--A_ and only one scored-out
sentence in _S-R fr_. None of the rough drafts tells of her plans to
join her father.
 The final paragraph in Chapter II is entirely new.
 The account of the return of Mathilda's father is very slightly
revised from that in _F of F--A_. _F of F--B_ has only a few
fragmentary sentences, scored out. It resumes with the paragraph
beginning, "My father was very little changed."
 Symbolic of Mathilda's subsequent life.
 _Illusion, or the Trances of Nourjahad_, a melodrama, was
performed at Drury Lane, November 25, 1813. It was anonymous, but it
was attributed by some reviewers to Byron, a charge which he
indignantly denied. See Byron, _Letters and Journals_, ed. by Rowland
E. Prothero (6 vols. London: Murray, 1902-1904), II, 288.
 This paragraph is in _F of F--B_ but not in _F of F--A_. In the
margin of the latter, however, is written: "It was not of the tree of
knowledge that I ate for no evil followed--it must be of the tree of
life that grows close beside it or--". Perhaps this was intended to go
in the preceding paragraph after "My ideas were enlarged by his
conversation." Then, when this paragraph was added, the figure,
noticeably changed, was included here.
 Here the MS of _F of F--B_ breaks off to resume only with the
meeting of Mathilda and Woodville.
 At the end of the story (p. 79) Mathilda says, "Death is too
terrible an object for the living." Mary was thinking of the deaths of
her two children.
 Mary had read the story of Cupid and Psyche in Apuleius in 1817
and she had made an Italian translation, the MS of which is now in the
Library of Congress. See _Journal_, pp. 79, 85-86.
 The end of this paragraph gave Mary much trouble. In _F of F--A_
after the words, "my tale must," she develops an elaborate figure: "go
with the stream that hurries on--& now was this stream precipitated by
an overwhelming fall from the pleasant vallies through which it
wandered--down hideous precipieces to a desart black & hopeless--".
This, the original ending of the chapter, was scored out, and a new,
simplified version which, with some deletions and changes, became that
used in _Mathilda_ was written in the margins of two pages (ff. 57,
58). This revision is a good example of Mary's frequent improvement of
her style by the omission of purple patches.
 In _F of F--A_ there follows a passage which has been scored out
and which does not appear in _Mathilda_: "I have tried in somewhat
feeble language to describe the excess of what I may almost call my
adoration for my father--you may then in some faint manner imagine my
despair when I found that he shunned [me] & that all the little arts I
used to re-awaken his lost love made him"--. This is a good example of
Mary's frequent revision for the better by the omission of the obvious
and expository. But the passage also has intrinsic interest.
Mathilda's "adoration" for her father may be compared to Mary's
feeling for Godwin. In an unpublished letter (1822) to Jane Williams
she wrote, "Until I met Shelley I [could?] justly say that he was my
God--and I remember many childish instances of the [ex]cess of
attachment I bore for him." See Nitchie, _Mary Shelley_, p. 89, and
 Cf. the account of the services of Fantasia in the opening
chapter of _F of F--A_ (see pp. 90-102) together with note 3 to _The
Fields of Fancy_.
 This passage beginning "Day after day" and closing with the
quotation is not in _F of F--A_, but it is in _S-R fr_. The quotation
is from _The Captain_ by John Fletcher and a collaborator, possibly
Massinger. These lines from Act I, Sc. 3 are part of a speech by Lelia
addressed to her lover. Later in the play Lelia attempts to seduce her
father--possibly a reason for Mary's selection of the lines.
 At this point (f. 56 of the notebook) begins a long passage,
continuing through Chapter V, in which Mary's emotional disturbance in
writing about the change in Mathilda's father (representing both
Shelley and Godwin?) shows itself on the pages of the MS. They look
more like the rough draft than the fair copy. There are numerous slips
of the pen, corrections in phrasing and sentence structure, dashes
instead of other marks of punctuation, a large blot of ink on f. 57,
one major deletion (see note 32).
 In the margin of _F of F--A_ Mary wrote, "Lord B's Ch'de Harold."
The reference is to stanzas 71 and 72 of Canto IV. Byron compares the
rainbow on the cataract first to "Hope upon a death-bed" and finally
Resembling, 'mid the torture of the scene, Love watching Madness with
 In _F of F--A_ Mathilda "took up Ariosto & read the story of
Isabella." Mary's reason for the change is not clear. Perhaps she
thought that the fate of Isabella, a tale of love and lust and death
(though not of incest), was too close to what was to be Mathilda's
fate. She may have felt--and rightly--that the allusions to Lelia and
to Myrrha were ample foreshadowings. The reasons for the choice of the
seventh canto of Book II of the _Faerie Queene_ may lie in the
allegorical meaning of Guyon, or Temperance, and the "dread and
horror" of his experience.
 With this speech, which is not in _F of F--A_, Mary begins to
develop the character of the Steward, who later accompanies Mathilda
on her search for her father. Although he is to a very great extent
the stereptyped faithful servant, he does serve to dramatize the
situation both here and in the later scene.
 This clause is substituted for a more conventional and less
dramatic passage in _F of F--A_: "& besides there appeared more of
struggle than remorse in his manner although sometimes I thought I saw
glim[p]ses of the latter feeling in his tumultuous starts & gloomy
 These paragraphs beginning Chapter V are much expanded from _F of
F--A_. Some of the details are in the _S-R fr_. This scene is recalled
at the end of the story. (See page 80) Cf. what Mary says about places
that are associated with former emotions in her _Rambles in Germany
and Italy_ (2 vols., London: Moxon, 1844), II, 78-79. She is writing
of her approach to Venice, where, twenty-five years before, little
Clara had died. "It is a strange, but to any person who has suffered,
a familiar circumstance, that those who are enduring mental or
corporeal agony are strangely alive to immediate external objects, and
their imagination even exercises its wild power over them.... Thus the
banks of the Brenta presented to me a moving scene; not a palace, not
a tree of which I did not recognize, as marked and recorded, at a
moment when life and death hung upon our speedy arrival at Venice."
 The remainder of this chapter, which describes the crucial scene
between Mathilda and her father, is the result of much revision from
_F of F--A_. Some of the revisions are in _S-R fr_. In general the
text of _Mathilda_ is improved in style. Mary adds concrete, specific
words and phrases; e.g., at the end of the first paragraph of
Mathilda's speech, the words "of incertitude" appear in _Mathilda_ for
the first time. She cancels, even in this final draft, an
over-elaborate figure of speech after the words in the father's reply,
"implicated in my destruction"; the cancelled passage is too flowery
to be appropriate here: "as if when a vulture is carrying off some
hare it is struck by an arrow his helpless victim entangled in the
same fate is killed by the defeat of its enemy. One word would do all
this." Furthermore the revised text shows greater understanding and
penetration of the feelings of both speakers: the addition of "Am I
the cause of your grief?" which brings out more dramatically what
Mathilda has said in the first part of this paragraph; the analysis of
the reasons for her presistent questioning; the addition of the final
paragraph of her plea, "Alas! Alas!... you hate me!" which prepares
for the father's reply.
 Almost all the final paragraph of the chapter is added to _F of
F--A_. Three brief _S-R fr_ are much revised and simplified.
 _Decameron_, 4th day, 1st story. Mary had read the _Decameron_ in
May, 1819. See _Journal_, p. 121.
 The passage "I should fear ... I must despair" is in _S-R fr_ but
not in _F of F--A_. There, in the margin, is the following: "Is it not
the prerogative of superior virtue to pardon the erring and to weigh
with mercy their offenses?" This sentence does not appear in
_Mathilda_. Also in the margin of _F of F--A_ is the number (9), the
number of the _S-R fr_.
 The passage "enough of the world ... in unmixed delight" is on a
slip pasted over the middle of the page. Some of the obscured text is
visible in the margin, heavily scored out. Also in the margin is
"Canto IV Vers Ult," referring to the quotation from Dante's
_Paradiso_. This quotation, with the preceding passage beginning "in
whose eyes," appears in _Mathilda_ only.
 The reference to Diana, with the father's rationalization of his
love for Mathilda, is in _S-R fr_ but not in _F of F--A_.
 In _F of F--A_ this is followed by a series of other gloomy
concessive clauses which have been scored out to the advantage of the
 This paragraph has been greatly improved by the omission of
elaborate over-statement; e.g., "to pray for mercy & respite from my
fear" (_F of F--A_) becomes merely "to pray."
 This paragraph about the Steward is added in _Mathilda_. In _F of
F--A_ he is called a servant and his name is Harry. See note 29.
 This sentence, not in _F of F--A_, recalls Mathilda's dream.
 This passage is somewhat more dramatic than that in _F of F--A_,
putting what is there merely a descriptive statement into quotation
 A stalactite grotto on the island of Antiparos in the Aegean Sea.
 A good description of Mary's own behavior in England after
Shelley's death, of the surface placidity which concealed stormy
emotion. See Nitchie, _Mary Shelley_, pp. 8-10.
 _Job_, 17: 15-16, slightly misquoted.
 Not in _F of F--A_. The quotation should read:
Fam. Whisper it, sister! so and so! In a dark hint, soft and slow.
 The mother of Prince Arthur in Shakespeare's _King John_. In the
MS the words "the little Arthur" are written in pencil above the name
 In _F of F--A_ this account of her plans is addressed to Diotima,
and Mathilda's excuse for not detailing them is that they are too
trivial to interest spirits no longer on earth; this is the only
intrusion of the framework into Mathilda's narrative in _The Fields of
Fancy_. Mathilda's refusal to recount her stratagems, though the
omission is a welcome one to the reader, may represent the flagging of
Mary's invention. Similarly in _Frankenstein_ she offers excuses for
not explaining how the Monster was brought to life. The entire
passage, "Alas! I even now ... remain unfinished. I was," is on a slip
of paper pasted on the page.
 The comparison to a Hermitess and the wearing of the "fanciful
nunlike dress" are appropriate though melodramatic. They appear only
in _Mathilda_. Mathilda refers to her "whimsical nunlike habit" again
after she meets Woodville (see page 60) and tells us in a deleted
passage that it was "a close nunlike gown of black silk."
 Cf. Shelley, _Prometheus Unbound_, I, 48: "the wingless, crawling
hours." This phrase ("my part in submitting ... minutes") and the
remainder of the paragraph are an elaboration of the simple phrase in
_F of F--A_, "my part in enduring it--," with its ambiguous pronoun.
The last page of Chapter VIII shows many corrections, even in the MS
of _Mathilda_. It is another passage that Mary seems to have written
in some agitation of spirit. Cf. note 26.
 In _F of F--A_ there are several false starts before this
sentence. The name there is Welford; on the next page it becomes
Lovel, which is thereafter used throughout _The Fields of Fancy_ and
appears twice, probably inadvertently, in _Mathilda_, where it is
crossed out. In a few of the _S-R fr_ it is Herbert. In _Mathilda_ it
is at first Herbert, which is used until after the rewritten
conclusion (see note 83) but is corrected throughout to Woodville. On
the final pages Woodville alone is used. (It is interesting, though
not particularly significant, that one of the minor characters in
Lamb's _John Woodvil_ is named Lovel. Such mellifluous names rolled
easily from the pens of all the romantic writers.) This, her first
portrait of Shelley in fiction, gave Mary considerable trouble:
revisions from the rough drafts are numerous. The passage on
Woodville's endowment by fortune, for example, is much more concise
and effective than that in _S-R fr_. Also Mary curbed somewhat the
extravagance of her praise of Woodville, omitting such hyperboles as
"When he appeared a new sun seemed to rise on the day & he had all the
benignity of the dispensor of light," and "he seemed to come as the
God of the world."
 This passage beginning "his station was too high" is not in _F of
 This passage beginning "He was a believer in the divinity of
genius" is not in _F of F--A_. Cf. the discussion of genius in
"Giovanni Villani" (Mary Shelley's essay in _The Liberal_, No. IV,
1823), including the sentence: "The fixed stars appear to abberate
[_sic_]; but it is we that move, not they." It is tempting to conclude
that this is a quotation or echo of something which Shelley said,
perhaps in conversation with Byron. I have not found it in any of his
 Is this wishful thinking about Shelley's poetry? It is well known
that a year later Mary remonstrated with Shelley about _The Witch of
Atlas_, desiring, as she said in her 1839 note, "that Shelley should
increase his popularity.... It was not only that I wished him to
acquire popularity as redounding to his fame; but I believed that he
would obtain a greater mastery over his own powers, and greater
happiness in his mind, if public applause crowned his endeavours....
Even now I believe that I was in the right." Shelley's response is in
the six introductory stanzas of the poem.
 The preceding paragraphs about Elinor and Woodville are the
result of considerable revision for the better of _F of F--A_ and _S-R
fr_. Mary scored out a paragraph describing Elinor, thus getting rid
of several clich�s ("fortune had smiled on her," "a favourite of
fortune," "turning tears of misery to those of joy"); she omitted a
clause which offered a weak motivation of Elinor's father's will (the
possibility of her marrying, while hardly more than a child, one of
her guardian's sons); she curtailed the extravagance of a rhapsody on
the perfect happiness which Woodville and Elinor would have enjoyed.
 The death scene is elaborated from _F of F--A_ and made more
melodramatic by the addition of Woodville's plea and of his vigil by
 _F of F--A_ ends here and _F of F--B_ resumes.
 A similar passage about Mathilda's fears is cancelled in _F of
F--B_ but it appears in revised form in _S-R fr_. There is also among
these fragments a long passage, not used in _Mathilda_, identifying
Woodville as someone she had met in London. Mary was wise to discard
it for the sake of her story. But the first part of it is interesting
for its correspondence with fact: "I knew him when I first went to
London with my father he was in the height of his glory &
happiness--Elinor was living & in her life he lived--I did not know
her but he had been introduced to my father & had once or twice
visited us--I had then gazed with wonder on his beauty & listened to
him with delight--" Shelley had visited Godwin more than "once or
twice" while Harriet was still living, and Mary had seen him. Of
course she had seen Harriet too, in 1812, when she came with Shelley
to call on Godwin. Elinor and Harriet, however, are completely unlike.
 Here and on many succeeding pages, where Mathilda records the
words and opinions of Woodville, it is possible to hear the voice of
Shelley. This paragraph, which is much expanded from _F of F--B_, may
be compared with the discussion of good and evil in _Julian and
Maddalo_ and with _Prometheus Unbound_ and _A Defence of Poetry_.
 In the revision of this passage Mathilda's sense of her pollution
is intensified; for example, by addition of "infamy and guilt was
mingled with my portion."
 Some phrases of self-criticism are added in this paragraph.
 In _F of F--B_ this quotation is used in the laudanum scene, just
before Level's (Woodville's) long speech of dissuasion.
 The passage "air, & to suffer ... my compassionate friend" is on
a slip of paper pasted across the page.
 This phrase sustains the metaphor better than that in _F of
F--B_: "puts in a word."
 This entire paragraph is added to _F of F--B_; it is in rough
draft in _S-R fr_.
 This is changed in the MS of _Mathilda_ from "a violent
thunderstorm." Evidently Mary decided to avoid using another
thunderstorm at a crisis in the story.
 The passage "It is true ... I will" is on a slip of paper pasted
across the page.
 In the revision from _F of F--B_ the style of this whole episode
becomes more concise and specific.
 An improvement over the awkward phrasing in _F of F--B_: "a
friend who will not repulse my request that he would accompany me."
 These two paragraphs are not in _F of F--B_; portions of them are
in _S-R fr_.
 This speech is greatly improved in style over that in _F of
F--B_, more concise in expression (though somewhat expanded), more
specific. There are no corresponding _S-R fr_ to show the process of
revision. With the ideas expressed here cf. Shelley, _Julian and
Maddalo_, ll. 182-187, 494-499, and his letter to Claire in November,
1820 (Julian _Works_, X, 226). See also White, _Shelley_, II, 378.
 This solecism, copied from _F of F--B_, is not characteristic of
 This paragraph prepares for the eventual softening of Mathilda's
feeling. The idea is somewhat elaborated from _F of F--B_. Other
changes are necessitated by the change in the mode of presenting the
story. In _The Fields of Fancy_ Mathilda speaks as one who has already
 Cf. Shelley's emphasis on hope and its association with love in
all his work. When Mary wrote _Mathilda_ she knew _Queen Mab_ (see
Part VIII, ll. 50-57, and Part IX, ll. 207-208), the _Hymn to
Intellectual Beauty_, and the first three acts of _Prometheus
Unbound_. The fourth act was written in the winter of 1819, but
Demogorgon's words may already have been at least adumbrated before
the beginning of November:
To love and bear, to hope till hope creates From its own wreck the
thing it contemplates.
 Shelley had written, "Desolation is a delicate thing"
(_Prometheus Unbound_, Act I, l. 772) and called the Spirit of the
Earth "a delicate spirit" (_Ibid._, Act III, Sc. iv, l. 6).
 _Purgatorio_, Canto 28, ll. 31-33. Perhaps by this time Shelley
had translated ll. 1-51 of this canto. He had read the _Purgatorio_ in
April, 1818, and again with Mary in August, 1819, just as she was
beginning to write _Mathilda_. Shelley showed his translation to
Medwin in 1820, but there seems to be no record of the date of
 An air with this title was published about 1800 in London by
Robert Birchall. See _Catalogue of Printed Music Published between
1487 and 1800 and now in the British Museum_, by W. Barclay Squire,
1912. Neither author nor composer is listed in the _Catalogue_.
 This paragraph is materially changed from _F of F--B_. Clouds and
darkness are substituted for starlight, silence for the sound of the
wind. The weather here matches Mathilda's mood. Four and a half lines
of verse (which I have not been able to identify, though they sound
Shelleyan--are they Mary's own?) are omitted: of the stars she says,
the wind is in the tree
But they are silent;--still they roll along
Immeasurably distant; & the vault
Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds
Still deepens its unfathomable depth.
 If Mary quotes Coleridge's _Ancient Mariner_ intentionally here,
she is ironic, for this is no merciful rain, except for the fact that
it brings on the illness which leads to Mathilda's death, for which
 This quotation from _Christabel_ (which suggests that the
preceding echo is intentional) is not in _F of F--B_.
 Cf. the description which opens _Mathilda_.
 Among Lord Abinger's papers, in Mary's hand, are some comparable
(but very bad) fragmentary verses addressed to Mother Earth.
 At this point four sheets are cut out of the notebook. They are
evidently those with pages numbered 217 to 223 which are among the
_S-R fr_. They contain the conclusion of the story, ending, as does _F
of F--B_ with Mathilda's words spoken to Diotima in the Elysian
Fields: "I am here, not with my father, but listening to lessons of
wisdom, which will one day bring me to him when we shall never part.
THE END." Some passages are scored out, but not this final sentence.
Tenses are changed from past to future. The name _Herbert_ is changed
to _Woodville_. The explanation must be that Mary was hurrying to
finish the revision (quite drastic on these final pages) and the
transcription of her story before her confinement, and that in her
haste she copied the pages from _F of F--B_ as they stood. Then,
realizing that they did not fit _Mathilda_, she began to revise them;
but to keep her MS neat, she cut out these pages and wrote the fair
copy. There is no break in _Mathilda_ in story or in pagination. This
fair copy also shows signs of haste: slips of the pen, repetition of
words, a number of unimportant revisions.
 Here in _F of F--B_ there is an index number which evidently
points to a note at the bottom of the next page. The note is omitted
in _Mathilda_. It reads:
"Dante in his Purgatorio describes a grifon as remaining unchanged but
his reflection in the eyes of Beatrice as perpetually varying (Purg.
Cant. 31) So nature is ever the same but seen differently by almost
every spectator and even by the same at various times. All minds, as
mirrors, receive her forms--yet in each mirror the shapes apparently
reflected vary & are perpetually changing--"
 See note 20. Mary Shelley had suffered this torture when Clara
and William died.
 See the end of Chapter V.
 This sentence is not in _F of F--B_ or in _S-R fr_.