E. B. Murray (ed.), The Prose Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Vol. 1

Contents
Find Location in text

Main Text

pg 179Editor’s Note

8. Title-page of A History of a Six Weeks' Tour (1817)
Huntington Library (RB 23003)

8. Title-page of A History of a Six Weeks' Tour (1817)

Huntington Library (RB 23003)

pg 180Editor’s NotePreface.

1Nothing can be more unpresuming than this little volume. It 2contains the account of some desultory visits by a party of young 3people to scenes which are now so familiar to our countrymen, that 4few facts relating to them can be expected to have escaped the many 5more experienced and exact observers, who have sent their journals 6to the press. In fact, they have done little else than arrange the few 7materials which an imperfect journal, and two or three letters to 8their friends in England afforded. They regret, since their little 9History is to be offered to the public, that these materials were not 10more copious and complete. This is a just topic of censure to those 11who are less inclined to be amused than to condemn. Those whose 12youth has been past as their's (with what success it imports not) in 13pursuing, like the swallow, the inconstant summer of delight and 14beauty which invests this visible world, will perhaps find some Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus15entertainment in following the author, with her husband and sister, 16on foot, through part of France and Switzerland, and in sailing with 17her down the castled Rhine, through scenes beautiful in themselves, 18but which, since she visited them, a great Poet has clothed with the 19freshness of a diviner nature. They will be interested to hear of one Critical Apparatus20who has visited Meillerie, and Clarens, and Chillon, and Vevai— 21classic ground, peopled with tender and glorious imaginations of the 22present and the past.

23They have perhaps never talked with one who has beheld in the 24enthusiasm of youth the glaciers, and the lakes, and the forests, and 25the fountains of the mighty Alps. Such will perhaps forgive the 26imperfections of their narrative for the sympathy which the 27adventures and feelings which it recounts, and a curiosity respecting 28scenes already rendered interesting and illustrious, may excite.

Editor’s Note29The Poem, entitled "Mont Blanc," is written by the author of the 30two letters from Chamouni and Vevai. It was composed under the 31immediate impression of the deep and powerful feelings excited by 32the objects which it attempts to describe; and as an undisciplined pg 18133overflowing of the soul, rests its claim to approbation on an attempt 34to imitate the untameable wildness and inaccessible solemnity from 35which those feelings sprang.

pg 182History of a Six Weeks' Tour (1817)pg 183History of a Six Weeks' Tour (1817)

pg 184

pg 185HISTORY OF A SIX WEEKS' TOUR

Critical Apparatus36It is now nearly three years since this Journey took place, and the 37journal I then kept was not very copious; but I have so often talked 38over the incidents that befel us, and attempted to describe the 39scenery through which we passed, that I think few occurrences of 40any interest will be omitted.

41We left London July 28th, 1814, on a hotter day than has been 42known in this climate for many years. I am not a good traveller, and 43this heat agreed very ill with me, till, on arriving at Dover, I was 44refreshed by a sea-bath. As we very much wished to cross the 45channel with all possible speed, we would not wait for the packet of 46the following day (it being then about four in the afternoon) but 47hiring a small boat, resolved to make the passage the same evening, 48the seamen promising us a voyage of two hours.

Critical Apparatus49The evening was most beautiful; there was but little wind, and the 50sails flapped in the flagging breeze: the moon rose, and night came 51on, and with the night a slow, heavy swell, and a fresh breeze, which Critical Apparatus52soon produced a sea so violent as to toss the boat very much. I was 53dreadfully seasick, and as is usually my custom when thus affected, I 54slept during the greater part of the night, awaking only from time to 55time to ask where we were, and to receive the dismal answer each 56time—"Not quite half way."

57The wind was violent and contrary; if we could not reach Calais, 58the sailors proposed making for Boulogne. They promised only two 59hours' sail from shore, yet hour after hour passed, and we were still 60far distant, when the moon sunk in the red and stormy horizon, and 61the fast-flashing lightning became pale in the breaking day.

62We were proceeding slowly against the wind, when suddenly a 63thunder squall struck the sail, and the waves rushed into the boat: 64even the sailors acknowledged that our situation was perilous; but 65they succeeded in reefing the sail;—the wind was now changed, and Critical Apparatus66we drove before the gale directly to Calais. As we entered the 67harbour I awoke from a comfortless sleep, and saw the sun rise 68broad, red, and cloudless over the pier.

pg 186FRANCE.

69Exhausted with sickness and fatigue, I walked over the sands with 70my companions to the hotel. I heard for the first time the confused 71buzz of voices speaking a different language from that to which I had 72been accustomed; and saw a costume very unlike that worn on the 73opposite side of the channel; the women with high caps and short 74jackets; the men with earrings; ladies walking about with high Editor’s Note75bonnets or coiffures lodged on the top of the head, the hair dragged 76up underneath, without any stray curls to decorate the temples or 77cheeks. There is, however, something very pleasing in the manners 78and appearance of the people of Calais, that prepossesses you in Editor’s Note79their favour. A national reflection might occur, that when Edward 80III. took Calais, he turned out the old inhabitants, and peopled it 81almost entirely with our own countrymen; but unfortunately the 82manners are not English.

83We remained during that day and the greater part of the next at 84Calais: we had been obliged to leave our boxes the night before at the 85English custom-house, and it was arranged that they should go by 86the packet of the following day, which, detained by contrary wind, 87did not arrive until night. S and I walked among the fortifications 88on the outside of the town; they consisted of fields where the hay 89was making. The aspect of the country was rural and pleasant.

90On the 30th of July, about three in the afternoon, we left Calais, in 91a cabriolet drawn by three horses. To persons who had never before 92seen any thing but a spruce English chaise and post-boy, there was Critical Apparatus93something irresistibly ludicrous in our equipage. A cabriolet is 94shaped somewhat like a post-chaise, except that it has only two 95wheels, and consequently there are no doors at the sides; the front is 96let down to admit the passengers. The three horses were placed 97abreast, the tallest in the middle, who was rendered more formidable 98by the addition of an unintelligible article of harness, resembling a Critical Apparatus99pair of wooden wings fastened to his shoulders; the harnesses were 100of rope; and the postillion, a queer, upright little fellow with a long Editor’s Note101pigtail, craquéed his whip, and clattered on, while an old forlorn 102shepherd with a cocked hat gazed on us as we passed.

103The roads are excellent, but the heat was intense, and I suffered 104greatly from it. We slept at Boulogne the first night, where there was pg 187Editor’s Note105an ugly but remarkably good-tempered femme de chambre. This 106made us for the first time remark the difference which exists 107between this class of persons in France and in England. In the latter 108country they are prudish, and if they become in the least degree 109familiar they are impudent. The lower orders in France have the 110easiness and politeness of the most well-bred English; they treat you 111unaffectedly as their equal, and consequently there is no scope for 112insolence.

113We had ordered horses to be ready during the night, but we were 114too fatigued to make use of them. The man insisted on being paid for Editor’s Note115the whole post. Ah! Madame, said the femme-de-chambre, pensez-y; 116ç'est pour dédommager les pauvres chevaux d'avoir perdues leur douce 117sommeil. A joke from an English chamber-maid would have been 118quite another thing.

119The first appearance that struck our English eyes was the want of 120enclosures; but the fields were flourishing with a plentiful harvest. 121We observed no vines on this side Paris.

122The weather still continued very hot, and travelling produced a 123very bad effect upon my health; my companions were induced by 124this circumstance to hasten the journey as much as possible; and 125accordingly we did not rest the following night, and the next day, 126about two, arrived in Paris.

127In this city there are no hotels where you can reside as long or as 128short a time as you please, and we were obliged to engage apartments 129at an hotel for a week. They were dear, and not very pleasant. As 130usual in France, the principal apartment was a bedchamber; there Critical Apparatus131was another closet with a bed, and an ante-chamber, which we used 132as a sitting-room.

133The heat of the weather was excessive, so that we were unable to 134walk except in the afternoon. On the first evening we walked to the 135gardens of the Thuilleries; they are formal and uninteresting, in the Critical Apparatus136French fashion, the trees cut into shapes, and without any grass. I Editor’s Note137think the Boulevards infinitely more pleasant. This street nearly 138surrounds Paris, and is eight miles in extent; it is very wide, and 139planted on either side with trees. At one end is a superb cascade 140which refreshes the senses by its continual splashing: near this stands 141the gate of St. Denis, a beautiful piece of sculpture. I do not know 142how it may at present be disfigured by the Gothic barbarism of the 143conquerors of France, who were not contented with retaking the Editor’s Note144spoils of Napoleon, but with impotent malice, destroyed the pg 188145monuments of their own defeat. When I saw this gate, it was in its 146splendour, and made you imagine that the days of Roman greatness 147were transported to Paris.

Editor’s Note148After remaining a week in Paris, we received a small remittance 149that set us free from a kind of imprisonment there which we found 150very irksome. But how should we proceed? After talking over and 151rejecting many plans, we fixed on one eccentric enough, but which, 152from its romance, was very pleasing to us. In England we could not 153have put it in execution without sustaining continual insult and 154impertinence: the French are far more tolerant of the vagaries of Editor’s Note155their neighbours. We resolved to walk through France; but as I was Critical Apparatus156too weak for any considerable distance, and my sister could not be 157supposed to be able to walk as far as S each day, we determined to 158purchase an ass, to carry our portmanteau and one of us by turns.

159Early, therefore, on Monday, August 8th, S and C went to Critical Apparatus160the ass market, and purchased an ass, and the rest of the day, until 161four in the afternoon, was spent in preparations for our departure; Critical Apparatus162during which, Madame l'hôtesse paid us a visit, and attempted to 163dissuade us from our design. She represented to us that a large army 164had been recently disbanded, that the soldiers and officers wandered Editor’s Note165idle about the country, and that les Dames seroient certainement 166enlevées. But we were proof against her arguments, and packing up a Editor’s Note167few necessaries, leaving the rest to go by the diligence, we departed 168in a fiacre from the door of the hotel, our little ass following.

169We dismissed the coach at the barrier. It was dusk, and the ass 170seemed totally unable to bear one of us, appearing to sink under the 171portmanteau, although it was small and light. We were, however, 172merry enough, and thought the leagues short. We arrived at 173Charenton about ten.

174Charenton is prettily situated in a valley, through which the Seine 175flows, winding among banks variegated with trees. On looking at 176this scene, C exclaimed, "Oh! this is beautiful enough; let us live 177here." This was her exclamation on every new scene, and as each 178surpassed the one before, she cried, "I am glad we did not stay at 179Charenton, but let us live here."

180Finding our ass useless, we sold it before we proceeded on our Editor’s Note181journey, and bought a mule, for ten Napoleons. About nine o'clock 182we departed. We were clad in black silk. I rode on the mule, which 183carried also our portmanteau; S and C followed, bringing a 184small basket of provisions. At about one we arrived at Gros Bois, pg 189185where, under the shade of trees, we ate our bread and fruit, and drank 186our wine, thinking of Don Quixote and Sancho.

187The country through which we passed was highly cultivated, but 188uninteresting; the horizon scarcely ever extended beyond the 189circumference of a few fields, bright and waving with the golden 190harvest. We met several travellers; but our mode, although novel, did Editor’s Note191not appear to excite any curiosity or remark. This night we slept at Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus192Guignes, in the same room and beds in which Napoleon and some of Editor’s Note193his Generals had rested during the late war. The little old woman of 194the place was highly gratified in having this little story to tell, and 195spoke in warm praise of the Empress Josephine and Marie Louise, 196who had at different times passed on that road.

197As we continued our route, Provins was the first place that struck 198us with interest. It was our stage of rest for the night; we approached 199it at sunset. After having gained the summit of a hill, the prospect of 200the town opened upon us as it lay in the valley below; a rocky hill 201rose abruptly on one side, on the top of which stood a ruined citadel 202with extensive walls and towers; lower down, but beyond, was the 203cathedral, and the whole formed a scene for painting. After having 204travelled for two days through a country perfectly without interest, 205it was a delicious relief for the eye to dwell again on some 206irregularities and beauty of country. Our fare at Provins was coarse, 207and our beds uncomfortable, but the remembrance of this prospect 208made us contented and happy.

209We now approached scenes that reminded us of what we had 210nearly forgotten, that France had lately been the country in which Editor’s Note211great and extraordinary events had taken place. Nogent, a town we Editor’s Note212entered about noon the following day, had been entirely desolated Critical Apparatus213by the Cossacs. Nothing could be more entire than the ruin which 214these barbarians had spread as they advanced; perhaps they 215remembered Moscow and the destruction of the Russian villages; 216but we were now in France, and the distress of the inhabitants, 217whose houses had been burned, their cattle killed, and all their 218wealth destroyed, has given a sting to my detestation of war, which 219none can feel who have not travelled through a country pillaged and 220wasted by this plague, which, in his pride, man inflicts upon his 221fellow.

222We quitted the great route soon after we had left Nogent, to strike 223across the country to Troyes. About six in the evening we arrived at Critical Apparatus224St. Aubin, a lovely village embosomed in trees; but on a nearer view pg 190225we found the cottages roofless, the rafters black, and the walls 226dilapidated;—a few inhabitants remained. We asked for milk—they 227had none to give; all their cows had been taken by the Cossacs. We 228had still some leagues to travel that night, but we found that they 229were not post leagues, but the measurement of the inhabitants, and Editor’s Note230nearly double the distance. The road lay over a desart plain, and as 231night advanced we were often in danger of losing the track of wheels, 232which was our only guide. Night closed in, and we suddenly lost all 233trace of the road; but a few trees, indistinctly seen, seemed to 234indicate the position of a village. About ten we arrived at Trois 235Maisons, where, after a supper on milk and sour bread, we retired to 236rest on wretched beds: but sleep is seldom denied, except to the 237indolent, and after the day's fatigue, although my bed was nothing 238more than a sheet spread upon straw, I slept soundly until the 239morning was considerably advanced.

240S had hurt his ancle so considerably the preceding evening, 241that he was obliged, during the whole of the following day's journey, 242to ride on our mule. Nothing could be more barren and wretched 243than the track through which we now passed; the ground was chalky 244and uncovered even by grass, and where there had been any attempts 245made towards cultivation, the straggling ears of corn discovered 246more plainly the barren nature of the soil. Thousands of insects, 247which were of the same white colour as the road, infested our path; 248the sky was cloudless, and the sun darted its rays upon us, reflected 249back by the earth, until I nearly fainted under the heat. A village 250appeared at a distance, cheering us with a prospect of rest. It gave us 251new strength to proceed; but it was a wretched place, and afforded us 252but little relief. It had been once large and populous, but now the 253houses were roofless, and the ruins that lay scattered about, the 254gardens covered with the white dust of the torn cottages, the black 255burnt beams, and squalid looks of the inhabitants, presented in every 256direction the melancholy aspect of devastation. One house, a Editor’s Note257cabaret, alone remained; we were here offered plenty of milk, 258stinking bacon, sour bread, and a few vegetables, which we were to 259dress for ourselves.

260As we prepared our dinner in a place, so filthy that the sight of it 261alone was sufficient to destroy our appetite, the people of the village 262collected around us, squalid with dirt, their countenances ex-263pressing every thing that is disgusting and brutal. They seemed 264indeed entirely detached from the rest of the world, and ignorant of pg 191265all that was passing in it. There is much less communication between 266the various towns of France than in England. The use of passports 267may easily account for this: these people did not know that 268Napoleon was deposed, and when we asked why they did not 269rebuild their cottages, they replied, that they were afraid that the 270Cossacs would destroy them again upon their return. Echemine (the 271name of this village) is in every respect the most disgusting place I 272ever met with.

273Two leagues beyond, on the same road, we came to the village of Editor’s Note274Pavilion, so unlike Echemine, that we might have fancied ourselves 275in another quarter of the globe; here every thing denoted cleanliness 276and hospitality; many of the cottages were destroyed, but the 277inhabitants were employed in repairing them. What could occasion 278so great a difference?

279Still our road lay over this track of uncultivated country, and our 280eyes were fatigued by observing nothing but a white expanse of 281ground, where no bramble or stunted shrub adorned its barrenness. 282Towards evening we reached a small plantation of vines, it appeared 283like one of those islands of verdure that are met with in the midst of 284the sands of Lybia, but the grapes were not yet ripe. S was totally 285incapable of walking, and C and I were very tired before we 286arrived at Troyes.

287We rested here for the night, and devoted the following day to a 288consideration of the manner in which we should proceed. S 's 289sprain rendered our pedestrianism impossible. We accordingly sold Editor’s Note290our mule, and bought an open voiture that went on four wheels, for 291five Napoleons, and hired a man with a mule for eight more, to 292convey us to Neufchâtel in six days.

293The suburbs of Troyes were destroyed, and the town itself dirty Critical Apparatus294and uninviting. I remained at the inn writing, while S and C 295arranged this bargain and visited the cathedral of the town; and the Editor’s Note296next morning we departed in our voiture for Neufchâtel. A curious 297instance of French vanity occurred on leaving this town. Our Editor’s Note298voiturier pointed to the plain around, and mentioned, that it had 299been the scene of a battle between the Russians and the French. "In 300which the Russians gained the victory?"—"Ah no, Madame," replied 301the man, "the French are never beaten." "But how was it then," we 302asked, "that the Russians had entered Troyes soon after?"—"Oh, 303after having been defeated, they took a circuitous route, and thus 304entered the town."

pg 192305Vandeuvres is a pleasant town, at which we rested during the 306hours of noon. We walked in the grounds of a nobleman, laid out in 307the English taste, and terminated in a pretty wood; it was a scene that 308reminded us of our native country. As we left Vandeuvres the aspect 309of the country suddenly changed; abrupt hills, covered with 310vineyards, intermixed with trees, enclosed a narrow valley, the 311channel of the Aube. The view was interspersed by green meadows, 312groves of poplar and white willow, and spires of village churches, 313which the Cossacs had yet spared. Many villages, ruined by the war, 314occupied the most romantic spots.

315In the evening we arrived at Bar-sur-Aube, a beautiful town, 316placed at the opening of the vale where the hills terminate abruptly. 317We climbed the highest of these, but scarce had we reached the top, 318when a mist descended upon every thing, and the rain began to fall: 319we were wet through before we could reach our inn. It was evening, 320and the laden clouds made the darkness almost as deep as that of Editor’s Note321midnight; but in the west an unusually brilliant and fiery redness 322occupied an opening in the vapours, and added to the interest of our 323little expedition: the cottage lights were reflected in the tranquil 324river, and the dark hills behind, dimly seen, resembled vast and 325frowning mountains.

Editor’s Note326As we quitted Bar-sur-Aube, we at the same time bade a short Editor’s Note327farewel to hills. Passing through the towns of Chaumont, Langres 328(which was situated on a hill, and surrounded by ancient Editor’s Note329fortifications), Champlitte, and Gray, we travelled for nearly three 330days through plains, where the country gently undulated, and 331relieved the eye from a perpetual flat, without exciting any peculiar 332interest. Gentle rivers, their banks ornamented by a few trees, stole 333through these plains, and a thousand beautiful summer insects 334skimmed over the streams. The third day was a day of rain, and the 335first that had taken place during our journey. We were soon wet 336through, and were glad to stop at a little inn to dry ourselves. The 337reception we received here was very unprepossessing, the people 338still kept their seats round the fire, and seemed very unwilling to 339make way for the dripping guests. In the afternoon, however, the 340weather became fine, and at about six in the evening we entered 341Besançon.

342Hills had appeared in the distance during the whole day, and we 343had advanced gradually towards them, but were unprepared for the 344scene that broke upon us as we passed the gate of this city. On pg 193345quitting the walls, the road wound underneath a high precipice; on 346the other side the hills rose more gradually, and the green valley that 347intervened between them was watered by a pleasant river; before us 348arose an amphitheatre of hills covered with vines, but irregular and 349rocky. The last gate of the town was cut through the precipitous 350rock that arose on one side, and in that place jutted into the road.

351This approach to mountain scenery filled us with delight; it was 352otherwise with our voiturier: he came from the plains of Troyes, and 353these hills so utterly scared him, that he in some degree lost his 354reason. After winding through the valley, we began to ascend the 355mountains which were its boundary: we left our voiture, and walked 356on, delighted with every new view that broke upon us.

357When we had ascended the hills for about a mile and a half, we 358found our voiturier at the door of a wretched inn, having taken the 359mule from the voiture, and obstinately determined to remain for the Critical Apparatus360night at this miserable village of Mort. We could only submit, for he 361was deaf to all we could urge, and to our remonstrances only replied, Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus362Je ne puis plus.

363Our beds were too uncomfortable to allow a thought of sleeping 364in them: we could only procure one room, and our hostess gave us to 365understand that our voiturier was to occupy the same apartment. It 366was of little consequence, as we had previously resolved not to enter 367the beds. The evening was fine, and after the rain the air was 368perfumed by many delicious scents. We climbed to a rocky seat on 369the hill that overlooked the village, where we remained until sunset. 370The night was passed by the kitchen fire in a wretched manner, 371striving to catch a few moments of sleep, which were denied to us. At 372three in the morning we pursued our journey.

373Our road led to the summit of the hills that environ Besançon. Editor’s Note374From the top of one of these we saw the whole expanse of the valley 375filled with a white undulating mist, which was pierced like islands by 376the piny mountains. The sun had just risen, and a ray of red light lay 377upon the waves of this fluctuating vapour. To the west, opposite the 378sun, it seemed driven by the light against the rocks in immense 379masses of foaming cloud, until it became lost in the distance, mixing 380its tints with the fleecy sky.

381Our voiturier insisted on remaining two hours at the village of Critical Apparatus382Noé, although we were unable to procure any dinner, and wished to 383go on to the next stage. I have already said, that the hills scared his Critical Apparatus384senses, and he had become disobliging, sullen, and stupid. While he pg 194385waited we walked to the neighbouring wood: it was a fine forest, 386carpeted beautifully with moss, and in various places overhung by 387rocks, in whose crevices young pines had taken root, and spread 388their branches for shade to those below; the noon heat was intense, 389and we were glad to shelter ourselves from it in the shady retreats of 390this lovely forest.

391On our return to the village we found, to our extreme surprise, 392that the voiturier had departed nearly an hour before, leaving word 393that he expected to meet us on the road. S 's sprain rendered him 394incapable of much exertion; but there was no remedy, and we Editor’s Note395proceeded on foot to Maison Neuve, an auberge, four miles and a half 396distant.

Critical Apparatus397At Maison Neuve the man had left word that he should proceed to Critical Apparatus398Pontarlier, the frontier town of France, six leagues distant, and that if 399we did not arrive that night, he should the next morning leave the 400voiture at an inn, and return with the mule to Troyes. We were 401astonished at the impudence of this message, but the boy of the inn 402comforted us by saying, that by going on a horse by a cross road, 403where the voiture could not venture, he could easily overtake and 404intercept the voiturier, and accordingly we dispatched him, walking 405slowly after. We waited at the next inn for dinner, and in about two 406hours the boy returned. The man promised to wait for us at an 407auberge two leagues further on. S 's ancle had become very 408painful, but we could procure no conveyance, and as the sun was 409nearly setting, we were obliged to hasten on. The evening was most Critical Apparatus410beautiful, and the scenery lovely enough to beguile us of our fatigue: 411the horned moon hung in the light of sunset, that threw a glow of 412unusual depth of redness over the piny mountains and the dark deep Critical Apparatus413vallies they enclosed; at intervals in the woods were beautiful lawns 414interspersed with picturesque clumps of trees, and dark pines 415overshadowed our road.

416In about two hours we arrived at the promised termination of our Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus417journey, but the voiturier was not there: after the boy had left him, he 418again pursued his journey towards Pontarlier. We were enabled, Critical Apparatus419however, to procure here a rude kind of cart, and in this manner Critical Apparatus420arrived late at Pontarlier, where we found our conductor, who 421blundered out many falsehoods for excuses; and thus ended the 422adventures of that day.

pg 195SWITZERLAND.

423On passing the French barrier, a surprising difference may be 424observed between the opposite nations that inhabit either side. The 425Swiss cottages are much cleaner and neater, and the inhabitants 426exhibit the same contrast. The Swiss women wear a great deal of 427white linen, and their whole dress is always perfectly clean. This 428superior cleanliness is chiefly produced by the difference of religion: 429travellers in Germany remark the same contrast between the 430Protestant and catholic towns, although they be but a few leagues 431separate.

432The scenery of this day's journey was divine, exhibiting piny Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus433mountains, barren rocks, and spots of verdure surpassing imag-434ination. After descending for nearly a league between lofty rocks, 435covered with pines, and interspersed with green glades, where the 436grass is short, and soft, and beautifully verdant, we arrived at the 437village of St. Sulpice.

438The mule had latterly become very lame, and the man so 439disobliging, that we determined to engage a horse for the remainder 440of the way. Our voiturier had anticipated us, without in the least Critical Apparatus441intimating his intention to us: he had determined to leave us at this 442village, and taken measures to that effect. The man we now engaged 443was a Swiss, a cottager of the better class, who was proud of his 444mountains and his country. Pointing to the glades that were 445interspersed among the woods, he informed us that they were very 446beautiful, and were excellent pasture; that the cows thrived there, 447and consequently produced excellent milk, from which the best 448cheese and butter in the world were made.

449The mountains after St. Sulpice became loftier and more Critical Apparatus450beautiful. We passed through a narrow valley between two ranges of 451mountains, clothed with forests, at the bottom of which flowed a 452river, from whose narrow bed on either side the boundaries of 453the vale arose precipitously. The road lay about half way up 454the mountain, which formed one of the sides, and we saw the 455overhanging rocks above us and below, enormous pines, and the 456river, not to be perceived but from its reflection of the light of 457heaven, far beneath. The mountains of this beautiful ravine are so Editor’s Note458little asunder, that in time of war with France an iron chain is thrown pg 196Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus459across it. Two leagues from Neufchâtel we saw the Alps: range after Critical Apparatus460range of black mountains are seen extending one before the other, 461and far behind all, towering above every feature of the scene, the Critical Apparatus462snowy Alps. They were an hundred miles distant, but reach so high 463in the heavens, that they look like those accumulated clouds of 464dazzling white that arrange themselves on the horizon during 465summer. Their immensity staggers the imagination, and so far sur-466passes all conception, that it requires an effort of the under-Critical Apparatus467standing to believe that they indeed form a part of the earth.

468From this point we descended to Neufchâtel, which is situated in 469a narrow plain, between the mountains and its immense lake, and 470presents no additional aspect of peculiar interest.

471We remained the following day at this town, occupied in a 472consideration of the step it would now be advisable for us to 473take. The money we had brought with us from Paris was nearly Editor’s Note474exhausted, but we obtained about £38. in silver upon discount from 475one of the bankers of the city, and with this we resolved to journey 476towards the lake of Uri, and seek in that romantic and interesting 477country some cottage where we might dwell in peace and solitude. 478Such were our dreams, which we should probably have realized, had 479it not been for the deficiency of that indispensible article money, 480which obliged us to return to England.

Editor’s Note481A Swiss, whom S met at the post-office, kindly interested 482himself in our affairs, and assisted us to hire a voiture to convey us 483to Lucerne, the principal town of the lake of that name, which is Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus484connected with the lake of Uri. This man was imbued with the 485spirit of true politeness, and endeavoured to perform real services, 486and seemed to regard the mere ceremonies of the affair as things of Critical Apparatus487very little value. The journey to Lucerne occupied rather more 488than two days. The country was flat and dull, and, excepting that 489we now and then caught a glimpse of the divine Alps, there was 490nothing in it to interest us. Lucerne promised better things, and as 491soon as we arrived (August 23 d) we hired a boat, with which we 492proposed to coast the lake until we should meet with some suitable Editor’s Note493habitation, or perhaps, even going to Altorf, cross Mont St. 494Gothard, and seek in the warm climate of the country to the south 495of the Alps an air more salubrious, and a temperature better fitted 496for the precarious state of S 's health, than the bleak region to 497the north. The lake of Lucerne is encompassed on all sides by high 498mountains that rise abruptly from the water;—sometimes their pg 197499bare fronts descend perpendicularly and cast a black shade upon the 500waves;—sometimes they are covered with thick wood, whose dark 501foliage is interspersed by the brown bare crags on which the trees 502have taken root. In every part where a glade shews itself in the forest 503it appears cultivated, and cottages peep from among the woods. The 504most luxuriant islands, rocky and covered with moss, and bending 505trees, are sprinkled over the lake. Most of these are decorated by the 506figure of a saint in wretched waxwork.

507The direction of this lake extends at first from east to west, then 508turning a right angle, it lies from north to south; this latter part is 509distinguished in name from the other, and is called the lake of Uri. 510The former part is also nearly divided midway, where the jutting 511land almost meets, and its craggy sides cast a deep shadow on the 512little strait through which you pass. The summits of several of the 513mountains that enclose the lake to the south are covered by eternal 514glaciers; of one of these, opposite Brunen, they tell the story of a 515priest and his mistress, who, flying from persecution, inhabited a Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus516cottage at the foot of the snows. One winter night an avalanche 517overwhelmed them, but their plaintive voices are still heard in 518stormy nights, calling for succour from the peasants.

519Brunen is situated on the northern side of the angle which the lake 520makes, forming the extremity of the lake of Lucerne. Here we rested 521for the night, and dismissed our boatmen. Nothing could be more 522magnificent than the view from this spot. The high mountains 523encompassed us, darkening the waters; at a distance on the shores of Editor’s Note524Uri we could perceive the chapel of Tell, and this was the village 525where he matured the conspiracy which was to overthrow the 526tyrant of his country; and indeed this lovely lake, these sublime 527mountains, and wild forests, seemed a fit cradle for a mind aspiring 528to high adventure and heroic deeds. Yet we saw no glimpse of his 529spirit in his present countrymen. The Swiss appeared to us then, and 530experience has confirmed our opinion, a people slow of compre-531hension and of action; but habit has made them unfit for slavery, 532and they would, I have little doubt, make a brave defence against 533any invader of their freedom.

534Such were our reflections, and we remained until late in the 535evening on the shores of the lake conversing, enjoying the rising 536breeze, and contemplating with feelings of exquisite delight the 537divine objects that surrounded us.

538The following day was spent in a consideration of our pg 198539circumstances, and in contemplation of the scene around us. A 540furious vent d'Italie (south wind) tore up the lake, making immense 541waves, and carrying the water in a whirlwind high in the air, when it 542fell like heavy rain into the lake. The waves broke with a tremendous 543noise on the rocky shores. This conflict continued during the whole 544day, but it became calmer towards the evening. S and I walked on 545the banks, and sitting on a rude pier, S read aloud the account of Editor’s Note546the Siege of Jerusalem from Tacitus.

547In the mean time we endeavoured to find an habitation, but could 548only procure two unfurnished rooms in an ugly big house, called the 549Chateau. These we hired at a guinea a month, had beds moved into 550them, and the next day took possession. But it was a wretched place, 551with no comfort or convenience. It was with difficulty that we could 552get any food prepared: as it was cold and rainy, we ordered a fire— 553they lighted an immense stove which occupied a corner of the room; 554it was long before it heated, and when hot, the warmth was so 555unwholesome, that we were obliged to throw open our windows to 556prevent a kind of suffocation; added to this, there was but one 557person in Brunen who could speak French, a barbarous kind of 558German being the language of this part of Switzerland. It was with 559difficulty, therefore, that we could get our most ordinary wants Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus560supplied.

Critical Apparatus561These immediate inconveniences led us to a more serious Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus562consideration of our situation. The £28. which we possessed, was all 563the money that we could count upon with any certainty, until the 564following December. S 's presence in London was absolutely 565necessary for the procuring any further supply. What were we to do? 566we should soon be reduced to absolute want. Thus, after balancing 567the various topics that offered themselves for discussion, we 568resolved to return to England.

569Having formed this resolution, we had not a moment for delay: 570our little store was sensibly decreasing, and £28. could hardly appear 571sufficient for so long a journey. It had cost us sixty to cross France 572from Paris to Neufchâtel; but we now resolved on a more 573economical mode of travelling. Water conveyances are always the 574cheapest, and fortunately we were so situated, that by taking 575advantage of the rivers of the Reuss and Rhine, we could reach 576England without travelling a league on land. This was our plan; we Critical Apparatus577should travel eight hundred miles, and was this possible for so small Editor’s Note578a sum? but there was no other alternative, and indeed S only 579knew how very little we had to depend upon.

pg 199580We departed the next morning for the town of Lucerne. It rained 581violently during the first part of our voyage, but towards its 582conclusion the sky became clear, and the sun-beams dried and 583cheered us. We saw again, and for the last time, the rocky shores of 584this beautiful lake, its verdant isles, and snow-capt mountains.

585We landed at Lucerne, and remained in that town the following Editor’s Note586night, and the next morning (August 28th) departed in the diligence Editor’s Note587par-eau for Loffenburgh, a town on the Rhine, where the falls of that Editor’s Note588river prevented the same vessel from proceeding any further. Our 589companions in this voyage were of the meanest class, smoked 590prodigiously, and were exceedingly disgusting. After having landed 591for refreshment in the middle of the day, we found, on our return to 592the boat, that our former seats were occupied; we took others, when 593the original possessors angrily, and almost with violence, insisted 594upon our leaving them. Their brutal rudeness to us, who did not 595understand their language, provoked S to knock one of the 596foremost down: he did not return the blow, but continued his 597vociferations until the boatmen interfered, and provided us with 598other seats.

599The Reuss is exceedingly rapid, and we descended several falls, Critical Apparatus600one of more than eight feet. There is something very delicious in the 601sensation, when at one moment you are at the top of a fall of water, 602and before the second has expired you are at the bottom, still rushing 603on with the impulse which the descent has given. The waters of the Editor’s Note604Rhone are blue, those of the Reuss are of a deep green. I should think 605that there must be something in the beds of these rivers, and that the 606accidents of the banks and sky cannot alone cause this difference.

607Sleeping at Dettingen, we arrived the next morning at 608Loffenburgh, where we engaged a small canoe to convey us to 609Mumph. I give these boats this Indian appellation, as they were of 610the rudest construction—long, narrow, and flat-bottomed: they 611consisted merely of straight pieces of deal board, unpainted, and 612nailed together with so little care, that the water constantly poured 613in at the crevices, and the boat perpetually required emptying. The 614river was rapid, and sped swiftly, breaking as it passed on 615innumerable rocks just covered by the water: it was a sight of some 616dread to see our frail boat winding among the eddies of the rocks, 617which it was death to touch, and when the slightest inclination on 618one side would instantly have overset it.

Editor’s Note619We could not procure a boat at Mumph, and we thought pg 200620ourselves lucky in meeting with a return cabriolet to Rheinfelden; 621but our good fortune was of short duration: about a league from 622Mumph the cabriolet broke down, and we were obliged to proceed Critical Apparatus623on foot Fortunately we were overtaken by some Swiss soldiers, who 624were discharged and returning home, who carried our box for us as 625far as Rheinfelden, when we were directed to proceed a league 626farther to a village, where boats were commonly hired. Here, 627although not without some difficulty, we procured a boat for Basle, 628and proceeded down a swift river, while evening came on, and the air 629was bleak and comfortless. Our voyage was, however, short, and we 630arrived at the place of our destination by six in the evening.

GERMANY.

631Before we slept, S had made a bargain for a boat to carry us to Editor’s Note632Mayence, and the next morning, bidding adieu to Switzerland, we 633embarked in a boat laden with merchandize, but where we had no 634fellow-passengers to disturb our tranquillity by their vulgarity and 635rudeness. The wind was violently against us, but the stream, aided by 636a slight exertion from the rowers, carried us on; the sun shone Editor’s Note637pleasantly, S read aloud to us Mary Wollstonecraft's Letters 638from Norway, and we passed our time delightfully.

639The evening was such as to find few parallels in beauty; as it 640approached, the banks which had hitherto been flat and uninter-641esting, became exceedingly beautiful. Suddenly the river grew nar-642row, and the boat dashed with inconceivable rapidity round the 643base of a rocky hill covered with pines; a ruined tower, with its 644desolated windows, stood on the summit of another hill that jutted 645into the river; beyond, the sunset was illuminating the distant moun-646tains and clouds, casting the reflection of its rich and purple hues 647on the agitated river. The brilliance and contrasts of the colours on 648the circling whirlpools of the stream, was an appearance entirely 649new and most beautiful; the shades grew darker as the sun descended 650below the horizon, and after we had landed, as we walked to our inn 651round a beautiful bay, the full moon arose with divine splendour, 652casting its silver light on the before-purpled waves.

653The following morning we pursued our journey in a slight canoe, 654in which every motion was accompanied with danger; but the 655stream had lost much of its rapidity, and was no longer impeded by pg 201656rocks, the banks were low, and covered with willows. We passed 657Strasburgh, and the next morning it was proposed to us that we 658should proceed in the diligence par-eau, as the navigation would 659become dangerous for our small boat.

660There were only four passengers besides ourselves, three of these 661were students of the Strasburgh university: Schwitz, a rather 662handsome, good tempered young man; Hoff, a kind of shapeless 663animal, with a heavy, ugly, German face; and Schneider, who was 664nearly an ideot, and on whom his companions were always playing a 665thousand tricks: the remaining passengers were a woman, and an 666infant.

667The country was uninteresting, but we enjoyed fine weather, and 668slept in the boat in the open air without any inconvenience. We saw 669on the shores few objects that called forth our attention, if I except 670the town of Manheim, which was strikingly neat and clean. It was 671situated at about a mile from the river, and the road to it was planted 672on each side with beautiful acacias. The last part of this voyage was 673performed close under land, as the wind was so violently against us, 674that even with all the force of a rapid current in our favour, we were 675hardly permitted to proceed. We were told (and not without reason) 676that we ought to congratulate ourselves on having exchanged our 677canoe for this boat, as the river was now of considerable width, and 678tossed by the wind into large waves. The same morning a boat, 679containing fifteen persons, in attempting to cross the water, had 680upset in the middle of the river, and every one in it perished. We saw 681the boat turned over, floating down the stream. This was a Critical Apparatus682melancholy sight, yet ludicrously commented on by the batelier; 683almost the whole stock of whose French consisted in the word 684seulement. When we asked him what had happened, he answered, Editor’s Note685laying particular emphasis on this favourite dissyllable, Ç'est seule-686ment un bateau, qui étoit seulement renversée, et tous les peuples sont 687seulement noyés.

688Mayence is one of the best fortified towns in Germany. The river, 689which is broad and rapid, guards it to the east, and the hills for three 690leagues around exhibit signs of fortifications. The town itself is old, 691the streets narrow, and the houses high: the cathedral and towers of Editor’s Note692the town still bear marks of the bombardment which took place in 693the revolutionary war.

694We took our place in the diligence par-eau for Cologne, and the 695next morning (September 4th) departed. This conveyance appeared pg 202696much more like a mercantile English affair than any we had before 697seen; it was shaped like a steam-boat, with a cabin and a high deck. 698Most of our companions chose to remain in the cabin; this was 699fortunate for us, since nothing could be more horribly disgusting 700than the lower order of smoking, drinking Germans who travelled Critical Apparatus701with us; they swaggered and talked, and what was hideous to English 702eyes, kissed one another: there were, however, two or three 703merchants of a better class, who appeared well-informed and polite.

704The part of the Rhine down which we now glided, is that so Editor’s Note705beautifully described by Lord Byron in his third canto of Childe 706Harold. We read these verses with delight, as they conjured before us 707these lovely scenes with the truth and vividness of painting, and with 708the exquisite addition of glowing language and a warm imagination. 709We were carried down by a dangerously rapid current, and saw 710on either side of us hills covered with vines and trees, craggy 711cliffs crowned by desolate towers, and wooded islands, where 712picturesque ruins peeped from behind the foliage, and cast the 713shadows of their forms on the troubled waters, which distorted 714without deforming them. We heard the songs of the vintagers, and if 715surrounded by disgusting Germans, the sight was not so replete with 716enjoyment as I now fancy it to have been; yet memory, taking all the 717dark shades from the picture, presents this part of the Rhine to my 718remembrance as the loveliest paradise on earth.

719We had sufficient leisure for the enjoyment of these scenes, for the 720boatmen, neither rowing nor steering, suffered us to be carried 721down by the stream, and the boat turned round and round as it 722descended.

723While I speak with disgust of the Germans who travelled with us, I Editor’s Note724should in justice to these borderers record, that at one of the inns 725here we saw the only pretty woman we met with in the course of our 726travels. She is what I should conceive to be a truly German beauty; 727grey eyes, slightly tinged with brown, and expressive of uncommon 728sweetness and frankness. She had lately recovered from a fever, and 729this added to the interest of her countenance, by adorning it with an 730appearance of extreme delicacy.

731On the following day we left the hills of the Rhine, and found that, 732for the remainder of our journey, we should move sluggishly 733through the flats of Holland: the river also winds extremely, so that, 734after calculating our resources, we resolved to finish our journey in a 735land diligence. Our water conveyance remained that night at Bonn, pg 203736and that we might lose no time, we proceeded post the same night to 737Cologne, where we arrived late; for the rate of travelling in Germany 738seldom exceeds a mile and a half an hour.

739Cologne appeared an immense town, as we drove through street 740after street to arrive at our inn. Before we slept, we secured places in 741the diligence, which was to depart next morning for Clêves.

742Nothing in the world can be more wretched than travelling in this 743German diligence: the coach is clumsy and comfortless, and we 744proceeded so slowly, stopping so often, that it appeared as if we 745should never arrive at our journey's end. We were allowed two hours 746for dinner, and two more were wasted in the evening while the coach 747was being changed. We were then requested, as the diligence had a 748greater demand for places than it could supply, to proceed in a 749cabriolet which was provided for us. We readily consented, as we 750hoped to travel faster than in the heavy diligence; but this was not 751permitted, and we jogged on all night behind this cumbrous Critical Apparatus752machine. In the morning when we stopped, we for a moment 753indulged a hope that we had arrived at Clêves, which was at the 754distance of five leagues from our last night's stage; but we had only 755advanced three leagues in seven or eight hours, and had yet eight 756miles to perform. However, we first rested about three hours at this 757stage, where we could not obtain breakfast or any convenience, and 758at about eight o'clock we again departed, and with slow, although far 759from easy travelling, faint with hunger and fatigue, we arrived by 760noon at Clêves.

HOLLAND.

761Tired by the slow pace of the diligence, we resolved to post the 762remainder of the way. We had now, however, left Germany, and 763travelled at about the same rate as an English post-chaise. The 764country was entirely flat, and the roads so sandy, that the horses 765proceeded with difficulty. The only ornaments of this country are Editor’s Note766the turf fortifications that surround the towns. At Nimeguen we Critical Apparatus767passed the flying bridge, mentioned in the letters of Lady Mary Critical Apparatus768Montague. We had intended to travel all night, but at T〈h〉iel where 769we arrived at about ten o'clock, we were assured that no post-boy 770was to be found who would proceed at so late an hour, on account of 771the robbers who infested the roads. This was an obvious imposition; pg 204772but as we could procure neither horses nor driver, we were obliged 773to sleep here.

774During the whole of the following day the road lay between 775canals, which intersect this country in every direction. The roads 776were excellent, but the Dutch have contrived as many incon-777veniences as possible. In our journey of the day before, we had 778passed by a windmill, which was so situated with regard to the road, 779that it was only by keeping close to the opposite side, and passing 780quickly, that we could avoid the sweep of its sails.

781The roads between the canals were only wide enough to admit of 782one carriage, so that when we encountered another we were obliged 783sometimes to back for half a mile, until we should come to one of the 784drawbridges which led to the fields, on which one of the cabriolets Critical Apparatus785was rolled, while the other passed. But they have another practice, 786which is still more annoying: the flax when cut is put to soak under 787the mud of the canals, and then placed to dry against the trees which 788are planted on either side of the road; the stench that it exhales, when 789the beams of the sun draw out the moisture, is scarcely endurable. 790We saw many enormous frogs and toads in the canals; and the only 791sight which refreshed the eye by its beauty was the delicious verdure 792of the fields, where the grass was as rich and green as that of England, 793an appearance not common on the continent.

794Rotterdam is remarkably clean: the Dutch even wash the outside 795brickwork of their houses. We remained here one day, and met with 796a man in a very unfortunate condition: he had been born in Holland, 797and had spent so much of his life between England, France, and 798Germany, that he had acquired a slight knowledge of the language of 799each country, and spoke all very imperfectly. He said that he 800understood English best, but he was nearly unable to express himself 801in that.

Critical Apparatus802On the evening of the 8th of September we sailed from 803Rotterdam, but contrary winds obliged us to remain nearly two days Critical Apparatus804at Marsluys, a town about two leagues from Rotterdam. Here our 805last guinea was expended, and we reflected with wonder that we had 806travelled eight hundred miles for less than thirty pounds, passing 807through lovely scenes, and enjoying the beauteous Rhine, and all the 808brilliant shews of earth and sky, perhaps more, travelling as we did, 809in an open boat, than if we had been shut up in a carriage, and passed Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus810on the road under the hills.

811The captain of our vessel was an Englishman, and had been a pg 205812king's pilot. The bar of the Rhine a little below Marsluys is so 813dangerous, that without a very favourable breeze none of the Dutch 814vessels dare attempt its passage; but although the wind was a very 815few points in our favour, our captain resolved to sail, and although 816half repentant before he had accomplished his undertaking, he was 817glad and proud when, triumphing over the timorous Dutchmen, the 818bar was crossed, and the vessel safe in the open sea. It was in truth an 819enterprise of some peril; a heavy gale had prevailed during the night, 820and although it had abated since the morning, the breakers at the bar 821were still exceedingly high. Through some delay, which had arisen 822from the ship having got a-ground in the harbour, we arrived half an 823hour after the appointed time. The breakers were tremendous, and 824we were informed that there was the space of only two feet between 825the bottom of the vessel and the sands. The waves, which broke 826against the sides of the ship with a terrible shock, were quite 827perpendicular, and even sometimes overhanging in the abrupt 828smoothness of their sides. Shoals of enormous porpoises were 829sporting with the utmost composure amidst the troubled waters.

830We safely past this danger, and after a navigation unexpectedly 831short, arrived at Gravesend on the morning of the 13th of 832September, the third day after our departure from Marsluys.

833M.

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
Date: Aug.–Sept. 1817.
Copy-text: 1817 (Huntington Library copy; shelfmark RB 23003).
Locations: Include Bodleian; BL; Huntington (2); Johns Hopkins; UCLA; University of Illinois; Princeton; University of Texas (3); Yale (2); Pf. (3).
Description: Foolscap octavo book measuring (trimmed) 15.9 cm. X 10.3 cm. (6.3″ X 4.1″), 17.5 cm. X 11 cm. (6.8″ X 4.3″) untrimmed, and made up of thirteen gatherings (〈A〉4 B-M8 N4), which consist of an unnumbered leaf with half-title (verso blank), title-page (verso imprint: 'Reynell, Printer, 45, Broad-street, Golden-square.'; 〈i–ii〉), centrally numbered 'PREFACE.' (〈iii〉–vi) and History text (〈1〉–81; 〈82〉 blank). A half-title leaf (〈83–4〉) is followed by 'LETTERS | WRITTEN … IN … Geneva' (〈85〉–172; see Description for that work), and, after a half-title leaf (〈173〉, 〈174〉 blank), 'MONT BLANC. | Lines Written in the Vale of Chamouni.' (〈175〉–183); the printer's slug is repeated at the foot of 183 (〈184〉 blank); machine-wove paper; no wm or running heads. The copy-text title-page is reproduced on p. 179. An 1829 issue consists of remaindered sheets of 1817, lacks a half-title, and has a cancel title-page which contains the author's name, 'Percy Bysshe Shelley', that of the publisher, 'J. Brooks, 421 Oxford Street', and the date, '1829'. An 1817 price-label ('SIX WEEKS' TOUR, | Price 5s.') appears vertically on the back of the original binding, horizontally in the 1829 issue. One of the Huntington copies contains an 1817 title-page leaf with the author's name, some differences in accidentals, and the address of C. and J. Ollier printed as 'Wellbeck' street; the leaf was not part of the original binding.
Reprinted: 1829 (see above); 1840; F; J. (Bohn's Bibliographer's Manual of English Literature (1864) lists an undated reprint of 1817 ascribed to 'Lumley'.)
Editor’s Note
The History of a Six Weeks' Tour revises, expands, and otherwise adds to entries typically made by S in the journal traditionally assigned to Mary Shelley (then Mary Godwin) but often, particularly during this Continental 'tour' (28 July–12 Sept. 1814), kept up by her future husband. Besides the Preface, written by S, the following lines of the History correspond, often verbatim, with the Journals entries in S's hand as dated: 49–52 ('The evening … much', 28 July); 57–66 ('The wind … Calais', 28 July); 134–6 ('On … grass', 2 Aug.); 159–63 ('Early … design', 8 Aug.); 192–3 ('Guignes … war', 9 Aug.); 197–203 ('Provins … painting', 10 Aug.); 211–14 ('Nogent … advanced', 11 Aug.); 222–7 ('We quitted … Cossacs', 11 Aug.); 289–92 ('We accordingly … days', 13 Aug.); 308–25 ('As we left … mountains', 14 Aug.); 373–80 ('Our road … sky', 18 Aug.); 384–421 ('While … excuses', 18 Aug.); 432–42 ('The scenery … effect', 19 Aug.); 449–50 ('The mountains … beautiful', 19 Aug.); 459–67 ('Two leagues … earth', 19 Aug.); 481–7 ('A Swiss … value', 20 Aug.); 538–49 ('The following … month', 24 Aug.); 607–9 ('Sleeping … Mumph', 29 Aug.); 619–22 ('We could … down', 29 Aug.); 635–6 ('The wind … us', 30 Aug.); 637–8 ('S … Norway', 31 Aug.); 641–9 ('Suddenly … beautiful', 30 Aug.); 653 ('The following … canoe', 31 Aug.).
Editor’s Note
Besides these direct correspondences, many of the facts written into the journal by S were taken over and expanded by Mary. For example, the day of their departure from London, the oppressive heat which 'made <Mary> faint', her later seasickness, the 'two hours sail' which the seamen promised them, the 'hour after hour' which actually passed before they arrived at Calais, the rising of the sun over France were written into the journal by S in 1814 and expanded by Mary in 1817 to provide all the material in the History which was not taken even more directly from S's record of their first day's travel. The major difference between the two accounts is that S provides his reactions in the journal and Mary describes hers in the History, though, as indicated, even some of her reactions expand on those which S had noted of her in 1814.
Mary's apparent contributions to the History which are not expansions of her or S's entries of 1814 range from descriptions of the dress and manners of the French, ll. 72–9, to the chauvinistically reflective, ll. 79–82, to the sententious, ll 236–7 ('but sleep is seldom denied, except to the indolent'), to the domestic, ll. 423–31 (on the relative cleanliness of the Swiss), to the implicitly satiric, ll. 442–8 (on the character of a new guide). Descriptive passages not present in 1814 are relatively few and at times appear in contexts which suggest that they might have been supplied by S (e.g. ll. 450–9). Some of the added material is mere filler (e.g. ll. 468–70), some of it seems to stem from later assessments of the trip (e.g. ll. 471–80). However, the fine description of Lake Lucerne and environs (497–537), which concludes with 'our reflections' on William Tell and the Swiss, has little or no parallel in the journal and could well have been written by S in 1817. From l. 550 to the end of the History the expanded account of the Journals entries is in all probability Mary's, except for the descriptive segments which appear in S's hand in the journal and the contexts in which they appear in the History (e.g. ll. 635–52). Indeed, the great majority of these entries are relatively matter-of-fact and undistinguished enough to have been written by any literate individual who had made the same trip under the same circumstances, though the recurrent emphasis on the rudeness and disgusting ways of their fellow travellers echoes Mary's sentiments as recorded in the journal (see the entry for 28 Aug.). One or two of the added descriptions (e.g. ll. 599–606) in this latter part of the History do not seem quite in the vein of S's earlier descriptions and may also be assigned to Mary.
The geographical facts and a few incidents are likewise the same in both works, and of course appear in both hands in the Journals. While in general the History provides more detail and description than the Journals do, on occasion the Journals helpfully supplement the History (see e.g. the Collation at 384–90). There are a few apparent redatings of description or event, but in the main the accounts of the tour of the couple (along with Claire Clairmont) through France, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland are parallel. Omitted from the History are the personal facts of life, such as correspondence received, affectionate embracings, or detailed accounts of their miserable accommodations or of their recurrent financial concerns or the names of the individuals they met from day to day—matters which should have held little interest for the anticipated reader.
Of much more consequence is the fact that about 70 per cent of the History does not appear in the Journals, beyond a skeleton outline giving a simple recital of the places passed through and visited. Except for inferences one might hazard from stylistic parallels or scenic extensions, there is little evidence in the text itself for identifying one or other as the principal author of the bulk of the History. The best evidence for Mary's authorship is two leaves in her hand in the Abinger Collection (Bodleian Library) which contain a draft of ll. 357–436 ('about … arrived'), though this could itself have been based on a previous draft by S. The author or authors is or are contradictory about his, her, or their share in the finished work, or at least confusing in both statement and implication. Because S wrote the Preface and assigned the work to Mary, who implies at the outset that she wrote all of it, adds an 'M' to its conclusion, and does (as noted below) seem to credit herself with the authorship in her later Journals entries, the authorless 1817 volume could be unequivocally assigned to her—particularly since the authorial T clearly refers to her— if it were the only issue of the work. But there is first of all the 1817 Huntington Library copy (see the Description) whose title-page proclaims S's authorship. While this title-page is patently suspect, it is still the case that in 1829 the remaindered sheets were published with S's name on a new title-page, and in her 1840 volumes Mary includes the History as one of her husband's works. It is true that the 1829 title-page might have been a publisher's inference (or promotional addition), and Mary in the very act of publishing the work as her husband's seems in her Preface to distinguish 'its author' and S, whom she designates as the motivating entrepreneur behind its publication. And she not only retained but extended (to 'M. S.') her initials at the conclusion of the History proper. The least equivocal assignment of authorship to respective parts of the volume is made by S in a letter of 16 Dec. 1817 to Thomas Moore:

The little volume which you have been quicksighted enough to attribute to its real authors is composed of two letters written 〈by〉 me signed S, & some 〈two〉 other letters & the Journal signed M. written by Mrs. Shelley. I ought to say that the Journal was written some years ago—the style of it is almost infantine, & it was published in the idea that the Author would never be recognized…. I ought to say that Mrs. Shelley, tho' sorry that her secret is discovered, is exceedingly delighted to hear that you have derived any amusement from our book.—Let me say in her defence that the Journal of the Six Weeks Tour was written before she was seventeen, & that she has another literary secret which I will in a short time ask you to keep in return for having discovered this.

While it is true that the original 'Journal' was written in 1814, it is clear from the Journals entries for Aug. 1817 noted below that it was being reworked—recast and expanded—much later. The rather coy attempt at both concealing and revealing the authorship of the soon-to-be published Frankenstein and the fact that S's 1814 journal entries were used in the History confirm a presumption that S's statements concerning authorship to Thomas Moore should not be accepted as definitive.
A reasonable supposition is that originally the two Shelleys had agreed implicitly to assign the 'unpresuming' and anonymously published little work to Mary—perhaps for no better or worse reason than to allow her the pride of authorship she might then have enjoyed more or less in secret, or until someone as 'quicksighted' as Moore had sufficiently discerned its authorship for S to ostensibly reveal it all. Since in 1817 S was involving himself in the more momentous matters of reformist politics and epic poetry, a by-product and left-over of his wandering youth might have seemed potentially damaging to the public image he then hoped to project.
Shelley scholars and editors have not established a firm consensus on authorship. H. B. Forman in his headnote to the History (in F) assumes that the 'journal kept by Mrs. Shelley was revised and to some small extent interpolated by the poet', while the editors of J suppose that Mary was 'part author' (vol. v, p. v). F. L. Jones, who, as editor of both Mary's journal and of the Shelleys' letters, might be supposed to have given the matter most consideration, feels obliged to list the History among S's prose works in the index to S's Letters, but qualifies his decision by parenthetically noting that the work was 'mainly Mary's'; Betty Bennett, in her edition of Mary's letters, indexes it as Mary's work, as do Paula R. Feldman and Diana Scott-Kilvert in their edition of Mary's Journals. On balance, it may finally seem that the traditional inclusion of the History is the best reason that can be given for continuing to print it as S's work, though it should also be noted that nearly all the substantial parts of it which can be definitively assigned to anyone (i.e. the portions which correspond with S's Journals entries) confirm the 1829 title-page and Mary's considered decision in 1840 to publish it as her husband's—even though when writing to Leigh Hunt as late as ?5 Oct. 1839 she is still not sure whether she should do so, because, while 'printed and corrected by Shelley', it 'was written by me'. Still later, writing to the publisher Edward Moxon, she states that 'my 6 weeks tour brought me many compliments' adding that it was written by her 'off hand' (2[6]7 Sep〈t〉. 〈1843〉). Perhaps this should be considered her final word on the matter; yet in her copy of the 1840 volume presently in the Bodleian Library (〈pr.〉 Shelley adds. e. 20) interleaved with notepaper containing written parallels (evidently from the 1814 text) to the facing letterpress text, Mary refers to the work as 'Shelley's journal' (opposite p. 5).
The date of the recasting and enlargement of the Journals entries for late July-early Sept. 1814 into the History is loosely established by its opening sentence as some time during the summer of 1817. More specifically, Mary states in the Journals entry for 9 Aug. that she (it seems) 'write〈s〉 the journal of our travels'; entries for 13 and 17 Aug. suggest that the writing continued through those dates. A week or so could well have been time enough for her (or S or both of them) to compose the work from the Journals entries, but since the 'letters from Geneva' which Mary 'wrote out' on 12 Oct. 1817 (Journals) were presumably the letters which appeared in the volume which contained the History, the concluding date for composition of the History, at least in its refurbishings, might be extended somewhat. On 28 Sept. 1817 Mary wrote to S asking what he had done with the 'journal of our first travels'—presumably the manuscript of the History rather than the original journal—which he had taken with him to London, again, one presumes, to find a publisher for that portion of the volume. If, Mary continues, S has 'any prospect' of doing anything with it, she will 'go on instantly with the letters', as she did on 12 Oct., by which time she must have heard that something had been done or was in prospect. In a letter of 14 Oct. to S Mary promises to send the 'letters' by the 16th, and apparently did send them to S via Hookham, one of the eventual publishers, on the 15 th (letter of 16 Oct. to S). The 'printing' Mary mentions in the letter of 16 Oct. probably refers to some portion of the History, but since S was then involved in other printings (most notably of Laon and Cythna), the unqualified reference is ambiguous. An advertisement of Oct. 1817 bound in a copy of Laon and Cythna announces that, along with this poem, the History is 'in the Press, and will be published early in January' (SC v. 154–5). Advertisements appeared in the Morning Chronicle for 30 Oct. and The Times for 1 Nov. stating that the work would be on sale on 6 Nov. for 45. 6d. Announcements for it under the heading 'This day is published' appeared in The Times for 12 Nov. and the Chronicle for 13 Nov. Forman notes that the work was not entered into the Stationers' Register (as published by T. Hookham) until 10 Dec., but rationalizes the discrepancy between a summer drafting of the work and a late autumn publication by inferring (1) that Mary was only beginning to 'transcribe' her journal in August (though Forman does not so specify a date) and (2) that during so busy a time for the Shelleys it might well have taken them several months to get the work to and through the press. Even if the newspaper announcements were premature, the letter to Moore of 16 Dec. indicates that it was available for distribution some time before that date. If, as Mary states in her 1840 Preface, S was the moving force behind its publication, the judgemental implications of his 1817 Preface may help account for the time it took to get it into print.
Besides S's evaluation in the Preface, justifiably modest, the only contemporary notice taken of the History appeared in Blackwood's Magazine (July 1818), where the work was found simple but amusing and the 'lady' author was commended. S indicates in a letter of 30 Apr. 1820 to Charles Ollier, who co-published the volume with Thomas Hookham, jun., that he had been disappointed in his expectation that printer's costs would be covered by the sale of the book. When the History was republished in the 1840 volume, the Athenaeum's reviewer felt that it could have been omitted altogether, as 'telling nothing of any interest whatever, and not written by the poet,—but by the present Editor' (14 Dec. 1839).
While the text is based on 1817, significant emendations in 1840 are preferred when they appear in S's hand in the Journals. Mary seems in such instances to have returned to the Journals for the express purpose of using portions of S's contribution which she had failed to edit into 1817. Since Mary must be regarded as a more or less probable author as well as editor of much of the History (and to some extent of the Geneva letters), her 1840 emendations have unique authority in this portion of S's canon. However, in the few instances where she has added to or radically changed the 1817 text without the authority of S's holograph journal entries, her additions and changes have been placed in the Collation. Mary's later statement (quoted above) that S 'corrected' the 1817 draft means in all probability that he copy-edited it—not that (for example) he collated her creative transcript with his (or her) 1814 journal entries. 1840 corrections of place-names definitely misspelt are accepted ('Pontalier' becomes 'Pontarlier'; in the Letters Written in Geneva 'Mellterie' and 'Mellerie' become 'Meillerie'); the same policy applies to comparable errors in 1817's French (e.g. the use of 'L'Hôte' for 'l'hôtesse') when corrected by Mary Shelley in 1840 or in her subsequent editions. She apparently felt that a few other examples of schoolgirl French (as pointed out by André Koszul in the MLR note listed below) were either worth preserving or not worth changing; the text likewise retains them. A few place-names misspelt in 1840 are also retained in the text, but their correct spellings are noted in the Collation.
The revised portion of Claire Clairmont's journal for 14–22 Aug. 1814, printed in SC, vol. iii, is a particularly helpful supplement to the History (as it is to both her and Mary's journals) for the days it covers. See also the edition of Mary Shelley's Journals by Paula R. Feldman and Diana Scott- Kilvert for its italicized printing of S's portion of that text, as well as for its relevant footnotes. The collation with the Journals (MWS) is selective, providing representative rhetorical, factual, or aesthetically interesting differences between S's journal entries and the 1817 printing. Since the contexts of a few of these entries were still further recast, the collation will not always exactly fit the lemma.
Editor’s Note
Related primary and secondary materials: Letters, to H. Shelley, 13 Aug. 1814, to T. L. Peacock, 15 May, 12 July, 22 July 1816; Mary Shelley, Journals, 6–24; CC 21–42; Blackwood's Magazine, 3 (1818), 412–16; Medwin, Life, 128–34; Charles I. Elton, An Account of Shelley's Visits to France, Switzerland, and Savoy … (London, 1894); André Koszul, 'Notes and Corrections to Shelley's History of a Six Weeks' Tour', MLR 2 (Oct. 1906), 61–2; Claire Engel, Byron et Shelley en Suisse et en Savoie, mai-octobre, 1816 (Chambéry, 1930); White, Shelley, i. 351–63; Marcel Kessel, 'An Early Review of the Shelleys' "Six Weeks' Tour"', MLN 58 (Dec. 1943), 623; Elizabeth Nitchie, 'Mary Shelley, Traveller', K-SJ 10 (Winter 1961), 29–42; SC iii. 342–70, vii. 42–5; Cameron, Golden Years, 17–19; E. B. Murray, 'A Suspect Title-page of Shelley's History of a Six Weeks' Tour', PBSA 83 (June 1989), 201–6. (See also Letters Written in Geneva and its Editorial Commentary.)
Editor’s Note
title.] The heading preceding the text is transferred from a half-title page in 1817.
Critical Apparatus
15 sister] friend 1840 (see ec)
Editor’s Note
15. her husband and sister. 'Her' = Mary Shelley. Claire Clairmont, the daughter of Godwin's second wife, was no blood relation, as Mary's emendation of the word to 'friend' conceded (1840). In the 1814 journal of the Continental trip she is referred to as Jane, one of her real praenomens. In 1814 S was not Mary's husband.
Critical Apparatus
20 Meillerie] 1840: Mellerie 1817
Editor’s Note
29. "Mont Blanc". S's poem was first published at the end of the History volume; the paragraph referring to it was dropped by Mary in editions after 1840. The 'two letters' mentioned are those to Thomas Love Peacock in the Letters Written in Geneva.
Critical Apparatus
36 It] JOURNAL. | ⁓ 1840
Critical Apparatus
49 beautiful; there] beautiful; the sand slowly receded. There MWS
Critical Apparatus
52 produced a sea] became MWS
Critical Apparatus
66 the gale] a wind that came in violent 〈g〉usts MWS
Editor’s Note
75. coiffures. Head-dresses.
Editor’s Note
79–80. Edward … Calais . Edward III (1312–77) besieged and conquered Calais in 1347. It remained under English rule until 1558.
Critical Apparatus
93 A cabriolet is] Our ⁓ was 1840 (subsequent tenses also changed)
Critical Apparatus
99 harnesses were] harness was 1840
Editor’s Note
101. craquéed. Cracked.
Editor’s Note
105. femme de chambre. Chambermaid.
Editor’s Note
115–17. pensez-y … sommeil . Think about it, it's to compensate the poor horses for their loss of sweet sleep.
Critical Apparatus
131 ante-chamber] 1840: anti-chamber 1817
Critical Apparatus
136 any] MWS, 1840: om. 1817
Editor’s Note
137–41. This street … sculpture . In the early nineteenth century the series of boulevards surrounding Paris made up a considerably smaller circumference than those presently surrounding the city, as the figure of eight miles and the reference to the Porte St-Denis indicate. The Porte St-Denis was the traditional entry for ceremonial processions into the city. There is no evidence that the depradations Mary feared in 1817 had occurred.
Editor’s Note
144. Impotent. Probably = 'unrestrained'.
Editor’s Note
144–5. destroyed … defeat . A parallel is recorded in an entry for 5 Aug. 1814 which S had made in the journal concerning an officious Frenchman who 'told us he had assisted in bribing the mob to overthrow the statue of Napoleon'.
Editor’s Note
148. a small remittance. 'We … received a remittance of 6o£' (Mary Shelley, Journals, 7 Aug. 1814 〈S's hand〉).
Editor’s Note
155. We … France . According to the journal, they had decided to walk to Uri, on Lake Lucerne (7 Aug. 〈S's hand〉). The 'romance' Mary associates with their planned itinerary (l. 152) would have been heightened if, as Newman White suggests (Shelley, i. 352), they had intended to follow the route of the title-hero in William Godwin's novel Fleetwood; or, the New Man of Feeling (1805).
Critical Apparatus
156 my sister] as C*** 1840
Critical Apparatus
160 market] merchant MWS
Critical Apparatus
162 l'hôtesse] 1840: L'Hôte MWS, 1817
Editor’s Note
165–6. les Dames … enlevées . The ladies would certainly be kidnapped.
Editor’s Note
167–8. diligence … fiacre . The diligence was a public stagecoach, the fiacre a privately hired cab.
Editor’s Note
181. Napoleons. A French coin imprinted with the effigy of Napoleon and worth about 20 francs, or a little less than a pound.
Editor’s Note
191–3. This night … war . The inn is identified as the Hôtel Ste-Barbe in SC iii. 362.
Critical Apparatus
192–3 Guignes, in … war. ] Guignes. There we heard that the Emperor Napoleon & some of his generals slept in the same Inn. MWS
Editor’s Note
192. Guignes = Guignes-Rabutin.
Editor’s Note
193. The little old woman. The story she told is reported in the journal entry for 9 Aug., but the 'little old woman' herself does not seem to have come on the scene until the next day (see Mary Shelley, Journals, 10 Aug.). Her 'infinitely detestable beds' here become merely 'uncomfortable' (l. 207).
Editor’s Note
211. Nogent = Nogent-sur-Seine.
Editor’s Note
212–13. desolated by the Cossacs. For a brief account of the war-ravaged terrain S (or Mary) refers to here and later see SC iii. 363–4.
Critical Apparatus
213–14 Cossacs. Nothing … advanced; ] The houses were redu〈c〉ed to heaps of white ruins, & the bridge was destroyed. MWS
Critical Apparatus
224–6 St. Aubin … dilapidated ] St. Aubin a beautiful village situated among trees. This village was also completely destroyed MWS
Editor’s Note
230–86. The road … at Troyes . Derived from Mary's entries for 11–12 Aug.
Editor’s Note
257. cabaret. Tavern.
Editor’s Note
274. Pavilion = le Pavillon-Ste-Julie.
Editor’s Note
290. voiture. Coach.
Critical Apparatus
294 writing] ⁓ letters 1840
Editor’s Note
296. Neufchâtel = Neuchâtel, which S used in the Journals.
Editor’s Note
298. voiturier. Coachman.
Editor’s Note
321–2. but in the west … vapours . Claire Clairmont, in the portion of her journal in Pf., quotes S's original reaction to this meteorological phenomenon: 'S— said, Look there how the Sun in parting, has bequeathed a lingering look to the Heaven, he has left desolate' (SC iii. 342).
Editor’s Note
326–72. As we … our journey . Derived from Mary's entries for 15–17 Aug.
Editor’s Note
327. Chaumont = Chaumont-en-Bassigny.
Editor’s Note
329. Champlitte = Champlitte-et-le Prélot.
Critical Apparatus
360 Mort] Morre K
Critical Apparatus
362 plus] 1840: pas 1817
Editor’s Note
362. Je ne puis plus. I can't go any further.
Editor’s Note
374–80. From … sky . Cf. Prometheus Unbound, 11. iii. 19–27.
Critical Apparatus
382 Noé] Nodz or Nouaille K
Critical Apparatus
384–90 While … forest ] at Noè, whilst our postillion waited, we walked into the forest of pines. It was a scene of enchantment where every sound & sight contributed to charm. One mossy seat in the deepest recesses of the wood was enclosed from the world by an impenetrable veil. MWS
Editor’s Note
395. auberge. Inn.
Critical Apparatus
397–409 At … The ] ⁓ Maison Neuve he had left a message importing that he should proceed to Pontalier 6 leagues distant, & that unless he found us there should return.—We dispatched a boy on horseback for him—he promised to wait for us at the next village. We walked two leagues in the expectation of finding him there. ⁓ MWS
Critical Apparatus
398 Pontarlier] 1840: Pontalier 1817 (T so corrects subsequent spellings in 1817)
Critical Apparatus
410 and … fatigue ] om. MWS
Critical Apparatus
413 vallies] ⁓ which MWS, 1840
enclosed] included MWS
Critical Apparatus
417–18 journey, but … We ] journey. We found, according to our expectation, that M. le voiturier had pursued his journey with the utmost speed. We 1840
Editor’s Note
417–18c We … speed. ] 1840 retrieves a sentence in MWS which is in S's hand. But since it seems to obscure rather than enhance the sense of its context 1817 has been preferred.
Critical Apparatus
419 cart, and in] cart, S being unable to walk. The moon became yellow, and hung low close to the woody horizon. Every now and then sleep overcame me, but our vehicle was too rude and rough to permit its indulgence. I looked on the stars—and the constellations seemed to weave a wild dance, as the visions of slumber invaded the domains of reality. In 1840 (Shelley being … horizon. MWS)
Critical Apparatus
420 conductor] driver 1840
Critical Apparatus
433 spots] scenes MWS
Editor’s Note
433 rocks] Changed to 'cliffs' in Mary Shelley's post-1840 editions, probably because of 'rocks' at l. 435.
Critical Apparatus
441 to us] 1840: om. 1817
Critical Apparatus
450–9 We … across it. ] om. MWS
Editor’s Note
458–9. in time of war … across it . The iron chain is not noted in Mary's journal, but Claire records it (SC iii. 348).
Critical Apparatus
459–60 range after range] Pile after pile MWS
Editor’s Note
459. we saw the Alps. Claire describes S's reaction to the Alps more vividly: 'How great is my rapture he said, I a fiery man with my heart full of Youth, and with my Beloved at my side, I behold those lordly immesurable Alps—they look like a second world gleaming on one, they look like dreams more than realities, they are so pure and heavenly white' (SC iii. 349).
Critical Apparatus
460 extending one before] extending its craggy outline before MWS
Critical Apparatus
462–3 but … heavens ] om. MWS
Critical Apparatus
467 they … earth ] they are indeed mountains MWS
Editor’s Note
474. £38. Claire recorded £50 (SC iii. 350).
silver upon discount. The fact that earlier S had pawned his watch (Mary Shelley, Journals, 4 Aug.) makes it difficult to infer that he had bills of exchange to discount at this stage of his travels. His usual willingness to sign post-obits at exorbitant rates of interest suggests that the 38 pounds in silver be brought back to the 'astonishment and consolation' of Mary and Claire Clairmont were the result of a similar transaction (see Mary Shelley, Journals, 20 Aug. 1814, and SC iii. 350).
Editor’s Note
481–3. A Swiss … Lucerne . Claire wrote that Mary felt such 'perfect strangers' took so helpful an interest in the trio because they were 'captivated by Shelley's countenance and manner' (SC iii. 350).
Critical Apparatus
484–7 This … value. ] MWS, 1840: om. 1817
Editor’s Note
484–7 This … value.] This sentence from 1840 appears in S's hand in MWS and is therefore adopted here. However, the sentence which follows it in 1840 (see the Collation) is in Mary's hand in MWS and is therefore omitted. 1840's 'Lucerne' (l. 487) is required for clarity, though in Mary's hand.
Critical Apparatus
487 value.] ⁓. On the 21st August, we left Neufchâtel, our Swiss friend accompanied us a little way out of the town. 1840 (slightly recast from Mary Shelley's MWS entry)
Lucerne] 1840: this place 1817
Editor’s Note
493. Altorf = Altdorf, most famous as the place where William Tell (see l. 524 and commentary) shot an apple from his son's head.
Critical Apparatus
516 avalanche] 1840: avelanche 1817
Editor’s Note
516c avelanche] The 1817 spelling has no authority according to the OED, and should probably be considered a mistake, though one that the Shelleys often preferred.
Editor’s Note
524. chapel of Tell. The fifteenth-century story of the Swiss hero William Tell's personal rebellion against the tyrannical Austrian bailiff Gessler was still popularly accepted in the early nineteenth century as a historical account of the origin of the Swiss Confederacy, which was in fact founded at Brunnen in the early fourteenth century. Friedrich von Schiller's drama Wilhelm Tell (1804) more than counterbalanced the doubts which had been cast on the legend by seventeenth-century sceptics such as Voltaire. The William Tell chapel here referred to (there were at least three associated with him) was probably that on Tell's Platt, a shelf of rock projecting into Uri (the southern bay of Lake Lucerne), which, according to one version, was the site of the hero's slaying of the tyrannical bailiff.
Editor’s Note
546. Siege … Tacitus . In Histories, 5. 1–13.
Critical Apparatus
560 supplied.] ⁓. Our amusement meanwhile was writing. S commenced a Romance on the subject of the Assassins, and I wrote to his dictation. 1840
Editor’s Note
560c Our … dictation. ] The 1840 insertion recasts and expands MWS (25 Aug.; in Mary's hand), clarifying Mary's role in the composition of The Assassins. See the Editorial Commentary on that work.
Critical Apparatus
561 These] Our 1840
Critical Apparatus
562 situation. The] situation. At one time we proposed crossing Mount St. Gothard into Italy; but the 1840
Editor’s Note
562c proposed … Gothard ] While the substance of 1840's insertion is found in S's hand in MWS, an earlier reference to this broken purpose renders its repetition here unnecessary. 1817 is therefore preferred.
Critical Apparatus
577 for] on 1840
Editor’s Note
578–9. S … upon . After S had written (Mary Shelley, Journals, 20 Aug. 1814) of his returning from the Neuchâtel banker 'staggering under the weight of a large canvas bag full of silver' (cf. on 474 above), he added 'S alone looks grave on the occasion, for he alone clearly apprehends that francs & ecus & louis d'or are like the white & flying cloud of noon …'. While in ll. 561–8 a quasi-dramatic account of a mutual discussion of their finances is put into the 1817 History, there is very little in the 1814 Journals to qualify S's assessment of his solitary awareness of the seriousness of their plight. As late as 27 Aug. Claire Clairmont understood so little of their financial straits that she commented on their leaving Brunnen for England 'All because the stove did not burn brightly & there were too many Cottages' (CC). However, the fact that immediately before they decided to return to England they were still proposing to push on across St Gothard to Italy suggests that even S was still hoping to test his dictum that desire will somehow create capacity (Mary Shelley, Journals, 26 Aug. 1814).
Editor’s Note
586–7. diligence par-eau. Water-coach.
Editor’s Note
587. Loffenburgh = Laufenburg.
Editor’s Note
588–90. Our companions … disgusting . Mary Shelley later recalled the contrast between their fellow passengers and the beautiful scenery they were passing through in Rambles in Germany and Italy (1844), i. 170 (quoted in Journals, 20n.).
Critical Apparatus
600 feet.] ⁓. Most of the passengers landed at this point, to re-embark when the boat had descended into smooth water—the boatmen advised us to remain on board. 1840
Editor’s Note
604. Rhône. Probably an error for 'Rhine', though a recent reading of Byron's Childe Harold, canto iii (1816), might have put the writer in mind of the 'blue rushing of the arrowy Rhône' (st. 71); cf. l. 704. The canto was written at about the time S and Byron made the excursion around Lake Geneva described in Letter III of Letters Written in Geneva (see S's letter to T. J. Hogg, 18 July 1816·.
Editor’s Note
619. Mumph = Mumpf.
Critical Apparatus
623 who] they 1840
Editor’s Note
632. Mayence = Mainz.
Editor’s Note
637–8. Letters from Norway. Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark (1796) contained the descriptive but less personal portions of the letters written by Mary Wollstonecraft to Gilbert Imlay, the father of her first daughter Fanny.
Critical Apparatus
682 batelier] 1840: batalier 1817
Editor’s Note
685–7. C'est … noyés . It's only a boat, that was only overturned, and all the people are only drowned.
Editor’s Note
692. bombardment. In 1792 Mainz accepted French rule, but for the next few years it was the scene of several military engagements.
Critical Apparatus
701 talked,] ⁓, and got tipsy 1840
Editor’s Note
705–6. third … Harold . Probably a reference to the lyric addressed to his half-sister Augusta which Byron placed after stanza 55. If so, the portion of the Rhine described from here is in the vicinity of Bonn. The remembrance following ('We read these verses with delight') is in any case anachronistic: Canto III of Childe Harold was not written until 1816.
Editor’s Note
724. borderers. I.e. those who lived along the Rhine.
Critical Apparatus
752 we for] 1840: and for 1817
Editor’s Note
766–8. At Nimeguen … Montague . The reference is to Mrs Montagu's letter to Sarah Chiswell, 13 Aug. 1716: 'I must not forget to take notice of the Bridge 〈at Nimeguen = Nijmegen〉, which appear'd very Surprizing to me. Tis large enough to hold hundreds of Men with Horses and Carriages. They give the value of an English two pence to get upon it and away they go, bridge and all to the other side of the river, with so slow a motion, one is hardly sensible of any at all' (The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, ed. Robert Halsband, 3 vols., Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1967, i. 252).
Critical Apparatus
767 Mary] ⁓ Wortley 1840
Critical Apparatus
768 T〈h〉iel] Triel 1817 (present-day Tiel)
Critical Apparatus
785 rolled] backed 1840
Critical Apparatus
802 September] 1840: August 1817
Critical Apparatus
804 Marsluys] Maasluis K
Critical Apparatus
810 hills.] ⁓. During our stay at Marsluys, S continued his Romance. 1840
Editor’s Note
810c During … Romance. ] The substance of the 1840 insert comes from MWS (10 Sept.).
logo-footer Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.
Access is brought to you by Log out