2. Mary Declared her love for Shelley at her Mother’s Grave.
Mary Godwin spent a lot of time at her mother’s grave. Mary Wollstonecraft had died just days after her birth. However, Mary still felt close to her dead mother. From her earliest childhood, Mary would escape to her mother’s grave in St Pancras Churchyard, to read and be alone with her thoughts. It was a very personal place for her. So in June 1814, it was probably the most natural and convenient place in the world to make a forbidden declaration of love.
By June 26th1814, Mary and Shelley had only known each other for a matter of weeks. In that time, their relationship had blossomed from a warm friendship into a passionate romance. Mary had some idea of Shelley’s feelings for her from the secret notes passed between them. However, the only time the couple could be open with each other was during walks they took in the company of Mary’s stepsister, Jane Clairmont. On this particular Sunday, Mary and Shelley left Jane sitting on a gravestone at the edge of the graveyard while they went to Mary Wollstonecraft’s grave. It was there that Mary, rather than Shelley made the first move and declared her love.
Mary simply but explicitly declared she was Shelley’s “body and soul”- and calmly waited to see what he would say. Shelley was beyond joy and according to letters written later by Mary’s father responded by ‘seducing’ Mary there and then on her mother’s gravestone! Whether or not the poet’s joy that Mary shared his deep feelings was that extreme is a matter of debate. Shelley did later confide in his friend Thomas Jefferson Hogg that “The sublime and rapturous moment when she declared herself mine, who had so long been hers in secret cannot be painted to mortal imaginations.”