judge . . . misfortunes
Behind this utterance, one can hear what is truly the locus classicus, the classic statement, of how one is impelled by exile to provide sympathetic assistance to other exiles, that of Dido before the shipwrecked Aeneas: "Non ignari mali, miseris succerere disco—Not ignorant of evils myself, I learn to succor the miserable" (Aeneid, I.630). Without question Mary Shelley's educated readers would have heard the resonance of this Latin tag, an allusion few women novelists of this time would have had sufficient classical training to make.