Marlow

Marlow

In 1817, Percy and Mary managed to secure a twenty-one-year lease on Albion House at Marlow—ironic, given that they would occupy the house for only a year and that Shelley would be dead five years later. It was a relatively good-sized house, which was fortunate, considering that it would be inhabited by the newly married couple and their son William, Claire Clairmont and her daughter Allegra, and the Swiss nurse Elise—plus extended houseguests Leigh and Marianne Hunt and their children. Godwin also dropped in for a visit in October 1817. Today, the place has been divided into four small flats, but the building retains its oddly shaped windows, white pebble finish, tiny attic windows and mock-gothic balustrade. Despite the dampness of the place (all of the Shelleys' books had mildewed by the time the couple moved), the couple was happy here; in September Mary gave birth to her third child, Clara, and Shelley was able to complete his long poem The Revolt of Islam.

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