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Mary Shelley’s love, Percy Bysshe Shelley died at age 28 when his boat, the Don Juan (see what he did there?) capsized on July 8, 1822. He was found 10 days later.
Know the phrase “floater”? Ever seen Silence of the Lambs? Yeah.
Let’s just say Shelley was a dandy, and he would have been horrified at how Not Cute he looked. Girl.
He was cremated because an open casket was completely out of the question floater floater bloat bloat bloat, but his heart did not burn.
Insert bitchy comment by Lord Byron.
So Mary did what any good morbid lady would do.
She carried it everywhere wrapped in silken fabric, duh.
I personally like to imagine she liked to make it talk at dinner parties, like a ventriloquist’s dummy, because that adds that extra layer of horror plus horror-laugh.
“Why, what do you think about all this, Percyheart?”
“I think this entire gathering a frightful bore, Mrs. Shelley. I would much rather be bending you over Byron’s settee whilst he watches–”
This also begs the question: in her purse? slung over her shoulder like a continental soldier? tucked into her bosom with a sachet, because, honey, that meat probably did not smell so nice? The organization of her carryall is lost to history, to the best of my knowledge.
However, this much is known. She died in 1851, at age 54, and, in 1852, someone finally got around to managing her estate (you know how that goes), and found Percy’s heart in her desk drawer. It was wrapped in the pages of his poem Adonais. Just a 30-year-old bloated then dessicated piece of circulatory system man-meat, in a writing desk. Don’t make it weird.
The heart was finally buried in the family vault with their son, Percy Florence Shelley when he died in 1889. Where it partied from 1852 to then, I do not know.
The Determined Heart: The Tale of Mary Shelley and Her Frankenstein (perfect title, don’t’cha think, on so many levels)