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Defence of Harriet Shelley
Mark Twain

Page 1 of 82


This etext was produced by David Widger  

In Defence of Harriet Shelley 

by Mark Twain 

I have committed sins, of course; but I have not committed enough of them
to entitle me to the punishment of reduction to the bread and water of
ordinary literature during six years when I might have been living on the
fat diet spread for the righteous in Professor Dowden's Life of Shelley,
if I had been justly dealt with. 

During these six years I have been living a life of peaceful ignorance.
I was not aware that Shelley's first wife was unfaithful to him, and that
that was why he deserted her and wiped the stain from his sensitive honor
by entering into soiled relations with Godwin's young daughter.  This was

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