October 22 1814: Shelley Goes into Hiding

“The following day, Sunday [October 23 1814], they got up at dawn and waited like spies until the shutters were open at the Godwins’ shop, then rang the bell and seized Fanny, who had come unsuspecting to the door. Cornered, and yet anxious not to give them away, Fanny admitted the ‘surprising  treachery of the Hookhams’, [he had revealed St Pancras as the place Shelley was hiding]  and they realized for certain the bailiffs were now alerted. The only respite was the fact that through a technicality of the Lord’s day observance, bailiffs were not empowered to arrest between midnight on Saturdays and midnight on Sundays.  This gave them some twelve hours to work out a plan.

They hurried over to Old Bond Street to confront Hookham, but he was out ‘the little sly rascal got out of the way’, as Jane expressed it, echoing Shelley’s anger. Back at Church Terrace, they tried to consult together to make a plan, but ended up only by quarreling until ‘Shelley makes all right again in his usual Way’. Peacock came in, and it was at last agreed that Shelley would have to separate from the two girls and go to ground while he and Peacock tired t speed the negotiation of loan. Mary and Jane with much foreboding, were left alone at Church Terrace, and Shelley departed with Peacock as soon as dark, to stay the night at Southampton Street, where Peacock lived with his mother.”

—  Richard Holmes’ Shelley: The Pursuit, page 265-266.

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