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Harriet Shelley - Letter to Eliza Westbrook, Shelley and her parents
Part of the Shelley's Ghost Exhibition. Harriet Shelley drowned herself in December 1816, aged twenty-one. Her body was recovered from the Serpentine on 10 December, and an inquest into the death of one 'Harriet Smith' was held the following day.
Although her precise movements in the months leading up to her death are uncertain, it is clear that she was living away from home, that she had taken a lover, and that she was pregnant. This is Harriet's last letter. Muddled and full of self-recrimination, it reveals the nervous exhaustion and profound depression of her final days.