In 1891 Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the America woman’s right campaigner was in England and in April of that year together with her British granddaughter Nora Blatch took a short vacation at Bournemouth. This is her own description of that event.
Toward the last of April, with my little granddaughter and her nurse, I went down to Bournemouth, one of the most charming watering places in England. We had rooms in the Cliff House with windows opening on the balcony, where we had a grand view of the bay and could hear the waves dashing on the shore. While Nora, with her spade and pail, played all day in the sands, digging trenches and filling them with water, I sat on the balcony reading “Diana of the Crossways,” and Bjornson’s last novel, “In God’s Way,” both deeply interesting. As all the characters in the latter come to a sad end, I could not see the significance of the title. If they walked in God’s way their career should have been successful.
I took my first airing along the beach in an invalid chair. These bath chairs are a great feature in all the watering places of England. They are drawn by a man or a donkey. The first day I took a man, an old sailor, who talked incessantly of his adventures, stopping to rest every five minutes, dissipating all my pleasant reveries, and making an unendurable bore of himself. The next day I told the proprietor to get me a man who would not talk all the time. The man he supplied jogged along in absolute silence; he would not even answer my questions. Supposing he had his orders to keep profound silence, after one or two attempts I said nothing. When I returned home, the proprietor asked me how I liked this man. “Ah!” I said, “he was indeed silent and would not even answer a question nor go anywhere I told him; still I liked him better than the talkative man.” He laughed heartily and said: “This man is deaf and dumb. I thought I would make sure that you should not be bored.” I joined in the laugh and said: “Well, to-morrow get me a man who can hear but cannot speak, if you can find one constructed on that plan.”
Bournemouth is noteworthy now as the burial place of Mary Wolstonecraft and the Shelleys. I went to see the monument that had been recently reared to their memory. On one side is the following inscription: “William Godwin, author of ‘Political Justice,’ born March 3rd, 1756, died April 7th, 1836. Mary Wolstonecraft Godwin, author of the ‘Vindication of the Rights of Women,’ born April 27th, 1759, died September 10th, 1797.” These remains were brought here, in 1851, from the churchyard of St. Pancras, London. On the other side are the following inscriptions: “Mary Wolstonecraft Godwin, daughter of William Godwin and widow of the late Percy Bysshe Shelley, born August 30th, 1797, died February 1st, 1851. Percy Florence Shelley, son of Percy Shelley and Mary Wolstonecraft, third baronet, born November 12th, 1819, died December 5th, 1889.” In Christ’s Church, six miles from Bournemouth, is a bas-relief in memory of the great poet. He is represented, dripping with seaweed, in the arms of the Angel of Death.