A late July afternoon, 1814.
Scene: MR. WILLIAM GODWIN'S Study, in Skinner Street. -- It is a large room, subdued in color, with a softened shabbiness; and books everywhere. At back, centre, a fireplace and mantel. Over this, the portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft. To right and left of the fireplace, doors; the one to the right opening on an outer corridor. Down, to the left, an inner door. -- Windows to the left, with curtains half-drawn, letting in a low summer light. Down, right, the same long couch seen in Act III. Left, near the windows, a large table strewn with papers, and a scrap-basket full of them to overflowing; some on the floor.
There is a knock at the outer door; then a pause. The door opens slowly.
Enter MARY GODWIN, with resolute dignity, followed by SHELLEY, whose air is similarly firm, but calmer. He is a tall, radiant looking