Discovered in the secret compartment of a North Italian cabinet, this enchanting manuscript may or may not be complete, and it may or may not be intended for posterity. Undeterred by these uncertainties, John Fuller gives us the early nineteenth-century 'memoirs' of Laetitia Horsepole, painter, philosopher and femme fatale. Shelley, apparently, came across this formidable woman, aged ninety, on his travels through Italy, and became her confidant and neighbour. Why, the reader may wonder, is she not better known? Why indeed? That long spell in Madagascar certainly interrupted her career. She was prickly and disinclined to ingratiate herself with the arbiters of fashionable taste. And then her virtual disappearance to Italy didn't help matters.