This article accompanies the fable
Water symbolism occurs throughout this chapter: Shelley pursuing Rousseau's lovers on Lake Geneva or Rousseau himself hiding out on St. Petersinsel; Wordsworth lost in the Lake Country; my grandmother born in secret disgrace and borne away downriver.
The Serpentine, in Hyde Park, is full of foreign students and tourists and cuddling couples, and it has a few literary associations: it is associated with the suicide of Shelley's wife, Harriet, and with the memorials to Princess Diana and the Jewish Holocaust. Below is the Serpentine Bridge. The place has a melancholy air, even on a fine day.
Below is Camille Pissarro's more cheerful Hyde Park (1890). The Serpentine is visible on the left.