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William Wordsworth

Ernest De Selincourt, Alan G. Hill, and Mary Moorman (eds), The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 3: The Middle Years: Part II: 1812–1820 (Second Revised Edition)

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418. W. W. to H. C. R.

  • Address: To Henry Robinson, Esqre, 5 Essex Court, Temple, London.
  • Postmark: C. 7 Au 7, 1816. No. 2.
  • Endorsed: Wordsworth, Aug. 2, 1816.
  • MS. Dr. Williams's Library.
  • K (—). Morley, i. p. 85 (—).

  • Rydale Mount near Ambleside.
  • August 2nd 1816

My dear Sir,

It gave me much pleasure to see your Friend Mr Cargill;3 though I am sorry to say that his looks and appearance were so much altered by delicate not to say bad health that I did not at first recollect him.—In fact he had found himself so far untuned on his arrival at Kendal as to deem it adviseable to halt there for two days: and in consequence of this consumption of his time he could only spare one day for this neighbourhood, being anxious to reach Edingh4 as quickly as possible. I need not say that I found his pg 333manners and conversation answer the promises of your introductory letter, and that I parted from him with regret, which was not a little encreased by an impression upon my mind that rest would have been a better thing for him than Eñborogh bustle, or a fatiguing and harassing journey among the bad and widely-parted Inns of the Highlands.

The hope of seeing you here is very grateful to me; and upon a supposition that you propose to take some pains in seeing the Country I will proceed to give you directions for doing it to the best advantage. London, Manchester, Lancaster, (the Castle is extremely well worth your notice): at this Town, instead of proceeding by the Coach to Kendal, enquire about the best mode of crossing the Sands to Ulverstone; a Coach used to go, but whether it runs now or not, I cannot say: of course you must take care to cross these sands at a proper time, or you will run a risk of being drowned, a catastrophe to which I would not willingly be instrumental. At Ulverstone you will be within 7 or 8 miles of the celebrated abbey of St Mary's, commonly called Furness Abbey. These Ruins are very striking, and in an appropriate situation; if you should think it worth while to go and see them, the best way would be for you and your Friend to hire a Chaise, as by so doing you would preserve your strength, and only need consume three hours in the Expedition. Should you not deem this sight [? to your] taste (for you would have to go and to come back by the same way), you will proceed straight from Ulverstone to Coniston Water, by Penny Bridge, where is a decent Inn; and at the head of Coniston Lake a very good one delightfully situated. If so inclined, you might pass a whole day very pleasantly there, the morning rowing upon the water, the afternoon walking up and through Eugh-dale into Tilberthwaite and taking care to return from Tilberthwaite, by a house called the Eugh-tree, and up a road which will lead you near another Farmhouse called Tarn Hows, at a point in this Road you will suddenly come upon a fine prospect of Coniston Lake, looking down it. From Coniston to Hawkshead; At Hawkshead walk up into the Churchyard, and notice below you the School House, which has sent forth many northern lights, and among others your humble servant. From Hawkshead proceed to the Ferry-House upon Windermere, and less than a quarter of a mile before you reach it stop, and put yourself under the guidance of an old Woman, who will come out to meet you if you ring or call for her at a fantastic sort of gateway, an appurtenance to a Pleasure-House of that celebrated Patriot Mr Curwen, called the Station. The Ferry Inn is very respectable, and pg 334that at Bowness excellent. Cross at the Ferry, and proceed by Bowness up the lake towards Ambleside; you will pass Low-wood, an excellent Inn also, but here you would be within four miles of Rydale Mount, where I shall be most happy to see you and furnish you with a bed as long as you like; but I am sorry to say it will [not] be in my power to accommodate your Friend, who nevertheless shall be welcome for your sake. Here you will have further directions. I shall do everything in my power to be at home when you come, but many engagements have devolved upon me in consequence of the lamented death of my Brother, and some, I fear, are too likely to press upon me about the time of your intended Tour.

The Road I have chalked out is much the best for com[m]encing the Tour, but few take it. The usual way is to come on directly to Kendal, but I can assure you that this deviation from the common course will amply repay you.

I am glad that you were pleased with my Odes &c [?] They were poured out with much feeling, but from mismanagement of myself the labour of making some verbal corrections cost me more health and strength than anything of that sort ever did before. I have written nothing since—and as to Publishing I shall give it up, as no-body will buy what I send forth: nor can I expect it seeing what stuff the public appetite is set upon. As to your advice about touring, that subject we will talk of when we meet. My whole soul was with those who were resolved to fight it out with Bonaparte; and my heart of hearts set against those who had so little confidence in the power of justice or so small discernment concerning its nature, as to be ready at any moment to accept of such a truce, as under the name of peace he might condescend to bestow. For the personal character of the present ministry, with the exception of Lord Hawksbury1 I cannot say to you that I entertain any high respect, but I do conscientiously believe that they have not been wanting in efforts to economise and that the blame of unnecessary expenditure, wherever that exists, rests with the Prince Regent. Adieu.

  • Faithfully yours,      
  • W Wordsworth   

The ladies under my roof join in best regards and remembrance—[D. W. adds:] My brother desires me to add that your halting at pg 335Coniston, and the deviations from the common track must depend upon the length of time which you have to spare. I shall be very glad to see you again. D. W.

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Editor’s Note
3 A native of Jamaica, and a pupil of John Thelwall who, after his acquittal on the charge of treason, had a school in Upper Bedford Place where he taught 'oratory'—especially to those who had 'defects arising from the malformation of the organs of speech'. Cargill studied law under Serjeant Rough, by H. C. R.'s advice, but afterwards became a clergyman. Sadler, I, p. 379.
Editor’s Note
4 i.e. Edinburgh.
Editor’s Note
1 Robert Banks Jenkinson, Lord Hawkesbury (1770–1828), who had succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Liverpool in 1808, first took office under Pitt in 1799. In 1812 he became prime minister after Spencer Perceval's assassination.
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