299. To Dorothy Wordsworth Transcript Mary Wordsworth, Dove Cottage. Pub. with omis. Memoirs of Wordsworth, i. 147. Across the top of her transcript Mary Wordsworth wrote: 'Extract from a letter written . . . from Keswick to D. W. to Sockburn where they left her to make an Excursion among the Lakes -- Coleridge's first visit ____________________ 1 Shortly after this letter was written, Coleridge left Stowey for Bristol, but instead of going to London he set off with Cottle on a trip to Sockburn, Durham, where the Wordsworths were visiting the Hutchinsons. That Coleridge rushed off to Sockburn without notifying Mrs. Coleridge is evident from her letter to her sister-in-law, Mrs. George Coleridge. The letter is dated 2 Nov. 1799 and was written from Old Cleeve Vicarage, a small hamlet near Watchet and twelve miles from Nether Stowey. 'You will perceive by the date of this that all my troubles respecting the Child are at an end. He is, I thank God I in all respects perfectly well. We have been at this place above a week, that is, myself and Hartley; for Samuel has been in Bristol nearly a fortnight. He left Stowey with an intention of proceeding to London in search of his travel. ling Chests if he did not find them in Bristol, but fortunately they arrived at Stowey two days after his departure. I am going to Stowey to-morrow and hope to find him safe at Mr Poole's, for our Cottage is shut up. . . . Samuel, too, . . . had the Rheumatism by getting wet through, and remaining unchanged. He went to Upcott in the midst of his pain, that I might have the house, sheets, blankets, and Cloaths washed, and the latter buried, but the scent still remains. . . . I expect when I return to Stowey, if Coleridge is not there, to find a letter inviting me and the Child to Bristol, for as I have no maid I cannot remain in the house alone.' (MS. letter.) In view of the affectionate letters Coleridge sent his wife from Germany, his abrupt and unannounced departure for the north is a little surprising. Apparently he did not write to her until December, for when he wrote to Cottle early in that month he did not even know where she was! -542- to the North --' Of this joint journal letter written by Coleridge and Words. worth during their tour in 1799 only the excerpts made by Mrs. Wordsworth survive. In order to give continuity to the account of Coleridge's activities I have printed the whole of the transcript, including the Wordsworth extracts. Coleridge left Bristol in the company of Cottle on 22 October, 'for my most important journey to the North', and was at Sockburn by 26 October. The next day he, Cottle, and Wordsworth set off for the Lake Country, but on 80 October Cottle returned to Bristol by way of London. Wordsworth and Coleridge continued their excursion, lingering several days in Grasmere, and arrived at Keswick, presumably on 10 November. John Wordsworth, the poet's brother, was a member of the party from 80 October to 5 November. See G. H. B. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor Coleridge discovers the Lake Country, Wordsworth and Coleridge, ed. by E. L. Griggs, 1939, pp. 135-49, for an account of the excursion drawn from Coleridge's notebooks. [ Keswick, circa 10 November 1799] . . . William has received your 2 letters. At Temple Sowerby we met your Br. John who accompanied us to Hawes Water, Windermere, Ambleside & the divine Sisters, Rydal & Grasmere -- here we [he] stayed two days, & left on Tuesday [5 November]. We accompanied John over the fork of Helvellyn on a day when light & darkness coexisted in contiguous masses, & the earth & sky were but one! Nature lived for us in all her grandest accidents -- we quitted him by a wild Tarn just as we caught a view of the gloomy Ulswater. Your Br. John is one of you; a man who hath solitary usings of his own Intellect, deep in feeling, with a subtle Tact, a swift instinct of Truth & Beauty. He interests me much. It was most lucky for us that poor dear Cottle returned. His timidity is indeed not greater than is easily explicable from his lameness & sedentary STATIONERY occupations; but it is extreme, & poor dear fellow! his self-involution (for Alfred is his Self) O me that Alfred! 1 William & I have atchieved one good Thing -- he has solemnly promised not to publish on his own account. S. T. C. [W.W. writes upon the same sheet.] . . . We left Cottle as you know on Wed. Mg. [30 October] at Greta Bridge. We were obliged to take the Mail over Stanemoor, the road interesting with sun & mist. At Temple Sowerby I learned from the address of a letter lying on the table with the Cambridge post mark, the Letter from Kit 2 to Mrs C. 3 that he was gone to Cambridge. I learned also from the Woman that John was at New-biggin. I sent a note -- he came, looks very well -- . . . Your Uncle has left you £100, nobody else is named in his Will. Having ____________________ 1 Coleridge refers to Cottle's Alfred, an Epic Poem, 2 vols., 1801. 2 Wordsworth's youngest brother, Christopher ( 1774-1846). 3 Mrs. Crackanthorpe, widow of Wordsworth's maternal uncle, Christopher Crackanthorpe ( Cookson). -543- learnt our plans said he would accompany us a few days. Next day, Thursday we set off, & dined at Mr Myers', thence to Bampton where we slept -- on Friday proceeded along the Lake of Hawes water (a noble scene which pleased us much) the mists hung so low upon the mountains that we could not go directly over to Ambleside, so went round by Long Sleddale to Kentmere. Next to Troutbeck, & thence by Rayrigg & Bowness -- a rainy & raw day, did not stop at Bowness but went on to the Ferry -- a cold passage -were much disgusted with the New Erections & objects about Windermere -- thence to Hawkshead --. . . No horses or lodgings at Hawkshead; great change among the People since we were last there. Next day Sunday [8 November] by Rydal & the Road by which we approached Grasmere to Robt. Newton's. Coleridge enchanted with Grasmere & Rydal. At Robt. Newton's we have remained till to day. John left us on Tuesday; we walked with him to the Tarn. . . . This day was a fine one & we had some grand mountain scenery -- the rest of the week has been bad weather. -- Yesterday we set off with a view of going to Dungeon Ghyll -- the day so bad forced to return. The evening before last we walked to the upper Water fall at Rydal & saw it through the gloom, & it was very magnificent. C. was much struck with Grasmere & its neighbourhood & I have much to say to you, you will think my plan a mad one, but I have thought of building a house there by the Lake side. John would give me £40 to buy the ground, & for £250 I am sure I could build one as good as we can wish. I speak with tolerable certainty on this head as a Devonshire Gentleman has built a Cottage there which cost a £130 which would exactly suit us every way, but the size of the bed rooms; we shall talk of this. . . . We shall go to Buttermere the day after tomorrow but I think it will be full ten days before we shall see you. There is a small house at Grasmere 1 empty which perhaps we may take, & purchase furniture but of this we will speak; but I shall write again when I. know more on this subject. W. W. [ Coleridge writes again.] You can feel what I cannot express for myself -- how deeply I have been impressed by a world of scenery absolutely new to me. At Rydal & Grasmere I recd I think the deepest delight, yet Hawes Water thro' many a varying view kept my eyes dim with tears, and this evening, approaching Derwentwater in diversity ____________________ 1 Wordsworth and Dorothy entered Dove Cottage on 20 Dec. 1799. See Early Letters, 284. -544- of harmonious features, in the majesty of its beauties & in the Beauty of its majesty -- O my God! & the Black Crags close under the snowy mountains, whose snows were pinkish with the setting sun & the reflections from the sandy rich Clouds that floated over some & rested upon others! It was to me a vision of a fair Country. Why were you not with us Dorothy? Why were not you Mary with us?