514. To Mrs. S. T. Coleridge Address: Mrs Coleridge | Greta Hall | Keswick | Cumberland | S. Britain MS. Lord Latymer. Pub.with omis. Letters, i. 431. Stamped: Fort William. Friday Afternoon, 4 o clock. Sept. [ 2 1803] My dear Sara I write from the Ferry of Ball[achulish;] here a Letter may be lucky enough to go, & arrive at it's destination. This is the first Post, since the Day I left Glasgow-----we went thence to Dumbarton (look at Stoddart's Tour, where there is a very good view of Dumbarton Rock & Tower) thence to Loch Lomond, and a single House, called Luss -- horrible Inhospitality & a fiend of a Landlady! -- thence 8 miles up the Lake to E. Tarbet -- where the Lake is so like Ulswater, that I could scarcely see a difference / -977- crossed over the Lake, & by a desolate Moorland walked to another Lake, Loch Ketterin, up to a place called Trossachs, the Borrodale of Scotland & the only thing which really beats us -- You must conceive the Lake of Keswick pushing itself up, a mile or two, into Borrodale, winding round Castle Crag, & in & out among all the nooks & promontories -- & you must imagine all the mountains more detachedly built up, a general Dislocation -- every rock it's own precipice, with Trees young & old -- & this will give you some faint Idea of the Place -- of which the character is extreme intricacy of effect produced by very simple means -- one rocky high Island, four or 5 promontories, & a Castle Crag, just like that in the Gorge of Borrodale but not so large-- / ----. It rained all the way -- all the long long day -- we slept in a hay loft, that is, Wordsworth, I, and a young man who came in at the Trossachs & joined us -Dorothy had a bed in the Hovel which was varnished so rich with peat smoke, an apartment of highly polished [oak] would have been poor to it: it would have wanted the metallic Lustre of the smokevarnished Rafters. -- This was [the pleasantest] Evening, I had spent, since my Tour: for [ Wordsworth's] Hypochondriacal Feelings keep him silent, & [self]-centered --. The next day it still was rain & rain / the ferry boat was out for the Preaching -- & we stayed all day in the Ferry [house] to dry, wet to the skin / O such a wretched Hovel! -- but two highland Lasses who kept house in the absence of the Ferry man & his Wife, were very kind -- & one of them was beautiful as a Vision / & put both me & Dorothy in mind of the Highland Girl in William's Peter Bell. -- We returned to E. Tarbet, I with the rheumatism in my head / and now William proposed to me to leave them, & make my way on foot, to Loch Ketterin, the Trossachs, whence it is only 20 miles to Stirling, where the Coach runs thro' for Edingburgh -- He & Dorothy resolved to fight it out -- I eagerly caught at the Proposal: for the sitting in an open Carriage in the Rain is Death to me, and somehow or other I had not been quite comfortable. So on Monday I accompanied them to Arrochar, on purpose to see THE COB[B]LER, which had impressed me so much in Mr Wilkinson's Drawings -- & there I parted with them, having previously sent on all my Things to Edinburgh by a Glasgow Carrier who happened to be at E. Tarbet. The worst thing was the money -- they took 29 Guineas, and I six -- all our remaining Cash! I returned to E. Tarbet, slept there that night -the next day walked to the very head of Loch Lomond to Glen Falloch -- where I slept at a Cottage Inn, two degrees below John Stanley's but the good people were very kind -- meaning from hence to go over the mountain to the Head of Loch Ketterin again -- but hearing from the gude man of the House that it was -978- [40] miles to Glen Coe, of which I had formed an Idea from Wilkinson's Drawings -- & having found myself so happy alone -- such blessing is there in perfect Liberty! -- that I walked off -- and have walked 45 miles since then -- and except the last mile, I am sure, I may say, I have not met with ten houses. For 18 miles there are but 2 Habitations! -- and all that way I met no Sheep, no Cattle -only one Goat! -- all thro' Moorlands with huge mountains, some craggy & bare, but the most green with deep pinky channels worn by Torrents --. Glen Coe interested me; but rather disappointed me -- there was no superincumbency of Crag, the Crags not so bare or precipitous, as I had expected / -- / I am now going to cross the Ferry for Fort William -- for I have resolved to eke out my Cash by all sorts of self-denial, & to walk along the whole line of the Forts. I am unfortunately shoeless -- there is no Town where I can get a pair, & I have no money to spare to buy them -- so I expect to enter Perth Barefooted -- I burnt my shoes indrying them at the Boatman's Hovel on Loch Ketterin/ and I have by this mean hurt my heel -likewise my left Leg is a little inflamed / & the Rheumatism in the right of my head afflicts me sorely when I begin to grow warm in my bed, chiefly, my right eye, ear, cheek, & the three Teeth / but nevertheless, I am enjoying myself, having Nature with solitude & liberty; the liberty natural & solitary, the solitude natural & free! -----But you must contrive somehow or other to borrow 10£ -- or if that cannot be -- 5£, for me -- & send it without delay, directed to me at [the Pos]t office, Perth. I guess, I shall be there [in 7] days, or 8 at the furthest -- & your Letter will be two days getting thither (counting the day you put it in to the Office at Keswick as nothing) -- so you must calculate / and if this Letter does not reach you in time -- i.e. within 5 days from the Date hereof -- you must then direct the Letter to Edingburgh / (I will make 5£ do. You must borrow it of Mr Jackson. --) & I must beg my way for the last 3 or 4 days! -- It is useless repining; but if I had set off myself, in the Mail for Glasgow or Stirling, & so gone by foot as I am now doing, I should have saved 25£; but then Wordsworth would have lost it.-----. I have said nothing of you or my dear Children -- God bless us all! -I have but one untried misery to go thro' -- the Loss of Hartley or Derwent -- aye, or dear little Sara!-----In my health I am middling -- While I can walk 24 miles a day, with the excitement of new objects, I can support myself -- but still my Sleep & Dreams are distressful -- & I am hopeless; I take no opiates but when the Looseness with colic comes on; nor have [I] any Temptation: for since my Disorder has taken this asthm[atic turn,] opiates produce none but positively unplea[sant effects. S. T. C.] -979-