Sunday, August 14th & Monday, August 15th.
William and I parted from Mary on Sunday afternoon, August 14th, 1803; and William, Coleridge, and I left Keswick on Monday morning, the 15th, at twenty minutes after eleven o'clock. The day was very hot; we walked up the hills, and along all the rough road, which made our walking half the day's journey. Travelled under the foot of Carrock, a mountain covered with stones on the lower part; above, it is very rocky, but sheep pasture there; we saw several where there seemed to be no grass to tempt them. Passed the foot of Grisdale and Mosedale, both pastoral valleys, narrow, and soon terminating in the mountains - green, with scattered trees and houses, and each a beautiful stream. At Grisdale our horse backed upon a steep bank where the road was not fenced, just above a pretty mill at the foot of the valley; and we had a second threatening of a disaster in crossing a narrow bridge between the two dales; but this was not the fault of either man or horse. Slept at Mr. Younghusband's public-house, Hesket Newmarket. In the evening walked to Caldbeck Falls, a delicious spot in which to breathe out a summer's day - limestone rocks, hanging trees, pools, and waterbreaks - caves and caldrons which have been honoured with fairy names, and no doubt continue in the fancy of the neighbourhood to resound with fairy revels.
Tuesday, August 16th.
Passed Rose Castle upon the Caldew, an ancient building of red stone with sloping gardens, an ivied gateway, velvet lawns, old garden walls, trim flower-borders with stately and luxuriant flowers. We walked up to the house and stood some minutes watching the swallows that flew about restlessly, and flung their shadows upon the sunbright walls of the old building; the shadows glanced and twinkled, interchanged and crossed each other, expanded and shrunk up, appeared and disappeared every instant; as I observed to William and Coleridge, seeming more like living things than the birds themselves.
Dined at Carlisle; the town in a bustle with the assizes; so many strange faces known in former times and recognised, that it half seemed as if I ought to know them all, and, together with the noise, the fine ladies, etc., they put me into confusion. This day Hatfield was condemned I stood at the door of the gaoler's house, where he was; William entered the house, and Coleridge saw him; I fell into conversation with a debtor, who told me in a dry way that he was 'far over-learned,' and another man observed to William that we might learn from Hatfield's fate 'not to meddle with pen and ink.' We gave a shilling to my companion, whom we found out to be a friend of the family, a fellow-sailor with my brother John 'in Captain Wordsworth's ship.' Walked upon the city walls, which are broken down in places and crumbling away, and most disgusting from filth. The city and neighbourhood of Carlisle disappointed me; the banks of the river quite flat, and, though the holms are rich, there is not much beauty in the vale from the want of trees - at least to the eye of a person coming from England, and, I scarcely know how, but to me the holms had not a natural look; there was something townish in their appearance, a dulness in their strong deep green.
To Longtown - not very interesting, except from the long views over the flat country; the road rough, chiefly newly mended. Reached Longtown after sunset, a town of brick houses belonging chiefly to the Graham family. Being in the form of a cross and not long, it had been better called Crosstown. There are several shops, and it is not a very small place; but I could not meet with a silver thimble, and bought a halfpenny brass one. Slept at the Graham's Arms, a large inn. Here, as everywhere else, the people seemed utterly insensible of the enormity of Hatfield's offences; the ostler told William that he was quite a gentleman, paid every one genteelly, etc. etc. He and 'Mary' had walked together to Gretna Green; a heavy rain came on when they were there; a returned chaise happened to pass, and the driver would have taken them up; but 'Mr. Hope's' carriage was to be sent for; he did not choose to accept the chaise-driver's offer.
Wednesday, August 17th.
Left Longtown after breakfast. About half-a-mile from the town a guide-post and two roads, to Edinburgh and Glasgow; we took the left-hand road, to Glasgow. Here saw a specimen of the luxuriance of the heath-plant, as it grows in Scotland; it was in the enclosed plantations - perhaps sheltered by them. These plantations appeared to be not well grown for their age; the trees were stunted. Afterwards the road, treeless, over a peat-moss common - the Solway Moss; here and there an earth-built hut with its peat stack, a scanty growing willow hedge round the kailgarth, perhaps the cow pasturing near, - a little lass watching it, - the dreary waste cheered by the endless singing of larks.
We enter Scotland by crossing the river Sark; on the Scotch side of the bridge the ground is unenclosed pasturage; it was very green, and scattered over with that yellow flowered plant which we call grunsel; the hills heave and swell prettily enough; cattle feeding; a few corn fields near the river. At the top of the hill opposite is Springfield, a village built by Sir William Maxwell - a dull uniformity in the houses, as is usual when all built at one time, or belonging to one individual, each just big enough for two people to live in, and in which a family, large or small as it may happen, is crammed. There the marriages are performed. Further on, though almost contiguous, is Gretna Green, upon a hill and among trees. This sounds well, but it is a dreary place; the stone houses dirty and miserable, with broken windows. There is a pleasant view from the churchyard over Solway Firth to the Cumberland mountains.
Dined at Annan. On our left as we travelled along appeared the Solway Firth and the mountains beyond, but the near country dreary. Those houses by the roadside which are built of stone are comfortless and dirty; but we peeped into a clay 'biggin' that was very 'canny,' and I daresay will be as warm as a swallow's nest in winter. The town of Annan made me think of France and Germany; many of the houses large and gloomy, the size of them outrunning the comforts. One thing which was like Germany pleased me: the shopkeepers express their calling by some device or painting; bread-bakers have biscuits, loaves, cakes painted on their window-shutters; blacksmiths horses' shoes, iron tools, etc. etc.; and so on through all trades.
Reached Dumfries at about nine o'clock - market-day; met crowds of people on the road, and every one had a smile for us and our car . . . . The inn was a large house, and tolerably comfortable; Mr. Rogers and his sister, whom we had seen at our own cottage at Grasmere a few days before, had arrived there that same afternoon on their way to the Highlands; but we did not see them till the next morning, and only for about a quarter of an hour.
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