Monday, July 28, 2008

fairy barks and sails

Felicia Hemans to Mr. L.

Dove Nest Cottage, Ambleside, July 20th, 1830.

My dear Mr. L ,
A letter which I received this morning from Liverpool mentions your having returned home, and I will therefore no longer delay writing to you, as you may perhaps wish to know my present address. I fear you have given up your intention of visiting the Lakes, as your last letter made no mention of it The weather is indeed any thing but alluring, though there are few, even of the most lowering days here, among which one cannot get out of doors in a parenthesis, such as the culinary regions where you now are very seldom afford. I am anxious to know whether you received my little volume, which was sent for you to the Athenaeum: very little of its contents would be new to you, though the arrangement of the whole might, I hope, afford you some pleasure. You were quite right about the name of 'my Cid,' as the old Spanish chroniclers call him: it is Diaz, and not Diar, and he is a personage for whom I have so much respect, that it would have grieved me to see his 'style and title' falsified. I remained at Mr. Wordsworth's rather more than a fortnight, and then came to my present residence, a lonely, but beautifully situated cottage on the banks of Windermere. I am so much delighted with the spot, that I scarcely know how I shall leave it. The situation is one of the deepest retirement; but the bright lake before me, with all its fairy barks and sails, glancing like 'things of life' over its blue water, prevents the solitude from being overshadowed by anything like sadness. I contrive to see Mr. Wordsworth frequently, but am little disturbed by other visitors: only the other evening, just as I was about to go forth upon the lake, a card was brought to me.___________ Think of my being found out by American tourists in Dove's Nest! 'I wish ______, and _______ , and _______, (for they were all impending over me,) were in the arms of Helvellyn and Catchedicam!' exclaimed I, most irreverently: but however, they brought credentials I could not but acknowledge. The young ladies, as I feared, brought an Album concealed in their shawls, and it was levelled at me like a pocket-pistol before all was over. When you see Mrs. ______, will you tell her that I have just had a very kind and pleasant letter from Lady Dacre: tell her, also, that I am going to read some of Schiller with Mr. Wordsworth. I know that she will understand that high enjoyment." . . . .

-from Memorials of Mrs. Hemans: with illustrations of her literary character, from her private correspondence by Henry F. Chorley in 2 volumes (London: Saunders and Otley, 1836) vol. 2, pp. 142-44.

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