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THE WEDDING JOURNEY.
1851-1852. AGE 23—24.
'ITH marriage began a new horizon and a larger
intellectual life ; from varied pursuits, ranging over science and literature, the bride and bridegroom were not likely to experience ennui. In a letter of Anne Gilchrist's to Julia Newton, we are given a glimpse of the honeymoon :
July 30, 1851. Keswick, Cumberland. MY DEAREST JULIA : Surely you have been expecting a letter from me this long time? Travelling accumulates such a heap of material that it makes one, strange to say, quite shrink from the effort of writing. For the material is so crude and undigested that it takes months to get into an articulate shape with me. By which I mean to say, that I shall not attempt to describe anything except perhaps those things least worth describing.
“ After I last saw you, we spent nearly a week at Aldermaston. Then a few very busy days winding-up our affairs, packing, and so forth, at Barnet. Then, last
Monday three weeks, set out on our travels northward, going, however, by a circuitous route, in order to visit Lincoln Cathedral; and were well repaid for the détour , I need not say. In fact, we shall not have such another architectural treat at York itself. Next day we went on to Leeds, slept there, and early the following morning started for Windermere, via Lancaster. Arrived there at mid-day, walked on to Bowness, a small town seated at the edge of the Lake. Next day went up the Lake by steamer to Ambleside, where we lodged for above a week. Thence on to Grasmere, spending a week there also, and thence to Keswick, which we leave on Saturday next for Patterdale.
“Think how strange we must have felt when the railway set us down on the border of Windermere, among mountains. (N.B.—Highgate Hill was the greatest elevation, I think, I had previously seen.) However, a mountain is but a big hill after all.
“What I delight in most are the mountain streams and waterfalls, and woods and lakes, with just a peep of the mountains through the trees. These latter are best seen at a distance: when actually walking amongst them, their grandeur and solitariness and barrenness are depressing and chilling. After all, the sunny, fertile, woody plain for me, with gentle hills around, with a deep, calm river smiling in the sunshine, not darkly frowning in the shade, as here, flowing through it. I could not make a home here, glorious and lovely and sublime--it is all these in turns as the scenery is here. But the climate is dismal to a degree—so wet and cloudy and sunless. I am told, that in many of the