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comparison is very small. Insult may be inflicted in more ways than by word or action. One who is tender of being insulted, does not like to think an insult against another. I do not like to think insults in a lady's company. I commit a crime with her which absence would not have known. Is it not extraordinary?
—when among men, I have no evil thoughts, no malice, no spleen ; 'I feel free to speak or to be silent; I can listen, and from every one I can learn ; my hands are in my pockets, I am free from all suspicion, and comfortable. When I am among women, I have evil thoughts, malice, spleen; I cannot speak, or be silent; I am full of suspicions, and therefore listen to nothing; I am in a hurry to be gone. You must be charitable, and put all this perversity to my being disappointed since my boyhood. Yet with such feel. ings I am happier alone, among crowds of men, by myself, or with a friend or two. With all this, trust me, I have not the least idea that men of different feelings and inclinations are more shortsighted than myself. I never rejoiced more than at my brother's marriage, and shall do so at that of any of my friends. I must absolutely get over this—but how? the only way is to find the root of the evil, and so cure it, “with backward mutters of dissevering power.” That is a difficult thing; for an obstinate prejudice can seldom be produced but from a gordian complication of feelings, which must take time to unravel, and care to keep unraveled. I could say a good deal about this, but I will leave it, in hopes of better and more worthy dispositions—and, also, content that I am wronging no one, for, after all, I do think better of womankind than to suppose they care whether Mister John Keats, five feet high, likes them or not. You appeared to wish to know my moods on this subject; don't think it a bore, my dear fellow,-it shall be my Amen.
I should not have consented to myself, these four months, tramping in the Highlands, but that I thought it would give me more experience, rub off more prejudice, use [me] to more hardship, identify finer scenes, load me with grander mountains, and strengthen more my reach in poetry, than would stopping at home among books, even though I should reach Homer. By this time I am comparatively a mountaineer; I have been among wilds and mountains too much to break out much about their grandeur. I
have not fed upon oat-cake long enough to be very much attached to it. The first mountains I saw, though not so large as some I have since seen, weighed very solemnly upon me. The effect is wearing away, yet I like them mainly. We have come this evening with a guide—for without was impossible-into the middle of the Isle of Mull, pursuing our cheap journey to Iona, and perhaps Staffa. We would not follow the common and fashionable mode, for the great imposition of expense. We have come over heath, and rock, and river, and bog, to what, in England, would be called a horrid place. Yet it belongs to a shepherd pretty well off. The family speak not a word but Galic, and we have not yet seen their faces for the smoke, which, after visiting every cranny, (not excepting my eyes, very much incommoded for writing,) finds its way out at the door. I am more comfortable than I could have imagined in such a place, and so is Brown. The people are all very kind. We lost our way a little, yesterday; and inquiring at a cottage, a young woman, without a word, threw on her cloak, and walked a mile in a mizzling rain and splashy way to put us right again.
I could not have had a greater pleasure in these parts than your mention of my sister. She is very much prisoned for me. I am afraid it will be some time before I can take her to many places I wish.
I trust we shall see you ere long in Cumberland—at least I hope I shall, before my visit to America, more than once. I intend to pass a whole year there, if I live to the completion of the three next. My sister's welfare, and the hopes of such a stay in America, will make me observe your advice. I shall be prudent, and more careful of my health than I have been.
I hope you will be about paying your first visit to town, after settling when we come into Cumberland. Cumberland, however, will be no distance to me after my present journey. I shall spin to you [in] a minute. I begin to get rather a contempt of distances. I hope you will have a nice convenient room for a library. Now you are so well in health, do keep it up by never missing your dinner, by not reading hard, and by taking proper exercise. You'll have a horse, I suppose, so you must make a point of sweating him. You say I must study Dante: well, the only books I have with me are those three little volumes. I read that fine passage you mention a few days ago. Your letter followed me from Hampstead to Port Patrick, and thence to Glasgow. You must think me, by this time, a very pretty fellow.
One of the pleasantest bouts we have had was our walk to Burns's Cottage, over the Doon, and past Kirk Alloway. I had determined to write a sonnet in the Cottage. I did; but it was so wretched I destroyed it: however, in a few days afterwards I wrote some lines cousin-german to the circumstance, which I will transcribe, or rather cross-scribe in the front of this.
Reynolds's illness has made him a new man; he will be stronger than ever : before I left London he was really getting a fat face.
Brown keeps on writing volumes of adventures to Dilke. When we get in of an evening, and I have perhaps taken my rest on a couple of chairs, he affronts my indolence and luxury, by pulling out of his knapsack, first, his paper; secondly, his pens; and lastly, his ink. Now I would not care if he would change a little. I say now, why not, Bailey, take out his pens first sometimes. But I might as well tell a hen to hold up her head before she drinks, instead of afterwards.
Your affectionate friend,
There is a charm in footing slow across a silent plain,
Light heather-bells may tremble then-but they are far away;
Runnels may kiss the grass on shelves and shallows clear,-'
At such a time the soul's a child, in childhood is the brain,
Scanty the hour, and few the steps, beyond the bourne of care,
No, no—that horror cannot be! for at the cable's length
DuNANCULLEN, July 231, [1818.] MY DEAR TOM,
Just after my last had gone to the post, in came one of the men with whom we endeavored to agree about going to Staffa : he said what a pity it was we should turn aside, and not
see the curiosities. So we had a little tatile, and finally agreed that he should be our guide across the Isle of Mull. We set out, crossed two ferries, one to the Isle of Kerrera, of little distance; the other from Kerrera to Mull, nine miles across. We did it in forty minutes, with a fine breeze. The road through the island, or rather track, is the most dreary you can think of; between dreary mountains, over bog, and rock, and river, with our breeches tucked up, and our stockings in hand. About eight o'clock we arrived at a shepherd's hut, into which we could scarcely get for the smoke, through a door lower than my shoulders. We found our way into a little compartment, with the rafters and turf-thatch blackened with smoke, the earth-floor full of hills and dales. We had some white bread with us, made a good supper, and slept in our clothes in some blankets; our guide snored in another little bed about an arm's length off. This morning we came about sax miles to breakfast, by rather a better path, and we are now in, by comparison, a mansion. Our guide is, I think, a very obliging fellow. In the way, this morning, he sang us two Gaelic songsone made by a Mrs. Brown, on her husband's being drownedthe other a Jacobin one on Charles Stuart. For some days Brown has been inquiring out his genealogy here; he thinks his grandfather came from Long Island. He got a parcel of people round him at a cottage door last evening, chatted with one who had been a Miss Brown, and who, I think, from a likeness, must have been a relation : he jawed with the old woman, flattered a young one, and kissed a child, who was afraid of his spectacles, and finally drank a pint of milk. They handle his spectacles as we do a sensitive leaf.
July 26th.-Well! we had a most wretched walk of thirtyseven miles, across the Island of Mull, and then we crossed to Iona, or Icolmkill ; from Icolmkill we took a boat at a bargain to take us to Staffa, and land us at the head of Loch Nakeal, whence we should only have to walk half the distance to Oban again and by a better road. All this is well passed and done, with this singular piece of luck, that there was an interruption in the bad weather just as we saw Staffa, at which it is impossible to land but in a tolerably calm sea. But I will first mention Icolmkill. I know not whether you have heard much about this island; I