Thence we drove along by the course of the Greta, and soon arrived at Keswick, which lies at the base of Skiddaw, and among a brotherhood of picturesque eminences, and is itself a compact little town, with a market-house, built of the old stones of the Earl of Derwentwater's ruined castle, standing in the centre, the principal street forking into two as it passes it.
But Louisa spoils it all by trying to repress him and put herself forward. If she'd be natural herself fat and vulgar and bouncing it would be all right; but as soon as she meets anybody smart she tries to be slender and queenly. She tried it with the Duchess of Beltshire and Lady Skiddaw, and they fled.
Sir George Beaumont, of Coleorton Hall, Leicestershire, a descendant of the dramatist, and representative of a family long distinguished for talent and culture, was staying with Coleridge at Greta Hall, Keswick, when, hearing of Coleridge's affection for Wordsworth, he was struck with the wish to bring Wordsworth also to Keswick, and bought and presented to him a beautiful piece of land at Applethwaite, under Skiddaw, in the hope that he might be induced to settle there.
It was altogether a magical time for Mary, this dawn of a new life. The immensity of her happiness almost frightened her. She could hardly believe in it, or trust in its continuance. 'Am I really, really, really your wife? she asked on their last day, bending down to speak to her husband, as he led her pony up the rough ways of Skiddaw. 'It is all so dreadfully like a dream.
"And follows so the ever-running year With profitable labour to his grave " on Derwent's banks, beneath the foot of Skiddaw. Study serves him for business, exercise, recreation. He passes from verse to prose, from history to poetry, from reading to writing, by a stop-watch.
Brian took Anthony a long walk as soon as dinner was over, across the moors towards the north side of Skiddaw. Anthony found the old man a delightful and garrulous companion, full of tales of the countryside, historical, religious, naturalistic, and supernatural.
He was to say mass at half-past six next morning, and came out of the house a little after six o'clock; the sun was just rising to his right over a shoulder of Skiddaw, which dominated the eastern horizon; and all round him, stretched against the sky in all directions, were the high purple moors in the strange dawn-light.
"Up, Timothy, up with your staff and away, Not a soul will remain in the village to-day; The hare has just started from Hamilton's grounds, And Skiddaw is glad with the cry of the hounds."
But from an insulated mountain, or one upon the outer ring of the hilly tract, such as Skiddaw, in Cumberland, the first effect is to translate the landscape from a picture into a map; and the total result, as a celebrated author once said, is the infinity of littleness. Accession was it, or his proclamation?
Do you think, after the lapse of twenty-five years, battles, wounds, imprisonment, misfortunes of every description, I can be still the same lively, unbroken Guy Mannering who climbed Skiddaw with you, or shot grouse upon Crossfell?