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In this sort of conversation a couple of hours passed very quickly away, and when I rose to leave him he took his staff and walked nearly back to Ambleside with me.

September 2.—As it was not convenient for us to go up to Rydal and breakfast with Mr. Wordsworth, he came and breakfasted with us. His talk was like that of last evening, flowing and abundant, with an elevated moral and intellectual tone, and full of a kindliness that was not to be mistaken. We determined to pass the day in an excursion up Coniston Water, generally considered the most beautiful of the lakes, and he said he would go with us,—a great addition to a great pleasure. . . . . To show us the best points he carried us to the houses of two of his friends. The first was Mrs. Copley's, where we met Miss Fletcher,1 formerly of Edinburgh, and one or two other quite agreeable people, and where we stopped long enough to lunch with them. . . . . The other place was that of the venerable Mrs. Smith,—the mother of the extraordinary Elizabeth Smith,— where, besides the fine views, we saw the cottage, the site of the tent which has given the name of Tent Hall to the place,. . . . and the other localities mentioned in the beautiful ‘Fragments,’ printed after her premature death. . . . .

We then set out to visit my old friend Mrs. Fletcher,. . . . but met her, and, finding that our engagements would permit no other arrangement, she offered to breakfast with us to-morrow morning, and we parted and came back to Ambleside.

Wordsworth, as usual, talked the whole time. He showed us the scenery in the spirit of one bred among its beauties; with which his mind has been peculiarly nourished, and of which his poetry everywhere bears the impress. He talked about Burns, whose poetry he analyzed with great truth and acuteness, considering it as the fresh and unidealized expression of the most beautiful of merely human feelings and affections, in the better parts of it, and in this view of unrivalled merit. He described to us his last sad visit to Scott, just as he was setting off for Naples, broken down in mind and body, and conscious of it; for when his two last stories were mentioned, he said, ‘Don't speak of them; they smell of apoplexy.’

And he talked about Campbell, the reviewers, and their effect on his own reputation, etc., all in the most kindly and frank spirit, describing to us ‘The Recluse,’ his unpublished poem, and repeating, in illustration of his opinions, passages from his own works, in his

1 See ante, p. 279. Miss Fletcher afterwards married Sir John Richardson, the Arctic explorer.

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