Wednesday July 2 [1924]

Dearest Vi,

Your letter of the 18th June came yesterday morning just as I was on the point of leaving Liverpool for the North-West. It seems strange that you did not receive a letter three or four days after I wrote my first Liverpool one. No week has passed yet when I have not written at least two or three times.

I spent last week-end in Liverpool and then started for Furness Abbey – a good base for the exploration of the Lake District. Today I am taking the whole twelve hours by train, steamer and motor through the Wordsworth county. It was a lovely cruise down or rather up & on Lake Windermere, twenty miles in length, to Ambleside, then a gorgeous motor trip along the road skirting Rydal Water and Grasmere. We stayed for ten minutes in the neighbourhood of Wythburn Church that Wordsworth speaks of as the smallest church in England. I went inside. It might hold fifty people at the most, an old whitewashed church with beams so old that they seemed to be falling down. Outside were old graves dating back into the last century and into the century before. I am sending you a photograph of it. Rydal Water with its small islands and reeds looks just like the description of it. Leaving that we motored up to the summit of the high road passing Helvelyn on the way and then down in to the loveliest region I have yet seen, surpassing Windermere and Grasmere, – Derwentwater. I am also sending a photo of this place surrounded by very high hills or fells, – high meaning about three thousand feet. Derwentwater is lovelier I think than even Lock Lomond or Katrine.

On the way we passed the Swan Hotel with Wordsworth's allusion engraved over the door – 'who does not know the famous Swan.'

When I got in to Furness Abbey Hotel I met a young fellow, a rural teacher at the lunch hour. We decided to 'do' the Lake District together. It was quite fortunate for me as he undertakes to look after tickets, hours of departure and arrival of trains & buses and he has a store of technical information that suits me very conveniently. We have yet to visit Wastwater a very inaccessible lake near Scawfell the highest English peak, and also the Carmel Priory which will finish up the Lake tour. That might be the week after which I will go back again to Liverpool previous to my Oxford visit. Going back to Liverpool is a great convenience and saves considerable expense.

I am in tip-top condition as to health, not having a headache since I came here, the only indisposition being loneliness which will be over in a couple of months or so, please goodness. I was only thinking as I was returning to the Abbey Hotel last evening what I would give if some fairy could transport you and duckins to the road about one hundred yards distant. Wouldn't we have one hullabaloo of a time? However we must plan our next trips in the spring together, through Quebec, or down to New York, a week at a time let us say, with one or two hundred dollars to blow up without any compunction. You received the cheque from the Forum. By all means if any money comes in from any source nab it, and use it. I will not want any more. I do hope you have not gone short. You do not need to. The College will advance ...

Sometime this month I intend paying a visit to Wales, two or three days or so. It is likely that Art & Floss will go too.

If you get wind of that High School book on Literature coming out, try to get a copy and see how the 'Ice Floes' looks in it. I have not done any writing since I left, – too busy I guess getting up material for lectures of my trips.

Well, old sweetheart, take the greatest care of yourself.


On stationery from the Queen's Hotel, Keswick.

Rydal Water
Wordsworth moved from Dove cottage to Rydal Mount in 1813, living there until his death in 1850. Rydal Mere was a frequent subject of his poetry.

photo of this place
He sent a postcard with a picture of Derwentwater this same day, with the note 'Keep this card.' See the postcard to Viola Pratt, 2 July 1924.

Pratt's misspelling of 'Loch.'

Wordworth's allusion
'The Waggoner,' canto 1, line 88.

cheque from the Forum
For his recently published poems 'The Last Survivor' (CF 4 [June 1924]: 274) and 'The Drag-Irons' (CF 4 [July 1924]: 301).

High School book on Literature
Shorter Poems, ed. W.J. Alexander (Toronto: T. Eaton 1924).