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Diary of Charles Francis Adams, 1863

Tuesday 1st

1 September 1863

Thursday 3d.

3 September 1863
2 September 1863
Wednesday 2.d

During the night I heard the fall of the rain so steadily that I made up my mind for an unfavorable day. The region is famous for constant wet, and it looked like it until breakfast time. Then the clouds began to break away so that we were enabled to go down and take a boat to view the beauties of Derwent water. Henry and Brooks rowed us out to a small island from which we could witness the whole of the striking panorama of the Lake. On the one side the pretty little village of Keswick backed by the character of Skiddow— On the other the conglomeration of high lands forming a gorge of a neat picturesque description, I confess I liked it better than most of Scotland. It is not so desolate and repulsive. There is a genial smile of culture that enlivens the rudeness, and makes it sympathetic with humanity. All the dimensions are however small. Our little trip marked as it was by the sunlight was charming, and gave us encouragement for the rest of the day. At one o’clock, we started in an open vehicle to pass across the Windermere. Our course lay through the highlands to the Valley of St John, then by Thirlemere and Helvellyn to Grasemere and then along by Rydal and Ambleside to the last point, or at least to the Lowood Hotel, close upon the Lake, about twenty miles. The weather proved very fine and I must say I have seldom had more unmixed enjoyment in the scenes of nature than during this entire trip. In my own country we have the advantage of the sky and the grandeur of the outlines, which I do not find here. On the other hand here is none of the flatness and dank green vapidity of the south of England, or the poverty and rude desolation of the north of Scotland. There is a share of loftiness in Helvellyn and Skiddow, whilst at their feet the earth looks as if it was glad. Whilst the myriads of fine white threads of water coursing down the furrowed ridges of the elevations go to make the pretty streets of silver that set off whilst they relieve the uniformity of the verdure that overspreads the valleys. I was sorry when we found ourselves at the Hotel—and still more so on learning for the first time that the requisite accommodations for our party were out to be had. What to do was the question. The accounts from the neighborhood were not encouraging. Every houses was overflowing. After consultation it was decided to take the rooms to be had and divide them among the party. Whilst I would start at once, instead of in the morning as I had intended, on my return to London. I had time to take a grand view of the pretty lake, and then to dine, after which I mounted the box of an Omnibus and drove through a very pretty country to Burness. Here again I was transported to the station of the Railway at Windermere. At half past eight o’clock I took the train to oxenholm where I was transfered to another carriage to go to London. My first intention had been to stop for the night at Lancaster. But on reflection it seemed quite as easy to pass it in travelling, and so get the benefit of the whole day for work tomorrow.454

Cite web page as:

Charles Francis Adams, Sr., [date of entry], diary, in Charles Francis Adams, Sr.: The Civil War Diaries (Unverified Transcriptions). Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2015. http://www.masshist.org/publications/cfa-civil-war/view?id=DCA63d245