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alone at Grasmere. The following extract from a letter written by Miss Wordsworth to him in Novembe of this year shows her warm interest in him and his family, and her readiness to give well-timed sympathy and aid. After alluding to a visit paid by her to Mrs. De Quincey, and the health of the children, she says : — “Mrs. De Quincey seemed, on the whole, in very good spirits; but, with something of sadness in her manner, she told me you were not likely very soon to be at home. She then said that you had, at present, some literary employments at Edinburgh, and had, besides, an offer (or something to this effect) of a permanent engagement, the nature of which she did not know, but that you hesitated about accepting it, as it might necessitate you to settle in Edinburgh. To this I replied, “Why not settle there, for the time, at least, that this engagement lasts? Lodgings are cheap at Edinburgh, and provisions and coals not dear. Of this fact I had some weeks' experience four years ago.' I then •added that it was my firm opinion that you could never regularly keep up your engagements at a distance from the press, and, said I, . pray tell him so when you write.' She replied, “Do write yourself.' Now I could not refuse to give her pleasure by so doing, especially being assured that my letter would not be wholly worthless to you, having such agreeable news to send of your family."
This excellent advice was soon afterwards acted upon, and Edinburgh became the scene of De Quincey's further life and labors. Here he died on the 8th of December, 1859, aged 74 years.
THE CHILDREN OF BLENTARN GHYLL. — DEATH OF
A MELANCHOLY incident which occurred durA ing her residence at Allan Bank may be mentioned, since Miss Wordsworth took such an active, sympathetic interest in the relief and succor of the sufferers. It is not, however, necessary to relate in detail the sad story, as this has been done by De Quincey and others.
Nestling in the valley of Easedale still stands a humble farmhouse called Blentarn Ghyll, which takes its name from a mountain ravine near by. Here, in the year 1808, lived an industrious farmer and his wife named George and Sarah Green, with their six children, the youngest a baby, and the eldest a girl of nine or ten. On the morning of a day long to be remembered George Green and his wife started off over the mountains — a distance of five or six miles — to Langdale, to attend a sale of furniture (on which occasions these scattered neighbors used to meet) intending to return the same evening. Notwithstanding that some of their friends endeavored to dissuade them from returning by the mountains, they, in the afternoon, started on their return journey. And neither of them was ever seen in life again. A fall of snow came, in which they hopelessly lost their way, and, as De Quincey says, “they disappeared into the cloud of death.” Meanwhile, the poor little children sat round the fire waiting in vain for their parents' return. The eldest, little Agnes Green, whose emotions were, during that and subsequent days, changed from those of a child of tender years to those of a mother, became heroic in her devotion to her tiny brothers and sisters. The lonely farmhouse, with its little inhabitants, was for some days surrounded by drifts of snow, which prevented their leaving it. Meantime, as day succeeded day, the brave Agnes cheered up the others as best she could, preparing their scanty meals, and making the elder ones say their prayers night and morning. It was not until the third day that she was able to force her way through the snow and tell the sad tale, inquiring with tearful face whether her father and mother had been seen.
Such was the interest felt in the story of their loss, that all the able-bodied men of Grasmere formed themselves into a search band; but it was not until after the expiration of three days that the bodies of the faithful couple were found near Dungeon Ghyll, the husband being at the bottom of a rock, from which he had fallen, where his wife had crept round to him. They were only a few hundred yards from a farmhouse, to which, however, their cries for help had not reached, or had been mistaken. In the future of the helpless orphans Miss Wordsworth took an active interest, and raised a considerable sum of money for their benefit. The Royal Family were made acquainted with the sad history, and the Queen herself and her daughters became subscribers to the fund. The children were taken into different families in the neighborhood, one of them going to live with the Wordsworths. The heroic little Agnes died many years ago, and is buried in Grasmere Churchyard beside her parents. Three of these children yet survive, the eldest of whom, now 85 years old, has given me some of the foregoing particulars. He still well remembers the circumstances of that fatal journey, and the vain waiting, during the hours of night, for the father and mother who never returned. Another survivor — the one who was at the time a little baby girl — is now blind, and, I believe, a great grandmother.
Among other lasting friendships of the Wordsworths which we find existing about this period is that with Mr. Henry Crabb Robinson, whose “Diary and Reminiscences" afford some pleasant recollections of many of the literati of his time among whom he had a very extensive acquaintance. In 1810 Miss Wordsworth had been paying a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Clarkson (of anti-slave trade celebrity) at Bury. Mr. Robinson met her there, and, being about to return to London when Miss Wordsworth was intending to pay a visit to Charles and Mary Lamb, he undertook to escort her thither. Upon her return home she wrote to him the following letter :
“Grasmere, Nov. 6, 1810. “MY DEAR SIR, – I am very proud of the commission my brother has given me, as it affords me an opportunity of expressing the pleasure with which I think of you, and of our long journey side by side in the pleasant sunshine, our splendid entrance into the great city, and our rambles together in the crowded streets. I assure you I am not ungrateful for even the least of your kind attentions, and shall be happy in return to be your guide amongst these mountains, where, if you bring a mind free from care, I can promise you a rich store of noble enjoyments. My brother and sister will be exceedingly happy to see you; and, if you tell him stories from Spain of enthusiasm, patriotism, and detestation of the usurper, my brother will be a ready listener; and in presence of these grand works of nature you may feed each other's lofty hopes. We are waiting with the utmost anxiety for the issue of that battle which you arranged so nicely by Charles Lamb's fireside. My brother goes to seek the newspapers whenever it is possible to get a sight of one, and he is almost out of patience that the tidings are delayed so long.
“Pray, as you are most likely to see Charles at least from time to time, tell me how they are going on. There is nobody in the world out of our house for whom I am more deeply interested. You will, I know, be happy that our little ones are all going on well. The delicate little Catherine, the only one for whom we had any serious alarm, gains ground daily. Yet it will be long before she can be or have the appearance of being a stout child. There was great joy in the house at my return, which each showed in a different way. They are sweet wild creatures, and I think you would love them all. John is thoughtful with his wildness; Dora alive, active, and quick; Thomas, innocent and simple as a new-born babe. John had no feeling but of bursting joy when he saw me. Dorothy's first question was, “Where is my doll?' We had delightful weather when I first got home; but on the first morning Dorothy roused me from my sleep with, 'It is time to get up,