Dorothy Wordsworth’s journals were written in the closing years of the 18th century and the opening years of the 19th, when the postal system had not evolved to last-mile delivery.  Her diary repeatedly mentions walking to pick up the post.  And ‘walking’ means significant hikes in all weathers on questionable roads to the next village or town.

Here, I liked the signals of Dorothy’s robustness and of her poetry.  First, she mentions taking breakfast in bed, ‘being not quite well’, and then without drawing breath, tells us she walked to Rydale to pick up the post.  And while waiting for it to arrive, she does the obvious: lies in a field and looks at the distant mountains, looking and listening to the river.  Then she walks home.  Then she reads Midsummer Night’s Dream and makes a start on As You Like It.

This woman lived life to the hilt.

‘I had my breakfast in bed, being not quite well – I then walked to Rydale, I waited long for the post lying in the field & looking at the distant mountains, – looking & listening to the River.  I met the post.  … Molly washed & glazed the Curtains.  I read the ‘Midsummers Night’s dream’ & began ‘As You Like It’.’  Tuesday Morning 22nd June 1802

Source: Dorothy Wordsworth, The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals, ed. and introduction by Pamela Woof (Oxford: Oxford World’s Classics, 2008 (2002)), p. 113

Photo credit: Mohammad Bagher Adib Behrooz at unsplash.com

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