In April 1885 nineteen-year-old Beatrix returned to the Lake District with her family for a short stay in Ambleside with a Mrs. Clark at Laurel Villa, now Lakes Lodge. She mentions in her journal that she drove up Langdale Valley and "Saw also the attempted revival of linen hand-weaving at St. Martin's College, Elterwater, under the superintendence of old Ruskin...." I mention this to show the contemporary connections of the people whose homes we visited while in the Lake District. She goes on to write...
"The mother of Mrs. Clark, of this lodging, had the farm at Rydal, and was very familiar with the Wordsworths, particularly the old lady [Wordsworth's sister]. Wordsworth is always referred to as the poet in these parts, and local tradition says Dorothy Wordsworth was the greater poet of the two. For some years before her death she was subject to fits of madness, which her brother could generally control. During these, though a pious and sensible lady, she used to swear like a dragoon. She had a craze for putting her clothes on the fire, and they at least got a fender up to the ceiling. She left a great many of Wordsworth's furniture and odds and ends, such as a large clothes horse, to Mrs. Clark's mother."
Besides being mentioned in Beatrix's journal, her connection to William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was through both their desire to preserve the Lake District. Wordsworth was instrumental in helping to stop the railroad from going any further than Windermere and Beatrix would later work to stop an aeroplane factory from being built at Bowness-on-Windermere where the plan was to use the lake to test hydroplanes. Grasmere, where Wordsworth would live the last 51 years of his life, would be our base for the next two nights from which to explore the landscape that Wordsworth wrote about.
Even with that to look forward to I awoke Monday morning at 5:30 with mixed feelings about moving on. I spent the early hours of last morning in Near Sawery basking in what I saw out my window. . . .