Literature Study GuidesThe Grasmere JournalsBook 3 1802 July September Summary

The Grasmere Journals | Study Guide

Dorothy Wordsworth

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The Grasmere Journals | Book 3, 1802 (July–September) | Summary

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Summary

On July 3 Dorothy receives letters from Annette and Mary. She is "made sleepless by letters" and feels unwell the next day. William, however, finishes "The Leech Gatherer." Dorothy makes copies of the poem for themselves and Coleridge. On July 6 Dorothy writes that the swallows finished building their nest. Dorothy and William prepare to leave the cottage for a journey.

On July 9 the siblings ride to Keswick. On July 12 they travel to Eusemere to the Clarksons, and they meet Sara and Mary a few miles outside of Gallow Hill. Traveling over several days by post chaise—in a small, enclosed, four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage—and later by a larger coach, William and Dorothy arrive in London on July 29 and Dover on July 31. From Dover they sail to Calais, where they meet Annette and Caroline on August 1. Dorothy finds the fort in Calais very beautiful. One evening they walk on the pier and watch the boats illuminated by lightning. Dorothy notes "Caroline was delighted" at the sight.

The siblings leave Calais for Dover on August 29 and arrive in London on the 31st by coach. Dorothy and William stay in London for about a month before they travel back to Gallow Hill, where Sara and Mary meet them.

Analysis

The trip to Calais was the first time William was to see his daughter Caroline and former lover Annette in nine years. He and Dorothy spent nearly a month with the two, but there is almost no information about their time together. Most of the entries in this section of the journal are written as a catch up rather than an entry per day like the rest of the journal. It signals a shift in the journal from episodic writing to narrative. There is far less description, at least of the latter half of the trip, than the rest of the journal. For a woman who described beggars and their stories at length and raved about the beauty of village children, it is notable that Dorothy says almost nothing about Annette or Caroline. The only information included is that Dorothy was upset by Annette and Mary's letters before they left Grasmere, and Dorothy recorded that Caroline was with them on the pier and felt similarly thrilled by the view of the boats during the storm. Dorothy wrote detailed travel journals from other trips, so readers are left to wonder if emotion or something else kept her from recording the weeks in France and the month leading up to her brother's upcoming wedding in October, which Dorothy has not mentioned explicitly.

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