William Hall (Alison's father) to Mary Cox Holt 23 May, 1843
Warwick St., Liverpool
Dear Mrs. Holt,
You having expressed a wish, as Lindsay informs us, to see Alison's letter to Robert & myself, I have great pleasure in complying therewith, not doubting that Mr. Holt & yourself will feel somewhat amused at the lively description she gives of the religious conversation carried on in the canal boat between the High Churchman & the Catholic, and eventually brought to a termination by the sly and pithy observations of the Quaker.
As to the rest - I mean the descriptive part, I must leave it to speak for itself - it all being so beautiful, and fine, and splendid and sublime, and grand - that the powers of my countryman, Thomson, only would be equal to the task of doing justice to it; & therefore in the words of that delightful poet I shall finish by exclaiming, "Come then expressive silence and muse its praise!"
With sincere regard to Mr. Holt and yourself which squires Robt and Lindsay join, and kisses to the young folk, I remain dear Mrs. Holt, yours truly, W Hall.
p.s. I reopen my packet - blundering fellow!" to thank you for the perusal of your letter from Alison.
When living at Bootle, the passenger canal boats were sometimes used for going to & from Liverpool. I (notes written by Lawrence Hall, grandson of above mentioned Robt) have hear Mother refer to their use on Sundays going to Renshaw St. Chapel.
James Thompson born at Ednam, near Kelso, in 1700 author of The Seasons, the line, mis-quoted is from A Hymn & runs, Come then expressive silence! muse His praise,"
Ednam is 3 miles NE of Kelso.
Ann Edwards to her sister Mary Cox Holt, Chapel Walk, Liverpool
Wateredge House, Ambleside,
30 May 1843
This morning being wet and likely to continue so, I will fulfill my promise of writing to you, instead of taking a long excursion as we had proposed last evening.
Alison has at last left us and I cannot tell you how sorry we were to part with her, she has been so enthusiastic, so cheerful, there seems to be quite a blank now, although we are such a large party. Most of we young ladies accompanied her part of her way to Kendal yesterday morning, the sun was shining most gloriously, far brighter than we had ever seen it here. It made this beautiful scenery look more lovely than ever, as if poor Alison should have her last impressions of these scenes more vivid and far brighter than her previous ones. We walked bravely for nearly 5 miles when we parted, she to walk homewards never casting one look at the scenes she had left but waving her handkerchief to us until she was lost to our sight for a turn in the road, and we sauntered back resting here & there, calling at a cottage for a drink of milk, making bold to go into the avenue leading up to Elleray, Professor Wilson's beautiful estate, walking on a little further then going out of our direct road to look at some curious stones (or slates I should call them) with a great deal of writing on them, and thus proceeding enjoying everything but the heat, which soon got into our faces, making Agnes & myself look like real country ladies. After walking 11 miles we got home in good time for dinner.
Mamma, Papa, & Harriet had taken a short walk in our absence, Mamma I think enjoys herself although she has not been quite well. Harriet is much better, she has walked a little two or three times a day; she gets up to breakfast; at present she is writing a letter to Sarah Keogh. Papa is better too, I hope he will not have any occasion to go to Shap Wells. We have very comfortable lodgings, our sitting room is large, we have two sofas in it, three good sized tables, one a sofa-table, a centre ditto, and a side ditto, also a little round stand on which we have a beautiful bouquet of flowers which have come all the way from Springbank and are now looking almost as fresh as when they came. At this moment I will tell you how we are all employed and you may picture to yourself what a happy family party we are; truly my family has wonderfully increased since I was so lonely in Bedford St.
Mamma is sitting on the sofa near the window at her knitting, Caroline is sitting next to her reading very attentively, she looks remarkably well, is very cheerful and full of energy since she came here. Jane is reclining on the other sofa which is against the wall on another side of the room, she is studying the Greek, Harriet & Agnes are both writing letters at the centre table, Papa has been writing at the sofa table with myself but has just gone to see how the weather looks, and last but not least, Lill is very comfortable with her feet on the fender, before a good fire, reading.
You will say perhaps "They won't get much sewing done at that rate." Oh! Mary we have been lazy, lazy, since we came here sewing has been thrown on one side, and walking & sightseeing became our duties, we are storing up strength & health etc. to last us a long time, and we all say sewing can be done at home.
Alison will be with you as soon as she can, perhaps even before you get this letter and I hope she will cheer you up by her accounts of our sojourn here, our numerous adventures, hair breath escapes from bulls, our perils on the water etc. etc. Henry talks of coming over again; I hope he will, he enjoys the change exceedingly although he has such a distance to travel before he can get here. He was with us nearly a week when we came, he took us over the mountains, rowed us on the lake, he fished one morning for three hours, but alas! it was of no avail, the fish would not bite, he said it was very stupid work & no wonder.
Mr. Hodgson paid us a flying visit on Saturday night, he had just time to walk to Rydal, Grasmere, dined & in the afternoon we took him part of the way to Bowness by boat on his return home. What a pity he could not have stayed a little longer to see more of this scenery as he has not seen it before. I must bring my letter to a hasty conclusion as Papa has to take it to the Post Office, a mile from here.
Mamma, Papa & all of your dear sisters unite with me in love to yourself & William and hope that very soon we shall have good news of your sick family. I remain your affectionate sister. Anne Edwards
Note: Caroline Simpson Cox (probably) 1824-1896 daughter of Edward Cox, brother of G Lissant Cox of Springbank. Carole Cox married a cousin Rev. E Lomax, & was the sister of Cousin Lucy Cox (1824-1912)
Harriet Cox to her sister Mary Cox Holt, Water Edge House 2 June 1843
We were delighted when we received your letter this morning, it was so unexpected, we never thought that you are so much engaged with the dear children, could find time to write. How anxious and tired you must be with attending up so many invalids. I hope that soon they will all be well that they may come to Springbank when we return. We have had two days and a half of incessant rain which you maybe sure has not been very pleasant. Mamma thinks that we have nothing but water above and below; this morning the sun came out for about three hours which quickly drew out of the house seven ladies and one gentleman all anxious to get a little fresh air and sunshine.
The Lake looked so calm and beautiful that it was proposed that a boat should be well laden with the seven previous souls who stood on the pier. We rowed across the lake to view a magnificent Castle that is being built for a Mr. Dawson from Liverpool, the views from some of the windows were beautiful, we could see nearly the whole extent of the Lake; this castle has been three years in progress and it will take two more before it is finished. It is as large as Penryne Castle and the situation could not be surpassed.
Betsy the maid has just been in the room with a large slate covered with trout and char; they look beautiful and one trout is the finest I ever saw; I wish Willy could have seen them. The poor fishermen go out in all the rain for hours and perhaps never catch a fish.
I have not been able to walk far, two miles being the largest walk that I have taken, next week I hope to go up some mountain, for it would be a shame to stay here a fortnight and never to ascend one of the beautiful hills that surround us on all sides. Mamma took a stroll to Lowood this morning; she admires the situation of the inn very much; since you were at Lowood the inn has been enlarged and looks very well from the other side of the lake, the new Castle is exactly opposite to it.
We had a letter this morning from George, he gives us an account of a fright he received one night this week. He awoke with a noise of knocking as if there was someone in the upper kitchen; he got up & when he opened the door leading down the back stairs he was a light; vision of men with crow-bars flitted across his brain - he went down the stair every moment expecting to be knocked on the head. When he opened the last door, there he saw the two poor servants trembling with feat and the cold; they had been locked up and could not go to bed.
Isabella & Eliza Keogh are staying at Spring Bank. They already feel the benefit of the fresh country air. You might walk over with Willy on Saturday and spend the day with them.
Papa say that when he returns from the Rhine, he will find time to write to you, do not let this surprise you.
Your sister, Harriet.
Notes: Wray Castle