Letter/Extract 12

DW and WW to STC: Nordhausen Wednesday Evening 27th February, 1799.

[Dorothy gives a detailed account of the early part of their tour of Saxony.]

12a. Leaving Goslar

Our baggage had been long ready, packed and repacked. We had gone to bed, the friday night being very stormy, without any hope. I called William in the morning; he saw the sun shining upon the garden, up he got, we put together our last parcel, conveyed it to the post-house, and set off on foot in the afternoon at one o'clock. . . . . After walking about a mile we began to ascend through a pine forest. . . . Some of the pine-trees are extremely beautiful. We observed that when they seemed to be past maturity, and perhaps sooner in a close situation their boughs which had before ascended, making an acute angle with the trunk, descend till they shoot out horizontally or make an obtuse angle with the upper part of the tree. This is effected by the twigs, which from the weight of their foliage drag down the boughs, and hang like long threads of ivy in festoons of different lengths, the upper part of the branch being always bare. Some of these threads appear to be two or three yards long. In the very old trees the festoons are interwoven with grey or green moss, giving the whole tree a very venerable and impressive appearance. We observed that the brilliant green of the earth-moss under the trees made our eyes ache after being so long accustomed to the snow. (EY, 251).

12b. Clausthal to Osterode

I ought to have said that before this we had a view of the Brocken, the Mont Blanc of the Hartz forest, and the glory of all this part of Germany. I cannot speak of its height compared with any of our British mountains, but from the point from which we saw it, it had nothing impressive in its appearance. The day continued chearing and delightful, and we walked through a country presenting forest views of hill and valley, one of which a deep valley with a village built of wood scattered in the bottom was very interesting. We lingered under the shades of the trees and did not arrive at Osterode till four o'clock in the afternoon. (EY, 251).

12c. Osterode to Schazefeld

The country through which we passed was in general pleasant and tolerably peopled, but the ways dreadful, we were often obliged to walk as in the mines at Stowey, above the ankles in water, and sometimes as high in clay. We left the town of Hartzberg on our left; it has a huge decaying castle . . . after we left this place the roads grew worse and worse, the darkness came on, and we were near being stopped by a water when a waggon overtook us which conducted us safely to an Inn at Schazefeld, where we got a good supper, that is cold beef, indifferent soup, and cabbage, straw beds and coffee and bread and butter for 1 shilling and tenpence. (EY, 253).