This first photo shows a view from an upstairs room at Brantwood where I was lucky enough to stay a few years ago. My husband and I were working on a project to do with the house which was Ruskin's home in his latter years. The lovely window has an incredible view which looks out over Coniston water. Seeing this photo again made me think of Elizabeth Bennet and her travels with the Gardiners. The Lake District was very fashionable for touring parties and in Pride and Prejudice we learn that Elizabeth is looking forward very much to her holiday. But Elizabeth did not manage to get as far as the 'rocks and mountains' of the Lakes.
The time fixed for the beginning of their northern tour was now fast approaching, and a fortnight only was wanting of it, when a letter arrived from Mrs. Gardiner, which at once delayed its commencement and curtailed its extent. Mr. Gardiner would be prevented by business from setting out till a fortnight later in July, and must be in London again within a month; and as that left too short a period for them to go so far, and see so much as they had proposed, or at least to see it with the leisure and comfort they had built on, they were obliged to give up the Lakes, and substitute a more contracted tour, and, according to the present plan, were to go no farther northward than Derbyshire. In that county there was enough to be seen to occupy the chief of their three weeks; and to Mrs. Gardiner it had a peculiarly strong attraction. The town where she had formerly passed some years of her life, and where they were now to spend a few days, was probably as great an object of her curiosity as all the celebrated beauties of Matlock, Chatsworth, Dovedale, or the Peak.
Elizabeth was excessively disappointed; she had set her heart on seeing the Lakes, and still thought there might have been time enough. But it was her business to be satisfied - and certainly her temper to be happy; and all was soon right again.
With the mention of Derbyshire there were many ideas connected. It was impossible for her to see the word without thinking of Pemberley and its owner. "But surely," said she, "I may enter his county with impunity, and rob it of a few petrified spars without his perceiving me."
From here Pride and Prejudice and Elizabeth's story gets more and more exciting. Of course Jane Austen couldn't have Lizzy going off to the Lakes when she was intent on throwing her into the path of our favourite hero, Mr Darcy, but I can't help wondering if they managed to visit the wonderful Lakes once they were married!
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