Harper's New Monthly Magazine (review date December 1874)
SOURCE: “Editor's Literary Record.” Harper's New Monthly Magazine 50 (December 1874): 137.
[In the following excerpted review, the anonymous author assesses Wordsworth's Recollections of a Tour made in Scotland, making special note of the preface written by the journal's editor.]
Not the least interesting part of Dorothy Wordsworth's Recollections of a Tour made in Scotland, a.d. 1803 (G. P. Putnam's Sons) is the preface by the editor, Principal J. C. Shairp. Those readers who recall De Quincey's graphic and gossipy account of Wordsworth and his sister will read with peculiar zest, heightened by this glimpse of the poet's simple life, Principal Shairp's brief biographical sketch; and all who delight to visit personally and familiarly those whom they have learned to love in and through literature will only regret that the visit he permits us to make is so short. Of Dorothy's character we get a very pleasant picture, and rejoice to add her name to the great host of comparatively unknown women whose influence and aid have contributed so much to make the world's great men great. She seems to have kept house for her brother; she was his amanuensis, transcribing his manuscripts for the press; her poetic spirit often suggested the thoughts which he clothed in poetic forms. She lived in and for him, and his marriage did nothing to lessen the sympathy between them. The record of their tour through Scotland was not intended for publication, and needs to be read by loving, sympathetic hearts. To the cold critic it may seem diffuse and even tedious, but to all who have that love for Wordsworth that will make a ramble through Scotland with the poet and his sister delightful it will possess a peculiar fascination.