Edward Hunt's Forest of Dean Miscellany

Fact, Fiction and Fantasy

D. H. Lawrence

In August 1918 D.H. Lawrence and Frieda visited the Forest of Dean. They stayed at the Vicarage in Upper Lydbrook having been invited by their friends the Carswells who were house-sitting.

While staying at the vicarage the idea of the story "The Blind Man" had come to him and the vicarage is the scene of the action.

Catherine Carswell wrote about this in her biography of Lawrence: "The Savage Pilgrimage".

Here is an excerpt:

We were happy in the Forest of Dean, though it was a strange, frightening place. Lawrence told me afterwards that it scared him so that at first he felt like running away. The dark and ancient steepness of those woods, with the mines inconspicuously burrowing everywhere, is unlike anything else in England. But we had fine weather, and peaches were ripening on the walls of the old south-sloping garden, and we had the roomy stone house to ourselves.

Lawrence had looked forward to the visit with 'peculiar anticipation', and when we met him on the platform of Upper Lydbrook station we were struck by his high spirits. Frieda was beaming and ejaculatory as usual - but Lawrence was like a schoolboy home for the holidays. His festive array - green-and-red striped blazer and grey flannel trousers - and the fact that both garments were shrunken as to show stretches of wrist and ankle, added to this impression. One felt that the boy had grown since we last saw him. In a gay aside he informed me that these were his only trousers - and that he had to wash them himself of a night-time after undressing so that they might be ready to wear again in the morning. Owing to the fact that he wore espadrilles and no socks, his thin ankles were especially in evidence. I rather think his toilet was completed by an old panama hat. With this strange attire and his beard he attracted some local notice.

The above text is from: "The Savage Pilgrimage: A Narrative of D. H. Lawrence" by Catherine Carswell.

Edward Hunt