Sarah Faraday and Faraday to Edward Magrath   14 and 15 August 1841

Lake of Brientz | Augt 14th 1841.

Dear Mr Magrath

Mr Faraday seems very unwilling to write letters he says it is quite a labour to him, and that every one advises that he should take thorough rest and that he is quite inclined to do so. I can certainly say nothing against all this but I am anxious that such an old friend as you are should not be neglected altogether I will therefore take the opportunity of his absence (he is exploring the Pass of The Brunig) to begin a letter for him and to tell you how we are go on.

We have been absent from home six weeks now, which we consider about half our time, and we have had upon the whole favourable weather, and seen a great deal of beautiful scenery. We spent a fortnight at Thun at least my sister1 and myself staid there that time, Mr. Faraday & my brother2 made sundry excursions from thence over the Gemmi &c & from Thun we came to Interlaken, from thence to Lauterbrunnen, over the Wengern Alps to Grindewald back to Interlaken, & by the lake to this place, which rather disappoints us and we think of leaving it again on Monday3 and expect to reach Lucerne in about a week any letters sent from England till the 25 of this month may be directed there. I think Mr. Young4 would be quite satisfied with the way my Husband employs his time, he certainly enjoys the country exceedingly and though at first he lamented on absence from home and friends very much, he seems now to be reconciled to it as a means of improving his general health, his strength is however very good he thinks nothing of walking 30 miles in a day (and very rough walking it is you know) and one day he walked 455 which I protested against his doing again tho' he was very little the worse for it, I think is too much, what would Mr Young say to that, but the grand thing is rest & relaxation of mind which he is really taking there are not so many calls upon his memory here even to remember peoples names - he dislikes dining at Table d'hotes very much and we avoid it as often as we can but that cannot always be done, at the small places we have been staying at this last fortnight it does not signify so much but at Thun there was always such large companies from 20 to 30 at One, Three and five o'clock and almost all English - My Brothers occupation is a great resource for us it is always an object and of course guides our movements very much he and Mr Faraday are excellent companions and very generally go together in sketching excursions Michael taking a book & a telescope and wandering about till George is ready to return in the mean time my Sister & myself are glad to rest ourselves or take little walks in the neighbourhood of our home for the time being, and sometimes we are obliged to be very industrious, for travelling makes sad work with the clothes -

I think I need say no more, for Mr. Faraday will speak for himself on the next page but pray give my kind remembrances & best thanks to Mr Young - I should like to hear how both your sisters6 are and to be remembered to them and believe me to be Dear Mr Magrath

Yours very truly | S Faraday

<r><qr>Brientz | 15 Aug 1841

My dear Magrath

Though my wifes letter will tell you pretty well all about us yet a few lines from an old friend (though somewhat worn out) will not be unpleasant to one who like that friend is a little the worse for time and hard wear[.] However if you jog on as well as we do you will have no cause for grumbling by which I mean to say that I certainly have not for the comforts that are given me and above all the continual kindness affection & forbearance of friends towards me are I think such as few experience - And how are things with you? I must ask the question whether I can hear the answer or not perhaps as we shall not leave Lucerne before the 2nd or 3rd of next month[.] I may. I hope they are pretty well & of all friends with you Remember us most kindly to Mr Young we often have to think of him for many reasons[.] I will give no opinion at present as to the effect of his advice on my health and memory but I can have only one feeling as to his kindness and whatever I may forget I think I shall not forget that. Amongst other things say that the net for the cloaks & coats is most excellent & has been several times admired for its utility[.] It is droll to think what odd gatherings go into it sometimes in a hurry. If you happen to see Mr Brande or Sir James South remember me very kindly to them[.] I think more of my friends here than I did when at home and feel as if I had something particular to say to every one of them. Now as to the main point of this trip i.e. the mental idleness you can scarcely imagine how well I take to it and what a luxury it is, the only fear I have is that when I return friends will begin to think that I shall overshoot the mark; for feeling that any such exertion is a strain upon that faculty, which I cannot hide from myself is getting weaker, namely memory, and feeling that the less exertion I make to use that the better I am in health & head, so my desire is to remain indolent mentally speaking and to retreat from a position which should only be held by one who has the power as well as the will to be active. All this however may be left to clear itself up as the time proceeds and now farewell dear Magrath for the present

from Your Affectionate friend | M. Faraday

Address: Edward Magrath Esq | &c &c &c | Athenaeum | Pall Mall | London

Emma Barnard, née Hillhouse. Married George Barnard on 16 April 1840, GRO.
George Barnard. Both Emma and George Barnard accompanied the Faradays on this tour. See Faraday's Swiss diary in Bence Jones (1870a), 2: 127.
That is 16 August 1841.
See Faraday's Swiss diary of 23 July 1841, in Bence Jones (1870a), 2: 140-2 for his account of this walk.
Louisa Magrath. Sister of Edward Magrath. See Magrath's 1861 will in the Principal Registry of the Family Division of the High Court. The other sister is unidentified.


BENCE JONES, Henry (1870a): The Life and Letters of Faraday, 1st edition, 2 volumes, London.