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In their hands the Langdale Pikes used to be singular fishes indeed ; and their clouds seemed to be woven in a manufactory of power-looms. Every cottage in the three mountain counties was transmogrified into such lodges as the mail-coach passengers admire, on the roadside, while the guard drops the leather-bag, containing political information for the Surrey squire, a man of Whig politics, and burdened estate !-The entire region was dislocated and turned up-side down. Treeless tarns became lakes valuable for their timber; chasmy streams, with hundreds of headlong cataracts, assumed the staid demeanour of canals under lock and key ; Dungeon-Gills lost their ancient horrors, and looked as smirk as prisons after a visit from Mr. Fowel Buxton, and Mrs. Fry; the great wide moors were enlivened by judiciously-planted houses of entertainment for man and horse ; and the Alpine road, cleaving to the breast of the precipice, and making a narrow escape over the pass, was widened into a respect. able turnpike, and, had that great man begun to flourish, doubtless had been Macadamized.
Paintings, finished off from such sketches from nature, gave the Londoners impressions of the scenery of the north of England, which a future fortnight's tour might confuse, but could never correct. There they hung in gorgeous gilt frames, before the gaze of an admiring public, the name of each in the shilling catalogue, an enormous lie. Such a misbegotten domicile as you sometimes see in the scenery of a perambulatory theatre, the illegitimate offspring of a poor simple country cot, seduced by a tall, strapping, clerical character of a Gothic church -that, it is positively asserted, is to be seen in the neighbourhood of Ambleside! Then for AMBLESIDE herself! Trees transplanted full-grown from one of the most fertile provinces of Asia overshadow Mr. Benson's smithy-and the chapel-tower of the true Westmoreland breed, square, stout, and sturdy, like a man made for wrestling, and with an air of mountain inde ndence, holding possession of its own churchyard, is juggled into an Oriental pagoda! while, finally, all the rooss of the houses are fat, that on them the natives may drink tea, and study the stars. A patch of shadow for water, -something very rough in
deed, personating an island,--mountains of green mud and an indigo heaven-that in the said catalogue, was printed GRASSMERE; while a lying ticket on the righthand low corner of the frame did not scruple to say "SOLD.” A long perplexing stretch of light and shade, whether of liquid or solid matter, no man could without severe thought conjecture, but which ultimately looked rather like a lake—here apparently dotted with wildducks, there with pieces of timber, to which human heads adhered, designed for a flotilla, perhaps a regatta, -was audaciously christened—WINDERMERE ! but not sold, the price being understood to be four hundred guineas, and only within the range of Sir John Leicester, now my lord
Leaving the three artists to finish us off at their leisure, dear ladies! remount, and promise not to list your eyes from your ponies' ears till we cry Eyes forward!” We wish you to enjoy the soul-uplifting emotion of instantaneous magnificence. There, honest Jonathan, hold the gate open till the cavalry get through; and now, ladies, lovely and beloved, behold the Vale of Great LANGDALE!
There is no lake in that depth profound the glittering sunshine bides a cloud of rich enclosures, scattered over with single trees; and immediately helow your feet, a stately sycamore-grove, shrouding the ancient dwelling of Wall-end. Ay, your dazzled eyes begin now to discern the character of the vale, gradually forming itself into permanent order out of the wavering confusion. That thread of silver is a stream? Yonder seeming wreath of snow a waterfall! No castles are these built by hands, but the battlements of the eternal cliffs ! There you behold the mountains, from their feet resting on the vale as on a footstool, up to their crests in the clear blue sky! And what a vast distance from field to cloud !
You have been in Italy, and Spain, and Switzerlandsay, then, saw ye ever, any one of you, mountains more sublime than the Langdale Pikes ?-Hear the great poet of Nature !
Many are the notes
And well those lofty brethren bear their part
Ascending steep mountains is slavish work; but descending steep mountains is postime for the lords and the ladies of the earth. So, leaving all quadrupeds behind, we glide spirally down to the meads of Langdale vale, half walking and half flying, and with slightly quickened respiration are all leaning over the rails of a wooden bridge floored with sods, over a pool in which we can count the white twinkling minnows. The huge heights fling their shadows quite across the glen, and the silence of earth and heaven is at once sweet and awful. We have reached the beautiful farm-houses of Millbeck, quite forgetful of our cavalry in the rear; and we could never hold up our heads among travellers, were we to pass by Dungeon Gill.
There is not on all the earth a rock-dungeon more incomprehensible to geologists. That torrent, fierce as it often is, never hollowed out that dark prison-cell, where incarceration needs neither chains nor jailor. Earthquake probably clest the rocks into that penitentiary, in which every whispered prayer would be answered by an echo. One huge stone has fallen across the chasm-a dizzy and ledgeless bridge, over which the very goat would almost fear to clamber. A mile farther up, and you would stand by the brink of Stickle Tarn, and beneath Pavey Ark, the most magnificent range of rocks in Westmoreland.
“ There is a cove—a huge recess,
But to see every thing in one day is impossible; so let us away down the vale on our return to Ambleside.
Yet since the ponies have been put into the stable, and Jonathan is manifestly munching cheese and bread on the stone-seat within the porch of that farm-house, that almost looks as if it were an inn, suppose we step across the threshold, and pay a visit to the interior. Chairs are instantly swept of every slightest particle of dust by ready arm and apron, and a comely matron and her three tidy daughters request us with smiles to be seated. The husband is away at his work in the slate-quarries; but without him the honours are done to perfection. The house-clock points to six,-so setting aside two hours for breakfast and luncheon, we have absolutely been twelve astir. But then, to be sure, there was the loiter and the saunter, and the sitting, and the reclining, and the lying in sun or shade, on knoll and in dell, over gate and on rustic bridge, on mossy-stump soft as any
cushion, and couch among the lady-fern, canopied by the quivering birch-trees. Therefore, not a single soul of the party is fatigued in lith or limb; but across their imaginations comes the half-wish balf-hope of dinner ; a vision of crumpled oatmeal cakes round a delf-ware bowl of Jiquid, be it milk or cream.
As at the touch of magic wand, the wish of imagination becomes a reality-and we are all busy at our pastoral repast. We are not so voraciously hungry as not to notice the furniture of our banquet-room, the blue sky hardly visible through the small-paned lead-latticed window, for the green, fragrant, and flowery exotics, that, in their healthful beauty, show the unforgetful care of many superintending hands. A curious, rich.carved, antique oak-cabinet—with the date, apparently burned into the wood, 1666, shows among a few household articles, about a dozen volumes: among others, two or three prayer-books and a Bible. A huge beam divides the room into two—the smaller part being all chimney, suspended round with hams; and a half open door in the lath-andplaster, gives a glimpse of curtains in a bed-room, looking into the garden behind, under shadow of the hill. A long table, almost the whole length of the room, crosses the front window -a bigh-backed settle is opposite, at one side of the grateless fire-place, and the oval board on which our feast is spread, and the chairs we occupy, constitute, with a stool or two, the whole furniture of the parlour-kitchen-dining-room.
But what is all this bustle about—this going out and coming.in first of one daughter and then of another, with faces not without anxiety, and hasty words addressed to each other and the matron, to us almost unintelligible in their pleasant provincialisrn? It is drying-day, and the sunny green at no great distance from the door, with its perpetual well of bleaching waters, is covered with all the linen about the house, as with snow. There is going to be a tremendous shower; and the frightened nymphs collecting shist, and cap, and sheet, and other wearing or sleeping apparel under their arms, bring the whole treasure of napery, under shelter, with curtseys and blushes of apology and confusion. We are indeed the most for