« AnteriorContinuar »
The road in some few parts is not coinpleated, yet good country road, through sound but narrow and stony lanes, very safe in broad day-light. This is the case about Causeway-foot, and among Naddle-fells to Lancwaite. The vale you go in has little breadth; the mountains are vast and rocky, the fields little and poor, and the inhabitants are now making hay, and see not the sun by two hours in a day so long as at Keswick. Came to the foot of Helvellyn, along which runs an excellent road, looking down from a little height on Lee's water, (called also Thirl-meer, or Wiborn-water) and soon descending on its margin. The lake looks black from its depth, and from the gloom of the vast crags that scowl over it, though really clear as glass; it is narrow, and about three miles long, resembling a river in its course; little shining torrents hurry down the rocks to join it, but not a bush to over-shadow them, or cover their march; all is rock and loose stones up to the very brow, which lies so near your way, that not above half the height of Helvellyn can be seen.
Next I passed by the little chapel of Wiborn, out of which the Sunday congregation were then issuing; soon after a beck near Dunmeil-raise, when I entered Westmoreland a second time; and now began to see Holm-crag, distinguished from its rugged neighbour's, not so much by its height as by the strange broken out
lines of its top, like some gigantic building demolished, and the stones that composed it flung across each other in wild confusion. Just beyond it opens one of the sweetest landscapes that art ever attempted to imitate. The bosom of the mountains spreading here into a broad bason discovers in the midst Grasmere-water; margin is hollowed into small bays, with bold eminences; some of rock, some of soft turf, that half-conceal, and vary the figure of the little Jake they com mand: from the shore, a low promontory pushes itself far into the water, and on it stands a white village with the parish church rising in the midst of it: hanging inclosures, corn-fields, and meadows green as an emerald, with their trees and hedges, and cattle, fill up the whole space from the edge of the water: and just opposite to you is a large farm-house at the bottom of a steep smooth lawn, embosomed in old woods, which climb half-way up the mountain's side, and discover above them a broken line of crags that crown the scene. Not a single red tile, no flaring gentleman's house, or garden-walls, break in upon the repose of this little unsuspected paradise; but all is peace, rusticity, and happy poverty in its neatest most becoming attire.
The road winds here over Grasmere-hill, whose rocks soon conceal the water from your sight; yet it is continued along behind them, and, contracting itself to a
tiver, communicates with Ridale-water, another sinalt lake, but of inferior size and beauty; it seems shallow too, for large patches of reeds appear pretty far within it. Into this vale the road descends. On the opposite banks large and ancient woods mount up the hills; and just to the left of our way stands Ridale-hall, the family-seat of Sir Michael Fleming, a large old-fashioned fabric, surrounded with wood. Sir Michael is now on his travels, and all this timber, far and wide, belongs to him. Near the house rises a huge crag, called Ridalehead, which is said to command a full view of Wynander-mere, and I doubt it not; for within a mile that great lake is visible, even from the road; as to going up the crag, one might as well go up Skiddaw.
I now reached Ambleside, eighteen miles from Keswick, meaning to lie there; but, on looking into the best bed-chamber, dark and damp as a cellar, grew delicate, gave up Wynander-mere in despair, and resolved I would go on to Kendal directly, fourteen miles farther * The road in general fine turnpike, but some
By not staying a little at Ambleside, Mr. Gray lost the sight of two most magnificent cascades; the one not above half a mile behind the inn, the other down Ridale-crag, where Sir Michael Fleming is now making a path-way to the top of it. These, when I saw them, were in full torrent, whereas Lawdoor water-fall, which I visited in the evening of the very same day, was almost without a stream. Hence I conclude that this distinguished fea
parts (about three miles in all) not made, yet without danger.
For this determination I was unexpectedly well rewarded: for the afternoon was fine, and the road, for the space of full five miles, ran along the side of Wynander-mere, with delicious views across it, and almost from one end to the other. It is ten miles in length, and at most a mile over, resembling the course of some vast and magnificent river; but no flat marshy grounds, no osier-beds, or patches of scrubby plantations on its banks: at the head two rallies open among the mountains; one, that by which we came down, the other Langsledale, in which Wry-nose and Hard-knot, two great mountains, rise above the rest: from thence the fells visibly sink, and soften along its sides; sometimes
ture in the vale of Keswick, is, like most northern rivers, only in high beauty during bad weather. But his greatest loss was in not seeing a small water-fall visible only through the window of a ruined summer-house in Sir Michael's orchard. Here Nature has performed every thing in little that she usually executes on her largest scale; and on that account, like the miniature painter, seems to have finished every part of it in a sturlied manner; not a little fragment of rock thrown into the bason, not a single steuri of brushwood that starts from its craggy sides but has its picturesque meaning; and the little central stream dashing down a cleft of the darkest-coloured stone, produces an effect of light and shadow beautiful beyond description. This little theatrical scene might be painted as large as the original, on a canvass not bigger than those which are usually dropped in the Opera-house.
they run into it (but with a gentle declivity) in their own dark and natural complexion : oftener they are green and cultivated, with farms interspersed, and round eminences, on the border covered with trees; towards the south it seemed to break into larger bays, with several islands and a wider extent of cultivation. Thc
way rises continually, till at a place called Orresthead it turns south-east, losing sight of the water.
Passed by Ing’s-Chapel and Staveley; but I can say no farther, for the dusk of evening coming on, I entered Kendal almost in the dark, and could distinguish only a shadow of the castle on a hill, and tentergrounds spread far and wide round the town, which I mistook for houses. My inn promised sadly, having two wooden galleries, like Scotland, in front of it: it was indeed an old ill-contrived house, but kept by civil sensible people; so I stayed two nights with them, and fared and slept very comfortably.
Oct. 9. The air mild as summer, all corn off the ground, and the sky-larks singing aloud (by the way,
I saw not one at Keswick, perhaps because the place abounds in birds of prey). I went up the castle-hill; the town consists chiefly of three nearly parallel streets, almost a mile long; except these, all the other houses seem as if they had been dancing a country-dance, and