Waugh: Rambles in the Lake Country (4)

Home Up Lancashire Songs Lancashire Life Lancashire Sketches I. Lancashire Sketches II. The Cotton Famine Poems and Songs I. Poems and Songs II. Besom Ben Tufts of Heather I. Tufts of Heather II. The Chimney Corner The Limping Pilgrim The Barrel Organ Sheet Music Sheet Music Sheet Music Miscellanea Main Index Site Search


[Previous Page]


"Here storm, and solitude, and silence dwell ;
 And stern sublimity hath set his throne."


ONE bright morning, early in October, I fettled myself for a trip to Ennerdale Lake, which is one of the loneliest of all Cumberland's waters.  Autumn is a prime season for such a journey. There is a pensive beauty about the declining year, which touches the gladdest spirit sometimes, with a tone of melancholy more profoundly pleasing than aught that jocund summer can inspire.  My friend had proposed that we should go by rail as far as the old town of St. Bees, then walk on about nine miles to the lake.  The route filled me with novel expectation.  Our train didn't leave Ulverstone till half-past twelve; so I spent the forenoon in wandering among little shops in them market-place, and in gossiping with a certain eccentric chin-polisher, who once, at least, mischievously slipped the lather between my lips when I was going to talk.  I lounged awhile, too, about the Advertiser office, to the annoyance of the editor, Mr. John Stanyan Bigg, author of that fine Poem, "Night and the Soul" [Ed.see also entry (No. 7) to the Burns Centenary competition (1858)].   No doubt he heartily wished me at the other end of my journey, for the weekly publication fever was rising to a crisis; inky printers' devils were fluttering about; and the editorial air was getting thick with little anxieties.  But it is half-past twelve.  The train starts.

"We move in th' elephantine row;
     The faces of our friends retire;
 The roof withdraws; and quaintly flow
     The curtsying lines of magic wire.
*                       *                       *                       *

"By flower-knots, shrubs, and slopes of grass,
     Cut walls of rock and ivy-stains,
 Through winking arches now we pass,
     And flying meet the flying trains:
                     We hurry on.

"Trim corn-fields; kine in pleasant leas;
     A hamlet, lane, a tower, a pond;
 Long hedge-rows; counter changing trees,
     The blue and steady hills beyond.
                     House, platform, post,
                     Flash,—and are lost."

    About half an hour brings us to the Duddon once more, where the scene is always changing.  It was high water, and those bleak tracks of scant herbage on which I had seen cattle browsing, with more industry than profit, yesterday; those pools and channels where poultry dabbled; that smooth embossed shore, where placid wavelets were lipping so delicately to and fro upon the yellow sands, like a mother caressing a sleeping child,—all was now a sea of white-crested billows.  The wind blows a gale from the south-west; and, far out yonder, the excited main lashes the northwest point, then breaks into mighty showers of spray, that leap high into the air, and make the sunlight wink with wild pearls.  The whole scene is alive with breezy delight.  The trees, the long osiers near the line, every bush, and shrub, and blade of grass, is stirring to the blithe influence of the wind.  Kine and lambs scamper away as we thunder by.  Here and there, a horse, too, snorts and gallops off, ignorantly-indignant, like a workman striking at the wrong time, and little dreaming what service may be rendered to his kind by the machine which has frightened him so unreasonably.  But in yonder field, there are four of a wiser sort standing abreast behind a hedge, with a cold-and-hungry look, like men out of work.  They have endured so much that they are not to be moved by any small terror now, —the railway train may thunder on, and do its worst.  They stand with their backs to the cold wind, and they are all looking steadfastly at the ground, in one direction, as if they had just given in four charity tickets, and were confidently expecting a feed of corn and a horse-cloth a piece coming up at that spot in a few minutes.  There is something comically pathetic about the countenances of those four,—for though they are four horses, their countenances are one; and if it were not that their manes and tails toss so in the breeze, they are as motionless as so many statues of patient distress.  If there be any truth, now, in the transmigration of souls, it is not impossible that their ancestors may have stood so by causeway sides in market towns, holding down their heads, and demurely watching the effect of a doleful sentence written with chalk upon a spade.  Or, perhaps, in early life, they have been trained to stand that way in circuses, for acrobats to leap over them.  But there is no judging about such things; let the poor brutes go; I wish them a good feed a-piece.  Let us look again.  Here clouds of fieldfares are soaring and sinking in the air; there crows and sea-gulls mingle noisily in social crowds; yonder, compact flocks of tern fly across the water with twinkling wings.  These little roamers of the wild sea-shore make way with wonderful ease through the strong gale; and seem to quiver with delight to see Neptune's white horses leaping below.  It was very exhilarating that ride by the sea, with the salt breeze sweeping freshly through the carriage!  A keen, quick-eyed Irish gentleman sat with us; and, looking out at the window with kindling glance, as if he gloried in this beautiful stir of nature, he rubbed his hands, and said, "I'm thinking the 'Gondola' will get a cheap lesson in dancing on Coniston Lake this day."

Steam launch Gondola, restored by the National
Trust, on Coniston Water.

    Leaving Duddon estuary, we also lose sight of the sea for several miles; but there is only a narrow belt of undulant land between, and though out of sight, I may venture to say that we are hardly out of the sound of it.  Near the quaint fishing port of Ravenglass we are close to the sea again.  This little old marine nook is about a mile from the ancient hall of Muncaster, and stands at the confluence of the rivers Esk, Irt, and Mite, which form a sandy harbour there.  The first time I saw the place at sunset it reminded me of Kingsley's beautiful lyric, "The Three Fishers."  It looks as if it belonged quite as much to the sea as to the land and in high tides, with a strong south-west wind, the waves wash up to its little streets, as if asserting that they have as much right to be there as anybody else.  Ravenglass is nearly opposite the Isle of Man, and looks vastly like a place that has seen smuggling in its day.  A market was granted to this ancient town in the reign of King John, "by right of the haven there."  For some centuries after, on the morning before St. James's Day, the officer of the Lords of Egremont proclaimed the fair in Ravenglass, attended by the sergeant of the bow of Egremont, with the insignia belonging thereto: when all the tenants of the Forest of Copeland came, as a customary service, to attend him in the proclamation of the fair, and to "abide with him during the continuance thereof."  About four miles beyond Ravenglass, the train stops at Seascale, a serene spot, with an inviting beach for sea-bathing; as they seem to have found out at the hotel close by, for there is a van upon the sands yonder.  Some quiet people, who creep down here out of the way of fashionable perturbation, are so in love with the place, that they are afraid of it being found out by the rest of the world.  From Seascale onward, for more than ten miles, we run so near the sea that it looks as if we were sailing on one side and going by rail on the other; and to me, this amphibious part of the journey was very delightful.

    Now we are at the town of St. Bees, and ecclesiastical students are fluttering about the platform, in their caps and gowns.  A little way off to the left, the ancient abbey church nestles at the foot of a green hill, with the new collegiate buildings close by.  The same hill runs out westward to where the great headland of St. Bees looks proudly over the sea.  St. Bees is said to take its name from Sancta Bega, or Beza, an Irish saint, who founded a nunnery on the site of the present church about the year 650.  In Mr. John Linton's admirable "Hand-book of the West Cumberland Railways," I find an interesting legend of St. Bees' foundation, "extracted from an old manuscript in the Dean and Chapter Library, at Carlisle;" beginning, "There was a pious, religious lady abbess, and some of her sisters with her, driven in by stormy weather at Whitehaven, and the ship cast away i' the harbour, and so destitute, and so she went to the lady of Egremont Castle for relief.  That lady, a godly woman, pitied her distress, and desired her lord to give her some place to dwell in; which he did, at the now St. Bees.  And she and her sisters sewed and spinned, and wrought carpets and other work, and lived very godly lives, and gott them much love.  She desired Lady Egremont to desire her lord to build them a house, and they would lead a religious life together; and many wolde joine with them if they had but a house and land to live upon.  Wherewith the Lady Egremont was very well pleased and spoke to her lord; he had land enough, and sholde give them some to lye up treasure in heaven.  And the lord laughed at the ladye and said he would give them as much land as snow fell upon the next morning and mid-summer day.  And on the morrow looked out at the castle window, on the sea side, two miles from Egremont, all was white with snow for three miles together.  And thereupon builded this St. Bees' Abbie, and gave all those lands was snowen unto it, and the Town and Haven of Whitehaven; and sometimes after, all the tithes thereabout, and up the mountains, and Inerdale Forest, eastward, was appropriated to this abbey of St. Bees; which was got by one Mr. Dacres, of kindred to the Lord Dacres; gott a long lease of it at Fall of Abbies, and married one Mrs. Latos, of the Beck Hall, Millom, who afterwards married Squire Wybridge of Clifton, in Westmorland, who purchased the inheritance of this Abbie of the Crowne, and sold it to old Sir John Lowther, who gave it to his younger son, Sir Christopher Lowther, Knt. Bart., soon after."  So runs the legend.  St. Bees had its share of trouble in the old times.  It was utterly destroyed by the Danes; and was always in danger in that wild borderland.  It was pillaged by the Scots, under Robert Bruce, when, according to Sir Walter Scott, the prior was "compelled to say mass with an old hollow oak tree for his stall."  The following lines are from Wordsworth's poem on St. Bees:

When Beza sought of yore the Cumbrian coast,
Tempestuous winds her holy passage cross'd;
She knelt in prayer—the waves their wrath appease;
And from her vow, well weigh'd in Heaven's decrees,
Rose where she touch's the strand, the chantry of St. Bees.
       *                    *                    *                    *                    *
When her sweet voice, that instrument of love,
Was glorified, and took its place, above
The silent stars, among the angelic quire,
Her chantry blazed with sacrilegious fire,
And perished utterly; but her good deeds
Had sown the spot that witnessed them with seeds,
Which lay in earth expectant, till a breeze,
With quickening impulse, answer'd their mute pleas,
And lo! a statelier pile, the Abbey of St. Bees."

This ancient priory church

                               "On whose symbolic beauty gazed
 Peasant and mail-clad chief with pious awe,"

is a very interesting building, of red sandstone.  The oldest part of the walls is thickly mantled with ivy.  Nothing now remains of the once extensive conventual buildings, except faint traces west of the church.  The western entrance is by a fine deep-moulded Norman doorway; and in the interior are preserved many fine fragments of ancient sculpture originally belonging to the abbey.  There is a large hotel near the station; but, desiring to see something of the little town, we went up its one long street, and dined at a comfortable hostel, called the "Queen's Arms."  Ennerdale Lake is more than a mile nearer from Whitehaven than from St. Bees; and there is a branch line from Whitehaven to Frizzington, within two miles and a half of the lake.  From St. Bees it is more than nine miles.  The day was short; so we didn't linger, but took out at the north side of the town about four in the afternoon.  For about a mile the road wound slantingly up the hill, and we had a fine view of the fertile valley of St. Bees, the church, part of the town, the sea, and the tall headland.  About three miles off, north-west, the smoke of Whitehaven made a still gray cloud in the air.  When we had got well over the hill-top, the outskirts of Egremont town were just visible, about a mile east of the road.  Egremont, or the Mount of Sorrow, is an ancient town, on the west bank of the river Chen.  The ruins of its once famous castle stand upon a mound, a little south-east of the town.  This castle was built by William de Meschines, in the reign of William the Conqueror, who granted to him the great barony of Copeland, "extending between the rivers Duddon and Derwent from north to south, and from east to west, between the mountains and the sea."  To Ranulph, brother of this baron, the Conqueror granted all Cumberland.  The ancient tradition of "The Horn of Egremont" is connected with the Lucys, lords of the barony in the time of the crusades.  Our way led thorough a fertile country of gentle hills and dales.  It is, also, the richest part of the iron ore district, and those red hues which are so familiar to the eye in Furness, are visible here.  Roads, houses, carts, horses, and men,—"subdued to what they work in, like the dyer's hand."  There are signs of industry and wealth all round.  Mines, ironworks, flax-mills, and well-cultivated lands.  As we passed through the village of Cleator a heavy shower fell, and we took shelter in an old Irishwoman's cottage.  At the hamlet of Wath we lose sight of the open country, and descend a shady steep which brings us to a sheltered nook by the river Chen, where there is a large old farm-house, which nature has taken a fancy to adorn.  Here the vale of Kinniside opens.  Daylight was just beginning to think of its decline when we came into this scene.  Low down by the Ehen side, our road twines on between hedges crowned with hazel; and now and then the beautiful little river glints through a gap, as we pass by.  The stream runs close to the left hand, with just a hedge between it and the road; and its melody rises so sweetly in the air, that the wind seems to stand with its finger on its lip, saying to all the landscape, "Hush; that I may hear it sing!"  I ran up the hedge now and then, to take another look at the water.  This little vale of Kinniside is rich, and soft, and still.  Wood and water, hill and dale, are scattered here in exquisite relationship; and there is a retiredness and repose about it, which gives the scene a finishing charm.  No doubt I saw it favourably by that October twilight; and I should not like to forget how beautiful it looked.  The little river itself plays lingeringly about its channel there, in pretty childlike ecstasies, as if it thought that valley an uncommonly pleasant spot, and didn't care to run away from it so soon.  The stones in its bed, too, are loth to part with the water; they stop it a little wherever they can, holding it in tinkling chat, persuading it to dance, and making it look as lovely as they can before it goes away.  We came out upon higher grounds just as the sun began to dip behind the hill.  The landscape was "calm as a resting wheel;" the air was strangely clear; and a kind of expectant silence dwelt upon all things.  The valley lay partly in twilight shade; but upon the hillside, upon the sloping road before us, and upon the hedge-rows, and bemossed walls thereby, the setting sun's last radiance lay melting away in almost unearthly melting splendour.  When the sun had gone down, clouds,—which seemed to have awaited his departure,—came trooping out of the west; the wind rose wild and strong, and fitful showers came down.  By the time we reached the hamlet of Ennerdale Bridge, a dark stormy night was around us.  We were yet two miles from the lake.  I should like to have seen this mountain hamlet by daylight; but it was not so.  Its churchyard is the scene of Wordsworth's poem, "The Brothers."  The place may have changed a little since the homely priest of Ennerdale" said:

                                   "In our churchyard
Is neither epitaph nor monument,
Tombstone nor name—only the turf we tread
And a few natural graves.      .      .      .
          *          *         *        The dead man's home
Is but a fellow to that pasture field.
          *                   *                   *                   *
We have no need of names and epitaphs:
We talk about the dead at our fire-sides.
         *          *          *   On a winter evening,
If you were seated at my chimney's nook,
By turning o'er these hillocks one by one,
We two could travel, sir, through a strange round;
Yet all in the broad highway of the world.
Now there's a grave—your foot is half upon it,—
It looks just like the rest; and yet that man
Died broken-hearted."

The new chapel stands on the site of a very old and simple structure.  There are two bells in the present turret; one of these is the ancient bell of Ennerdale Chapel, and bears upon its rim this inscription: "Sancta Bega, ora pro nobis."  This chapel has always belonged to St. Bees; in fact, all Ennerdale Forest was part of the ancient endowment of that abbey.  As we stood in the middle of the village that night, there was not a light to be seen anywhere.  All was gloomy; and between the howlings of the wind the swollen river's roar arose.  By groping as much as by sight, we found our way to the kitchen of a little public-house, where we warmed and refreshed ourselves a few minutes, then set out again to finish the last two miles that lay between us and the Boathouse Inn, at Ennerdale Lake.  But, before we go on, I will give from Wordsworth's poem, "The Brothers," a descriptive passage relating to Ennerdale, and life there.  The old priest of Ennerdale has been telling how a certain huge crag, overlooking the vale, was once rent with lightning; and he goes on, saying,

"For accidents and changes such as these
 We want not store of them; a water-spout
 Will bring down half a mountain; what a feast
 For folks that wander up and down like you,
 To see an acre's breadth of that wide cliffs
 One roaring cataract!  A sharp May-storm
 Will come with loads of January snow,
 And in one night send twenty score of sheep
 To feed the ravens; or a shepherd dies
 By some untoward death among the rocks;
 The ice breaks up and sweeps away a bridge;
 A wood is felled:—and then for our homes!
 A child is born or christened, a field ploughed,
 A daughter sent to service, a web spun,
 The old house-clock is decked with a new face;
 And hence, so far from wanting facts or dates
 To chronicle the time, we all have here
 A pair of diaries,—one serving, sir,
 For the whole dale, and one for each fire-side
 Yours was a stranger's judgment: for historians
 Commend me to these valleys!"

    It was a wild, dark walk, though we caught a wink of blue between the flying clouds sometimes.  At length we came to a tract of level moorland, where the storm had room to rage in.  Before we were over this, the path came to where four roads met, and we wandered from one to the other, doubtful which to take.  We climbed up to look at the broken guide-post, but that battered old friend of the stranger was dumb, and his trembling limbs pointed to nowhere.  At last we chose the road that seemed most travelled, and it turned out right.  The rising moon sent a tinge of wild light through the clouds, and we could dimly see the steeps of half-concealed mountains.  In the black profound between, we heard the lake lashing its rocky shore; but nothing of it was visible.  The scene was gloomily grand. I would not exchange the robe of stormy darkness which Ennerdale wore that night for all that sunlight can do to make it gay.  The wild changes of weird light which stole from the moon through those flying clouds made the view more savage still.  We laboured along the splashy road, through everything that makes a man damp, but the wild sublimity of the scene repaid for all.  Our road led through a miry farmyard, from which we emerged by great folding-doors upon a slope, down which the path continues to the water-side.  The clouds broke a little again, and we caught sight of the gables of the Boathouse Inn below.  It sounded strange, in such a scene, to hear the jolting of a cart, and people singing as blithely as if they were taking the last load home from a harvest field.  They had evidently been "calling" somewhere in the wilderness.  They passed us with a boisterous "Good night," and went singing into the gloom behind.  A clatter of hoofs next came up, and we had to stand aside, as a tall figure, on a great horse, dashed through the mist, like a moss-trooper riding home from a midnight foray.  A few minutes more found us inside the Boathouse; and the wind whistled through the lock hole after us, as if it wanted to come in and dry the mist off its wings.  The house was cheerful as the scene was wild,a comfortable kernel in a stormy shell.  The kitchen was a large clean room looking into another, in which a matronly woman and her grown-up daughter were busy among butter and milk-bowls.  The landlord and two young shepherds were basking by the fire, with their dogs about them.  Everything in the place evinced plenty, and cleanly, homely care.  We were at home with these hearty mountaineers in a minute, and the women began to prepare a kind of dinner with tea to it.  In the meantime we went outside to look at the lake.  The clouds are breaking into detached masses—all flying earnestly in one direction—like knots of Chartists hurrying to a great meeting.  Between these flying masses the calm blue sky begins to shew itself; and the moon is up.  Now hidden behind a dusky cloud, her brilliance overflows its border with a silvery fringe; now, as she sails into sight, the rocky mountains soften in her smile; now, full and fair, upon the open blue, she floods the landscape with queenly radiance, and all the world grows tenderly beautiful beneath her pensive spell.  But look at the lonely lake: it is alive with enchantments!  In this sheltered corner little eddies of shimmering silver flit about,—the dainty Ariels of moonlit water; there, is a burnished islet of stirless brilliance, in which even the moon smiles to see herself look so passing fair; and, out beyond, the wide waters are in a tremulous fever of delight with her sweet influence.  But now a great fit of cloud comes on, and all is gloom again.  If there be magic in the world, it is this!  When it cleared again, we took a boat.  The landlord cautioned us not to pull far out, or we should find it difficult to get back again that night.  We pulled to and fro about the broadest end of the lake, between the mountain called "Herdhouse," on the north, and the rock called "Anging Crags" which is overtopped by Revelin on the south.  Near Angling Crag a little islet of stones rises from the lake.  As oft as we approached these stones, we found that the stormy wind had such a forcible sweep the whole length of the narrow lake, that it was best to return.  It was a wild scene from the water that night.  One minute Crag Fell, Revelin, and Herdhouse were lit up to their summits by the moon; the next they were all gloom, and half-concealed by drifting mists.  We pulled till we were tired, then tethered the boat, and went to tea.  It was a spread that would have done credit to any inns in Christendom.  The window of the room where it was set out looked upon the lake.  After tea, we went to roost with a will.  Our bedroom was scrupulously clean, and even more tastefully furnished than is common at good inns in large towns.  But, "Good night!"  God bless the man that invented beds!


Where savage grandeur wakes an awful thrill."


OUR clothes had been dried and put into comfortable trim overnight; and when we rose from sleep a crisp October morning was steeping the mountain tops in splendour.  The wind was still, and Ennerdale Water lay in its craggy frame, like a looking-glass under the sky.  That sublime gloom which, last night, by half concealing the features of the scene, had suggested something grander than what it concealed—was all gone; and the mountains rose clear from the water up to where their rolling summits made bold outlines against the sky.  It was a glorious morning; but there was more of the lonely and sterile about this lake than I have seen about any other.

    Ennerdale Lake is about three miles long, and three-quarters of a mile at its broadest part.  The only signs of cultivation about it are on its western shore; the rest of the scene is all barren crags.  About mid-way upon this western shore, the Boathouse Inn stands, and commands a good view of the broadest part of the water, and of the encircling mountains.  About a mile from the inn, the lake narrows, and winds out of sight between Herdhouse and Revelin; and the water beyond this point lies in a scene of solitary sublimity.  At the head of the wild narrow vale beyond the lake, Great Gable rises, 2925 feet, closing the landscape magnificently; and on the south side the vale is bounded by the mountain called Pillar, 2893 feet high.  Strangers are strongly advised to climb to the summit of Red Pike, on the north side of the lake, from whence there is a fine prospect, commanding views of the five lakes, Ennerdale, Buttermere, Crummock Water, Lowes Water, and Derwent Water.  Ennerdale Lake supplies the town of Whitehaven, and its waters are said to be the purest in the north of England.  The mountains seen from the Boathouse Inn are Herdhouse and Bowness Knot, on the north side; and Revelin and Iron Crag on the south.  Steeple and Pillar are in sight also east of these.  Pillar takes its name from a lofty, precipitous rock, "rising like a column from the vale" at the head of the lake.  This rock is a remarkable feature of the grand mountain to which it gives a name.  "It was considered inaccessible until the year 1826, when an adventurous shepherd clambered to the summit.  Since then it has been several times ascended.  The prospect from the top of the mountain is extremely noble."  In Wordsworth's poem, "The Brothers," the old priest of Ennerdale tells of a young dalesman who wandered one May morning up this mountain with his companions.  He had lingered behind the rest, and was missed by them, until, returning, they spied him stretched at ease upon the aëry summit of this fearful crag.  Not thinking any ill they went home without him; but next morning the wanderer was still unheard morning of.  The neighbours were alarmed, and the missing youth was sought for, high and low.  Before noon,

"They found him at the foot of that same rock—
 Dead, and with mangled limbs."

It was supposed that, in falling, he had grasped his shepherd's staff,

                                     "For on that Pillar of rock
 It had been caught mid-way; and there for years
 It hung;—and mouldered there."

    Pillar stands between Ennerdale Head and Wastdale Head.  I heard something more about the mountain when we got to Wastdale, and more also about the disasters peculiar to mountain life.

    I was wandering about the house that morning, whilst breakfast things were being laid out.  The landlady was a kind and cheerful old dame, with a spice of humour in her.  I wanted shaving badly,—or rather, I was very much in need of shaving, so I asked her which was the way to the nearest barber's shop.  "Ye mun tak' t' Whitehav'n roàd for that," said she, "an' then your beard ull hev time to groo a bit langer afore it gets cut.  But ye needn't be particklar aboot yer chin.  Ye're fair mair likely to need a shoemakker, or an aad wife to mend yer stockin's, afore ye git to Wastd'le Head—that is, iv ye do get theer—for aa've sin folk start fra this house to gan t' seàm way that ye're gannin', an' when they've gitten ower top o' Scarf Gap, they've teàn a wrang turn an' fand thersens here ageàn at dark o' t' neet, varra much to their surprise.  So ye'd better mind.  Aa's nobbut tellin' ye, ye knaw.  But iv ye do happen to come, we's be like to mak yo as comfortable as we can, as reckon."  And I have no doubt they would have made us comfortable, for they know how to do it.

    About ten in the forenoon we set out for Buttermere.  Our way was a shepherd's track, over the north-western mountain pass, by the edge of Floutern Tarn, and so down, on the right hand, between Melbreak and Blea Crag, to Buttermere, a walk of six miles.  We had not gone half a mile before we missed the way, and got to the little hamlet of Bowness, at the north-western corner of the lake.  Here we inquired again, at a shepherd's cottage, where two dogs rushed out upon us.  An old wife came forth, and, pointing up in the same direction we had been shown before, she said, "Mak t' best gate ye can up by t' lift hond side o' this beck, till ye cum tull a sheep-track ower between t' fell-tops.  Then gang on by t' track, an' hug t' beck till ye cum to Floutern Tarn.  When ye cum to that, lig weel tull it, or ye'll git wrang.  Then gang forret down by t' seam track, an' clip t' reight hond mountain gaily, till ye cum to Scale Force, an' then ye'll see Buttermer reight afore ye."  Thanking the old woman, we struck up the rocky moorland steep.  After a hard and slippery climb, we came upon the track, but it was often so dim that we had some difficulty in keeping it.  This bleak pass was all trembling swamp, soaked with the recent rains; and though we kept the track pretty well, such as it was, there was more wading than dry walking in it.  At last, after about three miles' tramp, Floutern Tarn came in sight, on our right hand, nestling in the gloomy shade of Herdhouse.  To any one going this way, Floutern Tarn is one of the principal guiding-marks, and he must take heed of it.  There is nothing very remarkable in this cheerless sheet of water, except its extreme loneliness.  This little hermit of the mountains looks up to heaven from its rocky bed with ascetic eye, as if it would rather be absorbed there than mingle with the vain pleasures of this world's busy waters.  At Floutern Tarn we come to the eastern edge of the pass; and down in the eastern vale, three miles off, we get a glimpse of the green land which divides Buttermere from Crummock Water.  The mountains, too, seen from this point, are very grand.  We now began to descend the steep, keeping as well as possible to the track, which wanders bewilderingly along the base of the right hand mountains, Herdhouse and Blea Crag.  Our descent was a mixture of sliding, jumping, wading, running, and scratching,—with an enlivening tumble, dropt in now and then, to give the whole a finishing flavour, and make it go down better.  We lost the main path so oft, that, at last, we gave it up altogether, and went ahead the best way we could, taking advantage of any little sheep-walk that led our way.  It was a rough bit of travelling, but we got through it merrily.  Above two miles down from Floutern Tarn, the southern corner of Crummock Water becomes visible; and Scale Force is on the right hand, a long silver line, shining between the lofty crags, and partly shrouded by scanty foliage.  Not feeling inclined to go up to the fall, we went forward along the foot of Red Pike, and so across to Buttermere.  The little hamlet of Buttermere is scattered about a gentle slope, at the base of Whiteside, and near the foot of the lake.  The road to Keswick leads up from it, over Buttermere Haws, 800 feet high, and then through the vale of Newlands.  The hamlet stands on the east side of a stripe of cultivated land, which divides the twin lakes of Buttermere and Crummock, and on which three or four farmhouses are straggled about the fields.  This little isthmus of green land, with its tufts of trees, and the hamlet at its side, contrasts pleasantly with the steep and lofty mountains which gather around these waters.  The mountains here are among the highest and wildest in Cumberland; Mellbreak, Whiteside, Grassmoor, Ladhouse, Whiteless Pike, Robinson, Yew Crag, Honister, the Hay Stacks, High Crag, High Stile, and Red Pike,—these are the guardians of the vale in which Buttermere and Crummock Water lie.  Crummock Water is three miles long by three quarters of a mile broad; and Buttermere is one mile and a quarter long by half a mile broad.  There is a splendid view of these two lakes, and of the encircling mountains, from a place called "The Knots," about three hundred yards from the Victoria Inn, in Buttermere.  The mountains, however, cannot be so well seen anywhere as from the bosom of Crummock Water.  Seen from that lake, Mellbreak is remarkably fine, and "Whiteside and Grassmoor are majestic in the highest degree."

    There are two inns now at Buttermere—the Victoria and the Fish.  The last was the house kept by the famous "Beauty of Buttermere," whose unhappy story has been so often told in guide-books, and elsewhere. [Note D]  There was no bustle about the hamlet when we were there,—nobody wandering about,—not a wheel to be seen in the space at the front of the Fish.  The fever of the tourist season had cooled down; the place was taking rest; and we seemed to have it to ourselves.  We went into the Fish, because it has a quaint look and a story connected with it; and there we dined on "char," that dainty fish which is said to have been first brought to these lakes by the old Romans. [Note E]  About three we set out for Gatesgarth, at the head of Buttermere, about two miles off.  The road goes along high ground, on the eastern bank of the lake, and the water chews itself through the trees most of the way.  On the left, the lower acclivities of the mountain called Robinson are cultivated, in some places clothed with fir woods.  In the length of this walk there are two fine mansions, occupying choice positions, on the slope between the road and the lake, and each in a paradise of groves and gardens, fringing the solemn little lake with a beauty that it would do a man's heart good to see.  The day was cool, and calm, and bright, and this walk was a delightful change.

    Gatesgarth is a large farmstead, a little beyond the lake, and at the foot of Honister Crag.  Seen from this spot, that eighty amphitheatre of precipitous rock is a sublime sight.  At Gatesgarth guides may be had.  The day was getting far spent, and I had the old Ennerdale landlady's advice in my mind about losing our way.  But there was not a guide at home.  The last had gone with a man to Wastdale some time before; and the girl said we should very likely meet him returning.  The toughest part of the journey was still before us, and there was nothing for it but to set to work.  As we toiled up Scarf Gap, Honister Crag grew ever more awfully impressive.  Its frowning solitude was more widely and distinctly under the eye, marked with wandering streaks of white, where the waters came down from wildernesses too savage for anything but storm and cloud to abide.  We panted up.  The last nook of Buttermere Lake glided out of sight, and the valley disappeared.  Higher yet, we climbed and twined among scattered rocks, whilst on each hand steep crags glared sternly down through the mist.  On the crown of the pass, we came to a little platform of swampy land, where the track grew faint, and began to branch off this way and that, always ending in impassable bog, or in some untrodden part of the solitude.  The wind blew wild and chill, and great clouds of thick mist folded us so completely in their damp embrace, that we were getting wet through, and sometimes could hardly see a yard before us.  At last we caught sight of the path disappearing upon the edge of the mountain; and we rattled down into the glen through which the river Liza runs from Great Gable to Ennerdale Water.  A tall young shepherd was coming up the mountain, with a plaid on his shoulder and a long staff in his hand.  This was the guide of whom they spake at Gatesgarth.  I was inclined to take him to Ennerdale with us, but my friend put a good face on the matter, and thought we should manage very well.  The guide pointed to a solitary little tree up the glen, and near the foot of Black Sail, telling us that we should find the path to Wastdale on this side of it.  It seemed easy enough to get there, so we set off again with a will, not thinking of the mosses, waters, slaps, and boggy bewilderments that lay between us and our aim.  Down we went, over rocks, shingles, and "slape places;" and through spongy deceitful spots, where lurking waters made the mountain green with swamp verdure.  In the hollow our path was dim, splashy, and erratic.  At last we came to a ruined cottage, nearly opposite the tree before mentioned.  Here we lost the path again, and found also that the river Liza was between us and Black Sail.  Whichever way we turned the swamp began to swallow us as if it was hungry.  Night was coming on; fits of heavy rain began to fall; and mist-laden winds raged savagely around as if they were glad to catch us in such a place at such a time.  We found that we must move on at once or be benighted there, which would have put an unpleasant finish to that day's journey.  Dashing recklessly through the swamp, we waded the stream, and clambered over the rocks, as straight as possible towards the tree.  We drew near it, and looked about; but the dark steep seemed deathless.  We went nearer, and, to our delight perceived a narrow path, about a hundred yards to the right of the tree.  Wet, and hot with exertion, we paused to take breath.  If we could keep this track, there would be just about daylight enough to see us over the mountain.  We found this pass wilder than Scarf Gap, but we worked in that howling storm, up to the top, when the rain ceased, and we felt comparatively comfortable.  After our difficulties that wild October nightfall, I was not much surprised to find that "Black's Guide" calls this route to Wastdale "so perplexing, that although the hardy pedestrian, with very minute directions, might succeed in finding his way over the mountains, yet every one who has crossed them will be aware of the danger of the attempt, and of the fatal consequences attending a diversion from the right path."  After this, the following passage from a letter to the editor, appears in the same volume:—"The passes at Scarf Gap and Black Sail should not be attempted late in the season without a guide, for the following reasons: A friend and myself left the inn at Buttermere this morning, on our way to Wastdale, in a heavy rain, being pressed for time.  We reached the summit of Scarf Gap, and descended into the Ennerdale valley with tolerable success, in spite of a cold northeast wind and driving rain; we also ascended Black Sail about half way, when my friend's pony, a hardy and powerful animal, came to a standstill.  I then pushed on alone, on foot, to find a better track for the pony, and had attained so close to the summit as to see the platform, as it were, within my reach, when prolonged wet and cold produced such severe numbness and faintness, that I had barely strength to return to my companion, whom I found very little better off than myself.  But for a flask of brandy in his bag, I do not think we could ever have left the valley alive; as it was, we had barely power to make our way through the swamps, rocks, and swollen torrents of the Liza.  Never but once before did I feel so near the gates of death."

    This looks like putting too dark a colour upon the matter; but, even in fine weather, it is very desirable for a stranger to have some spare daylight to work in when crossing these passes.  From the summit of Black Sail the road was more distinct, and not so steep; and there was more of what dalesmen call "green travelling" about it.  In some places, however, the rain had made it as much a river as a road.  We descended rapidly, crossing from point to point of the winding path; and being already well wet and soiled, a boot-full of water, or a slip in the swamp, was no great matter.  A mountain torrent roared down this wild pass, between Pillar on the right, and Kirkfell on the left.  When we came into that part of Wastdale Head called Rosedale, the sublime appearance of Pillar was such as I cannot express.  The expiring light of day was struggling with the still hovering storm; and through the clouds a strange, unearthly light settled upon the awful summit and steeps of that mountain, which, somehow, called Horeb and Sinai to mind.  A mile's walk from the foot of the pass brought us to the Huntsman's Inn, the house of William Ritson, the well-known guide at Wastdale Head.  Wet and weary we walked in at the kitchen door, just as night was lapping the wild mountains in its overpowering gloom.  A servant girl was placing candles on a long, heavy table under the window, by which four men sat waiting for their supper.  The storm was rising again, and the wind roared in the wide chimney as if it was challenging the fire to come and have a round with it outside; but the cheerful house-warmer went on with its play, and looked round with a grateful smile, as if it wished above all things that Mrs. Ritson would bring more pans with meat in, that it might set to and cook something for the good of the company.  The fender was one half of a heavy tram-wheel.  In a corner, at the table end, a thoughtful-looking man, in military undress, sat turning over some papers.  He belonged to the ordnance service.  A very tall, stark man, about sixty, sat on a low chair by the fire.  His wiry hair was sprinkled with grey, and his long, weather-worn face beamed with manly benevolence.  A little white-headed lad stood between his knees, playing with a book.  Muttering to himself, he climbed the old man's limbs, unbuttoned his waistcoat, and poked his fingers into his ears, like a kitten teasing a Newfoundland dog.  "Fadder, what's this?" and "Fadder, look here!" said he, with all the healthy restlessness of a child "that feels its life in every limb."  The old man was talking to some one else, and he took little heed, till the lad pulled his hair, the wrong way, which made him wince.  He then set him down on the floor, and said, "Lile lads should be varra still when folk's talking."  The lad was still for a minute or two, and then he began again,—"Fadder;fadder, see yo.  Aa can say that off by heart.  Fadder, it isn't bedtime yet, is it?"  "Well," said his father, "that just depends whether lile lads are quiet or not.  Hesto hed thi poddish?"  "Aye."  "Well, then, thoo must behave thisen, like a good boy, or else thoo'll hev to gan to bed at yance, now."  The little fellow retreated, pouting, towards his mother, and muttered, "Ye du swagger becos yer my fadder!"  This hale old man was William Ritson, the Wastdale guide.  Opposite to him sat Jackson, the Barrowdale guide, a square-built, strong man, with a round face.  He had brought a gentleman over Sty Head pass, early in the evening.  Behind Ritson, a stout young fellow, with a flushed countenance, was smoking and swinging back and forward upon the hind legs of his chair.  They called him "Willie the Waller."  He was a stone-mason; "a girt awkertly fell-heed daàl lad," and, as I learned afterwards, "a gay good hand at levellin' rough lumps o' cheese."  A fine young fox-hound, called "Crowner," was snuffing about the kitchen, and a staid-looking sheep-dog, called "Boy," lay asleep before the fire.  The two guides were talking about food for dogs.  "Poddish an' milk," said Kitson, "poddish an' milk for dogs!  It keeps em reight.  Now, a pound o' meal a day would sarra thooar lile dogs varra weel—thou." [Note F]  "Aye, varra weel," said Jackson.  And thus the talk went on during the time we stayed in the kitchen.  The storm was raging again outside, and every time the door opened the wet blast swept fiercely in.  We went to bed early, intending to go down Wast Water in a boat next morning, and so forward to Drigg.  But we will say something more about Wastdale Head in another chapter.


               "By my halidome,
 A scene so rude, so wild as this,
 Yet so sublime in barrenness,
 Ne'er did my wandering footsteps press,
         Where'er I happed to roam."


WHEN morning came we found a great storm raging through Wastdale Head.  All was wild uproar outside.  The heavy rain blinded our window with its fierce assault; and the mist was so dense that we could see no more of the landscape than a little nook of the garden below, in which a few currant bushes were struggling frantically to keep hold of the ground they grew in.  A sound of rushing waters mingled with the elemental din, rising wildly in the surrounding gloom whenever the hurricane paused a minute to take breath.  The swollen torrent from Kirkfell went madly by the rear of the house, too big for its bed; and every channel that seamed the rocky steeps around was full of wild water.  When the misty curtains parted an instant, we could see the white currents dashing down the dark side of Yewbarrow, close by the house.  This storm continued through the whole day, and all who had passed the night at the "Huntsman's Inn" were weather-bound. The Borrowdale guide was there; and the gentleman he had brought over Sty Head Pass was now waiting impatiently alone in his little room for a favourable change of the weather.  In addition to these there was Ritson and his grown-up son; the ordnance surveyor; "Willie the Waller;" three farmers from Lower Wastdale; and Ritson father, a shrewd, grey-headed old dalesman, retired from active life.  These, with Ritson wife, his little lad, and two servants, made up a curious storm-prisoned company.  Most of this number passed the greater part of the day merrily, in a detached building close to the house; but Ritson and the Borrowdale guide, with one or two others, kept steadily to the kitchen, and

             "Got planted unto right,
 Fast by the ingle, bleezing finely."

To ourselves it was a disappointment to be pent up in the heart of that sublime group of mountains, Yewbarrow, Pillar, Great Gable, Kirkfell, Lingmell, and Scawfell,—and yet unable to behold them.  But it was something to feel that, although unseen, they were standing awfully around us in the tempestuous gloom.  Our little parlour faced the storm; and we had a bright fire in it.  There was an accordion and a few books in the window-sill; and we got through the wild day very well.  On the previous night Ritson had spoken doubtfully of the weather, and he had advised us not to attempt the ascent of Scawfell.  All chance of climbing that mountain during our visit was now gone, and we made the best of the matter.

    In the course of the day I went into the kitchen now and then, to talk with the company there.  Ritson was full of tales of the mountains.  Speaking of the wild crag which gives name to Pillar—the great mountain between Wastdale Head and Ennerdale Head, he said there was a bottle deposited upon it, containing some half dozen names of people who had climbed to the top of it.  The last man who ascended was Baumgarten.  "Before Baumgarten set oot," said Ritson, "he left his watch an' his purse an' a note, an' he said if he never cam' back, a' would be mine.  Aa went a lang way up with him," continued he, "but aa tell't him aa wadn't gang to t' top.  Aa knew t' way varra weel; but aa didn't like to engage it again.  So he axed me what were t' reason, an' aa tell't him aa'd mair nor mysel' to think on now, an' it was ower big a risk.  Bud, nowt wad sarra, bud he must gang; so he shook hands wi' me, an' aa gev him t' best instructions aa could, an' he went forret, and he was seen soon after sittin' stride-legs upo' t' edge o' t' rock, sheawtin' an' wavin' his hat.  He left his neam i' t' bottle at top; an' a gay time we hed when he cam' down again safe and sound."  I asked whether travellers were not sometimes lost on the mountains.  "Aye, aye," said the Borrowdale guide.  "Aye," said Ritson; "here was two gat lost upo' Scawfell yaa cold neet i' March, two year sin.  They were oot all neet upo' t' mountain, an' yan on 'em cam down here about seven i' t' mornin', sair deun up.  He tell't us as weel as he could where we could find his friend.  He'd bin force't to leave him upo' t' fell.  Poor fellow; he was varra ill, an' he hung a terrible lang crag, for he was freeten't that his comrade wadn't live till we gat tull him.  Well, me an' Daniel Braithut, t' farmer, set foot wi' a lile bitch called 'Crafty,'—an' she was crafty an' all.  We hed hard wark to keep up wi' her.  Bud she made straight ahead, an' when we gat tull him t' lile thing was lickin' t' blood off his hand, an' she look't sorry, as if she ken't that it was a hard case.  He'd hed two or three fits afore we gat up, an' he was quite wanderin' in his mind, an' imaginin' 'at he was gannin' to be murdered.  We tell't him that his comrade hed sent us wi' summat for him to eat an' drink, but he kept sayin' 'No, no; as hev nae money!'  Ye see, he was terrible freeten't at we was efter his money.  At last, we gat a sup o' wine int'll him, an' a bite o' summat to eat.  But, when we gat him into t' sun, t' poor fellow was varra ill, sure-ly.  His e'en was white an' wild, an' he wandered in his talk; an' he was as helpless as a teeam seck.  We hed to dad him on softly, little by little, for he was like a man wi' two wood legs.  In a lile bit, he axt for mair wine, an' aa knew by that he was cumin' round, so aa began to give it to him i' less sups.  We gat him safe down, an' he was varra ill for two or three days; but, he cam tull at last.  His name was P—, of Whitehaven; an' aa believe he gat on varra weel at efter."  "Aa've sin war cases nor that," said the Borrowdale guide.  "Aye, aye," said Ritson; "they don't awlus get off sea weel as that."

    The Borrowdale guide was a shoemaker in addition to his other occupations; and taking up a shoe from the floor, he turned it over critically, like unto one having understanding in such things; and, holding it up, he said, "William, aa've made shoon, see ye, that as could ha' put that i't inside on.  They was Big Lord's; what, ye'll ken him weel enough."  "Ken him, aye," said Ritson.  "An' then, here's John Fisher o' Newlands.  He taks a girt shoe," continued the Borrowdale guide.  "Aye," said Ritson, "aa ken him too, yarra weel.  He hes a most serious foot hes John.  There'll not be so mony mair nor two in a yard ov his measurment, as sud say."  "Two!  Will there be two, think ye?"  "Well, varra nee."  "Well, then," continued the Borrowdale guide, "there was Newland Dwarf.  He was anudder; a girt, strang, stark-like fellow.  He was seà tall, that he yance turned all t' public-hoose signs i' Keswick t' wrang way aboot i' t' neet-time.  Dan, t' policeman, was sent to tek him up; but he didn't like o't job, for he knew t' Dwarf was a dangerous chap to mell on, and he mud happen get his licks, reight off-hand.  Seà Dan went cannily about it; an' when he fand him drinkin' in a public-hoose, he whispered tull him, in a friendly way like, what he was about.  Well, t' Dwarf happened to be in a good temper; an' he axt Dan if he would hey a glass afore they started.  Dan said he wad, an' he was varra glad, too,—for Dan was awlus a good takker.  But, this time, he teuk an' teuk, glass efter glass, till he was clean dune up; an' what does t' Dwarf do, but whips t' handcuffs upo' poor Dan, an' turns him foot a doors. *   *  Now, there was a trick for ye, William."  "Aye," said Ritson, "that caps Cut-Lugs.  But it's just like the man.  Aa've heàrd Adam Tyson tell on him.  Now Adam was another queer-like chap.  He was an aad guide, gentlemen, that use't to be here.  Whenivver Parson Hodgkinson an' his wife cam up to Wastdale Head in a boat, they wad hev aad Adam with 'em, an' naàbody else.  Ye see, he could spin a lang yarn aboot a thing, an' he was cant an' comical,— that's how it was.  Well, as ye come up Wast Water, here's places where there's good echoes, an' Adam hevin' a strang voice, t' parson wad hev him to shout for t' echo,—so he shouted, 'Adam!' varra loud an' slaw; an' t' echo answer's 'A-dam!'  Then t' parson tried, with his short thin voice, an' there was naa answer to his cry, for t' echo had nowt to work on, ye see.  They axt Adam how it was, an' he said it was varra likely because t' echo didn't ken 'em.  Well, another day, when he was shoutin' for t' parson an' his wife, as usual,A―dam!' aad Robert Briggs happened to be upo t' crags, an' he called out, 'Here am I!'  T' parson was quite surprised, till Adam tell him that it varra offens did so when it was in a good humour."  Thus the talk wandered on, quaint and simple, from one thing to thing another, on that stormy day.  The chapel at Wastdale Head is one of the smallest in England.  Ritson told us of an old parson of Wastdale who kept a churn-full of sermons, which he used to preach down to the bottom, then turn over and begin again.  "Yan Sunday," said he, "when t' aad priest cam to t' forenoon sarvice, what should he see but Birkett, t' clerk, straddle't upo t' chapel riggin' with a girt hammer in his hand.  'Why, Birkett,' says he, 'whatever are ye doing there?  'Well,' says Birkett, 'ye see, sic a yan hes borrowed t' bell-raàp, to leaàd hay wi', sea aa's cum up a-ringing t' sarvice in wi' t' coal-hammer."'  He said, also, that the same parson was so puzzled with the writing in his sermon one dark winter's forenoon, that he stopped, and, handing the manuscript to the clerk, he said, "Birkett, just go to the window, and see what that word is,"  This reminded me of an anecdote concerning a little moorland church in Lancashire, where the clerk having given out a psalm to be sung to a certain tune, a round-faced rustic leaned over the front of the organ-loft, and called out, "Sammul, thae knows very weel 'at we connot sing that tune to-day, becose Jack's gwon to a weddin' in Rossenda', an' he's taen o' the music wi' him."  Ritson told of a parson in a little Cumberland village, who, finding one Sunday forenoon that his whole congregation consisted of three of his intimate neighbours, hesitated before beginning the service, and said to them, "What think ye three men if we all go up to t' 'Mortal Man' public-house, an' hev a pint of ale a-piece?"

    I was most interested in Ritson's anecdotes of famous men who had visited Wastdale.  He had wandered many a day with Professor Wilson, Wordsworth, Professor Sedgwick, De Quincey, and others.  He spoke of Wordsworth as "a varra quiet-like aad man, who had nea pride aboot him, an' varra lile to say."  But Professor Wilson "banged 'em all for fun."  Ritson had been a famous wrestler in his youth, and had won many a country belt in Cumberland.  He once wrestled with Wilson, and threw him twice out of three falls.  But he owned that the Professor was "a varra bad un to lick."  Wilson beat him at jumping.  He could jump twelve yards in three jumps, with a great stone in each hand.  Ritson could only manage eleven and three-quarters.  "T' first time at Professor Wilson cam to Wastd'le Head," said Ritson, "he hed a tent set up in a field, an' he gat it weel stock't wi' bread, an' beef, an' cheese, an' rum, an' ale, an' sic like.  Then he gidder't up my granfadder, an' Thomas Tyson, an' Isaac Fletcher, an' Joseph Stable, an' aad Robert Grave, and some mair; an' there was gay deed amang 'em.  Then, nowt would sarra bud he would hev a boat, and they must all hevy a sail.  Well, when they gat into t' boat, he tell 'em to be particklar careful, for he was liable to git giddy i' t' heàd; an' if yan ov his giddy fits sud chance to cum on he mud happen tummle into t' watter.  Well, that pleased 'em all gaily weel, an' they said they'd tak varra girt care on him.  Then he leaned back an' called oot that they must pull quicker.  So they did; and what does Wilson do then but topples ower eb'm ov his back i' t' watter, with a splash.  Then there was a girt cry—'Eh, Mr. Wilson's i' t' watter!  Mr. Wilson's i' t' watter!' an yan click't, an' annuder click't; but neàn o' them could get hod on him, and—there was sek a scrowe as nivver.  At last, yan o' them gat him round t' neck as he popped up at teàl o' t' boat; an' Wilson taad him to kep a good hod, for he mud happen slip him ageàn.  But what, it was nowt but yan ov his bits o' pranks—he was snurkin' an' laughin' all t' time.  Wilson was a fine, gay, girt-hearted fellow, as strang as a lion, and as lish as a trout; an' he hed sek antics as nivver man hed.  Whativver ye sed tull him ye'd get your change for it gaily soon *   *   Aa remember there was a 'Murray Neet' at Wastd'le Head that varra time; an' Wilson an' t' aad parson was there amang t' rest.  When they'd gotten a bit on, Wilson med a sang aboot t' parson.  He med it reight off o' t' stick end.  He began wi' t' parson first, then he gat to t' Pope, and then he turned it to the devil, an' sic like, till he hed 'em fallin' off their cheers wi' fun.  T' parson was quite astonished, an' rayder vext an' all, but at last he brust oot laughin' wi' t' rest.  He was like.  Naabody could stand it. *   *   T' seàm neet there was yan o' their wives cum to fetch her husban' heàm, an' she was rayder ower strang i' t' tung wi' him afore t' heàl comp'ny.  Well, he took it all i' good part, but, as he went away, he shouted oot to t' aad minister, 'Od dang ye, parson, it wor ye at teed us two tegidder!'  *   *  It was a' life an murth amang us as lang as Professor Wilson was at Wastd'le Head."

    When evening came, the three farmers and one or two others who had been making merry in the little detached building near the house, came into the kitchen.  They had spent the greatest part of the day in chaffering about the last half-crown that stood between their striking a bargain for a certain heifer.  This was still going on when they came in.  All quiet talk was at an end; and the mirth grew fast and furious.  They would dispute noisily, tossing a luck penny to and fro, and clashing their hands, and twisting and twining the terms of bargain, in the hope of gaining a shilling or two of advantage on either side, and then, finding it a matter of diamond cut diamond, they would turn away from each other, vowing not to budge a penny nearer, and seeming to give up the whole thing.  Then there would arise a little generous contention between them about who should pay for the next glasses; and in this manner each man spent three or four times the amount in dispute during the course of the day.  At nightfall they were getting "glorious;" and the elder and more talkative of the two would suddenly whisk away, as if he didn't care a flirt for the heifer, and begin to sing:—

"Iv they ax whoar I cum fra, I say the Fell seyde,
     Where fadder an' madder an' honest fwok beyde;
 An' my sweetheart, God bliss her! she thowt nin leyke me,
     For when we shuik hans, the tears gushed frev her e'e."

"Well, cum, Willie Ritson; here's fra hurse heels, cart wheels, bum-baillies, bad wedder, an' the divvul, Lord deliver us—an' incline us to keep a good law.'   *   *   Here's a lock o' ye hes a lile bit o' religion; but ye hevn't laid it oot yet.  Mebby, ye're fleyed o't begin' bein' deun too soon.  Aa guess ye think it'll come to chickens i't end, iv ye nobbut keep sittin' o't, seàm as they du wi' hen-eggs.  But, what; they're varra weel kept at God keeps, as t' sayin' is, Willie:

'On I whussel'd, an' wondered; my bundle I flung
 Owre my shoulder, when Cwoley he after me sprung,
 An' howl'd, silly fellow! an' fawn'd at my fit,
 As if to say—'Watty! we munnet part yet!"'

He seemed to have taken a dislike to a young man who sat smoking dreamily in a corner, for every time he spoke the old farmer began, "Hod thi tung, thoo fozzy feùl.  A'll ding tho ower i' now!"  "What; aa's like to speak amang t' rest, isn't aa?" said the young fellow.  There's neà call for that," replied the other.  Them as knaas nowt sod say nowt.  Hod thi tung!  Thoo sits glowran an stewan i't neuk like a mazy hullert.  It maks mo crop-sick.  Hod thi tung, thoo ill-mannert mule, or all gi tho a clonk o't heed!"  "What aa said was varra innocent," replied the young fellow.  "Neà, neà; there's nowt innocent about tho, except aboon t' eén, an' below t' knee—neà wheers else; not an inch o' tho."  "Cum, Robert, ye're rayder ower hard on him,— divvent ye think seà?"  "Thoo's as bad as him," quoth the farmer.  "Ye two maks yaa divvul; yan carries t' hurns an' tudder t' teàl."  The Borrowdale guide now turned the conversation upon some person in a neighbouring dale, of whom Ritson said: "All 'at he ails is 'at he connut bide condition.  It's like yan o' these young cowts 'at gans aboot i' March, low i' flesh an' hingin it heed, for ivver under yan's feet, like an aad pet geuss.  But wait a lile bit, tull ye've gan it a lock o' corn, an beàns, an' bran, an' then see what it'll du for ye.  *   *   Whenivver aa see folk at connut bide condition, aa think they're raytherly wantin' at top end o' their person.  What should be their best room is varra lile better nor a lumber-shop."  "Weel dune, Willie," said the garrulous old farmer.  "Ye're talkin' weel, aad lad!  Ye're i' girt cue this neet.  Canny Cumberlan' for ivver, ageàn the world!  Daalheàd lads for ivver an' a day!—A-men!—an' incline us to keep a good law!"

"Our Ellik likes fat bacon weel;
     An' haver-bannocks pleases Dick,
 A cowt-lword meks layle Wully fain,
     An' cabbish ne'er turns Philip sick.
 Our deam's for gurdle-keaks an' tea;
     An' Betty's aw for thick pez-keal;
 Let ilk yen fancy what they wull,
     Still mey deleyte is gud strang yell."

Cum, aa'll just hev anudder glass, an' then *** Wheer's t' bell?" "We hev ne[a bell i' t' kitchen," said Ritson; "knock o' t' te[able." "Aa've a good mind to fling, t' tengs to 't back o' t' door, t' seam as they du i' Trubbeck," replied the farmer. "But here shoo is. * * * Whisky—an' het watter? Cum, William, aad lad! t'e'll keep mo company in anudder?" "Neà mair for me, te-neet," said Ritson. "Du! Just anudder! Cum?" "Naà aa's not so varra wheel." "Well, ye knaa t' best." Then he sang again

"Deuce tek the clock, click-cleckan sea,
 Still in a body's ear,
 It tells an' tells the time's ge[an by
 When Johnny sud bin here ;
 Deuce tek the wheel, 'twill nit rin roond,—
 Nea mair to neet aa'll spin,
 But count each minute with a sigh,

"Cum, now, what d'ye say aboot yon heifer'!  It's getting leate; an, aa's off!"  "Nay, aa tell't ye Robert; aa'll nut tak a skurrick less,hev it or leave it.  There isn't a lishier beast, nor yen fuller o' promise i' a' Wastd'le.  Aa's nut sea varra keen o' partin' wi't."  "What, aa knaa what it is varra weel, an' aa've bid weel tu.  Ye've deun it nea good wi' lettin' it lig oot thooar raggy neets.  Bud, cum now, aa'll tell ye what aa'll du.  Aa'll turn ye a shilling back, an' stan' glasses."  "Nay, aa'll not budge."  "Well, then, we'll drop it.

"Th' hunt's up through the wood,
     Through the wood, through the wood;
 Th' hunt's up through the wood,"

An' aa's gannin' heám,—heifer or neà heifer."  And thus we left them going on, long after Ritson's little lad had finished his poddish and gone to bed; and stormy night had closed over Wastdale Head once more.

    When morning came the rain had sunk to fitful showers, with a steady drizzle between.  The mist was getting lighter, and though moaning winds came up the vale, the elements seemed tired of contention, and the storm was evidently abating.  The little green level at Wastdale Head was becoming more visible, but the mountains that shut it out from the world were all still concealed, except the lower part of Yewbarrow, close by the river.  We agreed to wait till noon.  My friend sat down to read whilst I wandered about stables, shippons, and bracken-bedded yards, tooting into the nooks of the outbuildings.  One corner especially interested me; it was a dusty little library of eloquent symbols—a dourless shed, with a low wooden floor above, up to which a short, rough ladder led.  The place was crammed with peat, firewood, brackens, cart gear, staves, dairy utensils, old pieces of house furniture, sacks, ropes, oars, fishing nets, alpen-stocks, scythes, and tumbled heaps of cobwebbed rustic lumber.  Everything there was a little volume written over with quaint records of lonely mountain life, and the musty air inside seemed thick with country story.  I pored over this nook with pleasure, and as there was not much of the landscape to be seen, I spent most of the forenoon in roaming about that simple, but roomy and comfortable old house.  The shrubs and bushes in the garden had got over their stormy troubles, and were now swaying quietly in the quiet wind.  About twelve, the old gentleman from Borrowdale came forth, swathed in warm wrappages, mounted his pony, and rode cannily westward through the mist, with his stout guide striding behind him.  Others of the weather-bound company began to "tak' the gate."  Among the general thaw, we also bade adieu to brave old Ritson and the "Huntsman's Inn," and melted away into the west.

    We had fifteen miles travel from Wastdale Head to the station at Drigg.  The first mile was a splashy walk, leading to the lake; after that the road was hard and good, winding pleasantly along the open northern shore of Wast Water, as if to afford every possible variety of view.  This lake is three miles and a half long, and half a mile broad.  Its depth is about forty-five fathoms.  As we went on, the sky became clearer, and the whole length of that solemn water lay still before us.  The entire opposite shore was over-frowned by the dark precipitous ridge of rock called "The Screeds," rising sheer from the lake, savage and sublime, till hovering mists bid the summits, leaving imagination to build the crags beyond, as lofty and as wild as it had power to soar and shape them.  But the shore along which we walked was a different scene.  On the left hand, the ripple of Wast Water upon its pebbled shore attended us all the way.  On the right, picturesque moorlands sloped aloft irregularly to where sterile crags were lapped in cloud.  All over these lower slopes beds of moss, heather, and fern,—one glowing vernal sunset,—interspersed with many-tinted rocks, covered the mountain side with splendid hues.  Now and then, a little silver rill ran across the road, easily stridden over; and in some places, a larger streamlet dashed beneath, in noisy glee, bridged over by the road.  As we went on, some parts of the shore were fringed with tall, thick bushes of gorse, looking freshly green after the rain; and green mounds, of all shapes, began to appear, with mossy rocks cropping out beautifully upon them.  The gloomy "Screeds" still overawe the opposite shore.  We are drawing near the foot of Wast Water.  The wind has gone down, and murmurs of quiet water are heard around.  High up among the misty crags we can hear the lonely bleatings of wandering sheep, "the plaintive spirits of the solitude."

    Much as I was pleased with this visit to Wast Water, in spite of untoward weather, every time I turned round to look back as we came away, I was more and more convinced that the most impressive way of visiting Wastdale Head is to approach it from the west.  We lingered a few minutes among the rich woods of Wastdale Hall, at the foot of the lake.  The whole route from this point down to the sea is full of fertile picturesque beauty.  After dining at the village of Strands, which is a favourite halting-place for tourists visiting Wast Water, we walked on in the evening to Drigg Station, through a country of hill and dell, wood and water, as rich and soft as the country we had left behind was sterile and sublime.  The village of Stainton Bridge, on this route, is a very charming nook.  We were in good time for the train at Drigg; and rode home to Ulverstone by the light of the moon.





THE following curious document made its first printed appearance in the columns of the Ulverstone Advertiser, in June, 1861.  The talented editor of that journal introduces it with these words,—"As the production of an eye-witness of what he describes, the effusion is valuable in a historical point of view.  The 'Lugubrious Lines,' descriptive of the ravages of the Plague of 1631, in Dalton, were originally written in Latin verse, by George Postlethwaite, parish clerk, and master of the Free School of Dalton.  They were afterwards translated into English prose, probably by himself; and the narrative now appears in the modern orthography.  From the 'Register of Baptisms, Weddings, and Burials,' belonging to the Parish Church of Dalton, we make the following extract, by way of prelude:—'In this moneth of July, 1631, did the plague begin in Dalton and Bigger.  There died in Dalton of this sickness three hundred and three score (360), and in Waney (Walney) one hundred and twenty.  It ceased about Easter followinge."  George Postlethwaite, the erudite scribe, seems to have shared in the popular superstitions of his neighbours of 230 years ago, in attributing the plague to the malice and wicked propensities of a man of the name of Lancaster, who brought the pestilence neatly folded up in a parcel of ribbons.  Here is a narrative, the inflated style of which, together with its quaintness, and the interest attaching to the subject on which it treats, must secure for it the attention of many local readers.


OUR LORD 1631.

Parish Clerk, and Master of the Free School of Dalton.
(Translated from tlie Latin).

    Immersed in lamentations, in deep groans and severe grief, I ardently wish to compose a few lines, but the sorrow of my breast impedes the undertaking.  Tears to me are torments which impair the energy of the mind; yet while a heavy torpor possesses my limbs, abundant streams flow from my weeping eyes, I stand as if affrighted by demons or monsters in the night.  When I attempt to speak, my voice is suddenly obstructed; when I attempt to write, a paralysis restrains all the powers of my hand.  Though all parts of my body are thus enfeebled with grief, yet will I write a few lines suggested by my sorrowful brain.  Ye cheering train of muses inspire these my undertakings; mingle cultivated measures of poetry in my mind; sprinkle my uninstructed forehead with the sacred waters of Helicon; and shine upon me with a benign aspect.  And you, Melpomene, who delight in tragic strains, now hasten unto me, for not only will you be an acceptable companion in my affliction, but your assistance, O hallowed muse, I crave, to sing the sudden ruin of a small ancient town.  Meanwhile you may repose with me under the expanded covert of a cool shade, and place your snow-white feet upon the tender grass, for now Phœbus has ascended above the tops of the mountains, and heat glows in his piercing rays.

    Virgil sung the untimely funerals of miserable Troy over the ashes of potent Priam and his ruined kingdom; and Ovid, the adept of love, described the depravity of the human race, while yet the world was new; but I intend to recite the death of many men who fell not by the bloody arms of thundering Mars.  I propose to relate the ruin of a small town, the houses of which devouring fire did not consume, nor the waters of the expanded ocean overwhelm its walls, but which, alas! a severe plague destroyed.

    There is at a small distance from the sea, and contiguous to the streams of a rivulet, a town called Dalton, which annually afforded sustenance to many poor people, to orphans, to children blind, and to those who were miserably lame.  Here various artificers, namely, weavers, smiths, tailors, carpenters, shoemakers, tanners, and respectable tradesmen, together with their assistants, obtained their livelihood and apparel.  There also lived millers, maltsters, glovers, vendors of ale and wine, mantuamakers, butchers, wool-spinners, many herdsmen and husbandmen, together with people of other occupations, too tedious to notice.

    In the principal part of the town, the church is situated near a small castle, upon an elevated rock of hard flint, [It contains flint] from whence the bells dispense a clear sound to a remote distance.  Six hundred and twelve inhabitants, of different ages, attended the church, when the divine pastor, who was the guardian of his Christian people, diligently taught the Word of God.

    But now confide in what I say; the subject is not of small importance, therefore listen attentively to my artless strains.  And although I, unhappy person, could not describe the sorrowful events of the time which grievously afflict my heart, were my powers of speech increased two hundred fold; yet, nevertheless, I will begin.  I mean not to desist from my proposal.

    In this town, sorrow with tears, lamentations and deep sighs began with the dire funerals of many of the inhabitants.  A miserable, accursed, abandoned, vile fugitive, named Lancaster, with his wife, came down from the superb city of London, bearing his own bottles of death, enclosed amongst garments and precious jewels, which were laid up, as common report said, and the event verified, upon the death of the people, to destroy many of the living.  These two persons brought in their baggage deadly poisons—a Tartarean plague—the sharp darts of cruel death.  They were inhuman visitants to the neighbours, enemies and malignant lodgers to their entertainers.  O, Jupiter, I wish that you, with dire thunder, had sent those noxious serpents to the rapid streams of Phlegethon, when first they approached our walls.

    When I consult the learned volumes of the poets, I find that the deceitful Grecians once sent a wooden horse into Troy, replete with brave soldiers; that upon its arrival, "some of the citizens wondered at the stupendous size of the horse, and the venerable Tymocites first advised it might be dragged within the walls and lodged within the town; but Capys and all whose sentiments were the result of sounder judgment, strenuously urged either to throw this insiduous engine of the Greeks and their suspected oblation into the sea; or, by applying flames to consume it to ashes; or, at least, to lay open and ransack the recesses of the hollow womb.  Meanwhile, the fickle populace were divided into opposite inclinations, upon which, Laocoon, burning with indignation, hastened down from the top of the citadel, and while afar off, exclaimed, O wretched countrymen, what desperate infatuation possesses you?  Do you believe the enemy gone: Or think you any gifts of the Greeks can be free from deceit?  Is it thus you are acquainted with Ulysses?  Either the Greeks lie concealed within this wood, or it is an engine framed against our walls." [Virgil, Æn., Liber. II.]  Yet all prepared immediately to scale the walls, the fatal engine which afterwards brought dire funerals to the miserable Trojans, and ruin to the city, mounted the battlements filled with armed men, and the glory of Troy was suddenly destroyed.

    In like manner, believe me, after the aforesaid vulture came to our town with his partner of the evil and their vile luggage, Arthur Richardson, being much impressed with trembling fear, said to many people we shall be infected immediately with a violent plague, and I will forfeit my life upon the cross if this fiery pestilence rage not many months amongst us, as we have seen before.  But yet notwithstanding this precaution we, miserable people gave a kind reception to those cruel enemies, who were placed in the principal part of the town.

    Presently the great power of the secret infection, included in the garments, burst out in a furious plague, the contagious fire of which blazed through the whole town, and consumed the mortal curbs.  And as the pruner of trees gives many wounds to the boughs with his hard axe, and leaves the naked trunk, so, alas! did the stranger Lancaster give severe wounds to us, then commenced physician, and administered poison.

    Thus was the once cheerful town of Dalton oppressed with a grievous pestilence, and many inhabitants were its victims.  (Alas! "What cruel Myrmidon, or Dolopian, or who of hardened Ulysses' band, could in the very relation of such woes refrain from tears?" [Virgil, Æn., Liber. II., 1. 6.])  Many, with their wives and children, taking their provisions, forsook their houses.  The Rev. R. Tomlinson, the minister, also fled in fear, and left the holy threshold of the church; and afterwards George Postlethwaite, the parish clerk, departed with hasty steps in the calm night.  "We left the bounds of our country and our pleasant fields.  We fled our country," [Virgil, Ecl. I.] lest the cruel fury should seize us.  Every one hastened away protected by his faithful friend (the minister), and turned his back on the infected town.  Many with straw and small leafy branches of trees constructed humble cabins, in which were placed several infected persons, who might return occasionally to their own houses.  But the magisterial authority allowed a few others, who were never affected by the disease, to dwell in the adjacent villages.  Suddenly the plague raged with flaming fury, and ultimate darkness closed very many eyes.  Then all the inhabitants began to quake with cold fear; they were astonished, and chilling horror raised their pendant hair, for the plague raged everywhere in the town, and thence it was unlawful, nay even impracticable, for any person to depart, because the bridges and the roads were attended by sentinels, armed with clubs, both night and day.

    The pestiferous Lancaster and his associate Noble, two wicked homicides, who feared not death, nor regarded the Deity, committed the dead bodies to the grave at the close of the evening.  In performing this office, they placed the corpse upon a ladder, then proceeded hastily to the sepulchre, and there presumed to throw the dead body of a dear friend into the grave, as the lifeless trunk of a mariner is often cast into the sea, for the doors of the church were closed, and the funeral bells were silent.  Many people closed their own doors, and sorrowfully wandered alone through the country, over the fruitful plains.  Boys durst not go with their mothers, and fathers refused to associate with their children.  Here the master was odious to the men-servants, and the mistress to the maid-servants.  Pale death gnawing their breasts, they drooped their heads and wandered in solitary places, odious and dangerous to all; their companions and dear friends avoided these miserable people like bloody monsters.

    Sixty persons were sent to the sepulchre in eight days, nine of whom died in one night.  A mournful clamour ascended to the stars; doleful complaints both night and day resounded through the liquid sky, with a continual repetition of sighs, until at last the town was confused with the lamentations of the dying.  For "as when a flame is driven by the furious south winds upon the standing corn, or as a torrent impetuously bursting from a mountain river desolates the fields, desolates the rich crops of corn, and all the labours of the ox, and precipitately carries away whole woods" [Virgil, Æn., L. II., 1. 304.] and banks of rivers, so did the plague destroy a great number of people.  "Woe is me!" exclaimed the aged matron, "the cruel fury has seized my husband."  And the father, with tearful eyes, said, "Ah, alas! death possesses all my children, now there is no hope of living."  Indeed, then, the safety of the infected was to entertain no hope of safety. [Virgil, Æn., L. II., 1. 354.]  Who can recite the tears, the lamentations and the sorrows of this time?  My ability is insufficient.

    To many the pestiferous Lancaster gave a kind of black medicine, the efficacy of which suddenly destroyed the memory and understanding of the infected, for a bloody plasma infuriated their minds, and, rendering them delirious, they beat out their brains against door-posts and walls, and perished ignominiously.  Others he ordered to drink potations mingled with blood, by which means they were bereft of their senses and the whole use of their reason.  What demon could have invented anything more cruel than this?  The machination is deep to many.

    This disease destroyed the rich, the brave, the young, the needy, fathers and mothers, masters and servants.  Neither blooming youth, excelling in invincible strength, nor the sagacious policy of the aged, neither medical knowledge, nor suppliant entreaties, nor the golden donations of the wealthy, could arrest this terrible plague, which entered many houses in the calm night, extirpated the human race in a few days, and left dire death the sole occupier of the empty apartments.  The inhabitants poured out tears, they stretched their hands towards heaven, and groaned out sorrowful complaints.  Having taken off their clothes when the celestial orb of day begun to crimson the ocean, they prepared to go to bed, but did not expect to live many hours, so great was the violence of the disease.  The pleasant plains, in consequence of this grievous calamity, continually resounded with female lamentations.

    At length the bells of the church began to dispense their sounds, and the people assembled in mournful array, to perform the funeral rites with pious hymns over the bodies of their dear friends in the lowly tomb.  And as the impetuous, furious whirlwinds in autumn disturb the boughs of trees, and disperse the leaves upon the grass, so did men fall by the plague, and filled the poli-candron (i. e., church-yard).

    The neighbouring people gave many necessaries of life to the sorrowful townsmen, and to those miserable persons inclosed in the gulph of death.  The renowned John Preston, Esq., worthy of eternal honour—whom may the celestial powers always preserve—took care to distribute milk, bread, and money to the needy.  This pious gentleman gave many presents to the little ones, and took care that the rapid infection of the plague should not advance and spread abroad in other small towns, for which attention, there is no doubt, O Preston, but Almighty God will give you rewards worthy your great merits.  The just man will never fail in a recompense.  You, too, O Kirkby, the faithful guardian and greatest comfort of your fallen country, you have been the fortress of the needy; you have given upright laws and ordinances; you have wisely placed strong restraints upon the malignant, and firm confidence in the good and those immersed in chilling fear.  Your glory, renowned father of your country, ascends to the skies; and while a series of many years shall rehearse your name, may posterity always celebrate your praise.  "Whilst I have any remembrance of myself, while I have a soul to animate these limbs," [Virgil, Æn., L. IV., 1. 336.] my tongue shall always proclaim your excellent commendations.  The miserable townsmen, infested by the cruel plague, declare that they will bestow on your merits honours worthy of Meconas; the task, however, transcends the highest effort of my mortal brain, and exceeds the utmost energy of my mind.  The fixed brass above the doors shall therefore preserve the memory of the brave General, whose honour shall also be inscribed in lasting marble.

    After the violence of the plague had increased more grievously, it blazed with immense flames in respectable houses.  Then the prudent justice of the peace cast the pestiferous Lancaster, and Noble, his associate in the evil, into dark prison, where the depopulators of our country lived, as it were, in the gulph of death, and received all the light they enjoyed through the chinks of the door.  But they deserved a punishment more grievous than this—they ought to have been cast into the rapid streams of the vast Phlegethon, unless the sorrowful complaints manifested through all cities of the kingdom, and to our ears slander the men, and surviving fame belies our town.  What does that cruel bird deserve, which, with its sharp bill and crooked talons, tears its own brood to bloody pieces?  Lo! birds are taught by instinct to defend their mates with all their might, they are seldom seen to contend in battle, nor will they even wound the side of a kindred companion,—so great is the concord of the feathered tribe.  Lo! hungry tigers, which assemble with one another in long troops upon the mountains, wage not war with themselves, but lie down peaceably together amongst the cold rocks.  Even this ferocious wild beast is a sociable friend to his own species.  But this pestiferous, this false, this execrable barbarous, this abandoned, cruel, atrocious outlaw, Lancaster, presumed to administer dire infection to many, and his vile hands compounded poisons which suddenly penetrated the system, and destroyed the infected patient.  This craver of plunder and spoil, for a long time drew the fickle vulgar into his false opinion, by declaring openly, believe me, that the disease is not to be feared; that those whom Almighty God has marked with the image of death will alone tread the paths of dissolution.  Thus the commonality, blinded by false assurances, increased the plague by visiting their friends.  Wicked Lancaster, thou didst study to excite the violence of the disease amongst thy neighbours, until Kirkby, one of his Majesty's justices of the peace, shut thee up in prison.  Thou, O friend of death, didst lead very many people to invincible slaughter.  Thy assiduity loaded the boat of Charon.  What demon prompted thee to devise such horrible deeds?  Thou hast been more cruel than Hyrcanian tigers, worse than the ferocious panther, and more savage than the Lernoan hydra.

    The consuming plague raged seven months in this town, with acute flames more fervent than the Sicilian Ætna, and, in this space of time, did cruel death devour three hundred and sixty inhabitants.  I am witness to a great many burials.

    The Almighty God being angry at our wicked lives sent this severe punishment as the equivalent of our offences; a punishment, nevertheless, just, if we deserved not a greater, therefore we must acknowledge that our sufferings were comparatively in the least degree.  Seeing we are all deserving of bitter chastisement because of our egregious offences.  But had the Supreme Ruler of Heaven and Earth then taken his just vengeance of us, oppressed as we were with the load of our iniquities, immersed in the labyrinth of sin, and sinking under a multitude of errors, our bodies and souls had long since entered the gates of death.  But Almighty God, merciful, forgiving, and just, to whom let us render all honour and praise, with heart, with pious voice, and with all bodily might and power, instantly led us miserable sinners from horrible death, and withdrew his arms from our neighbours.  The destructive plague having ceased, the church, together with the whole town, were purified with frankincense and sulphur.  The terrible disease terminated by the Divine command.  And may God grant that the like plague may never more oppress our town, or disturb our walls.

    But who can enumerate the complaints of this fatal period?  Who can express the groans and lamentations?  Or who knows truly how to write lugubrious narratives of these in verse.  Those whom lately I saw remarkable for firm strength and health, now, even now, repose in the bosom of the earth.  Those whom yesterday I saw endure hard labour, to-day were carried by neighbours to their lowly tombs.  Thirty-two men, together with their wives, are bereft of their fostering life.  Twenty-two widows are reported to be living, the husbands of whom died, and sixteen men whose wives cold death possesses.  This is lamentable to relate.  Many parents are bereft of their dear children, and, at the same time, many children of their parents.  The sorrowful girls, whose fathers are dead, weep and pierce the celestial regions with their lamentations.  "Such is the howling as when a bull has fled wounded from the altar, and has eluded with his neck the erring axe." [Virgil, Æn., Liber II. 1. 223 et 224.]

    After many sorrowful funerals and the destruction of the town, the people purified the houses, as I have previously mentioned, with frankincense, bitumen, myrrh, fictitious powder, and sulphur, and at the same time burnt their garments and infected bedding (pannis), and all the inhabitants gave solemn assurances upon receiving the anniversary sacrament to surrender to the purifyers (tersoribus), all goods contained in their houses, without fraud or deceit, nor to preserve anything stored up in secrecy; because by clandestinely withholding infected garments, they might afterwards greatly endanger the town.  But yet (I shudder even at the relation of the circumstances) the wicked perjurer Noble, a person false and belying the name, and his wife, had privately concealed in a granary amongst heaps of corn, in beds and other places which were opened in their apartments, rugs (tegetes) and many sheets (lintea), garments, gowns, shirts (suppera), webs (telas), and several other articles privately collected in the time of the plague.  What could these plunderers of our country do with these infected garments, uncleansed of their black poison?  O, malignant wretches, did ye preserve them for new nourishments of the dire pestilence and a future disease.  What deceitful demon could devise more atrocioua deeds?  What Circe give more grievous vitriolated poison?  What Styx, what Phlegethon, be more terrible, or which Erinnys a greater Fury?

    The subtle Ulysses subverted the splendid walls of Troy by deceit, and, in hostile flames, destroyed the name of potent Priam.  Even so the introducer of the plague and his wicked companions laid waste our town in which many young men, the stately column of the place, were snatched away from the public by this insatiable disease.  It pleased these cruel pests to extirpate mortals, and they even rejoiced to thrust the human race from off the earth, that they might obtain the spoil, and enrich themselves by deceit and theft, the law being silent.  This infernal Tartarean race, these dire furies did these things once, as I have said already, and then endeavoured a second time to light up the warm flames with the embers; in other words they preserved the memorials of the disease, and endeavoured to renew the relics of the last into a second plague; for mischief was concealed in their hearts; a knotted chain surrounded their unfeeling breasts; hard brass and adament encased their hearts; their foolish brains were occupied by bloody studies.  An infernal demon must have taught you, ye malignant ravishers of our country, to glut yourselves with paternal blood; to tear the new-formed skin from off the ribs of your friends; to prepare many bodies for the savage bier (fero pheretro) almost in a few hours, and to remove many innocent people from the public.  It was not sufficient mischief for the Fury and the servants of the black demon to send three hundred and sixty innocent people at once to the grave, their lives being crimeless and all of them true worshippers of the Deity.  But did ye not a second time endeavour to renew the fatal disease?  By preserving in darkness the cruel seeds of the plague, namely, gowns and other articles replete with bloody putrefaction, and clothes (exuvias) sprinkled with deadly poison.  I complain of nothing but the truth; what I write is known to all the world.  Then tell me, O reader, were not these darts of death, deposited in a cruel and laborious quiver (immani seduloque pharetro) (I shudder at the thought) prepared for the destruction of men?  Whoever you are, now weigh these circumstances maturely, and meditate with me upon this cruel affair from the beginning.  If I am wrong correct me; such is my opinion.  I do not speak fictions, but what good authority brought to my ears.  This machination is known to many.

    As soon as this cruel affair was known to the joyful townsmen and the magistrates (as I think the celestial powers ordained it), a new tremor seized their frail limbs.  On every side they wept and beat their breasts.—Kirkby, Esq., the monuments of whose praise will endure as long as the stars enlighten the earth by night, while Almighty Jove rules the high Olympus, while Atlas supports the world, and Pluto reigns in darkness, apprehended those wicked people by warrant and chained them in prison, while Noble and his wife were likewise shut up in gloomy confinement.  What punishment did they not deserve?  They placed firebrands with their own wicked hands to the walls, and, as it is reported, raised the dire flames in the beginning with much fuel.

    Let the counsellor, the learned judge, and the skilful lawyer, weigh with just discretion, and now let us all in due order consider every circumstance with acute penetration (ingenius acutis).  For the first fury of the plague being almost extinguished, these wicked people dared to preserve the warm embers in the ashes, the law forbidding, and humanity opposing the wickedness.  O, I wish that I could have seen these cruel fiends suffering the punishments of the cross, with a halter knotted round their vile necks! for such they deserved, if I am not mistaken.

    However, if the law does not choose to chastise those wicked people with some deadly punishments, yet let them undergo exile, nor let them inhabit our houses, nor come under our roofs, nor permit them to join us, who are afraid of them as associates.  Ye magnanimous defenders of the peace and salubrious law, forbid them to approach our walls, because, whilst they tarry amongst us, there will never be any firm confidence in us, who are disquieted; nor will firm hope remain while we behold these wicked despoilers of our country living in it.  For we all believe (may God pardon our errors if we judge falsely) the inhabitants (incolœ), and likewise the neighbours who remained uninfected (intactie) by the destructive plague, the circumstances being duly arranged, that these tigers intentionally brought the cruel disease in bundles of rushes and jewels (fascibus niscis gemnisque), the Omnipotent Lord of Heaven not opposing the calamities begun, and the deep machination.

    Thus the just Lord of heaven had ordained.  Our impious course of life was the cause of the grievous disease, because our sins roused the anger of Almighty God.  We had many times offended him, therefore he afflicted us with punishments and several plagues.  Yet his goodness did not leave us, miserable sinners, afflicted with perpetual misery, but saved our souls from hell, withdrew his hand, and now extends his great comfort to us.  All ye nations praise his divine decrees.  What shall we give to a Lord so merciful and kind?  What must we offer up to Him who saved us from perdition?  Let us, therefore, receive as is mete, the full cup of health, and let us invoke His holy name with a triumphant voice, whilst we worship him with heart and mouth.

    Lancaster and his wife do not now molest our walls, they lately departed (all glory be to God).  But the pestifer did not go unrevenged by the hands of the women, who, having vigilantly watched the gates and roads, assaulted him with stones, which severely wounded his head, and then contended with crooked staves.  To those by whom the wounds were inflicted (but not without a cause), the false abandoned Lancaster pretended be was killed, and pretended not to inspire the air; for he, cunning rascal, laid upon the ground as if he were dead, and thus the wicked man finally evaded the vengeance of the women and fled, which was pleasant, and gave great joy to all.

    Great thanks be to God, now the injurious plague has ceased, and pleasant health is heard in the cheerful houses.  Let us all, henceforth, with pure hearts and faithful minds, observe and live according to the laws of God.  Let us cast off the load of our sins, and the great burden of our iniquities, together with the malignant trammels of injustice.

    Now let us shake the cruel yoke from our necks, and depart from the servitude of the atrocious demon, for yet a little while and our appointed times will come.  Let us undergo the pleasant yoke of Christ our Saviour; from whence the greatest joys of perpetual safety, and from this sacred fountain new rivers flow.

    Upon this stable rock let us build our firm hopes, and the force of the stormy tempest cannot move us.  Finally, let us worship our Lord God, who was the Creator of heaven and earth, and marked the earth with certain bounds, in spirit and in truth, and then, without doubt, we shall live in peace; nor will severe plagues, nor other maladies, hereafter oppress our town.  But Almighty God will stretch out his glorious right hand to us languishing by the way, and preserve us from horrible danger.

    But now it is time to lower the sails from the mast.  I have swept the expanded ocean with water-sounding oars.  What I proposed, I have accomplished; reader, pardon my many errors, my ability for writing is but small. "It is now time to stop the rivers—the meadows have drunk enough." [Virgil, Ecl. III., 1. 111.]

    In the year 1630, there were buried of the Plague in London, 1317 persons; 274 were buried in 1631, and only 8 in 1632. [See 'Maitland's Observations concerning the Population of London, in the Philosophical Transactions.' Vol. XL., No. 450, p. 407.]



IN Mr. John Linton's "Hand Book of the West Cumberland Railways," there are two versions given of the tradition of "The Horn of Egremont Castle."  The following is the one which connects that tradition with the ancient lords of Millom:—

    "One of the lords of Egremont was taken prisoner in the holy Wars, and gave his brother Hubert for surety, promising to ransom him by a certain time.  His promise not having been fulfilled, the Pagans hanged up their luckless captive by his hair; but the Paynim's daughter cut him down with her dagger, and had him attended and set at liberty.  Hubert took home with him the hatterell of his hair and his bugle-horn, and, arriving at Egremont, blew the horn, and obtained admittance to the castle, much to the surprise of the guilty Baron, who abandoned all company, and would not look on his brother till he had been pacified by their friends.  The Baron afterwards gave his brother the lordship of Millom, which, until then, formed part of the barony of Egremont; and the first Lords of Millom had for their arms the horn and the hatterell."



    The following extracts are partly epitomised from Wordsworth's notes to his "Sonnets to the River Duddon," which contain a beautiful memoir of this remarkable man, who is still affectionately remembered in the secluded dales of the Lake Country, by the name of "Wonderful Walker:"—

    "In the year 1709, Robert Walker was born at Under-Crag, in Seathwaite; he was the youngest of twelve children.  His eldest brother, who inherited the small family estate, died at Under-Crag, aged ninety-four."  Robert was "a child of delicate frame and tender health," and therefore it was thought best to "breed him a scholar."  At that time school-houses were rare in these dales; "the children being taught to read and write in the chapel: and in the same consecrated building where he afterwards officiated for so many years, both as preacher and schoolmaster, he himself received the rudiments of his education."  "In his youth he became schoolmaster at Loweswater, not being called upon, probably, in that situation, to teach more than reading, writing, and arithmetic.  But, by the assistance of a 'gentleman' in the neighbourhood " (supposed to be the Rev. H. Forest, at that time curate of Loweswater), "he acquired, at leisure hours, a knowledge of the classics, and became qualified for taking holy orders.  Upon his ordination, he had the offer of two curacies; the one, Torver, in the vale of Coniston; the other, Seathwaite, in his native vale.  The value of each was the same, viz., five pounds per annum.  But the cure of Seathwaite having a cottage attached to it, as he wished to marry, he chose it in preference."  The person of his choice was a young domestic servant "of serious and modest deportment," who, by frugality, had saved a small sum of money, with which they began housekeeping.  In 1735 or 1736, he entered upon his curacy; and, nineteen years afterwards, his situation is thus described in some letters to be found in the Annual Register for 1760, from which the following is extracted:—

                                                   "To MR.――                                                      

ONISTON, July 26th. 1754. "

    "I was the other day upon a party of pleasure about five or six miles from this place, where I met with a very striking object, and of a nature not very common.  Going into a clergyman's house (of whom I had frequently heard), I found him sitting at the head of a long square table, such as is commonly used in this country by the lower class of people, dressed in a coarse blue frock, trimmed with black horn buttons; a checked shirt, a leathern strap about his neck for a stock, a coarse apron, and a pair of great wooden-soled shoes, plated with iron to preserve them (what we call clogs in these parts), with a child upon his knee, eating his breakfast, his wife, and the remainder of his children, were some of them employed in waiting upon each other, the rest in teazing and spinning wool, at which trade he is a great proficient; and moreover, when it is made ready for sale, will lay it by sixteen or thirty-two pounds weight upon his back, and on foot, seven or eight miles, will carry it to the market, even in the depth of winter.  I was not much surprised at all this, as you may possibly be, having heard a great deal of it related before.  But I must confess myself astonished with the alacrity and the good humour that appeared both in the clergyman and his wife, and more so at the sense and ingenuity of the clergyman himself."

    Then follows a letter from another person, dated 1755, from which an extract shall-be given.

    "By his frugality and good management, he keeps the wolf from the door, as we say; and if he advances a little in the world, it is owing more to his own care than to anything else he has to rely upon.  I don't find his inclination is running after further preferment.  He is settled among the people that are happy among themselves; and lives in the greatest unanimity and friendship with them: and, I believe, the minister and people are exceedingly satisfied with each other; and indeed how should they be dissatisfied, when they have a person of so much worth and probity for their pastor? a man, who, for his candour and meekness, his sober, chaste, and virtuous conversation, his soundness in principle and practice, is an ornament to his profession and an honour to the country he is in; and bear with me if I say, the plainness of his dress, the sanctity of his manners, the simplicity of his doctrine, and the vehemence of his expression, have a sort of resemblance to the pure practice of primitive Christianity."

    The next extract is contained in a letter from himself to a friend of his, at Lancaster.  It is to be found in the same place as the preceding one.  Speaking of a letter received from his friend, he says:—

    "I should have returned an immediate answer, but the hand of Providence, then laying heavy upon an amiable pledge of conjugal endearment, hath since taken from me a promising girl, which the disconsolate mother too pensively laments the loss of; though we have yet eight living, all healthful, hopeful children, whose names and ages are as follows:—Zaccheus, aged almost eighteen years; Elizabeth, sixteen years and ten months; Mary, fifteen; Moses, thirteen years and three months; Sarah, ten years and three months; Mabel, eight years and three months; William Tyson, three years and eight months; and Anna Esther, one year and three months; besides Anne, who died two years and six months ago, and was then aged between nine and ten; and Eleanor, who died the 23d inst., January, aged six years and ten months.  Zaccheus, the eldest child, is now learning the trade of tanner, and has two years and a half of his apprenticeship to serve.  The annual income of my chapel at present, as near as I can compute it, may amount to about £17, of which is paid in cash, viz., £5 from the bounty of Queen Anne, and £5 from WP, Esq. of P, out of the annual rents, he being lord of the manor, and £3 from the several inhabitants of L, settled upon the tenements as a rent-charge; the house and gardens I value at £4 yearly, and not worth more; and I believe the surplice fees and voluntary contributions, one year with another, may be worth £3; but as the inhabitants are few in number, and the fees very low, this last-mentioned sum consists merely in free-will offerings.

    "I am situated greatly to my satisfaction with regard to the conduct and behaviour of my auditory, who not only live in the happy ignorance of the follies and vices of the age, but in mutual peace and good-will with one another, and are seemingly (I hope really too) sincere Christians.      *            *           *        I got to the value of £40 for my wife's fortune, but had no real estate of my own, being the youngest son of twelve children, born of obscure parents; and, though my income has been but small, and my family large, yet, by a providential blessing upon my own diligent endeavours, the kindness of friends, and a cheap country to live in, we have always had the necessaries of life."

    About the time when this letter was written, the Bishop of Chester recommended the scheme of joining the curacy of Ulpha to the contiguous one of Seathwaite, and the nomination was offered to Mr. Walker.  By this scheme his income would he augmented, and the usual duties divided between the two places.  With respect to this offer, he says in a letter to the Bishop, "it might be disagreeable to my auditory at Seathwaite, as they have been always accustomed to double duty, and the inhabitants of Ulpha despair of being able to support a schoolmaster who is not curate there also, which suppresses all thoughts in me of serving them both."  In a second letter to the Bishop, on the same subject, he says, "My lord,—I am exceedingly obliged on account of the Ulpha affair; if that curacy should lapse into your Lordship's hands, I would beg leave rather to decline than embrace it; for the chapels of Seathwaite and Ulpha, annexed together, would be apt to cause a general discontent among the inhabitants of both places, by either thinking themselves slighted, being only served alternately, or neglected in the duty, or attributing it to covetousness in me; all which occasions of murmuring I would willingly avoid:" and in concluding his former letter, he expresses a similar sentiment upon the same occasion, "desiring if it be possible, however, as much as in me lieth, to live peaceably with all men."  Speaking of this passage in Mr. Walker's life, Wordsworth says, "Scanty as was his income, the frequent offer of much better benefices could not tempt Mr. W. to quit a situation where he had been so long happy, with a consciousness of being useful."

    This homely, pure-hearted, old country parson, with all his frugal thrift, devoted no small share of what he saved from such humble resources, to the liberal education of his numerous family; and he was, also, "even munificent in hospitality as a parish priest."  "Every Sunday were served, upon the long table at which he has been described sitting with a child upon his knee, messes of broth, for the refreshment of those of his congregation who came from a distance, and usually took their seats as parts of his own household.  It seems scarcely possible that this custom could have commenced before the augmentation of his cure; and what would to many have been a high price of self-denial, was paid, by the pastor and his family, for this gratification; as the treat could only be provided by dressing at one time the whole, perhaps, of their weekly allowance of fresh animal food; consequently, for a succession of days, the table was covered with cold victuals only.

    "He loved old customs and old usages, and in some instances stuck to them to his own loss; for, having had a sum of money lodged in the hands of a neighbouring tradesman, when long course of time had raised the rate of interest, and more was offered, he refused to accept it; an act not difficult to one, who, while he was drawing seventeen pounds a-year from his curacy, declined, as we have seen, to add the profits of another small benefice to his own, lest he should be suspected of cupidity.  From this vice he was utterly free; he made no charge for teaching his school; such as could afford to pay gave him what they pleased.  When very young, having kept a diary of his expenses, however trifling, the large amount at the end of the year surprised him, and from that time the rule of his life was to be economical, not avaricious.  At his decease he left behind him no less a sum than £2000; and such a sense of his various excellences was prevalent in the country, that the epithet of WONDERFUL is to this day attached to his name.

    "There is in the above sketch something so extraordinary as to require further explanatory details: and to begin with his industry, eight hours in each day, during five days in the week, and half of Saturday, except when the labours of husbandry were urgent, he was occupied in teaching.  His seat was within the rails of the altar; the communion table was his desk, and, like Shenstone's schoolmistress, the master employed himself at the spinning-wheel, while the children were repeating their lessons by his side.  Every evening after school hours, if not more profitably engaged, he continued the same kind of labour, exchanging, for the benefit of exercise, the small wheel at which he had sate for the large one on which wool is spun, the spinner stepping to and fro.  Thus was the wheel constantly in readiness to prevent the waste of a moment's time.  Nor was his industry with the pen, when occasion called for it, less eager.  Intrusted with extensive management of public and private affairs, he acted, in his rustic neighbourhood, as scrivener, writing out petitions, deeds of conveyance, wills, covenants, etc., with pecuniary gain to himself, and to the great benefit of his employers.  These labours (at all times considerable), at one period of the year, viz., between Christmas and Candlemas, when money transactions are settled in this country, were often so intense, that he passed great part of the night, and sometimes whole nights, at his desk.  His garden also was tilled by his own hand; he had a right of pasturage upon the mountains for a few sheep and a couple of cows, which required his attendance; with this pastoral occupation he joined the labours of husbandry upon a small scale, renting two or three acres in addition to his own, less than one acre of glebe; and the humblest drudgery which the cultivation of these fields required was performed by himself.

    "He also assisted his neighbours in hay-making and shearing their flocks, and in the performance of the latter service he was eminently dexterous.  They, in their turn, complimented him with the present of a hay-cock or a fleece; less as a recompense for this particular service than as a general acknowledgment.  The Sabbath was in a strict sense kept holy, the Sunday evenings being devoted to reading the Scripture and family prayer.  The principal festivals appointed by the church were also duly observed; but through every other day in the week, through every week in the year, he was incessantly occupied in work of hand or mind; not allowing a moment for recreation, except upon a Saturday afternoon, when he indulged himself with a newspaper, or sometimes with a magazine.  The frugality and temperance established in his house were as admirable as the industry.  Nothing to which the name of luxury could be given was there known; in the latter part of his life, indeed, when tea had been brought into almost general use, it was provided for visitors, and for such of his own family as returned occasionally to his roof, and had been accustomed to this refreshment elsewhere; but neither he nor his wife ever partook of it.  The raiment worn by his family was comely and decent, but as simple as their diet; the homespun materials were made up into apparel by their own hands.  At the time of the decease of this thrifty pair, their cottage contained a large store of webs of woollen and linen cloth, woven from thread of their own spinning; and it is remarkable that the pew in the chapel in which the family used to sit, remains neatly lined with woollen cloth spun by the pastor's own hands.  It is the only pew in the chapel so distinguished; and I know of no other instance of his conformity to the delicate accommodations of modern times.  The fuel of the house, like that of their neighbours, consisted of peat, procured from the mosses by their own labour.  The lights by which, in the winter evenings, their work was performed, were of their own manufacture, such as still continue to be used in these cottages; they are made of the pith of rushes dipped in any unctuous substance that the house affords.  White candles, as tallow candles are here called, were reserved to honour the Christmas festivals, and were perhaps produced on no other occasions.  Once a month, during the proper season, a sheep was drawn from their small mountain flock, and killed for the use of the family; and a cow, towards the close of the year, was salted and dried for winter provision; the hide was tanned to furnish them with shoes.  By these various resources, this venerable clergyman reared a numerous family, not only preserving them, as he affectingly says, 'from wanting the necessaries of life;' but affording them an unstinted education, and the means of raising themselves in society.  In this they were eminently assisted by the effects of their father's example, his precepts and injunctions; he was aware that truth-speaking, as a moral virtue, is best secured by inculcating attention to accuracy of report even on trivial occasions; and so rigid were the rules of honesty by which he endeavoured to bring up his family, that if one of them had chanced to find in the lanes or fields anything of the least use or value, without being able to ascertain to whom it belonged, he always insisted upon the child's carrying it back to the place from which it had been brought."

    Speaking of the seemingly unfavourable circumstances in which Mr. Walker lived for the cultivation of the mind and the display of its graces, Wordsworth says:—"But, in this extraordinary man, things in their nature adverse were reconciled.  His conversation was remarkable, not only for being chaste and pure, but for the degree in which it was fervent and eloquent; his written style was correct, simple, and animated, nor did his affections suffer more than his intellect; he was tenderly alive to all the duties of his pastoral office; the poor and needy 'he never sent empty away,'—the stranger was fed and refreshed in passing that unfrequented vale—the sick were visited; and the feelings of humanity found exercise among the distresses and embarrassments in the worldly estate of his neighbours, with which his talents for business made him acquainted; and the disinterestedness, impartiality, and uprightness which he maintained in the management of all affairs confided to him, were virtues seldom separated in his own conscience from religious obligation.

    "The afternoon service in the chapel was less numerously attended than that in the morning, but by a more serious auditory; the lesson from the New Testament, on those occasions, was accompanied by Burkitt's Commentaries.  These lessons he read with impassioned emphasis, frequently drawing tears from his hearers, and leaving a lasting impression upon their minds.  His devotional feelings and the powers of his own mind were further exercised, along with those of his family, in perusing the Scriptures: not only on the Sunday evening, but on every other evening, while the rest of the household were at work, some one of the children, and in her turn the servant, for the sake of practice in reading, or for instruction, read the Bible aloud; and in this manner the whole was repeatedly gone through.  That no common importance was attached to the observance of religious ordinances by his family, appears from the following memorandum by one of his descendants, which I am tempted to insert at length, as it is characteristic and somewhat curious.  'There is a small chapel in the county palatine of Lancaster, where a certain clergyman has regularly officiated above sixty years, and a few months ago administered the sacrament of the Lord's supper in the same, to a decent number of devout communicants.  After the clergyman had received himself, the first company out of the assembly who approached the altar and kneeled down to be partakers of the sacred elements, consisted of the parson's wife—to whom he had been married upwards of sixty years—one son and his wife; four daughters, each with her husband; whose ages, all added together, amount to above 714 years.  The several and respective distances from the place of each of their abodes, to the chapel where they all communicated, will measure more than 1000 English miles.'

    "It would be unpardonable to omit that, in the maintenance of his virtues, he received due support from the partner of his long life.  She was equally strict in attendance to her share of their joint cares, nor less diligent in her appropriate occupations.  A person who had been some time their servant in the latter part of their lives, concluded the panegyric of her mistress, by saying to me, 'She was no less excellent than her husband; she was good to the poor; she was good to everything!'  He survived a short time this virtuous companion.  When she died, he ordered that her body should be borne to the grave by three of her daughters and one grand-daughter; and when the corpse was lifted from the threshold, he insisted upon lending his aid, and feeling about (for he was then almost blind), took hold of a napkin fixed to the coffin; and, as a bearer of the body, entered the chapel, a few steps from the lowly parsonage.

    "We have been dwelling upon images of peace in the moral world, that have brought us again to the quiet enclosure of consecrated ground, in which this venerable pair lie interred.  The sounding brook that rolls close by the churchyard, without disturbing feeling or meditation, is now unfortunately laid bare; but not long ago it participated, with the chapel, the shade of some stately ash-trees, which will not spring again.  While the spectator, from this spot, is looking round upon the girdle of stony mountains that encompasses the vale—masses of rock, out of which monuments for all men that ever existed might have been hewn—it would surprise him to be told, as with truth he might be, that the plain blue slab dedicated to the memory of this aged pair, is a production of a quarry in North Wales.  It was sent, as a mark of respect, by one of their descendants, from the vale of Festiniog, a region almost as beautiful as that in which it now lies!"

    The following extracts are from a paper in the Christian Remembrancer, October 1819.  Mr. Wordsworth says of this paper;—It bears an assumed signature, but is known to be the work of the Rev. Robert Bamford, Vicar of Bishopton, in the county of Durham; a great-grandson of Mr. Walker, whose worth it commemorates, by a record not the less valuable for being written in very early youth:—

    "His house was a nursery of virtue.  All the inmates were industrious, and cleanly, and happy.  Sobriety, neatness, quietness, characterised the whole family.  No railings, no idleness, no indulgence of passion were permitted.  Every child, however young, had its appointed engagements; every hand was busy.  Knitting, spinning, reading, writing, mending clothes, making shoes, were by the different children constantly performing.  The father himself, sitting amongst them, and guiding their thoughts, was engaged in the same occupations.        *            *

    "He sat up late and rose early.  When the family were at rest, he retired to a little room which he had built on the roof of his house.  He had slated it, and fitted it up with shelves for his books, his stock of cloth, wearing apparel, and his utensils.  There, many a cold winter's night, without fire, while the roof was glazed with ice, did he remain reading or writing till the day dawned.  He taught the children in the chapel, for there was no school-house.  Yet, in that cold, damp place, he never had a fire.  He used to send the children in parties, either to his own fire at home, or make them run up the mountain side.

                                  *                              *                              *                              *
    "It may be further mentioned, that he was a passionate admirer of nature; she was his mother, and he was a dutiful child.  While engaged on the mountains, it was his greatest pleasure to view the rising sun; and in tranquil evenings, as it slided behind the hills, he blessed its departure.  He was skilled in fossils and plants; a constant observer of the stars and winds; the atmosphere was his delight.  He made many experiments on its nature and properties.  In summer he used to gather a multitude of flies and insects, and by his entertaining description, amuse and instruct his children.  They shared all his daily employments, and derived many sentiments of love and benevolence from his observations on the works and productions of nature.  Whether they were following him in the field, or surrounding him in the school, he took every opportunity of storing their minds with useful information.  Nor was the circle of his influence confined to Seathwaite.  Many a distant mother has told her child of Mr. Walker, and begged him to be as good a man.

                                  *                              *                              *                              *

    "Once, when I was very young, I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing that venerable old man in his ninetieth year, and even then, the calmness, the force, the perspicuity of his sermon, sanctified and adorned by the wisdom of gray hairs, and the authority of virtue, had such an effect upon my mind, that I never see a hoary-headed clergyman, without thinking of Mr. Walker.

                                  *                              *                              *                              *

    "Though he avoided all religious controversies, yet, when age had silvered his head, and virtuous piety had secured to his appearance reverence and silent honour, no one, however determined in his hatred of apostolic descent, could have listened to his discourse on ecclesiastical history and ancient times, without thinking that one of the beloved apostles had returned to mortality, and in that vale of peace had come to exemplify the beauty of holiness in the life and character of Mr. Walker.
                                  *                              *                              *                              *

    "Until the sickness of his wife, a few months previous to her death, his health and spirits and faculties were unimpaired.  But this misfortune gave him such a shock, that his constitution gradually decayed.  His senses, except sight, still preserved their powers.  He never preached with steadiness after his wife's death.  His voice faltered; and he always looked at the seat she had used.  He could not pass her tomb without tears.  He became, when alone, sad and melancholy, though still among his friends kind and good-humoured.  He went to bed about twelve o'clock the night before his death.  As his custom was, he went tottering and leaning upon his daughter's arm, to examine the heavens, and meditate a few moments in the open air.  "How clear the moon shines to-night!"  He said these words, sighed, and laid down.  At six next morning he was found a corpse.  Many a tear, and many a heavy heart, and many a grateful blessing followed him to the grave."

    Such was the venerable patriarch of Seathwaite, in Duddon Vale, of whom Wordsworth thus speaks in his sonnette on "Seathwaite Chapel:"—

"Sacred Religion! 'mother of form and fear,'
 Dread arbitress of mutable respect,
 New rites ordaining when the old are wrecked,
 Or cease to please the fickle worshipper;
 Mother of Love! (that name best suits thee here)
 Mother of Love! for this deep vale; protect
 Truth's holy lamp, pure source of bright effect,
 Gifted to purge the vapoury atmosphere
 That seeks to stifle it; as in those days
 When this low pile a Gospel teacher knew,
 Whose good works form an endless retinue:
 A pastor such as Chaucer's verse portrays;
 Such as the heaven-taught skill of Herbert drew;
 And tender Goldsmith crowned with deathless praise!"



THE following brief statement of the story of Mary, the Beauty of Buttermere, is given from Black's Guide to the Lakes:—"She was possessed of considerable personal charms, and, being the daughter of the innkeeper, her usual employment was to wait upon those guests, who, at that time, made their way so far into the heart of the hills.  Her beauty, in this way, became the theme of what may be called extensive praise.  A man, who designated himself the Honourable Colonel Hope, brother of Lord Hopetoun, but whose real name was Hatfield, fleeing from the arm of the law to these sequestered parts, was struck with Mary's attractions, and paid his addresses to her.  No great length of time elapsed after the marriage before he was apprehended on a charge of forgery.  He was tried at Carlisle, and being found guilty, suffered the extreme penalty of the law.  Mary married, for her second husband, a respectable farmer of Caldbeck, and died a few years ago."



THIS dainty fish is found in Ennerdale Lake, Ullswater, Crummock Water, Buttermere, Windermere, and Coniston Lake.  It is found, also, in Llynn Quellyn, near the foot of Snowdon; in certain lakes in Merionethshire; and, before the discovery of the copper mines, in those of Llanberis; but in the last the fish have been nearly destroyed by the mineral streams.  In Scotland, it is found in Loch Tay, Loch Inch, and other neighbouring lakes; and in Fewin Loch, Sutherlandshire.  In Ireland it is abundant in Lough Esk.  This fish frequents the deepest parts of these lakes, and feeds principally by night.  There are two varieties of char, the red char, and the gilt or case char, supposed to be distinct species.  The red char is the Salmo salvalinus of naturalists, as the case char is the Salmo Alpinus.  There is, however, much wanting to elucidate these two varieties.  The char found in the Welsh lakes is said to be a distinct species, but Agassiz, the Genevese naturalist, states that the char of the north of England is identical with the ombre chevalier of the Lake of Geneva.  Black's Guide to the Lakes says of this fish, "It has been conjectured that the char was introduced into these lakes by the Romans, who, in the decline of the empire, were withheld by no considerations of trouble or expense from gratifying their luxurious appetite."



BY mistake, no reference is made on page 175 to this note. [Ed.―an appropriate reference note is inserted in this edition]  But the reader will find there an account of my first arrival at the well-known house of Mr. William Ritson, the "Huntsman's Inn," at Wastdale Head.  In the same place, there is an allusion to a conversation between Mr. Ritson and the Borrowdale guide concerning the feeding of hunting-dogs, on which subject I learnt that Ritson was a good authority.  I found, also, that in addition to their fame as guides, and their general good qualities the Ritsons have been notable as bold hunters and crags-men among those wild mountains.  The extraordinary chase, described in the following extract, took place a few days after my visit to Wastdale Head, in the autumn of 1860.  The description is so very spirit-stirring in itself, that I do not like to pass it by; and as, in addition to that, at least three of the persons mentioned in connection with this unparalleled fox-hunt, are persons I met with at Mr. Ritson's house.  I insert it here, as it appeared in the Ulverstone Advertiser, in the month of November 1860:—

"The Coniston subscription hounds threw off on Hulmfell, about two miles from Coniston.  Only seventeen dogs were uncoupled, all, however, of the right sort, and in condition to run for a man's life.  They quickly hit on a drag, and "Reynard," no doubt hearing them, stole away, and so got, it is conjectured, three-quarter's of an hour's start before they dragged up to his resting-place.  They then settled on the line of scent, at a rattling pace round the Fell to the Yew-trees, and across the country to the Tarns, near Hawkshead.  He had been going upwind for this three to four miles, and turned back over High-cross, past the Lake residence of Mr. Marshall, and on to Yewdale-crag.  The ascent is long, steep, and one of the roughest amongst the northern fells, from the great quantity of loose stones on the sides of the hill.  When out on the top, Reynard, it is probable, thought he would bid a final adieu to his pursuers.  He proceeded right on and over a long tract of moor and hill to near Black-hall, the highest house in Seathwaite.  Here he made a round and steered back to Tilberthwaite mines, above Coniston, turned again and boldly ascended Tilberthwaite High-fell, which he crossed, and over a long rough tract of country to Wrynose, a steep mountain pass well known to tourists between Eskdale and Langdale.  On Wrynose he laid down amongst some furze, and a second glorious unkennel took place.  The chase had continued, without a check, for fully thirty miles over some of the roughest hilly country of the north, and went on at a great pace by Red-tarn to the foot of Bow-fell, with one or two exceptions, the highest mountain in England.  All the hardy footmen of Coniston and Seathwaite were "tailed off.''  Reynard fearlessly ascended the mighty hill and crossed some little distance from the summit, then by the Stake at the head of Langdale and into Borrowdale.  A few shepherds from Langdale followed and were joined by some Borrowdale men.  After a round, the gallant fox took Butterilkeld High-fell and all were "tailed off" again.  Then by Eskhause over Scawfell, upwards of 3000 feet above the sea, to Wastdale Head.  This dale with Mosedale-bottom is a flat of between four and five hundred acres, surrounded on three sides by the highest hills, Scawfell, Lingmell, Kirkfell, and Great Gable.  They made several rounds on the hill sides, and three dogs got crag-fast on Scawfell.  The chase had lasted for six hours and it was getting dark.  Again the gallant fox faced the hills over Stye-head into Borrowdale and then back again to Wastdale head, some twelve miles of fearful ground to go over.  The chase, was, however, not near over.  Leaving Wastdale the hounds were heard through Copeland Forest, Gillerthwaite, and to Ennerdale Lake.  They ran clear round the lake.  It was night, and the residents on its borders could not join, but listened with pleasure and surprise to the cry of the dogs awakening the echoes of the hills.  About nine o'clock, the inhabitants of the secluded dale of Wastdale, about retiring to rest, were startled by the cry of the hounds coming back from Ennerdale.  They could of course make nothing out by following them, but judged by the still cheerful cry of the hounds that they went through the valley and headed away by the long mountainous pass of Stye-head for Borrowdale.  On such a calm night the deep tone of the fox-hound was heard amongst the hills at a great distance.  The Ritsons and others listened delighted awhile, till their practised ears were greeted three different times with the sharp savage bark of the dogs, a sure indication they were viewing.  Then there was no further sound heard.  Perfect stillness reigned over hill and valley.  Next day some of the dogs wandered into Wastdale, bit about the face and bloody, shewing that the death fight had taken place between them and the stoutest fox remembered in the north.  A young man named Burns and the Ritsons the day following recovered the crag-fast dogs by lowering the former down the rocks with ropes.  None but those accustomed to rescue sheep would have attempted such a hazardous feat as to be swung down the rocks to a narrow ledge and from the dizzy height several hundred feet of clear space beneath.  The huntsman arrived next day at Wastdale, and all the dogs were got together except one.  This, worn out, and nearly dead, did not arrive at Coniston till the end of the week."  This small pack—hardly ever over twenty—has been long famed for speed, stoutness, and acute nose.  Twelve years ago they killed twenty-eight foxes in twenty-nine consecutive unkennels.  We much doubt if any other pack in the kingdom has done the same; and what other dogs could have run the chase we have attempted to describe—certainly not less than one hundred miles—across a terrific country, with only a single check in Wastdale for eight or ten minutes.



[Home] [Up] [Lancashire Songs] [Lancashire Life] [Lancashire Sketches I.] [Lancashire Sketches II.] [The Cotton Famine] [Poems and Songs I.] [Poems and Songs II.] [Besom Ben] [Tufts of Heather I.] [Tufts of Heather II.] [The Chimney Corner] [The Limping Pilgrim] [The Barrel Organ] [Sheet Music] [Sheet Music] [Sheet Music] [Miscellanea] [Main Index] [Site Search]

Correspondence should be sent to Webmaster@Gerald-Massey.org.uk