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imitable; but Horace had never the trappiness of reading the 139th Psalm.
“ And now," said the master of Derwent Cottage, with a smiling and playful countenance, “I think I spy another little landscape which was not so perceptible to us till the present moment; and which, if I may judge of your feelings by my own, will be no less grateful to your vision than the delightful prospects we have been so long contemplating.
Look at the very tempting repast which Thomas has so invitingly prepared for us on the green sward. And now, as Shakspeare says,
'to dinner, with what appetite you may.' And sure I am, that our previous reflections on the good Being who has provided it for us will add a moral seasoning to our refreshment which all the condiments, and spices, and rich sauces, on the tables of the noble and luxurious, will not supply."
A general exclamation from every individual of the party answered this appeal with a hearty affirmative. For the pure mountain air, and the exercise previously taken, had given a keen sense of hunger which they were all most willing to allay.
The adjustment of places at this rural board was speedily effected; for it required no master of the ceremonies to order the arrangement.
All sat down on the soft grass as fancy prompted, with their feet somewhat folded together, à la Turque. A tablecloth was spread before them, on which were displayed cold fowls and ham, a cold tongue, a plentiful supply of beef sandwiches, a good-sized apple-pie, four bottles of table ale, and a couple of bottles of wine.
Every eye sparkled at the sight of such goodly fare, under such an impulse of most agreeable hunger; and young Stately declared, “ that it was worth the trouble of walking all
the way from the Hall, in order to find such an appetite, and have it so well provided for.”
Our friend having asked a blessing on their meal—for God is everywhere present, as we have just read in that inimitable Psalm—the operation of dispatching it commenced in good earnest; and the rapidity with which the respective viands disappeared can be comprehended only by those who have inhaled the mountain breezes for some hours at an elevation of 3,000 feet.
Why, Jasper," said Edmund, jocosely, you are so very hungry you will leave nothing for poor Thomas, who had all the labour of bringing the provision basket up the mountain."
“Ah!" replied Jasper, very slily, “it is a very good joke to hear you say that, Edmund, when one recollects that you ate a whole pork-pie at breakfast this morning, although I took nothing but bread-and-milk. Besides, you know, Edmund, it is not accounted good manners to let your neighbour eat by himself, and you have only this very moment finished a large plateful of fowl and ham, notwithstanding the huge porkpie, which you can scarcely have digested yet.”
“ Bravo! my dear boy,” exclaimed his father ; an excellent answer, truly! What do you say to that, Edmund ?"
“Why, I must confess, my dear papa,” said his son, " that I did eat some of the pork-pie; but then I am a bigger boy than Jasper; and, besides, I didn't finish the whole of it, for I gave a part of it to Fidelle."
“Yes! a very small part of it, indeed," answered his facetious brother; "so small, that the poor dog was snuffing and running about to find it for some length of time; and seemed, at last, to lick her lips more in the expectation of what she hoped for than what she got."
“ Excellent again," said Mr. Gracelove; " and now, Ed
mund, I think you must give up the point altogether; and, as a matter of charity, we will suppose that your pork-pie propensities at the breakfast-table, and your larger appetite, are the result of your being, as you say, a 'bigger boy.' As regards, however, poor Thomas, I think the fragments of our meal are sufficiently abundant to satisfy the cravings of his hunger as you have satisfied yours, my dear Edmund; the urgency of which you will, no doubt refer, as a good excuse, to the keenness of the mountain air.”
“ It is, indeed, very keen, my dear papa," observed Laura, drawing her shawl more closely around her. “I could not help remarking what Mrs. Radcliffe experienced, as you were kindly reading her excursion to the summit of Skiddaw. She states that the air was ' boisterous, intensely cold, and difficult to be inspired; though below the day was warm and serene.' It is certainly not ‘boisterous' to-day, but it is really very cold and presents an extraordinary contrast to the warmth of the valley we have left below."
“ You may well imagine, therefore, my dear Laura, from this little experience, during the height of summer, what fearful winds and tempests must whirl around this mountain's brow in the depth of winter. Nay, sometimes even in summer, thunder-storms of terrific force and grandeur expend their fury over these elevated regions.
“ As I know that both your dear mamma and yourself are extremely fond of poetry, I will read you an admirable and powerful description of a thunder-storm along a mountain range, from a book entitled the Poetical Works of the late James Hogg,' and which I brought with me from the cottage. It is the production of the greatest peasant-poet that Scotland ever produced, and commonly known in his country by the name of the Ettrick Shepherd.
“ The description is put into the mouth of an old man, who thus illustrates the splendid vision :
“Stare not, I am no maniac. Sit thee down,
the brooding cloud
my head, Whether in earth or heaven, in rock or cloud, I could not tell; but nearer still it came, And louder and more furious was the sound, Like many torrents rushing on the wind. Anon I saw the bosom of the cloud Begin to heave, and work, with boiling motion ; And on its murky breast strange hues arose Of dull and pallid blue, or muffled red, While frightful openings yawned and closed again. Nature lay on a bed of travailing. Now strong convulsions, throes, and wrestling, Showed that with serpent-birth her breast would rend : Short then the pause, and troubled, ere I saw The heaven's slow swarthy bosom burst asunder, And rain and hail, and bolts of liquid flame Issued at once.
No sooner had the blaze
Dazzled my sight, than from the inmost cloud