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villas command, in diversity of view, all that is superb and captivating in lake scenery; while, as objects of landscape themselves, they serve to complete the picture with the charm of animated life.
In the neighbourhood of Pooley Bridge the party ascended the Hill of Dunmallet, on the summit of which are the remains of a Roman fort, surrounded by a fosse, which served, in days of yore, to guard the lake, and maintain the communication between Ambleside and Brougham.
From hence they crossed the bridge thrown over the river Eamont, which forms a channel for the superfluous waters of the lake, and marks the line of demarcation between the counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland. The bridge lies in the immediate vicinity of King Arthur's Round Table, once the resort of knights of the tournament in the olden times of chivalry. Here terminated the carriage part of the excursion by their arriving at Pooley Bridge.
A boat was now speedily engaged for the purpose of convey. ing them along the entire length of these transparent waters. The form of the lake has been, not unaptly, likened to the letter Z, though much less acute in its angles. It is divided into three reaches, each surpassing in romantic beauty the one left behind, as the tourist sails along towards its head ; till the unrivalled magnificence of the finished picture at length beams forth, in all its lustre, at its southern extremity.
As the boat steered her mid-way course along the first reach, -a fine sheet of water three miles in length, bordered by gently sloping hills on each shore,—the giant Swarth Fell, barren and almost perpendicular in its descent, was seen on the left-hand; and, in front, Hallen Fell, with their huge rocks and shaggy crests. On the right was presented to the eye the undulating shore, with its beautiful villas, past which the gratified party had so recently driven.
“A most perilous circumstance," observed Mr. Sandford, addressing his guest, as he pointed to Swarth Fell,“ occurred on that mountain to the late Mr. Hasell, the owner of Dalemain. Being out hunting one morning, he plunged with his horse, in the excitement of the chase, into a position from which there was no retreat, either backwards or forwards; except, as regards the latter, at the imminent risk of his life. It was a forlorn hope, and accordingly to be faced with a desperate boldness. He therefore dismounted, and leaning against the side of his horse, each, as it were, supporting the other, they slid down the precipitous side of the mountain ; and, wonderful to say, arrived at the bottom in safety. Neither before nor since that time has any person been known to have descended the mountain, either with his horse or without it, whether sliding, or walking, or by any other process whatever.”
The second, or middle reach, which extends about four miles, is entered at the point where the boat rounds the promontory formed by Hallen Fell, on the left hand. Here are seen the mountain ranges of Birk Fell and Place Fell; and in front the mighty form of Helvellyn losing his summit in the clouds. The right hand discloses to greater advantage, and to a front view, the fine residence of Hallsteads, with its sloping lawn ; as, also, Gowbarrow Park and Lyulph's Tower.
The third, or upper reach, is two miles long; and offers to the lover of nature the choicest combination of all the objects of a perfect landscape, and greatly transcends, in majesty and beauty, every other part of Ullswater. An assemblage of lofty mountains of varied outlines, and marked by deep and rugged precipices, now occupies the field of vision. Their sides are covered with purple heath, displaying a rich contrast to the green and yellow tints exhibited around them; while a mighty group of ridges, peaks, and pinnacles, here unite into ope splendid ensemble, to captivate the eye and the heart, and to raise devout aspirations to the great and beneficent Being who made them all.
On the left, in ascending this reach, the view ranges over the towering mountain called Place Fell ; and on the right, Stybarrow Crag, crowned with picturesque oaks shooting up from its crevices, and the lofty ridges of Helvellyn and Fairfield. Conspicuous among these rises, in bold relief, a remarkable hill, called St. Sunday Crag. Immediately in front, and at the head of this noble expanse, lies the valley of Patterdale, with its romantically-situated town. The surface of the lake is here diversified by four islands, of small dimensions but of interesting appearance, called House Holme, Ling Holme, Wall Holme, and Cherry Holme; the former of which affords an advantageous position for surveying the superb panorama of the scenic glories of Ullswater.
After being occupied two hours in rowing from the foot to the head of the lake, through a distance of nine miles, the party now left the boat, and stepped once more into the carriage, which had been ordered to meet them at Patterdale, for the purpose of conveying them home. On their return, Mr. Sandford pointed out to Mrs. Gracelove, Patterdale Hall, the beautiful residence of William Marshall, Esq., the Member of Parliament for Carlisle. It was once the seat of a family named Mounsey, who obtained the appellation of “
kings of Patterdale,” in consequence of a gallant action fought by a valiant member of it with a band of Scotch marauders, at the pass of Stybarrow Crag; whom, with the aid of a few shepherds, he defeated and drove back.
“And now," said Mr. Sandford, as he handed the ladies from the carriage at the door of his mansion, “ I think we have well earned the good services of the cook; and, as I heard you say, my dear Mrs. Gracelove, that you were very partial to trout, I have ordered the best specimen which our lake affords to be served up for your gratification, and which were caught this very morning. It seems but a poetical justice that, as you have admired so much the beautiful surface of our transparent waters, you should enjoy some of the treasures hidden benealh them. I will not promise you," he continued, laughingly, “quite as large a dish of them as was enclosed in a net, some time ago, by a fisherman in the neighbourhood; for, without any poetical figure whatever, I must tell you, that he caught, at a single draught, twelve thousand trouts.”
“It does sound, indeed," replied Mrs. Gracelove," very much like the licence of poetry; but on your knowledge of it, as a fact, I cannot but rely. I must confess, however, that it is a very extraordinary circumstance, and proves the amazing fecundity of Ullswater, beyond any comparison with the other lakes of the two counties.”
“Such is the truth, "responded our host; "and, in addition to the number, may also be stated the size of some of these fish, which have, occasionally, been taken of the enormous weight of thirty pounds; and, to sum up the whole of their merits, their flavour is equal both to their number and size.”
An excellent repast terminated the day's excursion, of which the trout, so highly eulogized, formed the prominent dish; and the family retired to rest after the fatigues of the day. But, to the great grief of our friend, their retirement for the night was unhallowed by that family worship, which, rising from sincere and grateful hearts, while it offers thanksgivings to God for past mercies, lays a holy foundation, through the merits of the Redeemer, for blessings to come.
On the following morning, while walking in the garden before breakfast, with the lady of the house, she took the opportunity of speaking to her on the subject. She insisted, with candour and firmness, yet with kindness, on the imperative obligation resting upon every family to perform this essential duty. She referred her to that striking passage in Jeremiah, where the prophet invokes the Almighty to vindicate his violated sovereignty by severe chastisements against such offenders—Pour out thy fury,' he says, “upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name.'
“Pardon me, my dear Mrs. Sandford," she observed, “if I say, that it is Christianity, without Christ, to profess and not to practise. It is like the air-bubbles blown by children from the ends of pipes ;-very fair outside, with reflected rays of light, but full of emptiness within, and which a mere breath will burst. We should all of us studiously remember what is said, in the Gospel of St. Matthew, about cleaning the outside of the cup and of the platter,' and about 'whited sepulchres' — and who it is that says it." +
“ I feel that we are quite open to your friendly expostulation,” replied Mrs. Sandford, “for I am conscious of the propriety of having family prayers in the domestic establishment of every Christian. Mr. Sandford, however, is of a different opinion. His argument is, that the Almighty is perfectly acquainted with our wants without our telling Him, and that, therefore, it is a superfluous ceremony.""
“This is a very strange doctrine truly,” remarked Mrs. Gracelove. “Such a principle would close the door of every church and chapel throughout Christendom; would prostrate every family altar; seal up every lip; deaden every heart; banish prayer from the world; and degrade mankind to a lower scale than the beasts that perish. This would, indeed, be to frustrate the grace of God, and to bar all access to the pardon and acceptance of our Divine Maker. Mr. Sandford can never have read his Bible," she further observed, “or such a wild theory, to speak mildly of it, could never have entered his . Jer. x. 25.
+ Matt. xxiii. 25—28.