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The char, that delicious bonne bouche of the Cumberland and Westmoreland Lakes, afforded a high relish to the repast ; and followed, as it was, by a large and well-cooked dish of savoury beefsteaks, a large apple-pie, cream cheese, and London porter, left nothing further to be desired. The satisfaction was general ; and with renovated strength and spirits, our delighted friends again sprung from their seats, well pre pared to continue their excursion.
They now proceeded to Hartley Hill; a favourable position near the village,for surveying, with one coup d'ail, the many beautiful and interesting objects around them. From this eminence is presented a splendid view of the two lakes, Buttermere and Crummock Water; the adjacent mountains, and the lovely valley which they enclose. The length of the former is about a mile and a-half; in breadth, a quarter of a mile; and about fifteen fathoms in depth, and abounds in trout, char, and carp. From the western side of it rise up, in perpendicular grandeur, long ranges of mountain elevations, on which are seen the rocky ontlines of Red Pike, High Stile, Hay Stack, High Crag, and others. The eastern shores are of much lower elevation, adorned with wood and cultivated ; while the northern skirt a luxuriant vale, and the southern, the base of lofty mountains. Immediately in front is perceived the picturesque cascade called “ Sour Milk Gill,” which takes its name from its frothy whiteness, and its fanciful resemblance to buttermilk; for as some one has amusingly remarked, it seems churning as it flows.
The height of this fall is ninety feet, and its waters issue from Burntness Tarn; a small lake singularly situated on the summits of two mountains in the vicinity, which, from their remarkable appearance, are supposed to be extinct volcanoes.
A much more magnificent waterfall, however, than the one just mentioned remained to be seen, and much more closely inspected. It is called “Scale Force," and lies at a short distance from the western shores of Crummock Water. There are two modes of approaching it,—by water and by land, the one, by taking a boat and rowing down the river Cocker, which connects the two lakes ; and the other, by crossing the vale and tủe stream, through a distance of a mile and a-half. But this latter road is less agreeable than the former, inasmuch as the ground is exceedingly swampy.
After sauntering along the eastern shore for some time longer, our friends again returned to the inn at the foot of Buttermere. Having here dismissed their ponies, and ordered the carriage, which had now arrived through the Vale of Newlands, to meet them at the further extremity of Crummock Water, they determined on descending the river ; which, tracing its course through rich arable land of three-quarters of a mile in extent, brought them to the neighbouring lake.
The distance to the cascade from the landing-place is about half-a-mile; and a more rugged piece of ground is not often to be met with. The sight, however, well repays the labour.
Scale Force exceeds in height all the other waterfalls in Cumberland or Westmoreland; the descent being no less than from 190 to 200 feet. Its position is very remarkable; being a natural excavation, in the form of a deep chasm, about fifteen feet wide, cut into the mountain, and bounded by lofty perpendicular rocks. The varieties of fern, ash, moss, and oak, which cover the sides, and whose verdure is preserved by the falling spray, add considerably to the beauty of the scene. After much rain the effect is certainly grand. The swollen stream then rushes over the rock with a noise resembling thunder.
Laura was greatly struck with the singular features and magnificence of the scene, and begged for an additional delay of ten minutes in order to make a sketch of it. This being finished, the delighted party retraced their path to the boat, and the little sail having been set to the breeze, she was steered a direct course down the centre of Crummock Water; thus affording an equally favourable view of each shore, with its various bays and promontories, and its noble boundary of mountains.
A superadded beauty was given to the landscape, at this moment, by the reflection, on the rippling waters, of a stream of splendid yellow light from the sun, now in his western declination; forming a vista as radiant as if the lake ran liquid with gold. It reminded the elders of the party of some of Claude's paintings; where the effect, thus described, is brought out with all that brilliancy of touch, and faithfulness to nature, so characteristic of that great master. Nor was the watery element alone thus radiant with sunbeams; for the summits and sides of the alpine elevations around were bathed in a suffusion of golden light; while broad masses of shade in other parts, caused by projecting angles, and deep recesses in the mountain range, displayed the charm of contrast.
The extent of Crummock Water is double that of Buttermere, being three miles in length, and three-quarters in breadth; and its depth twenty-two fathoms. It lies between two mountains of considerable height, Grasmoor and Melbreak; the former situated on the eastern side, and the latter rising abruptly from the water's edge on the western, so as to leave no space for cultivation, with the exception of a few verdant spots. The opposite shore, however, exhibits a pleasing variety of indentations in the form of bays, and of meadow and arable land, intermixed with groves of flourishing trees; with which latter the two extremities of the lake are also richly adorned.
The boat had now reached within a mile of the foot of this shining stream, when the carriage was seen on the eastern
bank awaiting their arrival. The boatmen were now ordered to pull to the shore, and in a few minutes the whole party had very comfortably arranged themselves—some inside and others outside of the carriage—and were speedily en route to the sweet little Lake of Lowe's Water, lying about a mile from the former, into which it pours its crystal flood. by the pretty village that bears its name, and which is delightfully situated at its southern extremity, the party came in full view of its beautiful expanse; stretching from north to south, to an extent of one mile in length, and a quarter of a mile in breadth ; and abounding with pike, perch, and trout, but destitute of char. The lake, at this end of it, displays a character of much rural beauty; the sloping hills exhibiting a scene of high cultivation, and adorned with farmhouses.
The coachman was now ordered to drive slowly along its entire length, to its northern extremity; at which latter place it offers to the eye a noble prospect of mountain grandeur, finely contrasting with the soft rural repose of that portion of it adjoining the village by which they had entered.
The sun was now fast declining towards the western horizon, giving a visible token of the necessity of retracing their steps homewards. Returning, therefore, along the line of shore they had previously skirted, our well-satisfied tourists diverged from the lake at a point about two-thirds of the way back, and directed their course to Derwent Cottage by the fine eminence of Whinlatter Hill.
Passing the commodious inn at Scale Hill, where the hungry and weary traveller is well entertained, and indeed well lodged, should he choose to pass the night there, our tourists attained to that angle of the ascent where the road winds round to the right, in the direct line to Keswick. At this spot the eye is regaled with a splendid view of the Vale of Lorton, reposing beneath on the left-hand, including a distant prospect of the mountains of Scotland ; among which, resting on the horizon, is seen Ben Garon, and other mountain ranges.
The hill of Whinlatter rises to an elevation of 800 feet above the adjacent valley; and, like the approach to Keswick from the Vale of Newlands, though in a higher degree, commands superb views of Derwent Water, Skiddaw, Bassenthwaite Lake, and other interesting objects.
The carriage now reached the village of Braithwaite, and turning off towards their loved cottage on the banks of Derwent Water, the family party at length regained that "home" with which our earliest and happiest associations are connected ; and to which, in whatever distant regions we may roam, the heart, with instinctive affection, still turns, as the needle to the pole.
And, yet, it is not our home! It is but the halting-place in the weary pilgrimage of life, to our better and happier home in heaven. It is but the shadowy and passing tent of the Israelite in the dreary wilderness, journeying, with painful step and slow, to the promised Canaan! And if our eyes and hearts are but occasionally and graciously refreshed with the heavenly vision that descended on the Jewish Tabernacle ; but directed to that type of the blessed Saviour which Moses elevated in the barren desert; if our course be only guided by the “ pillar a cloud” by day, and the “ pillar of fire” by night,-happy, indeed, will be the termination of our pilgrimage in the promised Canaan above !
To this great and glorious Antitype in the heavens of all that the Jewish rites shadowed forth, and the Christian dispensation more clearly and happily reveals, did the pious master of the house address his devout aspirations, in behalf of himself and bis family, before retiring to rest—in thanksgivings for the mercies of the day past, and supplications for protection through the coming night.