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139

CHAPTER XII.

LOITERINGS ABOUT CRUMMOCK LAKE.

Seasons of unusual enjoyment.-Bleaberry Tarn.-Sour-milk Force.Scale Force.-Rannerdale Knot.-Mellbreak.-Crummock Lake. -The kingfisher.-The peacock.-Hearty old Redpike.-Grand old Grasmoor.-Whiteless Pike.-Ladhouse and Whiteside.Lakes. The country.-The rock in Ennerdale Lake.-Sounds in solitary places.-Scale Hill.-The seat in Lanthwaite wood.-The mountains. Formation of lakes. - Good habits. The river Cocker.

"Now please to tell me a little more about Great Gable, and High Crag, and Hen Comb, and Honister Crag, for I dare say that you saw them all again when you went back to Buttermere. How did you find the landlord, and did you hear a thundering noise against the door in the middle of the night? Please to tell me all," said Paul Ritter, thus trying to get his father at once to resume his narrative. The conversation then went on.

"But, Paul, if I tell you again of the things that you know, how shall I find time to relate those that you do not know? You have heard of Buttermere already; let me now go on to Crummock Lake."

"Well, do then, if you please; but pass by nothing;

tell me about every mountain, lake, tarn, and waterfall."

"There are times, Paul, when the lover of nature is more than ordinarily affected by the objects around him; in these seasons, the warbling of the lark goes not into his ear alone, but into his heart, and the sunbeam falls not only on his head, but sinks into his soul. It was just such a season as this with me, when I left Buttermere to ramble, not loiter, about Crummock Water. I knew that the lake was surrounded with scenery of a magnificent kind, and I set off expecting much, and quite disposed to make the most of everything calculated to afford me gratification."

"That was the very way to enjoy yourself."

"First I set off to Bleaberry Tarn, loitering a little at Sour-milk Force, and then pushed on for Scale Force, one of the highest waterfalls in all the lake district; indeed, I think it is the very highest, being not less than one hundred and fifty-six feet. I had been at the fall the day before, as I came along the mountain-path from Ennerdale by Floutern Tarn, but had no time then to stop. The high bank above the cascade commands a noble prospect. The poet says,

'Lo! like a glorious pile of diamonds bright,

Built on the steadfast cliffs, the waterfall
Pours forth its gems of pearl and silver light:
They sink, they rise, and sparkling cover all
With infinite refulgence; while its song,
Sublime as thunder, rolls the woods along.'

"But I cannot say that the water of Scale Force

resembled thunder, there being less of it than in many other falls, notwithstanding the late rains."

"What a height for a waterfall—a hundred and fiftysix feet! I should have stopped for an hour at Scale Force."

“Whether you wind round Rannerdale Knot at the south-east of Crummock Water, or take your stand on the ness that juts out from the noble mountain Mellbreak on the west, the lake and the hills around it form a splendid prospect. The lake, which abounds with char and trout, is three miles long, and three quarters wide, and its depth may be about twenty fathoms, or something more. At the head of it there are three islands, and if I could have pushed them more towards the middle of the water, willingly would I have done so." "Yes, they would have looked better there: but what did you mean by the ness jutting out from the mountain?"

As I

"Knab, or Nab, or nose, or beak, is the abrupt point or termination of a mountain, as Knab Scar, and Knab Crag; and ness has the same meaning when applied to a point of rock or land pushing itself into a lake. stood looking around me, I saw near the margin of the lake, in a shallow part, a kingfisher pounce into the water, no doubt after a fish, but I cannot tell if he caught it. A kingfisher is a beautiful bird; but beauty, though it attracts us, is in some cases a terror to animals, creating in them great consternation and alarm."

"Indeed! I cannot make out how that can be."

"I will explain it to you. Do you not think that

when in anger you were about to strike a dog, if the creature should suddenly assume a shape as big as a tiger, and stare at you with a hundred eyes, you would be frightened?"

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Frightened indeed I should, and scamper away from him as fast as my legs would carry me."

"Well, then, something like this takes place when a dog or other animal attacks a peacock. It has been said by an author :- If surprised by a foe, the peacock presently erects its gorgeous feathers; and the enemy at once beholds starting up before him a creature which his terror cannot fail to magnify into the bulk implied by the circumference of a glittering circle of the most dazzling hues, his attention at the same time being distracted by a hundred glaring eyes meeting his gaze in every direction. A hiss from the head in the centre, which in shape and colours resembles that of a serpent, and a rustle from the trembling quills, are attended by an advance of the most conspicuous portion of this bulk; which is in itself an action of retreat, being caused by a receding motion of the body of the bird. That must be a bold animal which does not pause at the sight of such an object; and a short interval is sufficient to insure the safety of the bird; but if, after all, the enemy should be bold enough to risk an assault, it is most likely that its eagerness or rage would be spent on the glittering appendages, in which case the creature is divested only of that which a little time will again supply."

"That is very curious indeed; and what you said is

certainly true. Nothing is more beautiful than the spread tail of a peacock, and yet it may be a terror to many other creatures."

"What prickly bristles are to the hedgehog, and pointed quills to the porcupine, the tail feathers of the peacock are to him; they are a defence, and when erected in anger, are intended to intimidate his foes. The more we reflect on the handy works of our Great Creator, the more highly must we estimate his wisdom and goodness. The mountains round Crummock Water are very grand; but if you wish to see them to advantage, you must get into a boat, and paddle yourself into the middle of the lake, or, if you cannot row, the man with the boat must ply the oars for you."

"What are the names of the mountains?"

"On the south, hearty old Red Pike lifts up his head 2750 feet high, and on the north, or north-east, grand old Grasmoor stands still higher; their exalted heads, huge shoulders, and broad bosoms, have a fine appearance."

;

"I remember hearing of hearty old Red Pike before you told me of him when you spoke of Buttermere Lake." "I did, Paul; I did, for the truth is that Red Pike is nearer Buttermere Lake than Crummock Water. I ascended part of the way up Grasmoor, and made a trip, but happily did not fall."

Though danger great besets the path
Of him who climbs on high,

Where mountains lift their pointed heads,
And mingle with the sky;

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