Imatges de pÓgina

"Oh, that is a curious description! But please to tell me what is meant by bobbing for eels.""

"The captain said that in bobbing for eels, a straight spike, and not a hook, was thrust into the worm; the bait was then dropped, or bobbed into holes in the mud of pools, or rivers. When the fish was caught, and the line was pulled, the straight spike, being fastened by the middle to the line, spread sideways in the fish's throat, and thus he was pulled out."

"Oh, shocking! shocking!"

"At last the captain left me, and I set off for Cockermouth. The vale of Lorton with the Cocker running through it, with Whiteside, Grisedale Pike, and Wythop Fells to the east, and Low Fell, Whinfield Fell, and Crag End on the west, afforded me much gratification. As I left Scale Hill, three or four children were amusing themselves in trying which of them could throw his cap the highest in the air. Oh!' thought I, 'may they never enter into a less innocent rivalry one with another!' It reminded me of my boyhood, and set me thinking of things that had well nigh been erased from my memory.

[ocr errors]

I love to ponder o'er and praise

My childish sports and boyish days;

And move, in thought, once more among
A happy and light-hearted throng.

"As I wandered along between the road and the river, just as I drew near the point leading off for Keswick through Braithwaite, a puff of wind took my silk handkerchief out of my hand, and away it went flying

in the air towards the river bank, from which I was at no great distance."

"What did you do then, for you could not run so fast as the handkerchief would fly?"

"Very true, but fortunately it caught on a bush that hung over the water. 'Ay!' said I, 'how many a rover has been arrested in his course on the very brink of destruction!' The famous yew-tree which Wordsworth has described, stands near the junction with the Keswick and Cockermouth road: this is about four miles from Scale Hill.

'There is a yew-tree, pride of Lorton vale,
Which to this day stands single in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore,
Not loth to furnish weapons for the bands

Of Umfraville or Percy, ere they marched

To Scotland's heaths; or those that crossed the sea,
And drew their sounding bows at Agincourt,

Perhaps at earlier Cressy or Poictiers.

Of vast circumference and gloom profound,
This solitary tree! a living thing
Produced too slowly ever to decay;
Of form and aspect too magnificent
To be destroyed.'

"At the Globe inn at Cockermouth, I found all my wants well supplied; and in visiting what is interesting or curious in the place, I passed away a few pleasant hours. It is no object of mine, however, to describe the towns of Westmoreland and Cumberland. Mountains, and meres, and tarns, and waterfalls, are more in my way."

"Oh yes! a great deal. I dare say that you did not remain long at Cockermouth."


Only till the following day; but I went to see the ruins of the ancient fortress, the castle, rising up on a bold eminence on the east bank of the Cocker. They told me that Cockermouth Castle was built soon after the Norman conquest by Waldieve, first lord of Allerdale. It was garrisoned for king Charles in 1648, but the parliamentary forces took it and dismantled it. Since then, far the most part of the building has been left in ruins. Few people visit the place without musing for a season on the Gateway Tower, which is embellished with the arms of the Umfravilles, Multens, Lucies, Percies, and Nevilles. There is a tumulus called Toot's Hill, to the north of the town, and a rampart and ditch of an encampment called Fitts' Wood, a mile to the west, with a few other places of interest in other directions. I forgot to tell you that Wordsworth the poet was born at Cockermouth.

"What a number of strong old castles there are in the world, that are now in ruins!"

"There are, Paul; but perhaps that circumstance is hardly to be regretted. What need has a man for a castle in the midst of his neighbours, if he wishes for nothing but his own, and desires to oppress nobody? We have had war enough, and more than enough; let us not then be prevailed on to encourage it again, but look on humbly and hopefully for better things. What a thought it is that for every halfpenny expended by Christian nations to spread the gospel of


peace among the heathens, they lay out a pound in preparation for war!"

"But do they really?"

"That is the result of a calculation lately made. May war be banished from the world!

May every heart with love and kindness bound,
And peace with all its blessings reign around."




Bassenthwaite Water by moonlight and noon-day.-Its appearance from Skiddaw's top.-Wythop Fells.-Barf and Lord's Seat.Dodd Fell, Low Man, and Falcon Crags.-Bleaberry Fell, High Seat, and Helvellyn.-A ramble on the eastern bank of Bassenthwaite. The mountain-streams.-The ladies of the old school, and the lighthearted little girl.-The happy cottage children.Remarks.

"So far as the lake itself is concerned," said Paul Ritter's father, as he again took up the thread of his story, "I remember Bassenthwaite Water with as much pleasure as I do any lake in Cumberland. I saw it from Dodd Fell and Low Man, and from the lofty head of gigantic Skiddaw. I saw it when the rising sun was over Saddleback, and when his setting beam was gilding the top of Sale Fell. I saw it when it was calm, with a mist on its surface, and when, undulated by a strong gale, a bright sun had lit it up with ten thousand lamps of gold.

While bright-eyed memory fondly turns

To seasons past, e'en now

I see thee, bonnie Bassenthwaite,
With the moon-beam on thy brow.

« AnteriorContinua »