Imatges de pÓgina
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looked into Rydal Water, at another, a few fishes came near me. Of what were they afraid that they darted away so suddenly? I had neither hook, nor rod, nor line. Alas! they knew that man was their enemy. I mounted the rocky hills, among the oak trees, and the higher hills behind them, lingering and loitering and gazing around me with joy."

"If there are any beauties, you are sure to find them out. I wish I had been with you."

"Now and then I took long rambles, so that at one time I was at Troutbeck, and at another at Potter Fell, Brotherdale, or Whinfell Beacon. The valley of Troutbeck (the meaning of beck is a brook) is a favourite spot with many. The father of Hogarth the painter was born there, and many strange things are said of the place." "What are they? Please not to forget one of them."

"In the first place, they say that at one time the trees were so close together, that a squirrel might have passed from Windermere to Threstwaite-mouth, the slack at the head of the vale, without so much as once putting his foot on the ground."

"The trees, then, must have been thick enough. But what is a slack?"

"A slack is a hollow. In the next place, people talk of the three hundred bulls, three hundred constables, and three hundred bridges of Troutbeck; all which sounds very wonderful.”

"What does it mean? Did the constables run after the bulls, or the bulls after the constables? I suppose they went over the bridges, all of them."

"The simple meaning is this. The township is divided into three parts, called hundreds, and every part had a bridge, a bull, and a constable.

The three hundred bulls were, therefore, no more than the three bulls belonging to the three parts or hundreds." "What a cheat ! instead of three hundred."

Why there were but three, then,

"Another of the wonderful things related of Troutbeck is, that a giant once dwelt there. When people talk of giants they are often liberal enough to give them two heads, but the giant of Troutbeck had but one. I suppose, therefore, he had but one mouth; with this, however, he contrived to eat up a whole sheep at a meal. He performed astonishing feats, both in eating and fighting, and could lift a beam that ten men could not move from the ground."

"The tale of the giant of Troutbeck is, I dare say, about as true as that of the three hundred bulls."

"I loitered in the vale many a pleasant hour without being molested either by bull or giant. But I must tell you of my visit to Kirkstone Pass, a place that is lonely enough now, and dreary indeed it must have been before the little inn that now stands there was built. The steep Pass of Kirkstone has its name from huge church-like block of stone which lies on one side of the road. As you stand by the stone, you see Brothers' Water and Place Fell in the distance."

"Is it a dismal place?"

"I set out to see it full of high hope, but the place hardly equalled my expectations. The mountains were

not high enough; the huge stone, called Kirkstone, was not big enough; the Pass was not dark enough; so that on the whole I was rather disappointed."

"It is not often that you are disappointed with mountains and valleys."

"At Kirkstone Pass I saw the highest house in England."

"How was that?

"The small inn, called 'The Traveller's Rest,' the meaning of which is, that the ground on which the house stands is the most elevated in England, is a turnpike as well as an inn; and on a bend in front of the house is this inscription

THIS IS THE HIGHEST INHABITED HOUSE IN ENGLAND.

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It was a dark day when I went to Kirkstone Pass, and yet I had plenty of sunshine, for as inside armour is the strongest and the lightest, so is inside sunshine the fairest and the brightest. I took advantage of every little circumstance to make my walk agreeable. At one place a black beetle ran across the road. Well, friend Black-back,' said I, 'you live in a romantic neighbourhood: what think you of the mountains and valleys around you?' The beetle spoke not a word. 'Perhaps you are not an admirer of nature,' said I ; but the little creature convinced me, by running up the hillocks and down the hollows in the road, that there were mountains and valleys for black beetles as well as for human beings."

"Well done, black beetle! that is very good indeed."

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