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A YEAR AT A MBLESIDE.
BY HARRI ET MARTIN E AU.
The hill on which the church stands is steep ; every one glad that he, who can never go out, and it would be out of our way to ascend it, in should have such a bay-window as his, and live making the circuit of the valley. So I will enclosed in so pretty a garden. From that merely say, in a few words, what lies in that window he commands the whole valley, with eastern part of our little town. As we go up the lake at one end, and the Rydal Pass at the the ascent, there are houses on each side, - other, and the Langdale Pikes afar, conspicubuilt on limestone, with gushing water within ous over the whole. A little farther along the hearing, and on a slope so steep as to make a lane is Bellevue,-a sort of bridal abode, where natural drainage ;-—yet are these houses, for a young couple might fairly expect to find their the most part, undrained, ill supplied with first year of marriage a wondrous experience water, close and unwholesome. Dung-heaps of paradise. Not much more than a year, and other collections of dirt are before our eyes however; for in this valley the gentlemen soon and under our noses, wherever we turn; and grow tired. They go off somewhere to find one consequence is,--and a very natural one, something to do,-some business, or foreign
-that the men of the place, finding little com- travel, or hunting. The ladies are satisfied fort in an unsavoury home, (which besides is enough; so well, as to be in danger of pride usually over-crowded,) resort to the public and exclusiveness, and indolence about leaving houses,—which seem to me to be full whenever home: but there are really few gentlemen in I pass them. This is one token of the old the valley but the invalid Mr. C., and two or fashioned character of the place. The morals three aged men, who like the quietness. When of health have not been preached, or taught, or the young or middle-aged gentry disappear, thought of here; and other morals have a poor | they let their houses to widow ladies with chance while such is the state of things. From daughters, or to single ladies; and these, it is the time when I became a resident, I saw that observed, rarely go away again. Thus, the something must be done about this. The bad society becomes, in some sort, Amazonian. state of health and of morals in the place was When I want to make a party to meet my evidently a gratuitous evil. The site of the guests, it is a wonder if a single coat and hat town seemed made for health,—with its slopes, I can be got. Mr. C. never leaves his house: Dr. and its abundance of water, and its open posi- | B. is crippled, and can be seen only at home, tion, fronting the valley. The two great evils or, as a rare chance, on a fine summer's day, of there not being houses enough, and of the on the road in his wheeled chair. Mr. Wordsexisting houses being, in a large proportion, I worth likes to see his friends at home, but does unwholesome, seemed to me presently reme- not visit. Mrs. Arnold's sons are dispersed diable; and we may perhaps see hereafter what about the world; and we see two or three of the prospect of remedy has become. The houses them only on occasion, for a few days. Mr. G. near the churchyard are the worst; and as for is always flying backwards and forwards bethe churchyard itself, the sexton faints when tween his home and his business in Cheshire. he opens a grave. The small enclosure is sur- | So, for three times out of four, our little parrounded by three roads ; so that it is difficult ties are composed wholly of ladies; and they to say how it could be enlarged. But here are happen to be such ladies as leave nothing to be hillsides in abundance for a cemetery, if the wished. Farther still along the lane is the gentry of the place would set about having one. new parsonage, a goodly house, not yet finished, The idea is, however, too modern for the Am where the clergyman's eight children are to bleside gentry at present. It will probably be grow and flourish, in full view of such a prossome years before they can shake off the im- ' pect as will make every landscape that their pression that there is something irreligious and windows may command in after life flat and French, in burying their dead anywhere but ugly in comparison. The lane is steep and illwithin the shadow of the church. There are kept at present; but when the new parsonage some charming detached dwellings as high up is finished it will be improved ; and I have my as the church, and even higher. The nearest eye upon it for an extension of Ambleside in is the house of Mr. C., the retired surgeon ; this direction. retired from such a failure of health as makes Higher yet up the hill, beyond the church, is the suburb, called (for some reason un- | centuries. And, casting a shadow of antiquity known) Edinburgh, which has formed itself and solemnity over all, is the great rookery; round the mill,—the bobbin-mill, whose great which I make a point of passing at daybreak, water-wheel is turned by the beautiful Stock | in winter, unless I go to the other rookery, in beck, as it comes down foaming and frothing, Lady Le Fleming's great beeches, at Rydal. I from the Stock ghyll force, (ghyll, ravine, like the noise of the creatures,—their amazing force, waterfall,) a quarter of a mile above. din in the February mornings, when they are There is nothing good about this cluster of beginning their building; but better still do I houses but its position. It wants purifying, like their earliest morning flight,-a higher physically and morally; and, till that is done, flight than I ever see them take at other times. we will let it alone.
I know now how to look for them. When it is This stream, the Stock, goes leaping, gur- still only beginning to be light with us, but gling, and gushing down, overhung by trees when the sky takes the pearly or pinky hue and tormented by rocks in its channel, till it which belongs to & winter dayspring, I look passes under the road, near the foot of the hill steadily up into the sky, and presently see an where we made our pause; after which it flows immeasurable flock, just at the point of vision, away in a winding course among the fields, and sailing over the valley,--sometimes winging across the meadows till it enters the Rotha, straight for Lady Le Fleming's beeches, somenear the Millar Bridge, which we passed on times for the Ambleside elms, and sometimes our way to Fox How. We walk over it on the wheeling round, as if they had time for another road, passing the shops of S., the painter, and sweep abroad, and another chance of seeing of the wheelwright, on the left, and of the the sun, before going to work upon their new cooper, and the confectioner, and the shoe- nests. maker, on the right. The cooper's shop and The post-office shop is the favourite among children are always neat; though flour and these,--all of which yield civil and friendly groceries are sold, as well as tubs and bowls, treatment. The post-mistress, Mrs. Nicholson, and rolling-pins; and though the children are is a favourite with us all. The post-mistress many, and the mother always busy. She is a of a little country town is always the depositary great needle-woman, to judge by the large of much confidence. I doubt whether anything piece of work,--the sheet or shirt,-one sees exists, is done, or is suffered, in Ambleside, on her arm, whenever one glances in at her without Mrs. Nicholson being told of it: yet, open door. Now we are in view of the corner, never, through a long course of years, has she round which we are to turn into the little mar | been charged with saying anything that she ket-place. That corner is shaded by a dark ought not. Yet, with all her discretion, she is sycamore; but before we reach the sycamore, as open-hearted as the most rash of babblers. our attention is fixed by the inn, -the Salu- She gives her confidence freely; but she is so tation, whose name is a reminder of a Catholic innocent, so simple, and so intimately known age, when Gabriel and the Virgin looked down by all her neighbours, that I doubt whether she on the approach of wayfarers. This is the has any secrets of her own, or ever had. I love principal inn; and the range of stables is ra- to go there; but I keep away, if possible, at ther imposing, and the rubbing down and har-post-hours, and near the middle of the day, nessing of horses seem to be always going when she and her daughters are busy. A forward in the summer season. And there is the better time is in the early morning, before any civil and good-natured host; once a stable-boy other shop is open, when there is always one himself, as he likes to tell; now a most impor- of the Nicholsons preparing the shop, and willtant man in the place, and usually out on his ing to serve me with postage-stamps, and spare great flight of steps, or conferring with travel-five minutes for talking over our Building Solers in the area in front of his house. The next ciety, or my cows, or any incident of the time. inn, the Commercial, is on our right, as we turn I never saw more perfect filial conduct than into the little market-place; and a third, the that of the two daughters, who, out of a family White Lion, shows its range of back windows op- of thirteen, remain with their mother. H., the posite. Round the irregular area of the market- handsome and high-spirited one, and M., the place are the rest of the shops; the saddler's, delicate and diminutive and subdued one, are the butcher's, the watchmaker's, the linen-dra- | ladies of nature's making, as truly as their old per's, the ironmonger's, and the lawyer's and mother; and in nothing do they show it more carrier's offices on the left; and on the right, the than in their tender watchfulness over her. coach-office, the baker's, the milliner's, the drug- She is somewhat infirm and suffering; and the gist's, and the post-office; which is also the place more watchful, and the more tender are they. of books and stationary. In the midst stands the Mrs. N. can seldom be induced to leave home; dear old market-cross, up its three steps,-the and I therefore felt it a great honour when she mouldering old stone cross, which tells of past I lately came, with her daughter H., to see my field and my cows, and take tea with me; and host reminded me that the lowest rent would as they departed, I felt that never since my amount to as much as the interest of the sum house was built, had truer ladies passed its which would build me a house of my own plandoors.
ning. I was struck with conviction; and imOur circuit will soon be completed now. We mediately after, some land was offered for sale go straight on, past the White Lion, with the in the best possible situation. I could not get surgeon's and chief shoemaker's houses on our ready by the auction day, or I would have bid right, past the Royal Oak public house, past for the lot, which consisted of the green knoll the smithy, along the highroad to Waterhead. I have mentioned before. I never doubted its There are a few pretty houses, set down in being bought up instantly. But, to my amusegardens, by the way; and one very ugly house, ment, and great satisfaction, this was the lot Fisherbeck, built for a workhouse, and looking for which there were no bidders. I bought it, just like it, but now let in lodgings: but the with two low-lying lots below it, which I obviews into the Brathay valley, opening as we go, tained by some critical negotiation and exand disclosing again the little church on its change; and before July was out, I was in height, and the overlapping hills, with the possession of that knoll and two acres of ground Langdale Pikes appearing last of all, engage about it. The builder, John Newton, had reone's whole attention, till the lake opens full ceived my plan of such a house as I should and calm, and we are at the toll-bar again, and like, and had sent in his tender of a contract. within a quarter of a mile of my host's house. In October, the first sod was turned; and
Can any one wonder that I presently dreamed during the winter, the building went on. of living in this valley? There was no reason | In February, I was living in the cottage why I should not live where I pleased. Five under the sycamores, at Waterhead, which we Fears and more of illness had broken all bonds have glanced at before. The windows of my of business, and excluded me from all connexion sitting-room looked westwards, across the head with affairs. I was free to choose how to begin of the lake. The winter afternoons were thus life afresh. The choice lay between London splendid, in fine weather; but, to enjoy the and pure country; for no one would prefer beauty of the early morning, it was necessary living in a provincial town for any reasons but to go forth under the brightening sky. It is such as did not exist for me. I love London; my pleasure at that season to go out before and I love the pure country. As for the choice there is any daylight-at half past six; and I between them now, I had some dread of a have never wished myself at home, whatever London literary life for both its moral and the weather might be. If rainy, I was sure to physical effects. I was old enough to look for- see the mists curling and rolling over the surward to old age, and to have already some wish face of the lake,-showing themselves, or letfor quiet, and command of my own time. ting a streak of the water be seen whenever Moreover, every woman requires for her hap- there was an opening in the clouds above, piness some domestic occupation and respon- through which & star, or a ray of the dawn sibility to have some one's daily happiness to could be disclosed; and, in the worst weather, cherish; and a London lodging is poorly sup- there were the birds, making their February plied with such objects; whereas, in a country din in the woods between the highroad and the home, with one's maids, and one's neighbours, lake. It mattered little what the weather was and & weary brother or sister, or nephew, or when I stood on a little white pebbly beach, niece, or friend, coming to rest under one's with the waves washing up at my feet, and the trees, or bask on one's sunshiny terrace, there noisy birds over my head, making my very is prospect of abundance of domestic interest. If heart gay with their merry chirp, and pipe, and I chose the country, I might as well choose the whistle, and loud song. They seemed to be best; and this very valley was, beyond all con- trying to drown the dash and rush of the brook troversy, the best. Here, I could write in the which was hurrying from the hills above to serenest repose; here, I could rove at will; help to swell the lake, already rising above its here, I could rest. Here, accordingly, I took | bounds. But, in a clear morning, when the
my rest; and I have never repented it, stars were rocked on the surface of the lake, while my family and friends regard it as the and a fragment of the old moon hung over Wisest step I could take. I was so far cautious, Wansfell, amidst the clear, greenish eastern that I engaged a lodging for half a year, to sky, what a treat was that early walk! I was allow myself scope for a change of mind; but sure to see, on my return to breakfast, a sight I was so far from changing my mind, that, be- worthy of Switzerland itself;—the snowy sumfore we were far into the summer, I was looking mit of Coniston Old Man peering over the inat any empty cottage I could hear of, which tervening ridge, to show itself in the gray was at all likely to serve me as a permanent expanse of Windermere, with the first pink abode. In the midst of my search, my late I lines of sunrise touching its loftiest ridge.
Never was there seen a colouring more soft and out the next morning. There could be no melting; and melting it was, for in a very few morning walk, for our house was a peninsula, minutes it was gone ;—and when I entered my which afforded only a few yards of dry footing sitting-room, and found it lighted chiefly by the beyond the door. Angry billows rolled over blazing fire on which my kettle was hissing and the grass-plat, up against the house walls. In steaming, I could hardly believe that I had the road, men were pushing themselves about seen daylight so near. But, in the afternoon, on logs and planks. The little piers were all I had the very last of the daylight. While sunk, and the boat-house seemed likely to blow candles were lighted everywhere else in the up. Cascades of white water were leaping and house, I sat in the yellow glow at the window, rushing down through trees, and pouring over seeing how the black pines on the rocky pro- fences into the road. Logs and faggots were montory were reflected in the orange and crim- drifting out from the shore, and chips were son waters, stem for stem, distinct and un- dancing on the surface. Within the house, my moved, while the mountains and their reflection landlady was pulling up her carpets from the were of the deepest purple, and a full clear ground-floor rooms; and from the windows, planet shone with a glow-worm light in the the neighbours were calling to each other that midst of the ruddy scene. Of all the sunsets no such flood had been witnessed by the existing of that winter, there is one that stands alone generation. The rain was over, however, and in my remembrance. As my house assumed there was a brisk wind; so that, though the more and more the air of a dwelling,—that is, lake would not go down till the tributary from the time the rooftree was on, I seldom streams had done paying in their excess, the returned to dinner at dark without having had | river and brooks in the valley would soon suba glance at my future home from some point or side into their channels, and allow us to go and other. Its gaping doorways and window- see what had happened above. By the afterspaces looked cold and forlorn; but when once noon, it was thought possible to reach a higher the roof was on, I could overlook that defect part of the road; and, thickshod, I went forth. from the other side of the valley. Along that Presently, I met the A.'s, all in their thickest other side of the valley I was walking, from boots, coming down to see the flood. They Fox How to Waterhead, one bright afternoon, said the meadows in the valley were almost just at sunset; and what did I see ?-my win- entirely under water. I could not turn back dows glittering in the last yellow rays! How with them, so great was my secret anxiety home-like it looked ! how completely changed about my house. It was not for long. When in character from a shell of a dwelling to a I reached Rotha Bridge, and looked northwards, home, merely by putting in the window-sashes! there was my pretty gray house, high and dry I met John Newton, and asked him about it; on its green knoll, bright and cheerful-looking, and he told me that he expected heavy rain, and even with smoke coming out of one chimand had put in the sashes in a hurry, to keep ney. There was not a grate in the house yet; the inside dry.
but the carpenters had made a fire under the The heavy rains came, hour after hour, al-chimney to heat their glue; and thus it was most like a waterspout, with winds which made that this warm domestic token met my eye such a commotion that two panes of my win- when I least expected it. Before I had finished dows were broken. As for the lake, it dashed my circuit, the wind had subsided; and when I and rolled all the next day, and seemed to be cast my last glance at the knoll, the little coming nearer in the night, so that I was not column of smoke was as steady as in a summer at all surprised to find a flood when I looked noon.
AN OLD FABLE NEWLY TRANSLATED.
FOR Milton's fame,
For Dante's dame,
The will, if not
The way, they've got
But if in vain,
They rhyming strain,
With scornful air
They then declare,
A TALE OF CHICAGO.
BY MAJOR RICHARDSON,
AUTHOR OF "ECARTE,” “WACOUSTA," " THE CANADIAN BROTHERS," "TECUMSEN,"
“WAR OF 1812," “ JACK BRAG IN SPAIN,” ETC., ETC.
| which it was confined by a coarse worsted sash
of mingled blue and red, thickly studded with It was on a beautiful day in the early part minute white beads. His trousers, with broad of the month of April, 1812, that four persons seams after the fashion of the Indian leggin, were met in a rude farm-house, situate on the were of a dark crimson, approaching to a bricksouthern branch of the Chicago River, and dust colour, and on his feet he wore the stiff about four miles distant from the fort of that shoe pack which, with the bonnet bleu on his name. They had just risen from their humble grizzled head, and the other parts of his dress midday meal, and three of them were now already described, attested him to be what he lingering near the fire-place, filled with blazing was—a French Canadian. Close at his heels, logs, which at that early season diffused a and moving as he moved, or squatted on his warmth by no means unpleasant, and gave an haunches, gazing into the face of his master air of cheerfulness to the interior of the smoke- when stationary, was a large dog of the mondiscoloured building.
grel breed peculiar to the country, evidently He who appeared to be the head of the esta- | with wolf blood in his veins. blishment was a tall good-looking man of about His companion was of a different style of forty-five-one who had evidently been long a figure and costume. He was a thin, weakdenizen of the forest; for his bronzed counte- looking man, of middle height, with a comnance bore traces of care and toil, while his plexion and hair that denoted his Saxon orirugged yet well-formed hands conveyed the gin. Very thin eyebrows, a sharp and rather impression of the unceasing war he had waged retroussé nose, and a blue eye in which might against the gigantic trees of this western land. be traced an expression half-simple, halfHe was dressed in a hunting-frock of gray cunning, completed the picture of this perhomespun, reaching about half-way down to his sonage, whose lank body was encased in an knee, and trimmed with a full fringe of a old American uniform of faded blue, so scanty somewhat darker hue. His trousers were of in its proportions that the wrists of the wearer the same material, and both were girt around | were wholly exposed below the short, narrow his loins by a common belt of black leather sleeves, while the skirts only " shadowed not fastened by a plain white buckle, into which concealed” that part of the body they had been was thrust a sheath, of black leather also, con- originally intended to cover. A pair of blue taining a large knife peculiar to the backwoods-pantaloons, perfectly in keeping, on the score man of that day. His feet were encased in of scantiness and age, with the coat, covered moccasins, and on his head, covered with strong, the attenuated lower limbs of the wearer, on dark hair, was carelessly donned a slouched whose head moreover was stuck a conical cap, hat of common black felt, with several plaited that had all the appearance of having been folds of the sweet grass of the adjoining prairie once a portion of the same military equipment, for a band. He was seemingly a man of and had only undergone one change in the loss strong muscular power, while his stern, dark of its peak. A small black, leather, narrow, eye denoted firmness and daring.
ridged stock was clasped around his thin and The elder of the two men, to whom this indi- scarecrow neck, and that so tightly, that it vidual stood evidently in the character of a was the wonder of his companions how stranmaster, was a short, thick-set person of about gulation had been so long avoided. A dirty fifty, with huge whiskers, that, originally and very coarse linen shirt showed itself parblack, had been slightly grizzled by time. His tially between the bottom of the stock and the brows were bushy and overhanging, and almost uppermost button of the uniform, which was concealed the small and twinkling eyes, which carefully closed; while his feet were protected it required the beholder to encounter more than from the friction of the stiff though nearly once, before he could decide their true colour worn-out military shoes, by wisps of hay, that to be a dark gray. A blanket coat, that had supplied the absence of the sock. This man once been white, but which the action of some was about five-and-thirty. half dozen winters had changed into a dirty The last of this little party was a boy. He yellow, enveloped his rather full form, around was a raw-boned lad of about fourteen years