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float with delight, Stealing the echoes the soft wind may bring; J07 never wearies, nor pleasures e'er
VjL M K_LJ TM W » ?_t_E_t-C_L
o'er the blue sky, Steals not a shadow, the Elfins are found; In the sweet bud of some flow'rets we
fade, Deep In the glen where our bowers are laid: OhI come hither stray I the Elfins now play,
Morn brings its sunshine, the El fs glide s - way. OhI come, oome hi - ther stray; OhI come
June 21st: the longest day. Of all days of the year, that the longest should be that on which I must forego my early walk! But there is so much before me to-day, that I must husband my strength. There is the walk to Bowness; and rowing and fishing for the rest of the day. As I throw up the sash at six o'clock, and see how cool the shadows lie under the eastern heights, and how dewy the garden is, it seems a pity that I cannot start off at once, and accomplish the walk before the sun grows too tyrannical. But the mail will not pass for three hours yet; and I must not go without my letters. It does not follow that I must remain within doors. I will gather a glorious bouquet for F. M.
The grass is dewy. What a pity not to mow the two pieces that want it so much,—the plot at the end of the terrace, and that in the quarry! J. brings me the scythe and whetstone, and says she thinks there are green peas enough for a small dish, if I like to carry some to Miss M. So, off she goes to gather them, and such gooseberries as she can find, while I mow my grass. The harebells wave so prettily on the little bank under the oaks, that it grieves me to cut them down; but that slope must be kept sunny and warm; and the grass is too tall. Down they all come! The crisp fall of the grass under the scythe in the dewy morning, is as sweet a sensation as the sweeping sound. There is a heap of fresh food for my tenant's cow; and the quarry will presently yield another. What a sweet place this quarry is,—the honeysuckle climbing up by the jutting roots of the oak, over the face of the rock, and ferns and rock-weeds sprouting out of every
crevice, and heaths tufting the ledges! And what wealth of roses in the parterre in the middle! Few are full blown yet; but nothing is prettier than a bouquet of buds. Ah! J. has left me little to do by the time the mowing is finished. She says there is such a basketfull that, if I please, she must go with me to carry some of my load. Well; she may go half-way. She may go as far as Calgarth. I must call on the L.'s, and we shall have a rest there. And now to breakfast!
Not yet! As I am wiping the scythe at the tool-house door, I see a great commotion in my neighbour W.'s garden; and M. comes to tell me that his bees are swarming with the swarm that we are to have. Our bee-house has long been ready, and the smell of paint quite gone; and now J. is rubbing our new hive with sweet herbs and honey. There it goes, with its clean white cloth; and before I have done breakfast, it is properly placed on its stand in the beehouse, and all alive with inhabitants. I hope they will have a happy life. We have done what we can for them in surrounding them with flowers, and beds of sweet herbs; but there is a better resource for them in the mountain heather. In six weeks' time, Loughrigg will be growing crimson and purple with heather blossom; and it is certain that the bees do stretch their flight that far, and some say, even to the higher slopes of Wansfell,— which is a long flight for them. I wonder bees are not universally kept in such a district. As I have to pay £1 for this swarm, they must be less common than they need be. My hive must swarm well next year, that I may give my maids a stock of bees. It will be a pretty source of interest and of profit to them.
"The mail is in sight, ma'am." Then we may go in five minutes. We must give the H.'s that much time to sort the letters. It is still early enough for pleasure in our walk, we find when we reach the road, and see that the dust is still damped down by the dew. My letters and newspapers are ready for me; and there is no proof-sheet, or other business which need spoil the completeness of my holiday. Here is a whole day to be passed without touching pen, book, or thimble! It now occurs to J. and me that the walk will not be half a mile further, and that it will be much pleasanter, if we leave the highroad, and go up Wansfell, to follow the track through its wood to the lane above Low-wood. It is a toilsome ascent at first,— stony and hot and close; but by the time that we come out upon the brook, a sweet air blows upon us from the lake. We sit down on the low wall above the clear pool, and enjoy the dash of the little fall, and remind each other that for a long way now, our path lies under the trees. Between the trees, as we proceed, noble views open upon us of the two valleys at the head of the lake,—now reeking in the heat of the sun, and the air flickers between our eyes and the pale Langdale Pikes, now standing out clear and sultry, under a sky from which every remnant of mist seems melted away.
At the end of our shaded path there is a gate, and we come out upon the bare heath; but the breeze is more than a match for the sun, and we grow cooler as we advance. Who would have thought of finding a spring and cistern, hung with water-weeds and half hidden by ferns, in such a place as this? It seems more appropriate to some retired lane, than to a bare mountain slope. Now we begin to descend,—into the field, through the paddock, past the old-fashioned farm-house, down and down into Trout-beck lane, and down again into the highroad.
After another mile, we are at Calgarth gate. How could Bishop Watson contrive to be otherwise than happy here? He built the house, he planted the woods, and he blessed the whole neighbourhood by planting the hills around, so that the Calgarth woods are the glory of the district. Is it possible that, in the midst of such privileges, a man and a clergyman should be disturbed and querulous, because he was Bishop of Llandaff, and not Bishop of some higher and richer see? Far happier is the present tenant of the mansion, who desires nothing more than to spend his life in rowing about the lake. It is a pity that he is to succeed to a baronetcy. His station, and its requirements, will be purely embarrassing and
irksome to him. As long as he can carry out his pet theory, that twelve o'clock is the middle of the day, and have his breakfast, with his children round him, at four in the morning, and his dinner at ten, and his supper at five in the afternoon, and be in bed at eight; and hammer away at his boats, and spend all his fair weather on the water, and not be required to wear stock or cravat except at church, he is happy; and, in as far as his inheritance of a baronetcy interferes with all this, it will be a misfortune to him. Here he comes, under the trees, bareheaded, his coat hanging on his arm, his shirt open to the waist, and the sleeves rolled up to the shoulders; his plush pantaloons half-covered with square patches, so clumsy that no tailor could have put them on. It must be a specimen of his own mending. What a good face it is, amidst all this oddity! And what a charming voice and address and tone of conversation! How strangely come such a voice and address from one with such a weather-beaten face, and such a mop of grizzled hair! He told me once that one of the afflictions of his boating-life is, that sounds come so far and so clear as they do over calm water. He hears conversation in boats distant from him half the width of the lake, and sometimes such conversation is about himself;—about who he is, and where he came from, and what a queer fellow he is. He often has to row himself out of earshot. And F. M. makes the same complaint,—hears herself pointed out as the Lady of the Lake,—a foreign lady, who fishes and shoots, and the like. What could possess the Bishop to build his house down in a hollow, and with its back to the lake? How its pink plastered walls are discoloured by damp; and how much one hears of rheumatism from the inmates! And here, where one would think it hardly possible to get out of the way of a noble view, the front windows command little more than a sloping field!
Here J. may rest herself before returning home; and, as the lady of the house is absent, I ask leave to show J. the portrait of Bishop Watson, and his celebrated library. She never saw so many books in one collection before, and will never again think so much of our library at home. Here come the children! They desire me to go to Bowness by the short cut through their field and the woods, and say they will go with me and carry my basket and bring me out at Hayrigg, within a mile of Bowness. Away we go, therefore, walking between hedges of tall grass, nearly ready for the mowers, and then winding through the woods where the wood-sorrel clusters about the roots of the old oaks, and blue-bells dye all the shadows, while a few daffodils remain in the sunny places. How cool is the pale-green light