« AnteriorContinuar »
libraries (I think nearly all that have been published of late), and with them, in sombre coverings, those heavier books which are old and not inconstant companions of the Peripatetic's more studious hours. But though the books are here, I am by no means clear in my own mind that I shall read them. I have a right to my leisure. I have helped my friends at the troublesome beginning of their election work, and by and by I may have to help them again, when the time draws nearer.
If I do any reading here it shall be of the lightest, in accordance with my surroundings. But I have an impression that, while listlessly turning over the leaves, I fall into a light summer slumber,that sleep in the sun which the old Greeks loved so well,—for I suddenly rouse myself with a glad feeling of elasticity, and find myself handling those irresistible publications.
Mill, Grote, Bain — the three wonderful friends whose works, in awakening and directing thought, stand pre-eminent in all our modern literature. Very useful men in their way,--Mill and Grote are among my closest personal benefactors,—but their names are painful just now. Instinctively I turn away from their words. The proceedings of the British Associa
. tion—for the present I will take them for granted. I will get my scientific friend to mark out for me all the best addresses, but in the meantime my scientific friend can only attend to the lobster salad and cham
pagne of Mr. H's tremendous feed. Ah, my friend ! secure the blessing of leisure, get hold of a thoroughly interesting book, linger long among our own woods and waters, and you have caught the substance of the year's holiday, while the palpitating crowds are flying about after its shadow.
THERE is one kind of tourist travel which you may
prosecute as late as you like in the season or out of the season; and the heavier the rainfall, and the more boisterous the weather, the more promising and successful will be your expedition. This is what Wordsworth calls the 'hunting of waterfalls.' The phrase is an exceedingly good one, for it is not enough that you should turn out of the road to look at a waterfall, but the best waterfalls are generally placed in almost inaccessible localities, and then you have to work your way up the gorge before you have really explored the fall. Now, in the summer-time, waterfalls are really a great imposition. ‘Aira force that torrent hoarse,' is, as a matter of fact, nothing of the kind. An effect, partly similar, inight be produced by an old woman with a watering.can. It is after heavy rains or in the depth of winter that you see the waterfall in its own season and in its proper charms. If you are tolerably hardy and robust, make the experiment even in December.
The whole Lake country is girdled and encircled by the railway system, and the lines run up to the very shores of the lakes. Nature does not come to an end when the excursion trains cease to run, and winter and waterfalls go excellently together.
It may be broadly said that there are two kinds of tourists. There is the carriage tourist, and there is the genuine walking tourist. The first system is the more luxurious; but the second is absolutely necessary if you want to see the country. It is all very well to loll in a carriage, as you roll along by the margin of a lake, and to go on the water in a cushioned boat, to dream away your days in pleasant hotels opening on woods and waters, to ascend hills so far as good roads, good rides, good mules will take you. I trust I have a keen and well-educated sense of such enjoyments. But I admit, at the same time, that fine scenery requires a severer system. The hunting of waterfalls certainly involves such. fine-weather tourist venture on the experiment. You wait for a propitious day—that is, the first day after the heavy rains. The path is a watercourse simply; the slopes are mimic waterfalls in themselves. You had better take goloshes ; they save you at first to a certain extent, but they are of course eventually torn to pieces by the stones and the moraines. You do not so much walk as make a series of kangaroo leaps from one stone or crag to another. If it was raining
yesterday, of course it will rain again some time today. With all your exertions you make a very slow progress, and you are now fully able to understand the slow progress of troops over heavy ground. The general physiological effect upon your system, from the rain without and the dew within, is precisely analogous to a Turkish bath; and the best rule is, when thoroughly wet through and wearied out, to betake yourself to hot blankets and hot brandy and water.
There is one idiotic remark which one frequently hears in the Lakes : 'Oh, but you ought to have seen the Alps.!' As if a beautiful object is really less beautiful, because elsewhere there is also something that is beautiful, or perhaps more beautiful. This remark always flings me into a state of dreadful irritation. One is glad to have seen the Alps, if only because it leaves one at liberty to admire the Westmoreland and Cumberland ranges. The foreground is in point of fact just as fine, as a rule, as the Swiss scenery, only we miss the background of snowy mountains. In compensation we have that wonderful throng of minute beauties which hardly belongs to the bolder and sublimer Swiss views. Neither can the most experienced Swiss climber afford to think cheaply of our northern hills.
It is not so long ago that a man took his departure, alpenstock in hand, from John Ritson's, at the head of Wastwater, to go up Scawfell. That experienced guide-whose modest