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house in Troutbeck, the paddock behind it to get peat for fuel, and liberty to cut wood in Troutbeck Park. It is said the king asked him what he lived upon, and his reply was, ‘Thick pottage and milk, that a mouse might walk upon dry-shod, for breakfast, and the sunny side of a wedder to his dinner when he could get it' (i. e., the whole of the wether). His mother lived with him, and they toiled on these hill-sides, making a livelihood chiefly by cutting and burning the common brackens, from which they obtained a residue which was used in the manufacture of soap. Their graves are said to be discernible near the old hog-house.’ This was the estate afterward given by Charles I. to Huddlestone Phillipson for his services in the civil wars.” Although there appears to be no doubt that some man of enormous stature and strength dwelt at Troutbeck, it is not improbable that the tradition has gathered something here and there—a bit from the powerful Phillipson (Robin the Devil), who possessed the place, and a bit from the prehistoric monument at Penrith, called the Giant's Grave. Among other traditions about Hugh Hird, one relates that alone with his bow and arrows he drove back a party of Scotch marauders. It may be remembered, also, that in the time of Henry IV. there was a wide-spread belief in formidable forest phantoms of the Gros Veneur order, which were generally called Hugh or Hugo, after the spectre of Hugh Capet in France. The people in Westmoreland and Cumberland are very fond of athletic exercises, and extraordinary powers are still sometimes developed among them. During the long life of Wordsworth in this region there was one man more famous among the common folk than he, namely, Ben Wells, for fifty years dancing master and fiddler to the country people of Cumberland. Ben was the kind of man who in a more primitive time gave country folk their legends. The instrument being changed, Ben might have been the original of the boy in “A mery Geste of the Frere and the Boye,” who had a magic pipe: “All that may the pipe here

Shall not themselfe stere, But laugh and lepe about.”

He not only made cows and milkmaids dance, but so wrought on a friar that he capered until bit by bit he lost

“His cope and scapelary, And all his other wede.”

Mr. Craig Gibson, F.S.A., has written (1869) a lyric about Ben Wells, in the Cumberland dialect, and in a note says: “The last time I met with him was about twenty years ago, in the bar parlor of an inn in the southern part of the Lake district, where the strains of his fiddle, produced

THOMAS DE QUINCEY.

at my request, caused such excitement that a general and very uproarious dance (of males only) set in, and was kept up with such energy that, the space being confined, the furniture was seriously damaged, and Ben was at last ejected by the landlady, as the readiest—indeed, the only —method of putting a stop to the riot. He was light, muscular, and springy, and in his earlier years wonderfully swift of foot, so much so that the late Dr. Johnstone of Cockermouth told me that he once (at Scale Hill) saw him, without any assistance, run down and capture a wild rabbit—a proof of activity rarely paralleled.” I quote two verses of Mr. Gibson's poem, which may be read as the

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* The cushion-dance is, I believe, peculiar to this district, and is the finishing dance of a rural ball or merry-night. A young man, carrying a cushion, paces round the room in time to the appropriate tune, selects a girl, lays the cushion at her feet, and both kneel upon it and kiss, the fiddler making an extraordinary squeal during the operation. The girl then takes the cushion to another young man, who kisses her as before, and leaves her free to “link” with the first, and march round the room. This is repeated till the whole party is brought in, when they all form a circle, and “kiss out” in the same manner, sometimes varying it by the kissers sitting on two chairs, back to back, in the middle of the ring, and kissing over their shoulders—a trying process (adds Mr. Gibson) to bashful youth of either sex.

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Ko Christopher North and De +. Quincey were fond of “the old Laker” Ritson, who was such a famous wrestler. De Quincey used to take long walks with him, and Christopher North + several times contended with him. In their wrestling matches Ritson threw Wilson twice out of three falls, confessing

} that he found him “a varra | bad 'un to lick”; but in running Christopher beat him, and in

jumping could manage twelve yards in three leaps, with a heavy stone in each hand, while Ritson could only manage eleven and three-quarters. The Grasmere sports are still kept up, but the last youth who

gained much celebrity at them | came to a sad end. Jonathan ão Park was about twenty-three `----- years of age when he took the `s first prize for the mountain race

at Grasmere—£25, as I heard— but it would seem to have sadly demoralized him. He went upon a long spree, and two days after his prize was won, in August, 1874, he either drowned himself or was drowned in Windermere. After the Giant comes Jack, too clever for his Hugeness: the small man of skill eats less, accomplishes more; and evolution goes on from the big to the little. The “ hog-house” where the giant rests may have given his name to Hogarth, whose ancestors resided in Troutbeck village. The uncle of that great artist resided here, and was famous in the neighborhood for his songs. These were satirical, humorous, and generally about his neighbors. The house of Hogarth's father is still standing in the village, and near it two old trees he is said to have planted. It is a dwelling not mean, but uniquely commonplace there ; for the houses of Troutbeck are rather striking, having many gables, and pretty porticoes made of slate-stone. The house where the Hogarths would have lived, if such things were arranged with reference to the fitness of things as seen by later generations, is that of Mr. George Browne, whose wife, in his absence, most kindly and intelligently told us the history of the quaint old furniture with which the house is filled. This charming cottage, with its chimneys transformed into ivy towers, and its walls set with Queen Anne windows framed in climbing-roses and morning-glories, would drive a London pre-Raphaelist “mad with sweet desire.” But Mr. Browne is also an amateur worker in wood, and his imitations of ancient cabinets and chests are such as might easily deceive one not familiar with old furniture. This, however, is not his business, and the visitor's hungry eye must train itself to love these art-flowers, and leave them on their stem. A little beyond this we went to seek out an ancient inn, which bore the name of “The Mortal Man,” and which was said to have a curious old sign, representing two men, one fat and jolly, the other haggard, with an appropriate quatrain beneath. When we reached the little inn, however, it was only to discover that the sign had long ago disappeared. We found a better treasure in mine host of “The Mortal Man,” as solid, sensible, and honest a specimen of a Westmoreland yeoman as one could imagine. Isaac Walker (such was his name) knew well what would be the value of the sign if he could get it, and he had preserved with the utmost care every antique thing about the house, such as an oak cupboard (three hundred years old at least) in the wall, and some letters on the outside wall, with date, “I. C., 1689.” The initials are those of Isaac Cookson, and Isaac Walker's mother was a Cookson. He also repeated to us the correct version of the lines which were on the sign from which the inn derived its name: “Thou Mortal Man, that lives on bread, What is't that makes thy nose so red?-Thou silly ass, that looks so pale, It is by drinking Sally Birkett's ale.” Having enjoyed the fresh eggs, homemade bread, glasses of cream, pure butter, which excellent Mrs. Walker prepared for us, we sat down together outside the door, and while the Abbé was quietly abducting Isaac's portrait, I listened to his delightful talk about the neighborhood. “It’s an old Troutbeck riddle for strangers that, small as the village seems, it has three hundred bulls, constables, and bridges. The township was divided into three parts, called

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‘hundreds,' and each had a constable, a bull, and a bridge. But old things go. We haven't any ghosts nowadays—Troutbeck railway station's too near. I can remember when a boy would run fit to break his neck past an old lime-kiln near this, because of a ghost—somebody murdered there by being thrown into the kiln. But there are very few superstitions among us now; and the fewer the better.” Just here Mrs. Walker came holding triumphantly in her hand the largest egg that hen ever laid—a double egg, which weighed nearly a pound. “It’s Becky's egg,” said she, whereupon Isaac laughed till his sides shook. “You see,” he explained, “there

kitchEN of “THE Montal. MAN.”

was a deal ado about that chicken. The old hen got killed—or something happened—and my wife took that half-hatched egg, and carried it about in her bosom, and slept with it, and got to love it before it was born. She says, “If it's a cock, it's name shall be Jacob, and if it's a hen, it shall be Rebekah.' And so Rebekah it is, and she's paid for all that pains by laying fine eggs, until now she's laid this big one.” Wordsworth, thou shouldst have lived to see this hour! So I mentally exclaimed, then said to Isaac Walker, “The poet Wordsworth would have made a poem about your wife carrying about that egg so tenderly.” “Ah!” said he, without the least anticipation of the effect his words would have on me, “I dare say he would : he was a great man for taking notice of little things.” “Then you have read Wordsworth's poems ?” I inquired. “Not so much that, but when I was a lad I lived with him.” “Lived with him ''' “Ay, for some time, and it is a very well remembered time for me. I was put out to service in a family at Ambleside, and when my master and mistress wanted to travel away in foreign countries, they asked Mr. Wordsworth to take me, just to keep me out of mischief. So I staid in his service at Rydal about a year.” I need not give the questions that now fell thick and fast on old Isaac Walker. The examination had the following results: “Mr. Wordsworth was a plain-looking man, with thin face and large features, especially a pretty big nose. He lived very plainly. He had not a bit of pride, and would talk familiarly but gravely with servants. He used to talk with me kind

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ly and familiarly, and I had a warm affection for him. He liked to be out-ofdoors whenever he could. Sometimes he was picking up things to look at them, and then he was talking to things in a very queer way. I can see him now, following a bumble-bee all over the garden; he puts his hands behind him this way, and then bends over toward the bee, and wherever it went he followed, making a noise like it—' Boom-oom-oom-oom.’” Isaac imitated the action and the sound perfectly, but said he could never get the bee's sound so well as Mr. Wordsworth had it. “He would stick to that bee long and long, until it went away; you might go away and come back, and still you would see him striding after that bee, with his mouth down toward it, and hear his * Boom-oom-oom.” But there was nothing he didn't take notice of. I don't remember so well his friends who used to come and see him ; the one I remember most was Mr. Hartley Coleridge, who was a little fellow—carried his head on one side. I remember well Professor Wilson : he was a splendid man, very active and strong. ‘The Mortal Man' was his favorite inn over here; but that was before my

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time. I was sorry to leave Rydal Mount when the time came.” Proud to have been the first that ever burst into this little tarn of Wordsworthian reminiscence in Troutbeck Valley, we set out for Ambleside. The road along which we move so merrily, listening to the voice of bird or water-fall, is in that valley wherein the Britons took refuge from the Romans when these were building their great road from Kendal to Penrith along the ridge of Troutbeck Hills. Where those conquerors left serfs in their Saxon huts there is now a remarkably happy community ; and all the wars of Caesar have hardly so large a place in their traditions as a certain famous contest between a Troutbeck bull and an Orrest Head bull. Josiah Brown of the latter place had a tremendous bull, and some man at Troutbeck had another; and there was so much brag on each side that it was

he MANs.

agreed to have a fight between the animals. The terms were that the winner should have the fallen animal, and that they were to meet half way between the two places. It was a tremendous battle. The whole country for many miles around gathered, and Josiah came riding on the back of his monster. The Troutbeck bull was prodigious, and fought furiously; the struggle was like hills hurled against each other, and shook the earth. Finally, the Troutbeck animal fell, and Josiah Brown, having presented it to the poor of Troutbeck, rode back on his victorious bull to Orrest Head. It is safe to say that Rome in her palmiest days never had such a combat as that. I must own to an emotion of deep delight at the first sight of Dovenest. It was not because, as it nestled amid the trees on a gentle slope of the hill, it seemed the

very cottage of which Moore sang,

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