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the good woman that kept it; so I lay there two nights, and went, Oct. 13. To visit Gordale-scar, which lay six miles from Settle; but that way was directly over a fell, and as the weather was not to be depended on, I went round in a chaise, the only way one could get near it in a carriage, which made it full thirteen miles, half of it such a road! but I got safe over it, so there's an end, and came to Malham (pronounced Maum), a village in the bosom of the mountains, seated in a wild and dreary valley. From thence I was to walk a mile over very rough ground, a torrent rattling along on the left hand; on the cliffs above hung a few goats; one of them danced and scratched an ear with its hind foot in a place where I would not have stood stock-still
For all beneath the moon.
As I advanced, the crags seemed to close in, but discovered a narrow entrance turning to the left between them: I followed my guide a few paces, and the hills opened again into no large space; and then all farther way is barred by a stream that, at the height of above fifty feet, gushes from a hole in the rock, and spreading in large sheets over its broken front, dashes from steep to steep, and then rattles away in a torrent down the valley: the rock on the left rises perpendicular, with stubbed yew-trees and shrubs staring from its side, to the height of at least three hundred feet; but these are not the thing: it is the rock to the right, under which you stand to see the fall, that forms the principal horror of the place. From its very base it begins to slope forwards over you in one block or solid mass without any crevice in its surface, and overshadows half the area below with its dreadful canopy: when I stood at (I believe) four yards' distance from its foot, the drops, which perpetually distil from its brow, fell on my head;
and in one part of its top, more exposed to the weather, there are loose stones that hang in air, and threaten visibly some idle spectator with instant destruction: it is safer to shelter yourself close to its bottom, and trust to the mercy of that enormous mass, which nothing but an earthquake can stir. The gloomy uncomfortable day well suited the savage aspect of the place, and made it still more formidable: I staid there, not without shuddering, a quarter of an hour, and thought my trouble richly paid; for the impression will last for life. At the ale-house where I dined in Malham, Vivares, the landscape-painter, had lodged for a week or more; Smith and Bellers had also been there, and two prints of Gordale have been engraved by them. Oct. 14. Leaving my comfortable inn, to which I had returned from Gordale, I set out for Skipton, sixteen miles. From several parts of the road, and in many places about Settle, I saw at once the three famous hills of this country, Ingleborough, Penigent, and Pendle; the first is esteemed the highest, and their features not to be described but by the pencil.”
* Without the pencil nothing indeed is to be described with precision; and even that pencil ought to be in the very hand of the writer, ready to supply with outlines everything that his pen cannot express by words. As far as language can describe, Mr. Gray has, I think, pushed its powers: for rejecting, as 1 before hinted, every general unmeaning and hyperbolical phrase, he has selected (both in this journal, and on other similar occasions) the plainest, simplest, and most direct terms: yet notwithstanding his judicious care in the use of these, I must own I feel them defective. They present me, it is true, with a picture of the same species, but not with the identical picture: my imagination receives clear and distinct, but not true and exact images. It may be asked then, why am I entertained by well-written descriptions? I answer, because they amuse when they do not inform me; and because, after I have seen the places described, they serve to recal to my memory the original scene, almost as well as the truest drawing or picture. In the meanwhile, my mind is flattered by thinking it has acquired some conception of the place, and rests contented in an innocent error, which nothing but ocular proof can detect, and which, when detected, does not diminish the pleasure I had before received, but augments it by super-adding the charms of comparison and versification; and herein I would place the real and only merit of verbal prose description. To speak of poetical, would lead me beyond the limits as well as the purpose of this note. I cannot, however, help adding, that I have seen one piece of verbal description which completely satisfies me, because it is throughout assisted by masterly delineation. It is composed by the Rev. Mr. Gilpin, of Cheam, in Surry; and contains, amongst other places, an account of the very scenes which, in this tour, our Author visited. This gentleman, possessing the conjoined talent of a writer and a designer, has employed them in this manu- "
Craven after all is an unpleasing country when seen from a height; its valleys are chiefly wide, and either marshy or inclosed pasture, with a few trees. Numbers of black cattle are fatted here, both of the Scotch breed, and a larger sort of oxen with great horns. There is little cultivated ground, except a few oats. Skipton, to which I went through Long-Preston and Gargrave, is a pretty large market-town, in a valley, with one very broad street gently sloping downwards from the castle, which stands at the head of it. This is one of our good Countess's building,” but on old foundations; it is not very large, but of a handsome antique appearance, with round towers, a grand gateway, bridge, and moat, surrounded by many old trees. It is in good repair, and kept up as a habitation of the Earl of Thanet, though he rarely comes thither: what with the fleet, and a foolish dispute about chaises, that delayed me, I did not see the inside of it, but went on, fifteen miles, to Otley; first up Shode-bank, the steepest hill I ever saw a road carried over in England, for it mounts in a straight line (without any other repose for the horses than by placing stones every now and then behind the wheels) for a full mile; then the road goes on a level along the brow of this high hill over Rumbald-moor, till it gently descends into Wharldale, so they call the vale of the Wharf, and a beautiful vale it is, well-wooded, well cultivated, well inhabited, but with high crags at a distance, that border the green country on either hand; through the midst of it, deep, clear, full to the brink, and of no inconsiderable breadth, runs in long windings the river. How it comes to pass that it should be so fine and copious a stream here, and at Tadcaster (so
script to every purpose of picturesque beauty, in the description of which a correct eye, a practised pencil, and an eloquent pen could assist him, - He has, consequently, produced a work unique in its kind. But I have said it is in manuscri and, I am afraid, likely to continue so; for would his modesty permit him to print it, the great expense of plates would make its publication almost impracticable. • Anne Countess of Pembroke and Montgomery.
much lower) should have nothing but a wide stony channel without water, I cannot tell you. I passed through Long-Addingham, Ilkeley (pronounced Eecly) distinguished by a lofty brow of loose rocks to the right; Burley, a neat and pretty village, among trees; on the opposite side of the river lay Middleton Lodge, belonging to a catholic gentleman of that name; Weston, a venerable stone fabric, with large offices, of Mr. , Vavasour, the meadows in front gently descending to the water, and behind a great and shady wood; Farnley (Mr. Fawkes's), a place like the last, but larger, and rising higher on the side of the hill. Otley is a large airy town, with clean but low rustic buildings, and a bridge over the Wharf; I went into its spacious gothic church, which has been new-roofed, with a flat stuccoceiling; in a corner of it is the monument of Thomas Lord Fairfax, and Helen Aske, his lady, descended from the Cliffords and Latimers, as her epitaph says; the figures, not ill-cut (particularly his in armour, but bareheaded) lie on the tomb. I take them to be the parents of the famous Sir Thomas Fairfax.
V. M.R. G. RA Y TO DR. W H A RTON. April 18, 1770. I HAVE utterly forgot where my journal left off, but I think it was after the account of Gordale, near Settle; if so, there was little more worth your notice: the principal things were Wharldale, in the way from Skipton to Otley, and Kirkstall Abbey, three miles from Leeds * * * *.f Kirkstall is a noble ruin in the semi-saxon style of building, as old as King Stephen, towards the end of his reign, 1152. The whole church is still standing, the roof excepted, seated in a delicious quiet valley,
* Here a paragraph, describing Whardale in the foregoing journal, was repeated.
on the banks of the river Aire, and preserved with religious reverence by the Duke of Montagu. Adjoining to the church, between that and the river, are variety of chapels and remnants of the abbey, shattered by the encroachments of the ivy, and surrounded by many a sturdy tree, whose twisted roots break through the fret of the vaulting, and hang streaming from the roofs. The gloom of these ancient cells, the shade and verdure of the landscape, the glittering and murmur of the stream, the lofty towers and long perspectives of the church, in the midst of a clear bright day, detained me for many hours; and were the truest objects for my glass I have met with any where. As I lay at that smoky, ugly, busy town of Leeds, I dropped all further thoughts of my journal; and after passing two days at Mason's (though he was absent) pursued my way by Nottingham, Leicester, Harborough, Kettering, Thrapston, and Huntingdon to Cambridge, where I arrived on the 22d of October, having met with no rain to signify till this last day of my journey. There's luck for you! I do think of seeing Wales this summer, having never found my spirits lower than at present, and feeling that motion and change of the scene is absolutely necessary to me; I will make Aston in my way to Chester, and shall rejoice to meet you there the last week in May. Mason writes me word that he wishes it; and though his old house is down, and his new one not up, proposes to receive us like princes in grain.
I RECEIVED your letter at Southampton; and as I would wish to treat every body, according to their own * This letter was written the 19th of November, 1764; but as it delineates an
other abbey, in a different manner, it seems to make no improper companion to that which precedes it.