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of a rivulet, over which a rustic bridge is thrown, and a neat little cottage erected for the repose of the visitant. In point of situation and scenery, Harrowgate is even inferior to our own Saratoga. It has nothing to recommend it but retirement, its waters, and a tolerably pure air. The town, consisting chiefly of hotels, for the accommodation of visitants, the annual number of whom is 2000, is built upon a sandy pine plain, thrown into a common. It was rendered the more unpleasant on the day of our visit, by a high, bleak wind, which raised a tempest of dust. In one direction, there is a tolerable distant prospect, opening towards the north-east, and terminated by a range of mountains. York Minster was distinctly seen from the window of the hotel, rearing its dark pile and lofty turrets above the intervening moorland, like a ship at sea. At 5 o'clock dinner was served up in pretty good style, at a common table, in a large public hall. The company consisted of about a hundred persons of both sexes, with whom a proper degree of etiquette in dress and deportment was observed. There was some formality in taking seats. The waiter conducted us to the end of one of the tables, where we found our names written upon the bottom of the plates. They were taken from the Album, in which all entries are made as visitants arrive. This systematic arrangement is a happy mode of preventing the jostling and confusion, which usually occur in taking places at a public table.
RIPON.—STUDLEY PARK–Fountains ABBEY-KENDAL.
September, 1825–From Harrowgate we continued our ride to Ripon, situated between the Ure and the Skell, two branches of the Ouse. It is a place of great antiquity, and its historical associations are interesting. There was an ancient custom in this town of blowing a horn at 9 o'clock in the evening, and remuneration was made for any robberies between that hour and sunrise the next morning. A tax was levied upon the citizens to meet the expenses. The usage of sounding the horn is still kept up, and this odd curfew was heard by us soon after our arrival.
VOL. I. - 16
On the morning of the 5th we made an excursion to Studley Park, at present the seat of Mrs. Lawrence, and te Fountains Abbey, the great objects of attraction in the vicinity of Ripon. At the distance of a mile and a half, the path which all the way is perfectly straight and forms a beautiful vista, terminated at one end by the Gothic towers of St. Peter's, and at the other by an obelisk near the mansion, conducts the visitant into the Park, ornamented by stately trees, and watered by the little river Skell, which sparkles and babbles down in the most romantic manner imaginable. Herds of deer were reclining upon its banks, as if lulled into repose by its murmurs.
At the end of another mile and a half, leading for the whole distance through groves and along winding paths, which the taste of Shenstone might have envied, we arrived at the lodge, procured a guide, and commenced a ramble of five hours. The pleasure grounds of Studley, embracing the ruins of Fountains, and composing about 200 acres, exclusive of the Park, far surpass in beauty, any thing of the kind that has met our observation in England. Were I the proprietor of Eaton Hall and Chatsworth, I would exchange them both, as a residence, for the charms of this lone and sweet little vale, which, with a few alterations, would approach as near to a terrestrial paradise as my imagination can reach. Mr. Aislabie, for sixty years a member of Parliament, deserves to be immortalized for the taste he has manifested in laying out and embellishing these grounds. Both in design and execution, his ornaments are of the chasest and most delicate kind. Instead of counteracting and doing violence to nature, he has humoured all her little playful freaks, catching her suggestions, and so studiously fulfilling her intentions, that it is difficult to discern at what point her works terminated and his commenced. Where there was an enlargement of the stream, he has widened it to a little lake, extending the green islets in the same proportion: where there was a cascade, he has merely increased its foam and its murmur, by adding another fragment of rock: where a fountain bubbled from the side of the glen, his hand fashioned a deeper and broader bed, hanging its margin with the same foliage, and storing its pellucid waters with the same finny tribes. Here are no aquatic flights of stone steps, down which the descent of water is as regular as that of a nobleman's estates—no spouting monsters, nor metallic trees. These remarks are intended to apply to nothing beyond the natural scenery of Studley and its improvements—to its waters, woods, and rocks ; for some of its adventitious and artificial ornaments, if ornaments they may be called, are in the worst possible taste, creating not a little surprise in the spectator, that a man so sensible to the charms of nature, could betray such a want of judgment in the embellishments of art. Besides a troop of Roman gladiators, gods, and demi-gods, whose naked statues are posted like sentinels along the margin of the stream, there is a small edifice denominated the Temple of Piety, the decorations of which are a representation of the Grecian Daughter nursing her father, and bronze busts of Titus Vespasian and Nero ! The first of these is well enough , but what entitled the last to a seat in the sanctuary, I am at a loss to conjecture. These, however, are not the worst of the ornaments: a Priapus guards the walk leading to the mansion, as if to frighten away visitants, instead of birds. What a pity it is, that these grotesque and repulsive images were not all drowned in the beautiful waters of the Skell, and their pedestals occupied by statues of some of the great men of England. But the age has not yet gone by in this country, when the wantonness of wealth neglects its own resources, and looks to foreign lands for the ornaments of its palaces. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, no tourist can fail to be delighted with Studley. Clouds and sunshine, winds and waters, animals and trees, all conspired to render our visit agreeable. The sighing of the woods mingling with the murmur of floods stole upon the ear in plaintive melody. I will not attempt to retrace our rambles. Charming as they were to us, they would be tedious to the reader. Sometimes we climbed eminences covered with the mountain laurel, or cliffs shaded with yew ; and at others, crossed rustic bridges over-arched with evergreens, or reposed upon embowered seats, to admire the charms of this romantic glen. The most has been made of the little river Skell. Not a drop of its scanty waters is permitted to escape from the vale through which it glides, till it has performed every office, which taste or fancy could devise. The fountain named Quebec is exquisitely cool and limpid. So luxuriant is the foliage upon its margin, as to dip into its pellucid waters, and afford a shade to the pike and trout with which it is stocked. Our first peep at the ruins of the Abbey was from one of the stations crowning the high banks of the vale, denominated the Gothic Seat, at the distance of a mile from all that now remains of this once rich and celebrated monastery. The view is peculiarly picturesque and striking, inviting the nearer approach of the visitant. In passing up the valley by the side of the noisy rivulet, we slaked our thirst at a clear and cold spring near the path, called Robin Hood's Fountain. It is shaded with brambles, and the rocks beneath which it gushes, are overgrown with moss. Tradition saith, that Robin Hood and Little John used frequently to make excursions from Sherwood Forest to this sequestered retreat.
Crossing the Skell on a bridge of ruins, which once formed a part of the Abbey, and through which the stream now gurgles in hollow echoes, we entered under the principal arch yet standing, and stretched ourselves upon the prostrate altarpiece, to listen to the story of our guide, and mark the mouldering monuments of other ages. These ruins have justly excited the admiration 6f visiters, and are reckoned among the finest in England. Nothing can be more romantic than the situation, embosomed by hills and woods, and remote from the bustle of the world. The peaceful solitude of such a spot, surrounded with all the attractions of natural scenery, would furnish strong temptations to a monastic life. So deep is the Abbey cradled in the glen, that its tower which is 166 feet in height, but just looks over the crags, near which it stands, and from which it was taken. It was founded in the twelfth century by a society of Benedictine monks from York, who seceded from St. Mary's and retired to this secluded spot for the sake of a more rigid discipline ; but an institution, which was at first distinguished for its peculiar austerities, yielded to the allurements of wealth, acquired by splendid endowments, till at last it became the seat of luxury and dissipation. At the time of the dissolution, the abbot is said to have had a haram of half a dozen mistresses, and the halls of the monastery resounded with midnight revels. But the hymn to the Wirgin and the song of the bacchanal have alike ceased ; and all is silence and desolation, save the murmurs of the Skell, gliding beneath the gloomy arches of the cloisters, or the twittering of the swallow that hangs her nest amidst the ivy of the walls. We devoted an hour to the examination of the ruins, which cover about two acres— looking through windows broken into the most fantastic shapes, gazing at shrubbery which has climbed to the very summit of the tower, reposing beneath copses of yew said to be coeval with the foundation of the Abbey, treading upon the fragments of nameless urns, and musing upon the heaps of bones filling one of the cells. On our return to Ripon we visited the Minster and looked at its monuments, which are numerous, but not remarkably interesting, with the exception of one to the memory of Mr. Aislabie, the memorials of whose taste had afforded us so much pleasure. The Dean of the church conducted us into the charnel-house, in the basement story. Its subterranean walks are formed of walls of human bones, rising to the ceiling and dividing the dreary mansion of the dead into separate apartments. The remains are piled up with much regularity, and have settled into a compact mass. Such a scene, so forcibly and eloquently described in Blair's little poem entitled “The Grave,” is calculated to sober the mind and impress it with a lesson upon the vanities of life. Not far from the church, in the suburbs of the town, is a very singular conical tumulus, or mound, elevated fifty or sixty feet above the plain, overgrown with green sod, and surmounted by a solitary ash tree growing upon the apex. It is said to be composed entirely of human bones, of which we found no reason to doubt, as numerous fragments were seen in an excavation near its base, whence materials have been dug to repair the roads. Antiquaries conjecture, that this great repository of the dead, apparently formed by alternate layers of human bodies and earth, is of 1)anish origin, and that here were interred many thousands swept off by some great battle or pestilence. - On the 6th, we left Ripon in a post-chaise, there being no stage-coach across the country in this direction. The uniform price of an English post-chaise is fifteen pence sterling per mile, exclusive of three pence a mile to the postillion, and the tolls. As there were few interesting objects to retard our progress, we rode to Sedbergh, in Westmoreland, a distance of sixty miles, in one day. The greater part of this route lay in the North Riding of Yorkshire, which, as far as our observation extended, is much inferior to the West Riding, in point of soil, agriculture, wealth, and population. It is a mountainous region, with exonsive moorlands, on which, 16