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And at his feet, upon the grass,

A written scroll was thrown ; Then all at once the music ceased,

And the fairy folk were gone.

He took the scroll, and he took the cup,

Them to the hall he bore ; The Lady Isabel did drink,

And her deadly swoon was o'er.

And the little foot-page he brought the scroll,

And showed it to his lord ;
Sir Ralph he looked thereon and read,

In olden style, the word

Yf that cuppe

Shal breake or falle,
Farewel the Lucke

Of Edenhalle.

Sir Ralph de Musgrave made a feast,

For joy over his ladye ; And the little foot-page he stood by her chair,

And blithest of all was he.

Sir Ralph de Musgrave built a church,

In sweet Saint Cuthbert's prayse, That men might know whence came the Lucke,

And think thereon alwayes.”

A VISIT TO LONG MEG.

29

CHAPTER IV.

To see Long Meg—The Helm Wind-An English Bora-Blustrous Pheno

mena—Little Sakkel and Dick Whittington-Long Meg and her
Maidens—Choice between unhallowed Dancers and Druids—The Lacy
Caves— River Eden and Uther Pendragon — To Ulleswater — The
Ladies' Walk-St. Cuthbert's Church-Longwathby-Hartside -A
Statesman of the Old School-A Coo i'ť Mire-A Cattle Dentist-
Brain-explorers-Old Homespun-How he rode to Market—How he
manured his Fields — Clog-wheelers and Pack-horses — Magnificent
Prospect —A bleak Hill-top-Poor above, Rich below— Reminiscence
of a Snowstorm-Mountain Landscape-Alston-A Mining Town-
Nent-force Level-Underground Boating-Fiends' Fell—Tyne and
Tees-Yadmoss—The First Carriage-Unlucky Nobleman ; Lucky
Hospital— Curious Epitaph.

AFTER breakfast one of the keepers was bidden to dandify " himself, and show me the way to a hilltop four miles distant, where stand Long Meg and her Maidens. We followed the Alston Road to Longwathby, a rustic village, with a spacious green and detachments of grazing geese ; then along byeways to Little Salkeld, a pleasant hamlet on high ground, flanked by trees, and enlivened by a busy little mill on a pebbly brook. Here every furlong opened wider views of the Crossfell range and the vale of Eden, and it was cheering to see the strides made by cultivation on what a few years ago were regarded as irreclaimable wastes.

The sight of Crossfell reminds us of the "helm wind," a remarkable phenomenon, of which it is the scene, chiefly between September and May. Dwellers in the neighbourhood of the great hill see at times a

small but well-known cloud appear above the summit; it spreads rapidly, stretching for miles along the height, creeping below the brow, and, in local phrase, "the helm is on.” This is the signal for the helm wind, , which presently begins to blow, and increases in strength, until the country on the western side of the hill is swept by a furious and incessant blast. A stranger brought within its influence for the first time might perhaps anticipate a storm; but to his surprise the wind blows without pause or abatement for three, five, or ten days, roaring all the while like the tempestuous sea, and with a violence that overturns haystacks, uproots trees, blackens vegetation, and lays flat the growing crops. In fact, it is an English Bora.

The helm, or mass of cloud is of variable length, from four to sixteen miles, ranging north and south. It is clearly defined, and remains separate from other clouds. At the same time a second range forms parallel with it, equally distinct, and at a distance of from half-a-mile to four miles or more.

This second range is known as “the bar," and it is only between the helm and the bar that the wind blows; hence, the breadth of country subject to the visitation depends on the varying space between the two cloud barriers. It is as if a vent were there established for some vast atmospheric accumulation, which rushes out, leaving undisturbed the stratum of cloud that may at times be seen motionless far above.

To produce this phenomenon there must be an easterly wind, and this, meeting with ground rising continually all the way from the North Sea, and impelled by some as yet unknown force, appears in the roaring blast on the west of the hill, at the same time a calm prevails on the eastern side. No rain falls where the

SAKKEL AND WHITTINGTON.

31

helm wind blows; but should heavy rains occur along the margin of its course, there is an almost immediate cessation of the blast.

Little Sakkel, as the natives call it, is in the parish of which Paley was pastor about the time he wrote his Evidences. And the same parish is said to have been the birthplace of Dick Whittington, and to the worthy knight is ascribed the building of Great Salkeld church. The three bells which he sent from London to be hung in the tower were stopped on the way at Kirkby Stephen, and there, if tradition be truthful, they still remain. Great Salkeld, not far off, was the birthplace of the Ellenborough who aided in the defence of Warren Hastings.

Above the hamlet, on a spot once bleak and wild, now covered by a farm, we came upon Long Meg and her Maidens; in other words, sixty-seven unhewn stones standing in a circle of three hundred and fifty feet diameter. There is no uniformity of size or quality ; some are grit, some are limestone ; some ten feet high, or as much in girth, others not more than two feet. Meg stands about thirty feet to the south of the circle, a mass of red sandstone, eighteen feet in height, overtopping all the rest.

Of course you will be told here, as at all similar monuments, of the difficulty, not to say impossibility of counting the stones; and you may choose between the legend of Long Meg and her Maidens turned to stone for holding an unhallowed dance, and the speculations of the antiquary over temples of the Druids.

Then we found a way down a broad deep gully, through tall rank grass, and amid thickly-growing oaks, to the brink of the Eden, near a red sandstone

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