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TAVISTOCK AND ITS WICINITY. 207
scenery of the distant vale, is a black marble pedestal, which in summer supports a small, but beautifully sculptured figure of Lord Grey. In a niche in the wall of the western front is the mitred form of the last
Abbot of Tavistock. At the back of the cottage is a
range of offices and stables, and out-houses disposed around the court-yard. Near the offices a flight of steps conducts to the rock garden, where a number of stones are arranged so as to mingle with the natural rock, and form supporters for the plants which spring up between. In the centre are mimic ponds whose waters slip away unseen, and again ooze out at some little distance, forming so many dropping wells from the overhanging rocks. Leaving the green-houses on our right, we are conducted by a subterranean alcove and a flight of steps cut in the rock, to the “dairy dell,” a fairy-like place which realizes all the beauty of the poet’s imaginings. “So sweet a spot of earth, you might, (I ween) Have guessed some congregation of the elves To sport by summer moons, had shap'd it for themselves.” CAMPBELL. This dell, though comparatively small, is yet disposed with so much art, that we forget the size of the close and overshaded valley; and looking at its sides clothed with the most luxuriant flowering shrubs, presenting so many pyramids of sylvan loveliness, we lose its concealed height, and, without reflection, add the idea of magnificence to that of beauty. Mr. Hazlitt who accompanied the Rev. W. Evans in a visit to this place, thought it far superior to any thing he had ever seen elsewhere, “so formed by nature's self,” said he, with characteristic energy. Rising slopes with turf as soft as velvet, are watered by a rushing mountain stream, winding sometimes amongst the gigantic spikes of the flag lily, at others
208 HOME SCENES, OR
beneath a group of alders or branching oak, while again it emerges into broad day-light, and discharges itself into a spacious pond.
(“A mirror in the depth of flowery shelves: ")
Crossing a rustic bridge, we follow a path which leads to the dairy;-a simple building, containing one room and a small vestibule, paved with marble. The milk is received in marble basins, around which are small canals of water, and an ever-bubbling fountain in the centre assists in keeping the place cool. The walls are lined with tiles of white porcelain edged with a wreath of green vine leaves; china vases are disposed around, ornamented with a corresponding pattern. The place, we believe, is more for show than use, but it is a pretty toy for the world's favorites. Returning to the pond, we follow a winding path which leads to the children’s garden, admiring in our way the gardener's cottage, reflected in the clear waters, and a holy well, whose arched entrance was brought from the neighboring estate of Leigh, where was a hunting seat of the richlyportioned Abbots of Tavistock. The “children’sgarden” is neither more nor less than a wilderness of flowers, disposed, sometimes in rustic baskets, sometimes over moss grown stones; at others around the roots of an aged tree. Wild flowers predominate, and the foxglove and bindweed, often triumph in beauty and luxuriance over their more presuming neighbors of the parterre. A bath of the simplest formation, merely the deepened channel of the brook, has often served to refresh the honored guests of the cottage. We cannot sufficiently admire the good taste which designed and carried into effect such means of displaying the simple beauties of nature by the aid of unobtrusive art. A rustic gate leads from the children's garden into the lawn, along which we pass to gain the banks of the Tamar. The
TAVISTOCK AND ITS WICINITY. 209
river which “erst has been a precipiece of foam from mountains tower,” here assumes a milder character.
“As soft'ning in approach, he leaves his gloom,
A shallow boat or floating bridge conducts to the opposite woods, whose greenwood paths wind from the dell, around the declivities. The Woodman's rustic cottage first attracts our notice; its curling smoke is often seen rising above the encircling trees; hence we may wander for miles through the woodland glades. The Fisherman's hut forms an appropriate object in one of the most sequestered “cumbes.” Its porch is made to resemble a boat, A small stream murmers near. In such a quiet haunt would old Izaak Walton have loved to linger; the modern angler may enjoy it to his heart's content, I could almost envy his privilege of loitering at his ease on the shelving bank, “all in the coolness of the humid air;” in waiting for the expected “bite.” But other inducements tempt us forward. Crossing the stream, we gain a path gradually rising to the summit of a hill, on which a pretty “sylvan hedge” is tastefully planted. From this eminence is a commanding view of the river, flowing in a graceful curve by the wild cliffs on the right hand, and Dunterton woods on the left. The choice of this romantic solitude, as a sweet summer residence, where the native charms of river scenery have suffered no damage from the intrusion of art, reflects credit on its proprietor —. Gould, Esq.
The rocks at Carthamartha are very similar to those on the Tamar, by the Weir-head. The former, though on a smaller scale, are more wooded, and have the advantage of an active mountain-stream; which is generally the character of the Tamar in this place. The best
210 HOME SCENES, OR
mode of access to Carthamartha, is by following a
avail himself of the attention of worthy John. One
damsel in the height of her merriment slipped into the river just on gaining the bank; with those exceptions we all got over safely; but the experiment was hazardous and I would not advise the timid or fastidious so attempt it.
On the Endsleigh side of the Tamar is the deep recess of Dunterton wood. About half a century since, it was the haunt of a daring robber. Who has not heard of the exploits of Nicky Mason? A kind of “ne'er do weel” was he from his youth, growing up the
o TAVISTOCK AND ITS WICINITY. 211
plague of his father and the terror of all the neighbor-
In process of time, Nicky was missing from his usual
Small reason however had the inhabitants to congratulate themselves on this short respite from tromble. Fresh disasters accumulated fast upon them; the eggs were again missing, and with them things of far greater importance: fat sheep from the fold, and linen from the garden hedge; meat from the larder, and savory pasties from the cupboard—all disappeared like magic, before the wondering senses of the terrified owners. What could have become of the property? What could they do? Truly idle questions were these, for they led to nothing but surmises. In vain man and maid were set on the watch; in vain the master sat up himself till dead of night to catch the thief. o No thief was forthcoming, and yet the articles dis*:::