button to main menu  Martineau's Complete Guide to the English Lakes, 1855

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Page 120:-
lake; and of these passes there are but two,- the Sty Head and Mosedale paths. The green and perfect level, to which the mountains come down with a sheer sweep, is partly divided off into fields; and a few farm-houses are set down among the fields, on the bends of the gushing and gurgling stream. There is a chapel,- the humblest of chapels,- with eight pews, and three windows in three sides, and a skylight over the pulpit. There is now a school:- a chapel and a school and no public house! The schoolmaster is entertained on "whittlegate" terms: that is, he boards at the farm-houses in turn. An old man told us that the plan answers. "He gets them on very well," said he; "and particularly in the spelling. He thinks that if they can spell, they can do all the rest." Such are the original conclusions arrived at in Wastdale Head. It struck us that the children were dirtier than even in other vales, though the houses are so clean that you might eat your dinner off the board or the floor. But the state of children's skin and hair is owing to superstition, in all these dales; and the schoolmaster is the one who should cure the evil. A young lady who kindly undertook to wash and dress the infant of a sick woman, but who was not experienced in the process, exclaimed at the end "0 dear! I forgot it's hands and arms. I must wash them." The mother expressed great horror, and said that "if the child's arms were washed before it was six months old, it would be a thief;" and, added she, pathetically, "I would not like that." The hair and nails must not be cut for a much longer time, for fear of a like result.
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