BOOK I. CONTAINING AS MUCH OF THE BIRTH OF THE FOUNDLING AS IS NECESSARY OR PROPER TO ACQUAINT THE READER WITH IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS HISTORY.
4. Chapter iv. The reader's neck brought into danger...
The reader's neck brought into danger by a description; his escape;
and the great condescension of Miss Bridget Allworthy.
The Gothic stile of building could produce nothing nobler than Mr
Allworthy's house. There was an air of grandeur in it that struck you
with awe, and rivalled the beauties of the best Grecian architecture;
and it was as commodious within as venerable without.
It stood on the south-east side of a hill, but nearer the bottom than
the top of it, so as to be sheltered from the north-east by a grove of
old oaks which rose above it in a gradual ascent of near half a mile,
and yet high enough to enjoy a most charming prospect of the valley
In the midst of the grove was a fine lawn, sloping down towards the
house, near the summit of which rose a plentiful spring, gushing out
of a rock covered with firs, and forming a constant cascade of about
thirty feet, not carried down a regular flight of steps, but tumbling
in a natural fall over the broken and mossy stones till it came to the
bottom of the rock, then running off in a pebly channel, that with
many lesser falls winded along, till it fell into a lake at the foot
of the hill, about a quarter of a mile below the house on the south
side, and which was seen from every room in the front. Out of this
lake, which filled the center of a beautiful plain, embellished with
groups of beeches and elms, and fed with sheep, issued a river, that
for several miles was seen to meander through an amazing variety of
meadows and woods till it emptied itself into the sea, with a large
arm of which, and an island beyond it, the prospect was closed.
On the right of this valley opened another of less extent, adorned
with several villages, and terminated by one of the towers of an old
ruined abby, grown over with ivy, and part of the front, which
remained still entire.
The left-hand scene presented the view of a very fine park, composed
of very unequal ground, and agreeably varied with all the diversity
that hills, lawns, wood, and water, laid out with admirable taste, but
owing less to art than to nature, could give. Beyond this, the country
gradually rose into a ridge of wild mountains, the tops of which were
above the clouds.