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IT was in that season of the year when nature wears an universal gloom, and the pinching frost arrests the running stream in its course, and gives a[6] massy solidity to the lake that lately curled with every breeze, that Sir Filmer Hopewell, having lost his road in the Dale of Tiviot, was met by two youths that swiftly skimmed the surface of the slippery brook, and sought an antidote against the inclement cold in the wholesome though dangerous exercise of skaiting. Of these hale and ruddy young villagers he enquired his road, or where he might meet with a lodging for the night, for the sun was declining in the shades of evening fast encompassing the dale. They directed him to the summit of a neighbouring hill, on the declivity of which there stood a small village, where probably[7]
[9] he might meet with accommodation. Though wearied and fatigued, this information gave him vigour, and he hastened up the hill, and soon beheld with pleasure, beheld the sign of the Lion and Dog; that on a lofty post invited to the village ale-house. He entered it a seasonable and salutary asylum from the wintry blast, and was conducted into a neat little parlour, with a cheerful fire. Being seated, his host quickly made his appearance, with such refreshment as his house afforded. Sir Filmer, on his first entering, immediately perceived there was character in his countenance; a quick dark eye and sharp features that gave him that appearance[10] of intellect, which is seldom found to be belied upon further acquaintance. He therefore gave him an invitation to spend an hour or two with him; which he accepted without hesitation: and after taking a bumper to the health of his guest, entertained him with numerous anecdotes of the village.

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