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where if she is less gay and sparkling than in crowded drawing rooms, she is a thousand times more lovely, especially in this melting season.

With the exception of the sea when beheld for the first time, I know of nothing so likely to fill the mind with new sensations as a summer or autumnal tour through Derbyshire. It is a county that in its peculiarities may be said to stand alone; it resembles no other part of England, and even Lord Byron, who had travelled all over Europe, could yet say that the giro of the Peak-the English Appennines, as it is called by Camden -surpassed, or at least equalled, anything he had ever seen in the most favoured of other lands.

When I came in sight of the Peak for the first time, the setting sun gave some indications of a storm, the tops of the mountains being invested with a deep purple hue, so dark, and yet so bright, that to me the spectacle was altogether novel. Had I met with it in a picture I much fear that with more haste than judgment I should have pronounced it unnatural. How different from the soft blue tints which I afterwards saw enveloping these heights when seen from a distance, wrapping them round as it were with the robe of some ocean-nymph.

Rain-rain-rain-for three days successively, and for my more especial comfort the landlord of my little Inn at Buxton, informed me that this was nothing; he would not be at all surprised if it lasted for three weeks, such a thing being by no means an unusual occurrence, but quite the contrary. Well; if it would not have surprised him, a rainy season of half the length would have robbed me of the few grains of patience that still remained to me, and they were few indeed. What! be condemned to sit all day long in the sanded parlour of an Inn looking out upon the half drenched poultry, that crouched under the waggons out of employ, or reading for the twentieth time the musty pages of some old magazine with only one cover, and sundry leaves missing. Such a state of things would not bear reflection for a moment, so I persuaded myself that fine weather must return ere long, and luckily I proved a truer prophet than my landlord. Towards the evening of the third day the rain ceased, and bright gleams burst through the opening clouds, which soon rolled rapidly away before the wind, leaving a sky of the deepest azure. And upon what a strange scene-strange at least to me-did the sun shine! The lime-hills beyond Buxton appeared like an array of tents placed upon a steep acclivity in regular stages, one above another, and while I was admiring their singular appearance my wonder was yet farther heightened by observing that the whole mountain was on the sudden alive with human beings that swarmed out of the holes and caverns in its side like so many rabbits in a warren. Having taken a long stare at a party of travellers in advance of me, this strange crew dived back again into their burrows, a humble pedestrian like myself being, I suppose, of too little importance to engage their attention. Looking more closely into the matter I discovered that these hills abounded in excavations, which served the poorer people for dwellings, and in one instance five or six different habitations occupied a particular cone, with a single chimney common to them all. Upon the very roof of this cluster of subterranean houses, an ass was quietly luxuriating amongst the ferns and thistles, so that no one can say the ground is not made the most of.

At the foot of this height lies Pool's Hole, a name which, according to the old tradition, it received from a robber, who, in the good old times

of rugging and reiving, made his abode in its recesses; nothing however is now known of this illustrious candidate for the honours of the gallows, beyond the fact of his name, and of his having once lived here. The mouth of the cavern is so narrow, that for the first twenty or thirty yards you must stoop, or almost crawl when entering, but within, it suddenly becomes capacious, the roof and sides abounding in stalactites that bear a greater or lesser resemblance to natural objects. In the middle of the cavern is a large stalactitical mass, called the Flitch of Bacon; and having passed this singular pile, the cave again contracts for a short distance, when it once more expands not a little, both in height and width, and so continues till you come to a second heap of stalactites, which, from some old story of the Scottish Queen's having been here, has obtained the appellation of the Queen of Scots' Pillar. This is the greatest curiosity of the cavern, and as the space beyond it is difficult of access, and contains nothing to repay the labour of scrambling over disjointed rocks and slippery crags, it is not often visited.

Upon emerging from the robber's den, I took my way to Bar Moor Clough, about six miles off, to pay my respects to the ebbing and flowing wells, about which I had heard so much talk. But this Derbyshire wonder turned out to be no wonder at all, for it sulkily refused to ebb and flow while I was there, so that I saw nothing more than a turbid pool, surrounded with mud and weeds, the ground being beaten into a paste by the cattle that came to drink of the water. It is situated in a field by the road side, at the foot of a steep hill. My guide, who it seems was deeply concerned for the honour of his county, would fain have persuaded me to wait for the appearance of the phenomenon, assuring me that, as there had been a heavy fall of rain the day before, it would be sure to flow in an hour, or even in less time. But I turned a deaf ear to the voice of the charmer, though he charmed full wisely, and took my way to Glossop, where, if report spoke truly, I might have the good luck of witnessing the rush-bearing, a ceremony not yet exploded in this part of the world, notwithstanding its manifestly pagan origin. Fortune, they say, favours the bold, but on this occasion the giddy damsel was pleased to favour the curious, for, just as I came in sight of the lowly little parish church on one side, the rush-bearers were advancing in grand procession upon the other. The ceremony is not much, and yet as a relic of other days, I could not help feeling considerably interested in it. Public notice had been given some time before by the churchwardens, that the rushes were mown and properly dried, in some marshy part of the parish, where the young people assembled, with a cart provided for the purpose. A pyramid of rushes, ornamented with wreaths of flowers, and surmounted with a garland, occupied the centre of the car, which was bestrewed with the choicest flowers of Glossop Dale, and liberally furnished with flags and streamers. The young peasants too, that accompanied the car, were dressed out in as many ribbons as an Italian bandit upon the stage. They had been, as I understood, parading the village, preceded by groups of dancers, and a band of music, and the waggon now stopt at the church-yard gates, where it was dismantled of its floral honours. The rushes and flowers were then taken into the church, when the former were strewed amongst the pews, and along the floors, and the garlands were hung up near the entrance into the chancel, in remembrance of the day. The ceremony being

ended, the merry-makers marched off in joyous procession to the village. inn, and there I left them.

Something akin to this, is the very pretty custom of well-flowering, which takes place on Ascension day, or Holy day, as the people about here more generally call it. I know not whether the custom in the present day confined to Tissington-indeed, I should think not—but it was there that I heard of it, though I did not see it put in practice. Upon this occasion, all the wells in the place, and they are five in number, are decorated with wreaths and garlands of fresh flowers, disposed in various devices upon boards. These are cut to the figures intended to be represented, and covered with moist clay, into which the stems are inserted to preserve their freshness, the flowers being so arranged as to form a beautiful mosaic, no less tasteful in design, than vivid in colouring. On this occasion the villagers put on their best attire, and open their houses to their friends. There is a service at the church, where a sermon is preached, after which a procession takes place, and the wells are visited in succession. The psalms for the day, and the epistle and gospel are read, one at each well, and the whole concludes with a hymn, sung by the church singers, and accompanied by a band of music. This done they separate, and the remainder of the day is spent in rural sports and holiday pastimes.

This custom, which has now well-nigh disappeared from the country, was at one time common enough, being no doubt a relic of paganism. From the earliest ages wells were considered sacred, and the fathers of Christianity, unable to root out the popular belief, did with it as they did in so many other cases; they converted it into a Christian ceremonial, and springs as well as rivers were honoured with this flowering, while to the former in many instances were given the names of saints. It is to this custom that Milton alludes in his Comus, when speaking of the Severn :


"The shepherds at their festivals,
Carol her good deeds loud in rustic lays,

And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream,
Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils."

I have already spoken of Poole's Hole, but though the entrance is gloomy enough, and promises a second cave of Montesinos, it by no means equals many other of the Peak caverns-the nameless cave for instance, which is approached only through the Speedwell mine at the entrance into the Winnats, at something less than a mile from Castleton. A descent of more than one hundred steps leads to a narrow canal, and you are ferried along till you have left the entrance far behind, when the level opens upon a tremendous gulf, across which the canal has been carried by flinging a strong arch over a part of the fissure where the rocks are least distant from each other. Here you find yourself in a world of utter night, for the torch carried by your guide illuminates without dispelling the darkness that closes you in, as if it were a wall, substantial and impenetrable. Upon leaving the boat you ascend a stage or platform above the level, and firm indeed must be the nerves of him who can stand here unmoved, listening to the roar of the water as it dashes into the unseen depths of the abyss. It has been said that upon one occasion a party of travellers, deter

mined to learn, if possible, the extent of the cavern, flung up lighted rockets, which rose and burst, as if in open space, without affording a glimpse of the distant roof above them.

I was much struck by a rural custom that still prevails at Baslow on the 4th of August. This is the festival of kit-dressing, the kit, as I hardly need explain, being a milk-pail; and though, as some of the older villagers assured me, the ceremony upon this occasion was nothing to what it used to be in their young days, it struck me as being exceedingly pretty. The maidens of the village, attired in their holiday dresses and carrying their kits on their heads, marched in gay procession, attended by a multitude, both young and old, from all the neighbouring country. Twigs of willow were bent over the tops of the kits, and entwined with ribbons and flowers; and many fanciful ornaments of muslin and silk, mingled with trinkets of silver and gold, composed the garlands, which were also formed upon a frame-work of willow-twigs interwoven together. Flags of course were not wanting, and the day terminated-as usual on all such occasions-at an inn, with singing, dancing, and the other indispensables of an English merry-making.

But after all, the mines and their productions are the most curious, if not the most interesting part of Derbyshire to the tourist. I had often heard of that extraordinary phenomenon in the mineral world, the Slickensides, but strange to say, I could no where find any traces of it, yet though seldom to be seen even in our best cabinets, the external appearance of this species of galena is well known. Rhodes, in his "Peak Scenery," gives a very minute and amusing account of it, which may supply the place of what I had not the good fortune to meet with. "In those mines," he says, "where it has most prevailed, it exhibits but little variety either in form or character. An upright pillar of limestone rock, intermixed with calcareous spar, contains this exploding ore; the surface is thinly coated over with lead, which resembles a covering of plumbago, and it is extremely smooth, bright, and even. These rocky pillars have their polished faces opposed to each other; sometimes they nearly touch, sometimes they are farther apart, the intervening space being filled up with smaller portions and fragments of spar and particles of lead ore; and a number of narrow veins, of a whitish colour and a powdery consistency, intersect and run in oblique directions amongst the mass.

"The effects of this extraordinary mineral are not less singular than terrific. A blow with a hammer, a stroke or a scratch with a miner's pick, are sufficient to rend those rocks asunder with which it is united or embodied. The stroke is immediately succeeded by a crackling noise, accompanied with a sound not unlike the mingled hum of a swarm of bees; shortly afterwards an explosion follows, so loud and appalling that even the miners, though a hardy race of men and little accustomed to fear, turn pale and tremble at the shock. This dangerous combination of matter must consequently be approached with caution. To avoid the use of the common implements of mining, a small hole is carefully bored, into which a little gunpowder is put, and exploded with a match; the workmen then withdraw to a place of safety to wait the result of their operations. Sometimes not less than five or six successive explosions ensue at intervals of from two to ten or

fifteen minutes, and occasionally they are so sublimely awful that the earth has been violently shaken to the surface by the concussion, even when the discharge has taken place at the depth of more than one hundred fathoms.

"When the Haycliff mine was open, a person of the name of Higginbottom, who was unused to the working of Slickensides, and not much apprehensive of danger, was repeatedly cautioned not to use his pick in the getting of the ore. Unfortunately for himself, he paid but little attention to the admonition of his fellow miners. He struck the fatal stroke that by an apparently electrical communication set the whole mass instantaneously in motion, shook the surrounding earth to its foundation, and with a noise as tremendous as thunder scattered the rocky fragments in every direction through the whole vicinity of Haycliff mine. Thick boards of ash, at the distance of twenty or thirty paces, were perforated by pieces of rock six inches diameter. The poor miner was dreadfully cut and lacerated, yet he escaped with life."

Some attempts have been made to account for the wonderful properties of this fulminating ore, but hitherto with little success. A very intelligent miner, with whom I have conversed on the subject, supposes the exploding power to reside in the white powdery veins which fill up the fissures of the rocky substance that produces Slickensides; a suggestion that may probably assist in the developement of the strange qualities of this mineral phenomenon.

The loudest explosion remembered to have taken place in Haycliff mine, has been mentioned by Whitehurst in his "Theory of the Formation of the Earth." It occurred in the year 1738, and he affirms that the quantity of two hundred barrels of materials were blown out at one blast, each barrel being supposed to contain from three to four hundred pounds weight. During the explosion, the ground was observed to shake as if by an earthquake.

But it is high time to leave this inflammable part of the country.

"Away, away, my steed and I,

Upon the pinions of the wind,
All human dwellings left behind.
We sped like meteors through the sky,
When with its crackling sound the night,
Is chequered with the northern light."

In this instance my steed was the steam-engine, that went tearing along at the rate of five and thirty miles an hour, or perhaps more, but certainly not less by the slowest going watch in all England. My intention was to visit Stonehenge, that prodigy of Wiltshire; it has however been so often described and descanted upon by others, that I cannot find in my heart to tax the reader's patience by explaining my own crude notions in regard to it. Let me rather invite him to a quiet stroll along the banks of the Wily, and a visit to Great Wishford Church; not that the building presents anything very remarkable in its external appearance; but I have an odd fancy for wandering amongst old monuments and tombstones, and it rarely happens that I do not pick up some quaint legend attached to them, even when the bones below have mouldered into dust. Such was the case in the present instance. I was much struck by a recumbent stone effigy in the nave of the church, which a

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