Page:A tour through the northern counties of England, and the borders of Scotland - Volume I.djvu/172

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removed or ameliorated by the use of this water. The baths are powerfully efficacious in chronic rheumatism. The springs are numerous, issuing from rents in the black lime-stone rock, which s the uppermost stratum on the south of the Wye; they are found, by analysis, to be impregnated with sea salt, calcareous earth, selenite, and acidulous gas.

Our curiosity led us to Poole's-Hole, one mile from Buxton, a vast cavern formed by nature in the lime-stone rock to the eastward of the town, at the foot of the lime-pits above-mentioned. It belongs to the Duke of Devonshire, and is kindly granted by him to nine old women, resembling the Muses indeed in number, but hardly approaching to the appearance of the female race in any thing else; dried with age, and as rugged as the rocks amongst which they dwell. But though living, like the Troglodytes of old, in caverns of the earth, (for their dwellings are not of an higher order) and exposed to the variations of the seasons and the ragings of the storm, they exhibit a longevity unknown to the population of the more civilized parts of the kingdom. One of the old ladies, (for there were ten of them) to whose profit the Duke has dedicated Poole's-Hole, died last year at the age of ninety-two. Nor was this considered as a rare