Page:A tour through the northern counties of England, and the borders of Scotland - Volume I.djvu/173

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[161]

Instance of protracted life. Nothing grand or picturesque marks the entrance into this cavern; and we agreed that the interior was by no means so

fine as that of Wookey-Hole in Somersetshire.[1] Proceeding about twenty-five yards in a stooping posture, the rock opens into a spacious vacuity, from whose roof depends a quantity of statlctite, produced by the droppings of water, laden with calcareous matter. Part of this substance adheres to the roof, and forms gradually those pendent spiral masses called water-icles or stalactites; another portion drops with the water to the ground, and attaching itself to the floor is there deposited, and becomes the stalagmite, a lumpy mass of the same matter. One of the former, of immense size, called the flitch of bacon, occurs about the middle of the cavern, which here becomes very narrow, but after a short time spreads again to a greater width, and continues large and lofty, till we reach another surprisingly large mass of stalactite, to which the name of Mary Queen of Scots' pillar is attached, from the tradition of that queen having paid a visit to the cavern, and advanced thus far into its recesses. Beyond this all is terra incognita; or at least a country from whose bourne very few



  1. Vide Walk through the Western Counties."