Page:A tour through the northern counties of England, and the borders of Scotland - Volume I.djvu/194

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[182]

thunder, and conveying the idea of a stupendous river throwing itself headlong into an unfathomable abyss. Nor had fancy painted an unreal picture, for on reaching the half-way point a scene was unfolded to us tremendous in the extreme. Here the level burst suddenly upon a gulph, whose roof and bottom were entirely invisible, a sky rocket having been sent up towards the former, above six hundred feet, without rendering it apparent; and the latter having been plummed with a line four hundred feet, and no bottom discovered. A foaming torrent, roaring from the dark recesses, high in the heart of the mountain, over our heads to the right, and discharging itself into this bottomless caldron, whose waters commenced at ninety feet below us, produced the noise we had heard; a noise which was so powerfully increased on this near approach to it, as entirely to overwhelm the mind for a short time, and awaken that unaccountable feeling which creates desperate courage out of excessive fear, and almost tempts the spectator to plunge himself into the danger, whose presence he so much dreads. The prodigious depth of this abyss may be conceived from the circumstances of its having swallowed up the rubbish which a level, eighteen hundred feet long, of the dimensions above given, produced; as