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Wolsly Bridge, and, washing the skirts and purlieus of the forest of Needwood, runs down to Burton, in the same county; thence it comes into this, where we now are, and running by Swarkston and Dunnington, receives Derwent at Wildon; and, so, to Nottingham; thence, to Newark; and, by Gainsborough, to Kingston-upon-Hull, where it takes the name of Humber, and thence falls into the sea; but that the map will best inform you.
VIAT. Know you whence this river Trent derives its name?
PISC. No, indeed; and yet I have heard it often discoursed upon, when some have given its denomination from the fore-named Trentham, though that seems rather a derivative from it; others have said 'tis so called from thirty rivers that fall into it, and there lose their names, which cannot be neither, because it carries that name from its very fountain, before any other rivers fall into it; others derive it from thirty several sorts of fish that breed there; and that is the most likely derivation: but be it how it will, it is doubtless one of the finest rivers in the world, and the most abounding with excellent salmon, and all sorts of delicate fish.
VIAT. Pardon me, sir, for tempting you into this digression; and then proceed to your other rivers, for I am mightily delighted with this discourse.
Pisc. It was no interruption, but a very seasonable question; for Trent is not only one of our Derbyshire rivers, but the chief of them, and into which all the rest pay the tribute of their names, which I had, perhaps, forgot to insist upon, being got to the other end of the county, had you not awoke my memory. But I will now
proceed. And the next river of note (for I will take them as they lie eastward from us) is the river Wye; I say of note, for we have two lesser betwixt us and it, namely, Lathkin and Bradford; of which Lathkin is, by many degrees, the purest and most transparent stream that I ever yet saw, either at home or abroad, and breeds 'tis said, the reddest and the best trouts in England; but neither of these are to be reputed rivers, being no better than great springs. The river Wye, then, has its source near unto Buxton, a town some ten miles hence, famous for a warm bath, and which you are to ride through in your way to Manchester; a black water, too, at the
fountain; but, by the same reason with Dove, becomes very soon a most delicate, clear river, and breeds admirable trout and grayling, reputed by those who, by living upon its banks, are partial to it, the best of any; and this, running down by Ashford, Bakewell, and Hadden, at a town a little lower, called Rowsly, falls into Derwent, and there loses its name. The next in order is Derwent, a black water, too, and that not only from its fountain, but quite through its progress, not having these crystal springs to wash and cleanse it which the two fore-mentioned have; but abounds with trout and grayling (such as they are) towards its source, and with salmon below; and this river, from the upper and utmost part of the county, where it springs, taking its course by Chatsworth, Darley, Matlock, Derby, Burrow-Ash, and Awberson, falls into Trent at a place called Wildon, and there loses its name. The east side of this
county of Derby, is bounded by little inconsiderable rivers, as Awber, Eroways, and the like, scarce worth naming, but trouty, too; and further we are not to enquire. But, sir, I have carried you, as a man may say, by water, till we are now come to the descent of the formidable hill I told you of, at the foot of which runs the river Dove, which I cannot but love above all the rest; and therefore prepare yourself to be a little frighted.
VIAT. Sir, I see you would fortify me, that I should not shame myself: but I dare follow where you please to lead me; and I see no danger yet; for the descent, methinks, is thus far green, even, and easy.
PISC. You will like it worse presently, when you come to the brow of the hill; and now we are there, what think you?
VIAT. What do I think? Why I think it is the strangest place that ever, sure, men and horses went down; and that (if there be any safety at all) the safest way is to alight.
Pisc. I think so too, for you, who are mounted upon a beast not acquainted with these slippery stones; and though I frequently ride
down, I will alight, too, to bear you company, and to lead you the way; and, if you please, my man shall lead your horse.
VIAT. Marry, sir, and thank you too, for I am afraid I shall have enough to do to look to myself; and, with my horse in my hand should be in a double fear, both of breaking my neck, and my horse's falling on me; for it is as steep as a penthouse.
PISC. To look down from hence it appears so, I confess; but the path winds and turns, and will not be found so troublesome.
VIAT. Would I were well down though! Hoist thee! there's one fair 'scape! these stones are so slippery I cannot stand! yet again! I think I were best lay my heels in my neck, and tumble down. PISC. If you think your heels will defend your neck, that is the way to be soon at the bottom; but give me your hand at this broad stone, and then the worst is past.
VIAT. I thank you, sir, I am now past it, I can go myself. What's here the sign of a bridge? Do you use to travel with wheelbarrows in this country
PISC. Not that I ever saw, sir. Why do you ask that question? VIAT. Because this bridge certainly was made for nothing else; why, a mouse can hardly go over it: 'tis not two fingers broad.
PISC. You are pleasant, and I am glad to see you so: but I have rid over the bridge many a dark night.
VIAT. Why, according to the French proverb, and 'tis a good one among a great many of worse sense and sound that language abounds in, Ce que Dieu garde, est bien gardé. "They whom God takes care of are in safe protection: but, let me tell you, I would not ride over it for a thousand pounds, nor fall off it for two; and yet I think I dare venture on foot, though if you were not by to laugh at me, I should do it on all fours.
PISC. Well, sir, your mirth becomes you, and I am glad to see you safe over; and now you are welcome into Staffordshire. VIAT. HOW, Staffordshire!
What do I there, trow? there is not
a word of Staffordshire in all my direction.
PISC. You see you are betrayed into it; but it shall be in order to something that will make amends; and 'tis but an ill mile or two out of your way.