Page images

six miles an hour; but supposing it to be only five miles, the quantity which passes the falls in an hour, is more than eighty-five millions of tuns, avoirdupoise : if we suppose

it to be six, it will be more than one hundred and two millions, and in a day would exceed two thousand four hundred millions of tuns.

Our first object was to approach as close to the cataract as possible; and, leaving the inn, we descended a bank by a steep winding path to the narrow and marshy slip which forms the immediate margin of the river; along this we advanced about one hundred yards, till we arrived at the very verge of precipitation. A person may place himself within an inch of the cataract. I and several of the party dipped their hands into the water. Proceeding a little further in the direction of the stream, we came to the cottage of the guide; near which, is a circular kind of corkscrew ladder, constructed round a mast, by which we descended to a path which winds along the upper part of the debris, formed by the occasional crumbling of the precipice. By means of this path, it is practicable to reach the lower part of the cataract. From a rock near the ladder, I made a sketch of the fall: I had previously endeavoured to take it from a large fragment of stone which is supposed to have fallen from above; but the spray was so extremely dense, that I got a complete soaking, and was obliged to retreat to a greater distance. This rock may be distinguished in the accompanying sketch from the circumstance of two figures being placed upon it.

The day had been uncommonly fine, and the prismatic colours of the iris, delighting the eye at every turn in the sunshine, was not one of the least pleasing varieties in the sublime prospect. A fine rainbow was visible every afternoon from our windows, overarching the foamy cloud which rises from the British fall. Our inn was an

immense wooden structure, and we were comfortably accommodated. The great rush of American travellers had subsided, and we had the house almost to ourselves. There is another hotel of the same dimensions, situated below the falls; the view of them is equally fine from the windows of both.

The next morning with renewed delight I beheld from my window-I may say, indeed, from my bed, the stupendous vision, The beams of the rising sun shed over it a variety of tints; a cloud of spray was ascending from the crescent; and as I viewed it from above, it appeared like the steam rising from some monstrous cauldron. De Roos's Travels in the United States, and Canada.p. 175.



“ Weston has gone a fishing in his boat, so that we cannot have a sail this evening. Shall we go on the ponies, or walk?"

" Q walk, I hope," said Emma, going up, coaxingly, to Elizabeth, “ I hope we shall walk, and, perhaps, Mrs. Neville will tell us another story about some of the good people she likes to talk of. Shall we walk, Mamma?”

My friend turned to me to enquire, and knowing my partiality to exercise of this kind, in preference to either sailing or riding, we resolved on a ramble; and Mrs. Neville coming into the room at the same moment, with her parasol and plaid, ready equipped, declared that she also was a disciple of the peripatetic school, and that as Mrs. Montague, she knew, had letters to write, she would take the children with us; accordingly they made haste to adjust their tippets and bonnets, and with the accompaniments of camp-stool, little basket, large ball, reticule, and book, the whole party, at last, sallied out for a stroll on the common.

It was a beautiful evening-fair and soft, with a thin haze that was gradually passing away, and the cool air from the sea, after the heat of a sultry day, was at once refreshing and invigorating. Our walk led us along the shore, though at a little distance from the water, upon the pathway of a common, which probably had been redeemed from the waves; for the brambles, and wild flowers which, in some places, abundantly, and in others most scantily, covered the sand, shewed that the winter surge, the stormy wind, and many a year of sunshine and of rain, had all combined to form this favorite mall, for such it was now constituted, and upon its .sward, and amid its sand, you might meet the gay, the fair, the sick, the strong; those whom you knew, and those whom you knew not.. For in

6 The pleasant time, the cool, the silent," as the poet calls the calm, soft hours of evening, many resorted hither, to inhale the last balmy breezes of declining day. This evening we met; as usual, most of the company

who frequented the beach. The little donkey, with its delicate burden, a pale, consumptive girl, scarcely able to support the fitful, wayward, and often interrupted motion of her inelegant, yet gentle palfrey. The tall sickly youth, whom we had often seen, wrapt in his mother's pelisse, and lying in the corner of her cabriolet, was this evening leaning on the manly arm of his anxious father, who seemed just to have joined them that day. Here, also, we encountered those gay young men of rank and fortune, who, seeking celebrity or notoriety by any means, appear dressed in the costume of sea. men, with red or blue checked shirts, white hats, and canvas trowsers; their lounging pathway marked by the fragrant stream of air which the perfumed cigar threw behind them. Here too, sad sight, we beheld the lingering remnants of all that folly and dissipation had left of the woman of fashion, seated in her Merlin chair, and drawn by her liveried lacquey; shaking like the aspen leaf, yet still seeking the world that has forsaken her-presenting an object too painful for thought to dwell upon, and not to be looked at without anguish. Oh, how did my spirit then turn inward on itself, and exclaim, who maketh thee to differ? What possession is there on the earth for which the soul should sigh-the heart should

languish! All, with such an aptitude to change. Ali, so sure to die! And even that which is most precious, truly precious and most dear, must be parted with for a season. 0! then to heaven let us lift up our hearts-to Jesus let us cleave. United to Him, we shall love, and for ever abide with all who are worthy of our love now. Without Him, we can neither sustain the privations, nor endure the trials of life, and without Him, O what are the pleasures of life-or is there such a thing at all without Him as joy!

We paused to look at an effect of light and shade upon some trees that skirted Stanley wood; Elizabeth being a student in drawing, had a peculiar pleasure in observing these simple, yet often varying phenomena, as they presented themselves in the sky, the clouds, on the mountain's side, the ocean, or the land. On this occasion one said the light was too strong, or the shadow too deep, I forget which ; but while the children passed onward to their ramble, the latter expression striking the ear of my friend, she said it recalled to her memory a passage of a celebrated philosopher she had lately read, in which he remarked, “ that a whole train of thought in the mind might be discovered by a single word.” The mention of one wise man led to another, and the various theories of sympathies and sentiment occupied our attention, or formed the subject for our conversation, as we strolled along. The children, also, had been philosophising as well as we, for whe we came up to them, their basket was full of flowers, ferns, mosses, &c. &c. which they were attempting to classify and arrange; but we called them off from their studies to the sweet labours of humble philanthropy, and made them dispose of some of the tracts and books, with which our reticules were stored, to a group of little boys and girls, who, from their sachels and bags, appeared to be returning homeward from the village school.

As we proceeded further the sun went slowly down, lower and lower, throwing the lengthened shadows of the children far across the common. All was silent and serene—the air still-the sea calm, save the soft, soft ripple, made by the waves as they came, approached nearer, fell back, and yet farther receded, and returned again amid the pebbles and shells upon the shore. Mrs. Neville's voice indeed was occasionally heard, as seated on her camp-stool, under the shade of an old oak, she was busy in demonstrating, by the aid of Emma's ball, the rotundity of the earth, and with a paper boat and sail exhibiting to her delighted pupil the nature of the first appearance of a ship at sea. While thus employed, a salute of many guns was fired from some ship of war in the offing, too distant to be visible to us; but the deep roll of its softened thunder along the surface of the water came to the ear both with interest and effect; and the courtesy of the port admiral, in returning the compliment, deepened and reiterated the sound. The different impressions produced upon the mind, by similar sounds in different circumstances, such as of war, jubilee, or etiquette, became the subject of our conversation; and the moral perception of good or evil, in such objects as afford pleasure, either to persons of taste or imagination, was discussed and ascertained. And while looking around on the “ sear and yellow leaf,” which here and there began to appear, shewing that autumn's prelusive voice was giving note of departing summer, and of melancholy things to come, I remarked to my friend, how deeply that tone of feeling which it inspired was recognised by almost every human mind; and how congenial it was to man thus to feel, who was himself to fade, droop, and die.

“ Not at all,” replied Mrs. Neville, “ Autumn presents to me no other ideas than those of softness, mildness, placidity, and richness. Rich in the full harvest of the beautiful earth, and in all the glowing garniture of the woods. And as to your notion that the fading leaves foretel decay and death, or that decay and death should appal you-think of Christ, and that sweetens all! Many shrink at the thought of dying; of giving up the ghost, and of all the other gloomy accompaniments with which they invest it. But look to Jesus, the resurrection and the life; look to Him to be reanimated, and adorned with fresh beauty, and all that is painful and sad disappears."

“ Yes,” I replied, “it is natural to some minds, at such seasons, to sympathize with the very woods around them-to fall into the sear and yellow leaf of serious and pensive

« PreviousContinue »