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On a subject so nearly exhausted as that of the Falls of Niagara, it is not easy to present our readers with any thing new or original. The following description is more to the purpose and less hackneyed than any we have met with; and the print from which our engraving was taken is, we believe, but little known in this country.
“The “horse-shoe fall' is the greater of the two falls of the river Niagara, and is on the British or Canadian side of it. It is seen advantageously from both points of view, the one from Goat Island, a small piece of cultivated land, which separates the two falls, and the other from the Table Rock, projecting about fifty feet on the Canadian shore, and immediately commanding a view of both falls, and of the rapids, but more particularly of the great horse-shoe or semi-circular fall, which is about six hundred yards across and about one hundred and fifty feet deep. The arch made by the latter fall is about fifty feet from the perpendicular base, and under this arch, the hardy traveller sometimes ventures, stunned as if all the guns fired at the battle of Trafalgar were discharged at the same time. The fall on the American side, to the left of Goat Island, is comparatively perpendicular, gaining somewhat in length
what it loses in width, being only three hundred yards across but one hundred and sixty-four feet high. Here is therefore a body of water, in short a huge river of half a mile in width, precipitating itself into a channel or stream which is discharged in the Lake Ontario. But the greater or horse-shoe fall is the more tremendous object, in the description of which travellers seem to exhaust all their powers of comparison and expression.
“I know of no description, however" says Mr. Dibdin, in his Library Companion' “which exceeds for liveliness, spirit, and propriety of coloring, that which was furnished me by a female friend. “I wish I could convey to you" she writes “a slight idea of this magnificent scene which no description that I have read, nor view which I have seen, comes up to, even slightly. Never can I forget the deep solemn tide of the fall, clear as crystal, green as chrysolite, broken with white feathery foam sweeping through its channel of rocks with a sullen dignity of sound and motion, far beyond anything I could ever have conceived. A sight of the rapids themselves, was worth all the fatigues of our journey. They come dashing along from above in frightful confusion to the brink of the precipice, where they are absorbed in a deep slow solemn tide, which disguises its rapidity by the dignity of its sound and motion. Then again, this most wonderful fall of transparent water is feathered with broken foam which flies off like jets of snowwhite water discharged from the conch of a triton, sparkling in the sun with a brilliance beyond description, and magically harmonising with the prismatic colors from the rising spray below. Here I saw what I had never seen before, and could never have dreamt to see, the rainbow above, reflected in the water below, and united in a perfect circle. We stood entranced !'"
IMPULSE AND DECISION, ARTHUR GWYNNE was a lively energetic lad of versatile ability. His companions deemed him “an universal genius," but his preceptors, and elder friends, watched with some anxiety lest he should fritter away the talents which God had given him, by attempting too many things to be thoroughly successful in any. Even in his school-boy days, his very quickness of apprehension and manual dexterity were perpetual snares; tempting him to put off preparation for recitation till the last moment; or to trust to a sudden impulse of ingenuity to accomplish undertakings which merited patient thought, and careful execution.
Kindly dispositions and agreeable manners endeared him to his companions, and when the class was summoned, to save him from disgrace, one would seek his dictionary, another his penknife or ruler, and by extraordinary effort, and a few “fortunate bits” on his own part, or the accidental delay of his tutor, he would pass muster, and rejoice that “he always managed without wearisome plodding" at his studies. He forgot, meanwhile, how much more valuable knowledge he might have acquired, had he added a modicum of this same plod ding perseverance to his unquestionable capacity for learning.
So in his amusements, while pointing triumphantly to the many clever contrivances which distinguished his little machines, he chose to overlook those which lay about unfinished, because the “fit of invention had gone off;" or because he was discouraged by the length of time requisite to complete them.
On leaving school the same tendency was the perpetual bane of his good qualities. He was easily beguiled into needless expenses, or waste of time, by yielding to the impulse of the moment. “Never fear, mother dear! I was never too late for the train yet!” he would reply to her urgent entreaties, that he would betimes make the needful arrangements for a distant journey ; but oftentimes he only reached the terminus at the latest instant, by incurring double charges in feeing the drivers of cabs or flies, to exert their utmost speed ; and moreover, he not unseldom left behind his most important documents or apparatus.
“ Yes, that is the style of dress for a gentleman, make me a suit of it!" said Arthur to the tailor. “I hate indecision even in trifles,” he added, glancing significantly at his brother Ernest, who was making some calculations upon the back of a note. But when pay-time came, Arthur could not help secretly wishing he had been a little less prompt in his decisions, for Ernest's sober calculations had saved him some pounds in the course of the year, though his appearance was not a whit less gentlemanly than his own.
Upright and undesigning himself, poor Arthur was often the dupe of his associates ! “I can see at a glance, that Mr. White, or Mr. Black, is just the friend for me!" and warm enough their intimacy would be, till the progress of time revealed some glaring defect, or an impulse of prudential reserve would cool the flame, and distance an acquaintance whose regard might have otherwise ripened into valuable friendship.
Ere entering upon the personal responsibilities of a business career, Arthur Gwynne had the misfortune to lose his father, and in this calamity lost the only friend whose authority could have restrained, while his wisdom guided, his son's mercantile transactions. Charmed with novelty, he eagerly embarked in manufacturing schemes which needed larger capital and more experience than he possessed; and when all was lost, his spirits sunk proportionably below an ordinary ebb tide.
“I will sell my business, and shall then be at liberty for anything that may turn up!” And so he did, at a ruinous sacrifice! One hasty resolution after another was then continually adopted, and as hastily abandoned when each seemed fruitless after a brief trial.
Yet all this time our hero deemed himself a person with remarkable decision of character; forgetting that the most indispensable elements of this desirable trait, are a careful weighing of probabilities; a patient perseverance in continuous effort; a due appreciation of small successes ; punctual diligence in the allotted duties of each moment and every moment; cautious husbandry of strength and energy, that none may be wasted to no purpose.
Young people are delighted by the vigorous proceedings of great characters, but they do not always examine into the