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nished with sofas and arm-chairs, the sides hung round with paintings, and ornamented with well occupied stands of gay flowers, while she is as safe and speedy as the smokiest and dirtiest of her sisterhood.
In this steamer I crossed the lake, and went seven miles up the Niagara river, to Queenstown, thence to the falls, eight miles, by a railway of very primitive construction: it despises levels, is settled down into deep ruts, and unconfined by fences on either side. We were perched on a quaint old coach, our locomotives three meek horses, and it certainly was not an express train. Our lateral movements on the rough track rivalled those forward in quantity, and much exceeded them in rapidity.
This district was the scene of several very bloody and gallant actions between the English and Americans during the late war; they seem to have been highly satisfactory to both parties, for each claims the victory. They have contended for the laurels during the last thirty years with the same pertinacity with which they disputed the battle ground, and with the same doubtful result. One thing, however, is certain—that the Americans failed in making any serious permanent impression on any part of the country. Perhaps the mutual injury was about equal, their loss of Buffalo being balanced by that of Little York on the side of the English ; each had to mourn over the graves
many worthy and brave soldiers. Sir Isaac Brock was the most remarkable of these ; he commanded the British force at the battle of Queenstown, where he fell : the Canadian Parliament erected a pillar to his memory on the scene of his victory, which, as I have before mentioned, was blown up by one of the Sympathizers, at the time of their invasion of Canada.
Queenstown is but a poor place : being on the frontier, it has frequently suffered in the struggles between the two countries; the inhabitants are now about five hundred in number. At the entrance of the Niagara river, or, as it should be called, the continuation of the St. Lawrence, is Fort Niagara, now a place of considerable strength and importance. I there saw,
for the first time, the Aag of the Stars and Stripes, and the soldiers in their grey uniforms. On the English side Fort Massassaqua guards the river, behind it is the town of Niagara, with its docks and foundry, four churches, and two thousand people. At the western end of Lake Ontario, is Burlington Bay, containing the towns of Dundas and Hamilton ; both of them are rapidly growingthe latter has five thousand inhabitants, and much commercial enterprise. The waters of the Niagara river are of a peculiarly beautiful color, the blue is as clear and soft as that of a summer's sky. Up to Queenstown the banks are low, and the country around flat; thence to the falls the flood lies between high, abrupt cliffs. On the Canada side, rich tracts of park-like scenery extend for many miles inland ; a great portion is cleared, but there still remain many of the magnificent old forest trees, which once sheltered the people of the departed race. The surface of the country rises in steppes of good table-land, from but little above the level of the lake, to the undulating grounds which spread about the falls, nearly three hundred feet higher.
We stopped several times on the way from our landing at Queenstown ; the noise of the falls was not perceptible till within two miles—while our clumsy rail-carriage was in motion, its rattle had a complete monopoly of our anxious ears. The night was very calm, but, as we were rather below on our approach, the noise seemed lost among the tall trees that surrounded the road. We arrived at the hotel, which was on the Canada side, but kept by an American, according to American customs. For. tunately, it was dark; I was very glad not to have had the first view dimmed by twilight. A great many people were staying in the house, principally Americans; they walked about under the verandahs and danced till twelve at night. The musician was a very gaily dressed negro, who did good service on his violin, with the instructions to the dancers added in a vocal accompaniment : he entered so completely into the spirit of his office, that he sometimes pirouetted about, to assist precept by example. This valu- . able man also fulfilled the functions of barber and head waiter to the hotel.
By painting and by description, Niagara had been familiar to me for years, as no doubt it has been to every one else : so much has been said and written on the subject, that any attempt to throw new light upon it is hopeless. I, therefore, mean, with simple egotism, to give the impressions it made upon myself.
The sight was precisely what I expected—the sensations it caused totally different. I did not start with an exclamation of awe, neither did I only look upon it as “an everlasting fine 'water-privilege.' I thought it a magnificent cataract, far grander than anything I had before seen, and more beautiful. I sat down on the turf near Table Rock, whence there is the best view, with something approaching to disappointment on my mind, that, after all, it should be only a magnificent cataract.” But as I looked and listened, the eye and ear, as it were, matured into the power of fit perception ; then, admiration and astonishment, and at last almost confusion, came upon me; sight and sound seemed to have joined their strength and merged into a vague impression-vague, but of mighty force.
A passing stranger addressed some question to me, which aroused me ; I found that, unconscious of the lapse of time, I had been for hours staring at the great wonder.
I got up reluctantly and proceeded to the nuisance of sightseeing, but looked back every now and then as though fearing that I should lose the rest of the grand spectacle ; for I could not but fancy that it was some strange and transient phenomenon, or a display got up by some enormous effort for the moment. When night came, it seemed reckless waste to keep it going still, while its glorious beauty was hidden from mortal view.
It was not till increasing distance freed me from its influence, and when thought returned, that I knew it had been going on yesterday, last year, for a century, for tens of centuries back to that deep abyss of the past, on which sceptic science-presumptuous though feeble—has dared to shed a dim and sinister light, of only sufficient strength to show, that the depths must rernain for ever-inscrutable as profound.
Now, the neighborhood of this great wonder is overrun with every species of abominable fungus—the growth of rank bad taste; with equal luxuriance on the English and American sides, Chinese pagoda, menagerie, camera obscura, museum, watchtower, wooden monument, sea gardens, “old curiosity shops." A boy handed me a slip of paper, on which were printed some stanzas of astounding magnificence signed “Almira,” much in
the favorite style of the poet laureate to “ Moses and Son." I cannot refrain from giving a short quotation :
“ Would ye fain steal a glance o'er life's dark sea,
“ The Pagoda is now open to visitors and perfectly secure.
Admittance 25 cents 1st April, 1845.”
One of the disagreeable necessities of the tourist is to go under the falls to Termination Rock. Arrayed in a well worn suit of oil-cloth, with hard, dirty shoes and no stockings, I was weak enough to submit to it.
The left hand grasped firmly by a negro guide, I shuffled sideways along a narrow, shingly path cut out of the side of the cliff, the main sheet of water falling far clear of me; the dense cloud of spray soon soaks into every pore, and obscures the sight, while the tremendous noise makes hearing equally impossible. Every now and then, I trod upon an eel, and he would twist his limber, slimy body over my bare instep, perhaps into the shoe, where there was ample room, and escape through some of its holes. I then descended some rough steep steps, went a little further and stood triumphant, but very cold, upon Termination Rock ; next I groped for a stone to carry back with me to the upper world, that it may descend to my admiring posterity—if I be ever so blessed—as a memorial of the wisdom and courage of their ancestor.
There is not the least danger in this particularly nasty and disagreeable performance; ladies frequently go through it; their dress for the purpose is of the same material, but rather more voluminous than ours. With all due deference to the fair adven. turers, I do not think it an exploit at all suited to their sex; there is nothing whatever to reward the trouble and nuisance of the visit, and little to boast of in having accomplished it.
I then went up the bank of the river above the falls, to see the rapids; they are very fine, but not so striking as the Cedars. Next I was rowed in a boat as near as possible to the foot of the falls, got rather wet, then crossed to the American side, climbed the vile Pagoda, went to Iris Island-in short, looked at Niagara from above, peered under, stared up, glanced sideways; and at Termination I had actually examined the back of it. This is all worse than useless, as well might you do the same with Raphael's “ Transfiguration ;” as there is but one perfect view for a painting, there is but one for Niagara. See it from Table Rock, gaze thence upon it for hours-days if you like—and then go
home. As for the Rapids, Cave of the Winds, Burning Springs, &c., &c., you might as well enter into an examination of the gilt figures on the picture frame, as waste your time on them.
About three miles below, is the Whirlpool, a large, deep sweep, hollowed out of the cliff in a bend of the river. Sometimes there is a horrible interest connected with this place; the bodies of people who have been lost over the falls have floated round and round this dismal hole for days together; carried on the surface by the whirling eddies back to the main stream; sucked down, to emerge again in a few minutes and continue their ghastly journey : the rocks around are abrupt, the water unapproachable by boats; so they must remain, till decomposed, or by some chance swell of the waters they vary their course a little, and get far enough into the main stream to be borne away by its force.
About once in ten years, generally in January or the beginning of February, the ice takes all across at the foot of the falls, making a complete bridge from one shore to the other. frozen mass, of irregular shape, is formed on the edge next to the cataract, from masses of ice being forced under the surface and raising it up, and from the accumulation of frozen spray; when this breaks up in the spring, the concussion of the severed fragments, driven together by the force of the waters, rivals the noise of the falls themselves. In a mild winter, the ice of Lake Erie sometimes breaks up, large pieces float over the falls, they are smashed to atoms, and rise to the surface in immense quantities of a substance like wetted snow ; a severe night's frost binds this into a solid mass, and forms a large portion of the bridge.
The rise and fall of the great body of the water is very slight at any season ; but, as you watch the plunging stream, it seems