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be every attempt to describe the spot! How vain every effort to convey an idea of the sensations it produces! Why is it so exquisite a pleasure to stand for hours drenched in spray, stunned by the ceaseless roar, trembling from the concussion that strikes the very rock you cling too, and breathing painfully in the moist atmophere that seems to have less of air than water in it? Yet pleasure it is, and I almost think the greatest I ever enjoyed. We more than once approached the entrance to the appalling cavern behind the Horse-Shoe Fall; but I never fairly entered it, though two or three of my party did. I lost my breath entirely; and the pain at my chest was so severe, that not all my curiosity could enable me to endure it.
What was that Cavern of the Winds, of which we heard of old, compared to this? A mightier spirit than Æolus reigns here.
It was a sort of pang to take what we knew must be our last look at Niagara; but "we had to do it" as the Americans say, and left it on the 10th of June for Buffalo.
THE FALLS-TERRAPIN BRIDGE AND TOWER.
THE broad river, as it comes thundering and foaming down the declivity of the rapids, at length leaps the cataract, threefourths of a mile in width, and falls, as it were, to the central caves of the earth. The mind, filled with amazement, recoils at the spectacle, and loses for a moment its equilibrium. The trembling of the earth, the mighty rush and conflict, and deafening roar of the water, the clouds of mist sparkling with rainbows, produce an effect upon the beholder, often quite overpowering; and it is only after the scene has become somewhat familiar to the eye, the ear, and the imagination, that its real grandeur and sublimity is properly realized and felt.
"To sit on rocks, to muse on flood and field,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been.
Alone o'er steps and foaming falls to lean:
This is not solitude; 'tis but to hold
Converse with nature's charms, and see her stores unrolled."
The water on the American side, as ascertained by frequent measurement, falls 164 feet, and on the Canada side, 158 feet. The Fall on the Canada side, embracing much the largest channel of the river, is called, from the shape of the precipice, the Crescent, or Horse Shoe Fall," and near to this a bridge, called the Terrapin Bridge, has been constructed, 300 feet in length, from Goat Island, and projecting ten feet over the Falls. Near the termination of this bridge, in the water, and on the very verge of the precipice, a stone tower, forty-five feet high, with winding steps to the top, was erected in the year 1833, from which, or from the end of the bridge, the effect of the Falls upon the beholder is most awfully sublime, and utterly indescribable. The sublime arising from obscurity, is here experienced in its greatest force. The eye, unable to discover the bottom of the Falls, or even to penetrate the mist that seems to hang as a veil over the amazing and terrific scene, gives place to the imagination, and the mind is instinctively elevated and filled with majestic dread. Here is
"All that expands, yet appals."
"And such was that rainbow, that beautiful one,
And justice and mercy met there and embraced."
The solar and lunar bows, the river above and below, and indeed the whole scenery of the Falls and rapids, appear to better advantage from this point than from any other; and no visitor on either side should presume to leave the Falls without visiting the tower and bridge. From the top of the tower especially, he will realize the force and beauty of the
following description, which, with the change of a single word, applies admirably to this matchless scene:
"The roar of waters! From the headlong height
The flashing mass foams, shaking the abyss;
And mounts in spray the skies, and thence again
Is an eternal April to the ground,
Making it all one emerald;-how profound
The gulf!-and how the giant element
From rock to rock leaps with delirious bound,
Crushing the cliffs, which downward worn and rent,
With his fierce footsteps, yield in chasms a fearful vent.
Lo! where it comes like an eternity,
As if to sweep down all things in its track,
Charming the eye with dread,—a matchless cataract,
Horribly beautiful! but on the verge,
From side to side, beneath the glittering morn,
An Iris sits, amid the infernal surge.
Like Hope upon a death-bed, and, unworn
It steady dies, while all around is torn
By the distracted waters, bears serene
Its brilliant hues with all their beams unshorn,
Resembling, 'mid the torture of the scene,
Love watching Madness with unalterable mien." BYRON.
The lunar bow, seen at night, in the time of full moon, appears like a brightly illuminated arch, reaching from side to side, and is an object of great attraction,-especially as the world presents but few other places where such a bow is ever seen,
"Hung on the curling mist, the moonlight bow
Arches the perilous river."
Goat Island, in a moonlight night, is the resort of great
multitudes, and is a scene of unrivalled beauty and magnificence. The rapids at such a time sparkle with phosphoric splendour, and nature around wears an irresistible charm of loveliness. There is
"A silver light, which hallowing tree and tower,
The writer once had the pleasure of joining a lovely couple in marriage, about eleven o'clock on one of the brightest nights he has ever known, in full view of this enchanting scene, and then of taking a romantic excursion with the party around the island. This was poetry indeed; it was one of those bright and verdant oases sometimes met with in the journey of life.
BIDDLE STAIRCASE.-EOLUS' CAVE.
Ar the lower end of Goat Island, about one-third across it, a staircase, erected in the year 1829, at the expense of Nicholas Biddle, Esq., of Philadelphia, gives visitors an opportunity of descending below the bank, and of passing a considerable distance behind the two main sheets of water. The descent from the top of the island to the margin of the river, is 185 feet. A common flight of steps leads down 40 feet, to the perpendicular spiral steps, 90 in number, which are enclosed in a building in the shape of a hexagon, resting on a firm foundation at the bottom. From the foot of the building, there are three paths leading to the most important points of observation, one of which leads to the river below, 80 feet, where visitors will find one of the finest fishing-places in this part of the world. All the varieties of fish existing in Lake Ontario, are found here, among which are sturgeon, pike, pickerel, black and white bass, herring, cat-fish, eels, &c. Here was Sam Patch's jumping place. The path at the left of the staircase leads to the great Crescent Fall,
where, when the wind blows up the river, a safe and delightful passage is opened behind the sheet of water.
The path to the right leads to a magnificent Cave, appropriately named when it was first discovered, twenty-seven years since, Æolus' Cave, or Cave of the Winds. This cave is about 120 feet across, 50 feet wide, and 100 feet high; it is situated directly behind the Centre Fall, which at the bottom is more than 100 feet wide, and, were the rocks excavated a little and a few steps made, visitors could safely pass into and entirely through the cave, behind the sheet of water. Beyond this cave, at the foot of Luna Island, there is an open space, where persons may amuse themselves at leisure upon the rocks over which the floods are pouring, and then venture in as far as they please behind the whole American Fall.
The writer of these pages first conceived the idea of effecting an entrance into this cave, July 14, 1834, while passing in front of the American Fall in a boat, and the next day it was effected, for the first time, by Messrs. Berry, H. White, and George Sims, both residents at the Falls, who passed round the outside of the Falls, and landed at the foot of Luna Island. Accompanying the above idea, was a project of passing behind the whole American Fall, fifty rods, and coming out near the ferry. This passage, though not yet effected, is believed to be possible; for the opening between the sheet of water as it falls, and the rock behind, is from fifteen to fifty feet wide, and there are rocks to walk upon through the whole distance. If there be any insurmountable obstacle, it will probably be found in the tremendous wind and spray occasioned by the falling flood. A passage into the cave was at first considered a great exploit, but a passage behind the whole sheet would be inconceivably greater. The cave itself, is the ne plus ultra of wonders; a visit to which, no person of sufficient nerve, ought to omit. Ladies and gentlemen can very often, when the wind blows down the river, pass a considerable distance behind the sheet of water within the cave, without getting wet at all. The view presented to a person while in the cave, in connexion with the tremendons and