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some four miles from Buffalo. We found the little rapids about the shore occupied by fishers of all ages, who required but a small share of the patience which is deemed so essential to the followers of this melancholy sport, for they were pulling the simple wretches out as fast as the lines could be baited and offered.
The shipment was quickly effected, and in a few minutes our faces were turned from the dominion of the States. The vessel was a large horse-boat; that is, a flat propelled by paddle-wheels similar to those of a steam-boat, only wrought by horse-power-an animal-treadmill in fact.
On the larboard gangway of our flat the American jack floated, and over the starboard side waved the Union flag of Old England; they fluttered proudly side by side, a worthy brotherhood, and so united may they long be found! The ride along the Canada shore was very fine, the noble stream being constantly in sight.
We halted to water the team at a public-house that stands upon the ground where was fought the battle of Chippewa, which, as the Yankees say, " eventuated just no-how."
From this house the eternal mist caused by the great Fall may be plainly seen curling like a vast body of light smoke, and shooting occasionally in spiral columns high above the tree-tops; but not a sound told of its neighbourhood, though we were not five miles distant from it, and the day was calm and clear. At about three miles from this, as the vehicle slowly ascended a rise, I heard for the first time the voice of the many waters, and called the attention of my friends within the carriage to the sound.
Never let any impatient man set out for Niagara in one of these coaches; a railroad could hardly keep pace with one's eagerness, and here we were crawling at the rate of four miles fer hour.
I fancied that the last three miles never would be accomplished; and often wished internally, as I beat the devil's tattoo upon the footboard, that I had bought or stolen a horse at Chippewa, and galloped to the wonder alone and silently.
At length the hotel came in view, and I knew that the rapid was close at hand.
"Now, sir, look out!" quietly said the driver.
I almost determined upon shutting my eyes or turning away my head; but I do not think it would have been within the compass of my will so to have governed them; for even at this distant moment, as I write, I find my pen move too slow to keep pace with the recollections of the impatience which I seek to record.
It was at the moment we struck the foot of the hill leading up to the hotel, that the rapid and the great Horse-Shoe Fall became visible over the sunken trees to our right, almost on a level with us. I have heard people talk of having felt disappointed on a first view of this stupendous scene: by what process they arrived at this conclusion, I profess myself utterly incapable of divining, since even now that two years have almost gone by, I find on this point my feelings are not yet to be analyzed; I dare not trust myself to their guidance, and only know that my wildest imaginings were forgotten in contemplating this awful reality. A very few minutes after we were released from the confinement of the coach, saw myself and companions upon the Table-rock; and soon after we were submitting to the equipment provided by a man resident upon the spot, for persons who choose to penetrate beneath the great Fall, and whose advertisement assured us that the gratification of curiosity was unattended with either inconvenience or danger, as water-proof dresses were kept in readiness, together with an experienced guide. The water-proof dress given me I found still wet through; and on the arrival of the experienced guide, I was not a little surprised to see the fellow, after a long stare in my face, exclaim,
"Och, blood an' 'oons! Mr. Power, sure it's not yer honour that's come all this way from home!"
An explanation took place; when I found that our guide, whom I had seen some two years before as a helper in the stable of my hospitable friend Smith Barry, at Floaty, was
this summer promoted to the office of "Conductor," as he styled himself, under the waterfall.
And a most whimsical "conductor" he proved. His cautions and his "divils a fears!" and "not a hap'orth of danger!" must have been mighty assuring to the timid or nervous, if any such ever make this experiment, which, although perfectly safe, is not a little startling.
His directions,-when we arrived at the point where the mist, pent in beneath the overhanging rock, makes it impossible to distinguish anything, and where the rush of air is so violent as to render respiration for a few seconds almost impracticable—were inimitable.
"Now, yer honour !" he shouted in my ear-for we moved in Indian file,-"whisper the next gentleman to follow you smart; and for the love o' God! shoulder the rock close, stoop yer heads, and shut fast yer eyes, or you wont be able to see an inch!"
I repeated my orders verbatim, though the cutting wind made it difficult to open one's mouth.
"Now then, yer honour," he cried, cowering down as he spoke," do as you see me do; hould yer breath, and scurry after like divils!"
With the last word he bolted, and was out of sight in an instant. I repeated his directions, however, to the next in file, and, as directed, scurried after.
This rather difficult point passed, I came upon my countryman waiting for us within the edge of the curve described by this falling ocean; he grasped my wrist firmly as I emerged from the dense drift, and shouted in my ear—
"Luk up, sir, at the green sea that's rowlin 'over us! Murdur! bud iv it only was to take a shlope in on us!"
Here we could see and breathe with perfect ease; and even the ludicrous gestures and odd remarks of my poetical countryman could not wholly rob the scene of its striking grandeur. I next passed beyond my guide as he stood tiptoe against the rock, upon a ledge on which we trod, and under his direction attained that limit, beyond which the foot of
man never pressed. I sat for one moment on the Termination Rock, and then followed my guide back to my companions, when together we once more "scurried" into day.
"Isn't it illigant, sir?" began the "Conductor "as soon as we were well clear of the mist.
"Isn't it a noble sight intirely? Caps the world for grandness any way, that's sartain !”
I need hardly say that in this opinion we all loudly joined ; but Mr. Conductor was not yet done with us, he had now to give us a taste of his "larnin'."
"I wish ye'd take notice, sir," said he, pointing across the river with an air of authority and a look of infinite wisdom. "Only take a luk at the Falls; now ye may see wid your own eyes that Shakespere is out altogether about the description."
“How's that, Pat," inquired I, although not a little taken aback by the authority so gravely quoted by my critical friend.
"Why, sir, Shakespere first of all says that there's two Falls; now, ye may see wid yer own eyes that it's one river sure, and one Fall, only for the shript o'rock that makes two af id."
This I admitted was evident; whilst Pat gravely went on : "Thin agin, only luk here, sir; Shakespere says, 'The cloud-capt tower;' why, if he'd ever taken the trouble to luk at it, he'd seen better than that; an' if he wasn't a fool— which I'm sure he wasn't, bein' a grand poet,—he'd know that the clouds never can rise to cap the tower, by reason that it stands up above the Fall, and that the current for ever sets down."
Again I agreed with him, excusing Shakespere's discrepancies on the score of his never having had a proper guide to explain these matters.
"I don't know who at all showed him the place," gravely responded Pat; "but it's my belief he never was in id at all at all, though the gintleman that tould me a heap more about it swears for sartin that he was."
This last remark, and the important air with which the doubt was conveyed, proved too much for my risible faculties, already suffering some constraint, and I fairly roared out in concert with my companion, who had been for some time convulsed with laughter. The next morning at an early hour I revisited the "Termination Rock," but excused myself from being accompanied by the "Conductor." I next wandered down the stream, and had a delightful bath in it. Accompanied by a friend, I was pulled in a skiff as close to the Fall as possible, and in short performed all the observances that have been suggested and practised by curiosity or idleness; but in all these I found no sensation equal to a long quiet contemplation of the mass entire, not as viewed from the balconies of the hotel, but from some rocky point or woody shade, where house, and fence, and man, and all his petty doings were shut out, and the eye left calmly to gaze upon the awful scene, and the rapt mind to raise its thoughts to Him who loosed this eternal flood, and guides it harmless as the petty brook. There never should have been a house permitted within sight of the Fall at least. How I have envied those who first sought Niagara, through the scarce-trod wilderness, with the Indian for a guide; and who slept upon its banks with the summer-trees for their only shelter, with the sound of its waters for their only réveille.
THE FERRY-CANADA VIEWS-CITY OF THE FALLS.
THERE is another staircase leading down the bank, about six rods below the Falls, where visitors will find a safe ferry to the Canada side, and have an opportunity of viewing a scene of surpassing grandeur. The deep-green glassy river beneath, the awful precipice of rocks, and the mighty floods rolling and tumbling from the heights above, and the singularly wild, romantic, and variegated scenery around, fill the mind of the beholder with sensations not to be described. Here one