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describing, and I am sorry for those who have not. The country of Washington will be in its decadence before it sees such another.

She had been to the Fall, and was returning with her mother and a troop of lovers, who, I will venture to presume, brought away a very imperfect impression of the scene.

I would describe her as she came laughing up that green bank, unconscious of everything but the pleasure of life in a summer's sun-set; but I leave it for a more skilful hand. The authoress of " Hope Leslie " will, perhaps, mould her image into one of her inimitable heroines.

I presented my friend, and we passed the evening in her dangerous company. After making an engagement to accompany her in the morning behind the sheet of the Falls, we said good-night at twelve-one of us at least as many "fathom deep in love," as a thousand Rosalinds. My poor chum! The roar of the cataract, that shook the very roof over thy head, was less loud to thee that night than the beating of thine own heart, I warrant me! I rose at sunrise to go alone to the Fall, but Job was before me, and the angular outline of his gaunt figure, stretching up in strong relief against the white body of the spray, was the first object that caught my eye as I descended.

As I came nearer the Fall, a feeling of disappointment came over me. I had imagined Niagara a vast body of water descending as if from the clouds. The approach to most Falls is from below, and we get an idea of them as of rivers pitching down to the plain from the brow of a hill or mountain. Niagara river, on the contrary, comes out from Lake Erie through a flat plain. The top of the cascade is ten feet perhaps below the level of the country around, consequently invisible from any considerable distance. You walk to the bank of a broad and rapid river, and look over the edge of a rock, where the outlet flood of an inland sea seems to have broken through the crust of the earth, and, by its mere weight, plunged with an awful leap into an immeasurable and resounding abyss. It seems


to strike and thunder upon the very centre of the world, and the ground beneath your feet quivers with the shock till you feel unsafe upon it.

Other disappointment than this I cannot conceive at Niagara. It is a spectacle so awful, so beyond the scope and power of any other phenomenon in the world, that I think people who are disappointed there, mistake the incapacity of their own conception for the want of grandeur in the scene.

The "hell of waters" below, needs but a little red ochre to out-phlegethon Phlegethon. I can imagine the surprise of the gentle element, after sleeping away a se'nnight of moonlight in the peaceful bosom of Lake Erie, at finding itself of a sudden in such a coil! A Mediterranean sea-gull, which had tossed out the whole of a January in the infernal "yeast" of the Archipelago, (was I not all but wrecked. every day between Troy and Malta, in a score of successive hurricanes?)—I say, the most weather-beaten of sea-birds would look twice before he ventured upon the roaring caldron below Niagara. It is astonishing to see how far the descending mass is driven under the surface of the stream. As far down towards Lake Ontario as the eye can reach, the immense volumes of water rise like huge monsters to the light, boiling and flashing out in rings of foam, with an appearance of rage and anger that I have seen in no other cataract in the world.

"A nice Fall, as an Englishman would say, my dear Job." "Awful!"

Walleck, the American poet, (a better one never "strung pearls,") has written some admirable verses on Niagara, describing its effects on the different individuals of a mixed party, among whom was a tailor. The sea of incident that has broken over me in years of travel, has washed out of my memory all but two lines descriptive of its impression upon Snip :

"The tailor made one single note

Gods! what a place to sponge a coat!"

"Shall we go to breakfast, Job?"

"How slowly and solemnly they drop into the abysm!" It was not an original remark of Mr. Smith's. Nothing is so surprising to the observer as the extraordinary deliberateness with which the waters of Niagara take their tremendous plunge. All hurry, and foam, and fret, till they

reach the smooth limit of the curve-and then the laws of gravitation seem suspended, and, like Cæsar, they pause, and determine, since it is inevitable, to take the death-leap with becoming dignity.

"Shall we go to breakfast, Job?" I was obliged to raise my voice, to be heard, to a pitch rather exhausting to an empty stomach.

His eyes remained fixed upon the shifting rainbows bending and vanishing in the spray. There was no moving him, and I gave in for another five minutes.

"Do you think it probable, Job, that the waters of Niagara strike on the axis of the world ?"

No answer.



"Do you think his Majesty's half of the cataract is finer than ours?"


"For water, merely, perhaps. But look at the delicious verdure on the American shore, the glorious trees, the mass'd foliage, the luxuriant growth even to the very rim of the ravine! By Jove! it seems to me, things grow better in a republic. Did you ever see a more barren or scraggy shore than the one you stand upon."

"How exquisitely," said Job, soliloquising, "that small green island divides the Fall! What a rock it must be founded on, not to have been washed away in the ages that these waters have split against it!"

"I'll lay you a bet it is washed away before the year two thousand-payable in any currency with which we may then be conversant."

"Don't trifle !"

"With time, or geology, do you mean? Isn't it perfectly clear from the looks of that ravine, that Niagara has backed up all the way from Lake Ontario? these rocks are not adamant, and the very precipice* you stand on has cracked, and looks ready for the plunge. It must gradually wear back to Lake Erie, and then there will be a sweep. I should like to live long enough to see. The instantaneous junction of two seas, with a difference of two hundred feet in their level, will be a spectacle-eh, Job?”

"Tremendous !"

"Do you intend to wait and see it, or will you come to


He was immovable. I left him on the rock, went up to the hotel, and ordered mutton-chops and coffee, and when they were on the table gave two of the waiters a dollar each to bring him up nolens volens.

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He arrived in a great rage, but with a good appetite, and we finished our breakfast just in time to meet Miss she stepped like Aurora from her chamber. It is necessary to a reputation for prowess in the United States to have been behind the sheet of the Fall (supposing you to have been to Niagara.) This achievement is equivalent to a hundred shower-baths, one severe cold, and being drowned twicebut most people do it.

We descended to the bottom of the precipice at the side of the Fall, where we found a small house, furnished with coarse linen dresses for the purpose, and having arranged ourselves in habiliments not particularly improving to our natural beauty, we re-appeared-only three out of a party of ten having had the courage to trust their attractions to such a trial. Miss looked like a fairy in disguise, and Job like the most ghostly and diabolical monster that ever stalked unsepultured abroad. He would frighten a child in

* It has since fallen into the abyss-fortunately in the night, as visitors were always upon it during the day. The noise was heard at an incredible distance.


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his best black suit-but with a pair of wet linen trousers scarce reaching to his knees, a jacket with sleeves shrunk to the elbows, and a white cap, he was something supernaturally awful.

We quite hesitated about going under the Fall with him.

It looked rather appalling. Our way lay through a dense descending sheet of water, along a slender pathway of rocks, broken into small fragments, with an overhanging wall on one side, and the boiling caldron of the cataract on the other. A false step, and you were a subject for the "shocking accident" maker.

The guide went first, taking Miss's right hand. She gave me her left, and Job brought up the rear, as they say in Connecticut, "on his own hook." We picked our way boldly up to the water. The wall leaned so much, and the fragmented declivity was so narrow and steep, that, if it had not been done before, I should have turned back at once; two steps more, and the small hand in mine began to struggle violently, and, in the same instant, the torrent beat into my mouth, eyes, and nostrils, and I felt as if I was drowning. I staggered a blind step forward, but still the water poured into my nostrils, and the conviction rushed for a moment on my mind that we were lost. I struggled for breath, stumbled forward, and, with a gasp that I thought was my last, sunk upon the rocks within the descending waters. Job tumbled over me the next instant, and as soon as I could clear my eyes sufficiently to look about me, I saw the guide sustaining Miss, who had been as nearly drowned as most of the subjects of the Humane Society, but was apparently in a state of resuscitation. None but the half-drowned know the pleasure of breathing. Here we were within a chamber that Undine might have coveted, a wall of rock at our back, and a transparent curtain of shifting water between us and the world, having entitled ourselves à peu près to the same reputation with Hylas and Leander, for seduction by the Naïads. Whatever sister of Arethusa inhabits there, we could but congratulate her on

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