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the beauty of her abode. A lofty and well-lighted hall, shaped like a long pavilion, extending as far as we could see through the spray, and with the two objections that you could not have heard a pistol at your ear for the noise, and that the floor was somewhat precipitous, one would scarce imagine a more agreeable retreat for a gentleman who was disgusted with the world, and subject to dryness of the skin. In one respect it resembled the enchanted dwelling of the Witch of Atlas, where Shelley tells us,
"The invisible rain did ever sing
A silver music on the mossy lawn."
It is lucky for Witches and Naïads that they are not subject to rheumatism.
The air was scarcely breathable-(if air it may be called, which streams down the face with the density of a shower from a watering-pot,) and our footing upon the slippery rocks was so insecure, that the exertion of continually wiping our eyes was attended with imminent danger. Our sight was valuable, for, surely, never was such a brilliant curtain hung up to the sight of mortals, as spread apparently from the zenith to our feet, changing in thickness and lustre, but with a constant and resplendent curve. It was what a child might imagine the arch of the sky to be when it bends over the edge of the horizon.
The sublime is certainly very much diluted when one contemplates it with his back to a dripping and shiny rock, and his person saturated with a continual supply of water. From a dry window, I think the infernal writhe and agony of the abyss into which we were continually liable to slip, would have been as fine a thing as I have seen in my travels; I am free to admit, that, at the moment, I would have exchanged my experience and all the honour attached to it for a dry escape. The idea of drowning back through that thick column of water, was at least a damper to enthusiasm. We seemed cut off from the living. There was a death between us and the vital air and sunshine. I was screwing up my courage for the return, when the guide seized me by the
shoulder. I looked around, and what was my horror to see Miss standing far in behind the sheet upon the last visible point of rock, with the water pouring over her in torrents, and a gulf of foam between us, which I could in no way understand how she had passed over.
She seemed frightened and pale, and the guide explained to me by signs, (for I could not distinguish a syllable through the roar of the cataract,) that she had walked over a narrow ledge which had broken with her weight. A long fresh mark upon the rock at the foot of the precipitous wall, made it sufficiently evident. Her position was most alarming. I made a sign to her to look well to her feet; for the little island she stood upon was green with slime and scarce larger than a hat, and an abyss of full six feet wide, foaming and unfathomable, raged between it and the nearest foothold. What was to be done? Had we a plank, even, there was no possible hold for the further extremity, and the shape of the rock was so conical, that its slippery surface evidently would not hold a rope for a moment. To jump to her, even if it were possible, would endanger her life, and while I was smiling and encouraging the beautiful creature, as she stood trembling and pale on her dangerous foothold, I felt my very heart sink within me. The despairing guide said something which I could not hear, and disappeared through the watery wall, and I fixed my eyes upon the lovely form, standing like a spirit in the misty shroud of the spray, as if the intensity of my gaze could sustain her upon her dangerous foothold. I would have given ten years of my life at that moment to have clasped her hand in mine.
I had scarce thought of Job until I felt him trying to pass behind me. His hand was trembling as he laid it on my shoulder to steady his steps; but there was something in his ill-hewn features that shot an indefinite ray of hope through my mind. His sandy hair was plastered over his forehead, and his scant dress clung to him like a skin; but though I recall his image now with a smile, I looked upon him with a feeling far enough from amusement then. God bless thee,
my dear Job! wherever in this unfit world thy fine spirit may be fulfilling its destiny!
He crept down carefully to the edge of the foaming abyss, till he stood with the breaking bubbles at his knees. I was at a loss to know what he intended. She surely would not dare to attempt to jump to his arms from that slippery rock, and to reach her in any way seemed impossible.
The next instant he threw himself forward; and while I covered my eyes in horror, with the flashing conviction that he had gone mad and flung himself into the hopeless whirlpool to reach her, she had crossed the awful gulf, and lay trembling and exhausted at my feet! He had thrown himself over the chasm, caught the rock barely with the extremities of his fingers, and with certain death, if he missed his hold or slipped from his uncertain tenure, had sustained her with supernatural strength as she walked over his body!
The guide providentially returned with a rope in the same instant, and fastening it around one of his feet, we dragged him back through the whirlpool; and after a moment or two, to recover from the suffocating immersion, he fell on his knees, and we joined him, I doubt not, devoutly, in his audible thanks to God.
NIAGARA.-BY JAMES STUART, ESQ., 1833.
(From "Three Years in North America.")
WE distinctly heard the sound of the cataract, about ten miles from the Falls; but it is often heard at a far greater distance in favourable states of the wind and atmosphere, even, it is said, thirty miles from them. The spray, appearing like a cloud of smoke, was visible at the distance of more than two miles.
There is a steep wooden stair from the landing-place to the top of the bank on the American side, and from thence by the bridge over the rapids Goat Island is readily
approached. On the north side of that Island, the rocks, projected into the river 200 or 300 feet immediately over the Falls, are accessible by a rough wooden bridge, below which the water runs with fearful velocity. From these rocks, the view over the precipice and great Fall is terrific,-absolutely appalling, although the prodigious magnitude of the trembling waters is not so apparent at this spot as from the Table Rock and the boat. I descended a spiral staircase, which conducts to the edge of the river, below the Table Rock, but did not proceed into the cavern below the rock. The ground was exceedingly slippery. A false step might have precipitated me into the abyss. The spray was driving in no small quantities into the cavern. Were it not for those serious obstacles impeding the approach, and which at all times exist to a considerable extent, the edge of the cavern would be the station, of all others the most sublime for contemplating this extraordinary sight. There is, however, an excellent point of view, which the spray very often does not prevent the spectator from enjoying, somewhat nearer the Falls than the foot of the ladder, and there it is perhaps as well that cautious travellers should stop.
The overwhelming sensations, with which a spectator can hardly fail to be affected, are produced by the immense flood, not less than 100 millions of tons of water per hour, -the stupendous mass and overpowering force of the roaring and falling waters. It is in truth a great deep ocean, thrown over a precipice nearly 160 feet high. Every thing, every surrounding object, is viewed with indifference, while the mind is wholly absorbed in the contemplation of a spectacle so sublime-surpassing in majesty and grandeur and power, all the works of nature which have ever arrested the attention, or presented themselves to the imagination. No just or adequate description can be conveyed by language. Such words as grandeur, majesty, sublimity, fail altogether to express the feelings which so magnificent a sight, exceeding so immeasurably all of the same kind that we have ever seen or imagined, excites.
Dr. Hosack's Life of Clinton contains a letter from the late Governor Morris, the American minister in France, to his friend, Mr. John Parish of Hamburg, giving an account of a journey he had been making in the State of New York.
His allusion to the Falls of Niagara, in the following paragraph, seems to me exceedingly just, and to afford, as far as can be done by verbal description, the simplest, plainest, and most intelligible data for forming a conception of them :
"To form," (says Mr. Morris,) " a faint idea of the cataract, imagine to yourself the Frith of Forth rushing wrathfully down a deep descent, foaming over a perpendicular 175 feet high, then flowing away in the semblance of milk from a vast basin of emerald. Suppose, then, for the sake of greater accuracy, the Frith of Forth at Queen's-ferry, or rather that part of it interjected between Inch-Garvie Island and the north shore, where it is not quite so wide as the river Niagara at the top of the Falls, tumbling in mass over a precipitous rock 160 feet into an abyss, and you will then have some notion of the unparalleled, the petrifying influence, with which the Falls of Niagara impress the beholder. But truly, as the poet says, the eye of man must see this miracle to comprehend it, or the feeling it produces.
The great volume of water, of course, inclines very much forward in its descent, projecting about fifty feet from the base, and falls, for the most part of the perpendicular height, in an unbroken sheet of a dark-green colour, until it meets a cloud of spray ascending from the rocks below, in which it is lost to the eye.
We were fortunate in having fine weather,-bright sunshine,-when we were on the spot. The prismatic colours. were always to be seen; and more than once we had rainbows complete, of the most vivid colours, and peculiarly brilliant at sunrise, but of the beauty of which it is impossible to give any idea. "It is left alone," as Darby very correctly remarks, "in simple and sublime dignity, to impress upon the soul a sense of majestic grandeur, which loss of life or intellect can alone obliterate, and the force of