Изображения страниц


carrying it off as if he had a whole pipe at command, though in reality he had but another out. This fortunately was less corked than the first; and Jack having given an approving smack of his great thick lips, Mr. Sponge took it on his judgment, and gave a nod to Spigot, who forthwith took his departure.

“Old trick, that,” observed Jack, with a shake of the head, as Spigot shut the door.

“ Is it ?” observed Mr. Sponge, taking up the observation, though in reality it was addressed to the fire.

Noted for it,” replied Jack, squinting at the sideboard, though he was staring intently at Soapey, to see how he took it.

“Well, I thought we had a bottle with a queer smatch the other night," observed Soapey.

6 Old Blossomnose corked half a dozen in succession one night,” replied Jack.

(He had corked three, but Jawleyford was even with him, and, having recorked them, was now reproducing them to our friends.)

“ Indeed!" replied Soapey to the observation ; a safe exclamation, and one that might apply to the curious coincidence, or to the meanness of trying the experiment.

Although our friends had now got the ice broken, and entered into something like a conversation, it nevertheless went on at a slow pace, and they had ample time to consider each word before it was uttered. Jack too had time to run his peculiar situation through his mind, and ponder on his mission from Lord Scamperdale-on his lordship's detestation of Mr. Sponge, his anxiety to get rid of him, his promised corner in his will, and his lordship’s hint about buying Soapey's horses if he could not get rid of him in any


way. ‘My lord 's young," mused Jack, with a shake of his head, -_as long as me-may change his mind-may leave me no great things after all.” Then he entered upon the pleasant speculation as to how much his lordship would be likely to leave him. “ Deuced rich !" thought he, squinting ardently at the fire, though Mr. Sponge thought he was scrutinising him. “ The money that man has



comprehension ;-no wonder either ; believe he would go a mile out of his

way to save a pike. Can't leave me less than five thousand,” thought Jack, " or perhaps an annuity of five underd-five underd a-year paid quarterly underd each quarter, and one over-deuced comfortable thing !" thought he, with a shake of the head, as if such luck was too good for him to think of.

For the information of similar expectants we may here state that, when his lordship sent for Mr. Pouncebox, he had about made up his mind to leave Jack fifty pounds a-year. About an hour after Jack's departure, however, when his lordship came to consider that Jack had sixty pounds a-year of his own, he thought forty added to it would be quite enough, and make Jack a hundred a-year. When he went to feed his hounds he reflected that Jack had not done him half such good work as old Frostyface, to whom he had only left thirty pounds a-year; and by the time Pouncebox arrived he had come to the conclusion that twenty would be ample; but lest he should see occasion to change his mind still further, he just had a codicil drawn up in favour of Mr. John Spraggon, leaving the amount blank, in which state it was locked away in his old mahogany writing-desk

may live



Stand not upon the order of your going,
But go at once.

SHAKSPERE. Ar eight o'clock on Thursday morning, July the 6th, I left Buffalo by a small steamer for the Falls of Niagara. The distance is twenty-two miles. The scenery of this portion of the river, though pretty, is not particularly striking After passing Fort Erie and its adjacent battlegrounds on the Canada shore, where several severe engagements occurred during the war of i814, we came to Grand Island, twelve miles in length, with another small island at its foot, celebrated as the spot at which the Canadian insurgents took up their position during the recent rebellion in Canada.

Almost immediately opposite on the American side is Schlosser, where the Caroline steamer, which conveyed supplies to the rebels, lay moored at the time she was cut out by a British officer and his men, set on fire, and sent adrift over the Falls, which she descended, said my informant, " in full blast with a most immortal smash.” We soon afterwards landed at Chippewa, about two miles from the Falls, near which another very severe engagement took place during the late war between our troops and the Americans, and in which, from all accounts, we had pretty considerably the worst of it. The river here is about two miles broad, and its current so extremely rapid that no boat dare venture within a mile of the Falls; for my own part I thought Chippewa somewhat too near to be agreeable. From Chippewa we went by cars to the Clifton Hotel on the Canada side. I have seen some of the finest cataracts in Europe, but there is nothing on the whole continent, or I believe in the world, at all to be compared to Niagara, which in the Indian language signifies “the thunder of waters.” What a pity it is the scenery above the Falls is not upon a grander scale ! There are the rapids, it is true, and some lovely little islets within them, but the banks are much too tame. The river below the Falls dashes along in a succession of rapids for many miles through a deep channel, the banks of which are 200 or 300 feet high, and clothed to their summits with native forest. The river above is about a mile in width, and divided by Goat Island into two distinct streams, which form the two cataracts, the Canada or Horse-shoe Fall being 1800 feet in breadth and 154 feet high ; and the American Fall 900 feet in breadth and 164 feet high. The Clifton Hotel is delightfully situated on a precipice overlooking the river. I had the American Falls directly opposite my bedroom window; I could actually see them distinctly as I lay in bed; and many and many an hour have I thus passed gazing at them with ceaseless admiration, until sleep has gradually overpowered me. I have watched them on a pale moonlight night, for then are they seen to the greatest advantage ; and the most eloquent description will prove inadequate to convey a just conception of the scene. I have on these occasions smoked the cigar of meditation. To stand alone on Table Rock at midnight, a pale glittering night, and look down into that tre

mendous caldron of boiling waters, encircled by a magnificent lunar rainbow, is a great event in the life of any man ; and there can be no doubt that a silent contemplation of such a scene at such a time is better calculated to impress one with proper and religious feelings than the best sermon that was ever preached.

The walks along the banks of the river towards Queenston are wild, romantic, and beautiful, the scenery a great deal resembling that of the finest Scotch rivers. I walked nine miles on the Canada side to Queenston, crossed the river there, and returned home on the American side. There is nothing like walking: half the people that visit this place miss all the finest scenery by going in conveyances along the high roads. I went through woods the entire way, closely skirting the river. About half-way I came to the whirpool, where the banks are at least 300 feet high, and crowned with the finest forest-trees. The river is one sheet of foam for miles, for there is a descent of 100 feet from the Falls to Queenston; and in my opinion the rapids are almost as well worth seeing as the Falls theinselves. I ascended Queenston heights, and visited Brock's monument, where a battle was fought during the last war, in which the British general of that name was killed, and this monument erected to his memory. It is now shattered to pieces, having been blown up by the Canadian rebels during the late insurrection : the view from it of the noble river, Lake Ontario in the distance, and the fine fertile country around, is exceedingly beautiful. I crossed the river at Queenston to Lewiston on the American side, where the Falls, though now nine miles distant, are supposed once to have been; and as they are known to have receded fifty yards during the last forty years, the supposition is not so very unreasonable as it would at first appear. On the American side I passed a tremendous chasm, called the Devil's Hole, into which it is said a detachment of the British army during the French war were forced, while retreating during the night before a superior force. The view of the Falls some three miles in the distance, together with the river both above and below, with a part of the great basin, was, I think, one of the finest sights I ever looked on in my

life. On reaching the village of Niagara I recrossed the river in the ferry-boat to the Clifton Hotel, highly delighted with the day's excursion.

At Lundy's Lane, only two miles from the Falls, a most severe engagement took place during the last war with Great Britain, in which each side lost upwards of 800 men. I visited the burning spring near the latter place, which I thought a great curiosity; for, on a lighted candle being applied to the water, it ignited like so much spirit.

One memorable day I walked behind the great Horse-shoe Fall to Termination Rock, a distance of 153 feet. Few go unaccompanied by a guide, who supplies an oilskin dress for the occasion, at a charge of a dollar for each person. But a young Englishman, who had the summer previous gone through this ordeal, challenged me to accompany him alone; and being fond of adventure, I at once accepted the invitation, on the understanding that he was to go first. Without communicating our intention to any one, we descended the enclosed spiral-staircase, which conducted us nearly to the foot of the Horse-shoe Falls, and there my friend's courage seemed to evaporate, and he wanted me to take the lead; but that I at first respectfully declined, as being contrary to the spirit of our agreement. I threw off my coat, hat, and shoes, and advanced with him to the very edge of the curtain; the scene was tremendous; and

there for a time we stood, grinning and bowing to each other like two Chinese mandarins over a chest of tea. “After you,” I screamed; but perceiving that he could not get his steam up, I politely requested him to forward my trunk in case of accidents, and disappeared from his wondering gaze,

I was drenched to the skin in an instant. The first three feet are the most trying, as there is only just sufficient space to enable you to pass.

I was wrong

in not keeping on my hat, for the water fell with such force on my bare head that I was obliged to protect it as well as I could with one hand, whilst I grasped the rope that runs along the wall of rock with the other. The noise was deafening, and for a few seconds I found my breath taken away by the rushing wind. Still I proceeded, as I knew thousands had done so before me, and after three steps felt immediate relief. The space then widened to twenty or thirty feet, and I walked without difficulty to Termination Rock, beyond which no man of mortal mould dare go. The whole scene was dismally grand, and the light was quite sufficient to enable us to see what we were about. There is no great danger, if a man is cautious and possesses tolerably good nerves; but one false step, and your fate would become matter of history, and form a fitting theme to point a moral or adorn tale!

The depth of the river at the Falls has never yet been ascertained, but it is supposed to be at least 800 or 1000 feet, as at the ferry, half a mile below, it is from 250 to 260 feet.

I passed three days on the American side, and was delighted with Goat Island, which is really one of the most charmingly wild spots I have anywhere seen, and its shady and romantic walks command


brilliant views of the Rapids and Falls.





On the 15th of July I proceeded by railroad to Lockport, twenty-four miles, and from thence by canal-boat, along the Erie Canal, sixty-four miles, to Rochester; the fare the entire distance being only 4s. 6d., including supper and bed, such as it was. The country towards Lockport, through only partially cleared, was pretty to the eye, being hilly and nicely wooded; but the soil seemed

and the
crops were very

thin. On reaching Lockport, we at once proceeded to Rochester in a huge coffinlooking boat, 110 feet long, towed by three horses, which were changed every ten miles. We progressed, as the Yankees say, at the rate of four miles an hour, and had, therefore, ample time to examine the country, which was very monotonous; the land on each side of the canal, though far from first-rate, was worth, I understood, from five to fifteen pounds an

The bridges over the canal are only just high enough to clear the baggage, which is always placed on the deck ; and on the helmsman shouting out, “ Duck for the bridge!" every person then upon deck prostrated himself to avoid being crushed. The most frightful accidents occasionally occur on passing under these bridges ; and only a fortnight previous a poor German and his wife had been crushed to death by throwing themselves on their luggage instead of the deck.

The main cabin occupied the whole length of the boat, with the exception of the saloon, a small den at one end about eight feet square,


where gin-slings, moral suasions, screamers, and other drinks, were dispensed to those who chose to call for them. A large hair-brush and comb for general use hung suspended by long strings behind the door. At night a curtain was drawn midway across the cabin, to separate the ladies from the gentlemen. At seven in the morning we reached Rochester, a bustling city, with a population of from 20,000 to 30,000 inhabitants. After a hearty breakfast at the Eagle Hotel, I walked to the Falls of the Genesee, which are well worthy of a visit, though their beauty is much impaired by the number of mills erected in their immediate vicinity. It was here that Sam Patch, the noted cataract jumper, took his final leap; and an awful one it must have been in every sense, as the whole river descends perpendicularly nearly 100 feet. The unfortunate fellow, I was told, was a considerable time before he could, in Yankee phraseology, get up his steam ; but at last, stimulated with strong drinks, and urged to his destruction by those who had paid to see the sight, he took the fatal plunge, went down slanting, and was seen no more.

From Rochester I travelled by railroad, at the rate of fifteen miles an hour, to Auburn-a beautiful journey of about eighty miles along the right bank of Lake Ontario, and through a country very appropriately termed the Garden of the State of New York. We passed through a finely cultivated country, richly wooded, undulating, and diversified with cornfields and orchards; the farm-houses and villas being remarkable for their neat and tasty appearance : I could almost have fancied myself in England again, if the fields had been separated by green hedges instead of ugly wooden fences. The pretty villages of Canandaigua, Geneva, and Cayuga, are each seated on the borders of a picturesque lake, from whence they take their respective names; the Lake of Geneva being thirty-five miles long by three or four in breadth, and that of Cayuga forty miles long by only one and a half in width; and the latter is crossed by a bridge more than a mile long.

The country is full of religious sects. The late notorious impostor Jemima Wilkinson, who had many followers, and pretended to enact miracles, having given out that on a certain day she would walk across the Cayuga Lake without wetting her feet, stepped from her carriage in the midst of her deluded followers, and, advancing to the edge of the water, shouted out, “ Have ye faith in me?" They replied they had ; on which she coolly re-entered her carriage, saying that in that case there was no occasion for her to trouble herself, and that they might go about their business.

I passed a day or two at Auburn, which is, I think, with the single exception of Philadelphia, the most beautiful little city I saw in the States. There is such an air of newness and freshness about it, and the country around is so English-looking and pretty, that I felt almost tempted to prolong my visit. My primary object in coming here was to inspect the famous state prison, which is conducted on the silent system; the same as at Charleston and Sing Sing.

It is an immense square building, enclosed by a wall 2000 feet in extent; and, at the time of my visit, it contained nearly 800 prisoners. I was much struck with the great regularity that prevailed throughout the whole establishment. The convicts marched to and from their labour in single file, keeping exact time, and not exchanging even a whisper with each other. “At night they are locked in separate cells, and set to

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »