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was the answer from Batavia, which said, " There is no person here of that name.” I requested it to knock back again, “Yes, there certainly is. Mr. George W. Lay was two years ago American envoy in Sweden, and now lives in Batavia.” In a few seconds more it was knocked back from Batavia, “Wait a little; we will inquire." I waited now about five minutes, when again it knocked from Batavia, and said, “Quite right. Mr. George Lay, lives here, but is at the present time with his wife in New York. Miss Bremer will be gladly welcomed by such of the family as are now at home.”
As my friends saw how much I was entertained by this telegraphic conversation, a gentleman seated himself at a small harpsichord, and played for a few seconds silently upon its keys. He told me that he now sent to a city a hundred miles off the intelligence, “Miss Breiner is in the office.” The next moment I saw, upon a sort of musicdesk, a strip of paper unroll itself, upon which an invisible hand had impressed these words in printed letters: “The operator at Buffalo sends his compliments to Miss Bremer, and hopes she is pleased with the experiment.” Miss Bremer replied through the harpsichord keys that she was greatly pleased.
But I was now obliged to hasten to Ontario, where we were next evening to take the steam-boat. Those amiable friends who had made our visit in Rochester so agreeable, accompanied us to the shore, after having presented us with a great number of flowers and the most beautiful fruits, really Hesperian in beauty and excellence. Rochester, with its varied scenes of mills and knockings of life and lies, its good people and beautiful fruit, left upon us an impression of vigorous life.
In a calm, dark night, with stars glimmering between the clouds above us, we sped along Lake Ontario in a splendid steam-boat, and in the dawn ascended the River Niagara, a little, but romantically lovely daughter of the
great fall; and just as the sun rose we stepped on land and into a carriage to proceed thither. It was a glorious morning, somewhat cool, but bright and cheerful. Two hours later we were at the place; heard the mighty, thundering voice of the monster long before we saw it, and as there were now but few visitors at this advanced season, we had the best room we could desire in “Cataract House,” and then hastened out to see—the object.
It makes a grand and joyful impression, but has nothing in it which astonishes or strikes the beholder. As you go toward the great fall, which is on the Canada side, you see a broad mass of water which falls perpendicularly from a plane in a horseshoe or crescent form. One might say that the water comes from an open embrace. The water calm and clear, and of the most beautiful smaragdus-green color, arches itself over the preci. pice that breaks it, and it is then that the fury and wild power of the fall first breaks forth, but even here rather majestically than furiously. Trenton is a young hero, drunken with youthful life and old sherry, which, in blind audacity, rushes forth on its career, violent and terrible. Niagara is a goddess, calm and majestic even in the exercise of her highest power. She is mighty, but not violent. She is calm, and leaves the spectators so. She has grand, quiet thoughts, and calls forth such in those who are able to understand her. She does not strike with as. tonishment, but she commands and fascinates by her clear, sublime beauty. One sits by her knee, and still can hear one's own thoughts and the words of others, yes, even the falling water-drops from the green trees which her waters have besprinkled. She is too great to wish to silence, to wish to rule, excepting by her spiritual power. She is—ah, she is what human beings are not, and which, if they were, would make them godlike.
But those many thousand people who come hither every year-it is said that the place is visited by 60,000
From the unknown fountains of the St. Lawrence, and
persons annually-must they not grow a little and better by seeing this greatness, and reflecting selves in it? I rejoice that so many people see from the four great inland lakes-Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie, which together are said to hold a fourth part of all the fresh water on the earth-flow the waters of the Niagara Fall. The river on its way from Lake Erie encounters, near the fall, an island called Iris, or Goat Island, which divides it into two branches ; by the one is formed the Canada fall; by the other, which hurries broad and thundering past our windows, is formed the American fall. Between them are somewhat above twenty feet of flat rock, overgrown with brush-wood. on the Canada side is the richest and the most beautiful. Its breadth is 1500 feet, its height 154 feet. The fall on the New York side is 600 feet wide and 167 feet high. The Canada fall, with its beautiful half circle, lies just in the middle of the stream. A lofty pyramid of spraymist ascends from the foaming abyss at its feet, and rises toward heaven high above the level of the fall, like the spirit of Niagara, whose cloudy brow moves itself hither and thither in the wind. The stream from the Canada fall soon joins that of the American side. United they form below what is called the " whirlpool.” The stream there makes a bend and the agitated water is swung round. After that it flows on more calmly as the Niagara River or Sound, twenty-five miles, pours itself through Lake Ontario into the magnificent St. Lawrence - the river of a thousand islands—and by it into the Atlantic Ocean. Trollhätten, in Sweden, has neither the mass of waters of Niagara nor its majesty, but it has more history, more romantic life. Niagara is a grand scene, a sublime action. Trollhätten is a series of scenes and actions. Ni. agara is a hymn. Trollhätten is a Vala-song.
That which most surprised me in Niagara, because 1 ad not expected it, and that which charmed me every lay, was, besides the smaragdus-green color of the water, he play of the rainbows over and around the fall, according as the sunbeams fell, or as the wind bore the waterspirit's movable pyramid. This formed a succession of brilliant scenes, continually varying and enchantingly beautiful. There is a something about it which charms and depresses me at the same time, because there is a something in it which I wish to understand better. I feel that Niagara has more to say to me than it has yet said, or more than I have yet comprehended ; and nothing can perfectly delight me until it has told me its innermost thought. Even when young, dancing gave me no pleasure, until I understood the meaning of dancing; before then it had been to me an irrational hopping about.
We have been here for three days, and shall remain yet two or three days longer. In the mornings I see the fall from the American shore, that is to say, from the New York side, when the sun, in its ascent, throws hundreds of beautiful bridges over the cloud of spray; in the afternoon and evening it ought to be contemplated from the Canadian shore, when the sun descends on the British side. In the forenoon I bathe in the stream, in the socalled “Mammoth" stream-bath, where the river rushes with such impetuosity into the bath-house that one can with difficulty stand against it. It is very refreshing. In the afternoon, directly after dinner, I sit with my young friends in the piazza outside our room, and see the stream rushing by, and listen to its music. I often stand for a long time upon some one of the little bridges over the stream, merely to inhale the fragrance of the water; for the water here has the most delightful freshness, that I can compare to nothing with which I am acquainted. But it feels like the spirit of a delicious, immortal youth.
Yes, here it seems to me as if one might become young again in body and in soul.
My young friends, however, do not enjoy the life here
fully as I do. James is not very lively, and Maria, who expects shortly to become a mother, dreams at night that she sees little Mabel playing with her departed sisters, Blanche and Rose; and a telegraphic message, regarding her health, which was expected yesterday, but which did not arrive, has added to the uneasiness of the affectionate parents on account of their only child, and drawn away their regards from the great Niagara.
September. My friends are in better heart. Yesterday came the telegraphic intelligence, “ Mabel is well." - And after that a long letter from the amiable old father, Dr. Lowell, full of anecdotes of home, and the warm, affectionate home-life. Yes, that is more than Niagara. But Niagara is now my best beloved.
Last evening, James and I-Maria had a cold, and could not venture out in the night air-went across to the Canadian side, and walked backward and forward as the sun descended. At every new bend or movement of that misty water-spirit it presented new forms of light. Still were the rainbows arched, like the airy bridge of Bifrost, in the old Scandinavian mythology, the one over the other; still glowed the light like kisses of fire, brilliant with prismatic colors, upon the green waters in the abyss; it was an unceasing festival of light, perpetually, changing and astonishingly beautiful. What life, what variations between earth and heaven! And as the sun sank, those splendid bridges arched themselves higher and higher aloft in the ascending mist. The pyramidal light red cloud floated in the pale blue heaven above the green Niagara, and around it; on the lofty shores stood the forest in its brilliant autumnal pomp, such as is only seen in the forests of America, and all was silent and still excepting the thunder of the waterfall, to the voice of which all things seemed to be listening.