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LESSON VIII.

THE FALLS OF NIAGARA.

APPROACHING the falls from Buffalo on the Canadian shore, the first indication of our proximity to them was a hoarse rumbling, which was scarcely audible at the distance of four or five miles, but which opened on the ear, as we advanced, with increasing roar, until, at the distance of two miles, it became loud as the voice of many waters.

A column of mist in the mean time ascending, as smoke from a pit, marked more definitely than sound could do, the exact position of this scene of wonders. The sublime arising from obscurity, was now experienced in all its power; it did not appear what we should see, but imagination seized the moment to elevate and fill the mind with expectation and majestic dread.

Within a mile of the falls the river rolls smoothly along in rapid silence, as if unconscious of its approaching destiny, till at once, across its entire channel, it falls the apparent distance of ten or twelve feet, wnen instantly its waters are thrown into consternation and foam, and they boil, and whirl, and run in every direction, as if filled with instinctive dread. At this place the shores recede, and allow the terrified waters to spread out in shallows over an extent twice as broad as the natural channel of the river.

A portion of the waters, as if hoping to escape, rushes between the Ameriean shore and the island, (whose brow forms a part of the continued cliff, which

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on either side constitutes the falls,) and too late to retreat, discovering the mistake, hurries down the precipice, and is dashed on the rocks below. This is the highest part of the fall, and the most nearly approaching to the beautiful; the waters being shallow, and the sheet entirely white below.

Another large sheet of contiguous waters on the other side of the island, undecoyed by appearances, and apparently desperate by an infallible premonition, attempts no evasion, but, with tumult and roar, rushes on, and thunders down the precipice which stretches about half across to the Canadian shore.

The rest and largest portion of the river, as if terrified at the fate of its kindred waters, retires a little ; but scarcely is the movement made, before the deep declivities of the river's bed summon the dispersion of waters into one deep, dark flood, which rolls its majestic tide upon the destruction below.

The shallow waters which as yet have escaped, cling terrified to the Canadian shore, reconnoitering every nook and corner, in quest of some way to escape; but their search is fruitless, and they come round at length reluctantly, and are dashed down upon the death they had so long struggled to escape.

It is at the junction of these two sides of the cataract, nearly in the form of two sides of a triangle, rounded at the point, that the most powerful sheet of water falls. The depth of the water in the channel above, and as it bends over the precipice, cannot, from the nature of the case; be ascertained; I should judge from the appearance, that it might be from fifteen to twenty feet.

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The color of the part of the stream above the fall is black. As it bends over the cliff and descends, at the intersection of the two sides, and for several rods on cither hand, it becomes a deep and beautiful green, which continues till the column is lost in the cloud of mist that ascends before it.

With respect to the impression made by the first view of the falls, it may be observed that whoever approaches them anticipating amazement at the descent of the waters from a giddy height, will be disappointed. It is the multitude of the waters, and their power, as they roll, and foam, and thunder, which arrests the step, suspends the breath, dilates the eye, lifts the hand, and fills the soul with wonder.

It seems to be the good pleasure of God, that men shall learn his omnipotence by evidence addressed to the senses as well as to the understanding, and that there shall be on earth continual illustrations of his mighty power. Of creation we are ascertained by faith, not by sight; the heavenly bodies, though vast, are distant, and roll silently in their courses. But the earth by its quakings, the volcano by its fires, the ocean by its mountain waves, and the floods of Niagara by their matchless power and ceaseless thunderings, proclaim to the eye, and to the ear, and to the heart, the omnipotence of God.

From their far distant sources and multitudinous dispersions, He called them into the capacious reservoirs of the north, and bid them hasten their accumulating tide to this scene of wonders, and for ages the obedient waters have rolled and thundered his praise. It is, as has been stated, where the two lines of the

precipice meet, that the deepest and most powerful sheet of water falls; but it is here, also, just where the hand of omnipotence is performing its greatest wonders, that the consummation of the work is hid.

What the phenomena are, where this stupendous torrent strikes at the foot of the falls, no mortal eye hath seen : a mist, rising to nearly half the height of the fall, is the veil beneath which the Almighty performs his wonders alone, and there is the hiding of his power. This is the spot upon which the eye wishfully fixes, and tries in vain to penetrate; over which imagination hovers, but cannot catch even a glimpse to sketch with her pencil. This deep recess is the most sublime and awful scene upon which my eye was ever fixed. There, amid thunderings, and in solitude and darkness, from age to age, Jehovah has proclaimed, I am the ALMIGHTY GOD.

LESSON IX.

RURAL LIFE.

THE taste of the English in the cultivation of land, and in what is called landscape gardening, is unrivaled. They have studied Nature intently, and discovered an exquisite sense of her beautiful forms and harmonious combinations. Those charms which, in other countries, she lavishes in wild solitudes, are here assembled round the haunts of domestic life. They seem to

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have caught her coy and furtive graces, and spread them, like witchery, about their rural abodes.

Nothing can be more imposing than the magnificence of English park scenery.

Vast lawns that extend like sheets of vivid green, with here and there clumps of gigantic trees, heaping up rich piles of foliage. The solemn pomp of groves and woodland glades, with the deer trooping in silent herds across them; the hare, bounding away to the covert; or the pheasant, suddenly bursting upon the wing. The brook, taught to wind in natural meanderings, or expand into a glassy lakethe sequestered pool, reflecting the quivering trees, with the yellow leaf sleeping on its bosom, and the trout roaming fearlessly about its limpid waters: while some rustic temple, or sylvan statue, grown green and dank with age, gives an air of classic sanctity to the seclusion.

These are but a few of the features of park scenery; but what most delights me, is the creative talent with which the English decorate the unostentatious abodes of middle life. The rudest habitation, the most unpromising and scanty portion of land, in the hands of an Englishman of taste, becomes a little paradise. With a nicely discriminating eye, he seizes at once upon its capabilities, and pictures in his mind the future landscape. The sterile spot grows into loveliness under his hand; and yet the operations of art which produce the effect are scarcely to be perceived. The cherishing and training of some trees; the cautious pruning of others; the nice distribution of flowers and plants of tender and graceful foliage; the introduction of a green slope of velvet turf; the partial opening to

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