Page images

crustations and stalactites of carbonated lime, which are formed by the continual dripping of the water through the roof.

These stalactites are of various and elegant shapes and colors, often bearing a striking resemblance to animated nature. At one place we saw over our heads, what appeared to be a waterfall, of the most beautiful kind. Nor could the imagination be easily persuaded that it was not a reality; you could see the water boiling and dashing down, see its white spray and foam but it was all solid limestone.

Thus we passed onward in this world of solitude now stopping to admire the beauties of a single stalactite - now wondering at the magnificence of a large room - now creeping through narrow passages, hardly wide enough to admit the body of a man, and now walking in superb gallaries, until we came to the largest room called WASHINGTON HALL. This is certainly the most elegant room I ever saw. It is about two hundred and seventy-five feet in length, about thirty-five in width, and between thirty and forty feet high.

The roof and sides are very beautifully adorned by the tinsels which Nature has bestowed in the greatest profusion, and which sparkle like the diamond, while surveyed by the light of torches. The floor is flat, and smooth, and solid.

I was foremost of our little party in entering this room, and was not a little startled as I approached the centre, to see a figure, as it were, rising up before me out of the solid rock. It was not far from seven feet high, and corresponded in every respect to the common


idea of a ghost. It was very white, and resembled a tall man clothed in a shroud. I went up to it sideways, though I could not really expect to meet a ghost in a place like this. On examination, I found it was a very beautiful piece of the carbonate of lime, very transparent, and very much in the shape of a man. This is called Washington's Statue.

In one room we found an excellent spring of water, which boiled up as if to slake our thirst, then sunk into the mountain, and was seen no more.

In another room was a noble pillar, called the Tower of Babel. It is composed entirely of the stalactites of lime, or, as the appearance would seem to suggest, of petrified water. It is about thirty feet in diameter, and a little more than ninety feet in circumference, and not far from thirty feet high. There are probably millions of stalactites in this one pillar.

Thus we wandered on in this world within a world, till we had visited twelve very beautiful rooms, and as many creeping places, and had now arrived at the end -a distance from our entrance of beiween twenty-four and twenty-five hundred feet; or, what is about its equal, half a mile from the mouth. We here found ourselves exceedingly fatigued; but our torches forbade us to tarry, and we once more turned our lingering steps towards the common world.

When we arrived again at Washington Hall, one of our company three times discharged a pistol, whose report was truly deafening; and as the sound reverberated and echoed through one room after another till it died away in distance, it seemed like the moanings of spirits. We continued our wandering steps till we

arrived once more at daylight, having been nearly three hours in the cavern.

To compare the Natural Bridge and Cave together as objects of curiosity, is exceedingly difficult. In looking at the Bridge we are filled with awe; at the cavern with delight. At the Bridge we have several views that are awful; at the Cave hundreds that are pleasing. At the Bridge you stand, and gaze in astonishment; at the Cave awfulness is lost in beauty, and grandeur is dressed in a thousand captivating forms. At the Bridge you feel yourself to be looking into another world; at the Cave you find yourself already arrived there. The one presents to us a God who is very " wonderful in working ; " the other exhibits the same power, but with it is blended loveliness in a thousand forms. In each is vastness. Greatness constitutes the whole of one; but the other is elegant, as

well as great.



THERE is unwritten music. The world is full of it. I hear it every hour that I wake, and my waking sense is surpassed sometimes by my sleeping—though that is a mystery. There is no sound of simple nature that is not music. It is all God's work, and so harmony. You may mingle and divide and strengthen the pas-sages of its great anthem, and it is still melody~ melody.

The low winds of summer blow over the waterfalls and the brooks, and bring their voices to your ear, as if their sweetness was linked by an accurate finger; yet the wind is but a fitful player; and you may go out when the tempest is up, and hear the strong trees moaning as they lean before it, and the long grass hissing as it sweeps through, and its own solemn monotony over all—and the dimple of that same brook, and the waterfall's unaltered base shall still reach you in the intervals of its power, as much in harmony as before, and as much a part of its perfect and perpetual hymn.

There is no accident of nature's causing which can bring in discord. The loosened rock may fall into the abyss, and the overblown tree rush down through the branches of the wood, and the thunder peal awfully in the sky;—and sudden and violent as these changes seem, their tumult goes up with the sound of the winds and waters, and the exquisite ear of the musician can detect no jar.

I have read somewhere of a custom in the Highlands, which, in connection with the principle it involves, is exceedingly beautiful. It is believed that, to the dying, (which, just before death, becomes always exquisitely acute,) the perfect harmony of the voices of nature is so ravishing, as to make him forget his sufferings, and die gently, like one in a pleasant trance. when the last moment approaches, they take him from close the shieling, and bear him out into the open sky, that he may hear the familiar rushing of the streams.

And say,

I can believe that it is not superstition. I do not think we know how exquisitely nature's many voices are attuned to harmony, and to each other. The old philosopher we read of might not have been dreaming when he discovered that the order of the sky was like a scroll of written music, and that two stars, (which are said to have appeared centuries after his death in the very places he mentioned,) were wanting to complete the harmony.

We know how wonderful are the phenomena of color; how strangely like consummate art the strongest dyes are blended in the plumage of birds, and in the cups of flowers; so that, to the practised eye of the painter, the harmony is inimitably perfect. It is natural to suppose every part of the universe equally perfect; and it is a glorious and elevating thought, that the stars of heaven are moving on continually to music, and that the sounds we daily listen to are but a part of a melody that reaches to the very centre of God's illimitable spheres. It is not mere poetry to talk of the voices of sum

It is the day-time of the year, and its myriad influences are audibly at work. Even by night you may lay your ear to the ground, and hear that faintest of murmurs, the sound of growing things. If you have been used to rising early, you have not forgotten how the stillness of the night seems increased by the timid note of the first bird. It is the only time when I would lay a finger on the lip of nature—the deep

solemn. By and by, however, the birds are all up, and the peculiar holiness of the hour declines--but what a


hush is so very

« PreviousContinue »