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whose sloping sides grew dark pines and cedars. The branches, leaves, and bark, were ever bathed or sprinkled with brilliant spray, which the wind had caught up, and shed over them. On the other side of the fall, also, thick woods rose on ascending rocks close to the torrent. The contrast of colours was truly fine. Here, Clinton feasted his luxurious imagination, and repeated to himself in a loud voice, overmastering the din of the waterfall, lines from Byron's Childe Harold. The wildness of the scene pleased his lawless humour; he felt himself as a part of it; the hurrying rush of the water resembled the quick tide that rolled in his veins; the eccentric motions of the spray, spread momently by the breeze to the sunshine, now high as the cascade, now far on the right hand or on the left, was like his inconstant fancy.
While he stood gazing, listening, yielding to sensations rapid, vivid, and ecstatic, a darkness came over the sky, which induced him to turn his eye upwards that he might discover the cause. Two huge clouds, of a fearful blackness, were rolling from opposite sides over the valley ; the eye of Clinton was rivetted upon them, filled with a tumultuous delight. Prudence would have urged him to descend from the rock and to seek the shelter of the lodge with speed, for the violence of the Canadian storms he had before experienced; but he disdained to listen to prudence, and stood firm, awaiting the shock of the thunder which he knew must follow the meeting of the two clouds. On they moved, majestically slow, until there was only a narrow fissure between them, from which the sunlight dlescended in slanting rays. The lowing of the terrified cattle could be heard from the sheds whither the herdsman had just driven them ; the wild ducks, that had been
peacefully floating on the marble basin and its diverging stream, hastened in flocks to the bank, and took shelter under a clump of willows and alders; several head of wild red deer hurried to the woods which clothed the sides of the valley, and the noble creatures panted for fear ; some fawns were with them, whom they stopped once to lick with evident signs of anxiety; the beaver looked up out of the pond as if putting forth all its sagacity to discover the cause of the strange closeness of the atmosphere, and as the thunder reverberated among the hills, it struck the water with its tail several times, to acquaint its companions in their castles below that some unusual peril was at hand; birds of splendid plumage flew by hundreds and by thousands through the air, giving vent to wild cries of distress; a shot from an adventurous and unerring hand, brought down the largest of them, on which the eye of Clinton had been turned. He pursued with his gaze the fall of the fluttering victim, and saw the two Idian twin brothers, Sassa and Taota, raise it from the ground.
“Ja! they are hardly fellows—they are worthy to be called braves! Well done--well done!" exclaimed Clinton in delight. “The tempest, aha, it does not appal them! they are brave spirits! they know no touch of fear! Their minds, I swear, are tempestuous ! and their blood is not tame and watery! They like the rour of the thunder; and when the lightnings flash, why they help it with the flame of their gunpowder. By Jove! that was a confounded blaze!” He shaded his eves for the moment, as sheets of electrical fire enveloped the valley. When he again looked below, he observed that the Indians were running to the lodge. Another tre
mendous peal of thunder, and with it another descent of lightning, subdued his daring a little—and but a little. He overmastered his rising terrors, and compelled himself to fix his eyes on the line which still marked the outline of each cloud from that of its fellow; and truly no grander sight had ever man beheld. Momently now that fissure closed and opened, raining sheets of the most beautiful rose-tinted fire, vivid and broad; with these sheets came deep-red, sharp-angled forks, glancing in every direction down to the earth. Every second Clinton expected to see one of those deadly darts aimed at the buildings of the valley, or at himself; but pride made him insensible at present to the fear of death, and he stood like some young deity of old Greece, defying the elements with his scornful and yet admiring glance. The rain burst down as if a general deluge was commencing. The ground smoked every where; the thunder and lightning were almost unceasing; and the pressure of the atınosphere was nearly suffocating; globes of fire seemed falling from the clouds, which now lowered themselves still more. At times, as the storm raged, Clinton fancied he heard cries in the valley, as of persons hallooing in alarm. Presently he perceived the figure of a man, whom he thought to be Arthur, running over the grounds around the house like one distracted.
“ There must be something the matter,” said Clinton; and seizing the roots of a tree, at the uttermost extremity of the rock, he swung himself over upon a projecting shelf, and there obtained firm footing. With a step as steady as any mountain hunter could boast, he trode along to the end of this shelf, from which he leaped forwards upon the summit of another rock, that was as soft as
978839A velvet to the foot, and shaded with five or six most ancient trees, standing separate from each other; from here he again heard the shouts of men, which the rain and the thunder again overpowered.
Perhaps the lightning has struck some part of the lodge !” cried Clinton, aloud, pulling his hat on more firmly.
A solitary woodpecker was hopping about this verdant platform, half drowned with the rain ; Clinton caught the little panting thing and put it within the hollow of a tree. His deficiencies were not on the side of sentiment, but principle. The poor bird shrunk instantly to the darkest part of the hollow trunk, and showed no disposition to move. Clinton had not lost half a minute with it ere he descended with intrepid agility the side of this rock also, and alighted on a round hill, from which several rivulets and streams flowed over into the marble basin. There was a path leading down to the ground from here, but the violent rain prevented him from availing himself of it, as it now formed a channel for the pouring water. He did not hesitate long, but descended by clinging first to one tree, and then to another, on the side next the cascade, where the hill slanted out. When he stood on the level ground he looked up,
and scanned the way by which he had come down with no small portion of surprise at his own hardihood. Exul- . tation then swelled his breast, and he confronted the storm with a glance that seemed to say, “ I who have
, accomplished a feat like this, will not tremble before
Turning round, he saw a figure in white, lying near the foot of the cascade, apparently dead. He felt a shock of fear. At first he could only stand gazing on it, while flashes of lightning quivered about the pallid face. The marble fountain was apt to attract the lightning, by means of the great height of the trees on its edge, as well as with the cascade itself, and hence it was considered a dangerous spot in a thunder storm. Poor Lucy, in her bewildered state, fancying it was Christmas, had watched the storm come on, and expected a fall of snow. When she found
. the valley grow so dark, she said to herself, “ Christmas is likely to be severe this year; hail may be coming-I
— will get under the thickest branches of these trees, and Clinton will seek me presently with a mantle, in which I shall wrap myself, so that the storm will not touch me.” She had not sat five minutes under the trees when a thunderbolt clave in sunder the root against which she leaned, and she was laid prostrate. Clinton shook off the paralysing surprise he felt, and hurried to her, just as the Pastor and Arthur appeared. A few hurrierl exclamations, a few rapid questions and answers, were all that passed, before Arthur bore his sister back to the house. The Doctor again bled her, and, io the joy of all, she revived, in the full possession of her senses.
She remembered nothing of what had passed since the moment when she fainted by the tulip trees. alive to all the misery of that moment, and as her eye fell on Clinton, who stood at the foot of the sofa, she coloured painfully, and hid her face. He ventured once to approach her, and silently pressed her hand, which trembled like an aspen in his grasp. This was his farewell of her, for she never saw him after. He was the same evening wandering from the valley, he knew not whither-cared not whither.