Зображення сторінки

The scene at Niagara may give a good idea of the general tone of the book.

“ The vehement dashing of the rapids—the sublime falls—the various hues of the mass of waters—the snowy whiteness, and the deep bright green-the billowy spray that veils in deep obscurity the depths below the verdant island that interposes between the two falls, half veiled in a misty mantle, and placed there, it would seem, that the eye and the spirit may repose on it-the little island on the brink of the American fall, that looks amidst the commotion of the waters like the sylvan vessel of a woodland nymph gaily sailing onward; or as if the wish of the Persian girl were realized, and the little isle had wings; '-a thing of life and motion that the spirit of the waters had inspired.

“The profound caverns with their overarching rocks—the quiet habıtations along the margin of the river-peaceful amid all the uproar, as if the voice of the Creator had been heard, saying, “It is I, be not afraid.'— The green bill, with its graceful projections, that skirts and overlooks Table-rock-the deep and bright verdure of the foliageevery spear of grass that penetrates the crevices of the rocks, gemmed by the humid atmosphere, and sparkling in the sun-beams—the rainbow that rests on the mighty torrent-a symbol of the smile of God upon his wondrous work.

«« What is it, mother?' asked Edward, as he stood with his friends on Table-rock, where they had remained gazing on the magnificent scene for fifteen minutes without uttering a syllable, what is it, mother, that makes us all so silent?

« « It is the spirit of God moving on the face of the waters-it is this new revelation to our senses of his power and majesty which ushers us, as it were, into his visible presence, and exalts our affections above language.

“* What, my dear children should we be, without the religious sentiment that is to us as a second sight, by which we see in all this beauty the hand of the Creator; by which we are permitted to join in this hymn of nature; by which, I may say, we are permitted to enter into the joy of our Lord? Without it we should be like those sheep, who are at this moment grazing on the verge of this sublime precipice, alike unconscious of all these wonders, and of their divine Original. This religious sentiment is in truth, Edward, that Promethean fire that kindles nature with a living spirit, infuses life and expression into inert matter, and invests the mortal with immortality. Mrs Sackville's eye was upraised, and her countenance illumined with a glow of devotion that harmonized with the scene. "It is, my dear children,' she continued, * this religious sentiment, enlightened and directed by reason, that allies you to external nature, that should govern your affections, direct your pursuits, exalt and purify your pleasures, and make you feel, by its celestial influence, that the kingdom is within you; but,' she added smiling, after a momentary pause, this temple does not need a preacher."

The episode of Marguerite and Louis may afford another specimen.

“A commandant of this fort (which was built by the French to protect their traders against the savages,) married a young Iroquois who was before or after the marriage converted to the Catholic faith. She was the daughter of a chicîtain of her tribe, and great efforts were made by her people to induce her to return to them. Her brother lurked in this ighbourhood, and procured interviews with her, and attempted to wiu her back by all the motives of national pride and family affection ; but all in vain. The young Garanga, or, to call her by her baptismal name, Marguerite, was bound by a threefold cord-her love to her husband, to her son, and to her religion. Mecumeh, finding persuasion ineffectual, had recourse to stratagem. The commandant was in the habit of going down the river osten on fishing excursions, and when he returned, he would fire his signal gun, and Marguerite and her boy wonld hasten to the shore to greet him.

“On one occasion he had been gone longer than usual. Marguerite was filled with apprehensions natural enough at a time when imminent dangers and hairbreadth escapes were of every day occurrence. She had sat in the tower and watched for the returning canoe till the last bearn of day had faded from the waters ;--the deepening shadows of twilight played tricks with her imagination. Once she was startled by the water-fowl, which, as it skimmed along the surface of the water, imaged to her fancy the light canoe impelled by her husband's vigorous arm-again she heard the leap of the heavy muskalongi, and the splashing waters sounded to her fancy like the first dash of the oar. That passed away, and disappointment and tears followed. Her boy was beside ber; the young Louis, who, though scarcely twelve years old, already had his imagination filled with daring deeds. Born and bred in a fort, he was an adept in the use of the bow and the musket; courage scemed to be his instinct, and danger his element, and battles and wounds were household words' with him. He laughed at his mother's fears; but, in spite of bis boyish ridicule, they strengthened, till apprehension seemed reality. Suddenly the sound of the signal gun broke on the stillness of the night. Both mother and son sprang on their feet with a cry of joy, and were pressing hand in hand towards the outer gate, when a sentinel stopped them to remind Marguerite it was her husband's order that no one should venture without the walls after sunset. She, however, insisted on passing, and telling the soldier that she wonld answer to the commandant for his breach of orders she passed the outer barrier. Young Louis held up his bow and arrow before the sentinel, saying gaily, “I am my mother's body-guard you know.” Tradition has preserved these trifling circumstances, as the events that followed rendered them memorable.

* The distance,” continued the stranger, “ from the fort to the place where the commandant moored his canoe was trifling, and quickly passed. Marguerite and Louis flew along the narrow foot path, reached the shore, and were in the arms of -Mecumeh and his fierce companions. Entreaties and resistance were alike vain. Resistance was inade, with a manly spirit, by young Louis, who drew a knife from the girdle of one of the Indians, and attempted to plunge it in the bosom of Mecumeh, who was roughly binding his wampum belt over Marguerite's month, to deaden the sound of her screams. The uncle wrested the knife from him, and smiled proudly on him as if he recognised in the brave boy, a scion from his stock.

“ The indians had two canoes; Marguerite was conveyed to one, Louis to the other--and both canoes were rowed into the Oswegatchie, and up the stream as fast as it was possible to impel them against the current of the river.

“ Not a word nor cry escaped the boy: he seemed intent on some purpose, and when the canoe approached near the shore, he took off a military cap he wore, and threw it so skilfully that it lodged, where he meant it should, on the branch of a tree which projected over the water. There was a long white feather in the cap. The Indians had observed the boy's movement--they held up their oars for a moment, and seemed to consult whether they should return and remove the cap; but after a moment, they again dashed their oars in the water and procecded forward. They continued rowing for a few miles, and then landed; hid their canoes behind some trees on the river's bank, and plunged into the woods with their prisoners. It seems to have been their intention to have returned to their canoes in the morning, and they had not proceeded far from the shore, when they kindled a fire and prepared some food, and offered a share of it to Marguerite and Louis. Poor Marguerite, as you may suppose, had no mind to eat; but Louis, saith tradition, ate as heartily as if he had been safe within the walls of the fort. After ‘the supper, the Indians stretched themselves before the fire, but not till they had taken the precaution to bind Marguerite to a tree, and to compel Louis to lie down in the arms of his uncle Mecumeb. Neither of the prisoners, as you may imagine, closed their eyes. Louis kept his fixed on his mother. She sat upright beside an oak tree; the cord was fastened around her waist, and bound around the tree, which had been blasted by lighting ; the moon poured its beams through the naked branches upon her face convulsed with the agony of despair and fear. With one hand she held a crucifix to her lips, the other was on her rosary. The sight of his mother in such a situation, stirred up daring thoughts in the bosom of the heroic boy—but he lay powerless in his uncle's naked brawny arms. He tried to disengage himself, but at the slightest movement, Mecumeh, though still sleeping, seemed conscious, and strained him closer to him. At last the strong sleep, that in the depth of the night steeps the senses in utter forgetfulness, overpowered him-his arms relaxed their hold, and dropped beside him and left Louis free.

He rose cautiously, looked for one instant on the Indians, and assured himself they all slept profoundly. He then possessed himself of Mecumeh's knife, which lay at his feet, and severed the cord that bound his mother to the tree. Neither of them spoke a word—but with the least possible sound they resumed the way by which they had come from the shore; Louis in the confidence, and Marguerite with the faint hope of reaching it before they were overtaken.

“ You may imagine how often the poor mother, timid as a fawn, was startled by the evening breeze stirring the leaves, but the boy bounded forward as if there was neither fear nor danger in the world.

“ They had nearly attained the margin of the river, where Louis meant to launch one of the canoes and drop down the current, when the Indian yell resounding through the woods, struck on their ears. They were missed, pursued, and escape was impossible. Marguerite panicstruck, sunk to the ground. Nothing could check the career of Louis. “ On-on, mother,” he cried, “ to the shore--to the shore.” She rose

and instinctively followed her boy. The sound of pursuit came nearer and nearer. They reached the shore, and there beheld three canoes coming swiftly up the river. Animated with hope, Louis screamed the watch-word of the garrison, and was answered by his father's voice.

" The possibility of escape, and the certain approach of her husband, infused new life into Marguerite. “Your father cannot see us,” she said “as we stand here in the shade of the trees; hide yourself in that thicket, I will plunge into the water.” Louis crouched under the bushes, and was completely hidden by an overhanging grape-vine, while his mother advanced a few steps into the water and stood erect, where she could be distinctly seen. A shout from the canoes apprized her that she was recognised, and at the same moment, the Indians who had now reached the shore, rent the air with their cries of rage and defiance. They stood for a moment, as if deliberating what next to do; Mecumeh maintained an undaụnted and resolved air—but with his followers the aspect of armed men, and a force thrice their nnmber, had its usual effect. They fled. He looked after them, cried, shame!' and then with a desperate yell, leaped into the water and stood beside Marguerite. The canoes were now within a few yards—He put his koife to her bosom —“The daughter of Tecumseh," he said, “ should have died by the judgment of our warriors, but now by her brother's hand must she perish :" and he drew back his arm to give vigour to the fatal stroke, when an arrow pierced his own breast, and he fell insensible at his sister's side. A moment after Marguerite was in the arms of her husband, and Louis, with bis bow unstrung, bounded from the shore, and was received in his father's canoe; and the wild shores rung with the acclamations of the soldiers, while bis father's tears of pride and joy were poured like rain upon his check."





I have at last found leisure to redeem my promise of giving you an account of my visit to the “commercial metropolis ” of Scotland. On the thirtieth morning after leaving New York, we caught a glimpse of the blue hills of Ireland, and inhaled the strong fumes of her turf fires. The odour was not quite so grateful as that you are regaled with from the young pine-trees, as you approach our own Southern coasts; but it came fresh from the land; and that was enough to give it a zest to those who had not seen the green earth for a whole month. The day was fine, but calm. Towards evening, however, a breeze sprung up; and, before we went to sleep, we could discern the rocky and naked hills of the Western Isles.

To the American traveller approaching the western coasts of Scotland, the most striking feature of the country, is the bare and desolate aspect of the surface. As he sails up the Clyde, he sees here and there a romantic spot which city opulence has appropriated for the site of a villa, and the enjoyment of health or of indolence. On drawing near to the “quays" of Greenock he is struck with a few of the pecularities of auld Scotlaud :draught-horses of hideous, disproportioned make, with legs thick enough to be split up into a double set for any American quadruped of the same kind ; a profuse display of bare feet and ankles, on the part of the women and children on the wharf, the ankles of the former remarkable for their doric air of massiveness, strength, and durability ; and “though last, not least," the harsh accents of the national dialect, growling along the line of idlers, inquirers, and porters, that forms an animated margin to the quay.

A steam-boat passage succeeded, and brought me to Glasgow in a few hours. It was Saturday afternoon, when I arrived. I had barely time to enjoy one noble view, as I hurried along to my boarding-house, or “ lodgings," as the Scotch call it. The view I have mentioned, is that which, all at once, presents itself to you, on entering the principal street of the city, after you came up from the river. I have been you know in many a farre countrie," and have seen many a fine city ; but the view from the west end of Argyll street eastward to Trongate street of this city, if taken on a summer afternoon, whilst a little shade yet falls on the south side, is one of the most striking I have ever seen. The street is very wide ; and to the terminating point of your view, about a mile long. If you stand in the western part of the street you have before you a history of the architectural taste of successive ages. Near you are the neat, but comparatively slight, fabrics of modern days, farther eastward, the air of the buildings becomes more and more ancient and venerable, till your eye rests on the spire of the Tron church, on the one hand, and that of the old Tolbooth on the other. The mass of stone of every shape and hue, and the grotesque aspect of some of the time-worn edifices in the eastern end of the street, are new and striking objects to the eye of an American.

My first sally into the street was on Sunday morning, to St John's church, a non-descript piece of architecture in the eastern part of the city, but the centre of attraction for the many passengers who throng the pavement of the Gallowgate, as they move onward " to hear Dr Chalmers.” I went in company with the son of my landlady, who occupied a pew in that church. The steps were thronged by a crowd of rejected applicants for admission; the desire of hearing so distinguished a preacher, inducing

« НазадПродовжити »