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profession, it was customary for gentlemen to be their own grooms? No, I'll warrant not.
Mary. Then there is no disgrace in any employment, if it be only fashionable?
Aunt B. None at all, my dear; for Count Rumford was a cook, and Sir Isaac Newton a spectacle maker,
Mary. But of what use is our noble blood in this country, aunt, where merit alone is respected?
Aunt B. Merit, indeed! and what have we to do with merit? It is well enough for those of vulgar origin to possess merit; the well born do not need it.
Mary. How did our great ancestor obtain his title, then? Aunt B. O, to be sure, the founder of a family must do something to deserve his title.
Mary. What did Sir Gregory do?
Aunt B. Do! why he painted so flattering a likeness of Queen Elizabeth, that she knighted him immediately.
Mary. Then he was a painter by trade?
Aunt B. By trade! The minx will drive me distracted. Be it known to you, miss, we have never had a tradesman in our family, and I trust I never shall live to see it so degraded. Painting was merely Sir Gregory's profession.
Mary. I hope I shall learn in time to make the proper distinctions, but I fear it will be difficult, for my mother always taught me to allow no other distinction than that of personal worth; and I must confess I do not see the propriety of any other.
Aunt B. No, and I presume you never will, while your mother entertains her present low ideas of meritorious industry, as she is pleased to call the occupation of those who are mean enough to work for their living. I did hope to make you sensible of the dignity of your descent; but I now find I must look elsewhere for an heir to my invaluable legacy, this precious, precious coat-of-arms.
DESCRIPTION OF THE FALLS OF NIAGARA.
AMONG the many natural curiosities which this country affords, the cataract of Niagara is infinitely the greatest. In order to have a tolerable idea of this stupendous fall of water, it will
be necessary to conceive that part of the country in which Lake Erie is situated to be elevated above that which contains Lake Ontario about three hundred feet.
2. Figure to yourself the first collection of these waters, at a distance of more that two thousand miles, passing through the Lake of the Woods, and several smaller ones, and at length falling into Lake Superiour, which is at least sixteen hundred miles in circumference, and is supplied by more than thirty considerable rivers.
3. This vast body of water passes into Lake Huron, which is eight hundred miles in circumference, where, meeting the waters of Lake Michigan, which is larger than Lake Huron, it continues its course into Lake Erie, which is nearly eight hundred miles in circuit.
4. This immense collection of water then rushes down the Niagara river to the frontier* of what may be called the upper country, where, with astonishing grandeur,† it is precipitated down a perpendicular precipice of about one hundred and seventy-six feet, which forms the celebrated cataract of Niagara.
5. The Canada shore affords the most satisfactory view of these falls, as the greatest body of water descends upon that side; but the view from the other side is not without its peculiar beauties. That part of the Canada shore which presents a full view of the falls, is called the Table Rock. It is the nearest point which may be approached with safety, as it is just upon the margin of the great sheet of falling water.
6. From this spot you have a fair view of the whole falls, rushing with such incredible swiftness over the precipice to the unfathomable abyss beneath, that, when you first fix your eye upon the descending mass, you involuntarily shudder, and retreat as if fearful of being overwhelmed in the vast descent of waters.
7. The current of the Niagara river begins to grow very strong more than two miles above the falls, so that, in order to cross over in safety, it is necessary to ascend a mile further. The first mile above the falls exhibits one continued scene of foaming billows, dashing and rebounding against hidden and projecting rocks. The descent of the rapids *Pronounced front'yêër. t grăn'jur.
is probably not less than one hundred feet within the last mile, and the noise and confusion of the water are only surpassed by the fall itself.
8. While at a very great distance, a volume of clouds may be observed hovering over the falls. In a clear day, they appear very high and white, while, on the contrary, in heavy, cloudy weather, they sink lower, and acquire a smoky appearance. These clouds proceed from the vapours arising from the spray caused by the dashing of the waters.
9. As you proceed down the river on the American side, Goat Island, which divides the falls, is seen at no great distance on the left. The river between is full of rocks, and here and there you perceive considerable lodgements of drifted wood, apparently waiting for a rise of the river, in order to launch themselves over the falls.
10. You may approach equally as near the falling sheet on this as on the opposite side of the river, and, by taking a proper station in the morning of a clear day, you will behold beneath your feet a beautiful and variegated rainbow, stretching from shore to shore, and perpetually rolling, as if it intended to confound all its brilliant colours into one confused mass, while each still remains separate and distinct.
11. You may advance so near to the cataract on either side as to wash your hands in the falling water, but in a few minutes you will be wet to the skin. This is owing to the abundance of vapour which is continually falling; and this constant humidity has covered the rocks below the falls with a luxuriant growth of grass, sometimes of extraordinary length.
12. The river is about a mile wide at the falls. Goat Island, which divides the falls, contains about twenty acres of land, and is situated nearest the American side. A passage to this island was accidentally discovered several years ago, and many were sufficiently adventurous to visit it. Through the exertions of a distinguished individual, whe resides near the spot, the difficulties are now removed, anc a passage to the island, or a descent to the bottom of the fails is easily performed.
13. The falls are daily making inroads on this island, as well as on the banks and general foundation of the river. There is a tradition of another small island, near that just
mentioned, and it is entitled to some credit, as eight or ten large rocks, lying very near the edge of the falls, are still perceptible, and are probably the last fragments of the little island alluded to.
14. From the greater body of water passing off on the Canada side, the rocks, or foundation of the falls, are subject to greater inroads than on the other part. It is even conjectured, from the appearance of the river below the falls, that they were once several miles lower down, but, as their situation has not materially altered since they were first discovered by Europeans, so great a change could not have taken place unless caused by some tremendous convulsion of nature.
15. The falls, when seen from Goat Island, have the appearance of an irregular horse-shoe, with one side of the curve longer than the other, the longest being on the American side. Two miles below the falls is a very singular whirlpool, caused by an abrupt turn of the river, which, from the depression of its centre, has the appearance of water in a huge tunnel.
16. Trees of one hundred feet in length, with a great part of their branches, are here frequently seen spinning round, until by constant friction, or coming in contact with each other, they are at length broken to pieces. Sometimes they are drawn under, and disappear a few minutes, and then show themselves again, and resume their former circular motion; while at other times they disappear altogether.
17. It has been asserted by some writers, that the force of the current caused the sheet to project so far beyond a perpendicular, that a man at the bottom might walk between the falling sheet and the rocks. But later travellers, after repeated experiments, assert that the compression of air between the water and the rocks is so great, that no living creature ever has or ever can pass betwixt them.
18. Immediately below the falls are several small eddies, where there is excellent fishing; but the difficulty of ascending and descending is too great to compen'sate an ordinary sportsman. Along the shore are found many curious pieces of timber, deposited by the higher water, as it were for samples of the forms and varieties which are continually ground in the great water works of Niagara.
19. Various accounts have been given of the height of the great pitch, but the only instance of actual measurement which we have known, is recorded in a manuscript Tour to the Falls of Niagara, in the year 1806. The author* provided himself with a line, which was lowered from the edge of Table rock, and held perpendicularly by a person below. The line, which, after all allowance for shrinking, measured 176 feet, has since been deposited in the collection of a literary institution.
MESSIAH, A SACRED ECLOGUE.
YE nymphs of Sol'yma, begin the song:
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
2. Rapt into future times, the bard begun
3. Ye heavens, from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower;
4. Swift fly the years, and rise th' expected morn!
+ Pronounced I-zay'az.
*The late Caleb Bingham, of Boston.