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of literary labor, we threw ourselves with fresh zest into the current of gay hilarity, which flowed on unceasingly from day to day in our happy circle. It would have done thee good, kind reader, tired as thou art by many a night of toil and pain, or haply cheered by the sweet remembrance of inany such scenes in thine own experience it would have done thee good, I say, to have scampered with us on horseback over the green lanes and quiet highways, while our merry laughter went ringing through the summer air, and startling the sober dames who wove their flax in the doorways as we passed; or to have wandered with us over the verdant hillsides, gathering the wild flowers, or strolling beneath the leafy forests, undisturbed in their slumberous grandeur, save by our cheerful words or merry songs, or by the hardly wilder carol of some unscared bird. Two or three other gentlemen, Douglass and myself, accompanied by our host, who was himself a true lover of sporting, often ranged through the neighboring forests in search of the abundant game which at that season were accustomed to frequent them; or passed many a quiet hour on the margin of an adjacent river, which teemed with the spotted victims of our piscatorial skill. And then our evenings—ah, dear reader, here is a joy which thou in thy lonely studio knowest not of! And our twilight walks—it was then I learned my first sweet lesson in love, as we wandered through the pleasant fields, guided by the rays of the silver moon—a lesson which all the sorrow, and pain, and toil which I have since experienced, have never caused me to forget! We often sat together in the pleasant balcony which fronted our hospitable abode, through whose trellised vines the parted moonbeams were streaming, and the light winds fitfully play. ing, and sang to each other our lightest and merriest songs. And when we were weary of our innocent joy, we gathered together in our lighted parlor and passed the hours in mirth and dancing, till the voice of our kind hostess warned us to prepare by a night of sweet repose for the scenes and pleasures of the morrow. Such another scene of gay and harmless enjoyment it has never been my lot to witness or experience.
In all our excursions and plans of amusement, Amy was our guide and preceptress. She arranged our various expeditions, directed us in our rambles, and was the first in all our schemes of pleasure. In our morning rides her petite figure was always foremost in the group; and her black gelding moved lightly over the fields, as if proud of the beautiful burden he bore. In our botanical excursions her quick step was always in advance-she alone knew where the choicest flowers were hidden, and invariably gathered the sweetest and richest bouquets to adorn our evening festivals. Wherever we were, her gay laugh rang the clearest, and her merry song, as light as the carol of some mountain bird, sounded sweetest in our ears. In the parlor her music sent a peculiar thrill into every heart, and gave to the joyous dance a charm more potent than its own. Everywhere she was the leading spirit in our band--we all loved her, but there was one whose whole soul seemed to be yielded up to her—whose whole life seemed to be dependent on her presence and her smile. It was D . He had made me the repository of his secret, and I knew by the blush that overspread her tell-tale face whenever we met, that it had also been told to her. They were frequently together; in our morning and evening excursions he was ever at her side. He was her partner in the dance; he sang with her; and they often strolled away unaccompanied through the winding paths of the spacious garden which surrounded our delightful home. We all felt that a deep and lasting affection was springing up in their hearts ; and by a natural instinct we often left them alone to enjoy the sweet delirium of their deep emotions. They seemed to be formed by nature for each other. She was all feeling and fancy, and full of the freshness and happiness of a pure and guileless nature. He was one of those rare men whose emotions lie too deep for utterance, but his voice and eye betrayed a depth of feeling which gave the lie to his ordinarily composed appearance. I have rarely, if ever, known a man of deeper or stronger affections; and yet like most men of that character his friends were few. But they alone who knew him most, knew what strong and earnest feelings reigned in his heart.
One evening, as we sat together at our evening repast, it was proposed and agreed that we should visit, on the following day, a beautiful waterfall in the vicinity-a place often visited by tourists from all sections of the country. It presents one of the most magnificent views of natural scenery which I have ever witnessed. Setting out from the Falls House, you traverse for a mile or more a narrow footpath leading through a dense forest to the upper extremity of the Falls. Suddenly this path leads you out from the gloomy woods in which the noise of the cataract seems 10 echo and re-echo on every side ; and you pass out on to an overhanging ledge of rock, from which you gain a magnificent view of the upper fall. The river for some distance above has apparently worn its way through the solid rock to the depth of fifty feet; and it sweeps down, foaming and rushing over the crags, till at last it reaches the fall. At this point it dashes over a semicircular ledge of rock, falling a distance of thirty feet into a deep basin, shaped by the falling surges out of the solid limestone. This is styled the upper fall. It is truly a sublime sight. A beautiful rainbow usually overhangs the falling waters, and throws a peculiar splen. dor over the scene. The tall trees which skirt the ragged cliffs on both sides of the stream, seem like living beings to be silently watching the boiling gulf below; while the noise and spray of the cataract are always rising together, and spreading away over the distant fields.
From this point the river descends rapidly, dashing over and among the dark crags with a terrific grandeur, till it reaches the second or middle fall. Here it pours in one solid column over the rocks, and leaps onward as if in haste to rest itself in the quiet pool a mile or two below. By a kind of rustic stairway the visitor descends to the platform at the base of the upper fall, and is enabled by the aid of strong chains thrown along the narrow margin of the stream to follow its course downward till he passes beyond the middle and reaches the lower fall. Here the scene is truly magnificent. The overhanging cliffs, fringed by the dark foliage of the pine and hemlock, and lowering up a hundred feet over each side of the river, throw a peculiar and terrible shadow ever the entire scenery-a shadow made less painful by a brilliant rainbow, which, poised like a thing of life a hundred feet above the waters, is ever spanning the dark abyss with such a sweet light, that it always reminds me of the Holy Spirit shedding its benign radiance into a troubled human heart. The stream, as if gathering itself for one tremendous effort, plunges in one dense mass over the perpendicular ledge, and buries itself with a deafening roar in the dark bosom of the pool below. Nothing can surpass the blended grandeur and beauty of this scene. I always feel when I visit it—and I have often been there of late-as though God himself were audibly speaking to my soul. I hide my face in silence, and my very heart stops beating, it is so sublime, and yet so sweet! Surely God does speak to us in these sublime manifestations of his power, as well as in the sublimer revelations of his word.
But I am wandering from my story. Early in the day our companywith the exception of Douglass, who was prevented by a sudden indisposition from going with us—sat out together to visit the spot which I have just attempted to describe. It was a beautiful morning. The sky was cloudless, and the air seemed to be hushed to slumber by the thousand harmonious sounds which rose up and swelled like the chorus of an anthem on every side. The warm sun was pouring out his mellow rays upon the earth, as if glad to smile upon so bright and beautiful a world. We were full of gayety and joy. Our young hearts were stirred within us by the sweet influences of the quiet scenes through which we passed, and an involuntary response of joy and happiness rose in our breasts. To me there is no sight on earth more pleasing than a group of those whose souls, as yet uncontaminated by the world, are alive to every pure or beautiful emotion.
Ho! ho ! for the glorious, gladsome time,
And merrily throbs the pulse of time ! How pleasantly it contrasts with the sad experience of riper years, when the world is pressing with all its weight of cares and temptations upon the weary soul !
Wo! wo! for the dark and dreary time,
And slowly beats the clock of time ! After a short ride, made still shorter by our lively conversation, we reached the Falls. Taking the usual route, we strolled through the thick woods which skirt the stream until we reached the upper fall. There we seated ourselves on the moss-covered rock overhanging the cataract, and partook of the refreshments which had been furnished for the occasion. Having finished our repast, and sung a wild song or two, which accorded strangely with the deeper and grander sounds of the falling waters, we commenced our descent along the margin of the stream. I lingered behind, in company with a portion of our number, to watch a brilliant rainbow which was glowing with uncommon splendor over the upper fall. Suddenly a wild shrill shriek burst upon us, and went echoing up the narrow ravine. Such an awful sound I have never heard—it is still ringing in my ears. After recovering from the terror and surprise in which we were thrown, we hastened as rapidly as possible to the spot from which the sound had proceeded. On arriving, we found the remainder of our party half distracted with terror and grief. Amy had carelessly approached the margin of the stream to gather a flower which was blossoming there, and had accidentally fallen into the foaming water. Some of our number had sprung to her aid; but before they could reach the spot she had been swept over the fall into the deep basin beneath. A few of us hastened down the stairway to discover, if possible, some way of rendering her assistance, while others hastily set out for the neighboring village in search of aid. But all our efforts were useless-the eddying surges swept her in an instant from our sight. Every means of rescue was tried in vain ; and it was not till after a search of several hours that we succeeded, by the aid of the villagers, in recovering the liseless body of her who had so lately been our life and joy. .
It was near sunset when we sat out on our painful journey homeward. I had been selected to bear the dreadful tidings to the afflicted parents ; and for that purpose had hastened on before the rest of our mournful party. I will not attempt-I could not, if I had the desireto describe either the effect of my sad announcement, or the scene which followed the arrival of the carriage bearing the cold remains of her they loved. Poor D was inconsolable. He threw himself upon his couch, as I told him the fatal story, and gave way to a wild burst of anguish, such as I have never witnessed elsewhere-it defies description.
Our little company remained until the day of Amy's burial. It was a beautiful morning when we laid her to rest in that quaint village churchyard. The summer winds were sleeping on the green hillsides, while every thing around seemed to be resting in silence, as if in harmony with the deep solemnity of the scene. The inhabitants of the neighboring village had gathered together to unite their lamentations with those of our sad circle, for Amy was endeared to all of them by many a kindly word and friendly deed. We buried her beneath a spreading willow on the summit of an elevation overlooking both the quiet village and the distant waterfall. A marble monument, with the simple inscription “Our Amy,” is all that now indicates the resting place of one so lovely and so unfortunate.
Douglass went home immediately after the burial, and I never saw him again. He died in a year or two, as the report ran, of consumption ; but from the tone and language of his letters, I readily divined the secret of his death. They are both gone together, I trust, to a better and happier world. I think they are happier now.
A DISQUISITION ON TALES AND TALE-WRITERS.
The growing taste of the public for novelty has brought into existence a race of men, who, if we are to judge from their productions, labor fully as much with their pens as their brains, to supply this appetite with the food it craves. To such men, a murder of an aggravated character, or a calamity, private or public, are perfect God-sends ; they live on “ bloody murders," and get their meals by a “ horrible accident." But the public taste must be gratified, and murders are comparatively rare occurrences ; consequently tales innumerable of perils by sea and land, painted with all the horrors of the nightmare, have flowed from the pens of hundreds. The great majority, however, of those who seek for bread in this so perilous way, seem to prefer the sea as the scene of their tales ; perhaps, because their books being read by landsmen, the frequent blunders in them may be overlooked, and because they can take greater liberties with Father Neptune than with our sober and sedate Mother Terra. Some make islands spring up and suddenly disappear to assist the development of the plot, and multiply wonders on wonders, till even those who saw the sea-serpent, find their credulity overtasked. Storms and hurricanes have been multiplied in such overwhelming numbers, that not even Espy, with all his ingenuity, can furnish Eolus with a decent excuse for raising the wind in such an unwarrantable manner. According to the writers of these “ tales founded on fact,” so many ships have been dashed upon leeshores, that it would puzzle a geographer to find a sufficient number of such places to accommodate the wrecks. So many too, have gone down at sea, that it is wonderful that enough should remain to carry on the commerce of the world. To us who know what the Elephant is, there is a ready answer for this problem ; but to any one who did not know how little fact is necessary for the foundation of a tale, the prosperity of commerce would be an enigma. The novels and sea tales to which I refer, are perfect catalogues of disasters, and you can scarcely open a volume of this character, without finding at least one wreck, with almost always a total loss of vessel and cargo. How underwriters and insurance companies can exist and make money in the midst of this wholesale destruction of their property, I must leave to the authors of these “ tales founded on fact,” to answer. Such is the character of the novels and novelettes of the day, taken as a class, and even so good a writer as Cooper has so far yielded to the public taste for horrors, as to have the hero of one of his novels twice or three times wrecked, thrice captured, and twice blown out to sea in an open boat. Not satisfied with this, he drives him through dangers innumerable, and after all leaves him half-finished (as a character) at the end of the novel. :
But why so many should attempt to write sea stories, where of necessity thousands of terms and words must be introduced of which they can know but little, is more than I can comprehend. While they