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The Englishwoman in America by Isabella Lucy Bird

Part 3 out of 6

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speculators from New England--packmen from Canada--"Prairie-men,"
trappers, hunters, and adventurers of all descriptions. Many of these wore
bowie-knives or pistols in their belts. The costumes were very varied and
picturesque. Two Bloomers in very poor green habiliments sat opposite to
me, and did not appear to attract any attention, though Bloomerism is
happily defunct in the States.

There had been three duels at Chicago in the morning, and one of the
duellists, a swarthy, dark-browed villain, sat next but one to me. The
quarrel originated in a gambling-house, and this Mexican's opponent was
mortally wounded, and there he sat, with the guilt of human blood upon his
hands, describing to his _vis-a-vis_ the way in which he had taken aim at
his adversary, and no one seemed to think anything about it. From what I
heard, I fear duelling must have become very common in the West, and no
wonder, from the number of lawless spirits who congregate where they can
be comparatively unfettered.

The second course consisted exclusively of pumpkin-pies; but when the
waiters changed the plates, their way of cleaning the knives and forks was
so peculiarly disgusting, that I did not attempt to eat anything. But I
must remark that in this motley assembly there was nothing of coarseness,
and not a word of bad language--indeed, nothing which could offend the
most fastidious ears. I must in this respect bear very favourable
testimony to the Americans; for, in the course of my somewhat extensive
travels in the United States, and mixing as I did very frequently with the
lower classes, I never heard any of that language which so frequently
offends the ear in England. [Footnote: I must not be misunderstood here.
Profane language is only too notoriously common in the States, but custom,
which in America is frequently stronger than law, totally prohibits its
use before ladies.]

I suppose that there is no country in the world where the presence of a
lady is such a restraint upon manners and conversation. A female, whatever
her age or rank may be, is invariably treated with deferential respect;
and if this deference may occasionally trespass upon the limits of
absurdity, or if the extinct chivalry of the past ages of Europe meets
with a partial revival upon the shores of America, this extreme is vastly
preferable to the _brusquerie_, if not incivility, which ladies, as I have
heard, too often meet with in England.

The apparently temperate habits in the United States form another very
pleasing feature to dwell upon. It is to be feared that there is a
considerable amount of drunkenness among the English, Irish, and Germans,
who form a large portion of the American population; but the temperate,
tea-drinking, water-drinking habits of the native Americans are most
remarkable. In fact, I only saw one intoxicated person in the States, and
he was a Scotch fiddler. At the hotels, even when sitting down to dinner
in a room with four hundred persons, I never on any occasion saw more than
two bottles of wine on the table, and I know from experience that in many
private dwelling-houses there is no fermented liquor at all. In the West,
more especially at the rude hotels where I stopped, I never saw wine,
beer, or spirits upon the table; and the spectacle gratified me
exceedingly, of seeing fierce-looking, armed, and bearded men, drinking
frequently in the day of that cup "which cheers, but not inebriates."
Water is a beverage which I never enjoyed in purity and perfection before
I visited America. It is provided in abundance in the cars, the hotels,
the waiting-rooms, the steamers, and even the stores, in crystal jugs or
stone filters, and it is always iced. This may be either the result or the
cause of the temperance of the people.

Ancient history tells us of a people who used to intoxicate their slaves,
and, while they were in that condition, display them to their sons, to
disgust them early with the degrading vice of drunkenness.

The emigrants who have left our shores, more particularly the Irish, have
voluntarily enacted the part formerly assigned to the slaves of the
Spartans. Certain it is that their intemperance, with the evils of which
the Americans are only too well acquainted, has produced a beneficial
result, by causing a strong re-action in favour of temperance principles.

The national oath of the English, which has earned for them abroad a
horrible _sobriquet_, and the execrations which belong to the French,
Italian, and Spanish nations, are unfortunately but too well known,
because they are too often heard. Indeed, I have scarcely ever travelled
in England by coach or railway--I have seldom driven through a crowded
street, or ridden on horseback through quiet agricultural villages--
without hearing language in direct defiance of the third commandment.
Profanity and drunkenness are among the crying sins of the English lower
orders. Much has been said upon the subject of swearing in the United
States. I can only say that, travelling in them as I have travelled in
England, and mixing with people of a much lower class than I ever was
thrown among in England--mixing with these people too on terms of perfect
equality--I never heard an oath till after I crossed the Canadian
frontier. With regard to both these things, of course I only speak of what
fell under my own observation.

After dinner, being only too glad to escape from a house where pestilence
was rife, we went out into Chicago. It is a wonderful place, and tells
more forcibly of the astonishing energy and progress of the Americans than
anything I saw. Forty years ago the whole ground on which the town stands
could have been bought for six hundred dollars; now, a person would give
ten thousand for the site of a single store. It is built on a level
prairie, only slightly elevated above the lake surface. It lies on both
sides of the Chicago river, about a mile above its entrance into Lake
Michigan. By the construction of piers, a large artificial harbour has
been made at the mouth of this river.

The city has sprung up rapidly, and is supplied with all the accessories
of a high state of civilisation. Chicago, in everything that contributes
to _real use and comfort_, will compare favourably with any city in the
world. In 1830 it was a mere trading-post, situated in the theatre of the
Black Hawk war. In 1850 its population was only 28,000 people; it has now
not less than 60,000. [Footnote: By the last census, taken in June, 1855,
the population of Chicago was given at 87,000 souls, thus showing the
extraordinary increase of 27,000 within a year.] It had not a mile of
railway in 1850; now fourteen lines radiate from it, bringing to it the
trade of an area of country equalling 150,000 square miles. One hundred
heavy trains arrive and depart from it daily. It has a commerce
commensurate with its magnitude. It employs about 70,000 tons of shipping,
nearly one-half being steamers and propellers. The lumber-trade, which is
chiefly carried on with Buffalo, is becoming very profitable. The exports
of Chicago, to the East, of bread-stuffs for the past year, exceeded
13,000,000 bushels; and a city which, in 1840, numbered only 4000
inhabitants, is now one of the largest exporting grain-markets in the

Chicago is connected with the western rivers by a sloop canal--one of the
most magnificent works ever undertaken. It is also connected with the
Mississippi at several points by railroad. It is regularly laid out with
wide airy streets, much more cleanly than those of Cincinnati. The wooden
houses are fast giving place to lofty substantial structures of brick, or
a stone similar in appearance to white marble, and are often six stories
high. These houses, as in all business streets in the American cities, are
disfigured, up to the third story, by large glaring sign-boards containing
the names and occupations of their residents. The side walks are of wood,
and, wherever they are made of this unsubstantial material, one frequently
finds oneself stepping into a hole, or upon the end of a board which tilts
up under one's feet. The houses are always let in flats, so that there are
generally three stores one above another. These stores are very handsome,
those of the outfitters particularly so, though the quantity of goods
displayed in the streets gives them rather a barbaric appearance. The side
walks are literally encumbered with bales of scarlet flannel, and every
other article of an emigrant's outfit. At the outfitters' stores you can
buy anything, from a cart-nail to a revolver; from a suit of oilskin to a
paper of needles. The streets present an extraordinary spectacle.
Everything reminds that one is standing on the very verge of western

The roads are crowded to an inconvenient extent with carriages of curious
construction, waggons, carts, and men on horseback, and the side-walks
with eager foot-passengers. By the side of a carriage drawn by two or
three handsome horses, a creaking waggon with a white tilt, drawn by four
heavy oxen, may be seen--Mexicans and hunters dash down the crowded
streets at full gallop on mettlesome steeds, with bits so powerful as to
throw their horses on their haunches when they meet with any obstacle.
They ride animals that look too proud to touch the earth, on high-peaked
saddles, with pistols in the holsters, short stirrups, and long, cruel-
looking Spanish spurs. They wear scarlet caps or palmetto hats, and high
jack-boots. Knives are stuck into their belts, and light rifles are slung
behind them. These picturesque beings--the bullock-waggons setting out for
the Far West--the medley of different nations and costumes in the streets
--make the city a spectacle of great interest.

The deep hollow roar of the locomotive, and the shrill scream from the
steamboat, are heard here all day; a continuous stream of life ever
bustles through the city, and, standing as it does on the very verge of
western civilisation, Chicago is a vast emporium of the trade of the
districts east and west of the Mississippi.

At an office in one of the streets Mr. C---- took my ticket for Toronto by
railway, steamer, railway, and steamer, only paying eight dollars and a
half, or about thirty-four shillings, for a journey of seven hundred

We returned to tea at the hotel, and found our viands and companions just
the same as at dinner. It is impossible to give an idea of the "western
men" to any one who has not seen one at least as a specimen. They are the
men before whom the Indians melt away as grass before the scythe. They
shoot them down on the smallest provocation, and speak of "head of
Indian," as we do in England of head of game. Their bearing is bold,
reckless, and independent in the extreme; they are as ready to fight a foe
as to wait upon women and children with tender assiduity; their very
appearance says to you, "Stranger, I belong to the greatest, most
enlightened, and most progressive nation on earth; I may be the President
or a _millionaire_ next year; I don't care a straw for you or any one

Illinois is a State which has sprung up, as if by magic, to be one of the
most fruitful in the West. It was settled by men from the New England
States--men who carried with them those characteristics which have made
the New Englander's career one of active enterprise, and successful
progress, wherever he has been. Not many years ago the name of Illinois
was nearly unknown, and on her soil the hardy settler battled with the
forest-trees for space in which to sow his first crops. Her roads were
merely rude and often impassable tracks through forest or prairie; now she
has in operation and course of construction two thousand and seventy miles
of those iron sinews of commercial progress--railroads, running like a
network over the State.

At seven o'clock, with a feeling of great relief, mingled with
thankfulness at having escaped untouched by the terrible pestilence which
had ravaged Chicago, I left the hotel, more appropriately termed a
"_caravanserai_" and my friends placed me in the "Lightning Express,"
warranted to go sixty-seven miles an hour. Unless it may be St. Louis, I
fancy that Chicago is more worth a visit than any other of the western
cities. Even one day at it was worth a voyage across the Atlantic, and a
land-journey of eighteen hundred miles.


A vexatious incident--John Bull enraged--Woman's rights--Alligators become
hosses--A popular host--Military display--A mirth-provoking gun--Grave
reminiscences--Attractions of the fair--Past and present--A floating
palace--Black companions--A black baby--Externals of Buffalo--The flag of

The night-cars are always crowded both in Canada and the States, because
people in business are anxious to save a day if they have any expedition
to make, and, as many of the cars are fitted up with seats of a most
comfortable kind for night-travelling, a person accustomed to them can
sleep in them as well as on a sofa. After leaving Chicago, they seemed
about to rush with a whoop into the moonlit waters of Lake Michigan, and
in reality it was not much better. For four miles we ran along a plank-
road supported only on piles. There was a single track, and the carriages
projecting over the whole, there was no bridge to be seen, and we really
seemed to be going along on the water. These insecure railways are not
uncommon in the States; the dangers of the one on the Hudson river have
been experienced by many travellers to their cost.

We ran three hundred miles through central Michigan in ten hours,
including stoppages. We dashed through woods, across prairies, and over
bridges without parapets, at a uniform rate of progress. A boy making
continual peregrinations with iced water alleviated the thirst of the
passengers, for the night was intensely hot, and I managed to sleep very
comfortably till awoke by the intense cold of dawn. During the evening an
incident most vexatious to me occurred.

The cars were very full, and were not able to seat all the passengers.
Consequently, according to the usages of American etiquette, the gentlemen
vacated the seats in favour of the ladies, who took possession of them in
a very ungracious manner as I thought. The gentlemen stood in the passage
down the centre. At last all but one had given up their seats, and while
stopping at a station another lady entered.

"A seat for a lady," said the conductor, when he saw the crowded state of
the car. The one gentleman did not stir. "A seat for a lady," repeated the
man in a more imperious tone. Still no movement on the part of the
gentleman appealed to. "A seat for a lady; don't you see there's a lady
wanting one?" now vociferated several voices at once, but without
producing any effect. "Get up for this lady," said one bolder than the
rest, giving the stranger a sharp admonition on the shoulder. He pulled
his travelling cap over his eyes, and doggedly refused to stir. There was
now a regular hubbub in the car; American blood was up, and several
gentlemen tried to induce the offender to move.

"I'm an Englishman, and I tell you I won't be brow-beat by you beastly
Yankees. I've paid for my seat, and I mean to keep it," savagely shouted
the offender, thus verifying my worst suspicions.

"I thought so!--I knew it!--A regular John Bull trick! just like them!"
were some of the observations made, and very mild they were, considering
the aggravated circumstances.

Two men took the culprit by his shoulders, and the others, pressing
behind, impelled him to the door, amid a chorus of groans and hisses,
disposing of him finally by placing him in the emigrant-car, installing
the lady in the vacated seat. I could almost fancy that the shade of the
departed Judge Lynch stood by with an approving smile.

I was so thoroughly ashamed of my countryman, and so afraid of my
nationality being discovered, that, if any one spoke to me, I adopted
every Americanism which I could think of in reply. The country within
fifty miles of Detroit is a pretty alternation of prairie, wood, corn-
fields, peach and apple orchards. The maize is the staple of the country;
you see it in the fields; you have corn-cobs for breakfast; corncobs,
mush, and hominy for dinner; johnny-cake for tea; and the very bread
contains a third part of Indian meal!

I thought the little I saw of Michigan very fertile and pretty. It is
another of the newly constituted States, and was known until recently
under the name of the "Michigan Territory." This State is a peninsula
between the Huron and Michigan Lakes, and borders in one part closely on
Canada. It has a salubrious climate and a fertile soil, and is rapidly
becoming a very productive State. Of late years the influx of emigrants of
a better class has been very great. The State has great capabilities for
saw and flour mills; the Grand Rapids alone have a fall of fifteen feet in
a mile, and afford immense water-power.

In Michigan, human beings have ceased to be "_alligators_" they are
"_hosses_." Thus one man says to another, "How do you do, old hoss?" or,
"What's the time o' day, old hoss?" When I reached Detroit I was amused
when a conductor said to me, "One o' them 'ere hosses will take your
trunks," pointing as he spoke to a group of porters.

On arriving at Detroit I met for the first time with tokens of British
enterprise and energy, and of the growing importance of Canada West.
Several persons in the cars were going to New York, and they took the
ferry at Detroit, and went down to Niagara Bridge by the Canada Great
Western Railway, as the most expeditious route. I drove through the very
pleasant streets of Detroit to the National Hotel, where I was to join the
Walrences. Having indulged the hope of rejoining my former travelling
companions here, I was greatly disappointed at finding a note from them,
containing the intelligence that they had been summoned by telegraph to
Toronto, to a sick relative. They requested me to join them there, and
hoped I should find no difficulty on the journey!

It was the time of the State fair, and every room in the inn was occupied;
but Mr. Benjamin, the very popular host of the National, on hearing my
circumstances, would on no account suffer me to seek another abode, and
requested a gentleman to give up his room to me, which with true American
politeness he instantly did. I cannot speak too highly of the National
Hotel, or of its deservedly popular landlord. I found that I could not
leave Detroit before the next night, and at most hotels a lady alone would
have been very uncomfortably placed. Breakfast was over, but, as soon as I
retired to my room, the waiter appeared with an abundant repast, for which
no additional charge was made. I sat in my room the whole day, and Mr.
Benjamin came twice to my door to know if I wanted anything. He introduced
me to a widow lady, whose room I afterwards shared; and when I went down
at night to the steamer, he sent one of his clerks with me, to save me any
trouble about my luggage. He also gave me a note to an hotel-keeper at
Buffalo, requesting him to pay me every attention, in case I should be
detained for a night on the road. The hotel was a perfect pattern of
cleanliness, elegance, and comfort; and the waiters, about fifty of whom
were Dutch, attended scrupulously to every wish, actual or supposed, of
the guests. If these pages should ever meet Mr. Benjamin's eye, it may be
a slight gratification to him to know that his kindness to a stranger has
been both remembered and appreciated.

I had some letters of introduction to residents at Detroit, and here, as
in all other places which I visited, I had but to sow them to reap a rich
harvest of kindness and hospitality. I spent two days most agreeably at
Detroit, in a very refined and intellectual circle, perfectly free from
those mannerisms which I had expected to find in a place so distant from
the coast. The concurrent testimony of many impartial persons goes to
prove that in every American town highly polished and intellectual society
is to be met with.

My bed-room window at the National Hotel looked into one of the widest and
most bustling streets of Detroit. It was the day of the State fair,
consequently I saw the town under a very favourable aspect. The contents
of several special trains, and hundreds of waggons, crowded the streets,
the "waggons" frequently drawn by very handsome horses. The private
carriages were of a superior class to any I had previously seen in the
States; the harness was handsome and richly plated, and elegantly dressed
ladies filled the interiors. But in amusing contrast, the coachmen all
looked like wild Irishmen enlisted for the occasion, and drove in a
standing posture. Young farmers, many of them dressed in the extreme of
the fashion of Young America, were dashing about in their light waggons,
driving tandem or span; heavily laden drays were proceeding at a slower
speed; and all this traffic was carried on under the shade of fine trees.

Military bands playing 'The Star-spangled Banner,' and 'Hail Columbia,'
were constantly passing and re-passing, and the whole population seemed on
the _qui vive_. Squadrons of cavalry continually passed my window, the men
in gorgeous uniforms, with high waving plumes. Their horses were very
handsome, but were not at all willing to display themselves by walking
slowly, or in rank, and the riders would seem to have been selected for
their corpulence, probably under the supposition that the weight of both
men and horses would tell in a charge.

The air 'Hail Columbia' is a very fine one, and doubtless thrills American
hearts, as ours are thrilled by the National Anthem. Two regiments of foot
followed the cavalry, one with peaceful-looking green and white plumes,
the other with horsetails dyed scarlet. The privates had a more
independent air than our own regulars, and were principally the sons of
respectable citizens. They appeared to have been well drilled, and were
superior in appearance to our militia; but it must be remembered that the
militia of America constitutes the real military force of the country, and
is paid and cared for accordingly; the regular army only amounting to ten
thousand men.

A gun of the artillery followed, and the spectacle made me laugh
immoderately, though I had no one with whom to share my amusement. It was
a new-looking gun of shining brass, perfectly innocent of the taste of
gunpowder, and mounted on a carriage suspiciously like a timber-truck,
which had _once_ been painted. Six very respectable-looking artillerymen
were clustering upon this vehicle, but they had to hold hard, for it
jolted unmercifully. It was drawn by four horses of different colours and
sizes, and they appeared animated by the principle of mutual repulsion.
One of these was ridden by a soldier, seated on a saddle placed so far
upon the horse's neck, that it gave him the appearance of clinging to the
mane. The harness was shabby and travel-soiled, and the traces were of
rope, which seemed to require continual "fixing," to judge from the
frequency with which the rider jumped off to adjust them. The artillerymen
were also continually stopping the vehicle, to rearrange the limber of the

While I was instituting an invidious comparison between this gun and our
well-appointed, well-horsed, well-manned artillery at Woolwich, the
thought suddenly flashed across my mind that the militia forces of America
beat us at Lexington, Saratoga, and Ticonderoga. "A change came o'er the
spirit of my dream,"--from the ridiculous to the sublime was but a step;
and the grotesque gun-carriage was instantly invested with sublimity.

Various attractions were presented at the fair. There were horse-races and
trotting-matches; a trotting bull warranted to beat the fastest horse in
Michigan; and bands of music. Phineas Taylor Barnum presented the
spectacle of his very superior menagerie; in one place a wizard offered to
show the smallness of the difference between _meum_ and _tuum_; the
Siamese Twins in another displayed their monstrous and inseparable union;
and vocalists were awaiting the commands of the lovers of song.

There was a large piece of ground devoted to an agricultural exhibition;
and here, as at home, Cochin China fowls were "the observed of all
observers," and realised fabulous prices. In a long range of booths,
devoted to the products of manufacturing industry, some of the costliest
productions of the looms of Europe were exhibited for sale. There were
peep-shows, and swings, and merry-go-rounds, and hobby-horses, and, with
so many inducements offered, it will not be supposed that holiday people
were wanting.

Suddenly, while the diversions were at their height, and in the midst of
the intense heat, a deluge burst over Detroit, like the breaking of a
waterspout, in a few minutes turning the streets into rivers, deep enough
in many places to cover the fetlocks of the horses. It rained as it only
rains in a hot climate, and the storm was accompanied by thunder and
lightning. Waggons and carriages hurried furiously along; stages intended
to carry twelve persons at six cents were conveying twenty through the
flood at a dollar each; and ladies drenched to the skin, with white
dresses and silk stockings the colour of mud, were hurrying along over the
slippery side walks. An infantry regiment of militia took to their heels
and ran off at full pelt,--and a large body of _heavy_ cavalry dashed by
in a perfect hurricane of moustaches, draggled plumes, cross-bands,
gigantic white gloves, and clattering sabres, clearing the streets

A hundred years ago Detroit was a little French village of wooden houses,
a mere post for carrying on the fur-trade with the Indians. Some of these
houses still remain, dingy, many-windowed, many-gabled buildings, of
antique construction. Canoes laden with peltry were perhaps the only craft
which disturbed the waters of the Detroit river.

The old times are changed, and a thriving commercial town of 40,000
inhabitants stands on the site of the French trading-post. Handsome quays
and extensive wharfs now line the shores of the Detroit river, and to look
at the throng of magnificent steamers and small sailing-vessels lying
along them, sometimes two or three deep, one would suppose oneself at an
English seaport. The streets, which contain very handsome stores, are
planted with trees, and are alive with business; and hotels, banks, and
offices appear in every direction. Altogether Detroit is a very pleasing
place, and, from its position, bids fair to be a very important one.

I had to leave the friends whose acquaintance and kindness rendered
Detroit so agreeable to me, in the middle of a very interesting
conversation. Before ten at night I found myself on an apparently
interminable wharf, creeping between cart-wheels and over bales of wool to
the _Mayflower_ steamer, which was just leaving for Buffalo.

Passing through the hall of the _Mayflower_, which was rather a confused
and dimly-lighted scene, I went up to the saloon by a very handsome
staircase with elaborate bronze balustrades. My bewildered eyes surveyed a
fairy scene, an eastern palace, a vision of the Arabian Nights. I could
not have believed that such magnificence existed in a ship; it impressed
me much more than anything I have seen in the palaces of England.

The _Mayflower_ was a steam-ship of 2200 tons burthen, her length 336
feet, and her extreme breadth 60. She was of 1000 horse-power, with 81-
inch cylinders, and a stroke of 12 feet. I speak of her in the past tense,
because she has since been totally cast away in a storm on Lake Erie. This
lake bears a very bad character, and persons are warned not to venture
upon it at so stormy a season of the year as September, but, had the
weather been very rough, I should not have regretted my voyage in so
splendid a steamer.

The saloon was 300 feet long; it had an arched roof and Gothic cornice,
with a moulding below of gilded grapes and vine-leaves. It was 10 feet
high, and the projections of the ceiling, the mouldings, and the panels of
the doors of the state-rooms were all richly gilded. About the middle
there was an enclosure for the engine, scarcely obstructing the view. This
enclosure was Gothic, to match the roof, and at each end had a window of
plate-glass, 6 feet square, through which the mechanism of the engine
could be seen. The engine itself, being a high-pressure one, and
consequently without the incumbrances of condenser and air-pump, occupied
much less room than one of ours in a ship of the same tonnage. Every
stationary part of the machinery was of polished steel, or bronze, with
elaborate castings; a crank indicator and a clock faced each other, and
the whole was lighted by two large coloured lamps. These windows were a
favourite lounge of the curious and scientific. The carpet was of rich
velvet pile, in groups of brilliant flowers, and dotted over with chairs,
sofas, and _tete-a-tetes_ of carved walnut-wood, cushioned with the
richest green velvet: the tables were of marble with gilded pedestals.
There was a very handsome piano, and both it and the tables supported
massive vases of beautiful Sevres or Dresden china, filled with exotic
flowers. On one table was a richly-chased silver tray, with a silver ewer
of iced water upon it. The saloon was brilliantly lighted by eight
chandeliers with dependent glass lustres; and at each end two mirrors, the
height of the room, prolonged interminably the magnificent scene.

In such an apartment one would naturally expect to see elegantly-dressed
gentlemen and ladies; but no--western men, in palmetto hats and great
boots, lounged upon the superb sofas, and negroes and negresses chattered
and promenaded. Porcelain spittoons in considerable numbers garnished the
floor, and their office was by no means a sinecure one, even in the saloon
exclusively devoted to ladies.

I saw only one person whom I liked to speak to, among my three hundred
fellow-voyagers. This was a tall, pale, and very ladylike person in deep
mourning, with a perfectly uninterested look, and such deep lines of
sorrow on her face, that I saw at a glance that the world had no power to
interest or please her. She sat on the same sofa with me, and was
helplessly puzzling over the _route_ from Buffalo to Albany with a gruff,
uncouth son, who seemed by no means disposed to aid her in her
difficulties. As I was able to give her the information she wanted, we
entered into conversation for two hours. She soon told me her history,
merely an ordinary one, of love, bereavement, and sorrow. She had been a
widow for a year, and she said that her desolation was so great that her
sole wish was to die. Her sons were taking her a tour, in the hope of
raising her spirits, but she said she was just moved about and dressed
like a doll, that she had not one ray of comfort, and that all shrunk from
her hopeless and repining grief. She asked me to tell her if any widow of
my acquaintance had been able to bear her loss with resignation; and when
I told her of some instances among my own relations, she burst into tears
and said, "I am ever arraigning the wisdom of God, and how can I hope for
his consolations?" The task of a comforter is ever a hard one, and in her
instance it was particularly so, to point to the "Balm of Gilead," as
revealed in sacred Scripture; for a stranger to show her in all kindness
that comfort could never be experienced while, as she herself owned, she
was living in the neglect of every duty both to God and man.

She seemed roused for the moment, and thanked me for the sympathy which I
most sincerely felt, hoping at the same time to renew the conversation in
the morning. We had a stormy night, from which she suffered so much as to
be unable to leave her berth the next day, and I saw nothing further of
her beyond a brief glimpse which I caught of her at Buffalo, as she was
carried ashore, looking more despairing even than the night before.

Below this saloon is the ladies' cabin, also very handsome, but disfigured
by numerous spittoons, and beneath this again is a small cabin with berths
two deep round the sides; and in this abode, as the ship was full, I took
a berth for the night with a southern lady, her two female slaves, four
negresses, and a mulatto woman, who had just purchased their freedom in
Tennessee. These blacks were really lady-like and intelligent, and so
agreeable and _naive_ that, although they chattered to me till two in the
morning, I was not the least tired of them.

They wanted me to bring them all home to England, to which they have been
taught to look as to a land of liberty and happiness; and it was with much
difficulty that I made them understand that I should not be able to find
employment for them. I asked one of them, a very fine-looking mulatto, how
long she had been married, and her age. She replied that she was thirty-
four, and had been married twenty-one years! Their black faces and woolly
hair contrasted most ludicrously with the white pillow-case. After
sleeping for a time, I was awoke by a dissonance of sounds--groaning,
straining, creaking, and the crash of waves and roar of winds. I dressed
with difficulty, and, crawling to the window, beheld a cloudless sky, a
thin, blue, stormy-looking mist, and waves higher than I had ever seen
those on the ocean; indeed, Lake Erie was one sheet of raging, furious
billows, which dashed about our leviathan but top-heavy steamer as if she
had been a plaything.

I saw two schooners scudding with only their foresails set, and shortly
after a vessel making signals of distress, having lost her masts,
bulwarks, and boats in the gale. We were enabled to render her very
seasonable assistance. I was not now surprised at the caution given by the
stewardess the previous night, namely, that the less I undressed the
better, in case of an accident.

While the gale lasted, being too much inured to rough weather to feel
alarmed, I amused myself with watching the different effects produced by
it on the feelings of different persons. The Southern lady was frantic
with terror. First she requested me, in no very gentle tones, to call the
stewardess. I went to the abode of that functionary, and found her lying
on the floor sea-sick; her beautiful auburn hair tangled and dishevelled.
"Oh! madam, how could you sleep?" she said; "we've had such an awful
night! I've never been so ill before."

I returned from my useless errand, and the lady then _commanded_ me to go
instantly to the captain and ask him to come. "He's attending to the
ship," I urged. "Go then, if you've any pity, and ask him if we shall be
lost." "There's no danger, as far as I can judge; the engines work
regularly, and the ship obeys her helm." The _Mayflower_ gave a heavier
roll than usual. "Oh my God! Oh Heaven!" shrieked the unhappy lady;
"forgive me! Mercy! mercy!" A lull followed, in which she called to one of
her slaves for a glass of water; but the poor creature was too ill to
move, and, seeing that her mistress was about to grow angry, I went up to
the saloon for it. On my way to the table I nearly tumbled over a
prostrate man, whom I had noticed the night before as conspicuous for his
audacious and hardy bearing. "I guess we're going to Davy Jones," he said;
"I've been saying my prayers all night--little good, I guess. I've been a
sinner too long. I've seen many a"--a groan followed. I looked at the
reckless speaker. He was lying on the floor, with his hat and shoes off,
and his rifle beside him. His face was ghastly, but, I verily believe,
more from the effects of sea-sickness than fear. He begged me, in feeble
tones, to get him some brandy; but I could not find anybody to give it to
him, and went down with the water.

The two slaves were as frightened as people almost stupified by sickness
could be; but when I asked one of the freed negresses if she were alarmed,
she said, "Me no fear; if me die, me go to Jesus Christ; if me live, me
serve him here--_better to die!_"

It has been said that "poverty, sickness, all the ills of life, are
Paradise to what we fear of death"--that "it is not that life is sweet,
but that death is bitter." Here the poet and the philosopher might have
learned a lesson. This poor, untutored negress probably knew nothing more
"than her Bible true;" but she had that knowledge of a future state which
reason, unassisted by the light of revelation, could never have learned;
she knew yet more--she knew God as revealed in Christ, and in that
knowledge, under its highest and truest name of _Faith_, she feared not
the summons which would call her into the presence of the Judge of all.
The infidel may hug his heartless creed, which, by ignoring alike futurity
and the Divine government, makes an aimless chaos of the past, and a
gloomy obscurity of the future; but, in the "hour of death and in the day
of judgment," the boldest atheist in existence would thankfully exchange
his failing theories for the poor African's simple creed.

Providence, which has not endowed the negro with intellectual powers of
the highest order, has given him an amount of _heart_ and enthusiasm to
which we are strangers. He is warm and ardent in his attachments, fierce
in his resentfulness, terrible in his revenge. The black troops of our
West Indian colonies, when let loose, fight with more fury and
bloodthirstiness than those of any white race. This temperament is carried
into religion, and nowhere on earth does our Lord find a more loving and
zealous disciple than in the converted and Christianized negro. It is
indeed true that, in America only, more than three million free-born
Africans wear the chains of servitude; but it is no less true that in many
instances the Gospel has penetrated the shades of their Egyptian darkness,
giving them

"A clear escape from tyrannizing lust,
A full immunity from penal woe,"

Many persons who have crossed the Atlantic without annoyance are
discomposed by the short chopping surges of these inland seas, and the
poor negresses suffered dreadfully from sea-sickness.

As the stewardess was upstairs, and too ill herself to attend upon any
one, I did what I could for them, getting them pillows, camphor, &c., only
too happy that I was in a condition to be useful. One of them, a young
married woman with a baby of three months old, was alarmingly ill, and, as
the poor infant was in danger of being seriously injured by the rolling of
the ship, I took it on my lap for an hour till the gale moderated, thereby
gaining the lasting kindly remembrance of its poor mother. I am sure that
a white infant would have screamed in a most appalling way, for, as I had
never taken a baby in my arms before, I held it in a very awkward manner;
but the poor little black thing, wearied with its struggles on the floor,
lay very passively, every now and then turning its little monkey-face up
to mine, with a look of understanding and confidence which quite
conciliated my good will. It was so awfully ugly, so much like a black
ape, and so little like the young of the human species, that I was obliged
while I held it to avert my eyes from it, lest in a sudden fit of foolish
prejudice and disgust I should let it fall. Meanwhile, the Southern lady
was very ill, but not too ill, I am sorry to say, to box the ears of her

The gale moderated about nine in the morning, leaving a very rough, foamy
sea, which reflected in a peculiarly dazzling and disagreeable way the
cloudless and piercing blue of the sky. The saloon looked as magnificent
as by candle-light, with the sunshine streaming through a running window
of stained glass.

Dinner on a plentiful scale was served at one, but out of 300 passengers
only about 30 were able to avail themselves of it. Large glass tubs of
vanilla cream-ice were served. The voyage was peculiarly uninteresting, as
we were out of sight of land nearly the whole day; my friend the widow did
not appear, and, when I attempted to write, the inkstand rolled off the
table. It was just sunset, when we reached Buffalo, and moored at a wharf
crowded with large steamers receiving and discharging cargo. Owing to the
gale, we were two hours too late for the Niagara cars, and I slept at the
Western Hotel, where I received every attention.

Buffalo is one of the best samples of American progress. It is a regularly
laid out and substantially built city of 65,000 inhabitants. It is still
in the vigour of youth, for the present town only dates from 1813. It
stands at the foot of Lake Erie, at the opening of the Hudson canal, where
the commerce of the great chain of inland lakes is condensed. It is very
"going ahead;" its inhabitants are ever changing; its population is
composed of all nations, with a very large proportion of Germans, French,
and Irish. But their national characteristics, though not lost, are seen
through a medium of pure Americanism. They all rush about--the lethargic
German keeps pace with the energetic Yankee; and the Irishman, no longer
in rags, "guesses" and "spekilates" in the brogue of Erin. Western
travellers pass through Buffalo; tourists bound for Canada pass through
Buffalo; the traffic of lakes, canals, and several lines of rail centres
at Buffalo; so engines scream, and steamers puff, all day long. It has a
great shipbuilding trade, and to all appearance is one of the most
progressive and go-ahead cities in the Union.

I left Buffalo on a clear, frosty morning, by a line which ran between
lumber-yards [Footnote: Lumber is sawn timber.] on a prodigious scale and
the hard white beach of Lake Erie. Soon after leaving the city, the lake
becomes narrow and rapid, and finally hurries along with fearful velocity.
I knew that I was looking at the commencement of the rapids of Niagara,
but the cars ran into some clearings, and presently stopped at a very
bustling station, where a very officious man shouted, "Niagara Falls
Station!" The name grated unpleasantly upon my ears. A man appeared at the
door of the car in which I was the only passenger--"You for Lewiston,
quick, this way!" and hurried me into a stage of uncouth construction,
drawn by four horses. We jolted along the very worst road I ever travelled
on--corduroy was Elysium to it. No level was observed; it seemed to be a
mere track along waste land, running through holes, over hillocks and
stumps of trees. We were one hour and three-quarters in going a short
seven miles. If I had been better acquainted with the neighbourhood, I
might, as I only found out when it was too late, have crossed the bridge
at Niagara Falls, spent three hours in sight of Niagara, proceeding to
Queenston in time for the steamer by the Canada cars!

On our way to Lewiston we met forty of these four-horse stages. I caught a
distant view of the falls, and a nearer one of the yet incomplete
suspension bridge, which, when finished, will be one of the greatest
triumphs of engineering art.

Beyond this the scenery is very beautiful. The road runs among forest
trees of luxuriant growth, and peach and apple orchards, upon the American
bank of the Niagara river. This bank is a cliff 300 feet high, and from
the edge of the road you may throw a stone into the boiling torrent below;
yet the only parapet is a rotten fence, in many places completely
destroyed. When you begin to descend the steep hill to Lewiston the drive
is absolutely frightful. The cumbrous vehicle creaks, jolts, and swings,
and, in spite of friction-breaks and other appliances, gradually acquires
an impetus which sends it at full speed down the tremendous hill, and
round the sharp corner, to the hotel at Lewiston. While I was waiting
there watching the stages, and buying peaches, of which I got six for a
penny, a stage came at full speed down the hill, with only two men on the
driving-seat. The back straps had evidently given way, and the whole
machine had a tendency to jump forward, when, in coming down the steepest
part of the declivity, it got a jolt, and in the most ridiculous way
turned "topsy-turvy," the roof coming down upon the horses' backs. The men
were thrown off unhurt, but the poor animals were very much cut and

I crossed Lake Ontario to Toronto in the _Peerless_, a very smart, safe,
iron steamer, with the saloon and chief weight below. The fittings of this
beautiful little vessel are in perfect taste. We stopped for two hours at
the wharf at Niagara, a town on the British side, protected once by a now
disused and dismantled fort. The cars at length came up, two hours after
their time, and the excuse given for the delay was, that they had run over
a cow!

In grim contrast to the dismantled English Fort Massassaqua, Fort Niagara
stands on the American side, and is a place of considerable strength.
There I saw sentinels in grey uniforms, and the flag of the stars and

Captain D---- of the _Peerless_ brought his beautiful little vessel from
the Clyde in 6000 pieces, and is justly proud of her. I sat next him at
dinner, and found that we knew some of the same people in Scotland. Gaelic
was a further introduction; and though so many thousand miles away, for a
moment I felt myself at home when we spoke of the majestic Cuchullins and
the heathery braes of Balquidder. In the _Peerless_ every one took wine or
liqueurs. There was no bill of fare, but a long list of wines and spirits
was placed by each plate. Instead of being disturbed in the middle of
dinner by a poke on the shoulder, and the demand, "Dinner ticket, or fifty
cents," I was allowed to remain as long as I pleased, and at the
conclusion of the voyage a gentlemanly Highland purser asked me for my
passage and dinner money together.

We passed a number of brigs and schooners under full sail, their canvass
remarkable for its whiteness; their hulls also were snowy white. They
looked as though "they were drifting with the dead, to shores where all
was dumb."

Late in the evening we entered the harbour of Toronto, which is a very
capacious one, and is protected by a natural mole of sand some miles in
extent. Though this breakwater has some houses and a few trees, it is the
picture of dreary desolation.

The city of Toronto, the stronghold of Canadian learning and loyalty,
presents an imposing appearance, as seen from the water. It stands on
ground sloping upwards from the lake, and manufactories, colleges,
asylums, church spires, and public buildings, the whole faced by a
handsome line of quays, present themselves at once to the eye.

A soft and familiar sound came off from the shore; it was the well-known
note of the British bugle, and the flag whose silken folds were rising and
falling on the breeze was the meteor flag of England. Long may it brave
"the battle and the breeze"! English uniforms were glancing among the
crowd on the quay, English faces surrounded me, English voices rang in my
ears; the _neglige_ costumes which met my eyes were in the best style of
England. A thrill of pleasure went through my heart on finding, more than
4000 miles from home, the characteristics of my own loved land.

But I must add that there were unpleasant characteristics peculiarly
English also. I could never have landed, the confusion was so great, had
not Captain D---- assisted me. One porter ran off with one trunk, another
with another, while three were fighting for the possession of my valise,
till silenced by the cane of a custom-house officer. Then there was a
clamorous demand for "wharfage," and the hackman charged half a dollar for
taking me a quarter of a mile. All this somewhat damped my ecstacies, and
contrasted unfavourably with the orderly and easy way in which I landed on
the shore of the United States.

At Russell's Hotel I rejoined Mr. and Mrs. Walrence, who said "they would
have been extremely surprised if a lady in _their_ country had met with
the slightest difficulty or annoyance" in travelling alone for 700 miles!

My ecstacies were still further toned down when I woke the next morning
with my neck, hands, and face stinging and swollen from the bites of
innumerable mosquitoes.


The Place of Council--Its progress and its people--English hearts--
"Sebastopol is taken"--Squibs and crackers--A ship on her beam-ends--
Selfishness--A mongrel city--A Scot--Constancy rewarded--Monetary
difficulties--Detention on a bridge--A Canadian homestead--Life in the
clearings--The bush on fire--A word on farming--The "bee" and its produce
--Eccentricities of Mr. Haldimands--A ride on a troop-horse--Scotch
patriotism--An English church--The servant nuisance--Richard Cobden.

The people of Toronto informed me, immediately on my arrival in their
city, that "Toronto is the most English place to be met with out of
England." At first I was at a loss to understand their meaning. Wooden
houses, long streets crossing each other at right angles, and wooden side-
walks, looked very un-English to my eye. But when I had been for a few
days at Toronto, and had become accustomed to the necessarily-unfinished
appearance of a town which has only enjoyed sixty years of existence, I
fully agreed with the laudatory remarks passed upon it. The wooden houses
have altogether disappeared from the principal streets, and have been
replaced by substantial erections of brick and stone. The churches are
numerous, and of tasteful architecture. The public edifices are well
situated and very handsome. King Street, the principal thoroughfare, is
two miles in length, and the side-walks are lined with handsome shops. The
outskirts of Toronto abound in villa residences, standing in gardens or
shrubberies. The people do not run "_hurry skurry_" along the streets, but
there are no idlers to be observed. Hirsute eccentricities have also
disappeared; the beard is rarely seen, and the moustache is not considered
a necessary ornament. The faded careworn look of the American ladies has
given place to the bright complexion, the dimpled smile, and the active
elastic tread, so peculiarly English. Indeed, in walking along the
streets, there is nothing to tell that one is not in England; and if
anything were needed to complete the illusion, those sure tokens of
British civilisation, a jail and a lunatic asylum, are not wanting.

Toronto possesses in a remarkable degree the appearances of stability and
progress. No town on the Western Continent has progressed more rapidly;
certainly none more surely. I conversed with an old gentleman who
remembered its site when it was covered with a forest, when the smoke of
Indian wigwams ascended through the trees, and when wild fowl crowded the
waters of the harbour. The place then bore the name of Toronto--the Place
of Council. The name was changed by the first settlers to Little York, but
in 1814 its euphonious name of Toronto was again bestowed upon it. Its
population in 1801 was 336; it is now nearly 50,000.

Toronto is not the fungus growth, staring and wooden, of a temporary
necessity; it is the result of persevering industry, well-applied capital,
and healthy and progressive commercial prosperity. Various railroads are
in course of construction, which will make it the exporting market for the
increasing produce of the interior; and as the migratory Canadian
Legislature is now stationary at Toronto for four years, its future
progress will probably be more rapid than its past. Its wharfs are always
crowded with freight and passenger steamers, by which it communicates two
or three times a day with the great cities of the United States, and
Quebec and Montreal. It is the seat of Canadian learning, and, besides
excellent schools, possesses a university, and several theological and
general seminaries. The society is said to be highly superior. I give
willing testimony in favour of this assertion, from the little which I saw
of it, but an attack of ague prevented me from presenting my letters of
introduction. It is a very musical place, and at Toronto Jenny Lind gave
the only concerts with which she honoured Canada. A large number of the
inhabitants are Scotch, which may account for the admirable way in which
the Sabbath is observed.

If I was pleased to find that the streets, the stores, the accent, the
manners were English, I was rejoiced to see that from the highest to the
lowest the hearts of the people were English also. I was at Toronto when
the false despatch was received announcing the capture of Sebastopol and
of the Russian army. I was spending the evening at the house of a friend,
when a gentleman ran in to say that the church bells were ringing for a
great victory! It was but the work of a few minutes for us to jump into a
hack, and drive at full speed to the office of the _Globe_ newspaper,
where the report was apparently confirmed. A great crowd in a state of
eager excitement besieged the doors, and presently a man mounted on a
lamp-post read the words, "_Sebastopol is taken! The Russian fleet burnt!
Eighteen thousand killed and wounded. Loss of the Allies, two thousand
five hundred._" This news had been telegraphed from Boston, and surely the
trembling tongue of steel had never before told such a bloody tale. One
shout of "Hurrah for Old England" burst from the crowd, and hearty English
cheers were given, which were caught up and repeated down the crowded
streets of Toronto. The shout thrilled through my heart; it told that the
flag of England waved over the loyal, true-hearted, and brave; it told of
attachment to the constitution and the throne; it told that in our times
of difficulty and danger "St. George and merry England" would prove a
gathering cry even on the prosperous shores of Lake Ontario. Greater
enthusiasm could not have been exhibited on the receipt of this false but
glorious news in any city at home. The bells, which a few days before had
tolled for the catastrophe of the _Arctic_, now pealed forth in triumph
for the victory of the Alma. Toronto knew no rest on that night. Those who
rejoiced over a victory gained over the northern despot were those who had
successfully resisted the despotism of a band of rebels. The streets were
almost impassable from the crowds who thronged them. Hand-rockets exploded
almost into people's eyes--serpents and squibs were hissing and cracking
over the pavements--and people were rushing in all directions for fuel for
the different bonfires. The largest of these was opposite the St. Lawrence
Hall. It was a monster one of tar-barrels, and lighted up the whole
street, paling the sickly flame of the gas-lamps. There was a large and
accumulating crowd round it, shouting, "Hurrah for Old England! Down with
the Rooshians! Three cheers for the Queen!" and the like. Sky-rockets were
blazing high in air, men were rushing about firing muskets, the small
swivels of the steamers at the wharfs were firing incessantly, and carts
with combustibles were going at full speed along the streets, each fresh
arrival being hailed with enthusiastic cheering. There were firemen, too,
in their picturesque dresses, who had turned out at the first sound of the
bells, and their services were soon put in requisition, for enthusiasm
produced recklessness, and two or three shingle-roofs were set on fire by
the descent of rockets upon them. This display of attachment to England
was not confined to the loyal and aristocratic city of Toronto; at
Hamilton, a thriving commercial place, of suspected American tendencies,
the town-council was assembled at the time the despatch was received, and
instantly voted a sum for an illumination.

From my praise of Toronto I must except the hotels, which are of a very
inferior class. They are a poor imitation of those in the States.
Russell's Hotel, at which I stayed for eight days, was a disagreeable
contrast to the National Hotel at Detroit, and another of some
pretensions, the North American, was said to be even more comfortless. The
bedrooms at Russell's swarmed with mosquitoes; and the waiters, who were
runaway slaves, were inattentive and uncivil.

After staying some little time with my friends at Toronto, I went to pay a
visit to some friends at Hamilton. The afternoon was very windy and
stormy. The lake looked very unpromising from the wharf; the island
protected the harbour, but beyond this the waves were breaking with fury.
Several persons who came down, intending to take their passage for
Hamilton, were deterred by the threatening aspect of the weather, but, not
having heard anything against the character of Lake Ontario, I had
sufficient confidence in it to persevere in my intention. I said to the
captain, "I suppose it won't be rough?" to which he replied that he could
not flatter me by saying so, adding that he had never seen so many persons
sick as in the morning. Dinner was served immediately on our leaving the
harbour, but the number of those who sat down, at first about thirty, soon
diminished to five, the others having rushed in a most mysterious manner
to state rooms or windows. For my own part, I cannot say that the allowed
excellence of the _cuisine_ tempted me to make a very substantial meal,
and I was glad of an excuse for retiring to a state-room, which I shared
with a lady who had just taken leave of her three children. This cabin was
very prettily arranged, but the movements of things were rather erratic,
and my valise gave most disagreeable manifestations of spiritual agency.

The ship was making little way, and rolling and pitching fearfully, and,
knowing how very top-heavy she was, I did not at all like the glimpses of
raging water which I with difficulty obtained through the cabin windows.
To understand what followed it will be necessary for the reader to
recollect that the saloon and state-rooms in this vessel formed an
erection or deck-house about eight feet high upon the deck, and that the
part of the saloon where most of the passengers were congregated, as well
as the state-room where I was sitting, were within a few feet of the bow
of the ship, and consequently exposed to the fury of the waves. I had sat
in my state-room for half an hour, feeling very apathetic, and wishing
myself anywhere but where I was, when something struck the ship, and the
wretched fabric fell over on her side. Another and another--then silence
for a second, broken only by the crash and roar of winds and waters. The
inner door burst open, letting in an inundation of water. My companion
jumped up, shrieking, "Oh, my children! we're lost--we're lost!" and
crawled, pale and trembling, into the saloon. The vessel was lying on her
side, therefore locomotion was most difficult; but sea-sick people were
emerging from their state-rooms, shrieking, some that they were lost--
others for their children--others for mercy; while a group of gentlemen,
less noisy, but not less frightened, and drenched to the skin, were
standing together, with pale and ashy faces. "What is the matter?"
inquired my companion, taking hold of one of these men. "Say your prayers,
for we are going down," was the brutal reply. For the first and only time
during my American travels I was really petrified with fear. Suddenly a
wave struck the hapless vessel, and with a stunning crash broke through
the thin woodwork of the side of the saloon. I caught hold of a life-buoy
which was near me--a gentleman clutched it from me, for fright makes some
men selfish--and, breathless, I was thrown down into the gurgling water. I
learned then how quickly thoughts can pass through the mind, for in those
few seconds I thought less of the anticipated death-struggle amid the
boiling surges of the lake, and of the quiet sleep beneath its gloomy
waters, than of the unsatisfactory manner in which those at home would
glean the terrible tidings from the accident columns of a newspaper.
Another minute, and I was swept through the open door into a state-room--
another one of suspense, and the ship righted as if by a superhuman
effort. There seemed a respite--there was a silence, broken only by the
roar of winds and waves, and with the respite came hope. Shortly after,
the master of the ship appeared, with his hat off, and completely
drenched. "Thank God, we're safe!" he said, and returned to his duty. We
had all supposed that we had struck on a rock or wreck. I never knew the
precise nature of our danger beyond this, that the vessel had been thrown
on her beam-ends in a squall, and that, the wind immediately veering
round, the fury of the waves had been spent upon her.

Many of the passengers now wished the captain to return, but he said that
he should incur greater danger in an attempt to make the harbour of
Toronto than by proceeding down the open lake. For some time nothing was
to be seen but a dense fog, a storm of sleet which quite darkened the air,
and raging waves, on which we mounted sometimes, while at others we were
buried between them. In another hour the gale had completely subsided,
and, after we had changed our drenched habiliments, no token remained of
the previous storm but the drowned and dismantled appearance of the
saloon, and the resolution on my own mind never to trust myself again on
one of these fearful lakes. I was amused to observe that those people who
had displayed the greatest symptoms of fear during the storm were the
first to protest that, "as for them, they never thought there was any
danger." The afternoon, though cold, was extremely beautiful, but, owing
to the storm in the early part of our voyage, we did not reach Hamilton
till nightfall, or three hours after our appointed time.

I do not like these inland lakes, or tideless fresh-water seas, as they
may more appropriately be termed. I know Lake Ontario well; I have crossed
it twice, and have been up and down it five times. I have sojourned upon
its shores, and have seen them under the hot light of an autumn sun, and
underneath a mantle of wintry snow; but there is to me something
peculiarly oppressive about this vast expanse of water. If the lake is
rough, there are no harbours of refuge in which to take shelter--if calm,
the waters, though blue, pure, and clear, look monotonous and dead. The
very ships look lonely things; their hulls and sails are white, and some
of them have been known in time of cholera to drift over the lake from day
to day, with none to guide the helm. The shores, too, are flat and
uninteresting; my eyes wearied of following that interminable boundary of
trees stretching away to the distant horizon.

Yet Lake Ontario affords great advantages to both Canada and the United
States. The former has the large towns of Hamilton, Toronto, and Kingston
on its shores, with the exporting places of Oakville, Credit, and Cobourg.
The important towns of Oswego and Rochester, with smaller ones too
numerous to name, are on the American side. This lake is five hundred
miles round, and, owing to its very great depth, never freezes, except
just along the shores. An immense trade is carried on upon it, both in
steamers and sailing vessels. A ship-canal connects Lake Ontario with Lake
Erie, thereby overcoming the obstacle to navigation produced by the Falls
of Niagara. This stupendous work is called the Welland Canal.

At Hamilton I received a most cordial welcome from the friends whom I went
to visit, and saw something of the surrounding country. It is, I think,
the most bustling place in Canada. It is a very juvenile city, yet already
has a population of twenty-five thousand people. The stores and hotels are
handsome, and the streets are brilliantly lighted with gas. Hamilton has a
peculiarly unfinished appearance. Indications of progress meet one on
every side--there are houses being built, and houses being pulled down to
make room for larger and more substantial ones--streets are being
extended, and new ones are being staked out, and every external feature
seems to be acquiring fresh and rapid development. People hurry about as
if their lives depended on their speed. "I guess" and "I calculate" are
frequently heard, together with "Well posted up," and "A long chalk;" and
locomotives and steamers whistle all day long. Hamilton is a very
Americanised place. I heard of "grievances, independence, and annexation,"
and, altogether, should have supposed it to be on the other side of the

It is situated on a little lake, called Burlington Bay, separated from
Lake Ontario by a narrow strip of sandy shingle. This has been cut
through, and, as two steamers leave the pier at Hamilton at the same hour
every morning, there is a daily and very exciting race for the first
entrance into the narrow passage. This racing is sometimes productive of
very serious collisions.

The town is built upon very low and aguish ground, at the foot of a
peculiar and steep eminence, which the inhabitants dignify with the name
of the Mountain. I ascended this mountain, which might better be called a
molehill, by a flight of a hundred and thirty steps. The view from the top
was very magnificent, but, as an elevated building offered us one still
more extensive, we ascended to the roof by six flights of steps, to see a
_camera obscura_ which was ostentatiously advertised. A very good _camera
obscura_ might have been worth so long an ascent in a house redolent of
spirits and onions; but after we had reached the top, with a great
expenditure of toil and breath, a ragged, shoeless little boy very
pompously opened the door of a small wooden erection, and introduced us to
four panes of coloured glass, through which we viewed the town of
Hamilton, under the different aspects of spring, summer, autumn, and

Dundurn Castle, a handsome, castellated, baronial-looking building, the
residence of the present Premier, Sir Allan M'Nab, is near Hamilton, and
it has besides some very handsome stone villa residences. There I saw, for
the first and only time in the New World, beautifully kept grass lawns,
with flower-beds in the English style. One very fine morning, when the
maple-leaves were tinted with the first scarlet of the fall, my friends
took me to see Ancaster and Dundas; the former, an old place, very like
some of our grey, quiet Lancashire villages--the latter a good type of the
rapid development and enterprising spirit which are making Canada West to
rival the States in rapidity of progress. There were bridges in course of
construction--railway embankments swarming with labourers--macadamised
roads succeeding those of corduroy and plank--snake-fences giving place to
those of posts and rails, and stone walls--and saw and grist mills were
springing up wherever a "water privilege" could be found. Laden waggons
proceeded heavily along the roads, and the encouraging announcements of
"Cash for wheat," and "Cash for wool," were frequently to be seen. The
views were very fine as we skirted the Mountain, but Canadian scenery is
monotonous and rather gloomy; though the glorious tints of the American
fall give the leaves of some of the trees the appearance rather of
tropical flowers than of foliage.

Ancaster is an old place, outstripped by towns of ten years' existence, as
it has neither a port nor a river. There was an agricultural show, and
monster pumpkins and overgrown cabbages were displayed to admiring crowds,
under the shadow of a prodigious union jack.

Dundas, a near neighbour of Ancaster, has completely eclipsed it. This
appears to be one of the busiest little places in Canada West. It is a
collection of woollen-mills, grist-mills, and iron-foundries; and though,
in my preformed notions of political economy, I had supposed manufactures
suited exclusively to an old country, in which capital and labour are
alike redundant, the aspect of this place was most thriving. In one of the
flour-mills the machinery seemed as perfect as in the biscuit factory at
Portsmouth--by some ingenious mechanism the flour was cooled, barrelled,
and branded with great celerity. At an iron-foundry I was surprised to
find that steam-engines and flour-mill machinery could not be manufactured
fast enough to meet the demand. In this neighbourhood I heard rather an
interesting anecdote of what steady perseverance can do, in the history of
a Scot from the shores of the Forth.

This young man was a pauper boy, and was apprenticed to the master of an
iron-foundry in Scotland, but ran away before the expiration of his
apprenticeship, and, entering a ship at Glasgow, worked his passage across
to Quebec. Here he gained employment for some months as a porter, and,
having saved a little money, went up to the neighbourhood of Lake Simcoe,
where he became a day labourer. Here he fell in love with his master's
daughter, who returned his affection, but her father scornfully rejected
the humble Scotchman's suit. Love but added an incentive to ambition; and
obtaining work in a neighbouring township, he increased his income by
teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic in the evenings. He lived
penuriously, denied himself even necessaries, and carefully treasured his
hoarded savings. Late one evening, clothed almost in rags, he sought the
house of his lady-love, and told her that within two years he would come
to claim her hand of her father, with a waggon and pair of horses.

Still in his ragged clothing, for it does not appear that he had any
other, he trudged to Toronto, and sought employment, his accumulated
savings sewn up in the lining of his waistcoat. He went about from person
to person, but could not obtain employment, and his waggon and horses
receded further and further in the dim perspective. One day, while walking
along at the unfinished end of King Street West, he saw something
glittering in the mud, and, on taking it up, found it to be the steel snap
of a pocket-book. This pocket-book contained notes to the amount of one
hundred and fifty dollars; and the next day a reward of five-and-twenty
was offered to the finder of them. The Scotchman waited on the owner, who
was a tool manufacturer, and, declining the reward, asked only for work,
for "leave to toil," as Burns has expressed it. This was granted him; and
in less than four months he became a clerk in the establishment. His
salary was gradually raised--in the evenings he obtained employment in
writing for a lawyer, and his savings, judiciously managed, increased to
such an extent, that at the end of eighteen months he purchased a thriving
farm in the neighbourhood of London, and, as there was water-power upon
it, he built a grist-mill. His industry still continued successful, and
just before the two years expired he drove in a light waggon, with two
hardy Canadian horses, to the dwelling of his former master, to claim his
daughter's hand; though, be it remembered, he had never held any
communication with her since he parted from her in rags two years before.
At first they did not recognise the vagrant, ragged Scotch labourer, in
the well-dressed driver and possessor of the "knowing-looking" equipage.
His altered circumstances removed all difficulty on the father's part--the
maiden had been constant--and soon afterwards they were married. He still
continued to prosper, and add land to land; and three years after his
marriage sent twenty pounds to his former master in Scotland, as a
compensation for the loss of his services. Strange to say, the son of that
very master is now employed in the mill of the runaway apprentice. Such
instances as this, while they afford encouragement to honest industry,
show at the same time the great capabilities of Canada West.

At Hamilton, where the stores are excellent, I made several purchases, but
I was extremely puzzled with the Canadian currency. The States money is
very convenient. I soon understood dollars, cents, and dimes; but in the
colonies I never knew what my money was worth. In Prince Edward Island the
sovereign is worth thirty shillings; in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia
twenty-five; while in Canada, at the time of my visit, it was worth
twenty-four and four pence. There your shilling is fifteen pence, or a
quarter-dollar; while your quarter-dollar is a shilling. Your sixpence is
seven pence-half-penny, or a "York shilling;" while your penny is a
"copper" of indeterminate value apparently. Comparatively speaking, very
little metallic money is in circulation. You receive bills marked five
shillings, when, to your surprise, you can only change them for four
metallic shillings. Altogether in Canada I had to rely upon people's
honesty, or probably on their ignorance of my ignorance; for any attempts
at explanation only made "confusion worse confounded," and I seldom
comprehended anything of a higher grade than a "York shilling." From my
stupidity about the currency, and my frequent query, "How many dollars or
cents is it?" together with my offering dirty crumpled pieces of paper
bearing such names as Troy, Palmyra, and Geneva, which were in fact notes
of American banks which might have suspended payment, I was constantly
taken, not for an ignoramus from the "Old Country," but for a "genuine
Down-Easter." Canadian credit is excellent; but the banking system of the
States is on a very insecure footing; some bank or other "breaks" every
day, and lists of the defaulters are posted up in the steamboats and

Within a few days after my resolution never again to trust myself on Lake
Ontario, I sailed down it, on a very beautiful morning, to Toronto. The
royal mail steamer _Arabian_ raced with us for the narrow entrance to the
canal which connects Burlington Bay with the main lake, and both captains
"piled on" to their utmost ability, but the _Arabian_ passed us in
triumph. The morning was so very fine, that I half forgot my dislike to
Lake Ontario. On the land side there was a succession of slightly elevated
promontories, covered with forests abounding in recent clearings, their
sombre colouring being relieved by the brilliant blue of the lake. I saw,
for the only time, that beautiful phenomenon called the "water-mirage," by
which trees, ships, and houses are placed in the most extraordinary and
sometimes inverted positions. Yet still these endless promontories
stretched away, till their distant outlines were lost in the soft blue
haze of the Indian summer. Yet there was an oppressiveness about the
tideless water and pestilential shore, and the white-hulled ships looked
like deserted punished things, whose doom for ages was to be ceaseless
sailing over these gloomy waters.

At Toronto my kind friend Mr. Forrest met me. He and his wife had invited
me some months before to visit them in their distant home in the Canadian
_bush_; therefore I was not a little surprised at the equipage which
awaited me at the hotel, as I had expected to jolt for twenty-two miles,
over corduroy roads, in a lumber-waggon. It was the most dashing vehicle
which I saw in Canada. It was a most _unbush-like_, sporting-looking,
high, mail phaeton, mounted by four steps; it had three seats, a hood in
front, and a rack for luggage behind. It would hold eight persons. The
body and wheels were painted bright scarlet and black; and it was drawn by
a pair of very showy-looking horses, about sixteen "hands" high, with
elegant and well-blacked harness. Mr. Forrest looked more like a sporting
English squire than an emigrant.

We drove out of Toronto by the Lake shore road, and I could scarcely
believe we were not by the sea, for a heavy surf was rolling and crashing
upon the beach, and no land was in sight on the opposite side. After some
time we came to a stream, with a most clumsy swing bridge, which was open
for the passage of two huge rafts laden with flour. This proceeding had
already occupied more than an hour, as we were informed by some
unfortunate _detenus_. We waited for half an hour while the raftmen
dawdled about it, but the rafts could not get through the surf, so they
were obliged to desist. I now reasonably supposed that they would have
shut the bridge as fast as possible, as about twenty vehicles, with
numerous foot-passengers, were waiting on either side; but no, they moved
it for a little distance, then smoked a bit, then moved it a few inches
and smoked again, and so on for another half-hour, while we were exposed
to a pitiless north-east wind. They evidently enjoyed our discomfiture,
and were trying how much of annoyance we would bear patiently. Fiery
tempers have to be curbed in Canada West, for the same spirit which at
home leads men not to "touch their hats" to those above them in station,
here would vent itself in open insolence and arrogance, if one requested
them to be a little quicker in their motions. The fabric would hardly come
together at all, and then only three joists appeared without anything to
cover them. This the men seemed to consider _un fait accompli_, and sat
down to smoke. At length, when it seemed impossible to bear a longer
detention with any semblance of patience, they covered these joists with
some planks, over which our horses, used to pick their way, passed in
safety, not, however, without overturning one of the boards, and leaving a
most dangerous gap. This was a favourable specimen of a Canadian bridge.

The manners of the emigrants who settle in Canada are far from
prepossessing. Wherever I heard torrents of slang and abuse of England;
wherever I noticed brutality of manner, unaccompanied by respect to
ladies, I always found upon inquiry that the delinquent had newly arrived
from the old country. Some time before I visited America, I saw a letter
from a young man who had emigrated, containing these words: "Here I
haven't to _bow and cringe_ to gentlemen of the aristocracy--that is, to a
man who has a better coat on than myself." I was not prepared to find this
feeling so very prevalent among the lower classes in our own possessions.
The children are an improvement on their parents, and develop loyal and
constitutional sentiments. The Irish are the noisiest of the enemies of
England, and carry with them to Canada the most inveterate enmity to
"Sassenach" rule. The term "_slang-whangers_" must have been invented for

After some miles of very bad road, which once had been corduroy, we got
upon a plank-road, upon which the draught is nearly as light as upon a
railroad. When these roads are good, the driving upon them is very easy;
when they are out of repair it is just the reverse. We came to an Indian
village of clap-board houses, built some years ago by Government for some
families of the Six Nations who resided here with their chief; but they
disliked the advances of the white man, and their remnants have removed
farther to the west. We drove for many miles through woods of the American
oak, little more than brushwood, but gorgeous in all shades of colouring,
from the scarlet of the geranium to deep crimson and Tyrian purple. Oh!
our poor faded tints of autumn, about which we write sentimental poetry!
Turning sharply round a bank of moss, and descending a long hill, we
entered the bush. There all my dreams of Canadian scenery were more than
realised. Trees grew in every variety of the picturesque. The forest was
dark and oppressively still, and such a deadly chill came on, that I drew
my cloak closer around me. A fragrant but heavy smell arose, and Mr.
Forrest said that we were going down into a cedar swamp, where there was a
chill even in the hottest weather. It was very beautiful. Emerging from
this, we came upon a little whitewashed English church, standing upon a
steep knoll, with its little spire rising through the trees; and leaving
this behind, we turned off upon a road through very wild country. The
ground had once been cleared, but no use had been made of it, and it was
covered with charred stumps about two feet high. Beyond this appeared an
interminable bush. Mr. Forrest told me that his house was near, and, from
the appearance of the country, I expected to come upon a log cabin; but we
turned into a field, and drove under some very fine apple-trees to a house
the very perfection of elegance and comfort. It looked as if a pretty
villa from Norwood or Hampstead had been transported to this Canadian
clearing. The dwelling was a substantially built brick one-storied house,
with a deep green verandah surrounding it, as a protection from the snow
in winter and the heat in summer. Apple-trees, laden with richly-coloured
fruit, were planted round, and sumach-trees, in all the glorious colouring
of the fall, were opposite the front door. The very house seemed to smile
a welcome; and seldom have I met a more cordial one than I received from
Mrs. Forrest, the kindly and graceful hostess, who met me at the door, her
pretty simple dress of pink and white muslin contrasting strangely with
the charred stumps which were in sight, and the long lines of gloomy bush
which stood out dark and sharp against the evening sky.

"Will you go into the drawing-room?" asked Mrs. Forrest. I was surprised,
for I had not associated a _drawing-room_ with emigrant life in Canada;
but I followed her along a pretty entrance-lobby, floored with polished
oak, into a lofty room, furnished with all the elegances and luxuries of
the mansion of an affluent Englishman at home, a beautiful piano not being
wanting. It was in this house, containing every comfort, and welcomed with
the kindest hospitality, that I received my first impressions of "life in
the clearings." My hosts were only recovering from the fatigues of a
"thrashing-bee" of the day before, and, while we were playing at
bagatelle, one of the _gentlemen_ assistants came to the door, and asked
if the "_Boss_" were at home. A lady told me that, when she first came
out, a servant asked her "How the boss liked his shirts done?" As Mrs.
Moodie had not then enlightened the world on the subject of settlers'
slang, the lady did not understand her, and asked what she meant by the
"boss,"--to which she replied, "Why, lawk, missus, your hubby, to be

I spent some time with these kind and most agreeable friends, and returned
to them after a visit to the Falls of Niagara. My sojourn with them is
among my sunniest memories of Canada. Though my expectations were in one
sense entirely disappointed on awaking to the pleasant consciousness of
reposing on the softest of feathers, I did not feel romance enough to wish
myself on a buffalo robe on the floor of a log-cabin. Nearly every day I
saw some operation of Canadian farming, with its difficulties and
pleasures. Among the former is that of obtaining men to do the work. The
wages given are five shillings per diem, and in many cases "rations"
besides. While I was at Mr. Forrest's, two men were sinking a well, and
one coolly took up his tools and walked away because _only_ half a pound
of butter had been allowed for breakfast. Mr. Forrest possesses sixty
acres of land, fifteen of which are still in bush. The barns are very
large and substantial, more so than at home; for no produce can be left
out of doors in the winter. There were two hundred and fifty bushels of
wheat, the produce of a "thrashing bee," and various other edibles. Oxen,
huge and powerful, do all the draught-work on this farm, and their stable
looked the very perfection of comfort. Round the house "snake-fences" had
given place to those of post and rail; but a few hundred yards away was
the uncleared bush. The land thus railed round had been cleared for some
years; the grass is good, and the stumps few in number. Leaving this, we
came to the stubble of last year, where the stumps were more numerous, and
then to the land only cleared in the spring, covered thickly with charred
stumps, the soil rich and black, and wheat springing up in all directions.
Beyond this there was nothing but bush. A scramble through a bush, though
very interesting in its way, produces disagreeable consequences.

When the excitement of the novelty was over, and I returned to the house,
I contemplated with very woeful feelings the inroad which had been made
upon my wardrobe--the garments torn in all directions beyond any
possibility of repair, and the shoes reduced to the consistency of soaked
brown paper with wading through a bog. It was a serious consideration to
me, who at that time was travelling through the West with a very small and
very wayworn portmanteau, with Glasgow, Torquay, Boston, Rock Island, and
I know not what besides upon it. The bush, however, for the time being,
was very enjoyable, in spite of numerous bruises and scratches. Huge pines
raised their heads to heaven, others lay prostrate and rotting away,
probably thrown down in some tornado. In the distance numbers of trees
were lying on the ground, and men were cutting off their branches and
burning them in heaps, which slowly smouldered away, and sent up clouds of
curling blue smoke, which diffused itself as a thin blue veil over the
dark pines.

This bush is in dangerous proximity to Mr. Forrest's house. The fire ran
through it in the spring, and many of the trees, which are still standing,
are blackened by its effects. One night in April, after a prolonged
drought, just as the household were retiring to rest, Mr. Forrest looked
out of the window, and saw a light in the bush scarcely bigger or brighter
than a glow-worm. Presently it rushed up a tall pine, entwining its fiery
arms round the very highest branches. The fire burned on for a fortnight;
they knew it must burn till rain came, and Mr. Forrest and his man never
left it day or night, all their food being carried to the bush. One night,
during a breeze, it made a sudden rush towards the house. In a twinkling
they got out the oxen and plough, and, some of the neighbours coming to
their assistance, they ploughed up so much soil between the fire and the
stubble round the house, that it stopped; but not before Mr. Forrest's
straw hat was burnt, and the hair of the oxen singed. Mrs. Forrest
meanwhile, though trembling for her husband's safety, was occupied in
wetting blankets, and carrying them to the roof of the house, for the dry
shingles would have been ignited by a spark. On our return, it was
necessary to climb over some "snake" or zigzag fences about six feet high.
These are fences peculiar to new countries, and though very cheap,
requiring neither tools nor nails, have a peculiarly untidy appearance. It
is not thought wise to buy a farm which has not enough bush or growing
timber for both rails and firewood.

In clearing, of which I saw all the processes, the first is to cut down
the trees, in which difficult operation axes of British manufacture are
rendered useless after a few hours' work. The trees are cut about two feet
above the root, and often bring others down with them in their fall.
Sometimes these trees are split up at the time into rails or firewood;
sometimes dragged to the saw-mills to be made into lumber; but are often
piled into heaps and burnt--a necessary but prodigal waste of wood, to
which I never became reconciled. When the wood has been cleared off, wheat
is sown among the stumps, and then grass, which appears only to last about
four years. Fire is put on the tops of these unsightly stumps to burn them
down as much as possible, and when it is supposed, after two or three
years, that the roots have rotted in the ground, several oxen are attached
by a chain to each, and pull it out. Generally this is done by means of a
"logging bee." I must explain this term, as it refers neither to the
industrious insect nor the imperial bee of Napoleon. The very name reminds
me of early rising, healthy activity, merriment, and a well-spread board.

A "bee" is a necessity arising from the great scarcity of labour in the
New World. When a person wishes to thrash his corn, he gives notice to
eight or ten of his neighbours, and a day is appointed on which they are
to meet at his house. For two or three days before, grand culinary
preparations are made by the hostess, and on the preceding evening a table
is loaded with provisions. The morning comes, and eight or ten stalwart
Saxons make their appearance, and work hard till noon, while the lady of
the house is engaged in hotter work before the fire, in the preparation of
hot meat, puddings, and pies; for well she knows that the good humour of
her guests depends on the quantity and quality of her viands. They come in
to dinner, black (from the dust of a peculiar Canadian weed), hot, tired,
hungry, and thirsty. They eat as no other people eat, and set all our
notions of the separability of different viands at defiance. At the end of
the day they have a very substantial supper, with plenty of whisky, and,
if everything has been satisfactory, the convivial proceedings are
prolonged till past midnight. The giver of a "bee" is bound to attend the
"bees" of all his neighbours. A "thrashing bee" is considered a very "slow
affair" by the younger portion of the community. There are "quilting
bees," where the thick quilts, so necessary in Canada, are fabricated;
"apple bees," where this fruit is sliced and strung for the winter;
"shelling bees," where peas in bushels are shelled and barrelled; and
"logging bees," where the decayed stumps in the clearings are rooted up by
oxen. At the quilting, apple, and shelling bees there are numbers of the
fair sex, and games, dancing, and merrymaking are invariably kept up till
the morning.

In the winter, as in the eastern colonies, all outdoor employments are
stopped, and dancing and evening parties of different kinds are
continually given. The whole country is like one vast road, and the fine,
cold, aurora-lighted nights are cheery with the lively sound of the
sleigh-bells, as merry parties, enveloped in furs, drive briskly over the
crisp surface of the snow. The way of life at Mr. Forrest's was peculiarly
agreeable. The breakfast-hour was nominally seven, and afterwards Mr.
Forrest went out to his farm. The one Irish servant, who never seemed
happy with her shoes on, was capable of little else than boiling potatoes,
so all the preparations for dinner devolved upon Mrs. Forrest, who till
she came to Canada had never attempted anything in the culinary line. I
used to accompany her into the kitchen, and learned how to solve the
problem which puzzled an English king, viz. "How apples get into a
dumpling." We dined at the mediaeval hour of twelve, and everything was of
home raising. Fresh meat is a rarity; but a calf had been killed, and
furnished dinners for seven days, and the most marvellous thing was, that
each day it was dressed in a different manner, Mrs. Forrest's skill in
this respect rivalling that of _Alexis Soyer_. A home-fed pig, one of
eleven slaughtered on one fell day, produced the excellent ham; the squash
and potatoes were from the garden; and the bread and beer were from home-
grown wheat and hops. After dinner Mr. Forrest and I used to take lengthy
rides, along wild roads, on horses of extraordinary capabilities, and in
the evening we used to have bagatelle and reading aloud. Such was life in
the clearings. On one or two evenings some very agreeable neighbours came
in; and in addition to bagatelle we had puzzles, conundrums, and conjuring
tricks. One of these "neighbours" was a young married lady, the prettiest
person I had seen in America. She was a French Canadian, and added to the
graces of person and manner for which they are famed a cleverness and
sprightliness peculiarly her own. I was very much pleased with the
friendly, agreeable society of the neighbourhood. There are a great many
gentlemen residing there, with fixed incomes, who have adopted Canada as
their home because of the comforts which they can enjoy in an untaxed
country, and one in which it is not necessary to keep up appearances. For
instance, a gentleman does not lose caste by grooming his own horse, or
driving his own produce to market in a lumber-waggon; and a lady is not
less a lady, though she may wear a dress and bonnet of a fashion three
years old.

I was surprised one morning by the phenomenon of some morning-callers--
yes, morning-callers in a Canadian clearing. I sighed to think that such a
pest and accompaniment of civilisation should have crossed the Atlantic.
The "callers" of that morning, the Haldimands, amused me very much. They
give themselves great airs--Canada with them is a "wretched hole;" the
society is composed of "boors." In a few minutes they had asked me who I
was--where I came from--what I was doing there--how I got to know my
friends--and if I had come to live with them. Mr. Haldimands, finding I
came from England, asked me if I knew a certain beautiful young lady, and
recounted his flirtations with her. Dukes, earls, and viscounts flowed
from his nimble tongue--"When I was hunting with Lord this," or "When I
was waltzing with Lady that." His regrets were after the Opera and
Almack's, and his height of felicity seemed to be driving a four-in-hand
drag. After expatiating to me in the most vociferous manner on the
delights of titled society, he turned to Mrs. Forrest and said, "After the
society in which we used to move, you may imagine how distasteful all this
is to us"--barely a civil speech, I thought. This eccentric individual was
taking a lady, whom he considered a person of consequence, for a drive in
a carriage, when a man driving a lumber-waggon kept crossing the road in
front of him, hindering his progress. Mr. Haldimands gradually got into a
towering passion, which resulted in his springing out, throwing the reins
to the lady, and rushing furiously at the teamster with his fists squared,
shouting in a perfect scream, "Flesh and blood can't bear this. One of us
must die!" The man whipped up his horses and made off, and Mr. Haldimands
tried in vain to hush up a story which made him appear so superlatively

We actually paid some morning visits, and I thought the society very
agreeable and free from gossip. One of our visits was paid to the family
of one of the oldest settlers in Canada. His place was the very perfection
of beauty; it was built in a park formed out of a civilised wood, the
grounds extending to the verge of a precipice, looking from which I saw
the river, sometimes glittering in the sunshine, sometimes foaming along
in a wood--just realising Mrs. Moodie's charming description of the
Otonabee. Far below, the water glittered like diamond sparks among the
dark woods; pines had fallen into and across it, in the way in which trees
only fall in America, and no two trees were of the same tint; the wild
vine hung over the precipice, and smothered the trees with its clusters
and tendrils; and hurriedly in some places, gently in others, the cold
rivulet flowed down to the lake,--no bold speculator having as yet dared
to turn the water privilege to account.

My first ride was an amusing one, for various reasons. My riding-habit was
left at Toronto, but this seemed not to be a difficulty. Mrs. Forrest's
fashionable habit and white gauntlet-gloves fitted me beautifully; and the
difficulty about a hat was at once overcome by sending to an obliging
neighbour, who politely sent a very stylish-looking plumed riding-hat.
There was a side-saddle and a most elegant bridle; indeed, the whole
equipment would not have disgraced _Rotten Row_. But, the horse! My
courage had to be "screwed to the sticking point" before I could mount
him. He was a very fine animal--a magnificent coal-black charger sixteen
hands high, with a most determined will of his own, not broken for the
saddle. Mr. Forrest rode a splendid bay, which seldom went over six
consecutive yards of ground without performing some erratic movement. My
horse's paces were, a tremendous trot, breaking sometimes into a furious
gallop, in both which he acted in a perfectly independent manner, any
attempts of mine to control him with my whole strength and weight being
alike useless. We came to the top of a precipice overlooking the river,
where his gyrations were so fearful that I turned him into the bush. It
appeared to me a ride of imminent dangers and hair-breadth escapes. By
this beauteous river we came to a place where rain and flood had worn the
precipice into a steep declivity, shelving towards another precipice, and
my horse, accustomed to it, took me down where an English donkey would
scarcely have ventured. Beauty might be written upon everything in this
dell. I never saw a fairer compound of rock, wood, and water. Above was
flat and comparatively uninteresting country; then these precipices, with
trees growing out wherever they could find a footing, arrayed in all the
gorgeous colouring of the American fall. At the foot of these was a
narrow, bright-green savannah, with fine trees growing upon it, as though
planted by some one anxious to produce a park-like effect. Above this, the
dell contracted to the width of Dovedale, and through it all, the river,
sometimes a foaming, brawling stream, at others fringed with flowers, and
quiescent in deep, clear pools, pours down to the lake. After galloping
upon this savannah we plunged into the river, and, after our horses had
broken through a plank-bridge at the great risk of their legs, we rode for
many miles through bush and clearing, down sandy tracks and scratching
thickets, to the pebbly beach of Lake Ontario.

The contrast between the horses and their equipments, and the country we
rode through, was somewhat singular. The former were suitable for Hyde
Park; the latter was mere bush-riding--climbing down precipices, fording
rapid rivers, scrambling through fences and over timber, floundering in
mud, going through the bush with hands before us to push the branches from
our faces, and, finally, watering our horses in the blue, deep waters of
Lake Ontario--yet I never enjoyed a ride along the green lanes of England
so much as this one in the wild scenery of Canada.

The Sundays that I spent at Mr. Forrest's were very enjoyable, though the
heat of the first was nearly insupportable, and the cold of the last like
that of an English Christmas in bygone years. There are multitudes of
Presbyterians in Western Canada, who worship in their pure and simple
faith with as much fervency and sincerity as did their covenanting
forefathers in the days of the persecuting Dundee; and the quaint old
Psalms, to which they are so much attached, sung to the strange old tunes,
sound to them as sweet among the backwoods of Canada as in the peaceful
villages of the Lowlands, or in the remote Highland glens, where I have
often listened to their slow and plaintive strains borne upon the mountain
breezes. "Are ye frae the braes of Gleneffar?" said an old Scotchwoman to
me; "were ye at our kirk o' Sabbath last, ye would na' ken the

The Irishman declaims against the land he has forsaken--the Englishman too
often suffers the remembrance of his poverty to sever the tie which binds
him to the land of his birth--but where shall we find the Scotchman in
whose breast love of his country is not a prominent feeling? Whether it be
the light-haired Saxon from the South, or the dark-haired, sallow-visaged
Celt from the Highlands, driven forth by the gaunt hand of famine, all
look back to Scotland as to "_their country_"--the mention of its name
kindles animation in the dim eye of age, and causes the bounding heart of
youth to leap with enthusiasm. It may be that the Scotch emigrant's only
remembrance is of the cold hut on the lone hill-side, where years wore
away in poverty and hunger, but to him it is the dearest spot of earth. It
may be that he has attained a competence in Canada, and that its fertile
soil produces crops which the heathery braes of Scotland would never
yield--no matter, it is yet his _home!_--it is the land where his fathers
sleep--it is the land of his birth; his dreams are of the "mountain and
the flood"--of lonely lochs and mountain-girded firths; and when the
purple light on a summer evening streams over the forest, he fancies that
the same beams are falling on Morven and the Cuchullins, and that the soft
sound pervading the air is the echo of the shepherd's pipe. To the latest
hour of his life he cherishes the idea of returning to some homestead by a
tumbling burnie. He never can bring himself to utter to his mountain land,
from the depths of his heart, the melancholy words, "_Che til na tuille._"
[Footnote: "We return no more."]

The Episcopal church was only two miles from us, but we were most
mercilessly jolted over a plank-road, where many of the planks had made a
descent into a sea of mud, on the depth of which I did not attempt to
speculate. Even in beautiful England I never saw a prettier sight than the
assembling of the congregation. The church is built upon a very steep
little knoll, the base of which is nearly encircled by a river. Close to
it is a long shed, in which the horses are tethered during service, and
little belligerent sounds, such as screaming and kicking, occasionally
find their way into church. The building is light and pretty inside, very
simple, but in excellent taste; and though there is no organ, the singing
and chanting, conducted by the younger portion of the congregation, is on
a par with some of the best in our town churches at home. There were no
persons poorly clad, and all looked happy, sturdy, and independent. The
bright scarlet leaves of the oak and maple pressed against the windows,
giving them in the sunlight something of the appearance of stained glass;
the rippling of the river was heard below, and round us, far, far away,
stretched the forest. Here, where the great Manitou was once worshipped, a
purer faith now reigns, and the allegiance of the people is more firmly
established by "the sound of the church-going bells" than by the bayonets
of our troops. These heaven-pointing spires are links between Canada and
England; they remind the emigrant of the ivy-mantled church in which he
was first taught to bend his knees to his Creator, and of the hallowed
dust around its walls, where the sacred ashes of his fathers sleep.

There is great attachment to England among those who are protected by her
laws, and live under the shadow of her standard of freedom. In many
instances, no remembrances of wrongs received, of injuries sustained, of
hopeless poverty and ill-requited toil, can sever that holiest, most
sacred of ties, which binds, until his latest breath, the heart of the
exile to his native land.

The great annoyance of which people complain in this pleasant land is the
difficulty of obtaining domestic servants, and the extraordinary specimens
of humanity who go out in this capacity. It is difficult to obtain any,
and those that are procured are solely Irish Roman Catholics, who think it
a great hardship to wear shoes, and speak of their master as the "_boss_."
At one house where I visited, the servant or "help," after condescending
to bring in the dinner, took a book from the _chiffonier_, and sat down on
the sofa to read it. On being remonstrated with for her conduct, she
replied that she "would not remain an hour in a house where those she
helped had an objection to a young lady's improving her mind!" At an hotel
at Toronto, one chambermaid, pointing to another, said, "That _young lady_
will show you your room." I left Mr. Forrest's even for three days with
great regret, and after a nine miles drive on a very wet morning, and a
water transit of two hours, found myself at Toronto, where as usual on the
wharf I was greeted by the clamorous demand for "wharfage." I found the
Walrences and other agreeable acquaintances at Russell's hotel, but was
surprised with what I thought rather a want of discrimination on the part
of all; I was showing a valuable collection of autographs, beginning with
Cromwell, and containing, in addition to those of several deceased and
living royal personages, valuable letters of Scott, Byron, Wellington,
Russell, Palmerston, Wilberforce, Dickens, &c. The shades of kings,
statesmen, and poets, might almost have been incited to appear, when the
signature of Richard Cobden was preferred before all.


"I've seen nothing"--A disappointment--Incongruities--Hotel gaieties and
"doing Niagara"--Irish drosky-drivers--"The Hell of Waters"--Beauties of
Niagara--The picnic party--The White Canoe--A cold shower-bath--"The
Thunder of Waters"--A magic word--"The Whirlpool"--Story of "Bloody Run"--
Yankee opinions of English ladies--A metamorphosis--The nigger guide--A
terrible situation--Termination Rock--Impressions of Niagara--Juvenile
precocity--A midnight journey--Street adventures in Hamilton.

"Have you seen the Falls?"--"No." "Then you've seen nothing of America." I
might have seen Trenton Falls, Gennessee Falls, the Falls of Montmorenci
and Lorette; but I had seen nothing if I had not seen the Falls (_par
excellence_) of Niagara. There were divers reasons why my friends in the
States were anxious that I should see Niagara. One was, as I was
frequently told, that all I had seen, even to the "_Prayer Eyes_," would
go for nothing on my return; for in England, America was supposed to be a
vast tract of country containing _one_ town--New York; and one astonishing
natural phenomenon, called Niagara. "See New York, Quebec, and Niagara,"
was the direction I received when I started upon my travels. I never could
make out how, but somehow or other, from my earliest infancy, I had been
familiar with the name of Niagara, and, from the numerous pictures I had
seen of it, I could, I suppose, have sketched a very accurate likeness of
the Horse-shoe Fall. Since I landed at Portland, I had continually met
with people who went into ecstatic raptures with Niagara; and after
passing within sight of its spray, and within hearing of its roar--after
seeing it the great centre of attraction to all persons of every class--my
desire to see it for myself became absorbing. Numerous difficulties had
arisen, and at one time I had reluctantly given up all hope of seeing it,
when Mr. and Mrs. Walrence kindly said, that, if I would go with them,
they would return to the east by way of Niagara.

Between the anticipation of this event, and the din of the rejoicings for
the "capture of Sebastopol," I slept very little on the night before
leaving Toronto, and was by no means sorry when the cold grey of dawn
quenched the light of tar-barrels and gas-lamps. I crossed Lake Ontario in
the iron steamer Peerless; the lake was rough as usual, and, after a
promenade of two hours on the spray-drenched deck, I retired to the cabin,
and spent some time in dreamily wondering whether Niagara itself would
compensate for the discomforts of the journey thither. Captain D----
gravely informed me that there were "a good many cases" below, and I never
saw people so deplorably sea-sick as in this steamer. An Indian officer
who had crossed the Line seventeen times was sea-sick for the first time
on Lake Ontario. The short, cross, chopping seas affect most people. The
only persons in the saloon who were not discomposed by them were two tall
school-girls, who seemed to have innumerable whispered confidences and
secrets to confide to each other.

We touched the wharf at Niagara, a town on the British side of the Niagara
river--"cars for Buffalo, all aboard,"--and just crossing a platform, we
entered the Canada cars, and on the top of some frightful precipices, and
round some terrific curves, we were whirled to the Clifton House at
Niagara. I left the cars, and walked down the slope to the verge of the
cliff; I forgot my friends, who had called me to the hotel to lunch--I
forgot everything--for I was looking at the Falls of Niagara.

"No more than this!--what seem'd it now
By that far flood to stand?
A thousand streams of lovelier flow
Bathe my own mountain land,
And thence o'er waste and ocean track
Their wild sweet voices call'd me back.

They call'd me back to many a glade,
My childhood's haunt of play,
Where brightly 'mid the birchen shade
Their waters glanced away:
They call'd me with their thousand waves
Back to my fathers' hills and graves."

The feelings which Mrs. Hemans had attributed to Bruce at the source of
the Nile, were mine as I took my first view of Niagara. The Horse-shoe
Fall at some distance to my right was partially hidden, but directly in
front of me were the American and Crescent Falls. The former is perfectly
straight, and looked like a gigantic mill-weir. This resemblance is
further heightened by an enormous wooden many-windowed fabric, said to be
the largest paper-mill in the United States. A whole collection of mills
disfigures this romantic spot, which has received the name of Manchester,
and bids fair to become a thriving manufacturing town! Even on the British
side, where one would have hoped for a better state of things, there is a
great fungus growth of museums, curiosity-shops, taverns, and pagodas with
shining tin cupolas. Not far from where I stood, the members of a picnic
party were flirting and laughing hilariously, throwing chicken-bones and
peach-stones over the cliff, drinking champagne and soda-water. Just as I
had succeeded in attaining the proper degree of mental abstraction with
which it is necessary to contemplate Niagara, a ragged drosky-driver came
up, "Yer honour, may be ye're in want of a carriage? I'll take ye the
whole round--Goat Island, Whirlpool, and Deil's Hole--for the matter of
four dollars." Niagara made a matter of "a round," dollars, and cents, was
too much for my equanimity; and in the hope of losing my feelings of
disappointment, I went into the Clifton House, enduring a whole volley of
requests from the half-tipsy drosky-drivers who thronged the doorway.

This celebrated hotel, which is kept on the American plan, is a huge white
block of building, with three green verandahs round it, and can
accommodate about four hundred people. In the summer season it is the
abode of almost unparalleled gaiety. Here congregate tourists, merchants,
lawyers, officers, senators, wealthy southerners, and sallow down-easters,
all flying alike from business and heat. Here meet all ranks, those of the
highest character, and those who have no character to lose; those who by
some fortunate accident have become possessed of a few dollars, and those
whose mine of wealth lies in the gambling-house--all for the time being on
terms of perfect equality. Balls, in doors and out of doors, nightly
succeed to parties and picnics; the most novel of which are those in the
beautiful garden in front of the hotel. This garden has spacious lawns
lighted by lamps; and here, as in the 'Midsummer Night's Dream,' the
visitors dance on summer evenings to the strains of invisible music. But
at the time of my second visit to the Falls all the gaiety was over; the
men of business had returned to the cities, the southerners had fled to
their sunny homes--part of the house was shut up, and in the great dining-
room, with tables for three hundred, we sat down to lunch with about
twenty-five persons, most of them Americans and Germans of the most
repulsive description. After this meal, eaten in the "five minutes all
aboard" style, we started on a sight-seeing expedition. Instead of being
allowed to sit quietly on Table Rock, gazing upon the cataract, the
visitor, yielding to the demands of a supposed necessity, is dragged a
weary round--he must see the Falls from the front, from above, and from
below; he must go behind them, and be drenched by them; he must descend
spiral staircases at the risk of his limbs, and cross ferries at that of
his life; he must visit Bloody Run, the Burning Springs, and Indian
curiosity-shops, which have nothing to do with them at all; and when the
poor wretch is thoroughly bewildered and wearied by "doing Niagara," he is
allowed to steal quietly off to what he really came to see--the mighty
Horse-shoe Fall, with all its accompaniments of majesty, sublimity, and

Round the door of the Clifton House were about twenty ragged, vociferous
drosky-drivers, of most demoralised appearance, all clamorous for "a
fare." "We want to go to Goat Island; how much is it?" "Five dollars."
"I'll take you for four dollars and a half." "No, sir, he's a cheat and a
blackguard; I'll take you for four." "I'll take you as cheap as any one,"
shouts a man in rags; "I'll take you for three." "Very well." "I'll take
you as cheap as he; he's drunk, and his carriage isn't fit for a lady to
step into," shouted the man who at first asked five dollars. After this
they commenced a regular _melee_, when blows were given and received, and
frequent allusions were made to "the bones of St. Patrick." At last our
friend in rags succeeded in driving up to the door, and we found his
carriage really unfit for ladies, as the stuffing in most places was quite
bare, and the step and splash-boards were only kept in their places by
pieces of rope. The shouting and squabbling were accompanied by Niagara,
whose deep awful thundering bass drowns all other sounds.

We drove for two miles along the precipice bank of the Niagara river: this
precipice is 250 feet high, without a parapet, and the green, deep flood
rages below. At the Suspension Bridge they demanded a toll of sixty cents,
and contemptuously refused two five-dollar notes offered them by Mr.
Walrence, saying they were only waste paper. This extraordinary bridge,
over which a train of cars weighing 440 tons has recently passed, has a
span of 800 feet, and a double roadway, the upper one being used by the
railway. The floor of the bridge is 230 feet above the river, and the
depth of the river immediately under it is 250 feet! The view from it is
magnificent; to the left the furious river, confined in a narrow space,
rushes in rapids to the Whirlpool; and to the right the Horse-shoe Fall
pours its torrent of waters into the dark and ever invisible abyss. When
we reached the American side we had to declare to a custom-house officer
that we were no smugglers; and then by an _awful_ road, partly covered
with stumps, and partly full of holes, over the one, and through the
other, our half-tipsy driver jolted us, till we wished ourselves a
thousand miles from Niagara Falls. "There now, faith, and wasn't I nearly
done for myself?" he exclaimed, as a jolt threw him from his seat, nearly
over the dash-board.

We passed through the town bearing the names of Niagara Falls and
Manchester, an agglomeration of tea-gardens, curiosity-shops, and monster
hotels, with domes of shining tin. We drove down a steep hill, and crossed
a very insecure-looking wooden bridge to a small wooded island, where a
man with a strong nasal twang demanded a toll of twenty-five cents, and
anon we crossed a long bridge over the lesser rapids.

The cloudy morning had given place to a glorious day, abounding in
varieties of light and shade; a slight shower had fallen, and the
sparkling rain-drops hung from every leaf and twig; a rainbow spanned the
Niagara river, and the leaves wore the glorious scarlet and crimson tints
of the American autumn. Sun and sky were propitious; it was the season and
the day in which to see Niagara. Quarrelsome drosky drivers, incongruous
mills, and the thousand trumperies of the place, were all forgotten in the
perfect beauty of the scene--in the full, the joyous realisation of my
ideas of Niagara. Beauty and terror here formed a perfect combination.
Around islets covered with fair foliage of trees and vines, and carpeted
with moss untrodden by the foot of man, the waters, in wild turmoil, rage
and foam: rushing on recklessly beneath the trembling bridge on which we
stood to their doomed fall. This place is called "The Hell of Waters," and
has been the scene of more than one terrible tragedy.

This bridge took us to Iris Island, so named from the rainbows which
perpetually hover round its base. Everything of terrestrial beauty may be
found in Iris Island. It stands amid the eternal din of the waters, a
barrier between the Canadian and American Falls. It is not more than
sixty-two acres in extent, yet it has groves of huge forest trees, and
secluded roads underneath them in the deepest shade, far apparently from
the busy world, yet thousands from every part of the globe yearly tread
its walks of beauty. We stopped at the top of a dizzy pathway, and,
leaving the Walrences to purchase some curiosities, I descended it,
crossed a trembling foot-bridge, and stood alone on Luna Island, between
the Crescent and American Falls. This beauteous and richly-embowered
little spot, which is said to tremble, and looks as if any wave might
sweep it away, has a view of matchless magnificence. From it can be seen
the whole expanse of the American rapids, rolling and struggling down,
chafing the sunny islets, as if jealous of their beauty. The Canadian Fall
was on my left; away in front stretched the scarlet woods; the
incongruities of the place were out of sight; and at my feet the broad
sheet of the American Fall tumbled down in terrible majesty. The violence
of the rapids cannot be imagined by one who has not seen their resistless
force. The turbulent waters are flung upwards, as if infuriated against
the sky. The rocks, whose jagged points are seen among them, fling off the
hurried and foamy waves, as if with supernatural strength. Nearer and
nearer they come to the Fall, becoming every instant more agitated; they
seem to recoil as they approach its verge; a momentary calm follows, and
then, like all their predecessors, they go down the abyss together. There
is something very exciting in this view; one cannot help investing Niagara
with feelings of human agony and apprehension; one feels a new sensation,
something neither terror, wonder, nor admiration, as one looks at the
phenomena which it displays. I have been surprised to see how a visit to
the Falls galvanises the most matter-of-fact person into a brief exercise
of the imaginative powers.

As the sound of the muffled drum too often accompanies the trumpet, so the
beauty of Luna Island must ever remain associated in my mind with a
terrible catastrophe which recently occurred there. Niagara was at its
gayest, and the summer at its hottest, when a joyous party went to spend
the day on Luna Island. It consisted of a Mr. and Mrs. De Forest, their
beautiful child "Nettie," a young man of great talent and promise, Mr.
Addington, and a few other persons. It was a fair evening in June, when
moonlight was struggling for ascendancy with the declining beams of the
setting sun. The elders of the party, being tired, repaired to the seats
on Iris Island to rest, Mr. De Forest calling to Nettie, "Come here, my
child; don't go near the water." "Never mind--let her alone--I'll watch
her," said Mr. Addington, for the child was very beautiful and a great
favourite, and the youthful members of the party started for Luna Island.
Nettie pulled Addington's coat in her glee. "Ah! you rogue, you're
caught," said he, catching hold of her; "shall I throw you in?" She sprang
forward from his arms, one step too far, and fell into the roaring rapid.
"Oh, mercy! save--she's gone!" the young man cried, and sprang into the
water. He caught hold of Nettie, and, by one or two vigorous strokes,
aided by an eddy, was brought close to the Island; one instant more, and
his terrified companions would have been able to lay hold of him; but no--
the hour of both was come; the waves of the rapid hurried them past; one
piercing cry came from Mr. Addington's lips, "For Jesus' sake, O save our
souls!" and, locked in each other's arms, both were carried over the fatal
Falls. The dashing torrent rolled onward, unheeding that bitter despairing
cry of human agony, and the bodies of these two, hurried into eternity in
the bloom of youth, were not found for some days. Mrs. De Forest did not
long survive the fate of her child.

The guide related to me another story in which my readers may be
interested, as it is one of the poetical legends of the Indians. It took
place in years now long gone by, when the Indians worshipped the Great
Spirit where they beheld such a manifestation of his power. Here, where
the presence of Deity made the forest ring, and the ground tremble, the
Indians offered a living sacrifice once a year, to be conveyed by the
water spirit to the unknown gulf. Annually, in the month of August, the
sachem gave the word, and fruits and flowers were stowed in a white canoe,
to be paddled by the fairest maiden among the tribes.

The tribe thought itself highly honoured when its turn came to float the
blooming offering to the shrine of the Great Spirit, and still more
honoured was the maid who was a fitting sacrifice.

Oronto, the proudest chief of the Senecas, had an only child named Lena.
This chief was a noted and dreaded warrior; over many a bloody fight his
single eagle plume had waved, and ever in battle he left the red track of
his hatchet and tomahawk. Years rolled by, and every one sent its summer
offering to the thunder god of the then unexplored Niagara. Oronto danced
at many a feast which followed the sacrificial gift, which his tribe had
rejoicingly given in their turn. He felt not for the fathers whose
children were thus taken from their wigwams, and committed to the grave of
the roaring waters. Calma, his wife, had fallen by a foeman's arrow, and
in the blood of his enemies he had terribly avenged his bereavement.
Fifteen years had passed since then, and the infant which Calma left had
matured into a beautiful maiden. The day of sacrifice came; it was the
year of the Senecas, and Lena was acknowledged to be the fairest maiden of
the tribe. The moonlit hour has come, the rejoicing dance goes on; Oronto
has, without a tear, parted from his child, to meet her in the happy
hunting-grounds where the Great Spirit reigns. The yell of triumph rises
from the assembled Indians. The white canoe, loosed by the sachems, has
shot from the bank, but ere it has sped from the shore another dancing
craft has gone forth upon the whirling water, and both have set out on a
voyage to eternity.

The first bears the offering, Lena, seated amidst fruits and flowers; the
second contains Oronto, the proud chief of the Senecas. Both seem to pause
on the verge of the descent, then together rise on the whirling rapids.
One mingled look of apprehension and affection is exchanged, and, while
the woods ring with the yells of the savages, Oronto and Lena plunge into
the abyss in their white canoes. [Footnote: I have given both these
anecdotes, as nearly as possible, in the bombastic language in which they
were related to me by the guide.]

This wild legend was told me by the guide in full view of the cataract,
and seemed so real and life-like that I was somewhat startled by being
accosted thus, by a voice speaking in a sharp nasal down-east twang:
"Well, stranger, I guess that's the finest water-power you've ever set
eyes on." My thoughts were likewise recalled to the fact that it was
necessary to put on an oilskin dress, and scramble down a very dilapidated
staircase to the Cave of the Winds, in order to "do" Niagara in the
"regulation manner." This cave is partly behind the American Fall, and is
the abode of howling winds and ceaseless eddies of spray. It is an
extremely good shower-bath, but the day was rather too cold to make that
luxury enjoyable. I went down another steep path, and, after crossing a
shaky foot-bridge over part of the Grand Rapids, ascended Prospect Tower,
a stone erection 45 feet high, built on the very verge of the Horse-shoe
Fall. It is said that people feel involuntary suicidal intentions while
standing on the balcony round this tower. I did not experience them
myself, possibly because my only companion was the half-tipsy Irish
drosky-driver. The view from this tower is awful: the edifice has been
twice swept away, and probably no strength of masonry could permanently
endure the wear of the rushing water at its base.

Down come those beauteous billows, as if eager for their terrible leap.
Along the ledge over which they fall they are still for one moment in a
sheet of clear, brilliant green; another, and down they fall like
cataracts of driven snow, chasing each other, till, roaring and hissing,
they reach the abyss, sending up a column of spray 100 feet in height. No
existing words can describe it, no painter can give the remotest idea of
it; it is the voice of the Great Creator, its name signifying, in the
beautiful language of the Iroquois, "The Thunder of Waters." Looking from
this tower, above you see the Grand Rapids, one dizzy sheet of leaping
foamy billows, and below you look, _if you can_, into the very caldron
itself, and see how the bright-green waves are lost in foam and mist; and
behind you look to shore, and shudder to think how the frail bridge by
which you came in another moment may be washed away. I felt as I came down
the trembling staircase that one wish of my life had been gratified in
seeing Niagara.

Some graves were recently discovered in Iris Island, with skeletons in a
sitting posture inside them, probably the remains of those aboriginal
races who here in their ignorance worshipped the Great Spirit, within the
sound of his almighty voice. We paused on the bridge, and looked once more
at the islets in the rapids, and stopped on Bath Island, lovely in itself,
but desecrated by the presence of a remarkably hirsute American, who keeps
a toll-house, with the words "Ice-creams" and "Indian Curiosities" painted
in large letters upon it. Again another bridge, by which we crossed to the
main land; and while overwhelmed at once by the beauty and the sublimity
of the scene, all at once the idea struck me that the Yankee who called
Niagara "an almighty fine water privilege" was tolerably correct in his
definition, for the water is led off in several directions for the use of
large saw and paper mills.

We made several purchases at an Indian curiosity-shop, where we paid for
the articles about six times their value, and meanwhile our driver took
the opportunity of getting "summat warm," which very nearly resulted in
our getting something _cold_, for twice, in driving over a stump, he all
but upset us into ponds. Crossing the suspension-bridge we arrived at the
_V. R._ custom-house, where a tiresome detention usually occurs; but a few
words spoken in Gaelic to the Scotch officer produced a magical effect,
which might have been the same had we possessed anything contraband. A
drive of three miles brought us to the whirlpool. The giant cliffs, which
rise to the height of nearly 300 feet, wall in the waters and confine
their impetuous rush, so that their force raises them in the middle, and
hurls them up some feet in the air. Their fury is resistless, and the
bodies of those who are carried over the falls are whirled round here in a
horrible dance, frequently till decomposition takes place. There is
nothing to excite admiration about the whirlpool; the impression which it
leaves on the mind is highly unpleasing.

Another disagreeable necessity was to visit a dark, deep chasm in the
bank, a very gloomy spot. This demon-titled cavity has never felt the
influence of a ray of light. A massive cliff rises above it, and a narrow
stream, bearing the horrible name of Bloody Run, pours over this cliff
into the chasm. To most minds there is a strange fascination about the
terrible and mysterious, and, in spite of warning looks and beseeching
gestures on the part of Mr. Walrence, who feared the effect of the story
on the weak nerves of his wife, I sat down by the chasm and asked the
origin of the name Bloody Run. I will confess that, as I looked down into
the yawning hole, imagination lent an added horror to the tale, which was
bad enough in itself.

In 1759, while the French, who had in their pay the Seneca Indians,
hovered round the British, a large supply of provisions was forwarded from
Fort Niagara to Fort Schlosser by the latter, under the escort of a
hundred regulars. The savage chief of the Senecas, anxious to obtain the
promised reward for scalps, formed an ambuscade of chosen warriors,
several hundred in number. The Devil's Hole was the spot chosen--it seemed
made on purpose for the bloody project. It was a hot, sultry day in

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