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well informed on all current gossip, and learned from him some curious facts. The first young gentleman whom I had seen among the Rommanies of Moscow was the son of a Russian prince by a gypsy mother, and the very noble Englishman whose photograph I had seen in Sarsha's collection had not long ago (as rumor averred) paid desperate attentions to the belle of the Rommanies without obtaining the least success. My informant did not know her name. Putting this and that together, I think it highly probable that Sarsha was the young lady, and that the latcho bar, or diamond, which sparkled on her finger had been paid for with British gold, while the donor had gained the same "unluck" which befell one of his type in the Spanish gypsy song as given by George Borrow :
ly twilight faded into night, and I was obliged, of a young Russian noble and diplomate who was notwithstanding many entreaties to the contrary, to take my leave. These gypsies had been very friendly and kind to me in a strange city where I had not an acquaintance, and where I had expected none. They had given me of their very best-for they gave me songs which I can never forget, and which were better to me than all the opera could bestow. The young Russian, polite to the last, went bareheaded with me into the street, and hailing a sleigh-driver began to bargain for me. In Moscow, as in other places, it makes a great difference in the fare, whether one takes a public conveyance from before the first hotel or from a house in the gypsy quarter. I had paid seventy kopecks to come, and I at once found that my new friend and the driver were engaged in wild and fierce dispute whether I should pay twenty or thirty to return.
"Oh, give him thirty," I exclaimed. "It's little enough."
Non," replied the Russian, with the air of a man of principles. "Il ne faut pas gâter ces gens-la." But I gave the driver thirty all the same when we got home, and thereby earned the usual shower of blessings.
A few days afterward, while going from Moscow to St. Petersburg, I made the acquaintance
"Loud sang the Spanish cavalier,
"On high arose the moon so bright,
CHARLES G. LELAND (Macmillan's Magazine).
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW WORLD.
A FINE passage in the good ship Scythia, few of these first and fresh impressions I desire
of the Cunard line, with most agreeable fellow passengers, both English and American, landed me at New York on June 3, 1879. Such a ship, under such a hospitable and pleasant commander as Captain Hains, is a sort of ark to which every bird would willingly return, and so by the same vessel I reëmbarked for Liverpool on July 16th. A visit of only six weeks to the continent of America can give nothing more than first impressions, and these, too, of only a very small portion of the country. My visit was purely personal and private. I saw little of men and nothing of institutions. From politics of all kinds, whether Eastern or Western, it was my great object to escape. But to the forests, to the hills, to the rivers, to the birds, to the general aspects of nature in the New World, I went with a fresh eye, and in these I found much of which no description had given me any accurate idea. Of a
to give some account in the pages which follow.
In one great feature of landscape the States and the Provinces of North America differ very much from any expectation I had formed. That feature is the nature and disposition of the woods. They are not the woods that stand round the "stately homes of England"; neither is there any hedgerow timber such as, from every elevation in the midland counties, gives to the whole country, even to the verge of a distant horizon, the appearance of one rich and continuous forest. Still less are they woods of France or of Germany, where arboriculture is a regular branch of study, where the maximum of produce to the acre is carefully considered, and where every scrap, even the "lop and top," is neatly collected and piled in "cords." In America, with the exception of the trees which are planted with admirable effect in the streets of cities and towns,
there is hardly any indication of the cultivation of trees being attended to at all. I saw nothing that could be called fine timber, and no woods which showed any carè in thinning, with a view to the production of such timber in the future. And yet the woods of North America are very varied in form and very beautiful in composition. They are by no means mere patches of original forest left in the midst of "clearings," nor is the cultivated country generally bare, with the remains of that forest standing in ragged edges round it. There are, indeed, some districts where this is the aspect of the land, and a very dreary aspect it is; but the general character of all the country which has been long settled is very different. It is not a land of “brown heath," but it is emphatically a land of "shaggy wood"; a land in which clumps, and thickets, and lines, and irregular masses of the most beautiful foliage vary and adorn the surface. This is what I had not expected, and what it delighted me much to see. The secret of it lies in one circumstance, which is the secret also of much else that is characteristic of the American Continent-the over-abundance of land as compared with the cultivating and occupying power of the settled population. It is not worth while to cultivate any land but the best. Every acre which is of inferior quality or in an inconvenient situation, every rocky knoll too hard, every bank and brae too steep to plow, the sides of every stream, the banks of every dell, and frequent tracts on every hillside, are left in a state of nature. But throughout the Eastern States and Provinces, the soil being full of the seeds of trees, the state of nature is a state of woodedness. Even where the whole face of the country has been burned by forest-fires, and the settler has appropriated whatever portion of it was best and most easily worked, the after-growth which has sprung up is a beautiful tangle of birch and oak and elm and maple; and these tangles, wholly uncared for, are left to flourish as they may. To a large extent these woods are of no value for any economical purpose, except firewood and fencing. The fine trees have disappeared with the original forest, and there has been no time, so young are even the oldest settled countries of America, for the new growth to attain any size. The struggle for existence is allowed to go on among the contending species, and it requires a long time under such conditions to develop even fair-sized timber. It astonished me to see, even in the close neighborhood of the oldest cities of New England, the extent of land which is abandoned to what may be called "bush." Cockney travelers and cockney economists are accustomed to talk of the "waste lands" of England and Scotland—a phrase under which they designate all land which
is not under the plow or divided into fields capable of arable cultivation. The truth is, that in our island there is, properly speaking, no waste land at all. The roughest pastures are all utilized. Even the rugged mountains are the support of great flocks of sheep, which may or may not be seen by the tourist from Cheapside. There is, indeed, abundance of land which, under other conditions of demand, might be, and some day will be, capable of a higher cultivation. This, however, is as true of the land which now yields the finest crops of wheat, or turnips, or potatoes, as it is of the hillside which yields only grass and heather. It is conceivable that the whole soil may at some future time be under the conditions of a market-garden, when abundance of manure, cheapness of labor, and great demand for produce by vast consuming populations combine to render such cultivation possible and remunerative. But in the middle of the oldest States of North America there are immense areas of country which in the strictest sense may be said to be waste. On the line of railway between Boston and Fall River, a line which connects the most renowned city with one of the most fashionable watering-places of New England, Newport, I was not a little surprised to see the great extent of land occupied by the wildest jungle of shaggy wood, in some places not unlike the lovely clothing which covers the rocks of Loch Katrine or Loch Lomond. Marshy ground, carpeted with a plant which, in general effect, reproduces our own "bog myrtle," abounded also. The scenery of the Hudson—the beauty of which far exceeded my expectations-depends largely on the beauty of the woods. Everywhere, even in the midst of the villas which are the retreat of the citizens of New York, there are the most beautiful thickets of wood, climbing the steep banks, hanging over the swampy hollows, and fringing the rocky promontories which form the margin of that magnificent estuary. In truth, the woodedness of the landscape is in excess. A mountain-range loses in picturesque effect when it is covered to the top with wood, when no rocks appear upon the surface, and no bald top rises above the vegetation of the base; yet this is the uniform character of all the mountains and hills which I happened to see on the American Continent. The Catskill Mountains, which are a conspicuous feature in the scenery of the Hudson, seem to be everywhere covered to the very summits by trees, which, though larger than those which we should call copsewood, are yet not large enough to have the aspect of fine timber. The hills round and above West Point, the great military seminary of the United States, are one vast wood. And there is another feature of these woods which surprised me, and that is, the very small propor
tion of the pine tribe as compared with deciduous trees. In the valley of the Hudson there are hardly enough to give variety; and even farther north, and throughout the settled parts of Canada, where portions of the original forests survive on the plains or on the hills, nowhere do we meet with the monotonous aspect of a purely pine vegetation. The woods and forests are all largely composed of elm, ash, and maple, with frequent tracts of birch and aspen.*
It was with much regret that I passed through Albany without stopping to see it in detail. The charming picture given by Mrs. Grant of Laggant of the life led by the early settlers there, about a hundred years ago, is the picture of a condition of society which has passed away. But some features remain, and among these there is one which especially strikes a stranger in all the towns and villages of New England. Where trees are rare in Europe, they are most striking in America. Planting, superfluous, and therefore neglected elsewhere in the New World, has been carefully attended to in the cities. Their streets are almost all avenues of handsome trees, the boughs meeting over the ample roadway, their foliage everywhere conspicuous among the houses, and often giving a comfortable rural aspect even to the most crowded seats of industry. The view of Albany from a distance on the railway is very striking, the State-House, like most of the public buildings in America, being large and handsome, and seen rising out of a most picturesque intermixture of tiles and leaves. This peculiar feature of American towns is, like so many other things in that country, a consequence of its wealth of land. No economy of its surface is ever needed, and none is attended to. Mrs. Grant's description of Albany, as it existed in her day, is the description, more or less accurate, of all the towns and villages of New England:
The town [she says], in proportion to its population, occupied a great space of ground. The city, in short, was a kind of semi-rural establishment; every house had its own garden, well, and a little green behind; before every door a tree was planted, rendered interesting by being coeval with some beloved member of the family. Many of these trees were of prodigious size and extraordinary beauty, but without regularity, every one planting the kind
* Might I suggest to my friends in America the possibility of limiting the nuisance of advertisements on the lovely banks of the Hudson? Every available surface of rock is covered with the hideous letters of some pill, or some potion, or some embrocation, or of some application still more offensive, for the ills of humanity. To
such an extent is this nuisance carried, that it seemed to
me to interfere seriously with the beauty of one of the
most beautiful rivers in the world.
+"Memoirs of an American Lady," New York.
that best pleased him, or which he thought would afford the most agreeable shade to the open portico at his door, which was surrounded by seats, and ascended by a few steps. It was in these that each domestic group was seated in summer evenings to enjoy the balmy twilight or serenely clear moonlight.
The valley of the Mohawk, into which the railway passes to the north of Albany, has a character and a beauty of its own, very different from that of the valley of the Hudson. In the first place, the Mohawk is a true river, and not an estuary; in the second place, it is a small river as compared with the mighty streams of the American Continent; a river not like a lake or an inland sea, but a river that the eye can take in, and understand as such-a river like the Thames, only greatly more rapid, winding among green meadows, round pleasant islets, under willowy banks, with here and there a few stately elms. The breadth of the valley, too, is comparatively small, not unlike some parts of the valley of the Thames above Maidenhead, but with sides rising in longer slopes and to far greater elevations. These slopes are occupied by farms, in which grass seemed to predominate over crops, and they are adorned by ample remains of the ancient forests, beautifully disposed in irregular clumps, and lines, and masses of every conceivable size and form, the sky-line being generally a line of unbroken wood, with an increasing proportion of pine. Nowhere did I observe a more favorable specimen of the woodiness of American landscape-the mixture of evergreen with deciduous trees was perfect. There are, of course, in America no stiff plantations such as too frequently mar the landscapes of the Old World. All had the appearance of natural wood, and not even the most skillful planting in the great places of England or of Scotland could show a more beautiful variety of foliage or a more picturesque intermixture of field and wood.
It is impossible to pass through the beautiful valley of the Mohawk without having one's mind turned to the many curious and interesting questions on the history and fate of the Indian tribes of North America. It is but as yesterday that it was the home of one of the most remarkable of those tribes. Hardly a vestige of them now remains. Within the compass almost of a single human life there has disappeared from the world a people who, though savage in some respects, had nevertheless either the vestiges or the germs of an ample civilization. It is very difficult in America to recollect how young everything there is, and how rapidly the culture of the Old World has overflowed and submerged all that remained of, or all that might have come from, the culture of the native races. This youth of America as
we now see it was forcibly impressed upon me by an accidental circumstance. On entering the harbor of New York I was very kindly presented, by General Wilson, of that city, with a copy of a new edition of the work already quoted, the "Memoirs of an American Lady," by Mrs. Grant of Laggan. Mrs. Grant was my mother's friend and teacher, and few names were more familiar to me in early years. She did not die till 1838; yet her girlhood was spent in Albany when that city was one of the advanced posts of European settlement in America, and when it was still so weak that it was not altogether indifferent to the friendship and protection of the Indians of the Mohawk. In the long and bitter contest for supremacy in North America between France and England both nations had need of native allies. It was mainly by Indian auxiliaries that only three years before Mrs. Grant's arrival in America a small body of Frenchmen had defeated and destroyed a well-appointed British army commanded by a veteran in the wars of Europe. The tribes of the great Algonquin family were those whose friendship was cultivated by the French; while the Iroquois, or Five Nations, were the special allies of the English colonists. In this division we had the best of it, for the Iroquois, of whom the Mohawks were the most powerful tribe, were the great warriors of that portion of the American Continent. It is curious to observe the very different estimate formed of those people by scientific writers of the present day, and by such writers as Mrs. Grant, who represents the feeling of the colonists in immediate contact with the Mohawks. "In regard to their internal condition and progress in the arts," says Mr. Dawson, “notwithstanding the gloss with which time may to some extent cover these aborigines, we can not disguise from ourselves that they were for the most part the veriest savages."*
Were they savages [on the other hand, asks Mrs. Grant] who had fixed habitations, who cultivated rich fields, who built castles (for so they called their not incommodious houses surrounded with palisades), who planted maize, beans, and showed considerable ingenuity in constructing and adorning their canoes, arms, and clothing? They who had wise though unwritten laws, and conducted their wars, treaties, and alliances with deep and sound policy; they whose eloquence was bold, nervous, and animated, whose language was sonorous, musical, and expressive; who possessed generous and elevated sentiments, heroic fortitude, and unstained probity-were these, indeed, savages?
Making every allowance for a woman's en"Sketches of the Past and Present Condition of the Indians of Canada." By George M. Dawson. Reprinted from "The Canadian Naturalist."
thusiastic admiration of the picturesque in Indian life and character, there can be no doubt that there was a substantial foundation for this representation of them. On the assumption that the law of development has always worked in one direction, it is hard, indeed, to account for the total decay of races who had advanced so far; but, if that assumption be a false one-if the development of evil is as certain and even more rapid in its work than the development of good-then the phenomenon is not incapable of explanation. It is now well ascertained that the disappearance of the North American tribes is not a result of contact and collision with the higher civilization of the European settlers. Even if it had been due to this contact, the result would not have been the less one requiring explanation. The uncivilized races of India and of Africa do not wither or melt away in the “fierce light" of European culture. In general they not only survive but multiply and flourish. Something else must have been at work in the case of the aboriginal population of North America. The truth is, that their decay is only the consummation of a process which had begun long before Europeans had come into contact with them, and that it has been consummated from the operation of causes purely internal. And one of these causes is inseparably connected with the very name of the Mohawks. In them there was a wonderful development of the passion and the power of fighting. It became an insatiable thirst for blood. Their very name was a terror in all the vast and fair regions of America which stretch between the ocean and the Great Lakes. Whole tracts of country, in which the first Jesuit missionaries had seen flourishing villages with a settled population, and a prosperous agricultural industry, were devastated by the fierce Mohawks. The population was extirpated, the few survivors driven into the marshes and the forests, to live thenceforward solely by the chase, and to be quoted thenceforward by modThe evolution of savagery has thus, on an exern anthropologists as the type of primeval man. tended scale, been seen and described by eyewitnesses, not only in historic but in very recent times. And then the conquerors themselves became the victims of the vices and of the unnatural habits which had been developed along with their sole addiction to war and with their thirst of blood. One of these vices was the cruel treatment of women, on whom the whole burden of work was laid, and whose wretched condition has been described by many writers. Was this primeval? If so, man was born into the world with lower habits and poorer instincts than the brutes. All the analogies of nature and all the presumptions of reason are in favor
of the conclusion that these destructive and suicidal habits and vices are the results of develop ment, the end of small beginnings of evil, and of departures, at first slight, from the order of nature. The American Continent is covered with the remains of an ancient civilization which has passed away, and which for the most part had already passed away long before it suffered any violence from external enemies. The history of its destruction is to a great extent unknown. But such indications of that history as can be derived from what we know of the aboriginal races point directly to American savagery as the result of vices evolving their own natural consequences through a long lapse of time.
As we passed, in the course of a few hours, through an extent of country which it took Mrs. Grant, with her father's detachment of the Fiftyfifth Regiment, nearly three weeks to traverse, it was difficult to realize the change which had been brought about during an interval of time so short in the life of nations. The peaceful homesteads of the Mohawk Valley, and its thriving towns, presented a contrast with its past even more absolute than that which is presented by the scenes of our own old Border warfare; and the beautiful lines in which this contrast has been presented by the great Border Minstrel come involuntarily to one's mind:
"Sweet Teviot, on thy silver tide
The flaring bale-fires blaze no more;
As if thy waves since Time was born,
As we emerged from the valley of the Mohawk into the open rolling country whose streams fall into Lake Ontario, I was struck with the vast extent of pasture-land, apparently of the finest quality. The number of cattle visible on its surface seemed strangely below its capabilities of feeding. It gave me the impression of a country very much understocked, and cultivated, when cultivated at all, in the most careless manner. It was here I first saw an American forest-clearing -and nothing more dreary can well be imagined. The stumps of the trees, some eight or ten feet high, are left in the ground; some charred quite black, others bleached quite white-all looking the picture of decay. The edges of the surrounding woods are of course ragged-the trees shabby and unhealthy, as trees always are which have
"Lay of the Last Minstrel," canto iv.
grown up in thickets, and are then left to stand in the open.
This is the aspect of country of which I had expected to see a great deal-and no doubt in many districts large tracts must be in this condition. But it is the condition only of the country where the processes of settlement are in their first stage. In a few years the soil, pregnant with seeds of all kinds, soon sends up a rich and tangled arboreal vegetation on every spot which is not kept in continual cultivation.
The shades of night had blotted out the landscape long before we reached Niagara. The northwestern horizon, however, had been for some time illuminated by summer lightning, which soon became forked and very brilliant. As we crossed the suspension-bridge, seeing nothing but a dim whiteness in the distance, a flash unusually long and vivid lit up the whole splendor of the Falls with its pallid and ghastly light.
There is perhaps no natural object in any part of the world which, when seen, answers so accurately to expectation as the Falls of Niagara. Pictures and photographs without end have made them familiar in every aspect in which they can be represented. Those in what they can not be represented are the last to be seen and the last to be appreciated. The first approach to them is perhaps the least imposing view of all. They are seen at the distance of about a mile. They are seen, too, from an elevation above the level of the top of the Falls, and the great breadth of the river, as compared with the height of the precipice, makes that height look comparatively small. Nevertheless, the effect of the whole, with the two great columns of spray from the " Horseshoe," suddenly revealed by a flash of lightning, is an effect which can never be forgotten. The power and beauty of Niagara are best seen from the point on the Canadian bank whence the "Table-Rock" once projected. This arises from the fact that the deepest convexity of the "Horseshoe" is only well seen from that point, and it is along the edges of that convexity that the greatest mass of water falls, with an unbroken rush, which is only to be seen here, and in the heaviest billows of the Atlantic when their crests rise transparent against the light. The greens and blues of that rush are among the most exquisite colors in nature, and the lines upon it, which express irresistible weight and force, are as impressive as they are delicate and indefinable. The awfulness of the scene is much increased when the wind carries the spray-cloud over the spectator and envelops him in its mists; because, while these are often thick enough wholly to conceal the foaming water at the bottom of the Falls, they are rarely thick enough to conceal the