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tower is not quite at the edge; but at the foot of the tower there is a piece of rock which juts out over the edge of the falls. This is the place to which I would like to take you, supposing you are not afraid to lie down and peer over the edge of the stone into the dizzy depth. Oh! the fascination of that sight! What mystery of beauty is there-200 feet below? It is some secret, for nature hides it with a veil of vapour. But now and then she draws aside the veil, and lets you see a glory that she exhibits nowhere else in the known world. The boiling waters-white as new-fallen snow-rise in circular masses, then subside and rise again in a loveliness of form absolutely indescribable, until the visitor seems to desire only that the veil might be ever removed that he might gaze on the marvellous vision without hindrance; or that he himself might be a drop, and bound into the abyss,-content to die if only he could first pierce the mystery of the scene. As soon as you can tear yourself from this spot, go down the banks beside the gorge in which the waters are narrowed until they reach Ontario, and look at the falls from a little distance below. Then the cataract will become to you Niagara the beautiful. Its colour is an exquisite white, for the water falls not in a sheet, but in myriads of drops. Its ceaseless motion makes it a thing of life; and on all sunny days it is wreathed and crowned with brilliant rainbows. Niagara teaches the essential oneness of duty and beauty. The water must leap over the rocky precipice in its way to the ocean, and in so doing it creates the most beautiful object in the world. So with us, my friends, the most glorious thing that we can do is the work that God has given to each one of us.
Would you like to have a revelation of Niagara the mighty-of the thundering roar which its name signifies? Then come with me to a house on the Canadian shore, where we will leave our coats and hats, and equip ourselves from head to foot in oil-skin. We will descend the circular tower in the face of the cliff, and walk as far as we can behind the falls. Now there is a curtain of water between us and the sun, and when the spray is blown in upon us we are nearly blinded. Blind and deaf-for the roar is above our loudest voices-we must take heed to our steps, for we are walking upon a bank of loose, shaly, wet stone that slopes down into the caldron wherein the water falls. Here, again, I must sta my words, for the greatest word-master must fail in attempting to describe "behind Niagara.”
The time remaining to me warns me to hasten on, and briefly speak of California and Utah. And first of California.
What think you of a country some 600 miles long, through a large portion of which passes an oblique wall of gold rock, as high as the mountains; where there is a valley with rocks on each side nearly a mile in direct height, over which pour many waterfalls, one of which is thirteen times as high as Niagara; where there are mighty trees that were growing when David was keeping his father's sheep in Bethlehem, and which now have trunks as large and round as the tower of Nantwich church (100 feet to 120 feet); where vineyards cover the hill sides, and figs and olives abound in the gardens; where the houses in the cities have their fronts nearly hidden in a profusion of roses; where some of our brightest garden flowers grow wild in the fields; where streams of soda water may be seen running to waste across the roads; where you may bathe in streams of hot water, and pick up sulphur and Epsom salts from the banks of these streams, while the hill side above is puffing a column of steam with the force of a railway engine; and in a hollow close at hand, the bottom of which has never been touched, water black as pitch is boiling with fearful underground roarings; where I could show you a field that has yielded 100 bushels of barley to the acre, and where 60 to 70 bushels of wheat to the acre is not an uncommon produce? What, I ask, do you think of such a country as this? In our childhood, a description of its wonders would have rivalled the story of Sinbad the Sailor; and yet everything I have stated is absolutely true. My time will only permit me to speak in detail of a few of these matters.
The big trees are found in groves, two of which are best known. They rear their lofty heads on the side of a range of hills about 5,000 feet above the level of the sea. growth is so symmetrical that it is difficult at first to realise their size. But when, as I did, a traveller finds a prostrate tree which has been hollowed by fire, and rides through it on horseback for a distance of 70 feet, then he feels how truly regal among trees are these leafy monarchs. In the presence of such sublime beauty I instinctively uncovered my head, as one does in the presence of another whom he reveres and respects. The tops of some of these trees rise into the air above 400 feet, or higher than the top of St.
Paul's Cathedral, London. Upon the stump of one of these trees, which occupied five men for 25 days in cutting down, an ornamental pavilion has been erected. At seven feet from the ground the diameter is 32 feet, and four sets can dance a quadrille comfortably upon this tree stump.
I can only mention the wonderful valley of Yo-Semite, which is about ten miles long, and from one to two miles wide, and which is bounded throngh its entire length by perpendicular rocks, whose average height is 4,000 feet, and which is terminated by a half dome more than 12 times the height of St. Paul's Cathedral. The finest waterfall in this valley drops 2,477 feet.
For many miles in the way to and from the Yo-Semite valley, the road or track-for only horses and mules can travel upon it-lies through magnificent forests. There is the place to learn what is unbounded liberty. When night came, my companion and I tethered our horses and the pack mules he was driving, and after supper we lay down under the pine trees, and I slept for the first time in the open air. My sleep, after the first feeling of novelty was overcome, was as sound and refreshing as ever it was in the softest bed. We were awoke by the chirping of the birds, and saw the sunlight tinting the tops of the pines. Another night, when we were near the top of the mountains, we baked some potatoes in the ashes of a wood fire, ate our dry bread, and drank our water from the neighbouring streamlet, with more relish than most men have who sit down to a sumptuous meal. The singing of the wind in the pines is a peculiarly sweet music; and after living among the pines for many days, I felt that they deserved the chief place among trees. As the poet says,——
"Though called from them by duty,
Still wheresoe'er I stray,
The spirit of their beauty
Will never fade away."
Although California, as I have said, is one of the richest agricultural countries in the world, and is already a large exporter of grain, it is more widely known as the country of gold. There are two sorts of gold mining. In one case a stream of water is brought over a bank, and the earth is shovelled into it. The water carries the earth into a notched sluice or gutter, supplied with mercury, which catches the
gold. At certain times the mercury is collected, and subjected to heat, when it passes off in vapour, and the gold remains. The other kind of gold mining is working the quartz. This is done by sinking a shaft, as in our coal and iron mines, and making passages underground from which the stone is dug. It is then brought to the surface, and broken by heavy stamps in boxes lined with mercury. About once a-week the mercury is scraped off and subjected to heat, as in the other case. It is a wonderful provision of Providence that the mercury, or quicksilver, which is needed in order to obtain the gold, is found in California, in mines which are richer than any other quicksilver mines in the world.
After a residence of eight months in California, I took a ticket for a journey across the great American desert by coach, to the nearest point of rail communication in the eastern states, a distance of 1,839 miles. The ticket cost £31, and besides that I had to pay almost always 3s., and sometimes 4s. for each meal.
Our coach route took me over the Sierra Nevada mountains to Carson Valley, where I left the coach for three days, in order to visit the Washoe silver district. There I fell sick through drinking the water, which contains arsenic, antimony, iron, and other things, that always produce diarrhoea. As soon as I could, I left this place, and rejoining the coach, resumed the dreariest and hardest travel that I ever experienced. Imagine sitting on a seat made of board, in a light wagon covered with canvass, and drawn by four horses or mules, jolting along, sometimes over roads as rough as if the stones in our rough streets were taken up and thrown down anyhow. More than once I was lifted from my seat so high, that my head struck the hoops over which the canvass was stretched. At other times we ploughed through sand so deep, that occasionally the heads of the leading horses could not be seen for the cloud of dust that was raised. This dust coated the passengers with a thick skin of dirt. We dare not drink the alkaline water to assuage our thirst after exposure for hours to a fiercely hot sun; and if we washed, our skin would peel off. By night as well as day, we jolted on, vainly trying when darkness came to find some position in which we could sleep, and only coiling ourselves-when there were no more than three passengers-upon the seat in time to have a jolt that
would roll us off. At last we learned to sleep sitting upright, and sleep would come sometimes without a moment's warning. I have spoken to one of my fellow passengers, and the next minute been soundly asleep. These sratches of sleep generally lasted about an hour, and greatly refreshed us. Some passengers, for want of sleep, have gone mad on this journey. Thus we travelled for six days and nights, only stopping to change horses and to get two or three hasty meals a-day of coffee without milk, panbread, and bacon. The country consisted of a number of plains, each from three to six miles across. These plains are covered with deposits of salt and alkali. It is probable that they have all been the beds of salt lakes; some of them are so shaky that the driver prefers going a long way round instead of crossing them. Some of these plains are entirely destitute of vegetation; others are scantily dotted with sage bushes. There is no living creature here, except an occasional lizard, or a few glutton crows that have scented from afar the dead bodies of cows and oxen that line the roadcreatures that have died of thirst and exhaustion. These arid wastes sometimes display that curious appearance known as the mirage. In the distance one day I saw a beautiful lake. I called to my companions that we were approaching water, and they thought so, too, when they looked. But no-it was only the mirage. There was
nothing within many miles of us but hot sand and barren rock. These valleys are separated by lines of volcanic hills which support no life.
After travelling for nearly a week over such a country, you will not wonder that I hailed with delight our approach to Great Salt Lake City, the chief abode of the Mormons. In the afternoon of Wednesday, the 28th of August, 1861, we rode past Lake Utah, crossed the river Jordan, changed horses at a house occupied by a man who has the reputation of being one of the Danites, or avenging angels, drove along the valley of the Jordan, between Mormon settlements all the way; and at ten o'clock at night we alighted at the loor of Townsend's hotel, in Main-street, Great Salt Lake City.
Oh what a luxury the wash, and the fresh food, and the good water were! The city was as still as if it had not an inhabitant, and this was the case each evening of my stayit was very rare to meet any one out after nine o'clock in