페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

him he was a spirited fellow, and that if he had not tried the feat in the water they would never have played at marbles or any other game with him again, we should, doubtless, think that these boys were infected with a most revolting and disgusting depravity and ferociousness.

3. And yět society does both tolerate and encour. age such depravity every day. Change the penny tart for some other trifle ; instead of boys put men, and, instead of a river, a pistol, and we encourage it all. We virtually pat the survivor's shoulder, tell him he is a man of honor, and that we would never have dined with him again if he had not shot at his acquaintance.

4. For what trivial causes have men gone out to kill each other! A gentleman accidentally runs against another, in the street, or treads on his toe, in a crowd. Harsh words ensue; a challenge is given; and two human beings, who, perhaps, never met each other before, go out to see which can succeed in taking the other's life.

5. As civilization advances, and Christian principles prevail, dueling must be more and more discounte. nanced. The present law of England makes no distinction between the killing of a man in a duel and any other species of murder; and the seconds of both parties are also guilty of murder.

6. A ludicrous story is told of an affair which oc curred in Paris, when duels were more frequent than now. Two Englishmen stepped into a coffee-house, and took their seats at a table. Near them, at another table, sat a tall, grave-looking man, who appeared to be deeply absorbed in studying a book.

7. Soon after the two Englishmen entered, one of them told the other that a celebrated dwarf had arrived in Paris. At this the tall man with the serious coun

tenance opened his mouth and spake. “I arrive,” said he, “ thou arrivest, he arrives; we arrive, ye or you arrive, they arrive.”

8. The Englishman, whose remark seemed to have suggested this mysterious outbreak, stepped up to the stranger, and inquired, “ Did you speak to me, sir?. “I speak," replied the stranger, “thou speakest, ho speaks; we speak, ye or you speak, they speak.”

9. “How is this, sir?" exclaimed the Englishman who now began to be seriously indignant. " Yog have the appearance of a gentleman. Do you mean , to insult me?" To which the tall man responded,“ insult, thou insultest, he insults; we insult ye or you insult, they insult."

10. “This is too much !" said the Englishman. a) must have satisfaction. If you have any spirit to back your rudeness, come along with me.” To this defiance the imperturbable stranger, putting his book in his pocket, replied, “I come, thou comest, he comes; we come, ye or you come, they come.” And thereupon he rose, with great coolness, and followed his challenger.

11. In those days, when every gentleman wore a sword, duels were speedily dispatched. The hostile parties, on this occasion, went into a neighboring fencing saloon, and the Englishman, unsheathing his weapon, said to his antagonist, “ Now, sir, you must fight me." —"I fight," replied the other, “thou fightest, he fights; we fight," --- here he made a thrust, “ye or you fight, they fight;" and here he disarmed his oppoʻnent.

12. “Well,” said the Englishman, "you have the best of it, and I hope you are satisfied.” —-" I am satisfied,” replied the victor, " thou art satisfied, he is satisfied ; we are satisfied, ye or you are satisfied, they are satisfied.” —"I am glad every body is satisfied,”

4

said the puzzled Englishman; “but pray leave off quizzing me 'in this strange and unmerciful manner, and tell me what is your object, if you

have any,

in doing it."

13. The grave-looking gentleman now, for the first time, became intelligible. “I am a Dutchman,” said he, "and am learning your language. The book you saw in my hand was an English Grammar. I find much difficulty in remembering the peculiarities of the verbs; and my tūtor has advised me, in order to fix them in my mind, to conjugate every English verb that I hear spoken. This I have made it a rule to do. I do not like to have my studies broken in upon, or I would have told you this before.”

14. The Englishman laughed heartily at this explanation, and invited the conjugating Dutchman to dine with him and his friend. “I will dine,” replied he, " thou wilt dine, he will dine; we will dine, ye or you will dine, they will dine, - we will all dine together!” This they accordingly did; and the first sentiment that was proposed was, “ May all duels have as harmless a termination as ours !”

XXX.—THE HIGHEST CATARACT IN THE WORLD.

SHEER, A., clear ; perpendicular.
Fis'SURE, n., a eleft.
Ba'sin, n., a hollow place; a dish.
GRAN TE, N., a hard rock.
NOD'ULE, n., a small knot.
SYC'A-MORE, n., a tree.
SER'PEN-TINE, a., winding ; spiral.

OP'U-LENCE, n., wealth ; riches.
COM'PAR-A-BLE, A., worthy to be com-

pared.
GE-OL'O-GY, n., the science which

treats of the structure of the earth. COM-PLEX'I-TY, n., state of being com'

plex or in'tricate.

Pronounce Yosemite, Yo-sem'i-te; Sierra, Se-ěr'ra; a in Ne-va'da like a in father, * in lux-u'ri-ant like gz; th in beneath and in paths vocal as in breathe ; toward, toard ; basin, ba'sn. Do not say eastun for east'ern; oppusite for oppo-site ; medder for mčad'ow.

1. THE Yo-Semite valley, in California, is a pass about ten miles long. At its eastern extremity it leads into three narrower passes, each of which extends several miles, winding, by the wildest paths, into the heart of the Sierra Nevada chain of mountains. For seven miles of the main valley, which varies in width from three quarters of a mile to a mile and a half, the walls on either side are from two thousand to nearly five thousand feet above the road, and are nearly perpendicular. From these walls, rocky splint ers, a thousand feet in height, start up, and, every winter, drop a few hundred tons of granite, to adorn the base of the rampart with picturesque ruin.

2. The valley is of such irregular width, and bends so much, and often so abruptly, that there is great variety and frequent surprise in the forms and combinations of the overhanging rocks, as one rides along the bank of the stream. The patches of luxuriant meadow, with their dazzling green, and the grouping of the superb firs, two hundred feet high, that skirt them, and that shoot above the stout and graceful oaks and sycamores, through which the horse-path winds, are delightful rests of sweetness and beauty amid the threatening awfulness.

3. The Merced, which flows through the main pass, is a noble stream, a hundred feet wide and ten feet deep. It is formed chiefly of the streams that leap and rush through the narrower passes, and it is swollen, also, by the bounty of the marvelous waterfalls that pour down from the ramparts of the wider valley. The sublime poetry of Hab'akkuk is needed to describe the impression, and, perhaps, the geology, of these mighty fissures : “Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers."

4. At the foot of the break-neck declivity of nearly three thousand feet, by which we reach the banks of the Merced, we are six miles from the hotel; and every rod of the ride awakens wonder, awe, and a solemn joy. As we approach the hotel, and turn toward the opposite bank of the river, what is that

" Which ever sounds and shines,

A pillar of white light upon the wall
Of purple cliffs aloof descried?

That, reader, is the highest waterfall in the world, the Yo-Semite cataract, nearly twenty-five hundred feet in its plunge, dashing from a break or depression in a cliff thirty-two hundred feet sheer.

5. A writer, who visited this valley in September, calls the cataract a mere tape-line of water dropped from the sky. Perhaps it is so, toward the close of the dry season; but as we saw it, the blended majesty and beauty of it, apart from the general sublimities of the Yo-Semite gorge, would repay a journey of a thousand miles. There was no deficiency of water. It was a powerful stream, thirty-five feet broad, fresh from the Nevada, that made the plunge from the brow of the awful precipice.

6. At the first leap it clears fourteen hundred and ninety-seven feet; then it tumbles down a series of steep stairways four hundred and two feet, and then makes a jump to the meadows five hundred and eighteen feet more. The three pitches are in full view, making a fall of more than twenty-four hundred feet.

7. But it is the upper and highest cataract that is most wonderful to the eye, as well as most musical. The cliff is so sheer that there is no break in the body of the water during the whole of its descent of more than a quarter of a mile. It pours in a curve, from the summit, fifteen hundred feet, to the basin that hoards it but a moment for the cascades that follow.

8. And what endless complexities and opulence of beauty in the forms and motions of the cataract! It is comparatively narrow at the top of the precipice,

« 이전계속 »