Imágenes de páginas

goodly number of large trout, dying and dead. Below this rock the Signor had let himself down some ten feet; and standing on a flat ledge, enveloped in spray from the water flowing down on either side of him, he was intently engaged in hauling out from a pool before him, the fine trout we saw around about as fast as he could bait his hook. He told us he had been here only some fiftéen minutes; and when he ascended, without a dry shred upon. him, from the watery grotto wherein he had enshrined himself, he gathered up some sixteen fish of the largest size we had taken that day.

Leaving our rods at this point, we went on as rapidly as we could make our way, down the falls, and finished our exploration to the mouth of the Blackwater. Here, sitting down to rest, we summed up our review of the falls-in which we settled down to the estimate above given, that the leap-down of the Blackwater must be some six hundred feet, in somewhere about a mile. The reader will understand that this estimate is made, not by guesswork, but upon some certain data; for we measured all the larger falls. It will be perceived, however, that we can not be far wrong in our computation, when we make the statement, that from the top of each of the larger falls, you see, at the distance of a few hundred yards down before you, the tops of fir-trees (their bodies not visible) peering up like bushes; and when you get down to them, you

find they are great trees of some hundred feet or more in height. Standing upon the top of the first large fall, you look down upon some hundred and fifty feet or more, of the leap-down of the rivergoing down, then, to this point, you make a turn for some distance, and presently come upon the next large fall-from the top of which you look down upon about the same descent-and so on to the third. But enough. Let us now go back.

About half way up the falls a thunder-storm passed over us; and the reverberation down the chasm was exceedingly grand. Stopping under a hanging rock that afforded us shelter from the storm, we saw in the wet sand the footprints of otter, and other evidences of their inhabiting the stream. Presently there came a volleyed discharge of the heaven's cannon; and as the roar muttered itself away throughout the refts of the mountains, the sun broke out, and we proceeded on our way up the steep ascent-a rainbow over-arching the waterfalls, and the spray everywhere golden with sunbeams. At length, reaching the top of the grand chasm, and standing again on the brink of the impending rocks where we first hailed so rapturously, the leap-down of the river-we took a last look of the wild scene and went on our way to the camp.

Somewhere about five o'clock in the evening we came in, and depositing our spoils of the stream—

[ocr errors]

about a hundred and fifty fine trout; we eat and recounted our adventures alternately, until we and our audience grew tired and fell asleep; the Prior murmuring as he went off, the noble lines of By


The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold,”—

the Assyrian to his imagination being the dark and rushing Cheat, and the cohorts gleaming in purple and gold, the golden Blackwater and the other glittering streams of the Canaan.





MORNING has dawned again upon the camp, and with it we arose to prepare for arose to prepare for our homeward march. We took our last bath in the Blackwater, and at breakfast eat up all that remained of our provisions. Some of us, sated with the trout, breakfasted entirely upon the bacon that was left. In our hardy and rough life, the fish had ceased to be food to us, and a beefsteak would have been

the greatest of luxuries. Had we been prepared to remain out longer, it will be seen, therefore, that we would have taken to killing the deer for our table-which we only did not do heretofore, because it seemed like wanton butchery to slay the beautiful "foresters," when we had the finest of all fish that swim in such abundance. Everything, however, was now gone-the ham and middling eaten, the last of the coffee drank—and not a crumb of bread remained. There were about three hundred trout, cleaned and ready for use, in our kitchen, but we turned up our noses at them. Out of these, Conway selected some of the finest, and making a basket of the bark of the fir-tree, packed them up to take home, no one else choosing to be troubled with them: all the rest we left on the rock

a feast for the otters, or whatever other of the wild inhabitants of the Canaan, who were fond of fish.

With our wallets strapped on our shoulders, and all equipped for the march, we waited the rising of the sun, to marshal us the way we should go; for having no compass along, the god of day was our only guide, preserver, and friend. Presently, the sun arose, “blushing discontented" at the clouds around, and Powell, with his rifle in one hand and the frying-pan in the other, started up from his seat, followed first by Conway, then by all of us— and thus we broke our way into the laurel, making

« AnteriorContinuar »