Imágenes de páginas

From Reese's house, at the base, it is seven miles to the top of the Allegany-something of an Olympus to the warts behind us.. Mindful of our horses, we gird up our loins for the encounter, and take to the heaven-kissing hill afoot. Half-way up there is a fountain of pure spring-water caught in a rude trough by the roadside; and men and horses gather around, and revel in the mountain hippocrene. The lookout from here is already grand. Far and wide you behold the land we have travelled. On we go again, up and up, still up; and the air you breathe is freer, and the scene wilder and yet more widely revealed at every turn of the road, rounding each rocky promontory that juts the mountain-side.

In something more than two hours we reached the toll-gate, situated near the summit of the ridge, and commanding a prospect of all the land lying abroad to the eastward. This is one of the grandest and most diversified mountain-scenes in the whole range of our country: mountains piled on mountains everywhere, of every variety of size and shape, with all their valleys, glens, gorges, dells, and narrow defiles-all yet varied by the changing light and shade that falls upon them from the heavens as the heavens are ablaze with sunshine, or swept by passing summer-clouds.

Altogether it is such a scene as seldom meets the eye. At once its glory has entered into the heart and fired the imagination, and we are a thousand

times over repaid for the long, toilsome ascent that has given it to us. To view it aright, it should be seen under all changing aspects: at the dawn and the sunrise; under the earlier and the later shadows of the morning; when the midday blaze has made it all dreamy as an ocean unmoved; as the shadows lengthen upon it in the evening; as the gloom of the twilight gathers over it. To see it in its greatest sublimity, you should be here when, bare of leaf, and all rugged in its disclosure, it is terrible with the howling storms of winter-storms sweeping dreadfully both the heavens and the earth!

Yet, even in a half-hour's glance, much will be written upon the mind that can never be effaced; and this "dim spot, that men call earth," will be ever after greatly dignified to your appreciation. A scene thus ennobling, let us not pass away from it too lightly. Let us portray it, even though it be with such indistinct limning as the few moments we loitered at the toll gate will enable.

You are at such height here at the gate, that as you stand looking eastward, there is nothing to bound your vision but your natural horizon. You are above the whole scene; and looking over it, you may be said to look down over it. You command it all, to the extent of the power of the eye. Far below you, some thousands of feet, is a wood-embosomed dell, with an open farm every here and there spotted along it, looking at this distance like

patches of wild meadow and glade in the midst of the vast forest around. Immediately beyond rises a bold and rugged mountain, whose craggy top is indented like the battlements of a castle, and whose sides sweep down, dark with firs and hemlocks, and every variety of pines, to the edge of the deep valley. Looking to the right, the mountains are broken and irregular, as if they had been tossed and torn to pieces by some mighty upheaving of the earth, and had thus fallen scattered about in confused, giant masses: some elegant and majestic as the "star'y-pointed pyramid ;" some grand and massive as the "proud bulwark on the steep;" others of huge, misshapen bulk-the Calibans of the wild; and others, again, so grotesque of form, that they seem to have been moulded by the very genius of Whim-the Merry-Andrews of the Alleganies: and all yet beautiful and soft to the eye, with the softening hues of summer-these summer hues producing the same effect here that time has wrought upon the rugged feudal castle, as so beautifully described in the verse of Mason:


Has moulded into beauty many a tower,

Which, when it frowned with all its battlements,
Was only terrible”.

On the left the scene is in strong contrast with the grand and grotesque mountains we have just described. Here, along the steeps of the Allegany,

you catch picturesque glimpses of the winding highway-and, again, you see it boldly emerging from the woods at the base of the mountain, and sweeping on through the open vale, and by the banks of the silvery stream, down past the embowered house and cultivated lands of Reese on-and away, until it turns off, and is lost in the mountains. This little valley, which but this morning we traversed in part, now stretches itself out so far before us that it grows indistinct and confused to the sight-its fields so diminished in size that they look like garden-beds; the winding stream that threads it seeming but a waving line of silver. The picture has all the delicacy of a scene in miniature, and there is a witching summer-softness over it all as of the beauty and the sheen of a voluptuous woman, or (if you prefer it) of a ripe peach. Further over in the mountains is a wider and more open valley, that seems from here almost a plain, and so hazy and indistinct are its outlines, that your imagination exerts its fanciful power, and you see-dimlyvaguely-towers, and temples, and mighty domes, revealing themselves before your eyes, as if some lordly city was about to grow up upon the plain by enchantment. Turning again, and looking straight forward, eastwardly, whence we came, and lo! what ideas of vastness crowd upon the mind; for it is all one vast sea of mountains, as far as the eye can behold-range beyond range ever appearing

heaving like the blue waves of some immense sea -wave following wave in endless succession; for your horizon being bounded everywhere by mountains, to the imagination there is no limit, and all beyond is wave after wave of the same giant sea.

Gazing upon this noble scene, the prior of St. Philips grew excited-his eye dilated-his soul was all ablaze; and no longer able to hold himself, he stretched forth his right hand and gave tongue as follows:

"Gentlemen, I see into it all now, and if our invasion of the Alleganies effects nothing else I shall go home satisfied. Our mountains have been greatly slandered-most vilely traduced by the cockneys; and beholding this mighty scene, I'm lost in wonder that some man with a large enough soul, hasn't long since put them right before the world."

"That's right, stick it into them, Prior; give it to 'em, County, you're the man to do it."

"Put to route and everlasting shame the whole insolent and conceited herd."

"Hash them, slash them,

All to pieces dash them!”

"Let them have it as Tom Hyer gave it to Sullivan."

"Dress their jackets genteely, Prior."

"Dont spare either age, sex, or condition.”

« AnteriorContinuar »