"IMPRESSIONS OF AMERICA, DURING 1833-35."
BY TYRONE POWER, ESQ.
A stage was in waiting at the landing-place,
which quickly took us to the town, where we took a carriage directly
to the Mountain House, which we had marked from the river as the
morning sun lighted it up, looking like a white dove-cot raised
against the dark hill-side.
I will say nothing of our winding, rocky road,
or of the glimpses we now and then had of the nether world, which
"momentarily grew less," as, whilst halting for breath, we
curiously peeped through the leafy screen, flying from the faded leaf
and drooping flower of scorching summer, and finding ourselves once
more surrounded by all the lovely evidences of early spring. I walked
more than half way, and never felt less weary than when I rested on
the natural platform, which, thrust from the hill-side, forms a stand
whence may be worshipped one of the most glorious prospects ever
given by the Creator to man's admiration.
In the cool shade we stood here, and from this
eyry looked upon the silver line drawn through the vast rich valley
far below, doubtful of its being the broad Hudson, upon whose bosom
we had so lately floated in a huge vessel crowded with passengers;
for this vessel we searched in vain ; but, by the aid of a telescope,
made out one of the same kind, which appeared to flit along like some
fairy skiff on a pantomimic lake, made all radiant with gold and pearl.
How delightful were the sensations attendant
upon a first repose in this chant-led climate, enhanced as these were
by the remembrance of the broiling we had so recently endured! I
never remember to have risen with feelings more elastic, or in higher
spirits, than I did after my first night's rest upon the mountain.
A ride of some three miles brought us as close
as might be to the spot (the Falls), and a walk of as many hundred
yards presented to view a scene as well suited for a witch's festival
as any spot in the old world.
With two others, I decided upon walking back,
and pleasant it is to walk through these quiet wild-wood paths, where
the chirps of the birds and the nestle of the leaves alone break in
upon the repose. These mountains are everywhere thickly clothed with
wood, save only the platform where the house is built; deer abound on
the lower ridges, and the bear yet finds ample cover here. A number
of these animals are killed every season by an indefatigable old
Nimrod who lives in the valley beneath, and who breeds some very fine
dogs to this sport.
I did promise unto myself that during the
coming November I would return up here, for the purpose of seeing
Bruin baited in his proper lair; but regret to say my plan was
frustrated. It must be an exciting chase to rouse the lord of this
wild mountain forest on a sunny morning, with the first hoar frost
yet crisping the feathery pines; and to hear the deep-mouthed hounds
giving tongue where an hundred echoes wait to bay the fierce
challenge back, and to hear the sharp crack of the rifle rattle
through the thin air.