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of Government House but the stacks of reeking chimneys I have described, it is now too late to inquire.

There is one feeling, however, in which all parties in Canada have agreed, namely, of utter astonishment that the great Conservative Party in the mother country has never once opened its lips in Parliament to demand a single word of explanation respecting the strange facts connected with Mr. BidwelPs proposed elevation to the Bench, as detailed in despatches laid by command of the Queen before both Houses of the Imperial Parliament!

CHAPTER X.

THE FALLS OF NIAGARA.

As soon as intelligence reached me that the American General, Van Eansalaer, and his forces, had taken forcible possession of Navy Island, I directed Sir Allan MacNab to march the Canada militia under his command to the Niagara frontier; and his reports of the reinforcements which were hourly arriving at Van Ransalaer's camp becoming at last alarming, by the advice of my council I proceeded to the Niagara frontier, to a point within a mile of Navy Island.

Of the Falls of Niagara so many detailed descriptions have been printed that I shall only attempt of them a rough outline.

It is well known that the magnificent reservoirs of fresh water which characterise the continent of North America are composed of a series of five lakes, or rather of inland seas, of different altitudes (their circumferences exceed four thousand miles) communicating with each other by two short friths or narrow channels, the lowest of which, the Niagara river, by an inclination of three hundred and thirty feet, conducts the waters of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie, into Lake Ontario, whence they flow through the St. Lawrence to Quebec, and at last to the Atlantic, tying six hundred and twenty-seven feet below Lake Superior, and

[graphic]

about two thousand miles from it.

* * * *

I had ridden from the neighbourhood of Lake Erie to this river, where I found a fbur-oared boat ready to receive me, and accordingly stepping on board, propelled by the current and by my crew, I proceeded down the clear blue stream at a very rapid rate.

Although it was in the depth of winter, the scenery around me was calmly beautiful.

On the right, or American shore, were to be seen towns, villages, and habitations embedded in snow, and intermixed in about equal parts with the remains of the forest. On the left, or British side, there existed, here and there, a village, a fort, several thriving farms, and a narrow belt of cleared land, also milk white, occasionally dotted with stumps, and bounded by the dark-stemmed, whitetopped wilderness.

The difference between these two fraternal shores was only that of age. The right bank was the emblem of youth, the left of infancy. Both had been partially cleared by the same parent—by the same race; but the right shore was the elder brother, and had attained strength and age before the other was born, or, to drop metaphor, the American, or eastern shore, had been sufficiently cultivated, peopled, and enriched by England to enable it to cast off its dependence at a period when the left shore was still remaining a portion of that vast wilderness well known in North America by the appellation of " the far West."

As through a brilliant but intensely cold air we glided rapidly between these two shores, the perpendicular banks of which (from four to eight feet high) were so near to us that we could easily have hailed people on either side, we passed Grand Island, which belongs to the Americans; and then hurrying by a lovely wooded spot belonging to the British, called Navy Island, we suddenly, on rounding a point of land, saw from the very middle of the river before us, a mysterious-looking white mist, rising towards the dark blue sky which serenely reined above it.

My heart felt sick the instant I beheld this mist; and I am quite sure that if I had not known what it was, and had not listened to a strange voice of admonition which for some time I had observed to be rumbling through the air, I should have obeyed the instinctive feeling which, though I cannot describe it, earnestly warned me to "get ashore!" Indeed Nature has beneficently implanted this feeling in the hearts even of beasts, a curious instance of which occurred a few years ago.

Some people in the neighbourhood, who in their composition had rather more curiosity than mercy, subscribed a sum of money for the purpose of sending a vessel full of living animals over their watery precipice into a watery grave. As soon, however, as this unpiloted vessel reached the vicinity at which I had arrived, the sagacious bear, on seeing the mist, felt exactly what I felt, namely, that there was danger ahead, and accordingly he jumped overboard; and diagonally hurried down by the current, with great difficulty he reached the little island flourishing on the brink of the grave before him. The other animals made similar attempts, but in vain; and thus, on the vessel reaching the cataract, the only living beings that remained on board, and who, therefore, must have been devoid of the instinctive feelings which had ejected the rest, were those who, having been gifted with wings, had no need of it, namely, geese; but their brother biped, man, had cut their pinions; and as they had no intuitive disposition to escape, and could not fly away, they met the doom which had so unkindly been prepared for them. Several were killed; and although a few, by fluttering, preserved their lives, they were almost immediately killed for the sake of their feathers, which were sold to the human species as curiosities.

"Put me ashore, if you please," I said to my pilot, as soon as I saw this mist; but the faithful fellow knew that, without any danger, he could carry me a little farther, and so, much against my will, I proceeded to a spot somewhat lower down, where, with very considerable alacrity, I landed on the shore, which was about six feet above the water; and the boat then veering round with her stern

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