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139 that of a certain cadet who was killed while breasting a cannon on the Green—and Fort Putnam tow. ering above you near six hundred feet. I ought not to forget the morning and evening Parade — their illuminated camps at night, and the soul-stirring mu: sic of the U. States band. Thirty cadets are on guard in the day and ten at night. They are relieved every two hours at night, and, if they sleep on guard, are expelled. They are on camp duty two months of the year and the remaining ten are stationed in the Barracks. These are large brick buildings,like ourColleges which are guarded as well as the camps. Each Cadet is an expense to Government of three hundred and thirty-six dollars yearly. Two hundred and fifty of them are admitted at a time at an expense of $84,000. We left West Point casting a lingering look behind. The hills known by the poetical appellations of Bull's Head — Break-Neck Crows Nest_and Butter's Hill soon look down upon us on either shore. Thirty miles from W*.P*. Hyde Park, on the East side of the river, breaks upon the view of a place never to be forgotten — with its swells of living green, its superb array of trees, and its princely dwellings. In about two hours we reached the foot of the Catskil Mountains. The highest of these Mountains is from three to four thousand feet in height. We rode, or rather walked and rode from the village to Pine Orchard -- a distance of some twelve miles. In this are included the
140 CATSKILL MOUNTAINS.
Rig Van Winkle will frankly own,
Will pay the pay the boy who brings the glass. On the summit there is extensive Hotel erected at great expense by an incorporated company. It is twenty two hundred feet above the level of the Hudson. It is enough for me to say of the prospect from this spot, as it has been often described, that in extent and variety it hardly has its equal in the country. The Falls, which impart to this place its chief interest, are two miles from the Hotel. There are two,one directly beneath the other. The first is one hundred and seventy-five feet -- the second eighty-five — making in reality one of two hundred and sixty feet. The Platform between the Falls is wide, allowing a person to pass underneath, back of the second fall, no less than seventy feet. The guide informed us that to the lowest point of the bed of the river it was three hundred and ten feet. It will be recollected that Niagara measures but 164 feet on the American side and ng
ALLIGATORS —SO CALLED. 141 more than 158 on the English. However the quansity of water at Catskil is comparatively small. The peculiar character of the Falls — the wild, rocky, and almost bottomless ravine into which the waters descend end disappear — and the striking amphitheatre of woody hills, which seems intended as a guard them against intrusion, render them an object of no common attraction to the man of cultivated taste and poetic imagination.
On our way to them through the forests we captured two harmless gold-spotted lizards— alligators, as my friend called them. Not doubting they were as dangerous to handle as the alligators of the Mississippi, we approached them with singular caution. We took them captive by a process that deserves notice. We procured a long straw, tied a loop in the middle, and each holding an end, approached the little innocent creatures with a wariness truly laughable. We placed the loop before one of them. Slowly he moved himself along and at length, as we watched him with intensest gaze, he put his head within. We pulled stoutly. The poor thing breathed but a moment and all was over. In this manner we triumphantly secured both the formidable beasts. It was a bold and perilous adventure. The world will not be witness to the like again.-But adieu to Mountains, Falls, and Alligators.
The next morning we descended and took the boat for Albany. Athens and Hudson are the only places of any interest along the banks of the river 142 ATHENS -- HUDSON - ALBANY. between W*. P*. and Albany. Athens is a small town, but attracts the eye by several beautiful country seats. Hudson is a city, and contained in 1830 more than five thousand inhabitants. It is very favorably situated for manufactories and has many erected on the creeks in the vicinity. Kinderhook, the birth-place or residence of the President of the U. S., is a few miles above Hudson.
At Albany.--When the boat came along-side the. wharf we nearly lost ourselves, as well as bag and baggage, amidst the crowd of porters, coachmen, bystanders, and passengers. However we succeeded at length in reaching the Mansion House where we were well served and well pleased. Albany is a city, not much liked of 'as the country people say, by strangers, notwithstanding it won amazingly upon our good graces and in a short time. We were so fortunate as to meet with many pleasant people—not travelling gentry, but inhabitants of the place — some of honest Dutch lineage. Then the State House, the City Hall, the noble Seminary, the Basin, the multitude of large and comfortable Hotels, the Museum, the Mineral Spring, the old Dutch structure, with its bull-dog knocker, where La Fayette was quartered in the revolution the bustle of business and of pleasure — these contributed to awaken feelings of interest. Then too it was delightful weather. The sun shone bright, but not sultry,and all went merry as a marriage bell.
On the road to Troy (which is perhaps the best
143 in the States) we were pleased with the appearance of Gen. Van Rensselaer's mansion and the United States' Arsenal.
Troy.--- A fine city. Few have the preference according to my taste. I wish I had room to say more.
Saratoga Springs. --- At the United States Hotel. Crowded. No less than two hundred names on the books. All calling themselves fashionable, or anxious to be so called. Of the sick I say nothing, for I have no recollection of seeing any. The country in the vicinity is poor and dreary. Though it is well enough to visit Saratoga for once, to taste the waters of the Springs and see the various sorts of people in this world, it is in itself a dull place, and one must be on the wing,soon or that imp of the evil spirit --- ennui --- will have hold of him. High Rock Spring is a great curiosity. Congress-water is bottled at the rate of twenty-five gross a week and sent to all parts of the Union and into foreign countries. At the time I was in S*. it was sold at $1,75 by the dozen.
We returned over the Mountains home ; and a more fatiguing jaunt I have never taken. Some of the towns we passed through were Schuylersville, Arcansaw, Cambridge, Salem, Arlington, Sunderland, Manchester, Winhall, Peru, Londonderry, Weston, Andover, Chester, Bellows' Falls, &c. --It seems from the names of the towns as if Massachusetts had been transplanted to Vermont.