Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

to make their appearance frequently at the door of their hut, from whence they were driven with some difficulty and danger.

21. Thus these three different sorts of animals were the only food of these miserable mariners, during their long and dreary abode on this island.

22. The intenseness of the cold, and the want'of proper conveniences, rendered it impossible for them to cook their victuals properly, so that they were obliged to eat their provisions almost raw, and without bread or salt.

23. There was but one stove in the hut, and that being in the Russian manner, was not proper for boiling. However, to remedy this inconvenience as much as possible, they dried some of their provisions, during the summer, in the open air, and then hung them up in the upper part of the hut, which being continually filled with smoke, they thus became thoroughly dried.

24. This they used instead of bread, which made them relish their half boiled meat the better. They procured their water in summer, from the rivulets that fell from the rocks; and in the winter, from snow and ice thawed. This was their only drink, and their small kettle was the only convenience they had to make use of for this and many other purposes.

25. As it was necessary to keep up a continual fire, they were particularly cautious not to let the light be extinguished; for though they had both steel and flints, yet they had no tinder, and it would have been a terrible thing to be without light, in a climate where darkness reigns so many months during the winter.

26. They therefore fashioned a kind of lamp, which they filled with rein-deer fat, and stuck into it some twisted linen shaped in the form of a wick. After many trials, they a last brought their lamp to complete perfection, and kept i burning without intermission, from the day they first madı it, till they embarked for their native country.

27. They also found themselves in want of shoes, boots and other necessary articles of dress, for all which they foun wonderful resources in that genius to which necessity give birth,

28. Having lived more than six years upon this dreary and inhospitable island, a ship happened to arrive there, which took three of them on board, and carried them back to their native country. The fourth man was seized with the scurvy, and being naturally indolent, and not using proper exercise, he died, after lingering for some time, when his companions buried him in the snow.

PEDIGREE-A DIALOGUE BETWEEN MARY AND HER

AUNT BETTY.

Mary.

AUNT Betty.! why are you always mending that old picture ?

Aunt Betty. Old picture! miss, and pray who told you to call it an old picture?

Mary. Pray, aunt, is it not an old picture? I am sure it looks ragged enough.

Aunt B. And pray, niece, is it not ten times more valuable on that account? I wish I could ever make you entertain a proper respect for your family.

Mary. Do I not respect the few that remain of them, and yourself among the rest? But what has that old-what shall I call it, to do with our family ?

Aunt B. It is our family coat of arms; the only document which remains to establish the nobility and purity of our blood.

Mary. What is purity of blood, aunt? I am sure I have heard Mrs. Pimpleton say your complexion was almost orange, and she believed it arose from some impurity of the blood.

Aunt B. Tut, tut! you hussey, I am sure my complex. ion will not suffer by a comparison with any of the Pimpleton race. But that is neither here nor there; it matters not what the complexion is, or the present state of the blood, provided the source is pure. Do people drink the less water, because it filtrates through clay?

Mary. But what is pure and noble blood, aunt?
Aunt B. Blood, my dear, which has proceeded from

some great and celebrated man through the veins of many generations, without any mixture with vulgar blood.

Mary. Then whom did we proceed from, Aunt Betty ?

Aunt B. From Sir Gregory Mc Grincell, who lived in the time of Elizabeth, and left sons a dozen, from the youngest of whom, James Mc Grincell, gentleman, we are descended.

Mary. What does a gentleman mean, aunt?

Aunt B. It means one who has too high a sense of his an. cestry to engage

in any of what are vulgarly called the useful employments.

Mary. It must mean a lazy man, then, I should think.Was he not extremely poor, aunt?

Aunt B. Poor! What is poverty in the scale of nobility? It is the glory of our house that they have always preferred honourable poverty to disgraceful industry.

Mary. Why, aunt, every body does not think as you do. I heard the parson's wife say you would be a better Christian, and serve your Maker more faithfully, by doing something profitable, than by spending your time in idleness, and depending upon the church for support.

Aunt B. She had better mind her own business, and not slander her parishioners. Mighty well, indeed, if the descendant of Sir Gregory Mc Grincell is to be taught her duty to her ancestors by the daughter of a ploughman, and the wise of a country parson. Mary. I am sure she is a very good woman, and

my mother considers her a pattern of humility.

Aunt B. Did she display her humility in walking before me at the Deacon's funeral ? Answer me that.

Mary. She had not the arrangement of the procession, aunt.

Aunt B. She ought to have known her place, however. I shall take care how I go to any more vulgar funerals, to be insulted, I proinise you.

Mary. I cannot see what should make us better than our neighbours, for my mother once told me that her grandfather was only a hostler.

Aunt B. Your inother takes a great deal of pains to expose the dark spots in our escutcheon. But did she ever tell you that when my grandfather was engaged in that

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

profession, it was customary for gentlemen' to be their own grooms ? No, I'll warrant not.

Mary. Then there is no disgrace in any employment, if it be only fashionable?

Aunt B. None at all, my dear, for Count Rumford was a Cook, and Sir Isaac Newton a Spectacle maker.

Mary. But of what use is our noble blood in this country, Aunt, where merit alone is respected ?

Aunt B. Merit, indeed! and what have we to do with merit? It is well enough for those of vulgar origin to possess merit, the well born do not need it. Mary. How did our great ancestor obtain this title then?

Aunt B. O, to be sure the founder of a family must do something to deserve his title.

Mary. What did Sir Gregory do?

Aunt B. Do! why he painted so flattering a likeness of Queen Elizabeth, that she knighted him immediately.

Mary. Then he was a painter by trade?

Aunt B. By trade! the minx will drive me distracted. Be it known to you, miss, we have never had a tradesman.in our family, and I trust I never shall live to see it so degraded. Painting was merely Sir Gregory's profession.

Mary. I hope I shall learn in tiine to make the proper distinctions; but I fear it will be difficult, for my mother always taught me to allow no other distinction than that of personal worth, and I must confess I do not see the propriety of any other.

Aunt B. No, and I presume you never will, while your mother entertains ber present lowideas, of meritorious industry, as she pleases to call the occupation of those who are mean enough to work for their living. I did hope to make you sensible of the dignity of your descent, but I now find I must look elsewhere for an heir tony invaluable legacy, this precious, precious coat of arms.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

DESCRIPTION OF THE FALLS OF NIAGARA.

[ocr errors]

A

MONG the many natural curiosities which this country affords, the cataract of Niagara is infinitely

the greatest. In order to have a tolerable idea of this stapendous fall of water, it will be necessary to conceive that part of the country in which Lake Erie is situated, to be elevated above that which contains Lake Ontario, about three hundred feet.

2. Figure to yourself the first collection of these waters, at a distance of more than two thousand miles, passing through the Lake of the Woods, and several smaller ones, and at length falling into Lake Superiour, which is at least sixteen hundred miles in circumference, and is supplied by more than thirty considerable rivers.

3. This vast body of water passes into Lake Huron, which is eight hundred miles in circumference, where, meeting the waters of Lake Michigan, which is larger than Lake Huron, it continues its course into Lake Erie, which is nearly eight hundred miles in circuit.

4. This immense collection of water then rushes down the Niagara river to the frontier of what may be called the upper country, where with astonishing grandeur it is precipitated down a perpendicular precipice of about one hundred and seventy-six feet, which forms the celebrated cataract of Niagara.

5. The Canada shore affords the most satisfactory view of these falls, as the greatest body of water descends upon that side, but the view from the other side is not without its peculiar beauties. That part of the Canada shore which presents a full view of the falls is called the Table Rock. It is the nearest point which may be approached with safety, as it is just upon the margin of the great sheet of falling water.

6. From this spot you have a fair view of the whole falls, rushing with such incredible swiftness over the precipice to the unfathomable abyss beneath, that when you first fix your eye upon the descending mass, you involuntarily shudder, and retreat as if fearful of being overwhelmed in the vast descept of waters.

7. The current of the Niagara river begins to grow very strong more than two miles above the falls, so that in order to cross over in safety it is necessary to ascend a mile further. The first mile above the falls exhibits one continued scene of foaming billows dashing and rebound

« AnteriorContinuar »