« 上一頁繼續 »
Our reverie is interrupted by a rattle, and a “ copperhead” glides out across the path. Seen, its life hangs on a single thread, and it immediately falls a victim to our soldier-guide. By the side of cannon is preserved a huge link, long ago a unit in an iron chain or boom which barred the river below against British ships. “Never say your people didn't help the rebs," and how can I attempt a denial, for before me lay one of Whitworth's mighty children, and a rifled gun, which as certainly gathered its shape in the foundries at Ellswick. Oh! England thy offences are many, 6. Alabama” is thy ' unpardonable sin,” but there are 66 Whitworths” and “Armstrongs” also ever before thy brother Jonathan's face. I could understand now the sincerity of a plaint made by a venerable New England friend. We were standing on the Bluff at Ottawa by night, looking upon the silver river below. We had talked long of old England and her people, my friend had told me of the love which he bore to the land of his ancestors, when taking my hand in bis, he said, “Do you know, we felt that Old England did not behave kindly to us in our time of trial and gloom." What could I say, but simply admit it as a partial fact !
Far away on a wooded hill above us is concealed Fort Putman, but there would be no uncertainty as to its “ locus" did an enemy appear. Below are Fort Clinton and Battery Knox, both of them looking out on the river. It is quite a sight to watch the fleet of ships below, as each vessel catches the wind, from round the point, how its sails swell, and carry it scudding out of the windlocked pass. On a little mound on the slope stands Kosciusco's monument, and hard by in an undergrowth of weeping willows and lilacs you stumble upon a well of water, a little fountain and a tangled garden, all of which are identified by tradition with the Polish patriot's
Here too is a dint in the rock, said to have been made by a cannon-ball, fired at random from a ship in the river below, yet it came very near the spot where Kosciusco lay in hiding. A monument has risen to "General Dade and his companions.” Out of a band of 300 men, 3 only were saved in the encounter with the Indians of Florida under Oceola, commemorated by the monument.
West Point is a beautiful spot; mountains close it round on two sides, and the river washes it on the north and east. A spur of the Alleghanies traverses the Appalachian hills and makes the “ entourage" complete. Before leaving we take a glance at the officers' pleasant quarters; we stroll through a grove of trees, which our young romancers have called “Flirtation Walk," and take a peep at Buttermilk Falls. Then after lunching at “Cozzens,” we descend to the ferry, the cry of the kati-did being the only sound that accompanies us to the quiet landing-pier under the rock. “You will have distinguished visitors sometimes” said I to the ferryman. “Oh yes,” he replied, “ one day Mr. Lincoln came and we didn't know him, he was so quiet and plain, but when we found out he was our President the boys did give him a salute." North of West Point on the foundries of Mr. Parrott, the inventor and maker of the famous guns which bear his name.
Leaving the ferry-boat, we stop on shore at Garrisons. A few miles over the hills, the curious visitor will find a New-World Agapemone, with bloom-bearing fruit gardens, scented flower beds, and barns bursting with harvest; a settlement of industrious men and women, who are great in religious dances, straight-cut garments, and theories of free love. (In “New America," my readers will find a graphic description of Mount Lebanon,
from Mr. Dixon's pen.) Shakerism is one of those singular. growths, which claim to find authority and concordat in the Bible. It is another demonstration how the truths of the sacred Book may be wrested to suit any doctrine of man's desire. A member of one of these religious tribes told me of certain tenets of his belief. The paradise of his hope was an earthly one, not in the “new heaven,” but on the “new earth" of St. John's revelation. As a rule, these freaks of practice and belief in things spiritual, like Mormonism, and Free Love, are only excresences on the tree of religious life. American Protestantism is a strong and sturdy-growing tree, overshadowing with its branches, adherənts in every corner of the empire. There are certain boles of oddity upon its trunk, which puzzle a classifier of “isms,” even from the gnarled old lives of Europe. Cut through the bark however, and you will find the rings of evangelical truth increasing in circle year by year. Hope on ! fancy faiths and interpretations shall crumble and die, but the faith of the Apostles shall march on to an everlasting and all-triumphant kingdom.
My companion had a telegram for New York. He committed it for transmission into the hands of a female operator. We observed how skilfully she put the message upon its travels. The tiny room bore evidences of feminine taste. Flower, picture, and needle-work marked a woman's rule. The elegance of the boudoir had been grafted, not unsuccessfully, upon the hard planked walls of the telegraph bureau. If ever American women gain their desire, and enter the lists of employment shoulder to shoulder with men, we trust that they will not surrender the taste and elegance which is the inheritance of their sex.
Near Tarrytown we may see the well where Major André was resting, when pounced upon by the American soldiers. In vain he bid them take his watch and purse. All that a man hath will he give for his life, but no pleading could move the stern honesty of his captors. His life was forfeited. A granite obelisk marks the place, but his remains have rested for more than half a century in Westminster Abbey. A memorial church has risen upon tbe spot of the vision of the “headless horseman." A melancholy interest connects twin associations of the place, the scene of poor Andre's death, and of Irving's happiest legend-creation. Tragedy and comedy have here woven history together.
The open grounds round Sunnyside, are studded with villas of merchant princes. Williams, Jaffray, Cottinet, and Grinnel, are all well known and honoured names, both in the city and at the homes on the Hudson. Irving's cottage is embowered in ivy. The cuttings which have ripened to such dignity and exuberance of growth passed from hand to hand years ago on the banks of the Tweed—Abbotsford the scene-donor and recipient Scott and Irving. The names of “Sleepy Hollow," and "Carl's Mill,” are still known in the vicinity of Tarrytown. They remind us that the romancer, no less than the poet turns "airy nothings” to shape. Irving's "cr cions" will live on, and be read by future generations, for they shine with quiet humour and playful fancy,
the mirth and merriment, Which bar a thousand harms, and lengthen life.
WILL attempt outline sketches of three scenes, each
of which is laid in the region of the famous springs of Saratoga. My readers may fill in the details of each of these pictures for themselves. The first is an historical scene. Two armies are ranged upon the plain. But a few hours ago they were rival hosts, now the tournament of strife is over, the old flag of England is drooping low, before the banner of the new Republic. The defeated British soldiers have laid down their arms, and their commandant is tendering his sword to an American General. Among the staff of officers surrounding General Gates are two prominent figures, one, a patriot Colonel, the ancestor of the honoured Prescott of our times, the other an officer dressed in white uniform, Colonel Morgan, the celebrated commander of the Virginian Volunteers. A fresco painting in the Rotunda at Washington, will perpetuate this memorable scene as long as the Capitol stands.
A populous town has sprung up near the battle-field mentioned in the preceding sketch. Its streets are shaded by maples and elms; gay shops and monster hotels indicate that the place is a resort of the richesse and fashion of the country. Here during the brightest months of the summer solstice, you will find Legislators and Congress-men, Southern planters aud Northern