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THE DELAWARE WATER GAP.
the view of the Gap more than compensates for the loss of water scenery. By and by, we enter the gorge in the mountains, and the river again appears in sight. This gorge is one of the geological wonders of the country. By what tremendous convulsion of nature was the bosom of the earth here rent in twain, and mountains nearly two thousand feet in height, piled up on either side of this chasm? Who can tell ? For miles the road passes through this
gorge, with the steep, in some places almost perpendicular Pennsylvania mountains on one side, and the Delaware, softly, darkly, and slowly wending its way, as if in sympathy with the majestic hills that lorms its banks, on the other.
The principal hotel here—the only one which deserves the name-is situated so as to command one of the finest views in the whole gorge. From the piazza in the rear of this house, the landscape is glorious, especially when seen by moonlight. No one who visits the Water Gap should fail of a moonlight view. There are features in this landscape which can be much better appreciated by the soft light of the moon.
How charming beyond description was the scene presented from the window of our chamber, as the moon slowly climbed those tal) cliffs until she looked down upon the still smooth surface of the river, and her image was reflected there. Below, at the depth of two hundred feet, is the bed of the river. It seems to enter this gorge by magic. You cannot trace its inlet. You cannot hear a murmur from its flow.
It is rapid and noisy above, but as it enters this chasm, its voice is hushed, and all is as still as the grave. It flows on, though the frowning hills of the New Jersey shore, by a sudden curve through a huge wall, seem vainly endeavoring to stay its
This hill, one of the highest in the whole group, appears to stretch directly across the channel of the river; and you can scarcely resist the conviction that the Delaware has found its goal in a fairy lake. The moon, who has ever been proverbially friendly to fairies, assists not a little in the mezzotinting of this picture.
Scarcely less sublime is the view of this Alpine landscape in the early morning of a clear day. The gifted and lamented William L. Stone remarked this view, and has pictured it so much more vividly than we can teach our pen to picture it, that we must use his own words: “ These masses of naked rocks are comparatively undistinguishable while obscured
by the raven wing of night. But their dusky sublimity is greatly enhanced, when revealed to the eye in their unclouded majesty by the light of day. In the gray of the morning, before the sun has gilded their tops, almost its entire section is in view, peering from the yet unretreating shade, and disclosing the abrupt sinuosities of the river, and the rugged hills around, for the most part clothed with wood to their summits, and the whole scene wild and fresh as if just from the hand of Nature. Low in the gulf, at the base of the mountains, a cloud of milk-white va por sleeps upon the bosom of the river. In half an hour, with a change of temperature in the surrounding atmosphere, the vapor begins to ascend, and a gentle current again wafts it, as by the sweet, soft breathing of morn herself, without breaking the cloud, to the opposite side of the river. There for awhile it hangs in angel whiteness, like a zone of silver belting the mountain. Below, along the whole course of the gulf, the sides of the mountains are yet clad in solemn and shadowy drapery, while in bright and glorious contrast, the sun, having at length begun climbing the sky in good earnest, their proud crests are now glittering with golden radiance."
But it is impossible to enjoy all the luxury of this vast theatre of loveliness, without viewing it from several different points ; and that which, on the whole, commands the most attractions, is from a small boat on the river. In company with some half a dozen ladies and gentlemen, we sailed down the stream, under the base of the mountains, and passed through the gulf. The naked rocks, in one place, rise almost perpendicularly from the river to the height of several hundred feet. In this chasın we discharged a gun, which we had taken with us for the purpose, and the result was a succession of echoes the most splendid we ever heard.
But we are tiresome. What a multitude of proofs and illustrations of the beneficence as well as the wisdom of God, do we see wherever our eye falls upon his works. And the more familiar we become with Him, as we read the book of nature, the more we must discover that is beautiful and lovely. Why did not that Almighty World-maker create an orb for us, as level on every foot of its surface as the prairies of the west ? Why did he break up this earth into hills and valleys, mountains and plains ? He might have made it otherwise. Why did
WATCHER ! 'tis dark, and thy dwelling is lonely
The night-lamp shines dimly, and so does thine eye ;
And thou wilt be glad when 'tis thy turn to die !
Hope in thy heart let its promise awake,
Never a night but its morning shall break !
Roaring above thee and rattling around;
Right on thy pathway where pitfalls abound !
Harmlessly o'er thee the storm-king shall ride!
But yon is a valley both sloping and wide !
Hath spread o'er thy landscape the gloom of his wing;
No joy to thy bosom the springtime can bring.
Yes-even to the heartsick, a balm can be given,
Drink deeply—drink oft, for the fount is in heaven !
Oh, ye who in darkness are groping your way;
Who are sure that the midnight will never be day-
Stand fast by your duty, your God and your right!
Assured it shall bring you both healing and light!
THE WIDOW'S SON.
BY I. ANDERSON SMITH.
The widow Sterling was not only failing in health, but she was nearer death than any one had an idea of. No deep lines disturbed the meek expression of her fading face, and none who looked on her pale countenance even under the burden of pain, could ever again forget that image, at once so solemn and so beautiful. She knew that she must die, but her grief was calm, she repined not; not a murmur escaped her lips. Every troubled feeling was hid from mortal eye.
Her son, her only child, stood by the bedside, pale and tremulous. Ile had watched her through the longest night he had ever known, and he was now about to take leave of her till noon, for he had to be at his work very early in the morning. They owned the cottage where they lived, but you could easily see that they were poor. George, by trade, was a blacksmith, and though he worked hard, very hard, it was as much as he could do to get along comfortably. His wages were small, and the villagers at that time, it would seem, gave his employer but very little work ; for he was a cross surly man, and instead of attending as he should to his business, spent the greater portion of his time in the tivern, drinking and carousing with a party of boon companions, while George and the apprentice boy did the work.
That morning when he left his mother, bis heart was very full; each month, each week, each day, had seemed to bring him new stores of silent feeling and thought, but his hopes were darker that day than they had ever been before.
He had kissed her “ good bye” till noon, and was closing the little garden gate, when he heard the song of a lark, as it started from a bush in the meadow below, and went carolling its sweet lay high up in the sky. That little song from the tiny throat of the lark, how simple and how beautiful; but it had no music for him. On, on he went, with downcast head and tearful eye, the bright sunbeams dancing in his path, and the little birds singing their sweet, wild songs, as if they too would like to see him
happy. Here and there he passed a little boy or girl gathering flowers, pinks and carnations, to take with them when they went to school, and as they saw his face they too would welcome him gladly, for he was a favorite with them all — the golden-haired, blue-eyed little children. Old farmer Brown was sitting on his stoop in his shirt sleeves as George went by, and although he bowed as usual, he told his wife at breakfast, that he was “afraid that he was not long for this world, he looked so dejected and sorrowful.”
Farmer Brown could have found out without much trouble the cause of George's grief, but, like a good many others in the world, being fearful that it is “ catching,” let it alone.
Just before he reached the shop, he looked up and saw a bright face smiling on him from a little window in a cottage by the roadside. It was the face of Lucy Cole, the prettiest and best-hearted girl in the whole village. It was her custom every morning to greet him as he went to work, for they had long known each other, and rumor said they were shortly to be married. She had never seen him look so sorrowful before, and her little heart beat strangely as he passed from sight.
As we said just now, there was not a better or a prettier girl in the village than Lucy Cole, and it quite astonished a good many when they learned that she was rather partial than otherwise to the young blacksmith. They were seen together every Sunday at the village church, they sat together in the same pew, read together out of the same book,-surely what could it all mean, if they were not going to get married ? No, no, that could not be either, for there was not a rich gentleman's son for twenty miles around, who was not in love with Lucy, and most assuredly she would not cast them aside and take up with a poor blacksmith, whose only fortune was a pair of big, coarse hands, and strong arms. sips much mistook Miss Lucy Cole's character, if she offered" encouragement" to such a fellow, in preference to gayer and richer suitors.
They did mistake her character, as it will appear presently.
When George arrived at the shop, he found his employer and the apprentice boy, for the first time in many months, there before him. The sparks flew out cheerfully from the fire as he entered, but as he caught a glimpse of his employer's face, he discovered that all was not so pleasant there.
“ I thought I told you to come early,” said Hugh Fowler, resting his hammer on the an. vil, and endeavoring to look George steadily in the eye; “this is a pretty time to be here, isn't it ?" With that Mr. Fowler withdrew his glance, and striking his hammer heavily on the anvil, as if to drown the sound of George's voice, commenced whistling.
“My mother is worse this morning”
“Oh, gammon,” continued Mr. Fowler, interrupting George as he spoke. “I've heard enough about your mother being sick; once and a while that story will do to tell when business is slack, but when they are running us down with work, why it isn't the thing, Mr. Sterling."
“ I am very sorry, indeed," said George, “ that I have disappointed you, but really I endeavored to be here as early as I possibly could."
“Well, all I've got to say is this,” replied the blacksmith rather savagely; “ if you are not on hand another morning a little sooner, I'm thinking you'll have to look out for other quarters. I'm rather a plain man in business, Mr. Sterling, that's all!"
George's mother was failing in health, and they were very poor. Need we say that he was very sorry for the disappointment he had occasioned, and that he would do his best to prevent anything of the kind happening again?
He went to work, but with a heavy heart. The villagers, as they came in with little jobs, noticed the change in his appearance, and nearly every one, for they esteemed him highly, inquired if he was well. Every interrogatory was answered in the affirmative, but they shook their heads and looked doubtful about the matter.
At last noon arrived. It had been a long while coming for him, and he started for home with a lighter step than when he came away. Fowler had left the shop half an hour or so before him to take his “noon-day sweetener,” as he called it, at the village tavern. George had to pass by the “Gray Eagle” on his way home, and as he was going by, several voices called
for him to come back and take a drink.” He looked around, and among the rest he saw Fowler with a glass in his hand.
“Come along !" they shouted, as with one voice;" come along!"
He shook his head and passed on.
“ You might have known it,” said the half drunken blacksmith, as he swallowed the last drop of the poisoned liquid; “ he's too mean to treat or be treated. He ain't worth noticing, and if it wasn't for his being a pretty good workinan, he wouldn't be in my shop ten minutes.”
As the indignant Fowler delivered himself of this speech, the party assembled gave quite a hearty laugh, and forthwith marched up to the bar, for the purpose of " drinking his health with a sentiment.” The doctor's horse was standing at the garden gate when George reached home, and he noticed that the blinds to the window of his mother's room, instead of being closed, were opened. This gave hiin a world of joy, for he thought perhaps she might be better. But oh, how bitterly was he disappointed. Lucy was there, and had been a short time before reading the Bible, which laid open with a leaf turned down before her. The widow Sterling was quite easy during the morning, but within an hour or so of George's arrival home, she had been taken very ill.
“I can give you no hope," said the physician, calling George aside; “ I am afraid your mother is not destined long for this world !”
He knew that his mother could not live a very long while, but he did not dream that she would be taken away from him so soon. She had been wasting slowly, day by day, and now that the dreadful truth that she must die and leave him shortly flashed upon him all at once, no words can tell, no language paint the anguish of his heart. He had been used to trouble-- he had been brought up to it from a boy, and now it had become a second nature to him; he could stand the summer's heat, the winter's cold, the insult of the rich man, the cold, haughty sneer, and every pain or pang to which humanity is liable—but this last blow came with a weight crushing and terrible. Every little incident of his life rose in full force before him: her kindness to him, and the many times he used to disobey her wishes and cause her many a sigh, long, long years ago, when he was a little boy.
When death strikes down the beautiful and good, when those who have brightened the path of life by the sunshine of their smiles are
THE WIDOW'S SON.
suddenly cut down and taken from among us, how dreary, desolate, and unnatural seems the world. We are lost for a time, and can hardly realize the dreadful truth; but soon it comes home to us, thrilling to our souls, and we see in every face, in every object that strikes our vision, the palpable reality of that which fills our heart with sadness.
“Do not weep for me, George, do not weep for me,” said his mother, clasping her arms fondly around his neck. “I am very happy now -very happy! Methinks I hear a hymn, and children singing in the church, the same hymn they sang the last sabbath that you and I were there together; how sweet and beautiful it seems; ah, it is dying away now-how soft ; take me closer to the window—there, now it is stealing back gently again."
It was a calm and beautiful afternoon—not a breath was stirring, and the western sun diffused over the landscape a bright but softened repose. A gentle fragrance filled the air, while the leaves of the violet and the lily trembled in the sunbeams.
" Mother, dear mother, you are not dying ; no, you are not going to leave us, are you?” cried George, still clinging to her neck.
There was a proud and beautiful expression in her face as she replied, “ Not forever, my darling boy, not forever.” She clasped his hand tightly as she said, “ We will meet in heaven, George, we will meet there, purified from every earthly stain. Remember what I have taught you—avoid evil company. Lucy and you will both be happy till we meet again; but then, then-kiss-oh kiss me once before I die !"
They both stooped down, and she had just strength to put her arms out, when, with a sigh, she expired.
She was carried in the sunshine to her grave, and room was made among the daisies for her to sleep. Her life was pure and beautiful to the last, and she died beloved and lamented by all who knew her. A square white piece of marble above her head bears this simple and touching inscription:
“MOTHER." Not long after the death of George's inother,
the body of Hugh Fowler was found in a thicket near his workshop, terribly cut and mangled. He had been off on a drunken spree, and it was supposed by the villagers that he had been murdered by some of his companions, for the purpose of obtaining the little money he had in his possession. George took the shop, and by his steady, upright conduct, succeeded in his business admirably. Every one liked him, and every one encouraged him with their work.
He was married to Lucy, contrary to the expectations of a good many who did not believe she would marry an “ugly blacksmith.” Although George was doing well in his business, and he was very happy with the love of Lucy, a shade of sorrow at last came upon their hearth, and changed it to a picture of gloom. There is nothing beautiful that we may love with the hope of its continuing so. Their little daughter, the first pledge of connubial bliss, like a lovely flower was stricken down and hurried to the grave. The future had presented a bright picture of happiness to them, but how soon was it clouded. The blow came hard, very hard, but in their sorrow they learned it were vain to hope, in this world, that the things now bright and beautiful should long be so. The brightest and the sweetest flowers seem the first to droop and die. Their child was too beautiful for earth, and in the midst of the tender caresses of its mother, it closed its little
eyes in death.
In 181-, George Sterling, of the village of M, in the State of New York, was sent to the Legislature by the people of bis county. There was no laughing at the “ugly blacksmith” now; oh no, the story was quite of another character. By the force of his talents and good deeds he rose from poverty and obscurity to a position which brought him fame and distinction. He was the architect of his own fortune ; but to one, and one only, he said he was indebted for his success in life-his mother. We hope that there will be many who will follow the example of the Widow's Son-we hope there will be many who will avoid evil companions as they would the deadly poison of the wine cup, and learn to be patient, and wait for the “ good time coming."
New York, May 18, 1818.