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The uniform of his Majesty attracting particular notice, I passed for the important man of the deputation. We were conducted to the Gover. nor's miserable honse, where his Excellency, who was attired in an old green dress which had formerly been ornamented with gold lace, gave us an audience of reception, and graciously permitted us to purchase the articles we wanted.
After this ceremony we were dismissed, and the honest monks conducted us to a large hotel, which was neat, commodious and much more like the Governor's palace than the one he inhabited.
T.... had found a fellow countryman. The brother, who was most active for as, was a Jersey sailor, whose vessel had been wrecked at Gracioza several years before. He was the only one of the crew who escaped death, and being not deficient, as to intelligence, he perceived that there was only one trarle in the island, that of the monks. He resolved, therefore, to become one, listened with great docility to the instructions of the holy fathers, learnt Portugueze as well as a few words of Latin, and being recom
mended by the circumstance of his belonging to England, this wandering sheep was admitted into the sacred fold.
As it was long since he had spoken his own language, he was delighted to find any one that understood it. He walked with us in the island, and took us to his convent.
Half Gracioza appeared to me, without much exaggeration, to be peopled with monks, and the following circumstance may serve 'to convey an idea of the ignorance, in which these good fathers remained at the close of the eighteenth century.
We had been mysteriously conducted to a small organ in the parish church, under the idea that we had never seen so curious an instru. ment. The organist took his seat with a triumphant air, and played a most miserable discordant sort of litany, trying all the time to discover our admiration in our looks. We appeared to be extremely surprised. T.... then modestly approached, and seemed just to touch the keys with great respect. The organist made signs to him, as if saying: “ Take care." All at once
T.... displayed the harmony of a celebrated passage in the compositions of Pleyel. It would be difficult to imagine a more amusing scene. The organist almost fell to the earth; the monks stood openmouthed with pale and lengthened visages, while the brothers in attendance made the most ridiculous gestures of astonishment around us.
Having embarked our provisions on the following day, we ourselves returned on board, accompanied by the good fathers, who took charge of our letters for Europe, and left as with great protestations of friendship. The vessel had been endangered, during the preceding night, by a brisk gale from the East. We wished to weigh anchor, but, as we expected, lost it. Such was the end of our expedition.
A few words concerning the Cataract of Canada.
This famous cataract is the finest in the known world. It is formed by the river Niagara, which proceeds from Lake Erie, and throws itself into the Ontario. The fall is about
nine miles from the latter lake. Its perpendicular height may be about two hundred feet; but the cause of its violence is that, from Lake Erie to the cataract, the river.constantly flows with a rapid declination for almost six leagues : so that, at the place of fall, it is more like an impetuous sea than a river, and a hundred thousand torrents seem to be rusbing towards the gaping gulph. The cataract is divided into two branches, and forms a curve, in the shape of a horse-shoe, the length of which is about half a mile. Between the two falls is an enormous rock hollowed out below, which hangs with all its firs, over the chaos of the waters. The mass of the river, which precipitates itself on the south side, is collected into the form of a large cylinder ať the moment it quits the brink, then rolls out in snowy whiteness, and shines in the sun with every variety of prismatic colours. That, which falls on the northern side, descends in a terrific cloud like a column of water at the delage. Innumerable bows are to be seen in the sky, curving and crossing over the abyss, and from it proceeds a horrid roar which is heard to the
distance of sixty miles around. The water, thus fariously falling on the rock beneath, recoils in clouds of whirling spray, which mount above the summits of the forest, and resemble the thick smoke of a tremendous conflagration. Enor. mous rocks, towering upwards like gigantic phantoms, decorate the sublime scene, Wild walnut trees, of a reddish and scaly appearance, find the means of desolate existence upon these fossil skeletons. Scarcely a living animal is seen in the neighbourhood, except eagles, which, as they hover above the cataract in search of prey, are overpowered by the current of air, and forced with giddy fall to the bottom of the abyss.
The spotted Carcajou, suspended by its long tail from the extremity of a lower branch, tries to catch the fragments of drowned carcases which are thrown ashore by the boiling surge, such as those of elks and bears; while rattlesnakes announce, by their baleful sound, that they are lurking on every side.