Puslapio vaizdai

of water is as straight as an arrow, moving with such depth and calmness that its liquid pavement wears the similitude of solid glass. The towering walls, with their fragmentary edges all water-worn, exhibit plainly the action of freshet and flood.

From no point is the view grander than from the summit of this stairway. Cedars and pines brood over the gorge, overspreading its gulf with an evergreen canopy. Below, to the rear of the stairs, embosomed in a vast rocky fissure, unnumbered ferns are grouped, carpeting the cave with their delicate fronds, and completing this bower of greenery. If the fairies haunt this dell, this nook must be their presence-chamber. Turning from the enchanted spot, the vista to the right is as singularly picturesque. On a ledge below, not accessible to man, but readily so to the prince of darkness, is the Devil's Punch Bowl. The story goes that Satan, after cooking his daily meal in the Oven, resorts to the Punch Bowl to inaugurate his midnight debauch. To us the basin seemed to hold only pellucid water. If any other liquor is brewed in it, it is


done so mysteriously as to leave no after


The origin of the Chasm is betrayed by the semi-circular excavations apparent in various parts of its walls. These rock hieroglyphics, which can be read by any geologist, are many feet above the present water-level, and were evidently chiseled by the water. Like the Niagara river, the Au Sable owes its formation to the persistent quarrying of the water, aided at the outset, probably, by a volcanic upheaval of nature, by which the rocks were partially riven. Ripple marks are visible throughout the chasm at every stage of its height, and geologists have found numerous specimens of bivalvular mollusks, termed lingulæ.

To adequately describe all of the freaks of nature here would require a book rather than the brief compass of a magazine article, and we must hurry on, merely naming Mystic Gorge, a deep lateral fissure extending on both sides of the river; Cape Eternity, a beetling promontory on the side opposite to the spectator; Hyde's Cave, another rift in the rocks forming a

double cave; Castle Rock; Tarpeian Cliff, and Druid Rock.

The gallery of the Via Mala, however, merits especial mention, since it distinguishes Au Sable above every other glen in this country yet opened, and affiliates it to the famous Splugen Pass and Gorge du Triènt in Switzerland. Until last year this portion of the Chasm was inaccessible to visitors, and could only be viewed from a distance, above or below; now it is easy of access, and as safe, even for a child, as any other section. At a height of fifty feet above the stream and for a distance of more than one hundred feet in length, a substantial gallery is firmly fixed by bolts into the perpendicular wall of the gorge. Here you view this lusus naturæ with unrivaled facilities for studying its rock revelations-the cliffs above, the water below, and the lamina of the strata at their various stages up to the summit. Our bachelor had returned but a month prior to this time from the usual European tour, including a run through Switzerland and over the Alps into Italy, and he pronounced Au


Sable Chasm to be unparalleled this side of the cañons of the Yellowstone in America, and only equaled by them, and by the noted Alpine passes in Switzerland.

A host of grotesque natural curiosities discoverable from this point onward can be here merely named, such as Smugglers' Pass, Moorish Castle, the Alcove, the Study, and Decoy Ledge. The Reception. Room is formed by a ledge of sandstone rock which overhangs the path, and in which there are numerous cavities, which visitors have utilized by making receptacles for their cards. I found autographs in the English, Japanese and Turkish languages, from which it is apparent that the fame of this Chasm has reached from the occident to the orient. These cavities are protected from both wind and weather, and their accumulations grow richer with each day's throng of visitors.

Descending the last stairway in the gorge we arrived at Old Point Comfort, opposite Sentinel, Table and Cathedral Rocks, and the point of embarkation for the boat-ride through the Flume. Here we gained an experience in navigation


which at first, from its perfect novelty, was bewildering, but once enjoyed, was sought after again and again.


The boat-ride was strange enough. The boat itself was of the most primitive pattern, flat-bottomed, square at both ends, and with no pretensions to either grace or beauty. But when seated in it, we could see nothing except the colossal walls and peaks about us, and were lost in admiration, and in anticipation of the yet stranger scenes beyond. Our bachelor, intent upon gaining a first view of this subterranean highway, seated himself upon what we may politely term the bow of the boat. boatman asked him to take the seat next removed from it, but he was so wrapped up in his proposed voyage of discovery that he failed to hear the request; and Miranda, who thought she saw sport foreshadowed, softly asked that it should not be repeated. In a moment the boat was loosed from its moorings, and, guided by the boatman, began to descend with the current through the cavernous fissure. It seemed like drifting through the nether world.

The walls arose perpendicularly on either side to the height of one hundred and seventy-five feet, and gradually contracted until ten feet would measure the gap between them.

During this ride the voyager cannot realize his position. He glides for a distance of one thousand feet first over rapid and then placid waters, shut in by cyclopean walls which as he advances between them close upon him, the sky above reduced to a ribbon's breadth, and the water almost literally running upon its edge, being fourteen feet wide and forty feet in depth. It is the concluding and crowning feature of Au Sable Chasm, and one of the marvels of picturesque America.

The ride ends most gracefully. As the boat glides from between the narrow walls it sweeps out into a charming bay, termed the Basin, where the rock-architecture is imposing, the water as clear as crystal, and the rounded view one of romantic beauty. The origin of the name Au Sable became apparent here. Both the bed of the stream and the neigh

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ly disused. There remained of it at last only a single squared girder. Over this a mad-cap boy would sometimes venture, for a freak, but none was known to cross by it except such as were possessed of the insanity of youth. One dark night a clergyman on horseback approached it. He had been absent abroad for several years. When he had been familiar with this section of country the Au Sable bridge was the usual avenue of approach to his home. He knew nothing of its subsequent ruin. Upon drawing near it in the darkness he confidently spurred his horse onward.

visitor. How many changes he might find upon his return-old faces buried, old landmarks removed, old houses fallen into decay. Before he had concluded this waking dream the hoofs of his trusty animal no longer echoed upon the bridge, but struck-the solid ground upon the other side. He was safely over, without an intimation that he had risked the smallest danger. Not until he had reached his home, and was told by what route he had come, did he learn of his tremendous peril. The next morning, when he reviewed, by the light of day, the thread-like pathway over


which he had gone, his knees smote together, and he uttered a prayer of thanksgiving for deliverance from a horri ble death.

A good-for-nothing character in the neighborhood was once caught in the act of theft, near the bridge just described, in the days when it was the usual avenue of travel. It having been playfully suggested by some one that his morals might be improved by suspending him by the heels for a brief season from the bridge over Au Sable Chasm, the punishment was instantly inflicted. The cure proved effectual, but the thief's morals were reformed at the expense of his intellect, for he became a confirmed, though inoffensive, idiot.

A tragedy occurred not many years ago



in the Chasm opposite Table Rock. large fallen tree, the upper face of which was perfectly planed, led to the rock from the opposite side, and was the usual approach to it until the event narrated. a clergyman was in the act of leading a lady across on it, he suddenly lost his balance, and fell into the torrent below. Before aid could be rendered, his body disappeared beneath the current, and was not found for some days, and then far below in a shallow of the river.

In the way of description and adventure much more might be written of the Walled Banks of the Au Sable, as this Chasm was formerly named, but it is well to leave something to be discovered by the reader when he shall explore its wonders for himself.





A RIFTED rock in a wooded hill,
A spring within like a looking-glass,
A nameless rill like a skein of rain
That showed as faint as a feeble vein.
And crept away in the tangled grass
With a voiceless flow and a wandering will,-
The wish-ton-wish of a silken dress,
The murmured tone of a maiden's "yes!"
A thirsty ox could have quaffed it up,
A boy dipped dry with a drinking cup!
Broke in a brook the rill complete--
Broke in a song the brook so fleet-
Broke in a laugh the song so sweet!

'Twas pebble, rubble, and fallen tree,
'Twas babble, double, through every mile;
It battled on with a shout and shock,
And white with foam was the rugged rock,
And dark were the hemlocks all the while,
'Till the road grew broad, and the creek ran free.

It glassed along on the slippery slide,
And shot away with an arrowy glide-
It slipped its shoes and in stocking feet
Under the bank and in from the street
Whirled in a waltz about and out-
Sprinkled with gold and put to rout,-
And bright with the flash of the spotted

The yielding plank of the ivory floor.
Beneath the bridge with a rasping rush,
A bird takes toll,-'tis a thirsty thrush,-
It nears the Gulf of the hemlock night
Where stars shine down in the mid-day light,
It verges the brink of the shadow's lair,
Stumbles and falls on the limestone stair!
Clings to the mute and motionless edge-
Tumbles and bounds from ledge to ledge-

And thunders and blunders down to the sedge!

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