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up the incidents connected with the remarkable features of nature. To my mind they reflect interest upon each other; I like the story better for the scene, and the scene better for the story. A place of such frequent resort as the Cascade of Melsingah, could not but furnish matter for narrative, either in the events which happened there or in the fortunes of its visitors. I have amassed a budget of these, but on running them over in my mind, I find few of them worth relating. The story of the fat gentleman, whose horse broke its bridle, and made off while its owner was looking at the waterfall, leaving him to trudge to his lodgings on foot ; and that of the elegant young lady, who slipped into the water, and entirely ruined a splendid green barège, worn for the first time, are scarcely of sufficient dignity to be formally recorded. There is a more sentimental history of a young blood from Philadelphia, and a dashing belle from New York, who visited the cascade together. The profound solitude, the tender twilight of the spot, and the soft sound of the waterfall penetrated their hearts; the vows of a passion which had been three days in ripening came involuntarily to their lips, and promises of eternal fidelity were exchanged, of which the rocks and trees were the conscious witnesses. The fond couple were
married the next week, and the honey-moon went off quite delightfully. But he was a rake, and she was a termagant, and no people are so ill paired as these. Before the moon had again filled and emptied her horn, they found each other out, and separated ; and ere the anniversary of their nuptials returned, the hymeneal knot was untied in a court of law, by the dextrous fingers of two Vermont attorneys. There is also a story of a long cherished passion, which for years had been proof against the sneers and calumnies of the world, broken off at last and for ever in this sylvan dell. The lover and the lady visited the cascade with a party of their friends; they differed from each other a few hundred feet in their estimate of the height of the banks, and because he ventured to disagree with her, she never forgave him. It is true that about a week before he had lost, by the failure of a commercial friend, the greater part of his property; but this could not have been the cause of the lady's behaviour, for we know that such considerations have no influence on lovers.
These are stories of modern date, and exemplify the degeneracy of modern manners. Men have greatly changed within the last hundred years, or there is no truth in romances. Both the good and the bad have borrowed something
from each other; the days of heroic virtue and prodigious villany are at an end; the virtuous have become prudent and discreet, and the villain aspires to be respectable. I have only one tale of the Cascade of Melsingah which I can, with a grave face, relate to the youths and maidens, and that is so old, that I fear it is not more than half true. Such as it is, I give it, gathered from the lips of the aged inhabitants of the neighbourhood, with whom the tradition was going to the grave.
The aborigines of North America possessed an exceedingly poetical mythology: it had much of the beauty of the Grecian, with none of its voluptuousness. Besides the Supreme Deity, the Great Master of Life, they worshipped a multitude of subordinate divinities, with whom they believed every part of the universe to be peopled. According to their creed, a Manitto dwelt upon every hill and in every valley, in every open glade and dark morass, in the chambers of every cavern and the heart of every rock, in every fountain and watery depth and running stream. These spirits were propitiated by innocent and unbloody offerings, wreaths of flowers, belts of wampum, clusters of the wild grape, shining ears of maize were spread on the mountain tops, or hung on the cliffs, or laid on the shelves of the
grottos, or dropped into the waters where they were supposed to abide. As every individual among these native tribes, the females as well as the warriors, was placed under the protection of some tutelary spirit, these local divinities were often chosen as the invisible guardians to whose charge they entrusted the fortunes of their lives.
A long time ago, before a white man had settled in the county of Dutchess, the Cascade of Melsingah had also a spirit that lived in its rock and its waters, and was held in uncommon reverence. He was often seen by the Indian hunter who passed that way soon after the going down of the
At that time he appeared under the figure of a gigantic warrior, with an abundance of the grey plumes of the eagle on his head, and a grey robe of the wolf skin thrown around him, standing upright in front of his waterfall. But none were ever permitted to behold him near, and face to face. As the observer drew nigh, the figure gradually disappeared, and in its place he found only the white sheet of water that poured over the rock, falling heavily among the gathering shadows into the pool below. Sometimes also, but more rarely, he was seen in the early twilight before sunrise; and fortunate was the hunter to whom he showed himself at that
hour, for it was an omen of success in the chase. None of the spirits of the surrounding country were oftener beheld in dreams by the Indians that made their haunts above the Highlands; and when the forms of the dead from the land of souls came to their friends in the visions of the night, they were often led by the hand of the gigantic warrior in the wolf-skin and the eagle plumes.
It is now almost a century and a half since there lived among the Indians who inhabited what is now the county of Dutchess, a young girl, the daughter of one of their chiefs whose name is lost by the lapse of time, but the tradition of whose uncommon beauty and gentleness of character still survives. She lost her mother in early childhood; and her father, who had loved her tenderly, and had brought her up with a delicacy quite unusual among the race to which he belonged, died when she was only ten years
A remembrance of his affection, and of the agony she had felt at his loss, seemed to have softened her heart for life, and rendered her an unwilling witness of the scenes of cruelty to which the customs of war among her countrymen gave occasion. After the death of her father she lived alternately in the families of the older warriors who had been his companions in