That evening we stood on the brink of a precipice, over which the dark stream bounded in one final leap of full 300 feet.
A small table of rock which projected over the precipice on one side of the stream, and was drenched by the spray of the fall, sustained a huge trunk of a tree which must have been deposited there by some heavy freshet.
In its habits it resembles the goat, frequenting the rudest precipices
; cropping the herbage from their edges; and like the chamois, bounding lightly and securely among dizzy heights, where the hunter dares not venture.
It was really the hotel we were after, monstrously magnified by the fog, but we took it for the face of a precipice, and decided not to try to claw up it.
We sat with our backs to the precipice, because what little wind there was came from that quarter.
Its sources might lie among wild and inaccessible cliffs, and tumble and foam down rugged defiles and over craggy precipices; but its direction was in the true course, and up this stream he determined to prosecute his route to the Rocky Mountains.
It abounds in the Rocky Mountains, from the fiftieth degree of north latitude, quite down to California; generally in the highest regions capable of vegetation; sometimes it ventures into the valleys, but on the least alarm, regains its favorite cliffs and precipices, where it is perilous, if not impossible for the hunter to follow.
The immense mountains and precipices
that overhung me on every side, the sound of the river raging among the rocks, and the dashing of the waterfalls around spoke of a power mighty as Omnipotence--and I ceased to fear or to bend before any being less almighty than that which had created and ruled the elements, here displayed in their most terrific guise.
"El Elohim!" ejaculated the Pharisee, as the discordant tones of the centurion rattled up the crags of the precipice
, and fainted away against the temple -"El Elohim!--who is the god Phoebus?--whom doth the blasphemer invoke?
I could go on for years, but I will content myself with adding, that I shall never forget that glorious summer evening, and always remember with delight that steep hill, and the edge of the precipice
where we stood together, watching the splendid sunset mirrored in the restless world of waters at our feet--with hearts filled with gratitude to heaven, and happiness, and love--almost too full for speech.
The frank-hearted stranger had just drawn his chair to the fire when something like a heavy footstep was heard without, rushing down the steep side of the mountain, as with long and rapid strides, and taking such a leap in passing the cottage as to strike the opposite precipice. The family held their breath, because they knew the sound, and their guest held his by instinct.
Nobody could help laughing at the child's notion of leaving a warm bed, and dragging them from a cheerful fire, to visit the basin of the Flume,--a brook, which tumbles over the precipice, deep within the Notch.