Above the roll of the machinery and noise of the dashing waters comes the grateful melody of happy voices, lulling the tired traveller to repose and chasing away from other faces all recollection of painful responsibilities and cares. A sail on this upper river is a beautiful one, and all who can should make it.
"Of whom art thou speaking, dear?" demanded the wondering, but not the less awe-struck, Adelheid, believing that the weakened nerves of the poor girl were unstrung by the horror of the spectacle "it is a traveller like ourselves, that has unhappily perished in the very storm from which, by the kindness of Providence, we have been permitted to escape.
The desire to reach the heights which bordered the forest on the east entirely absorbed him. He sought among the foliage for the direction of the solar rays so as to march straight on his goal. He did not even see the guide-birds, so named because they fly before the steps of the traveller, stopping, returning, and darting on ahead as if they were showing the way. Nothing could distract him.
True, excellent stepping-stones have been laid across the slough by skilful engineers, but they are always so slippery with the scum and slime of the slough, that it is only now and then that a traveller can keep his feet upon them. Altogether, our author's picture of the Slough of Despond is such a picture that no one who has seen it can ever forget it.
But the spirit of my kinsman soon immerged into more active life: he visited foreign countries as a soldier and a traveller, acquired the knowledge of the French and Spanish languages, passed some time in the Isle of Jersey, crossed the Atlantic, and resided upwards of a twelvemonth in the rising colony of Virginia.
This youth had been a prodigy at college, and European fame was promised him when he was barely fifteen; but when he appeared in the world he failed, first publicly as a dramatist and a demagogue, and then privately for years on end as an actor, a traveller, a commission agent or a journalist.
I chanced to pick up the Tales of a Traveller some years ago with a view to an anthology of prose narrative, and the book flew up and struck me: Billy Bones, his chest, the company in the parlour, the whole inner spirit, and a good deal of the material detail of my first chapters all were there, all were the property of Washington Irving.
Certainly he had cause to complain and any one else would have made his prisoners pay dearly for the disappointment of so many hopes, and the loss of so much money. For all this, however, Boy brought John Lander safely to the brig. Captain Lake received the traveller pretty cordially, but declared his intention of making the king go back without so much as an obolus.
If he continued his travels to Montreal, he might be told, at a certain point, 'Here stood the Parliament Buildings, when our city was the capital of the country; and here a governor-general of Canada was mobbed, pelted with rotten eggs and stones, and narrowly escaped with his life. And if the intelligent traveller asked the reason for such scenes, where now all is peace, the answer might be given in one word Politics.
The broad pathway is very easily recognized here; for it runs over a hard, flinty, low divide, that has never been disturbed by the plough, and the traveller has only to cast his eyes in a northeasterly direction in order to see it plainly. The creek is fairly well timbered to-day, as it has been ever since the first caravan crossed the clear water of the little stream.