Lehigh University
The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
Previous Issue Next Issue
Previous Page Next Page
0 matches

Text for Page 149 [10-03-1853]

              accompanying us until we were safe on our way,) were presently on Lethe.
Winding along, the black void above, and by the overhanging cliffs,
rock-islets and promontories, we held our way.   The first arch was now
visible, but barely practicable, the Great Walk still half submerged, necessitating
much jumping and even wading, and my boots were speedily filled with water.
Echo River being reached in safety, Mr Miller and another attach� of the 
Hotel, who had accompanyed us, turned back.   We, embarking in another
boat held on, and another landing place being reached, Alfred intimated he was
about to go under the Second arch, inquiring who wished to accompany him,
and who would foot it through Purgatory.  I preferred the watery way, as
did Maurice Keene, one of Kellam�s Kentuckian born friends.  So, crouching
low under the black arch we glide, our sable boatman propelling us onwards
by the light of our three lamps placed on the fire-plank; now issuing his paddle,
now with hands upon the low ceiling as motive power.  Low curving the arch
bent over our squatting forms, to meet the dismal pool on either side, in the
solid liquid blackness of which our lanthorn glare was redly reflected. The waters
were scarcely a fingers length from the gunwale of the boat, deep withal, no 
or projection visible. That was a solemnly passed five minutes, to crouch down
with the pitiless rock pressing over you, the horrible waters below, solid
blackness before and behind, and to think of green trees and birds and bright
sunlight high up over you, � as Schiller has it �
                          �To think of light and Air above
                             Of Human Voices and Human Love�
Right glad was I to round to where the other twain awaited us, yet I would
not willingly have missed that grisly ferry-path.   Of the length of these sub-
terranean rivers tis difficult to judge, so prone are you to imagine then longer
than they are.   Lake Lethe, (Mr Miller is my authority,) is 150 yards at
low water, when boats are kept at its entrance, and at the first Arch.   In
high water at the Second and Third, (where Purgatory and Echo River join)               
Loading content ...