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above the heads of Middleton and Paul-and in obtaining a look-out that might command a view of the surrounding sea of fire.

The examination which his companions so instantly and so intently made, rather served to assure them of their desperate situation than to appease their fears. Huge columns of smoke were rolling up from the plain, and thickening in gloomy masses around the horizon. The red glow which gleamed upon the enormous folds, now lighting the volumes with the glare of the conflagration, now flashed to another point, as the flame beneath glided ahead, leaving all behind enveloped in awful darkness, and proclaiming louder than words the character of the imminent and rapidly-approaching danger.

The naturalist stood, tablets in hand, looking at the awful spectacle with as much composure as though the conflagration had been lighted in order to solve the difficulties of some scientific problem. Aroused by the question of his companion, he turned to his equally calm though differently occupied associate, the trapper; demanding, with the most provoking insensibility to the urgent nature of their situation, “Venerable hunter, you have often witnessed similar prismatic experiments,

“It is time to be doing," cried Middleton; "the flames are within a quarter of a mile of us, and the wind is bringing them down in this direction with dreadful rapidity."

" Anan! the flames! I care but little for the flames ! If I only knew how to circumvent the cunning of the Tetons as I know how to cheat the fire of its prey, there would be nothing needed but thanks to the Lord for our deliverance. Do you call this a · FIRE'? If you had seen what I have witnessed in the eastern hills; when mighty mountains were like the furnace of a smith, you would have known what it was to fear the flames, and to be thankful that you were spared. Come,

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lads, come; 'tis time to be doing now, and to cease talking, for yonder curling flame is truly coming on like a trotting moose. Put hands upon this short and withered grass where we stand, and lay bare the 'arth.”

The subtle element seized with avidity upon its new fuel, and in a moment, forked flames were gliding among the grass, as the tongues of ruminating animals are seen rolling among their food, apparently in quest of its sweetest portions.

Now,” said the old man, holding up a finger, and laughing in his peculiarly silent manner, "you shall see fire fight fire. Ah's me! many is the time I have burned a path from wanton laziness to pick my way across a tangled bottom.”

“But is this not fatal ?” cried the amazed Middleton; "are you not bringing the enemy nigher to us, instead of avoiding it?"

“Do you scorch so easily? Your grandfather had a tougher skin. But we shall live to see,-we shall ALL live to see.”

The experience of the trapper was in the right. As the fire gained strength and heat, it began to spread on three sides, dying of itself on the fourth for want of aliment. As it increased, and the sullen roaring announced its power, it cleared everything before it, leaving the black and smoking soil far more naked than if the scythe had swept the place. The situation of the fugitives would still have been hazardous, had not the area enlarged as the flame encircled them. But, by advancing to the spot where the trapper had kindled the grass, they avoided the heat; and in a very few moments the flames began to recede in every direction, leaving them enveloped in a cloud of smoke, but perfectly safe from the torrent of fire that was still furiously rolling onward.

“ Most wonderful !" said Middleton, when he saw the complete success of the means by which they had been rescued from a danger that he had conceived to be unavoidable. “The thought was a gift from Heaven.”

Old trapper,” cried Paul, thrusting his fingers through his shaggy locks, “I have lined many a loaded bee into his hole, and know something of the nature of the woods; but this is robbing a hornet of his sting without touching the insect !"

“ It will do—it will do,” returned the old man, who, after the first moment of his success, seemed to think no more of the exploit. “Let the flames do their work for a short half-hour, and then we will mount. That time is needed to cool the meadow; for these unshod beasts are tender on the hoof as a barefooted

girl.”

The veteran, on whose experience they all so implicitly relied for protection, employed himself in reconnoitring objects in the distance, through the openings which the air occasionally made in the immense bodies of smoke, that by this time lay in enormous piles on every part of the plain. J. FENIMORE COOPER.

THE NATURAL BRIDGE OF VIRGINIA.

[ELIHU BURRITT, commonly called the learned blacksmith, an

American, was born in 1811. He was a working blacksmith, but, by close study and perseverance, made himself master

of many ancient and modern languages.] The scene opens with a view of the great Natural Bridge in Virginia. There are three or four lads standing in the channel below, looking up with awe to that vast arch of unhewn rocks. It is almost five hundred feet from where they stand, up those perpendicular bulwarks of limestone to the key of that vast arch, which appears to them only of the size of a man's hand. The silence of death is rendered more impress

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sive by the little stream that falls from rock to rock down the channel. The sun is darkened, and the boys have uncovered their heads, as if standing in the presence-chamber of the Majesty of the whole earth. At last this feeling begins to wear away; they look around them : and find that others have been there before them. They see the names of hundreds cut in the limestone butments. A new feeling comes over their young hearts, and their knives are in their hands in an instant. “ What man has done, man can do,” is their watchword, while they draw themselves up, and carve their name a foot above those of a hundred full-grown men who have been there before them.

They are all satisfied with this feat of physical exertion-except one, whose example illustrates perfectly the forgotten truth, that there is “no royal road to learning.” This ambitious youth sees a name just above his reach—a name which will be green in the memory of the world when those of Alexander, Cæsar, and Buonaparte shall rot in oblivion. It was the name of Washington. He had been there and left his name, a foot above any of his predecessors. It was a glorious thought to write his name side by side with that great father of his country. He grasps

his knife with a firmer hand, and, clinging to a little jutting crag, he cuts again into the limestone, about a foot above where he stands; he then reaches up and cuts another for his hands. 'Tis a dangerous adventure; but as he puts his feet and hands into those gains, and draws himself up carefully to his full length, he finds himself a foot above every name chronicled in that mighty wall. While his companions are regarding him with concern and admiration, he cuts his name in wide capitals, large and deep into that flinty album. His knife is still in his hand, and strength in his sinews, and a new-created aspiration in his heart. Again he cuts another niche, and again he carves his name in larger capitals. This is not enough ; heedless of the entreaties of his companions, he cuts and climbs again. The gradations of his ascending scale grow wider apart. He measures his length at every gain he cuts. The voices of his friends grow weaker and weaker, till their words are finally lost on his ear. He now for the first time casts a look beneath him—had that glance lasted a moment, that moment would have been his last. He clings with a convulsive shudder to his little niche in the rock. An awful abyss awaits his almost certain fall. He is faint with severe exertion, and trembling from the sudden view of the dreadful destruction to which he is exposed. His knife is worn half-way to the haft. He can hear the voices, but not the words, of his terror-stricken companions below! What a moment! what a meagre chance to escape destruction ! there is no retracing his steps. It is impossible to put his hands into the same niche with his feet and retain his slender hold a moment. His companions instantly perceive this new and fearful dilemma, and await his fall with emotions that “freeze their young blood.” He is too high to ask for his father and mother, his brothers and sisters, to come and witness or avert his destruction. of his companions anticipates his desire.

Swift as the wind he bounds down the channel, and the situation of the fated boy is told upon his father's hearthstone.

Minutes of almost eternal length roll on, and there are hundreds standing in that rocky channel, and hundreds on the bridge above, all holding their breath, and awaiting the fearful catastrophe. The poor boy hears the hum of new and numerous voices both above and below. He can just distinguish the tones of his father, who is shouting with all the energy of despair:

“ William ! William! Don't look down! Your mother, and Henry, and Harriet, are all here praying for you! Don't look down! Keep your eye towards the top !” The boy didn't look down. His eye is

But one

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