Mr. Waples saw it all now. The spirit overhead, with equal and eternal pressure, forced down this meteoric water through the slopes of stone, until it reascended toward the clouds of its origin and was lost in the forest of the fossils, where every decaying fibre made bubbles to drive it forward, and hold in solution the mineral substances it was to receive in the porous magnesian barrier between it and freedom. Soaking through this, the water escaped by the break in the strata at the arch of the Fault Finder.
But who had ever passed back against the current of the earth’s barometry, from the spa to the reservoir, like Andrew Waples, of Horntown, Eastern Shore of Virginia?
He felt a mighty vanity overwhelm him to get recognition of some kind from Bellydown, who disdained even thunder for a language.
“Thou sprawling spirit, up yonder in the sky!” shouted Mr. Waples, with much firmness, “if thou art not mere nightmare, mere figment of the sciences, let me feel thy strength unequally, for once!”
The vast cloud object moved and yawned. Something like a small world, wearing a boot, smote Andrew Waples in the rear, as if the spirit above had kicked him on the proper spot. He felt a pain and a flying sensation, that was like paralysis on wings, and he never seemed to stop for years, until he fell and struck the ground, and, after an interval, looked around him.
He was in his room, at the United States Hotel, and had fallen out of bed. The clock in the Baptist church cupola struck two. On the gas bracket was pinned a written notice, not yet dry, that Andrew Waples had just started for the High Rock Spring.
But he knew that his adventure continued to be true, for when he went to breakfast at daylight, he found he had no stomach.
Four hundred miles of brawling
through many a mountain pass,
From the shadow of the Catskills to the rocks of Havre de Grace,
The Susquehanna flashes by willowy isles of May
And deluges of April to the splendors of the bay.
It brings Otsego water and
Chenango’s sunny current and dark Swatara’s night,
By booms of lumber winding and rafts of coal and ore,
And gliding barges crossing the dams from shore to shore.
It is an aisle of silver along
the mountain nave,
Where towers the Alleghany reflected in its wave,
By many a mine of treasure and many a borough quaint,
And many a home of hero and tomb of simple saint.
The granite gates resign it
to mingle with the bay,
And softened bars of mountain stand glowing o’er the way;
The wild game flock the offing; the great seine-barges go—
From battery to windlass, and singing as they row.
The negroes watch the lighthouse,
the trains upon the bridge,
The little fisher’s village strewn o’er the grassy ridge,
The cannoneers that, paddling in stealthy rafts of brush,
With their decoys around them, the juicy ducks do flush.