CHAPTER XI. "I've seen nothing" - A disappointment - Incongruities - Hotel gaieties and "doing Niagara" - Irish drosky-drivers - "The Hell of Waters" - Beauties of Niagara - The picnic party - The White Canoe - A cold shower-bath - "The Thunder of Waters"
At Niagara I finally took leave of the Walrences, as I had many visits to pay, and near midnight left for Hamilton, under the escort of a very kind, but very Grandisonian Scotch gentleman. I was intensely tired and sleepy, and it was a very cheerless thing to leave a warm room at midnight for an omnibus-drive of two miles along a bad, unlighted road. There did not appear to be any waiting-room at the bustling station at the suspension bridge, for, alas! the hollow scream of the locomotive is heard even above the thunder of Niagara. I slept in the cars for an hour before we started, and never woke till the conductor demanded payment of my fare in no very gentle tones. We reached Hamilton shortly after two in the morning, in the midst of a high wind and pouring rain; and in company with a dozen very dirty emigrants we entered a lumber waggon with a canvas top, drawn by one miserable horse. The curtains very imperfectly kept out the rain, and we were in continual fear of an upset. At last the vehicle went down on one side, and all the Irish emigrants tumbled over each other and us, with a profusion of "Ochs," "murders," and "spalpeens." The driver composedly shouted to us to alight; the hole was only deep enough to sink the vehicle to the axletree. We got out into a very capacious lake of mud, and in again, in very ill humour. At last the horse fell down in a hole, and my Scotch friend and I got out and walked in the rain for some distance to a very comfortable hotel, the City Arms. The sun had scarcely warmed the world into waking life before I was startled from my sleep by the cry, "Six o'clock; all aboard for the 'bus at half-past, them as goes by the Passport and Highlander:" but it was half-past, and I had barely time to dress before the disagreeable shout of "All aboard!" echoed through the house, and I hurried down stairs into an omnibus, which held twenty-two persons inside, commodiously seated in arm-chairs. I went down Lake Ontario in the Highlander; Mr. Forrest met me on the wharf, and in a few hours I was again warmly welcomed at his hospitable house.
My relics of my visit to Niagara consisted of a few Indian curiosities, and a printed certificate filled up with my name, [Footnote: "Niagara Falls, C. W.: Register Office, Table Rock. - This is to certify, that Miss - - has passed behind the Great Falling Sheet of Water to Termination Rook, being 230 feet behind the Great Horse-shoe Fall. - Given under my hand this 13th day of - - , 1854. - THOMAS BARNETT."] stating that I had walked for 230 feet behind the great fall, which statement, I was assured by an American fellow-traveller, was "a sell right entirely, an almighty all-fired big flam."