Commentary

Disciples


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Friday, October 24, 1890

     All the morning at the Falls—day brightening almost to the time of our departure at three, when it clouded and rained slightly again. Saw American Falls, Goat Island, Three Sister Islands—went in the Maid of the Mist on her round on the face of the Falls—saw the Whirlpool Rapids—went, rubber-suited, under the Canadian Falls (through the tunnel). Everything great—joyous. I was up first in the morning. First sight of the water disappointing. All my boyhood dreams seemed to rise in reproach to the fact. But long dwelling upon them gradually bore the impression of their majesty and beauty: the Canadian Falls especially seeming to testify to the elemental play. I delighted to watch the waters in their mad rush above the cliff. It seemed less the suggestion of a river than of a country flooded—except that the stream came down without debris. All the waters hereabout—even of minor streams—are impetuous—crowd wave by wave on each other's heels—an endless procession—a constant closing-up of ranks. All the trees, all the hills—even the spreading skies—seem dwarfed castaways before this vast volume—this consuming flood. It leaps and breaks, worries and storms, makes mad leaps over into the abyss, foams, melodies, dies away—rises again and sets—hews its age into the unstable rock—dips chasmically at its will to new bottoms—-shames mortal pretense—belittles everything in man but his soul. Here came for the first time full conviction of life. I had no awe—no sorrow—no fear—no timidity—only absolute faith—only satisfying intelligence—as if messaged from final deliverers. The day was so changing—so shifting—that hue and outline seemed in constant new revelations. Bucke indicated to me the point at which W. had viewed the display under the Canadian Falls. The water "falling like a veil before my (his) face," etc.


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     I wrote W. in early morning, but no time or convenience for saying much.

     We reached London about seven—taking supper in B.'s home.

     Shall long know this day, for its play upon the sense of the sublime.

     No letter for either of us from W.


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