Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion. >> Chapter XIII >> Page 124

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Page 124

Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1842
Transcription 124 BEAUCHAMPE.
the silent fisherman took his place, while his fly was
made to kiss the water in capricious evolutions, such as
the experienced angler knows how to employ to beguile the
wary victim from close cove, or gloomy hollow, or from
beneath those decaying trunks of overthrown trees which
have given his brood a shelter from immemorial time.
To one of these selected spots, Ned Hinkley proceeded,
leaving his companions above, where, in shade themselves,
and lying at ease upon the smooth turf, they could watch
his successes, and at the same time enjoy the coup d'ceil,
which was singularly beautiful, afforded by the whole
surrounding expanse. The tarn, like the dark mysterious
dwelling of an. Undine, was spread out before them with
the smoothness of glass, though untransparent, and shi-
ning beneath their eyes like a vast basin of the richest jet.
A thousand pretty changes along the upland slopes, or ab-
rupt hills which hemmed it in, gave it a singular aspect of
variety which is seldom afforded by any scene very re-
markable for its stillness and seclusion. Opposite to the
rock on which Ned Hinkley was already crouching, the
hillslope to the lake was singularly unbroken, and so gra-
dual was the ascent from the margin, that one was scarcely
conscious of his upward movement, until looking behind
him, he saw how far below lay the waters which he had
lately left. The pathway, which had been often trodden,
was very distinctly marked to the eyes of our two friends
on the opposite elevation, and they could also perceive
where the same footpath extended on either hand a few
yards from the lake, so as to enable the wanderer to pro-
long his rambles, on either side, until reaching the foot of
the abrupt masses of rock which distinguished the oppo-
site margin of the basin. To ascend these, on that side,
was a work of toil, which none but the lover of the pic-
turesque is often found willing to encounter. Above, even
to the eyes of our, friends, though they occupied an emi-
nence, the skies seemed circumscribed to the circumfer-
ence of the lake and the hills by which it was surrounded ;
and the appearance of the whole region, therefore, was
that of a complete amphitheatre, the lake being the floor,
the hills the mighty pillars, and the roof, the blue, bright,
fretted canopy of heaven.
I have missed you, my son, for some time past,'and
the beauty of this picture reminds me of what your seem-