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PERILOUS AND FATAL ADVENTURE…

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PERILOUS AND FATAL ADVENTURE ON THE NIAGARA. The Buffalo Express of the 16th of January contains a narrative of an extraordinary adventure on the river Nia- gara, by which one man lost his life, and two others only escaped after fearful and prolonged sufferings. The story was taken down from the statement of one of the survivors, Mr. William Thompson, vice-president of the new.Erie and Niagara Railway:— On Saturday afternoon the. quantity of ice passing down the river from the lake caused the ferry boat plying between Black Rock and Fort Erie to suspend her trips. Mr. Thompson, who was on the other side, and desired to cross to this, accepted the offer of a coloured boy named Wm. Bartlett to row him across in a small boat, not realising at the moment the diffi- culty of the passage occasioned by the movement of the ice. Subsequently he was joined for the trip by a man named Warren, foreman under the contractors of the Erie and Niagara Railroad, who was very anxious to'reach this side in time to take the six p.m. train to Suspension Bridge, going home to his family at Prescott, C. W. On reaching the river side, Mr. T. saw the hazards of the attempt at crossing, and would have receded, but Mr. Warren pressed him to go on, and he was prevailed upon by his companion's anxieties. About half-past five o'clock the three pushed out into the stream. They found much difficulty in making their way through the ice, which ran close to shore, and again Mr. Thompson advised a return. But presently getting through the shore pack of ice, they found clear water, and went forward confidently, meeting no obstacles until they again neared the shore on the American side, near the Erie Mills, when the ice pressed about them thicker than in the first instance. Mr. Thompson then gave an imperative order to the boy to back aw-ty and return, but it was too late. They had entered so far that return was impossible. They were caught by the the ice, wedged fast between its grinding cakes, and could go neither forward nor back. Another moment and it had crushed the sides of their boat, so that it began to fill rapidly and sink. The three immediately leaped, out upon a cake of ice nearest at hand, which proved to be but a small one, scarcely larger th an a door, and drew the boat partly upon it after them. Their hope was in being able to turn the craft bottom up and mount its keel, in which posi- tion they might be floated by it but the mass was not large enough to permit such an operation. Mr. Thompson then attempted to bail out the boat om with his cap; but while doing so the boy Bartlett cried out the ice was upon them again, and they had barely time to throw themselves into the half-filled boat, when the piece upon which they had stood was crushed by another mass coming down upon it. An instant more and the boat was also struck, turning bottom upwards, and Mr. Thomp;on and Mr. Warren plunged into the water. The negro boy succeeded in leaping upon an ice cake. Mr. Thompson sank once and came up, when he clutched the boat, made his way to the stern and climbed upon the keel. Here he saw his companion Warren sinking for the last time, a short distance away, and drowning before his eyes, while he was utterly powerless to help. He had scarcely witnessed this when death rushed upon him again. The boat was once more struck and rolled over. Ag*in he sank, and again, on rising, he clutched the boat which a ain had righted itself. Climbing into its stern, which sank with his weight two or three feet below the surface, he sank for a time with the water to his chin. By this time it hacT long grown dark. He could see but little about him. Presently a cake of ice drifting down upon him, he put out his hand to ward it away, and, feeling it to be several inches thick, and apparently of some size, he con- cluded it best to escape, if possible from the boat to the ice. He very nearly failed in doing so, barely getting his breast upon the edge of the cake when he sprang from the boat, and finding it impossible to lift his body above that position. Providentially, however, the boat in rising just touched his foot and gave him a slight push forward, after which he was enabled, by long and exhausting efforts, to crawl upon the cake. Here he stood upright, and not knowing the size of the ice raft, dared not move. Hailing the boy Bartlett, he found him still afloat upon his bit of ice, a hundred or two yards away, loudly engaged in almost frantic prayer.. And now began the wonderful voyage of the river, through the darkness and the storm of freezing sleet which fell upon their frail raf s of ice. Those who were out on Saturday evening will remember what a bitter night it was. A fine rain, driven by keen north winds, s'ung the face of the traveller and cased everything exposed with a quick mail of ice. Through all this peiting storm, these wet and ex- hausted castaways, drifted along the cold currents of the Niagara, with the horrid dread of imminent death to freeze their hearts within them, were exposed for three mortal hours. Mr. Thompson had lost both cap and gloves. His clothing was frozen into the rigidity of iron armour, and be became incapable of motion, except as he slightly moved his arms so at to keep them flexible. All that he could do for himself was to shout and cry for help, which he did steadily, and with the whole strength of his lungs for hours. Fortunately, possessed of a magnificent" physique" in every respect, his voice was capable of the exertion. Once, some- where in the vicinity of Lower Black Rock, he received a response from shore, but to his appeal for rescue the voice, out of the darkness, replied that it had no oars and could do nothing. The miserable fool, or worse, who heard and hailed him seems to have made no effort to rouse his neighbourhood and set its energies to work for the rescue of the periled men who appealed to him. And so they drifted on beyond Black Rock, beyond Strawberry Island, past the head of Grand Island, and steadily on towards those currents of the great cataract where no hand could save them. Steadily the cry for "help" rang out across the water and through the black night, and no ear heard and no tongue answered. Three hours had passed-seven miles of the river traversed-it was nine o'clock of the night. Hope began to die in the heart of Mr. Thompson, stout and strong as it was. He called to his companion, the negro boy, and gave him a mes- sage for his wife and children, if it should be his lot to escape. His thoughts, as he describes them, were very quaint and curious. They were too busy to give an opportunity for fear, and death was faced calmly and coolly. And so they drifted steadily down, be- tween Grand Island and the American shore, until Tonawanda was passed, and the last houses upon either shore from which help could come before help should be too late, were going by. But there, at Jast, by the good providence of God, help did come. The shouts were heard on the Grand Is'and shore. Lights began to move from house to house. The neighbours were running together. Presentiy the gleam of a lantern moved upon the river; and they knew that boats were coming out. Mr. Thompson, when reached, had to pe rolled into the boat like a log. He was taken off by Mr. Charles Poplar and M. George Glide. Another boat, manned by Mr. Wi liam W. Blackney and Mr. John A. Bacon, rescued the boy Bartlett. The boy, being thinly clad, had nearly perished when taken off; but Mr. Thompson, a man of large robust frame and great vitality, felt himself capable of en- during an hour or two more of the bitter trial. Asto- nishing to say, neither were seriously frozen, and Mr. Thompson, whom we saw yesterday, appears little bhe woise for his extraordinary experience.

THE SOLE REMEDY.

A MODERN HERMIT.

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DEPUTATION TO THE ARCHBISHOP…

THE CATTLE PLAGUE.

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THE COURT DRESS QUESTION.

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AN AFFAIR OF HONOUR!"

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A FREE AND EASY WAY OF-DOING…