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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/841

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THE HOME OF THE FERNS.

ber, the best period of the year to see Killarney in all its many-hued glory. The morning after our arrival at the Lake Hotel looked, indeed, most unpropitious for our proposed pedestrian excursion around the upper and lower lakes. A dense mist enveloped everything in its vapory folds, preventing objects, even within a few feet of us, from being distinctly visible. Our aneroids were, however, rising rapidly, and we were assured by the weather-wise folk that before midday the fog would be "lifted" by a light breeze, which would be sure to spring up. After having breakfasted, we set out on our not particularly inviting tramp, selecting the route in the direction of the lower lake. Along that exquisitely beautiful and well-known path which, canopied by trees of various foliage, winds close by the marge of this charming sheet of water, we took our course, preceded by the inevitably loquacious guide. As we pursued our beclouded way, the rush of the foaming cataracts dashing madly from the hills, which rose to the height of some three thousand feet above us, came upon our ears from time to time, and splashed us with their spray, but yet were completely invisible. Even the water which rippled on the pebbly beach at our feet was as much hidden from our view by that all-enveloping mist as though Egyptian darkness surrounded us. As may be imagined, our walk was not a very enjoyable one, but we were soon destined to be amply recompensed for our pains. Two hours had elapsed from the time of our setting out, and noon found us sitting on the parapet of that romantic bridge which spans the outlet between the upper and lower lake. While we were deliberating whether to return or continue our walk, it suddenly became evident that the surface of both lakes was agitated by a strong gust of wind, which, as we afterward learned, came down through the celebrated Gap of Dunloe. The previously motionless mist began immediately to wreath itself in upright columns, to which the breeze gave a kind of rotatory motion as they were suddenly lifted up from the surface of the water. Then followed, with startling rapidity, one of the most wondrous natural transformation scenes it is possible to conceive. In less than six minutes, not merely were the two lakes spread out before us, from shore to shore, in all their beauty, but the thick masses of vapor had rolled up the sides of those gigantic hills which overhung them, and the brilliant sun was shining merrily out of the bluest of skies. I had previously witnessed similar cloud-phenomenon amid the peaks of the higher Himalayas, but nothing which for startling effect and scenic beauty could bear comparison with this.

It was the first acquaintance which every one present, myself excepted, had made with Killarney, and it was scarcely to be wondered at that from every lip burst an ejaculation of glad sur-