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possibilities, lurked on the way!- little bundles of sticks tipped by and with what a sensation of a smudge of brimstone; but their heavenly relief we arrived safe quality was only that of lighting at one end or another—a relief quickly at a fire or candle. In shadowed by the terrible fact that Scotland they were called spunks. we should have to go back; though The new matches when they came there was always the hope that were objected to (as were also the some one with a candle might be spunks) for their bad smell. Incaught up and followed on the deed it must be added that all the return journey!
new inventions which have added There are no dark passages now. so greatly to our comfort were reOne wonders how many people now ceived without enthusiasm-from existing realise what a wonderful the railway, on which a cow errant difference that makes. Ghosts have was supposed to be capable of gone wholly out of fashion with proving a serious embarrassment, the children, and nobody under fif- to the matches which had a bad teen is afraid of them. Fifteen smell. When candles were made is the earliest age at wbich we which wanted no snuffing, though can imagine a romantic appre- it was manifestly a great conhension of these bygone terrors venience, there were revilings-it to begin. The children are im- being supposed at first that they pervious to such fears; they don't were not so bright as the old know what a dark passage means. smoky flame!
Sir Edwin Arnold, in his book There was but a scanty budget about the Queen's reign, mentions of letters on the breakfast-table in another little matter of much those days, and perhaps, except in importance to daily life, which London, no newspaper at all. Only amid larger things is apt to be in London did such a thing as a forgotten. He tells how on his daily paper exist. The greatest way home, a child with his nurse, of provincial towns had not profrom one of the pageants of the gressed beyond a bi-weekly, as they Accession, he saw "a man in the were called, and once a week satisstreet selling, evidently as a sin- fied most people. The kinds of gular novelty, lucifer matches at news were those which came by ora halfpenny apiece. He held up dinary channels of communication the little sticke, one at a time, by ship, by road, no quicker than and then drawing them through other travellers. A bearer of dea folded piece of sand paper, pro- spatches to the Foreign Office was duced an instantaneous flame, to probably the most rapid of agenthe intense amazement of the cies; and across the Continent the passers-by." Sir Edwin adds that ways were still more interrupted there was nothing but the ancient than in this country — the few expedient of Aint and steel to lines of railways breaking short strike a light before this. We off here and there, leaving postfancy, but cannot specify, that horses, or a little steamboat on there was something which came a river, as the quickest method in between, but the first match of travel. But no one knew how was unquestionably such a wonder slow and imperfect were those as might have convulsed the world. methods of information, for there How calmly we have all taken was nothing else with which to such discoveries! Before the luci- compare them, and they were acfer match there were, we recollect, cepted as the course of nature. what pa
From America news was still performed upon them, it would more difficult to obtain, for Steam be at the cost of indescribable was slow of adventuring over the agony; women to whom there was Atlantic. And India was months no escape from the inevitable pangs away in the beginning of the of nature and no softening of their reign. Commotions in Canada, violence; people who had to wait Maori wars, the constant little perforce, sometimes forlongmonths, conflicts going on with one people ere they could hear what had beor another in India, must have fallen those who were most dear to been the occasion of greater agony them—if suffering is an improving than any war need cause now; process, as people say, for one mail might bring the news tience, what resignation, what courof a battle, and only in the slow age, ought to have been theirs ! course of the next and following But human nature is of a tough ships would the list of killed and fibre, which resists many influences. wounded come home; so that the Our grandfathers were not aware friends of those who were safe had that they were so much worse off, many an unnecessary pang, and any more than we are generally those who had suffered many an aware how much better off we are. intolerable hope to go through, It is seldom, however, by modibefore definite news put a period fications of human feeling that we to their misery. Thus dim at can trace the revolutions of hishome and clouded with dreadful tory. Those which have happened shadows abroad was the life of in our age, especially the two Great Britain in the earlier Vic- great agencies which changed all torian days. We had not half the the circumstances of our life, have alleviations of life which we have nothing at all to do with our now. When accident happened higher nature, except in so far to us we had little more than as they are the offspring of that the primitive brutal methods to genius which creates and invents, tear off a leg or an arm-humanity and which is as truly genius as hurrying the operator's hand, that that which touched the harp of at least the anguish he inflicted Shakespeare. The Victorian age should be as short as possible, and is like one of those Magicians no harmless agency known to miti- of eastern story who caught and gate the pain. Men suffer always bound to the accomplishment of and in all ages. There will prob- their will some of the great Genii, ably never be a time when they Afreets, Jins, whatever name Oriwill escape to any general degree ental fancy may have given them, the ills that flesh is heir to; but whose force infinitely transcended we have learnt now to soften every human force, yet who were suffering in a way undreamed of at the mercy of the wise man who sixty years ago. That one amelio- knew how to secure and train them. ration of life is worth more than It is difficult to believe when one all the millions of increase that a great Steam - engine at have come since to the British work, filling the atmosphere with Crown.
clamour, steam, and smoke, that What a strange difference in there is not some volition in the morals as well as in facts should great irresponsible monster in this sterner fashion of living have addition to that temporary meandeveloped ! Men who knew that, ing which the directing finger of should any surgical operation be a man gives to its superlative
force, or that by some touch un. its forces might take. It might seen, at some mysterious moment, hate and destroy the race it was it might not throw off the bonds in made to serve like the other which it is held, and dart forth monster of flesh and blood. It is upon some appalling career of its difficult not to put a mind into it, own, unsuspected, tremendous, and a purpose of its own, a possibility destructive. The wonderful ma- of action, if at any time some unchine moves us rather as it moved suspected new influence might get Mr Ruskin than as in later days at that "anatomy of steel.” The it affected the imagination of a Röntgen rays were a great suryounger poet. Even that fastidi- prise, showing what things unseen ous Master in all the arts was were hid in the visible, and sendimpressed with the extraordinary ing the thrill as of a first percepsense of Being in the iron monster tion of many latent wonders into upon wbich he looked — a sense the mind. What if among those more impressive to the imagina- hidden yet revealable powers of tion than anything else we know the atmosphere there might be of in earth or heaven. With something which would supply the “ amazed awe,” with “crushed artful combination of screw and humility,” he describes himself as valve and piston with force and watching “a locomotive take its motion of its own? No one, we breath at a railway station.” suppose, ever ministered to an “What manner of men must they engine without feeling a person. be,” he cries, "who dig brown ality in it. Nay, there is not a ironstone out of the ground and little boat but is She, a creature forge it into that: what assemblage full of life, exacting, capricious, of accurate and mighty faculties fantastical to those whose lives are in them, more than fleshly power dependent on her. over melting crag and coiling fire, Mr Kipling has given us this fettered and finessed at last into view in the strongest presentathe precision of watchmaking! tion, when he claims for his great Titanian hammer-strokes beating Sea - engine, as it tramps across out of lava those glittering cylinders the waters, faithful and obedient, and timely respondent valves and keeping its beat to the minute, fine-ribbed rods, which touch each responding to the eager hand that other as a serpent writhes, in noise- hastens its pace for human purless gliding and omnipotence of poses, always dutiful to the skilled grasp, infinitely complex anatomy touch, like the finest and most of active steel.” To ourselves the delicate of sentient beings — the feeling produced by a great Engine credit of being the Romance inis more in sympathy with that of carnate and great fairy tale of our Frankenstein after he had made later days. "Lord, send man his monster than of the triumphant like Robbie Burns to sing the mechanician who first overcame all Song o' Steam !” cries M'Andrew difficulties, the resistance of the the engineer, throwing himself dead things in which he worked with enthusiasm into the descripand of every passive force of nature, tion of those iron thews and and at last compelled the senseless sinews that form the Being: and thing to work and whirl and the joy of life, one of the highest breathe at bis will. The Thing of mortal sentiments, which inonce made cannot be unmade spires its perfect organisation. again, whatever might be the turn Åas not this great created thing praise ?
its part, he asks almost indig. world in general, notwithstanding nantly, in the universal song of that we had colonies and posses
sions round all the circle of the “The crank-throws give the double bass, Our children were conveyed in
seas, as in the days of Elizabeth. the feed-pump sobs and heaves, And now the main eccentrics start their
deed in ships that perbaps sailed quarrel on the sheaves ;
more swiftly, but were little more Her time, her own appointed time, the commodious, than those of Drake rocking linkhead bides,
and Anson; and otherwise we Till hear that note? the rod's return
were still as far away from them whings glimmering through the
when the Spanish galleons guides.
held the main and were the ob They're all awa'! true beat, full power, the clanging chorus goes,
jects of pursuit instead of peace Clear to the tunnel where they sit, my
ful commerce and trade. The seas purring dynamoes :
were brave with white sailed ships, Interdependence absolute, foreseen, or- great towers of swelling canvas, dained, decreed,
far more graceful and beautiful To work, ye'll note, at any tilt and than those monsters of the deep every rate of speed ;
with which we Frae skylight lift to furnace - bars,
are so familiar backed, bolted, braced, and stayed, now; but were we turned back And singing like the morning stars for again to the number and the capajoy that they are made ;
bilities of our navies, mercantile While out o'touch o' vanity the sweat- or national, then, Britain would ing thrust-block says,
be ruined, and have lost her emNot unto us the praise, or man--not
pire of the seas. When the first unto us the praise !' Now a' together hear them lift their
steamer went away groping into lesson-theirs and mine,
the darkness of the great Atlantic, 'Law, order, duty, an' restraint, Obedi- with what anxiety and wonder did ence, Discipline':
all hearts beat. Would she ever Mill, forge, and try - pit taught them reach that dim and distant shore !
that, when roarin' they arose, Would the sound of her rushing And whiles I wonder if a soul was
paddles and the pressure of her gied 1 them with the blows.”
steam carry wonder and delight to This new embodiment of life the world of the West? or would and power, this Jin, this Afreet, they disappear among the icebergs has been, perhaps, the greatest dis- and never be heard of more? tinction, as it is the strongest There seemed at first a kind of vassal, of Queen Victoria's empire. sanction out of the unknown to It was not the creation of the all terrors and alarms. The powers age: it was but a feeble undevel- of nature rose against one at least oped creature, moving gingerly of those strange pioneers. The upon its few first errands, rustling President disappeared without a with primitive paddle-wheels from word into the dark, and her fate one home port to another, making has been but conjectured, never little runs here and there on land known. This might have seemed from one town to another, when to an earlier age a sign that this auspicious reign began. We heaven itself forbade such hazards : were still as far from India, from but Science, inaccessible to fear, America, from the ends of the indifferent to loss, counting human
1 Mr Kipling does his Scotch wonderfully well, as he does most things; but it should be gi’en (past participle), not gied (past tense).
life and interest no more than its there were great searchings of iron and steel, or, perhaps, count- heart when the young Queen first ing human interest in the long- set foot at Slough on the train run more important than the tri- that was to carry her from Windfling sacrifices of to - day, never sor to London. Now she confides winced. And year by year this herself, and is confided cheerfully great Servant of the Queen has by us, which is more to the purgone farther and farther, trampling pose, in one which sweeps across and churning the stillest seas, the Continent, and sleeps as if in marking out the most obscure sea- her bed at home, while her Servant paths, triumphing silently and carries her lightly towards the sunsteadily over every difficulty; and shine and the flowers. making our exiled children scarcely But there is another magic farther off from us than they would henchman holding the other side have been in the distant corners of the gate of life, a being more of the island when the reign be- mysterious still, invisible, inhabitgan, The children of the Vic- ing a thread, a wire not so thick torian age, now the mature men as your finger. It is curious to and women who carry on its busi- know that this second Gnome or ness, have never known the other Afreet waited for the just moment state of affairs. They cannot look to have its first patent made out back upon a time when the sea in the name of Victoria— triumwas silent, and no smoke on the phant and symbolical name, exhorizon betrayed the quick-coming pressive of all the victories. It messenger, the punctual post, the had been playing about the surface ready service.
The great Slave of the world in dazzling yet caphas been born in our household, ricious glances, but rose and put like Abraham's steward : his feats itself in kindly fetters instantly, are too familiar to cause us any to obey the mandates of the young surprise: we confide our best to Queen. At first we were shy of him without a fear of his fidelity. this strange, silent, invisible Slave, No Frankenstein, though fancy and only ventured to employ him may still play with that thought upon solemn messages, making him and laugh at itself for the whim; rather the messenger of death but the chief servant in our father's than of life, feeling it a sort of house, the strongest and surest profanation to charge him lightly messenger of the Queen.
with words of little meaning, or At home, the same patient Vas- acknowledge him as the cheerful sal, not standing upon his dignity, servant of the house. When telegoes our errands night and day, grams began first to fly about the stands and spins webs enough to world, simple folk regarded them cover the earth, beats out ever with terror, feeling that internal new creatures of his own kind, conviction, which is so near to multiplying his race for almost every one of us, that sorrow and every practical purpose under the trouble were the most likely things
In 1837 the steadiest mind to arrive upon us thus suddenly still doubted whether a cow astray out of the unknown. But there on his lines might not wreck his are few who are fluttered out of going, and declared it as easy to their composure now by any such ride to the skies on a rocket as to familiar reason. This wonderful cross the country at the rate of Agent is at once more and less twenty miles an hour. We believe impressive than his brother Genius