It seems to have been felt that unless the road were entirely reconstructed so as to bear the heavy weight of the locomotive—so much greater than that of the tram-waggons, to carry which the original rails had been laid down—the regular employment of Trevithick’s high-pressure tram-engine was altogether impracticable; and as the owners of the works were not prepared to incur so serious a cost, it was determined to take the locomotive off the road, and employ it as an engine for other purposes.
We have here, in all substantial respects, the modern engine of to-day. Two fine improvements have been made since Watt's time: first, the piston-rings of Cartwright, which effectively removed one of Watt's most serious difficulties, the escape of steam, even though the best packing he could devise were used the chief reason he could not use high-pressure steam.
And while we mounted the house, the asses and zebras were hee-hawing, the wolf was barking, and the mad elephant, waving his trunk up through the hatch, was trumpeting like a high-pressure exhaust. "We were just in time. The others had got into the starboard boat, and we bundled into the port.
"If you will wait here, sir, I will find her ladyship." The new-comer was young and slight, with an erect carriage and a firm step. He had the finely-cut features and dull colouring which I associate with the high-pressure life of a busy town, so that I guessed who he was before his first words told me. "No, thank you, I will not sit down; I expect to be called to my patient immediately."
The labyrinth packing of the high-pressure and intermediate pistons has a small axial and large radial clearance, whereas the labyrinth packing of the piston Z has, vice versa, a small radial and large axial clearance.
Still, some good was always accomplished. These amusements were greatly encouraged by physicians and others, as safety-valves to relieve the high-pressure of excitement, uncertainty, and dread which were characteristic of the time.
One strong feature of the levelling character of a taste for play has never ceased to impress me most forcibly not only do the individual peculiarities of the man give way before the all-absorbing passion but stranger still, the very boldest traits of nationality even fade and disappear before it; and man seems, under the high-pressure power of this greatest of all stimulants, resolved into a most abstract state.
"The two other vessels," he said, "were filled with pieces of the high-pressure engines, all unfixed, and scattered about in the engine-room and on deck. The boilers were in the small boats, and occupied nearly one half of their length, Mr.
Clipper ships of the largest size lay at anchor in the stream, or were girt to the wharves; and capacious high-pressure steamers, as large and showy as those of the Hudson or Mississippi, bodies of dazzling light, awaited the delivery of our mails to take their courses up the Bay, stopping at Benicia and the United States Naval Station, and then up the great tributaries the Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Feather Rivers to the far inland cities of Sacramento, Stockton, and Marysville.
Hume said in the House of Commons, some years ago, that the tone of living in England was altogether too high, his observation was followed with "loud laughter." Yet his remark was perfectly true. It is far more true now than it was then. Thinking people believe that life is now too fast, and that we are living at high-pressure. In short, we live extravagantly. We live beyond our means.