Nay, it is not yet forty years since practical engineers judged George Stephenson mad, for saying that a steam-engine could draw a train of carriages along a rail-way at the rate of fourteen miles an hour. It is certainly a startling thing to be told that I am dead, and that the distant hill out there is living.
Shutting her eyes in a rail-way carriage to open them when she pleased was child's play. This man was blind though his eyes were wide open. 'Torp, is that you? They said you were coming. Dick looked puzzled and a little irritated at the silence. 'No; it's only me, was the answer, in a strained little whisper. Maisie could hardly move her lips. 'H'm! said Dick, composedly, without moving.
The triumph of Science over Nature was complete; and as the sinking sun threw a glow over the Glades where the clouds had parted, I think my companions caught some inspirations of the 'Poetry of the Rail-way."
"I did not, till yesterday, receive yours of the 5th of February; where it has loitered on the road I am at a loss to say. I had before read your very ingenious propositions as to the rail-way communication. I fear, however, on mature reflection, that they will be liable to serious objections, and ultimately more expensive than a canal.
It "has no figures, nor no fantasies," but "those which busy care draws in the brains of men," or which set off its own superior acquirements and wisdom. It scorns to "tread the primrose path of dalliance" it shrinks back from it as from a precipice, and keeps in the iron rail-way of the understanding.
Two powerful locomotives, carrying nine ears of invited guests, amongst whom was Thomas C. Durant, vice-president of the road, stopped at this point. Cheers were given, the Sioux and Pawnees performed an imitation Indian battle, fireworks were let off, and the first number of the Rail-way Pioneer was printed by a press brought on the train.
"God save the King!" he thundered, and with that loyal music in his ears the King followed Brilliana down the great staircase over which the carven angels kept watch and ward. Halfman, leaning over the rail-way, saw the pair pass through the hall, then he turned and entered the apartment that Charles had left, and stood there, rigid in meditation.
A hapchance native whom he presently encountered, furnished minute directions for reaching the Dockyard Station of the Southeastern and Chatham Rail-way, adding comfortable information to the effect that the next east-bound train would pass through in ten minutes; if Kirkwood would mend his pace he could make it easily, with time to spare.
The Venetian who does not himself keep a gondola seldom hires one, and even on this rare occasion makes no lavish demand such as "How much do you want for taking me to the rail-way station?" Lest the fervid imagination of the gondolier rise to zwanzigers and florins, and a tedious dispute ensue, he asks: "How many centissimi do you want?" and the contract is made, for a number of soldi.
A delightful ride of a single day, and most of the distance on the rail-way, will carry us now through a grand succession of waving harvests and verdant woods, of swarming hamlets and splendid towns, from the Cayuga to the Hudson, and set us down in Cloverdale, whose lovely homes nestle like a brood of milk-white doves in the covert of the Rensselaer hills.