Beale said to her companion: "We'll go to-night to the thingumbob at Earl's Court"; an announcement putting forth its full lustre when she had made known that she referred to the great Exhibition just opened in that quarter, a collection of extraordinary foreign things in tremendous gardens, with illuminations, bands, elephants, switchbacks and side-shows, as well as crowds of people among whom they might possibly see some one they knew.
Lavery perpetuated the fact so pregnant a contribution to the philosophy of Exhibitions that a profit of L10,000 was derived from the switchbacks. The picture would then have made a nice supplement to Mr. Lavery's famous studies of "Croquet" and "Tennis."
Instantly, like the gallant he was, he took her on the dragons, grim-toothed, round-about switchbacks. It was not nearly so exciting as a tram-car actually. But, then, to be seated in a shaking, green dragon, uplifted above the sea of bubble faces, careering in a rickety fashion in the lower heavens, whilst John Thomas leaned over her, his cigarette in his mouth, was after all the right style.
There'll be a pier down yonder, and a switchback railway, and leagues of lodging-houses, and brass bands. 'Let us hope we shall be dead. 'Yes but those who come after us? What sort of a world will it be for Hugh? I often think I should be wrong if I taught him to see life as I do. Isn't it only preparing misery for him? I ought to make him delight in piers, and nigger minstrels, and switchbacks.
It was not so easy to forgive Aunt Alphonsine, for her voice had been as sharp as it could be without being honestly angry, like bad wine instead of good vinegar, and had run indefatigably up the switchbacks on which the voices of Frenchwomen travel eternally. She was the most responsible for the defeat of Marion's life. And yet Aunt Alphonsine too was not malignant of intent.
The atmosphere of unalloyed merriment which pervades when tables are spread under the trees for the alfresco supper is distinctly exhilarating. These gardens have amusements for the frivolous also, such as switchbacks, pantomimes of the "Punch and Judy" kind, and frequently firework displays, which last entertainment generally concludes the evening.
It is as though once again the child's birthday gifts had been appropriated by its elders; but as a matter of fact the Parks of Steeplechase and Luna were, I imagine, designed deliberately for adults. Judging by the popularity of the chutes and the whips, the switchbacks and the witching waves, eccentric movement has a peculiar attraction for the American holiday-maker.
It is as if the earth were suddenly rent, and you looked down on that underworld of which Indian legend tells so many wonder yarns. Don't mind wondering how you will go down! The bronchos will manage that, where an Eastern horse would break his neck and yours, too. The driver jams on brakes; and you drop down a terribly steep grade in a series of switchbacks, or zigzags, to the Bridge.
"There isn't a thing for it on God's earth but switchbacks and five-per-cent. grades down to the bottom of the creek and cribbing across it till the new line is ready. Wire Callahan and Morris Blood, and get everything you can for me before we start."
It was due here hours ago, but they never seem to know when anything is to get here the way things are run on the railroad now. I want to give Cousin Lance some mail before he goes through." "The passenger trains crossed the creek over the switchbacks hours ago, and they say the emergency grades are first-rate," said Marion Sinclair, on the defensive.