페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

7. The sailors had no notion of geography: if, by any accident, the voyage was of undue length, the crew might be starved. But the chief difficulty arose from their ignorance of the compass. Although it was well known that the inagnet attracted iron, yet the property which the magnet possesses of constantly turning towards the north, was not then discovered. The mariners, if they once lost sight of the coast, could only guide themselves by the position of the sun, and of the fixed stars; and a cloudy day, followed by a cloudy night, would utterly confound them in their path over the trackless ocean.

PALGRAVE's History of the Anglo-Saxons.

By permission of Messrs. Tegg and Co.

TRAVELLING IN ENGLAND IN THE TIME OF CHARLES II.,

800 YEARS LATER. 1. Of all inventions, the alphabet and the printing-press alone excepted, those inventions which shorten distance have done most for civilisation. Every improvement on the means of locomotion benefits mankind morally and intellectually, as well as materially. In the seventeenth century the inhabitants of London were, for almost every

Morally, as regards their ideas of right and wrong.
2 Intellectually, as regards their power of thinking.
Materially, as regards their bodily comforts,

1

practical purpose, farther from Reading than they now are from Edinburgh, and farther from Edinburgh than they now are from Vienna.

2. On the best lines of communication the ruts were deep, the descents were steep, and the way often such that it was hardly possible to distinguish in the dusk from the enclosed heath and fen which lay on both sides. It was only in fine weather that the whole breadth of the road was available for wheeled vehicles. Often the mud lay deep on the right and the left; and only a narrow track of firm ground rose above the quagmire. At such times obstructions and quarrels were frequent, and the path was sometimes blocked up during a long time by carriers, neither of whom would give way.

3. It happened almost every day, that coaches stuck fast until a team of cattle could be procured from some neighbouring farm, to tug them out of the slough. The rich commonly travelled in their own carriages, with at least four horses. A coach-and-six is in our time never seen except as a part of some pageant ;' the frequent mention, therefore, of such equipages ? in old books is likely to mislead us : we attribute to magnificence what was really the effect of a very disagreeable necessity.

4. Public carriages had recently been much improved. During the years which immediately

2

1

Pageant, a splendid show.

Equipages, the horses, carriages, and servants of a great person.

2

1

a

followed the restoration of King Charles II., a diligence ran between London and Oxford in two days, the passengers sleeping at Beaconsfield. At length, in the year 1669, a great daring innovation was attempted. It was announced that a vehicle called the Flying Coach would perform the whole journey between sunrise and sunset. The success of the experiment was complete. At six in the morning the carriage began to move from before the ancient front of All Souls' College, and at seven in the evening the adventurous gentlemen who had run the first risk were safely deposited at their inn in London. This mode of travelling, which by Englishmen of the present day would be regarded as insufferably slow, seemed to our ancestors wonderfully, and indeed alarmingly rapid. In a work published a few months before the death of Charles II., the flying coaches are extolled as far superior to any similar vehicles ever known in the world.

5. But with boasts like these were mingled the sounds of complaint. It was vehemently argued that this mode of conveyance would be fatal to the breed of horses, and to the noble art of horsemanship; that saddlers and spurriers would be ruined by hundreds; that numerous inns at which mounted travellers had been in the habit of stopping would be deserted, and would no longer pay any rent; that the new carriages were too cold in winter, and too hot in summer; that the

Innovation, something new.

passengers were grievously annoyed by invalids and crying children. On these grounds it was gravely recommended that no public carriage should be permitted to have more than four horses, to start oftener than once a week, or go more than thirty miles a day. Petitions embodying such opinions were presented to the king in council from several companies of the city of London, and from the justices of several counties. We smile at these things. It is not impossible that our descendants, when they read the history of the opposition offered by cupidity and prejudice to the improvements of the nineteenth century, may smile in their turn.

MACAULAY'S History of England.
By permission of Messrs. LONGMAN and Co.

SONG OF THE ZETLAND

FISHERMEN.

1. FAREWELL, merry maidens, to song and to

laugh,
For the brave lads of Westra are bound to the

Haaf;
And we must have labour, and hunger, and pain
Ere we dance with the maids of Dunrossness

again.

2

2

| Justices, magistrates appointed to administer justice,

Haaf, the sea,

2. For now, in our trim boats of Noroway deal, We must dance on the waves with the porpoise

and seal ; The breeze it shall pipe, so it pipe not too high, And the gull be our songster, whene'er she flits

by. 3. Sing on, my brave bird, while we follow, like

thee, By bank, shoal, and quicksand, the swarms of

the sea ;

And when twenty-score fishes are straining our

line, Sing louder, brave bird, for their spoils shall be

thine. 4. We'll sing while we bait, and we'll sing while we

haul, For the deeps of the Haaf have enough for us all: There is torsk' for the gentle,” and skate for the

carle,3 And there's wealth for bold Magnus, the son of

the earl. 5. Huzza ! my brave comrades, give way for the

Haaf,
We shall sooner come back to the dance and

the laugh;
For life without mirth is a lamp without oil ;
Then mirth and long life to the bold Magnus
Troil !

Scott.
Torsk, cod-fish. ? Gentle, the wealthy.

3 Carle, the poorer classes.

« 이전계속 »