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from Carnarvon to Anglesea, at a height of
one or two hundred feet in the air, there
may be nothing especially absurd in the
supposition that we could be carried in a
tube immersed in the water. The Thames
Tunnel is a success, mechanically, though
not commercially; and, leaving a wide margin
for absurdities, it is possible that an iron
tube on the bed of a river may be practicable,
as well as a brick tube beneath the bed.

The Aerial Pontoon Railway Suspension
Bridge, to cross the Channel from England
to Francewe have it on paper, and,
perchance, the Coming Man may see it
in fact. The inventor rebukes those who
laugh, by reminding them that steam boats,
locomotives, tubular bridges, and electric
telegraphs, were all laughed at in the early
days of their history. Remember, says
he, that hydrogen is only one-fifteenth part
the weight of atmospheric air; therefore,
get your hydrogen, and work as follows:—
Make your bridge first. It is to be formed
of preserved timber and wire ropes. It is to
be in portions three hundred feet long, with
strong girders; these portions are to be
connected, end to end, until you have enough
of them to cross the Channel. The girders
themselves will form the sleepers for the
rails; and, as they are to be forty feet apart,
we shall have a monster railway-gauge of forty
feetbroadest of all broad gauges. Then to
hold up your bridge. You must have aerial
pontoons, a hundred and twenty feet in length
by forty feet in diameter; they will be cylindrical,
with rounded ends; one will be placed
under each junction; all will be filled
with hydrogen. You will move your bridge
and pontoons, by means of anchors, eight to
be placed in a group, at intervals of nine
hundred feet along the whole length of the
bridge. Thus will your railway bridge be
suspended at a respectable height in the air;
and hydrogen, pontoons, girders, wire-ropes,
anchors, locomotives, and carriagesif they
behave properlywill waft you across the
Channel in half-an-hour.

The Thames Central Railway is a bold
scheme, and, to many, will seem a wild one;
yet it is propounded by an engineer who has
done, and is doing, great things; and we
must be cautious how we venture to smile
down anything from such a quarter. At
present, legislative sanction is wanting; but
the day may arrive when both skill and
capital will be forthcoming to complete the
work. Let us imagine a railway rising
boldly above the level of the Thames, and
running along nearly equidistant between its
shores. It will run from Westminster
Bridge to London Bridge. Its supports
will be so light and graceful as to offer no
obstruction to the view from Whitehall
Gardens and the Temple Gardens, and the
few other spots whence a view can be
obtained. The railway will, in effect, be a
station nearly from end to end, whereby the
greater railways may form a junction.
There will be a water-way for barques and
small craft beneath, and two water-ways
for steamers between the railway and
the respective shores. By means of floating
fenders connected with the supporting
columns, the river traffic will be
definitely arranged into distinct trains or
streamsperhaps with greater facilities for
river trade than if no railway existed. There
will be approaches from all the bridges,
whereby to pick up passengers from
everywhere to everywherealways provided
that the existing companies will carry their lines
from the present termini to the banks of
the Thames. Barges and craft will receive
goods from the railway, or supply goods to it,
by a due arrangement of the space between
the columns. Passengers and goods from
Aberdeen (the John-o'-Groat's Grand Extension
is not yet finished) to Dover, or from
York to Brighton, or from Harwich to
Southampton, may cross the Thames (perhaps)
without leaving their carriages.

It may be left to each reader to decide for
himself in respect to these various schemes,
and others which almost daily meet the eye in
the newspapers, whether the projects are so
absurd as to be simply laughed at, and then
laid aside; or are possible and desirable, but
scarcely probable; or are probable and desirable,
and worthy of our support and commendation.
All we mean here to insist upon, is,
that mechanical inventors have always on
hand an accumulated stock of schemes ready
for the public; and that it is profitable for
the public, once now and then, to overhaul
the stock, and see of what it consists.


SHINE, ye stars of heaven,
On a world of pain!
See old Time destroying
All our hoarded gain;
All our sweetest flowers,
Every stately shrine,
All our hard-earned glory,
Every dream divine!

Shine, ye stars of heaven,
On the rolling years!
See how Time consoling
Dries the saddest tears,
Bids the darkest storm-clouds
Pass in gentle rain;
While upspring in glory,
Flowers and dreams again!

Shine, ye stars of heaven,
On a world of fear!
See how Time, avenging,
Bringeth judgment here;
Weaving ill-won honours
To a fiery crown;
Bidding hard hearts perish;
Casting proud hearts down.

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