Page images
PDF
EPUB

that stood between them and the poorhouse. He even went to see them every few years when business permitted. In olden days it used to be "going home." But as he had grown richer and fallen in with more fashionable people, it had con e to be "going on a little hunting trip up in Muskoka." And he had decked himself out as a huntsman, and come back with a brace of ducks or two.

It might have been the sermon on Sunday night that set him thinking. The preacher had not so much as looked toward him, but the words lingered with him. Their piercing utterance half-startled him in his pew.

"Young man, young woman," the speaker had said. "If you have come up to this city and are filling a high position, and if you are ashamed to own your poor old father and mother and the humble home whence you came, there is not in you the material out of which God makes a great soul."

Oscar Hamilton was no longer young. His hair was showing the first lines of gray. But the words went home. Why was it his father and mother had never been within his doors? Why did he never take his wife to see them, or his children? Why did he never send a railway ticket, and have father and mother down for Christmas or New Year's or Thanksgiving, and show them his house, and introduce them to his friends?

He was ashamed of them. There it was, the plain, naked truth. They spoke unco th English; their manners were quaint and old-fashioned; they were not like the people he moved

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

OSCAR HAMILTON'S NEW YEAR'S EVE.

among. He had asked them in a casual way now and again. But they had excused themselves. They were "not much used to travellin', and were gettin' old." Dear, unselfish hearts! They understood too well how it was. They would never embarrass him by coming unless they saw it was really his pleasure.

And to-night his head sank lower as he thought of it. He was ashamed of himself ashamed - ashamed-oh, so ashamed! Suppose he had been successful in the business worldwhat was he, after all, beside the old man shovelling snow? What were many of his fashionable friends compared to these two unselfish, unworldly hearts who, in earlier days, had sacrificed so much for him?

True, he provided their living. But that cost him no sacrifice. And what, after all, was the son they more than this to them ? he dwelt somewhere far beautiful house. They about him, but they had his life. Was it fair ?

had raised They knew away in a could talk no part in There would

be music and gaiety in his beautiful house to-night, but they knew nothing of it. The girl who had just glided away from the organ-stool-how like

his mother's was her face! Was it fair that " grandmother" should see so little of her son's children?

It was dark now. He rose uneasily and went over to the great, deep-set window. The stars were shining, the last stars of the old year, in the dark winter sky. Another year was coming. Tick tick! tick! It came on through the starry night. An hour later the electric light was turned on in the music-room. A man folded a letter tenderly, sealed it and touched a bell.

'You will please post this letter, James," he said to the man who answered. "And, my dear," he said. turning to his wife, who entered at the moment, "do you think you could get the best room ready for father and mother this week?"

[ocr errors][merged small]

A NEW YEAR VISION OF DOUBT AND FAITH.

DOUBT.

The world is waxing old-'tis surely dying,

Its Soul is spent, its Past entombed is lying.

The Fount has failed whence flowed all youth and beauty, Or martial manhood, wed to truth and duty.

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]

The death of Mr. Arthur Patchett Martin, says a writer in the Montreal Witness, recalls to mind an Australian who wrote the "Life of Robert Lowe, Lord Sherbrooke," after the author went to live in London. Robert Lowe was a notable figure in Australia for eight years, and if it had not been for the glare of the sun, or the refusal of a police-magistrateship, when his weak sight prevented him from doing bar duty, he might have spent the rest of his life there. This was chance, perhaps, but there was no chance in the splendid fight he made against physical infirmities. It was a long struggle, cheerfully carried on. and would have broken the spirit of any ordinary man. Born an

albino, the pupils of his eyes were minus the usual shaded fringe which protects the optic nerves from superfluous light. Only one eye was good for reading, and that one so out of focus that to read at all he had to hold the print close up to it. From about his twenty-fifth year to the end of his life he was not allowed to read by artificial light, yet he earned his living at the Sydney bar, although he never obtained a clear view of witness, juror, or judge, and, returning to Eng

land, entered the House of Commons, the members of which he never saw. There, as we all know, he won a foremost place as a debater, became Chancellor of the Exchequer, under such a master of finance as Gladstone, and died Lord Sherbrooke.

Besides Latin and Greek, he knew French and Italian, and, at Oxford, for mere recreation, he mastered Sanscrit. "When I think," he wrote at sixty, "of all the things I might have known if I had not had this misfortune, I am astonished how persons who have all their winter evenings to themselves contrive to know so little."

Undoubtedly, Robert Lowe had great mental gifts, but the majority of people with as many or more would have spent their lives in being sorry for themselves, and in making all around them miserable. Lowe's life, like that of the blind Postmaster-General of England, Fawcett, is inspiring, and well worth the while of being recalled to the memory from time to time. It may, indeed, cause those of us to be ashamed who repine because of little or imaginary ills, and who become the slaves of circumstance.

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed]

TRAVELLING STAIRWAYS.

The accompanying illustration shows moving stairways which are now being erected on the New York Elevated Railway.

It consists of an endless chain of rubber-covered steps attached to a series of transverse axles, upon the ends of which are small bearing wheels which serve to engage the lateral rails upon which the belt and its load of passengers are carried. At the top and the bottom of the incline, the axles engage large sprocket wheels, the whole system returning below the sprockets and moving over them in the form of an endless chain or belt. Power to drive the device is furnished by an electric motor.

A hand-rail at the side travels at the same rate as the steps. To make the ascent it is merely sufficient for the passenger to stand upon any particular step and remain there, although the ascent may, of course, be made more quickly by walking from step to step as the elevator ascends. If this proves to be a practical success, it is likely that the new device will be substituted for the present fixed stairways at all the elevated stations. It should be mentioned that the particular moving stairway of which we present a section was shown at the last Paris Exposition and was awarded the Grand Prix. Scientific American.

TWENTIETH CENTURY INVENTIONS.

Two remarkable inventions, says The Christian Advocate, are now attracting wide attention. One is a phonograph that, according to the London Daily Mail, shouts so loudly that every word can be heard at a distance of ten miles. A shorthand writer ten miles away can take down the message as easily as if you were dictating to him in a small room. It appears like an ordinary phonograph, with a large trumpet measuring four feet in length. Inside the trumpet there is a

small and delicate piece of mechanism that looks something like a whistle. The records are not taken on wax in the usual manner, but a sapphire needle is made to cut the dots representing the sound vibrations on a silver cylinder, and when the needle travels over the metal a second time, the vibrations cause the whistle to produce a series of air waves. Experiments were made at the Devil's Dyke, Brighton, where the inventor, Mr. Horace L. Sort, has his workshops. At a distance of ten miles the sounds were plainly heard by a large number of people, every word being perfectly distinct, and at a second trial, with a favourable wind, it was found that an unknown message could be taken down in shorthand at a distance of twelve miles, and over the water the sounds would go still farther. It is proposed to place them on lighthouses and lightships, to give a verbal warning, vastly more effective than foghorns.

The other is a patent centrifugal quickfiring machine gun, invented by James Judge, a well-known engineer of Newcastle, England. This gun can rotate a disc at the rate of 12,000 revolutions a minute, eject shots from the muzzle with an initial velocity of 2,000 feet a second, and maintain a continuous fire, for a shot may be discharged at every half revolulution. Eighteen thousand rounds of shot, at the rate of 3,000 a minute, have already been discharged from the gun in the experiments. Special bearings are used, similar to those in Parson's turbines, which can revolve at the rate of 22,000 revolutions a minute, and Levall's motor, which revolves at the rate of 30,000 a minute.

The phonograph is described editorially, in the London Daily Mail, and the powderless machine gun, operated by centrifugal force, by the London Times, neither of which papers is in the habit of perpetrating an elaborate joke.

[blocks in formation]

CANADA'S GROWING TIME.

Before

the construction of the Canadian Pacific, Canada was described as a giant without bones. That great road gave it its spinal column, and many railway extensions since have created a strongly articulated skeleton. The growth of our North-West has shown the need for more railways, and the bold enterprise of the Grand Trunk Pacific calls the attention of the civilized world to the growth of Canada-now more rapid than that of any other in the world. Other signs of our remarkable development are multiplying. The enormous increase of our exports and imports, especially exports of the products of the field, the forest, and the mine; the discovery of new oil and gas wells, the harnessing the illimitable power of Our waterfalls, in which Canada is richer than any other land; and its most recent aspect, the exchange of Cape Breton coal for Swedish iron, to be converted in this country into high-class steel, are all auguries of our great future, and of our important place in the world-wide British Empire.

The above sketch map, prepared from the design of an official of the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada, shows in bare outline the projected route of the new Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. As will be seen, the railway will run far to the north of the line of the Canadian Pacific, and even of the Canadian Northern (now in course of construction). Mr. Hayes, the General Manager, states that as a general thing it is the intention follow the original route laid out by Sir Sanford Fleming for the Canadian Pacific in 1872, which was afterwards aban

to

doned. The new line will, it is probable, run about 100 miles to the north of Winnipeg (with a branch to that city), and from there to the Rockies will average from 100 to 200 miles to the north. Of course, the route is to a large extent conjectural, but the above map shows the scheme as it is outlined in the plans of the Grand Trunk management. The absolute details will depend upon the result of the surveys.

The work will involve the building of 2,500 to 3,000 miles of railway, and the expenditure of about $96,000,000.

Port Simpson, its Pacific terminal, says the New York World, is said to be the finest harbour north of San Francisco. The distance from Quebec to Yokohama, Japan, by the new line will be 722 miles shorter than by way of Vancouver, the Canadian Pacific's terminus. It will run through a country that now grows 52,000,000 bushels of wheat, and will have for traffic-feeders the provinces of Alberta, Athabasca, and Saskatchewan, which have immense stores of petroleum oil and coal of both kinds waiting to be mined.

It has besides a political and military significance. Englishmen are talking of it as a checkmate to Russia's Trans-Siberian Railway, and claiming that over its tracks troops from England could be sent into Manchuria four days sooner than Russian troops sent from Moscow could reach Vladivostock; also that British troops could be sent over it to either China or India in three weeks less time than by the Suez Canal.

A DEFAULTING DEBTOR.

The so-called republic of Venezuela, which is rather an absolute dictatorship, presuming on the protection

« PreviousContinue »