The Illustrated London Reading Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about The Illustrated London Reading Book.

    “There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
    That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
    His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
    And pore upon the brook that bubbles by.

    “Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
    Mutt’ ring his wayward fancies he would rove;
    Now drooping, woful, wan, like one forlorn,
    Or crazed with care, or cross’d in hopeless lore.

    “One morn, I miss’d him on th’ accustom’d hill,
    Along the heath, and near his fav’rite tree;
    Another came, nor yet beside the rill,
    Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

    “The next, with dirges due, in sad array,
    Slow through the churchway path we saw him borne. 
    Approach and read (for thou can’st read) the lay,
    Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”

[Illustration:  THE EPITAPH.]

    Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth—­
    Youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown: 
    Fair Science frown’d not on his humble birth,
    And Melancholy mark’d him for her own.

    Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
    Heav’n did a recompense as largely send: 
    He gave to Mis’ry all he had—­a tear;
    He gain’d from Heav’n, ’twas all he wish’d—­a friend.

    No farther seek his merits to disclose,
    Or draw his frailties from their dread abode;
    (There they alike in trembling hope repose)
    The bosom of his Father and his God.

    GRAY.

* * * * *

THE ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH.

[Illustration:  Letter M.]

Marvellous indeed have been the productions of modern scientific investigations, but none surpass the wonder-working Electro-magnetic Telegraphic Machine; and when Shakspeare, in the exercise of his unbounded imagination, made Puck, in obedience to Oberon’s order to him—­

    “Be here again
    Ere the leviathan can swim a league.”

reply—­

    “I’ll put a girdle round the earth
    In forty minutes”—­

how little did our immortal Bard think that this light fanciful offer of a “fairy” to “the King of the Fairies” would, in the nineteenth century, not only be substantially realised, but surpassed as follows:—­

The electric telegraph would convey intelligence more than twenty-eight thousand times round the earth, while Puck, at his vaunted speed, was crawling round it only ONCE!

On every instrument there is a dial, on which are inscribed the names of the six or eight stations with which it usually communicates.  When much business is to be transacted, a boy is necessary for each of these instruments; generally, however, one lad can, without practical difficulty, manage about three; but, as the whole of them are ready for work by night as well as by day, they are incessantly attended, in watches of eight hours each, by these satellite boys by day and by men at night.

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The Illustrated London Reading Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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