Obrázky stránek

their inspirations in such country lanes; and a driveway which is largely a pool of water doubtless gathers and reflects the shadows which the painter uses so effectually in his pictures. Roads, however, are not for the exclusive benefit of poets and artists; so that the work of increasing their utility will continue.

The roadside, further, must be shaped and, above all, covered with rich sod. No simple or definite rules can be laid down for this portion of the treatment of highways, and the best law-giver in this respect is nature. Nature does nothing stiffly, with rigid and abrupt lines, but has an infinity of gradations and shadings. An attempt to obtain a perfect level will be futile, and we would only secure awkward grades and stiff transitions. Long, easy, swelling lines should be sought.

The science of roads is principally a matter of drainage. Not that the shaping of the roadway, the gravel covering, and the details are unimport-. ant, but that these are a part of the system of drainage. The deep, dangerous and unsightly open ditches that are so frequently to be seen on either side of the roadway, however, are a great impediment to beauty, and must, in the artistic treatment of our highway, be replaced by under-drains of common field tile, which expedient affords an inexpensive remedy. Shallow gutters must, of course, be provided to carry away the surface water, but they need not disfigure the high

off concessions in parallel blocks, with the roadway a rigid line of demarcation, and places cross roads at regular intervals, is responsible for the many cuts and embankments which mar the appearance of the highways. Could roads be laid out as are railways, in a manner that would permit the most convenient route to be taken, much more frequently would we follow pleasant winding lines and graceful curves. Not only would roads laid out in this manner be more artistic in every way, but they would in many instances be shorter. The curve which we make in going down into a hollow and up again, or up a hill and down, is sometimes greater than the horizontal curve that would enable us to avoid the hill altogether.

Very common is the belief that in order to have a beautiful highway an expensive form of paving material must. be used. The ideal roadway is of crushed stone or gravel, such as is found in the parks of large cities. A popular feeling is that asphalt has a better appearance than these materials, but this is largely due to the fact that the possibilities of gravel and crushed stone are seldom understood. Horsemen and wheelmen are unanimously in favour of macadam roads, and but very little study of the question is needed to convince one that only when traffic becomes so great as to render the maintenance of gravel or crushed stone roadways impossible, or excessively expensive, asphalt need be used. So that its domain is the busiest thoroughfares of cities.

It is imperative, however, that the driveway shall be as perfect as possible. We are forced to form our ideas of the beautiful largely from the associations with which we clothe an object. It is difficult to harmonize with our conception of beauty a swampy roadway, into which the wheels of our carriage may have, on some dismal autumn day, settled immovably, or over which at the end of a wearisome journey we were compelled to carry a bicycle, as with each step we sank to our shoetops in mud. Poets, it is true, find


A great mistake is made in grading into a carriage-way too wide a portion of the road allowance. For the great majority of the country highways in the Province, twenty-four feet between gutters is ample, the central eight feet only being macadamized. We admire, of course, broad and smoothly-rounded driveways, but wide stretches of sod are equally handsome. The driveway must not be confounded with the road allowance, the statutory width of which is one chain; and this for artistic effects, as well as on sanitary grounds, should never be less - preferably greater.

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

In no particular are there better opportunities for the artistic treatment of highways than in the class of bridges and culverts employed. The introduction of steel for this purpose permits us to do away with the clumsy and awkward wooden structures which so seldom in their youth are pleasing, and which in old age become grotesque rather than picturesque, replacing them with bridges that are graceful and slender, but strong. Substantial arches of stone are, beyond question, the handsomest that can be employed, their great strength and durability appealing forcefully to one's æsthetic feelings.

To render our highways beautiful at a stroke is a herculean task not to be attempted. To impress upon a certain

section of the community the value of beautiful highways is the first step in the much-needed reform. Having thus gained the point at which this class of improvements will be systematically brought about, the beauty of the highways will in their turn teach the people their desirability. Men are instinctively better citizens for being surrounded with that which is pure and beautiful. The artistic treatment of highways would be a constant reproach to the shiftless; neglected lawns would become fewer; ramshakle houses and barns would be less common; the eye refreshed and educated at every point, a drive or spin along our country roads would mean to us a journey into a vast park.

A. W. Campbell.


A Muskoka Story.


T is just two years now since Tom Thorold invited me to spend vacation at his father's cottage in Muskoka. "Better come with me, old boy," said Tom, in that hearty way of his, "lots of fishing and shooting, with something softer between-lake by moonlight, white dresses, down-cast eyes and all that sort of thing you know You would be sure to enjoy yourself, and we would like to have you."

"I didn't know there were any young ladies in your family," said I, with an unexpressed wish to draw him out, for Tom never said much about his relations. "Pretty nice girls, I suppose?"

"Only one," said Tom laconically, "Millie's her name; oh, yes, she is a very fine girl, no nonsense about her; but it's Bobbet you'll be taken with, he is the cutest little chap you ever saw, only five years old and as wise as Solomon at fifty. In fact, all our family are rather extraordinary."

"Yes," I remarked, 66 now that I think of it, your conceit is rather above the average, and, as I don't know what might become of you without a kind friend to tell you of your faults now and then, I think I had better go to Muskoka."

My dreams that night were of a very stirring character, being composed chiefly of bear hunts in which I displayed indomitable courage and had many hairbreadth escapes, with an occasional canoe accident, when my prodigies of valour in rescuing Tom's sister won the undying gratitude of all.

For two or three days I was busily engaged in packing, not that I was going to take much, but it was so hard to know just what was necessary. Tom said, "Your very oldest suit, a soft felt hat for wet weather, a wide straw one for dry, one pair of thick shoes, fifty big handkerchiefs, and half-a-dozen flannel shirts, besides sundries." This

advice I followed to the letter; but the sundries were composed, among other things, of a natty, all-round suit of grey tweed, tan shoes, a pair of dancing slippers, some carefully selected ties, and plenty of fine linen; these, you perceive, with an eye to the ladies. A few books completed the modest outfit. It seems the regular thing, somehow, to take books with you when you go away for your holidays, though for what reason I cannot see, for they generally, as in this instance, get terribly in the way and remain unopened until your return. After we had packed and unpacked several times, and squeezed the very last thing (which happened to be a valuable China fruit-dish for Tom's mother) in on top of our boating shoes, all was ready and waiting except the train. Even that came at length, however, and in due time (half-an-hour late) we arrived at the "Villa Thorold," as my friend's summer residence was called.

I had learned from Tom, coming up on the train, that Mrs. Thorold's second cousin on her mother's side was staying with them. Tom blushed as he told me and, as Tom seldom blushes, I drew my own inferences. But both cousin and sister were invisible when we arrived, as in fact were all the rest of the family, it being somewhere around twelve o'clock p.m. and our letter having miscarried. However, we woke them up in right good style, and received a welcome from Mr. Thorold senior, which was wonderfully hearty under the circumstances.

My first impression next morning was that I had never been so tired since my first football game; my next, that it was a fine day and someone was singing in the garden. Peeping from the window, I found that the whole place was one vast garden-wild and uncultivated, it is true, but beautiful beyond

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

I remember few ceremonies which surprised me more. My vision of the morning was Millie! That tall, fair girl was Tom's sweetheart; but who was the strange gentleman with the great, black mustache, whom Mrs. Thorold introduced as Mr. Ainsley? And why was he sitting by Millie? Tom came down presently and called him "old boy" in a way which spoke of intimate acquaintance; but as he looked at my rather disappointed face I fancied that he smiled.

"She was bending over the water."

my powers of description. A little to the left lay the clear blue waters of the lake, calm as a burnished mirror under the beams of the morning sun; and there, on the brink of it, stood a vision of a maiden in white. She was bending over the water, clinging to an overhanging branch of a tree, looking at herself or stay, it might have been the wonderful reflection of light and shade which she admired; but in this "Vanity Fair" one is so apt to get a wrong impression from that sort of thing. She was singing, too, a light, gay air, something about "a pretty village maiden who loved a knight so true"; and so anxious was I to hear the end of the

Naturally, it took some time to reduce my turbulent thoughts to order, and arrange the various impressions I had received. When this was accomplished, I found that they were rather favourable than otherwise. The stately Miss Stanley, I thought, was a very handsome girl and almost good enough for Tom; while Miss Thorold had certainly the most taking face I had ever seen. As for the gentleman with the black mustache, he was a nice fellow, though dreadfully in the way for his way seemed always to be Millie's. It

would be hard to describe the charm of Millie Thorold's face, for she was not strictly beautiful, as beauty goes, but the chestnut hair had wavy lights and soft brown shadows which would drive an artist mad, and the brown eyes made up in depth what they wanted in shape, while the small, red mouth had a smile and a dimple unparalleled. It was a face whose very defects seemed to lend a witchery to the sweet, changing capricious whole and - why deny it-before the first week ended, my heart was gone; yes, my heart, which seemed so securely attached to myself, was gone, but so was my hope, for Millie was engaged to Mr. Ainsley with the full consent of both her parents, and Tom had known this and never told me. Tom is so blind.

However, I soon determined to make the best of my present happiness in being with her, and let the future look out for itself, for who can be downhearted when the air is fresh and the sky clear, and the water sparkles from your dripping oar and the girl you love sits steering your boat and looks with smiling brown eyes from beneath her wide straw hat?

It was to Bobbet that I owed my enlightenment on the subject of Millie's engagement, and that quite accidently. It chanced that one evening as I strolled by the water, dreaming sweet dreams of sunlight on chestnut hair, that I met him quite unexpectedly, about half a mile from the house, looking the picture of despair and misery.

"What's up, old fellow?" I cried, catching him up on my shoulder in the best humour possible. "Some of the polliwogs got away, or is Sambo dead?"

"No," said Bobbet, in a subdued whisper, "it's awfuller than that- I went into the parlour after tea, and there was sister Millie and Mr. Ainsley sitting on the sofa, and I wanted Mr. Ainsley to come fishing, but mother said, quite cross, 'run away, Bobbet, your sister Millie and Mr. Ainsley are engaged,' and," continued he, bursting into tears, "Cousin Sally-got-engaged and went away and-nevercame back!"

No doubt it was my duty to condole with the disconsolate child over the prospective loss of his sister; but human nature at the best is selfish. So, placing him, still sobbing, on a log, I strolled away to consider the news in solitude.

All next day I was perfectly miserable, and could enjoy nothing; but, little by little, that hope which "springs eternal" reasserted itself, and I decided to be happy in her company for the little time left me before the full weight of my loss would make itself felt in absence from her. With sharpened powers of observation I soon noticed that for an engaged couple Millie and Mr. Ainsley were anything but attentive to each other; especially did I contrast his carelessness of her with Tom's devotion to his cousin, and my blood boiled that he should so little appreciate the jewel he had won. When a young

man is in love it doesn't take much to make his blood boil. In this existing state of things we were much thrown together, and often found ourselves alone, and scarcely an evening passed that I did not tremble to think of how nearly I had betrayed myself during the day. But Millie seemed to suspect nothing. She would look at me so frankly out of her beautiful eyes, with a little smile curving her lips, and the sweetest, tiniest blush on her rounded cheek so happy, so girlish, so innocent, that I always saved myself in time.

My stay was drawing to a close, and on the next day but one I must leave her. Tom and Mr. Ainsley were out hunting; we had paddled across the lake to a beautiful spot called "Elf Glen," and Master Bobbet had insisted on coming with us. I remember the dress Millie wore that day, a soft, blue muslin with pretty, fanciful dashes of snowy lace; her hair was coiled low on her neck, and waved back from her forehead, where one bright, little curl rested lovingly. But there was something else, a slight sadness about the smiling mouth, an unusual absence of the sunbeams in the hazel eyes. Could it be for me? I was miserable and speechless, and Millie was a little silent

« PředchozíPokračovat »