18 SEPTEMBER 1880, Page 16


And now for our journey down. We left Cincinnati early in the morning by the Cincinnati Southern Railway, a line built entirely by the city, and the cost of which will probably make the municipality poor for some years to come. But it seems to me a splendid and sagacious act of foresight in a great com- munity, to have boldly taken hold of and opened up at once what must be one, if not the main, artery of communication between North and South in the future. I believe the impel- ling motive was the tendency of the carrying trade of late years to settle along other routes, leaving the metropolis of the South-West out in the cold. If this be so, the result justifies the prompt courage of the citizens of Cincinnati, for the tide has obviously set in again with a vengeance. The pas- senger-cars are filled to the utmost of their capacity, and freight, as we know here too well, is often delayed for days, in spite of all the efforts of the excellent staff of the road. Be- sides its through traffic, the line has opened up an entirely new country, of which these highlands seem likely to prove a profit- able, as they certainly are the most interesting, tract. This section has not been open for six months, and already it is waking up life all over these sparsely-settled regions. Down below-on the way to Chatanooga I hear that the effect is the same, and that in that great mineral region blast-furnaces are already at work, and coal-mines opening all along the line. At Chatanooga there are connections with all the great Southern lines,-so that we on this aerial height are, in these six months, in direct communication with every important seaport from Boston to New Orleans, and almost every great centre of inland population ; and the settlers here, looking forward with that sturdy faith which seems to inspire all who have breathed the air for a week or two, are already considering upon which favoured mart they shall pour out their abundance of fruits and tobacco, from the trees yet to be planted and seed yet to be sown. All which seems to prove that Cincinnati, at any rate, has done well to adopt the motto, " L'audace, tonjours Paudace," which is, indeed, characteristic of this country and this time.

And the big work has not only been done, but done well and permanently. The engineering difficulties must have been very great ; the cuttings and tunnels had to be made through hard rock, and the bridges over streams which have cut for them- selves channels hundreds of feet deep. We crossed the Ken- tucky River, on (I believe) the highest railway bridge in the world, 283 feet above the water ; and rushed from a tunnel in the limestone rock right on to the bridge which spans the north fork of the Cumberland river, 170 feet below. The lightness of the ironwork on which these bridges rest startles one at first, but experience has shown them to be safe, and the testa to which they have been put on this line would have tried most seriously the strength of far more massive structures. But it is only in its bridges that the Cincinnati Southern Railway has a light appearance. The building of the line has a solid and permanent look, justifying, I should think, the very con-. siderable sum per mile which has been spent on it above the ordinary cost in this country. And by the only test which am amateur is as well able to apply as an expert, that of writing on a journey, I can testify that it is as smoothly laid as the average of our leading English lines. For the last fifty miles. we ran almost entirely through forests, which are, however,. falling rapidly all along the side of the line, and yielding place to corn-fields in the rich bottoms, wherever any reasonably level ground bordered the water-courses, up which we could glance as we hurried past. I was surprised, and, I need not say, greatly pleased, to see the apparently excellent terms on which the white and coloured people were,.. even in the Knklux regions through which we came. A Northern express man, our companion at this point, dc- flounced it as the most lawless in the United States. About one hundred homicides, he declared, had taken place in the last. year, and no conviction had been obtained, the juries looking on such things as regrettable accidents. This may be so, but. I can, at any rate, testify, from careful observation of the mixed gangs of workmen on the road, and the groups gathered at the numerous stations, to the familiar and apparently friendly foot- ing on which the races met. As for the decrease of the blacks,. it must be in other regions than those traversed by the Cin- cinnati Southern Railway, for the cabins we passed in the deal- ings and round the stations swarmed with small urchins, clad in single garments, the most comic little figures of fun, gene.- ally,that one had ever seen, as they stood staring and signalling to the train. There is something to me so provocative of mirth in the race, and I have found them generally such kindly folk,, that I regret their absence from this same Alpine settlement,— a regret not shared, doubtless, by the few householders, to. whom their constant small pecnlations must be very trying.

About five we stopped at the station from which this place is reached, and turning out on the platform were greeted by four or five young Englishmen, who had preceded us, on one errand or another, every one of whom was well known to me in ordinary life, but whom for the first moment I did not recognise. I had seen them last clothed in the frock-coat and stove-pipe hat of our muck-vaunted civilisation, and behold, here was a group which I can compare to nothing likely to be familiar to your- readers, unless it be the company of the Danitess, as they have been playing in London. Broad-brimmed straw or felt hats,. the latter very battered and worse for wear; dark-blue jerseys,. or flannel shirts of varying hue; breeches and gaiters, or long boots, were the prevailing, I think I may say the universal costume, varied according to the taste of the wearer with. bits of bright colour laid on in handkerchief at neck_ or waist. And tastes varied deliciously, two of the party showing really a fine feeling for the part, and one, our geologist, 6 ft. 2 in. in his stockings, and a mighty Etonian and Cantab. in brains as well as bulk, turning out, with an heroie scorn of all adornment, in woefully battered nether-garment and gaiters, and a felt which a tramp would have looked at several times before picking it out of the gutter. There was a light. buggy for passengers and a mule waggon for luggage by the platform ; but how were nine men, not to mention the manager- and driver, both standing over 6 ft., and the latter as big at. least as our geologist, to get through the intervening miles of forest tracks in time for tea up here ? Fancy our delight when. a chorus of "Will you ride or drive ?" arose, and out of the neighbouring bushes the Danites led forth nine saddle-horses,. bearing the comfortable half-Mexican saddles with wooden stirrups in use here. Our choice was quickly made, and throw- ing coats and waistcoats into the waggon, which the manager good-naturedly got into himself, surrendering his horse for the time, we joined the cavalcade in our shirts.

A lighter-hearted party has seldom scrambled through the Tennessee mountain roads on to this plateau. We were led by- e second Etonian, also 6ft. 2 in. in his stockings, whose Panama. straw hat and white corduroys gleamed like a beacon through the deep shadows cast by the tall pine-trees and white oaks.. The geologist brought up the rear, and between rode the rest of us—all public schoolmen, I think, another Etonian, two from Rugby, one Harrow, one Wellington—through deep gullies,. through four streams, in one of which I nearly came to grief,. from not following my leader; but my gallant little nag picked himself up like a goat from his floundering amongst the boulders,. anti so up through more open ground till we reached this city of the future, and in the dusk saw the bright gleam of light under

the verandahs of two sightly wooden houses. In one of these, the temporary restaurant, we were seated in a few minutes at an excellent tea (cold beef and mutton, tomatoes, rice, cold apple-tart, maple syrup, &c.); and during the meal the news passed round that the hotel, being as yet unfurnished and every other place filled with workpeople, we must all (except the geologist and the Wellingtouian, who had a room over the office) pack away in the next cottage, which had been with difficulty reserved for as. If it had been a question of men only, no one would have given it a thought ; but our party had now been swollen by two young ladies, who had hurried down by an earlier train to see their brother and brother-in-law, settlers on the plateau, and by another young Englishman who had accompanied them. A puzzle, you will allow, when you hear a description of our tenement. It is a four-roomed timber house, of moderate size, three rooms on the ground floor, and one long loft upstairs. You enter through the verandah on a common room, 20 ft. long by 14 ft. broad, opening out of which are two chambers, 14 ft. by 10 ft. One of these was, of course, at once appropriated to the ladies. The second, in spite of my remonstrances, was devoted to me, as the Nestor of the party, and on entering it I found an excellent bed (which had been made by two of the Etonians), and a great basin full of wild-flowers on the table. There were four small beds in the loft, for which the seven drew lots, and two of the losers spread rags on the floor of the common room, and the third swung a hammock in the verandah. Up drove the mule waggon with luggage, and the way in which big and little boxes were dealt with and distributed fired me with respect and admiration for the rising generation. The house is ringing behind me with silvery and bass laughter, and jokes as to the shortness of accommodation in the matter of washing appliances, while I sit here writing in the verandah, the light from my lamp throwing out into strong relief the stems of the nearest trees. Above, the vault is blue beyond all description, and studded with stars as bright as though they were all Venuses. The katydids are making delightful music in the trees, and the summer lightning is playing over the Western heaven ; while a gentle breeze, cool and refreshing as if it came straight off a Western sea, is just lifting, every now and then, the corner of my paper. Were I young again,— but as I am not likely to be that, I refrain from bootless castle- building, and shall turn in, leaving windows wide open for the katydid's chirp and the divine breeze to enter freely, and wishing as good rest as they have all so well earned to my crowded neighbours in this enchanted solitude. VACUUS VIATOR.