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Lord Salisbury replied, 'One mile and A-half, sir.' The great Duke said, 'Tell me when they are within one-quarter of a mile,' and he became absorbed in his paper.
The Marquis of Salisbury went back to observe. When the procession reached the appointed distance he galloped back to the Horse Guards, and again found the Iron Duke quietly reading. 'Well?' said the Duke. Lord Salisbury reported that the procession was breaking up, and that only small detached bodies of Chartists were crossing the bridge. 'Exactly what I expected,' said the Duke, and returned to his paper.”
tate working it was proposed to have a "Special Commissioner," who should be a member of the Executive Committee, and at the same time attend the meetings of the consultative Royal Commission. The choice fell upon Playfair. He was introduced without delay to the Prince Consort, and then began a relationship of the happiest omen. Playfair made the round of the manufacturing districts, saw the leading men and did much to remove difficulties. One great service he rendered in devising a new system of classification.
Playfair was still on the thresholdonly thirty-two-when a greater work opened before him. Surely it was good for England that he had accepted the Prime Minister's hint, and not gone to Canada, but his course was not for one day really dependent on patronage. To how few, has it fallen to leave such a record of the years between twenty and thirty! The Great Exhibition of 1851 was now being planned. “I had nothing to do," says Playfair, in his Autobiography, “with the inception or original preparations for this undertaking. Various persons claim the merit of suggesting that an exhibition, which was at first started as one for national industries, should be made international, and embrace the manufactures of all nations. My own belief is that the suggestion originated with the Prince Consort in consultation with Sir Henry Cole.” There was a certain greatness of conception and elevation of hope about this first Exhibition which makes it still memorable, though the world has seen other displays more comprehensive and magnificent. The committee organized by the Society of Arts to carry it out soon saw that the enterprise was too great for it. A Royal Commission was instituted to support it, including the most eminent statesmen of both parties. Still the industrial classes hung back. To facili
“This classification, the first attempted of industrial work, met with great success, and had the good fortune to be highly recommended by Whewell and Babbage, both masters in classification. Ultimately, it was thoroughly adopted by the Prince Consort and the Royal Commission. It had still to be approved by the foreign commissions. France alone made some objections, as the French Commission had drawn out a logical and philosophical classification for itself. In discussing the two classifications with the French Commission, I pointed out that the best must be the one which the manufacturers could most readily understand, and I suggested that we should fix upon any common object, and see who could most quickly find it in appropriate division. My I'rench colleague had handsome walking-stick in his hand, and proposed that this should be the test. Turning to my class of 'miscellaneous objects' under the subsection, 'Objects for personal use,' I readily found a walking-stick. The French commissioner searched his logical classification for a long time in vain, but ultimately found the familiar object under a subsection, 'Machines for the propagation of direct motion.' He laughed heartily and agreed to work under the English classification.
When Paxton's proposal of a palace of iron and glass had carried the day, the building rose with wonderful rapidity.
"But even then the croakers would not cease to frighten the public. Alarms which now seem puerile and absurd were seriously entertained, and had to be dissipated. The great influx of people from abroad was to produce frightful epidemics-perìaps black death, certainly cholera; the large immigration of foreigners, on the pretence of seeing the Exhibition, was to be used as a conspiracy to seize London, and sack the great capital. Our industries were to be destroyed by a taste for foreign goods being created, and England's future greatness was to be imperilled to gratify the wish of the foreign Prince who had married the Queen."
might be on it. “Will you now place your hand in this boiling metal, and ladle out a portion of it?' he said to his distinguished pupil. “Do you tell me to do this?' asked the Prince. 'I do,' replied Playfair. The prince instantly put his hand into the cauldron, and ladled out some of the boiling lead without sustaining any injury.
“It is a well-known scientific fact that the human hand, if perfectly cleansed, may be placed uninjured in lead boiling at white heat, the moisture of the skin protecting it under these conditions from any injury. Should the lead be at a perceptibly lower temperature, the effect would of course be very different."
At the close of the Exhibition, Playfair was made a C.B. He was also invited to become a gentleman usher of the Prince Consort's household. As one of the Exhibition Commissioners he had a large share in their subsequent duties, in the organization of the College of Science, the promotion of technical education and other developments. We may not attempt to follow him through all the various occupations of the busy years, full to the last as they were with the same spirit of tactful service. It was while professor of chemistry at Edinburgh that he gave his advice in aid of the education of the Prince of Wales and other of the princes; his chief idea being to acquaint them with the practical application of science to industry, for the better understanding of national needs.
It was during the time that the Prince was living in Edinburgh as Playfair's pupil that the following incident occurred.
It must suffice us in one sentence to mention his entry into Parliament, first as representing the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews, and afterwards Leeds; his term of office as Chairman and Deputy Speaker, and as Postmaster-General; and his elevation to the peerage as Baron Playfair of St. Andrews. Afterwards he was lord-in-waiting to the Queen at Wind
Honors like duties crowded upon him through the later years. The services which he rendered during his long life that bore fruit permanently are more than we can enumerate; they were of various kinds from the first suggestion of open half-penny letters
the postcard, to the “Playfair Scheme," which remodelled the Civil Service. He died within a few days of Mr. Gladstone, having filled out the fourscore years.
To Lady Playfair the Prince of Wales wrote: "I have had the advantage of knowing your distinguished husband even before I was ten years old, and during those many years I was on the terms of the most intimate friendship with him. In him I have lost a Master (as I am proud to say I was his pupil), an adviser and a friend."
"He was one of the wisest, fairest and most loyal men," said Lord Rose
"The Prince and Playfair were standing near a cauldron containing lead which was boiling at white heat. "Has your Royal Highness any faith in science?' said Playfair. "Certainly,' replied the Prince. Playfair then care. fully washed the Prince's hand with ammonia to get rid of any grease that
In the sixties, two men called Burke man. That day bad dawned and de. and Wills lay down and died in the clined most gloriously on Townshend, Queensland Never-never country for and was near its waning as he drew want of a few pounds of food; and a rein upon a crest of a long, low rise few tons of bronze and granite were and looked about him, with a lifting of set up in Melbourne to their memory. the heart, upon his squatter's kingdom In the heart of barren plenty they died in the Barcoo country, many years ago. of hunger; for the land where they left On every hand, clear to the sky-linetheir bones—in those days geographers except where great gum-trees marked called it a "Great Stony Desert” in the the winding chasm of the rivermaps--was knee-deep with the finest bed - the whole earth was laid native pasture in the world. The book- if in cloth of golden green keeper who writes the roll of Fame the sunlight fell aslant upon thus squared accounts in his extra-ter- an ocean of ripe pasturage. Out and restrial, inscrutable way; he gave them out over the great expanse the eye was posthumous celebrity; and to some of drawn , until the whole appeared imthose who peopled the grassy province measurable; and yet, Townshend from they had helped to open to the world, where he sat, did not look upon a tithe and who throve where Burke and Wills of his dominions. Knee-deep in rich had perished, gave he Fortune.
grass cattle were drawing in to water In the early days of settlement, some in slow processions; the further files few tasted a freshness of living out showed in the vast prospect merely as there, such as, it is written, was in the gay-colored moving specks. Down in lives of men before the world grew old; the echoing channel of the river the they lived there, and left, young enough notes of a bellbird struck upon the great to keep forever sweet the memory of- silence like a call to prayer. The colt, what to most men is a tale of bitter- Norseman, first of the Oontoona staness-their pioneering. Jasper Towns- tion-breds-and surely from the lines hend was, and still is, one of these. He and looks of him, the leader of a noble went thither in a golden moment; the race that was to rise in this squatter's single stain that lies upon his recollec- paradise-paused in the track and whintion of those days is linked with his nied toward the homestead. There it tenderest memory.
was, a mile away; the bridle road went It is a great day in a squatter's life trailing down to it, dwindling to a when he first rides, upon his own cattle- thread as it neared the squat brown run, the first horse of his own breeding, buildings and the stockyards, all of that has ever carried saddle and horse- them rough-hewn and hard won by
LIVING AGE. VOL. VIII. 421
axe and saw from virgin timber; yet all looking now in the spacious distance, like children's playthings. A column of blue wood-smoke climbed from the kitchen chimney and poised above it, a filmy cloud in the dead, still air. There came to Townshend's ears a tiny clash of bells, and-infinitely remote, yet as if within the passage of his ear-he heard the eager barking of a dog; the milkers were being yarded. Utter peacefulness was abroad; and yet the horseman shrugged discontentedly. He brought his heels on the colt's ribs with a thud, and the animal went down the long slope at a swinging canter-one would say the rider's happy notions had been dashed with sourness by the coming within sound and sight of home.
As he rode now he faced the southwest; there, between the gold of earth and blue of heaven, the horizon was belted in by a strip of denser blue, where a line of ridges lay, marking one boundary of Oontoona. Above the distant ranges now, the clear heaven was flawed by a smoke-pillar-for it could be no water-born cloud that stood thus, clean-cut and stone-gray, in such a stainless air. And even before the strange thing was hidden from Townshend by his descent, the column suddenly crumbled downward on its base, then spread and lay like a pall above the hills. Townshend pulled the colt to a walk.
"Blacks," he said; "is it blacks at last?” Then he braced himself strongly up.
“Let' 'em come; we want a rousing here;" and he laughed somewhat bitterly.
But he closed his teeth upon the laughter, and bit something like a sob; he was near the house, and on the veranda was a woman sewing busily. She did not look up; Townshend went to unsaddle and turn loose the colt; as he did so he said many times below his breath-with varied intonations, as
if the words were fraught with many meanings, most of them sinister“Blacks?” Then he went to his wife.
She offered him no welcome; she rose, fastened the needle in her work and threw it and her thimble hurriedly into the chair. She rubbed her palms together slowly and looked at her husband.
“Are you tired? Won't you go and wash? Supper's ready,” she said. Voice and manner were perfectly indifferent.
Her face was not so; there were two little upright lines between the eyebrows and two more running slantwise from the corners of the mouth; these, and a hardness in the eyes, told plainly enough of a woman whose nature was being soured at
source-or frozen or dried up. There was a sickness of the soul upon her that looked out from her eyes and held the man aloof. Upon his last utterance of the strange word he had hurried round to her anxiously, and had come upon the veranda as if he would run and take her in his arms; as he saw her face his hands fell down and his steps lagged. They shared their supper in silence or spoke lifelessly.
When he brought a wife from old green England out into this unfurrowed land, Townshend had thought that his three years' delving had made the place inhabitable, so that even an Englishwoman of finer blood might come to it and not be broken in heart and spirit by the rudeness of the change. He had seen too many women broken that way; and he worked with a tigerish energy, and planned, built and waited, until he had a weather-proof house and neighbors within ride, a trustwortlıy cook and-since the seasons had been glorious and his cattle increased like magic -prospects that royalty might envy. He wrote to her, and she came. She found tokens of his thought of her at every turn; they were a sound, sweet
blooded pair; they were very happy on she rolled up hastily and threw into Oontoona for many months.
her chair when he came home that day; Townshend's life was full to the of late he had often found her thus ocbrim; his wife's-once her new condi- cupied; but in the almost angry eagertions were familiar to her—was not. ness with which she worked, and in She had all the healthy woman's hor- the forbidding silence she maintained ror of sitting idle-handed; when, after as she rose up from it, there was only six months or so of bush-life, she found hopelessness. It was as the action of herself often moved to stare idly across a prisoner plucking at the prison the changeless and featureless out-of- bars. doors, while flat despondency or an al- That night he was alone on the vermost savage restlessness possessed her anda; having smoked savagely to the in turn, she was afraid. Loyalty bade bitter heel of his tobacco, he was bither hide the fear; was easy to hide, ing morosely on the pipe-stem; the wife at first, from a man who, the very self was sewing, sewing in the lamplight of ingenuousness, was much away and within; she bit off her threads with the often very tired. Being hidden, it be- little vicious, worrying wrench that came harmful, and flourished in the tells in women of white-hot nerves. The silence; and thus a shadow fell be- first angry word had passed between tween the pair. Before the blunter per- them; it was his, flung behind him as ceptions of the man had felt it, it was he came out-flung at her stony irreirremovable by any arts of his. A sponsiveness when he had told her of couple blessed with cruder sensibilities his day and of his pride in the first than these might have kept whole the Oontoona colt-and had met with the bond of sympathy, even by quarrelling cruellest rejoinder, that of silence. and reconciliations; their fineness de- She heard him rise suddenly and nied them that. Solitude and monot- stride away, and she listened with a ony and yearnings unfulfilled for things strange startled look and with both of home had touched the woman's soul, hands raised to thread her needle. Out and it was drying up within her; and in the darkness Townshend's heart was the soul touched the body with deep- pounding at his ribs; for he heard a rooted sickness; often she would start far-away splashing and trampling of out of horrid dreams into a racking many horses at the river-crossing where clearness of perception and, hearing
the bridle track led westward, away her husband breathing at her side, out to some big cattle-runs that marked would feel a very horror of repulsion then the very outposts of settlement. at thought of the touch of his limbs; Now the sound of many horses on a and could neither weep nor wake the track where, ordinarily, only the mailman and tell him. Dumbly her eyes man or a solitary stockman rode, was told him such things sometimes, and a thing to wonder at. The stir of undumbly he acknowledged them, and saddling and the chink of hobble-chains was miserably helpless.
came up to Townshend's ears, and he She had come to Oontoona as a broad- saw the flicker of a camp-fire strike up browed, deep-bosomed girl, born for and broaden; the strong sound of a motherhood or failing that-for mis- cantering mounted horse grew towards ery. When Townshend saw the smoke- him, and a man's voice, fresh and clear, pillar above the hills, she had been two hailed from the darkness-years on Oontoona; she was childless "Oontoona homestead, ahoy?" still, and growing almost gaunt in body. “Right you are,” Townshend called It was a bundle of tiny garments that back, invigorated—the soi.nd of that