Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Having decided that a machine of so may gales of wind. But both of the aeroplane type is preferable to a these affect shipping to a very large dirigible balloon, let us adopt, for the extent, if not trains, and as a rule sake of argument, the notion of an would only occur during a few hours apparatus very similar to that now in a month. Though adverse winds used by the Wrights, but perhaps may reduce the speed of travel, this is slightly larger, so as to carry three or purely a question of the speed with four, and able to attain a greater which the machine can travel. If mospeed, say fifty miles an hour. Let tor cars can now exceed 100 miles an this be capable of travelling for several hour along a road there seems every hours on end, of going up to say 1000 likelihood of air-cars being able in fufeet, and to negotiate all ordinary ture to greatly exceed this. If capable winds. Considering the enormous of going 150 miles an hour, a gale strides made within the last year or blowing forty miles per hour would two, it seems not at all unreasonable make no serious difficulty. to hope that we may have such a ves- Dangerous.--It is very generally supsel within the next year or two.

posed that it is dangerous to travel The carriage of passengers and mails through the air, this assumption prob)is one thing, but it is quite another ably being due to a large extent to the matter to compare the airship to an ex- fact that several inventors in their press train, as Professor Newcomb crude appliances, and without experidoes later on, and discuss the relative ence, have come to grief. But with a coal consumption, presuming it to perfected machine one can hardly imcarry the same burden. He shows agine what can happen to upset it in that the main resistance which train mid-air. Barring collisions, which, travelling at high speed has to encoun- on account of the greater space, should ter is that of the air, but he omits to be much rarer than collisions at sea. point out that while the air resistance and such accidents as the breaking of to a train is wholly one of retardation, a shaft or catching fire, it is difficult in a well-designed flying-machine al- to see what could happen. Then peomost the whole effort is utilized in ple often imagine the horror of falling lift.

after a mishap, through thousands of B!t it seems hardly necessary to dis- feet to the ground, forgetting that in cuss the question of utilizing an air- all probability nine-tenths of the trafship for the transport of heavy goods; fic will be conducted within twenty or no one, I think, looks upon that as a thirty feet of the ground. So that likely accomplishment for a long time the effects of an accident would not to come.

be much more serious than in other The chief sentence of the whole of modes of travel. Professor Newcomb's article that I Expensive.—Why?

An air-car to take exception to is this: “Any use that carry two or three will certainly not we can make of the air for the purpose

cost as much as a motor car. of transportation, even when our ma- keep will probably prove far less since chinery attains ideal perfection, will there are no expensive tires to wear be uncertain, dangerous, expensive, out, nor is there the same continual and inefficient, as compared with trans- shaking and vibration. The speed and portation on the earth and ocean." directness of the route from door to We will consider each of these points

2 The breaking of a propeller blade, such as in turn.

occurred so unfortunately in Mr. Orville

Wright's machine, is hardly likely to happen Uncertain.-Fogs may delay traffic, again.

Its up

door will certainly render flying an two bullets are not likely to affect it in economical mode of transport.

the least, and even shells may pass Inefficient.--As a means of travel, the right through an aeroplane without air-car promises to be the most delight, bringing it down. ful possible. Probably much faster It is pointed out that a conflict bethan any other means of getting from tween rival airships is likely to be place to place, and, as I have just said, short; both would probably soon be very likely one of the cheapest. For riddled by bullets and brought to earth. the transport of mails and light goods But this is not the case with gasless the same arguments apply. If Mr. machines. They would hold a balloon Wright has already carried an extra at their mercy. The duel between such weight of 240 lbs., there can be no ques- I will leave to the imagination. tion as to the possibility of carrying There are two distinct methods of light loads. There appears to be no utilizing air-craft for war. First, that difficulty whatever in steering or in most usually discussed, is as a means landing on any desired spot. Why, of rising high into the air to obtain a then, should it be deemed inefficient? wide view of the country round, to

Considering all these facts, and that soar at an altitude above the range of improvements are bound to follow, projectiles, to float over towns and forthere seems to be every likelihood that, tresses and drop bombs upon them. in future, travelling through the air The extent to which damage can be will offer so many advantages that it done by dropping explosives from a will become a common means of gets height can at present be but a matter ting from place to place. Then, by of speculation. It may prove to be superseding other methods of trans- serious, but it may be found, as Proport, it will grow into a subject of fessor Newcomb points out, that the great importance and create new and difficulties are so great that not very wide-spreading industries.

much is possible of accomplishment in The employment of the aerial vessel this line. For such purposes the balas an instrument of war is probably loon may perhaps be considered almost the most important question at the

the more suitable. present moment for our naval and mili- There is, however, the other method tary authorities to consider.

which seems to me that most likely to Professor Newcomb, in referring to be of real use, at all events in the this subject, begins by dismissing the early days of aerial navigation, yet flyer as “out of the question," and adds it is one that has seldom been referred “the airship proper or enlarged bal. to in writings or discussions on the loon is the only agency to be feared." subject. This is the use of a swiftly Yet he then points out how vulnerable moving small machine skimming over such a vessel is, and how “a single the ground and seldom rising to any yeoman could with his rifle disable a height except to clear such obstacles as whole fleet of airships approaching trees and houses. Such a machine within range of bis station." It should prove invaluable in war. For seems to me that this fact alone puts reconnoitring it may be compared to the airship out of the question, that is the cavalry horse, but with the followas a really practical, dependable; and ing advantages: it would be far speedimportant instrument of war. The ier, could go across any country whatflyer, on the other hand, presents a ever, taking walls, rivers, and other much more difficult target, and is com- obstacles "in its stride,” it could probaparatively invulnerable, since one or bly carry two or three men, so that one

us

could devote his whole attention to observation, and it could when necessary rise to obtain a distant view.

As for vulnerability, the air-car would be no worse than the horse, and if the seats and engines were rendered bullet proof, it could hardly be brought down by rifle fire. For reconnaisance, for despatch delivery, for raids into the enemy's territory, such a means of transport would be unsurpassed.

The question of invasion is one in which the British public takes a more general interest. Professor Newcomb concludes that “England has little to fear from the use of airships by an enemy seeking to invade her territory. ... The key to her defence is the necessary vulnerability of a balloon." ... But, again, what about the flyer? If such machines can be proved to be practicable, and not too expensive, they will soon be adopted by the military Powers, not by ones and twos as with the costly airships, but by the hundred. We know that these machines can be made. There can be no reasonable doubt but that they will be immensely improved during the next year or two.

Now I would seriously ask, What valid reason is there why, within a few years' time, a foreign nation should not be able to despatch a fleet of a thousand aerial machines, each carrying two or three armed men and able to come across to our shores and land, not necessarily on the coast, but at any desired inland place? The major

The Nineteenth Century and After.

ity of the men could be landed while the flyers could be sent back for further supplies. No defence seems possible against invasion by such a fleet, since, like a swarm of locusts, its destination cannot be guessed, and, after settling, it may rise again and swoop down on some fresh place, while an hour later it may have returned to its base, having wrought havoc in the district of its descent.

All this may sound like a flight of fancy, but let remember that Wright has already accomplished flights with a passenger of double the distance across the Channel. Let us bear in mind, too, that 10,000 such machines would probably not cost much more than one modern battleship. The only system of defence that I can see is (Irish though it may sound) to form a similar fleet to attack the homes of those that dare to visit our shores unasked.

Then let us be prepared. It is not enough for our naval and military authorities to shirk the matter by saying that they do not consider it likely to be serious. The question is whether there is any sort of possibility of this mode of warfare developing into one of importance. If there is, it demands our most serious consideration, and the British taxpayer must put his hand in his pocket and provide the wherewithal to place us at least on a par with any foreign nation which attempts to form a large aerial fleet.

B. Baden-Powell.

HARDY-ON-THE-HILL.

By M. E. FRANCIS

(Mrs. Franois Blundell.) CHAPTER VIL

from an entertainment given in their Late one afternoon about a fort- honor by Mrs. Turnworth. It was right after the Leslies had taken up now late November and the dusk had their abode at the Little Farm, the already set in, a clinging damp fog two girls made their way homewards made progress difficult, and their advance was further impeded by the ex- waggling his ears while you were talktremely muddy condition of the roads. iug to his mother, and when he banded Kitty carried a small lantern, the fee- me those nasty little sticky cakes be ble light of which was only sufficient looked just as if he was going to to enable them to see a few yards 'moo.'" ahead, and they walked slowly and “Calves don't moo," said Kitty. with great caution.

“Yes, they do. You know how “I wish I hadn't put on my bigh- they throw up their head and say heeled shoes,” sighed Bess. “My dear M-m-m-m'? Mr. Chilby went just like little French shoes! They're full of that. M-m-m'he'd say, holding out mud now—and they're the last of their a plate of something or other. Oh, line. We shall have to get great Kitty, isn't it horrid ?" country clod-hopping things after She stood stock still in the middle of this."

a pool, dropping her skirts the better “Well, they'll be more suitable, I to gesticulate with both despairing litdare say,” said Kitty in a dispirited tle hands. Her mouth drooped, and as tone.

Kitty, startled, held up the lantern, "Yes, all our little elegances were she saw two great tears upon her sis. quite thrown away on Cousin Marian ter's cheeks. and her friends,” agreed Bess. "That “My darling, what's the matter?” was an entertainment, wasn't it?"

"Oh, it's so horrid,” sobbed Bess “She did her best,” returned Kitty, again, "there's no use pretending to charitably, but dolefully.

each other and making believe that we "The cats' tea-party!" ruminated like it, when it's so hateful-" Bess. “Do you remember that book “Being poor, you mean?" we were so fond of as children? It "Being poor and living on a farm, was a regular cats' tea-party to-day- and tramping along muddy roads, and and Cousin Marian was the cattiest going to a cats' tea-party. Oh, Kitty!" of all!"

“Of course it has been horrid to-day," Kitty laughed feebly and Bess con- said Kitty soothingly, though her own tinued in a more sprightly tone, for the heart sank. fancy cheered her up a little.

“It's horrid every day," protested “Yes, there were clerical toms and Bess. I don't mind the place so ordinary cats—and that nice Mrs. much-it's the people. And to think Molesworth was a dear kind old pussy. we shall see nobody a bit better all our She purred all the time, and she was days. That we shall vegetate and grow so proud of her white frill. And Mrs. old and ugly on our maiden stalks unMoreton was a Chinchilla, I think, with less the pink-faced calf takes a fancy her greenish eyes and gray whiskers to us. That's all we have to look for- did you notice her whiskers? Every ward to now!" time she opened her mouth she seemed She picked up her skirts again and to give a sort of plaintive 'miaow!'” plodded on, Kitty following her in sore

Bess came paddling up alongside of distress. Kitty, in her eagerness scarcely heed- “We may as well make up our minds ing where she stepped and splashing

to it," resumed Bess. “We have abup the mud.

solutely no prospects. No lovers to “Yes, we had five cats and one calf- walk in the Lovers' Walk-nobody to one pink-faced calf,” she repeated medi-. dance with even if there was such a tatively. "The Chilby man looked thing as a ball. The only excitement like nothing but a calf. I saw him that breaks the monotony of our days

[ocr errors]

-a party at Cousin Marian's with a figure bending towards them from his married clergyman on each side of you high perch. apd a thing like Chilby to hand the "Oh," exclaimed Bess, with a gleeful bread-and-butter!"

little cry, "I am so glad it's you, Mr. Kitty herself was too painfully con- Hardy. Yes, please, we'd like a lift, vinced of the truth of these remarks shouldn't we, Kitty? We are so damp to venture to contradict them. Cousin and so cold we are feeling quite wicked Marian's entertainment had, moreover, -at least I am." been of a chastening nature, and she “Can you see the step?" inquired was so thoroughly out of spirits her- Stephen. "I'll hold the light. Now, self that she was incapable of per- Miss Leslie. I'll let down the back suading her sister to take a more cheer- seat in a minute for you, Miss Bess." ful view. They paddled on again, and "Oh, but your horse won't stand,"* for some time the silence was only said Bess. "Don't turn round, Mr. broken by the squelching of the mud Hardy, don't turn round. Let me get beneath their feet and the drip of mois. up in front. I saw you driving three ture from the neighboring hedge. All like that the other day." at once, however, a faint sound of If you like," returned Stephen. “Or wheels was heard and the hoof-beats course 'tis only a little way, but I of a fast-trotting horse.

thought you would preferAs the vehicle approached Bess But Bess had already scrambled into dropped behind her sister; the road was the cart and popped herself down benarrow just at that part.

tween him and Kitty. "Keep close to the hedge, Kitty," she I'm used to doing bodkin," she said. cried; "or we shall be run over by some "Oh, what a nice warm rug! This is bloated aristocrat or other. What a delightful! You farmers have really pace be is going! Ugh, I'm a regular the best of it, and, only fancy, I Radical now-a Socialist-no, a Nihi. thought you were a bloated aristocrat iist, I mean. I'd like to throw a bomb when you were coming along--that's under that horse's feet. What busi- why I felt so wicked! I said to Kitty ness has that creature to spin past us

that I should like to throw a bomb unand splash us, while we, who are fifty der your wheels." times better than he or she can be, are Stephen, having finished tucking plodding along in the mud?"

them up with the rug, gathered up tbe On came the rapid wheels; Kitty in- reins leisurely and allowed the horse sensibly held up her lantern and the to proceed; then he glanced down at sisters squeezed themselves almost flat Bess and laughed, a little puzzled as against the hedge. To their surprise, to what rejoinder to make.

Bess was, however, the unseen driver drew up however, in no way disconcerted by and a well-known voice inquired:- this fact.

.'"Is that you, Miss Leslie? Will you “Kitty and I bave been to tea at have a lift?"

Cousin Marian's," she volunteered. "Why, it's Farmer Hardy," cried *Cousin Marian seems to be in a funny Bess, joyfully.

sort of set here, Mr. Hardy-in the Snatching the lantern from Kitty's social way I mean.". hand she held it aloft, peering mean- "Perhaps I'm bardly in a position to while into the mist. The half-defined judge," returned Stephen. outlines of a tall black horse and an "No," rejoined she, "that's just equally tall dogcart were now diinly what's so refreshing. You and your visible. Also those of a man's stalwart mother need not go into society. You

LIVING AGE. VOL. XLI. 2170

.

« ZurückWeiter »