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From Travel TO THE SUMMIT OF THE JUNGFRAU BY RAIL.
Those who are disposed to look upon the construction of every new mountain railway as a fresh act of violence upon the physical beauties of nature, and who feel even so modest an undertaking as the Snowdon Mountain Tramway to be altogether a thing of horror, will hear with something like despair of the scheme of Herr Guyer-Zeller, which has now passed beyond the theoretical into the experimental stage, for the construction of a line of railway up to the summit of the Jungfrau. Anything more daring and gigantic in the way of railway enterprise it would be difficult to conceive. Even in Switzerland, the land which has given us already some of the boldest and most romantic examples of applied engineering science, nothing like it has yet been attempted. The Pilatus line may still have steeper and more perilous gradients. The great tunnel of the St. Gotthard will still be longer than all the tunnels of the Jungfrau. The Rigi may continue to be the most popular, as it is certainly the oldest of the Swiss mountain lines. But none even of these great works strikes one's imagination as does this new proposal to carry the tourist. in defiance alike of rock, glacier, and avalanche, up beyond the snow-line to a point 13,670 feet above sea-level, from which he may look not only upon the green pastures, the blue
Again Tommy confesses that
When 'e's 'oppin' in an' out among the lakes, and the glittering snow-fields of bush
With 'is coffin-'eaded shield an' shovel
Lieutenant Langlands, of the 74th Highlanders, was close to us in the action, when a powerful Arab threw a spear at him, and, drawing his sword, rushed forward to complete his conquest. The spear having entered the flesh of the lieutenant's leg, cut its way out again and stuck in the ground behind him, when Langlands grasped it, and turning the point, threw it with so true an aim that it went through his opponent's body, and transfixed him within three or four yards of his intended victim. All eyes were for an instant turned on these two combatants, when a sepoy of our Grenadiers rushed out of the ranks, and patting the lieutenant on the back, exclaimed, "Achha kiya, sahib, bahut, achha kiya!" (Well done, sahib, very well done!) Such a ludicrous circumstance, even in a moment of extreme peril, could not pass unnoticed, and our soldiers all enjoyed a hearty laugh.1
Now, these Madras sepoys were at the time engaged in doing battle with the fierce Arab spearmen, and yet they could coolly "enjoy a hearty laugh" in the middle of a desperate engagement. These Arabs are of the same kith and kin as the ancestors of "Fuzzy-Wuzzy," who has been immortalized by Rudyard Kipling as a first-class fighting man. Kipling's hero, Tommy, tells us that
We 'eld our bloomin' own, the papers say, But man for man the Fuzzy knocked us 'oller.
An 'appy day with Fuzzy on the rush
From the above it is evident that the races of the Soudan have not degenerated. Then why is it that the Madras sepoys have lost their fighting spirit since their country has been under British rule? King Middleman, sitting on his money-bags, will have to answer this question.
1 Welsh's "Military Reminiscences."
Switzerland, but also upon Italy's Monte Rosa, upon France's Mont Blanc, and upon the far-away shadows of Germany's Black Forest.
Any who are familiar with central Switzerland will be sure to be familiar, too, with the striking outline of the Jungfrau, and the majestic place it occupies amid the giants of the Oberland. Within recent years at least three distinct schemes, those of Trautweiler, Köchlin, and Locher, have been suggested for carrying a line of railway up to its summit. All had their base in the Upper Lauterbrunnen Valley, and all in turn came to be regarded
as impossible. The construction a few years ago of the line over the Wengern Alp offered, however, a new base for operations, and this Herr Guyer-Zeller now proposes to utilize.
A few words will suffice to make the geographical position tolerably clear. Starting from Interlaken, the Valley of the Lutschinen continues as far as Zweilutschinen, where it breaks into a fork, one branch terminating at Lauterbrunnen and the other at Grindelwald. These extreme points, separated by that pleasantest of mountains, the Wengern Alp, are now connected by a line which runs over the mountain from valley to valley. If the tourist takes his stand at the Little Scheidegg station on this line, with his back towards the Mannlichen, he has front of him a noble cluster of snowcapped mountains, of which, for the purposes of this article, three only need be mentioned-the Eiger on the left, the Jungfrau on the right, and the Monch between the two.
The Scheidegg station, 2,060 metres1 above sea-level, will be the starting point of the new line. From here the Jungfrau railway will run on the western slope of the Fallbodenhubel, making straight for the foot of the Eiger Glacier; thence it will turn due east, and later on due south in a tunnel winding round the solid body of the Eiger as far as the Eiger Station, 3,100 m., which is to be laid open by galleries similar to those on the Axenstrasse between Brunnen and Fluelen. The tunnel will then proceed in a direct line towards the Monch and the Jungfraujoch, which it will reach at 105 m. below the surface. It will finally curve round the upper pinnacle of the Jungfrau and terminate on a plateau, well known to guides, at 4,100 m. above sea-level. This platform lies just 65 m. below the summit, measures 25 by 30 m., and is generally clear of snow during the summer months. From this level a liftprobably something after the style of the American elevators-will take the passenger to the highest peak. The
1 A metre is equal to 39:37 English inches.
present proposal is that the elevator should consist of two concentric iron cylinders, placed telescope-fashion one within the other. The inner one will contain the lift, and between the two a corkscrew staircase will be fitted, so that the tourist may either complete the journey by the lift or climb the distance from the terminal station to the summit on foot.
Scheidegg station being the starting point, the same class of permanent way and rack rail will be used as that on the Wengern Alp Bahn. The total length of the line will be 12,443 metres, and it will be divided into six sections, with intermediate stopping places and stations to be known as Eiger Glacier, Grindelwald Gallery, Kalifirn (Eiger station), Mönchjoch, Aletsch Guggi (Gungfraujoch), and Jungfrau (terminus). The maximum gradient will be one in four, and the minimum one in ten-quite an easy climb compared with some of the Swiss lines. The journey up is timed to occupy exactly one hundred minutes, and the speed will average about eight kilometres an hour. The company have power to charge forty-five francs for the ascent and descent, but they have decided to issue the return ticket for 40 francs. During the season, which opens on June 1st and closes on September 30th, five trips will be made daily, and accommodation will be provided on each train for eighty passengers. It is intended, however, to run "specials"-unromantic word-between the Scheidegg and the Eiger Glacier, which is expected to become an exceedingly popular section. The nominal capital required is ten million francs, but the promoters estimate with some show of confidence that the actual cost will not greatly exceed eight million francs. As motive power it is proposed to use electricity; and the Trummelbach and Black and White Lutschinen will supply more than sufficient hydraulic pressure for all the purposes of the undertaking. At as frequent intervals as the nature of the route will permit, ventilating shafts are
to be driven from the tunnels to the surface, and, if at all possible, the electric light will be introduced.
The Act of Concession for the new line was granted by the Swiss Federal Assembly on December 21st, 1894. It stipulated that within eighteen months from that date complete plans of the scheme would have to be deposited, and that within six months dating from the acceptance of the plans earthworks must be commenced. The line, which is to be completed in five years, will be constructed and opened for traffic section by section. Already waterworks are proceeding at Lauterbrunnen, and the building of the first portion of the railway, that from the Scheidegg station to the tunnel entrance, has begun. This section, the promoter assures us, will be opened for traffic on August 1st next.
Apart from the railway itself, the terms upon which permission for its construction has been given, are worthy of note. The concession is granted for eighty years, and the Swiss government, ever careful about national rights, has taken care to see that the scheme is made to serve other purposes than that of merely earning a dividend for the shareholders. In the first place the company is bound at all times to permit persons making the ascent on foot to have access to all parts of the mountain, free of charge, and without restrictions of any kind. Then, again, articles of scientific interest brought to light in the course of the excavations, such as fossils, coins, and medals, become the public property of the canton in whose territory they are found. But most important of all is a clause under which the company is required, upon the completion of a part or of the whole of the line to spend a sum of at least one hundred thousand francs in erecting and equipping a permanent observatory, to be specially designed for the purpose of assisting meteorological, tellural, and other forms of physical research. Beyond this, the company undertake to contribute a monthly subscription of one thousand francs towards the expenses of the undertak
ing. This arrangement, supplemented as it will be by the erection of a series of meteorological stations at different altitudes along the line, promises to furnish Switzerland with a physical observatory of the very first rank, and ought to lead to substantial and interesting results.
It was inevitable that an undertaking of the kind I have shortly described should meet with opposition upon both practical and æsthetic grounds. The promoters have frankly recognized the objections and done their best to an swer them. The first, and perhaps the most alarming, since it relates to the study of hygienics, is that embodied in the two following questions: "Will the health of a person of sound constitution be injuriously affected by his conveyance, within the space of two hours, from a level of 2,000 m. to one of 4,166 m., and by the consequent rapid abatement of atmospheric pressure?" Secondly, "Will such an ascent be attended by evil consequences to a person suffering from organic disease?" Upon these points and upon the general question of what "mountain-sickness" really is, a great volume of expert evidence is produced. Briefly stated, it leads up to the conclusion that, except in special cases, mere rarity of air does not produce the symptoms of asphyxia known as "mountain-sickness," except when acting in conjunction with the effects of bodily exertion and fatigue. For example, the committee of the Swiss Alpine Club declare themselves to be "perfectly convinced that, given a means of being conveyed to the summit without any kind of muscular exertion, persons in good health and of sound constitution have no evil consequences whatever to fear from a short sojourn at the top of the Jungfrau." In the case of the more delicate class of persons another answer is furnished. It is pointed out, quite appositely, that a sea trip, an ordinary railway journey, and, most of all, a stiff climb, would all be more or less dangerous to those in feeble health. Yet persons of this class indulge in these things, and no one suggests that they should be prohibited
from doing so. But if the objection in the present case should be pressed to the extreme point of prohibition, the final answer takes the form of an offer to post a medical man at the Scheidegg Station for consultation in doubtful cases.
What is called the "esthetic objection" is embodied in the question, "Will the mountain scenery be disfigured by the building of the Jungfrau railway?" The promoter at once responds with an emphatic "No," based upon the fact that the line, except for the first section, will run in tunnels all the way, and will thus remain invisible. On the more general and much debated. point whether the mountain railway, as an institution, is a blessing or a curse, little is said, and in Switzerland, at any rate, little needs to be said, for the construction and profitable maintenance of about forty mountain lines, beginning with the Rigi and ending with the Wengern Alp, furnishes conclusive proof that with the Swiss and with the people who visit their country utilitarianism is a stronger force than æsthetics.
The mountain railway, it is true, is not free from objections, but neither are the other contrivances by which our mountain tops are brought within reach of those who have not the physical strength to scale them. Horses may be hired at moderate fees, but many are too weak or too nervous to take the saddle. Then there is the chaise-à-porteurs, much patronized by ladies. This is considered a rather jolly way of getting up the hill-for the passenger; but the sight of three hapless guides struggling up steep mountain slopes under the weight of a portly lady is alike distress ing whether viewed from the humane or the artistic standpoint. One would prefer, of course, to be without the company of steam whistles and electric trams, but since they have become inevitable, there is no reason why they should spoil the music of the cow-bells, or dwarf the giant forms amid which they move, or make the falling avalanches less impressive than when Byron listened to them and pelted his
friend Hobhouse with snow. Those who think otherwise might do well to remember that there are few things in this world absolutely good or utterly bad. As Emerson would say, "For everything you lose you gain something; a certain compensation balances every gift and every defect." And if the mountain railway has somewhat dashed the ideals of the few, it has certainly given to the many a new vision of mountain glories.
F. E. HAMER.
From The Spectator. THE BARNATO SUICIDE. It is not difficult to understand the great interest taken in the suicide of Mr. Barnato. Apart from his connection with some thirty companies, all of which will feel more or less the impact of his death, his career had been watched with an interest which both in its degree and its cause has been a little unusual. He was the commonest of the new millionaires, and at one time it seemed possible that he might become the biggest. A great number of average Englishmen would like to become fabulously rich if they could become so by pure volition, and it really seemed as if Mr. Barnato had realized that ideal. He was a "plain man," if ever there was one, a little Jew from Petticoat Lane with no particular education, and except unusual financial courage, rising some times to Napoleonic audacity, no qualities beyond such as are common to the thousands whom he left behind him in the squalor of the Ghetto, and he rose to the top of the shadier financial world. He had been an adventurer in South Africa without a penny, odd man in a Kimberley circus, a pedlar in diamonds, a small jobber in shares; yet before he was forty he was reputed to be worth seventeen millions, and probably, if his shares in his own companies had maintained their value, would really have possessed seven. He entertained with profusion, he built a palace for himself,
not yet finished, in Park Lane, and he was understood to be of all the speculators there the one who had most influence with the governing group at Pretoria. That seems to the lower English middle-class man immense cess, and it was achieved by one who, to external seeming, was like a pros perous little tradesman, and who, whatever his capacities, had none of those which we associate with greatness. Anybody might be a "Barney Barnato," and as he got so far ahead of the ruck, everybody felt interested to see what would become of him. He might die a peer or in a ditch, and the news that he did die a suicide, that the pressure of immense and risky transactions had broken down even his nerve, and worn out even his hopefulness, came on the man in the street, to whom the Stock Exchange is something of a mystery, with a recognizable shock. That kind of career, then, was not SO pleasant after all, but had drawbacks which even the hunter after wealth would not, if he fully recognized them, be quite willing to face, anxieties more keen and more imperative than those which beset the well-trodden ways. It is hardly worth while to make millions and die so,-that was the reflection, spoken or unspoken, of thousands who, while the great speculator was alive, had regarded his career with a feeling which, if it was not envy, was something exceedingly like that dirty pas- the industrial world by such competision. tion, and because one Rockefeller "goes in" for oil-dealing ten thousand families are shunted out of a profitable and beneficial method of earning a quiet living. There is and can be no answer to those arguments, but they do not quite cover the whole area of discussion. Big trees keep the sun from the corn, but big trees have their uses too. Experience seems to show that small men, whether acting singly or in combination, shrink from great risks, and that the courage without which no man becomes a millionaire is a very useful economic quality. No one, for instance, would deny that the work of building railways is highly useful to mankind, and while the railways of Europe were
kind of prospectus, the promoter trusting entirely to the magic of his name— and we shall not therefore moralize about his career; but we wish we could form a definite opinion whether the rise of the new millionaires is economically beneficial or not. That most of them are socially nuisances, because they promote the worship of wealth, and degrade the ideal of ambition, is undeniable; but are they also nuisances from the economic point of view? A great many keen-sighted people say they are, that mammoth fortunes are only made by taking enormous risks, that such risks turn both commerce and associated enterprise into gambling contrivances, and that the effect of millionaires' transactions is to take away from steady industry much of the profit which alone makes it attractive to the majority. Why keep cows if somebody else is to have most of the milk and all the cream? Banks would do as reservoirs of capital just as well as millionaires, and would not have the same interest in crushing out small men, or the same means of establishing monopolies, which latter must be, by the very law of their being, deductions from the temptations to industry and the opportunities for it. If one man owns all the paper-mills, paper-making ceases to be one of the industries on which the average man can embark. A sort of hopelessness is spread through
We do not believe the assertion that rapid commercial fortunes are always obtained by fraud, and though we dislike monopolies, think a monopoly of diamonds, which was the original foundation of Mr. Rhodes's, Mr. Beit's, and Mr. Barnato's wealth, the least injurious to mankind of all the trusts by which the world is nowadays pillaged for the benefit of a few. We have no means of knowing whether Mr. Barnato ever stepped over the line which divides sharp trading from deception on investors-we fancy he had a conscience somewhere if it is true that his biggest feat of "promoting" was accomplished without the issue of any