Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

shingle, and all expedients to remove it, however ingenious, have been ultimately found futile. The simplest, as usual, has proved the best; by means of flood-gates, which are closed at high-tide, the water which flows into the basin and pent is retained; at low water these sluices are opened and the shingle driven back again by the force of the current.

The Custom House is a spacious building conveniently contiguous to the quay. All passengers' baggage coming from the Continent must be conveyed here for examination. The office hours are from ten till four.

Hotels and taverns, varying in price and accommodation, are unusually numerous; and even cheap coffee-houses, conducted on what is somewhat indefinitely styled “the London system,” are now to be met with.

The pretty villages of Charlton and River and St. Margaret's, with its fine view of the South Foreland, are all within a pleasant three miles' walk or drive from Dover. There is St. Radegund's Abbey, too, an ivied ruin of the twelfth century, which will well repay a visit. Vehicles of every kind can be obtained at a reasonable rate, and for those who delight in water excursions, steam-boats will be found in daily communication with Margate, Ramsgate, and most of the wateringplaces of the southern coast.

The quickest mode of reaching Dover from London is certainly via the South Eastern Railway, which in four hours will transmit the traveller from one terminus to the other. Another very pleasant route, and more economical for one unencumbered with luggage, is by steamer to Gravesend, railway to Rochester, van to Canterbury, and thence to Dover by the old coach road, which passes through a delightful country; or the steamer can be taken direct from London

Bridge, though the passage in rough weather round the South Foreland is certainly not one to be conscientiously recommended. But let the reader get there, no matter how the intervening distance is got over, and he will find that there is a breezy freshness about the place, a healthy expanse of wind and water, and a perfect legion of allurements thronging about the town, that will render it not so easy to get away again.

As an appropriate conclusion to our account of Dover, we may append the following lyrical tribute to the associations connected with its towering cliffs:

Dover Cliffs.

Ye chalky cliffs of Albion, how haughtily ye stand,
The Nature-given fortresses that guard our native land;
True offspring of a British soil, ye independent show
Your backs unto your countrymen, your faces to the foe.
What mighty throbs for Cæsar's pulse--what meed for years of toil,
When Rome's ambitious Monarch fix'd his foot upon thy soil,
Whilst flocks of painted savages—the fountain of our racem
Beheld with awe the glittering arms that bristled o'er the place.

II.

A benison, a benison, upon thy foaming waves,
Thy sea, that guards and separates the freemen from the slaves;
Thy castle-crested cliffs, that rise like giants in their might,
Defiance hurling to the storm and lightning shafts of night.
With dewy eyes the mariner bids thee a long adieu,
With rapture on his aching sight thy summits meet his view;
The waves that dash round other cliffs crouch idly here supine,
And skies that frown on other lands smile lovingly on thine.

III.
A malison, a malison, on those who idly tread
The sacred earth that's hallowed by the memories of the dead,
Without a burst of purer thought that flows from ages past,
As Shakspere's name, close linked with thine, through ages yet will last.
Long may ye stand the monuments of Nature's mightiest throes,
The guardian of our liberties—the terror of our foes :
Long may ye prove old England's shield, and be, as ye have been,
The rocky gems that stud the crown of Albion's Island Queen.

EL. B.

[merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed]

who have a family, and a corresponding amount of luggage to transport besides, nothing can excel in economy and convenience the old trip by steamer direct from London Bridge; and a voyage down the river on a fine calm day is not by any means an unpleasant mode of progression. But for one who has traversed the “ silent highway" until every feature along its banks has become a contemptible familiarity, and who would feel absolutely grateful for a suggestion that would enable him to reach the coast by another and more diversified route—even though it involved a slight increase of expenditure ~we begin our sketch with the indication of a way in which this very desirable consummation may be achieved.

By the South-Eastern Railway to Ashford is a rapid railway run of some sixty-seven miles, through the finest part of one of the finest counties in England. Here branches off the line to Canterbury and Ramsgate, and it is on this branch that we would propose our marine excursionist should travel. The scenery the whole way is picturesque and highly luxuriant, the romantic windings of the river Stour, by which the line passes during the greater part of its length, investing the landscape with such charms as to have obtained for one portion of the country, near Chilham, the appellation of the miniature Rhine-land. There is one continued panorama of uninterrupted loveliness the whole way, and not even a tunnel to intercept the vision for an instant. There is the opportunity it affords besides of visiting Canterbury and its magnificent cathedral, where modern art jostles antiquity on its very threshold, and the streets wear nearly the same venerable aspect as when Chaucer's pilgrims paid homage to à Becket's shrine. But after having duly paid reverential worship to the lingering relics of this fine old city, let our excursionist again

resume the rail, and eleven miles further on his road to Ramsgate he shall find the Minster station, where we conjure him to alight, and walk across the hills into the town, whither we have promised to conduct him.

Stepping aside from the train, he will then find before him, to the south, Minster Level, one of those broad expanding prospects that seem to absorb one's very breath in the contemplation. The eye is absolutely bewildered by the extent of the plain, and the secluded village and distant spire that gradually loom upon the sight, at remote intervals, appear almost like a new creation. After having sunned himself with this pastoral cyclorama of inexhaustible fertility, let the tourist cross the footpath from the station towards the old church of Minster, and he shall then be gazing on the oldest Christian church in England, that of St. Martin's at Canterbury being alone excepted. It was built when the earth was some eight hundred years younger than it is now, and though of course little remains of the original structure but the foundation on which it stands, there is still about the nave a few old pillars and circular arches that may honestly claim a beginning with the eleventh century. An ancient tomb with an inscription now illegible, but which once read “Here lies Edile de Thorne, Lady of the Thorn,” may be seen by the north wall, and a few monumental brasses may still be met with about the chancel. The steeple—neither elegant nor elevated—may be regarded in the light only of a modern innovation. Interested -as far as in us lies with this glimpse of our ancestors' place of worship, which seems, as a world of shadows, to contrast strangely with the brazen, blustering steam-engine of modern days, by which we have been deposited within its limits, we now turn aside into the pretty village which shares

« ElőzőTovább »