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The Surface of the Earth.



It was early in the morning of a fine summer's day that Henry, Mary, and Robert seated themselves in the pony-carriage, which was to convey them on a long-promised excursion. A few miles from their village, the railway labourers were actively at work, cutting a road through the hills, and raising an embankment across the valley where the line was to pass.

The children had travelled on a railway, and were well acquainted with its appearance when complete; but they had no idea of the immense labour required to make these level roads throughout the country. Therefore, their papa had promised to gratify their curiosity with a sight of the works, and had chosen this bright

and beautiful day for the purpose. The children could not help regretting, as they drove along, that the corn-fields, and hedges, and lanes, now looking so pleasant and rural, would soon be broken up to make way for the railroad; for they saw, by the tall white poles which were set up in different places, that the line would cross some of their prettiest walks, and make a great alteration in the face of the village.

As they approached the scene of operations, they heard the rumbling noise of wheels, and saw a huge embankment stretching half way across the valley, and on it some temporary rails, on which a loaded cart was moving rapidly along without any apparent power to drive it. Leaving the ponycarriage, they walked towards the spot, and soon saw the plan by which these carts were set in motion. A horse was employed to draw the cart, laden with materials for the work, up the sloping railway leading to the top of the embankment, and when he had nearly reached the top, he was urged into a gallop. While going at full speed, he was suddenly detached from the cart, and made to leap aside, so that the cart passed him, and ran along upon the rails without further help, until it reached the place where the load was to be turned out. The children were delighted with the behaviour of the horses, who seemed to know the exact spots where they were to start into a gallop, or to leap aside and let the cart go free, and showed great docility and obedience. After viewing the works along this embankment for some time, the party proceeded in the direction of a deep cutting made through the hills which sheltered their valley. Here the road was shut in by two nearly perpendicular walls of chalk, which reflected the sun's rays with dazzling brightness, for there had been no time for weeds to grow since the cutting was made. Henry, who was a little in advance of the rest, soon came running back to show a piece of chalk in which a shell was curiously embedded.

Papa,” he said, “ here is something which looks like a sea shell, fixed in the middle of a piece of chalk."

His papa said it was so, and that there were many such specimens in chalk hills. Upon this the children all began to search for them, and were at last successful in finding several of these buried shells.

“ Well, this is one of the strangest things I ever knew," said Henry, " to find so many seashells in a chalk-hill. How could they possibly get there?

Was this chalk brought from the sea-shore, papa?”

“ You would not have asked that question,” said his father, “if you had known what is really the case, that all the hills within sight are of the same kind as this one, and so are the greater part of the hills in our county, and that in most of them you may discover these remains of animal life.”

“ Then do, dear papa, tell us how the shells came here, and how it is that they are buried so deeply in the hill?”

"I would rather not attempt to explain this one fact to you, my children, without talking to you of the general nature of the surface of our earth, -its hills, valleys, and plains,—its oceans, lakes, and rivers. When you have had a run upon the downs, we will talk about these matters."

And a very pleasant run the children had when they had climbed the hill, and when their papa had taken charge of their shelly treasures. The short turf, enamelled with flowers, was refreshing to their

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