Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July --
Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear
Pleased a simple tale to hear --
Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.
Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream --
Lingering in the golden gleam --
Life what is it but a dream?
Magnificent engineering drawings spanning two centuries give unique design and social perspectives on the development of railway transport. There are plans of locomotives, of carriages, and wagons, along with the stations, bridges and tunnels that were first built in the nineteenth century. Around a million drawings have survived and are currently held in the National Railway Museum in York, which is where Christopher Valkoinen ~ who is a qualified steam locomotive fireman ~ works in the library and archives.
The book also includes drawings from railways around the world, including the USA, Russia, Japan, India, Australia and Egypt, and therefore has international appeal. A treat for the railway enthusiasts, and indeed all who share an interest in the remarkable social and economic changes of the Victorian industrial era.
From childhood he was said to be fascinated by the natural world around him; so much so that at the age of fifteen his mother decided to give him the present of a microscope. Using this magnifying tool, Bentley was captivated by close-up views of snow crystals, which he placed on a black velvet base so as to see them yet more clearly. But to preserve these wondrous sights, each of which was quite unique, and with the ice flakes often melting before he could try to sketch them, the young Bentley set his mind on finding a method of attaching a camera to the lens of the microscope. Using this technique of photomicrography he was able to compile a vast collection of remarkable images.
What an irony it is that Bentley died from a case of pneumonia, having been stranded and lost one day in a blizzard of ice and snow. However, before his death he did have the satisfaction of seeing his snowflake prints produced in a collection by McGraw Hill. That book has since been produced in various different editions and is still available today.
There are many sources online where more can be discovered about the man. For now, here is a short film uploaded to Youtube by Chuck Smith which is called The Snowflake Man ...
There was quite a craze for displays of these Feejee Mermaids, more of which you can read about in a previous blog post. You'll also find this particular freak featured in the V V's Victorian gothic novel, Elijah's Mermaid.