All The Passengers, However, Were
In Perfectly Good Humour, And Amused Each Other During The Eleven Hours
Spent In This Painful Way.
At an average speed of six miles an hour we
travelled over roads of various descriptions, plank, corduroy, and sand;
up long heavy hills, and through swamps swarming with mosquitoes.
Every one has heard of corduroy roads, but how few have experienced their
miseries! They are generally used for traversing swampy ground, and are
formed of small pine-trees deprived of their branches, which are laid
across the track alongside each other. The wear and tear of travelling
soon separates these, leaving gaps between; and when, added to this, one
trunk rots away, and another sinks down into the swamp, and another tilts
up, you may imagine such a jolting as only leather springs could bear. On
the very worst roads, filled with deep holes, or covered with small
granite boulders, the stage only swings on the straps. Ordinary springs,
besides dislocating the joints of the passengers, would be wrenched and
broken after a few miles travelling.
Even as we were, faces sometimes came into rather close proximity to each
other and to the side railings, and heads sustained very unpleasant
collisions. The amiable man who was so disappointed with the American
climate suffered very much from the journey. He said he had thought a
French diligence the climax of discomfort, but a "stage was misery, oh
torture!" Each time that we had rather a worse jolt than usual the poor
man groaned, which always drew forth a chorus of laughter, to which he
submitted most good-humouredly.
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