stands a powerful crane; but only in calm weather can such an exposed shipping-wharf be made available. The quarries are so near the sea that the spray dashes into them, there being nothing between but the level shelf of rock from which the upper strata have been removed, and left it resembling a natural quay with myriads of imbedded fossils everywhere visible on its surface. Towards the sea it is broken and jagged, and the water plunges into the numerous hollows, and swirls among the detached masses lying outside with perpetual oscillations.

At the extremity of the rocky shelf stands what I at* first took for the remains of an old fort, but discovered to be, on a nearer view, a specimen of Nature's own architecture. Massive pillars of rock, some thirty feet high, bearing a mighty pediment, on one side an angular recess, on the other a wide open arch, stand detached about two feet from the cliff; and as the water has free play all round their base, when the heavy swells come swooping in with their tremendous rush, you start back fancying the ponderous mass must yield to the shock. So small does the lower part appear in contrast with the upper, that you cannot but imagine the whole will topple over, hastened by the weight of the ponderous slab that leans against the middle pillar. Yet it has stood through the buffetings of many a winter storm, and will perhaps stand for many more. Seen through the arch, the water seemed of a deeper blue; and to catch a sail within its curve

made up a real picture. I lingered long about this interesting spot, for, apart from its being the most seaward point, I was gratifying a sort of affectionate inclination felt ever since the day when, after some years' residence in America, the first glimpse of dear old fatherland, on returning, was the white cliffs of Portland.

In the quarries here you may witness the whole process of "winning" the stone, for the cliffs are low, and all the workings, as well as the several strata into which they are carried, come well under the eye. To commence with the latter: first there is the layer of earth, about a foot thick, on which the island depends for all its vegetable produce; next come beds of yellowish limestone, three feet thick, called "slate" by the quarrymen, as they split readily into thin slabs, and are used for roofing; then a deposit of calcareous stone, the lower part of which is distinguished as "soft burr," and immediately below this is the "dirt-bed;" and a very remarkable dirt-bed it is. Silicified tree-stems are found in it, some lying down; others, short stumps, still erect and held by their roots, together with numerous remains of tropical plants and animals, and waterworn stones. To account for all this, geologists tell us the dirt-bed was once the surface of a limestone region which had been formed at the bottom of the sea and upheaved; that after the lapse of ages it all went down again, and became the bottom of some vast estuary, and so remained for another series of ages until another disturbance brought it up once more in the form in

which we now see it. Later in the day I was favoured with the sight of an interesting collection of the various fossil remains in the office of Mr. Coode, resident engineer of the Breakwater.

But we have not yet come to the "merchantable stone." Looking at the side of the quarry, you see next below the dark line of the dirt-bed a stratum that reminds you of coral, so full is it of cells and perforations that have a polished crystalline lining, and are interspersed with innumerable shells. Were it not for these perforations this "cap," as it is called, would be, perhaps, the most valuable of building stone, for it is hard as flint and proof against exposure, either to the sea or the weather. Under this lies the "roach," in compact and solid masses, in which you recognise the Portland stone that has contributed so much to the architectural decoration of London and other places. Inigo Jones used it more than two hundred years ago, when he built the Banqueting House in Whitehall, Wren in St. Paul's and some of the City churches; and the Reform Club House and the Exchange show what can be done with it in the hands of modern builders. The roach varies from six to twenty feet in thickness, and yields blocks of any required dimensions, commonly from one to ten tons' weight, or twenty tons if specially ordered; and not till this is reached does the owner make profit or the workman earn wages. The hewers, in some places, have to dig through a thickness of thirty feet before they come to the good stone, and remove all


this mass of waste at their own cost and labour. Below the roach are beds of clay, in which the turtle-stones are found that, when cut into slabs and polished, make beautifully veined table-tops.

The quarrymen generally are tall, stalwart fellows, able to wield their picks and hammers with right good will. You see some digging off the unprofitable upper strata, others grubbing away at the stubborn cap, and others, the fortunate gangs, in full activity on the roach. They mark out the cleared surface into the required dimensions, and having split off the blocks with wedges, fall too with the kevel, an instrument half hammer, half axe, and hew them into shape. No bulk, however great, appears to come amiss to them for they turn the huge masses over and shift them about, by the use of screwjacks, chains, and iron-shod levers, with apparent ease, and when an order comes, as it sometimes does, for twenty-ton blocks, are always ready to turn them out. Though rude their labours, they are civil of speech, and not unwilling to give information, yet rendered somewhat tenacious and prejudiced by their insular life. "Who was government?" said some of them, when purchases of land were made by authority; "let 'n come down here, we'll pitch 'n into the sea." They know how to be thrifty; and though earning but small wages with all their hard work, they contrive, by renting a plot of land, which feeds a cow and fowls and supplies them with vegetables, and occasionally catching fish, to maintain themselves in comfort

and independence. You may frequently see them near the sea lifting up the thin loose slabs in search of sealice, which, congregated by thousands, afford a plentiful supply of bait; and when too many fish are caught, there is always a market for the surplus at Weymouth. The contrast between the muscular forms of the islanders, some of whom make nothing of carrying three hundredweight, and those of men who work in cotton-factories or counting-houses, leaves no room to doubt the virtue of open-air exercise.

The number of squared blocks piled outside the quarries is prodigious, each marked with red paint, and ready for removal. It is a little puzzling to believe that they can have been got out of the excavations which appear so small in comparison. More than fifty thousand tons are sent away every year, and the demand is increasing. Long as this has gone on, one would think it should make an impression on the supply; but as an old quarryman remarked, "There ain't no difference; I don't see that the Island's a bit smaller since I was a boy." The calculation is, that not before two thousand years from the present time will the stone be exhausted. The last block of Portland, and the last lump of coal, will therefore come up for consumption at about the same period.

I resumed my walk, and with the sea now on my right, returned along the eastern side of the Island. The quarries are left behind, and passing the lower lighthouse, you come to a sudden break in the ground,

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