" Prim gravel walks, through which we winding go, ln endless serpentines, that nothing show, Till tired, I ask, ' Why this eternal round? And the pert gard'ner says,' Tis pleasure-ground.'"

Much has been written to show the folly of adopting the curve line in the drives and walks of a country estate; but, in spite of all the arguments utilitarians have brought against it, popular taste still advocates its continued use. As a line of grace and beauty, the curved line has no equal; as a line of direction, properly managed, it is scarcely of less importance than the straight line; and in point of taste, management, and economy, it stands confessedly its superior. The average of experiments can draw no practical distinction, in distance, between the undulating grades of the straight avenue, and the winding direction of the curved line, when applied to grounds in the natural form; and the theory that introduces distance into the argument against the curved road, has a basis of the most trivial and unimportant character. We take the position, that economy is one of the most important elements to be considered in adorning a country home, and that, when applied to the location of a drive or walk, it is productive of the most beauty. The competition of trade or travel does not constitute a single purpose of its construction; but ease, utility, and ornament, are among its chief characteristics.

The conditions that govern the location of a public highway, or systems of internal communication, do not apply in the same manner; although both require a knowledge of the same rules, and the application of the same principles.

In selecting the ground for an approach road, it is desirable to avoid a succession of different grades; and a location should be so made, as to keep the grade as nearly uniform as possible; this is by no means practicable in all cases, yet it should be one of the leading points to be observed. In doing this, good taste would dictate the selection of such ground as would be fully up to the grade line, instead of making embankments across hollows or depressions; and to wind around, or rise over, instead of cutting through elevations. No general rule, however, will apply to a particular case. It is sometimes- far better, tastefully considered, to embank a low hollow, than to sag into it, with a steep grade; also to make a short cut, than to go over an abrupt elevation. Where the particular circumstances of the case are best treated by a judicious balancing of excavation and embankment, they should be so managed, that no violence to natural surfaces should be apparent; thus, an embankment should gradually blend with the original ground, and the sides of an excavation be sloped off and planted in such a manner as will conceal all appearance of force.

A certain degree of earth-work, in road-making, is always necessary; but as it seldom happens that a grade line coincides exactly with the original surface of the ground, it can generally be found, if a location be properly made, within the minimum amount of excavation or embankment, and in such case, the adjoining lawn should either be taken down or raised up, so that it correspond with the grade of the road.

A remarkable feature, in a first-class ornamental road, is a well-adjusted gradient, and marks one of the strongest differences between it and the common public road; the use of it not only expresses a high form of utility, but necessarily a high form of beauty, and it is quite as essential as the graceful plan of alignment, or a finished manner of execution.

A road that winds around a hill side, will have more than the usual amount of earth-work; in this case, it is laid over, that is, the excavation on the upper side makes the embankment on the lower, and the surface lines are easily carried over the face of the cutting, and down the slope of the embankment. Mr. Loudon says, "one of the finest descriptions of approach road that we can imagine is, where a road of several miles in extent is made to wind its way through hilly or mountainous scenery at one 'uniform rate of ascent, till at last it arrives at an open level area, containing the mansion".

If we compare the differences in distance between a straight road and a curved one, supposing both to be located on a plane surface, we shall find that the average increase of distance is about five per cent., very often not exceeding three per cent. and on very long approaches, as low as, or even less than one per cent. On an approach road four hundred feet long, the extra distance would be twenty feet, or the length of carriage and horses; an approach one mile long, would lose about two hundred feet, and,* " If a road between two places, ten miles apart, were made to curve, so that the eye could nowhere see farther than a quarter of a mile of it at once, its length would exceed that of a perfectly straight road between the same points, by only about four hundred and fifty feet." As a man will walk three hundred and fifty feet in a minute, and an ordinary horse will trot a thousand feet in the same space of time, one can easily estimate to what extent it will pay to sacrifice beauty and taste to utility.

We have, in some cases, lost at least thirty per cent. of distance, in carrying a road on to a high elevation; this was for the purpose of getting length to reduce the rate of ascent, a straight line being utterly impracticable.

That time should enter closely into the calculations of business men, is to be expected; that it should be an element to be considered, in the plan of embellishing a country estate, and to it should be sacrificed taste, pleasure, or safety, is not in accordance with any of the principles of the art. When time is of such importance, we should prefer to live nearer town, or the depot, and not yield a single expression of beauty to the inexorable demands of business.

* Sganzln, p. 89.

It would seem hardly necessary to advance further arguments in favor of the use of the curved line, though they might be multiplied almost indefinitely. Over natural grounds, or those embellished in the natural style, it is the only harmonious line, and expresses delicacy, ease, and polish; while the straight avenue breaks harshly over undulating swells, and has an abrupt and forcible expression. With level or inclined planes, the straight line is in keeping, but with rolling or undulating grounds, the curved line only will harmonize.

The location and construction of ornamental roads is a subject of much importance in landscape embellishment. Understandingly managed, they will elevate the character of a very poor place, or, by a contrary course, will effectually ruin a fine one. More than one-half of the expression of the design lies in the proper location of the approaches and drives; by them, and from them, the impression is received. They are the most frequented portions of the premises, constitute one of its principal charms, and if of a high order of excellence and finish, are one of its pleasurable associations. Next to a fine lawn and skilfully managed plantations, the hard, smooth, well-kept drives, command their share of praise. But this is a subject we can not dispose of in one essay.

[Mr. Woodward has reached a portion of his subject which has been fruitful of argument: it is still debatable ground. It is easy to see which side of the question he takes. Both the curve and the straight line have their proper places: it is the part of good judgment and taste to locate them properly. Mr. Woodward proposes in subsequent articles, to illustrate the construction and form of some of the best kinds of roads. - Ed].