2021-04-17 12:41:58

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ENGLISH "Looking through the hatch, we could see them grouped together and engaged in earnest conversation. Two were dead or dying, and from one of them there was a stream of blood slowly oozing. A coolie who appeared to be a ringleader among them dipped his pen in the blood and wrote on a sheet of paper:

CHAPTER XVIII.The boys had observed that the farther they penetrated from Yokohama and Tokio, the less did they find the people affected in their dress and[Pg 204] manners by the presence of the foreigners. Particularly was this the case with the women. They had seen in the open ports a good many women with blackened teeth; and the farther they went inland, the greater did they find the proportion of the fair sex who had thus disfigured themselves. So at the first opportunity they asked the Doctor about the custom.

"That is the case," answered the Doctor, "with us, but it is not so here. The Japanese take the moxa as calmly as we would swallow a pill, and with far less opposition than some of us make to a common blister.

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"Why, hardly, if I'm behindhand now. Is it so fine as that?"Till the world spreads out at our feet.

"Aunt Martha!" moaned some one. "Well, in short," said the aunt, twinkling like her brother, "we can't deliver the goods, and--" She started as though some one had slapped her between the shoulder-blades. It was the engine caused it, whistling in the old, lawless way, putting a whoop, a howl, a scream and a wail into one. The young ladies quailed, the train jerked like several collisions, the bell began tardily to clang, and my steed whirled, cleared a packing case, whirled again, and stood facing the train, his eyes blazing, his nostrils flapping, not half so much frightened as insulted. The post-quartermaster waved to the ladies and they to us. For a last touch I lifted my cap high and backed my horse on drooping haunches--you've seen Buffalo Bill do it--and then, with a leap like a cricket's, and to a clapping of maidens' hands that made me whooping drunk, we stretched away, my horse and I, on a long smooth gallop, for Brookhaven."Do you mean the island of Pappenberg?" Frank asked.

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"That island has a fearful history," said Doctor Bronson, while they were looking at it when the steamer entered the harbor."We stopped at the village of Sha-ho, about twenty miles from Pekin; and as we had started a little late, and it was near sunset, we concluded to spend the night there. There was not much to see at the village, except a[Pg 382] couple of fine old bridges built of stone, and so solid that they will evidently last a long time. A barber came around and wanted to shave us, but for several reasons we declined his proposal, and satisfied ourselves by seeing him operate on a native customer. The Chinese razor is a piece of steel of a three-cornered shape, and is fastened to a handle about four inches long. It is kept very sharp, as any well-regulated razor should be, and a barber will handle it with a great deal of dexterity. The Chinese haven't much beard to shave off, but they make up for it with a very thick growth of hair, which is all removed every ten or twelve days, with the exception of a spot on the crown about four inches in diameter. The hair on this spot is allowed to grow as long as it will, and is then braided into the cue or pigtail that everybody knows about.The Japanese lacquer of the present time is not so highly prized as that of the last or the previous century. It is not so well made, partly for the reason that the workmen have lost their skill in the art, and partly because labor is much more expensive now than formerly. The prices obtained for some of the specimens of this kind of work have been very high, but they are not enough to meet the advance that has been made in wages in the past few years. The manufacturers are anxious to turn their money as rapidly as possible, and consequently they do not allow their productions to dry thoroughly. To be properly prepared, a piece of lacquer should dry very slowly; and it used to be said that the best lacquer was dried under water, so that the process should not be too rapid. The article, whatever it may be, is first shaped from wood or papier-mach, and then covered with successive coatings of varnish or lacquer; this is made from the gum of a tree, or, rather, from the juice, and it is said to have the peculiar property of turning black from exposure to the air, though it is of a milky whiteness when it exudes from the tree. It can be made to assume various colors by the addition of pigments; and while it is in a fresh condition coatings of gold-leaf are laid on in such a way as to form the figures that the artist has designed. Every coating must be dried before the next is laid on; and the more elaborate and costly the work, the more numerous are the coatings. Sometimes[Pg 251] there may be a dozen or more of them, and pieces are in existence that are said to have received no less than fifty applications of lacquer. A box may thus require several years for its completion, as the drying process should never be hastened, lest the lacquer crack and peel when exposed to the air, and especially to heat. Good lacquer can be put into hot water without the least injury; but this is not the case with the ordinary article.

A LEPER. A LEPER."'P'raps hunder tousand, p'raps million; nobody don't know.'

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Apr-17 12:41:58