2021-04-18 11:40:40

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ENGLISH "The baking serves to fix the colors firmly in their cells, as the fire is hot enough to melt the glass slightly and fuse it to a perfect union with the body of the bowl. For common work, a single coating of enamel and a single baking are sufficient, but for the finer grades this will not answer. Another coating of colors is laid on, and perhaps a third or a fourth, and after each application the bowl is baked again. When this process is finished, the surface is rough, and the bowl is not anything like what we see it now. It must be polished smooth, and, with this object, it is ground and rubbed, first with coarse stones, then with finer ones, then with emery, and finally with powdered charcoal. In this way the bowl was brought to the condition in which you will find it, if it comes all right and uninjured from the box. A good many pieces of this ware are broken in the handling, and consequently they add to the price of those that come out unharmed.CHAPTER XII."The southern branch of the grand canal enters the river at Chin-kiang; the northern branch comes in some distance below. The river is plentifully dotted with junks, but this condition is not peculiar to the vicinity of the canal. All the way up from Shanghai to Han-kow it is the same, and sometimes twenty or thirty boats will be sailing so closely together as to endanger their cordage and sides. Perhaps you have seen New York Bay on a pleasant afternoon in summer when every boat that could hoist a sail was out for an airing? Well, imagine this great river for hundreds of miles dotted with sails as thickly as our bay on the occasion I have indicated, and you can have an idea of the native commerce of the Yang-tse-kiang. Nobody knows how many boats there are on the river, as no census of them is taken. The mandarins collect toll at the river stations, but do not trouble themselves to keep a record of the numbers. I asked a Chinese merchant who is a fellow-passenger with us how many boats there are engaged in the navigation of the Yang-tse and its tributaries, and he answers,

He selected a robe of a delicate blue, and finely embroidered with silk of various colors. The embroideries represented flowers and leaves in curious combinations; and when the robe was placed on a frame where the light could fall full upon it, Frank thought he had never seen anything[Pg 241] half so pretty. And it is proper to add that he bought two of these robes. Why he should buy two, when he had only one sisterand she would not be likely to want two wrappers of the same kindI leave the reader to guess.

"There are the funniest cats in this country that you ever saw. They have the shortest kind of tails, and a good many of them haven't any tails at all any more than a rabbit. You know we expect every kitten in America to play with her tail, and what can she do when she has no tail to play with? I think that must be the reason why the Japanese cats are so solemn, and why they won't play as our cats do. I have tried to find out how it all happens, but nobody can tell. Doctor Bronson says the kittens are born without tails, and that is all he knows about it. I think they must be a different kind of cat from ours; but, apart from the absence of tails, they don't look any way dissimilar. Somebody says that an American once took one of these tailless cats to San Francisco as a curiosity, and that it would never make friends with any long-tailed cat. It would spit and scratch, and try to bite off the other cat's tail; but one day, when they put it with a cat whose tail had been cut off by a bad boy, it was friendly at once."

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The first part of their way was through a forest, but, as they ascended, the trees became smaller and fewer, and their character changed. At the base there were pines and oaks, but they gradually made way for beeches and birches, the latter being the last because the hardiest. From the forest they emerged upon the region of barren rock and earth and the fragments left by the eruptions of the volcano. The last eruption took place in 1707, and there have been few signs of any intention of returning activity since that date. But all around there are abundant traces of what the mountain was when it poured out its floods of lava and covered large areas with desolation. In some places the heaps of scori? appear as though the eruption, whence they came, had been but a week ago, as they are above the line of vegetation, and their character is such that[Pg 210] they undergo hardly any change from the elements from one century to another.It was rather late, and our party were hungry. Consequently the Doctor ordered dinner to be served as soon as possible, and they sat down to wait for it. The kitchen was near the entrance of the hotel, and in full view of the strangers as they came in. Fred could not help contrasting this arrangement with that of an American hotel, where the kitchen is quite out of sight, and not one visitor in a thousand ever gets the faintest[Pg 170] glimpse of it. He thought the plan was well calculated to insure cleanliness in the management of the house, since the kitchen, being so prominently placed, would ruin the prosperity of the house if it were not properly kept. As there seemed to be no objection to their doing so, the boys went there and watched the preparation of the meal for which their appetites were waiting.The Doctor listened to him, and was not long in arriving at a conclusion.

Another ramble on shore the following morning, and they left the soil[Pg 311] of Japan for the deck of the steamer. At noon they were slowly moving down the bay; they passed the island of Pappenberg, and, as they did so, Frank read from a book he had picked up in the ship's cabin the following paragraph:"We have already described lacquer and cloisonn work in writing from Japan. The Chinese productions in the same line are so much like the Japanese that a description of one will do for the other. Some of the shapes are different, and it is not difficult, after a little practice, to distinguish the Chinese from the Japanese; but the modes of working are essentially the same. All things considered, we like the Japanese lacquer better than the Chinese, as it has more variety, and the Japanese seem to be more cunning than the Canton people in making those bewildering little boxes with secret drawers and nooks and a great variety of shapes. But when it comes to ivory carvings, we have something else to say.

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"I know," said Fred; "it has a history connected with the establishment of Christianity in Japan more than two hundred years ago."

"Who--o?" It was not one who asked; the whos came like shrapnel; and when, not knowing what else to do, I smiled as one dying, there went up a wail of mirth that froze my blood and then heated it to a fever. The company howled. They rolled over one another, crying, "Charlie Toliver!--Charlie Toliver!--Oh, Lord, where's Scott Gholson!--Charlie Toliver!"--and leaped up and huddled down and moaned and rolled and rose and looked for me.

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Apr-18 11:40:40