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    Software name: appdown
    Software type: Microsoft Framwork

    size: 120MB

    Lanuage:Englist

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      To regain the highroad we had turned into a northerly fork, and were in as lovely a spot as we had seen all day. Before us and close on our right were the dense woods of magnolia, water-oak, tupelo and a hundred other affluent things that towered and spread or clambered and hung. On the left lay the old field, tawny with bending sedge and teeming with the yellow rays of the sun's last hour. This field we overlooked through a fence-row of persimmon and wild plum. Among these bushes, half fallen into a rain-gully, a catalpa, of belated bloom, was loaded with blossoms and bees, and I was directing Camille's glance to it when the shots came. Another outcry or two followed, and then a weird silence.[Pg 55]


      "Certainly; you mean Mrs. Sessions."Prout was understood to say no, when Bruce rose. His face was deadly pale, a tiny red spot burning on either cheek. But he had his voice under proper control; there was no look of guilt about him.


      Not many years ago, China and Japan were regarded as among the barbarous nations. The rest of the world knew comparatively little about their peoples, and, on the other hand, the inhabitants of those countries had only a slight knowledge of Europe and America. To-day the situation is greatly changed; China and Japan are holding intimate relations with us and with Europe, and there is every prospect that the acquaintance between the East and the West will increase as the years roll on. There is a general desire for information concerning the people of the Far East, and it is especially strong among the youths of America.

      "Did the doctor say 'fallen'?" I shrewdly asked.

      "Yes, of course; mercy--and comfort--and every sort of unarmed aid--to rebels."


      Three hours later the stars still gleamed down through the balmy night above the long westward-galloping column of our brigade, that for those three hours had not slackened from the one unmitigated speed. The Federal regiment of whose plans Charlotte had apprised Ferry had been camped well to southward of this course, but in the day just past they had marched to the north, intending a raid around our right and into our rear. To-night they were resting in a wide natural meadow through the middle of which ran this road we were on. Around the southern edge of this inviting camp-ground by a considerable stream of water; the northern side was on rising ground and skirted by woods, and in these woods as day began to break stood our brigade, its presence utterly unsuspected in all that beautiful meadow whitened over with lane upon lane of the tents of the regiment of Federal cavalry, whose pickets we had already silently surprised and captured. Now, as warily as quails, we moved along an unused, woodcutters' road and began to trot up a gentle slope beyond whose crest the forest sank to the meadow. We were within a few yards of this crest, when a small mounted patrol came up from the other side, stood an instant profiled against the sky, bent low, gazed, wheeled and vanished.

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      "When you asked me if I were a conjurer," said the Clockwork man, "I at once recalled the book. You see, it's actually in my head. That is how we read books now. We wear[Pg 100] them inside the clock, in the form of spools that unwind. What you have said brings it all back to me. It suddenly occurs to me that I am indeed a conjurer, and that all my actions in this backward world must be regarded in the light of magic."

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      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.

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