2021-04-17 01:35:20

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ENGLISH 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.Next morning they were not very early risers, and the whole trio were weary and sore from the effect of the ride of ninety miles on the backs of Chinese ponies. Frank said that when he was sitting down he hesitated to rise for fear he should break in two, and Fred asserted that it was dangerous to go from a standing to a sitting position for the same reason.

But alla teem walk plenty high

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ANTICS OF THE HORSES. ANTICS OF THE HORSES.

"Well, we have had enough of these disagreeable things, and will turn to something else. We passed by the place where the candidates for military honors compete for prizes by shooting with the bow and arrow. At the first examination they are required to shoot at a mark with three arrows, and the one who makes the best shots is pronounced the winner of the prize. At the second examination they must practise on horseback, with the horse standing still; and at the third they must shoot three arrows from the back of a running horse. Afterwards they are exercised in the bending of some very stiff bows and the handling of heavy swords and stones. There is a certain scale of merit they must pass to be successful; and when they succeed, their names are sent up for another examination before higher officials than the ones they have passed before. It is a curious fact that a man who does well as an archer is entitled to a degree among the literary graduates, though he may not be able to carry away a single prize for his literary accomplishments alone."

PICNIC BOOTH OVERLOOKING LAKE BIWA. PICNIC BOOTH OVERLOOKING LAKE BIWA."But the artists do not confine themselves to porcelain; they do a great deal of enamelling on metal, and some of their productions in this way are quite as interesting as their enamelling on porcelain. They did not invent the art, so it is said, but borrowed it from the Chinese, who had in their turn borrowed it from Persia or some other of the Central Asiatic countries. Some of the Japanese artists claim that the art was borrowed from their country, but the most of those who have studied the subject say that this claim is incorrect. But no matter who invented the process,[Pg 246] it is very beautiful and is of great antiquity; it is capable of a great many variations, and, although it has been in use for centuries, hardly a year passes without some improvements in it. In making the metal enamels the strips of brass are soldered to the surface and the cavities are filled up with the liquid coloring. The whole is then baked as in the porcelain process, and the surface of the work is carefully polished until all the lines are fully developed and the completed article shines like glass.

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"The guide said there were two kinds of leprosy, the 'wet' and the 'dry.' In the wet leprosy the body of the victim abounds in running sores, while in the dry there is nothing of the sort, and the appearance of the skin is not greatly different from what it is in health. The disease generally attacks the joints of the hands or feet, particularly those of the former, and the sufferer loses the first joint of the fingers and thumbs at about the same time. Then, in a few months, he loses the second joints, and in two or[Pg 415] three months more the third joints go. We saw lepers in all the stages of the diseasesome with the first joints of the hands gone, others who had lost the second joints, and others the third; while others, again, had lost the hands at the wrists. There seems to be no cure for most of the forms of the leprosy; and when a man is attacked with it, he must go at once to the hospital, no matter whether he is rich or poor. And when he has gone there, he generally remains till death relieves him from his sufferings."The abandonment of the custom began in the open ports, and is spreading through the country. It will spread in exactly the same ratio as Japan adopts other customs and ways of the rest of the world; and as fast as she takes on our Western civilization, just so fast will she drop such of her forms as are antagonistic to it."

TAE-PING REBELS. TAE-PING REBELS.The boys were greatly interested in their shopping excursions, and learned a good deal about Japanese art and industry before they had ended their purchases. By the time they were through they had an excellent collection of porcelain and other ware, of ivory carvings, lacquered boxes, and similar things; silk robes, wrappers, and handkerchiefs; and quite enough fans to set up a small museum. They tried at first to get a sample of each kind of fan that they could find, but the variety proved so great that they were forced to give up the attempt. They bought some curious articles of bamboo, and were surprised to find to how many uses this vegetable production is put. Frank thought it was a pity the bamboo did not grow in America, as it could be turned to even more advantage by the enterprising Yankee than by the plodding Oriental, and Fred was inclined to agree with him. They changed their minds, however,[Pg 253] when the Doctor told them how far the bamboo entered into the life of the people of the East, and on the whole they concluded that the American couldn't improve upon it.

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Apr-17 01:35:20