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    Software name: appdown
    Software type: Microsoft Framwork

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      The Doctor's face brightened, and he called the boys to observe what he had discovered. He had already explained to them that the barometer falls at the approach of stormy weather, and rises when the storm is about to pass away. Before a storm like a typhoon the fall is very rapid, and so certainly is this the case that mariners rely upon the barometer to give them warning of impending danger.

      The boys went on a round of shopping, and kept it up, at irregular intervals, during their stay in Japan. And in their shopping excursions they learned much about the country and people that they would not have been likely to know of in any other way.

      "We had a long search among the porcelain shops for some blue china plates of what is called 'the willow pattern.' We must have gone into twenty shops at least before we found them; and, finally, when we did get them, the dealer was as anxious to sell as we were to buy. He said he had had those plates on hand a very long time, and nobody wanted them. We did not tell him how rare they are at home, and how anxious people are to get hold of them."The first things we looked at in our shopping tour were silks, and we found them of all kinds and descriptions that you could name. There were silks for dresses and silks for shawls, and they were of all colors, from snowy white to jet-black. Some people say that white and black are not colors at all; but if they were turned loose among the silks of Canton, perhaps they might change their minds. It is said that there are fifty thousand people in Canton engaged in making silk and other fabrics, and these include the embroiderers, of whom there are several thousands. Chinese[Pg 418] embroidery on silk is famous all over the world, and it has the advantage over the embroidery of most other countries in being the same on one side that it is on the other. We have selected some shawls that we think will be very pretty when they are at home. They are pretty enough now, but there are so many nice things all around that the articles we have selected look just a little common.

      The Doctor explained to them that this desolation was more apparent than real, and that if they should make a journey on shore, at almost any point, for a few miles back from the river, they would find all the people they wanted. "About thirty years ago," said he, "they had a rebellion in China; it lasted for a long time, and caused an immense destruction of life and property. The rebels had possession of the cities along the Yang-tse, and at one period it looked as though they would succeed in destroying the government."

      "We have seen one of the famous bells of Japan, or rather of Kioto, for it is this city that has always been celebrated for its bells. The greatest of them lies on the ground just outside of one of the temples, and it is not a piece of property that a man could put in his pocket and walk off with. It is fourteen feet high, twenty-four feet in circumference, and ten inches thick. How much it weighs nobody knows, as the Japanese never made a pair of scales large enough to weigh it with. The Japanese[Pg 298] bells have generally a very sweet tone, and to hear them booming out on the evening air is not by any means disagreeable. The art of casting them was carried to a state of great perfection, and stood higher, two or three centuries ago than it does at present.


      At the first opportunity our friends paid a visit to the Chinese part of Shanghai. They found a man at the gate of the city who was ready to serve them as guide, and so they engaged him without delay. He led them through one of the principal streets, which would have been only a narrow lane or alley in America; and they had an opportunity of studying the peculiarities of the people as they had studied in the Japanese cities the people of Japan. Here is what Frank wrote down concerning his first promenade in a Chinese city:A COMPOSITE TEAM. A COMPOSITE TEAM.


      From the temple they proceeded to a garden, where they had an opportunity of seeing some of the curious productions of the Chinese gardeners in the way of dwarfing trees and plants. There were small bushes in the shape of animals, boats, houses, and other things, and the resemblance was in many cases quite good. They do this by tying the limbs of the plants to little sticks of bamboo, or around wire frames shaped like the objects they wish to represent; and by tightening the bandages every[Pg 407] morning, and carefully watching the development of the work, they eventually accomplish their purpose. If they represent a dog or other animal, they generally give it a pair of great staring eyes of porcelain, and sometimes they equip its mouth with teeth of the same material. Many of the Chinese gardens are very prettily laid out, and there are some famous ones near Canton, belonging to wealthy merchants."I met George Pauncefort in China years ago," said the Doctor, as they entered the hotel; "I wonder if he will recognize me."