Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/666

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644
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

are fast-days, holy-days, and feast-days. Above all of these interesting things there is a long opening which extends across the width of the base. On each day of the week a different figure appears at one side of this opening, at noon it is in the center, and at night it disappears altogether at the side opposite to the one by which it entered in the morning. The figure on Mondays is that of Diana; on Tuesdays, it is Apollo. Just above these figures, and in the very edge of the platform that forms the top of the base, is the dial of the clock which tells the hour and minute of the day. On either side of the dial sit two Cupids, one of whom strikes the hours and quarters on a bell, and the other reverses an hour-glass as each new hour begins. Above, and on the real body of the clock, is placed a dial containing the signs of the zodiac. Then over this there is a ball which shows the age of the moon—whether it is first quarter, or full, etc.—while overhead are concealed the various images, or automatic figures, that appear only at noon. What an eye-witness saw by waiting from eleven o'clock till noon has been thus described: "We viewed this wondrous piece of mechanism for an hour, and witnessed the following movements: At a quarter-past eleven the Cupid near the dial struck one; then, from one of the upper compartments ran forth a little child with a wand, and as he passed he struck one on a bell, and ran away (Childhood the first quarter). Round whirled the wheels of time, and the second quarter chimes; but this time it is Youth that passes, and taps the bell with his shepherd's staff twined with flowers. After we leave the second quarter, then Manhood strides forth, the mailed warrior, and smites the sonorous bell, ere he leaves the scene, three sounding blows with his trenchant weapon—the third quarter. Once more the hands tremble on the point of noon; the fourth quarter is here, and Old Age, a feeble, bent figure, hobbles out, pauses wearily at the bell, raises a crutch, and taps four strokes, and totters away out of sight—'last scene of all'; when, as finale, the skeleton figure of Death, before whom all four have passed, slowly raises his baton, which the spectators now discover to be a human bone, and solemnly strikes the hour of twelve upon the bell. While he is engaged in this act, a set of figures above him, representing the twelve apostles, pass in procession before the Saviour, who blesses each one as he passes before him in turn; and chanticleer, the size of life, perched upon the pinnacle of one of the side structures, lifts up his voice in three rousing crows, with outstretched neck and flapping wings; while the Cupid on one side of the dial reverses the hour-glass for the sand to flow back, and the other Cupid strikes the hour with his bell and hammer."

There are many other wonderful clocks in the world, but they are smaller, and they are not as well known as the Strasburg clock. An old time-piece in England records the age of all the planets by an arrangement which gives the exact revolution of each one. For instance, the little ball that represents Mercury goes around the circle