Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/565

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SKETCH OF SIR CHARLES WILLIAM SIEMENS.

and more obvious, if not more exemplary, punishment. "There are two chances in the stare of a demon," says the Burmese proverb, "there is none in that of a king." One formality, indeed, remains, which is often omitted, it is true, but which no man of well-ordered mind should fail to observe. It relates to the setting up of the stair, or rather ladder, by which the house is entered, all the dwellings in Indo-China being raised off the ground on piles. If this stair is turned to the south, let a cat be the first living creature to ascend. If you manage this, then you will always have abundance in your house. The difficulty is to make the cat see the matter in the same light. If your steps face the west the question is simpler. All you have to do is to take some iron in your hand along with a few lotus-leaves and a wisp of kaing, or elephant-grass. Everything you attempt will thereafter come easy to you. A cock should crow at the top to inaugurate the stair ascending on the north side of the house. This also is a matter likely to keep you out of your dwelling for a long time if you persist in waiting for it. Stairs never ascend from the east, for the same reason that no Buddhist should sleep with his feet pointing to that quarter. It was from the east that the Lord Buddha came, and it would be scandalous to show to that quarter a disrespect that would entail severe punishment if it were exhibited toward the king or a great man. It will hardly be necessary to mention that there is only one set of stairs and one entrance to the house, if built according to the national model.

It will thus be seen that, though a wooden house or a walled hut does not seem to imply much expenditure of time, labor, or capital in its construction, yet, in reality, what with the perplexing rules to be attended to, the dangers to be avoided, and the spirits to be propitiated, the Eastern house-builder has emphatically a hard time of it, and is not to be envied by Westerns who have no greater grievances than damp walls, defective drainage, perpetual draughts, and chimneys that will not draw.—Saturday Review.

 

SKETCH OF SIR CHARLES WILLIAM SIEMENS.

IN a paper giving an account of the British Association of 1882, of which Dr. Siemens was president, Professor Emil du Bois-Reymond referred, with some expressions of admiration, to the many ways in which the name of Siemens is identified with the most important of the recent advances in technical science. What Krupp is among German industrials in warlike arts, he said, the collective name of Siemens is in the arts of peace. Siemens telegraph wires gird the earth, and the Siemens cable-steamer Faraday is continually engaged in laying new ones. By the Siemens method has been solved the problem, by the side of which that of finding a needle in a hay-stack