Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/148

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in Japanese history—one, called Hizamane (the knee-sword), from its being tried upon a convict, and at one stroke severing the knee as well as the neck; and another, called Higekiri (beard-cutting), from its cutting through the beard when similarly tried. Another sword is mentioned in the celebrated romance of the memoirs of the Eight Dogs of Satonú and called Murasame (Autumn Showers), because it had the magical property of shedding water that kept it free from blood. The sword now exhibited is inscribed with Osoraku, which appears to mean 'fearful,' so the sword probably bore the not inappropriate name of 'The Fearful.' Being a short sword, it has no guard, as the short sword was sometimes worn beneath the robe, where a guard would be in the way. Long swords usually have an inscription under the wooden handle, giving the name of the maker and the date. This bears none, but the maker's name is found upon the blade of the small knife inserted into the same scabbard, which is inscribed Morju Shiro Kanekiyo. Kanenga was the name of a famous sword-maker, some of whose works are dated from 1321-1323 A. D. A successor of his was Kaneyoshi (1492-1500), and from certain parallel inclined lines which Kaneyoshi used as a distinguishing mark, and found on the part of the present sword concealed by the handle, it seems probable that the maker, Kanekiyo, was a pupil of his, or a not very distant successor, making the sword, therefore, probably over three hundred and fifty years old."


A Chinese View of it.—The Chinese literati have now come to the conclusion, according to the North China Herald, of Shanghai, that Western science has been built up from the leaking out of the knowledge possessed by their ancestors to Western men, who cultivated it, improved upon it, and developed it. Hence they argue in favor of accepting foreign science and inventions in China, saying: "We wish to make use of the knowledge of Western men, because we know that what they have attained in science and invention has been through the help that our sages gave them. We have a good right to it. What Europe has done she has done through the help we gave. If we did not exactly give science to Europe, we gave it the fruitful germ which produced it. They have the science of optics, but in our Motsz we find that reflection from mirrors was known in the days of Mencius. The men of the West hold that the earth is round. This was believed also by our poet Chü Yuen, who, in his ode on astronomy, announces this doctrine; and this was not many years after Mencius. This being so, we ought not to be ashamed of the study of Western science. We are the rivals of the Western kingdoms, and it is good policy to use their spears in order to pierce their shields. We ought to train our youth in Western science, so that we may know how best to meet them in the struggle to resist their encroachments."


The Birds of the Fame Islands.—The Fame or Fearne Islands of the coast of Northumberland, England, famous by association with Grace Darling, "the wrecker's daughter," are more noted as the home of countless sea birds which resort there to nest and rear their young. The variety of their features of "cliffs, stacks, and crags, rabbit-warrens and land thickly covered with vegetation, rocks, and sloping beach," admirably adapts them for this purpose. They arc not inhabited, except by the lighthouse keepers and their families, so that the birds and the rabbits have them all substantially to themselves. They are attractive spots to visit, and this is best done in the second week in June, when the breeding season of the birds is at its height; in addition to the eggs, which are practically countless, the visitor then has the pleasure of seeing many newly hatched birds. As "the Pinnacles" of the islands are approached, the guillemots are seen occupying in thousands the flat tops, sitting on end, and packed so closely together that to all appearance there is not room for another; "indeed, so dense are the masses, that one can not help wondering how each individual bird can recognize its own egg—for the guillemot lays but one—or, having left it, can force its way back to it again when it has recognized it, more especially as the eggs are placed on the bare rock, without the faintest vestige of a nest. They are pear-shaped, very large for the size of the birds, and the color and markings vary in