, in a law now eleven hundred years old, attributed valor to the east of France
because it had a law that the children should be taken to the limits of the district, and there soundly whipped, in order that they might forever remember where the limits came.
So we have very few new things in that line.
But I said I would take the subject, for instance, of this very material,--glass.
It is the very best expression of man's self-conceit.
I had heard that nothing had been observed in ancient times which could be called by the name of glass that there had been merely attempts to imitate it. He thought they had proved the proposition; they certainly had elaborated it. In Pompeii
, a dozen miles south of Naples
, which was covered with ashes by Vesuvius
eighteen hundred years ago, they broke into a room full of glass: there was ground-glass, window-glass
, cut-glass, and colored glass of every variety.
It was undoubtedly a glass-maker's factory.
So the lie and the refutation came face to face.
It was like a pamphlet printed in London
, in 1836, by Dr. Lardner
, which proved that a steamboat could not cross the ocean; and the book came to this country in the first steamboat that came across the Atlantic
The chemistry of the most ancient period had reached a point which we have never even approached, and which we in vain struggle to reach to-day.
Indeed, the whole management of the effect of light on glass is still a matter of profound study.
The first two stories which, I have to offer you are simply stories from history.
The first is from the letters of the Catholic
priests who broke into China
, which were published in France
some two hundred years ago. They were shown a glass, transparent and colorless, which was filled with a liquor made by the Chinese, that was shown to the observers,