could not bear the atmosphere of India
Yet the Damascus blades of the Crusades were not gilded, and they are as perfect as they were eight centuries ago. There was one at the London Exhibition
, the point of which could be made to touch the hilt, and which could be put into a scabbard like a corkscrew, and bent every way without breaking, like an American politician.
Now, the wonder of this is, that perfect steel is a marvel of science.
If a London chronometer-maker wants the best steel to use in his chronometer, he does not send to Sheffield
, the centre of all science, but to the Punjaub
, the empire of the seven rivers, where there is no science at all. The first needle ever made in England
was made in the time of Henry VIII.
and made by a negro; and when he died, the art died with him. Some of the first travellers in Africa
stated that they found a tribe in the interior who gave them better razors than they had; the irrepressible negro coming up in science as in politics.
The best steel is the greatest triumph of metallurgy, and metallurgy is the glory of chemistry.
The poets have celebrated the perfection of the Oriental
steel; and it is recognized as the finest by Moore
, and many others.
I have even heard a young advocate of the lost arts find an argument in Byron
's “Sennacherib,” from the fact that the mail of the warriors in that one short night had rusted before the trembling Jews stole out in the morning to behold the terrible work of the Lord
, in his “Tales of the Crusaders,” --for Sir Walter was curious in his love of the lost arts,--describes a meeting between Richard Coeur de Lion
Saladin asks Richard to show him the wonderful strength for which he is famous, and the Norman monarch responds by severing a bar of iron which lies on the floor of his