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and can easily be woven. When woven,
a friendly warmth dissipates all
their rigidity at once; a hot iron, at a
temperature of about one hundred and fifty
degrees, is passed over the woven material;
the India-rubber yields at once, decreasing in
length and increasing in thickness to its former
dimensions; but, as it is linked in brotherhood
with the other threads with which it has
been woven, these otherssilk, wool, &c.—
have no resource but to shrink, or pucker, or
wrinkle, or corrugate, to bring them to a
longitudinal equality with their neighbours.
Thus does elasticity result: the India-rubber
threads will stretch because it is in their nature
to do so; and the fibrile threads will stretch
because they are now somewhat shrivelled up,
and the change will be a sort of leg-stretching
relief to them. Herein exists the secret of
our elastic garters, shirt-collar fastenings,
umbrella fastenings, braces, belts, sandals, side-
springs for shoes, corsets and corset-belts,
watch-guards, wristlets, glove-tops, armlets,
bead-threading, and neck-chains.


IN the city of Cairo there once dwelt a
Christian merchant, named Hanna, who had
amassed a considerable fortune, so that envy
often turned its glances towards him. As is
usual, however, in this world, Hanna found
cause to complain of his condition. It was
true that he had a fine house in the street of
the saddle-makers, that his furniture was
costly, that his slaves, pipes, mules and asses
were of the first quality. One thing was
wanted: a son and heir to inherit his wealth,
and continue his name.

Now, in an Eastern story, no sooner is this
difficulty mentioned than we can, as a general
rule, foresee that in some manner, more or
less ingenious, the much desired addition
to the hero's family is miraculously made.
Sometimes, a pilgrimage is undertaken to the
tomb of a Saint; sometimes, prayers are
addressed directly to heaven; sometimes, a
magician makes his appearance and gives two
children, on condition that at a certain age
he shall be allowed to claim one and slay it
for the purpose of some horrible incantation:
it following as a matter of course that he
chooses the favourite, and leaves the
disconsolate parent to cover his head with ashes, to
clothe himself in sackcloth, and to perform all
the heart-breaking ceremonies of an Eastern
mourning. The difficulty in the case of Hanna
was that he had no wife and was determined
never to get married; and, considering that
he was past his seventieth year, the
determination can scarcely be called unwise.

There was a mystery, however, in the life
of this Christian, which will explain in some
measure why he did not give himself up to
absolute and sullen despair. About half a
century before the period of which we speak,
he had been a traveller, had visited Hind
and Sind, with many other wonderful places,
had resided in Persia and sailed upon the

He would tell one or two intimate friends,
that when at Ispahan he had loved and been
beloved by a lady, whom he married and
lived with for nearly a year. A child was
born to them, a boy, on whom both showered
all the treasures of their affection. But it
happened, one day, that they were in the
gardens in the neighbourhood of the city;
and Hanna, feeling weary, went under some
trees to sleep, whilst his wife sat with the
child by the side of a streak of water that
danced along through a grass-fringed bed.
The young man's slumber lasted some time.
The shadow which had protected him when
he lay down had moved away when he
awoke. Indeed, it was the sun playing upon
his eye-lids that recalled him from the
land of dreams. He rose from the warm turf
and called languidly for Lisbet; but, though
he could see all across the meadow where he
had left her under a locust-tree by the side
of the water, his eyes discerned no sign of
life. He went forward slowly, stretching his
arms and yawning, until he came to the spot
where the young mother had been sitting.
Here he saw traces of the trampling of
many feet, both of horses and men; and a
riband that had adorned the wrist of the
child lay on the ground. Fear of a calamity
came upon him. He gazed more eagerly over
the meadow; and beheld a track through the
grass as if a body of horse had rushed rapidly
along. One loud cry of "Lisbet!" a cry
that burst in anguish from his lips, but to
which he did not expect an answer showed
that he understood what disaster had befallen
him. He sprang on the track of the ravishers;
crossed the meadow; burst through a little
screen of trees: and saw, on the extreme limit
of the plain, just fading from his view, as it
were a little moving cloud with a cluster of
sparkling rays of light above it. The Turkomans
were shaking their spears in triumph as
they entered upon the desert with their prey.

Hanna had never obtained any reasonable
information as to the fate of Lisbet. Perhaps
he did not do all that some heroic natures
would to recover her and the child. He sent
messengers with offers of money to the tribes;
he even undertook a journey to the stronghold
of Jaffir Khan; but without success. The
Turkomans hinted that perhaps the charms
of Lisbet had smitten some independent chief,
who had carried her far away into the wilderness.
After some years of vain waiting, the
extreme manifestations of grief disappeared.
Hanna resumed his commercial enterprises,
and at length became established in Egypt,
where he remained, buying and selling, until
wealth surrounded him. But fifty years
passed away, and he did not take unto himself
another wife.

So far he easily confided to the few whom
he called his friends; and when these would