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ened the evil against which he was striving. It is a significant commentary on his act that in the Chinese schools of today history later than the accession of the present dynasty, 1643, is not taught. The literati, it may be added, disregarding the true reason of his decree, attribute it simply to his vanity-the hope "that he might by this means be regarded by posterity as the first emperor of the Chinese race.'
Nearly nine hundred years later Singan is again made the capital by Taitsung, who so cordially welcomed the Nestorian priest. He was "famed alike for his wisdom and nobleness, his conquests and good government, his temperance, cultivated tastes, and patronage of literary men. He established schools, and instituted the system of examinations, and ordered a complete and accurate edition of all the classics to be published under the supervision of the most learned men in the Empire." It is probably not too much to say that during his reign this now almost unknown city was the center of the most advanced civilization that existed at
that time on the earth. Soon after his death the throne was usurped for twentyone years by a woman, who bears a remarkable resemblance in some respects to the Dowager Empress who now exercises supreme power in this ancient city.
In our own times Singan is noted for the brave and successful defense of its inhabitants against the Mohammedan rebels in 1865, although there were some 50,000 of their coreligionists within the walls. These were compelled to abjure their faith on pain of death, and to put up in their mosques inscriptions to the emperor and to Confucius.
The situation of the city, over six hundred miles from the coast, and its impregnability to any force that it is likely could be brought against it will probably make it seem for the interest of the present rulers of China that it should be once more the permanent capital of the Empire. From its history in the past we may hope that this will be the presage of an era brighter for the Chinese than that which is apparently closing.
JAMES MASCARENE HUBBARD.
THE MIDNIGHT SUN IN THE KLONDIKE
FTER the long, dark, dreary days of winter, summer approaches with marvelous rapidity. Before the snow has all disappeared the days are twenty-four hours long, and there is no need for candles or lamps during the months of June and July and part of May.
About the middle of June photographs can be taken quite distinctly at midnight. Many, fond of climbing, like to mount. the highest domes and watch the sun at midnight. If the night is clear, they are well repaid for their climb. There is a strange, weird look about the sun at such a time-a sort of tired look, as if he would like to disappear below the horizon for a little rest, and then mount
in the morning like a giant refreshed.
He, marches steadily on, and just as we think he will descend below the skyline, he gradually turns eastward and heavenward and soon begins to flood the lesser hills with light and warmth. We then turn homeward, for if caught too far from home when the sun has regained height and power, we shall feel in no mood for walking, as the summer days in the Klondike are fiercely hot and wearying.
What a contrast there is between the dark, sunless, icy days of winter and the bright, glaring, almost unbearably hot days of summer!
ALICE ROLLINS CRANE.
THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
FTER an intensely dry, cold day I have watched for a display of the -Northern Lights and have been rewarded by seeing one of the most beautiful displays nature can afford.
At its first appearance the Aurora is hardly noticeable, but in a few minutes. the bright, luminous cloudlet enlarges and rapidly rushes from east to west and from west to east, across the northern sky.
Sometimes the phenomenon will dip down almost to the earth and envelop in its bright folds tree tops but a short distance away. Then it puts one in mind of a rainbow reaching the earth and allowing one to look through its iridescent bars to the hazy landscape beyond.
It shines steadily for a while, then suddenly, as though a gentle breeze were toying with its beauty, the lambent flame begins to quiver, then becomes strongly agitated, and at last rushes along from side to side, like the opening and shutting of a silvery fan or the wings of a
swan when he is pluming himself on the bank of a stream.
I have never noticed the rainbow-like colors depicted in some paintings. The light was more like steam rising at night, brilliantly illuminated by a beam of electric light.
Then at times it would gradually fade till it resembled phosphorescent waves barring the progress of a ship.
At such times visitors coming into. our cabin from the dry, crisp air would pull off their skin mitts amid a cackling of electric sparks; our blankets and fur coats, if rubbed, would give out a succession of sparks, and our hair would try to stand away from the head like quills on a porcupine, and if brushed would snap and sparkle very distinctly, all the time clinging to the brush or to anything placed above the head. I have walked to the stove and with my knuckle drawn a spark from the metal top half an inch long.
ALICE ROLLINS CRANE.
being the most progressive people of which history gives any account, and the most singular fact in connection with this progress is that its genesis was spontaneous, no outside influence or pressure being brought to bear to effect the tremendous changes in the governmental system and methods.
The change was a true evolution, and was carried out with practical unanimity by governors and governed alike.
A point seldom or never noted by travelers or writers on ethnological subjects is the odor possessed by the various tribes of men, and for want of a better phrase I will call it the "race smell."
The race smells of several members of the human family are distinct enough to influence not only their neighbors, but the domesticated animals of other races. Witness the race smell of the North American Indian, sufficiently marked to be disagreeable to white nostrils, and to be a source of alarm to our horses and dogs.
From observation I am led to conclude that the accidents of clothing, habits, and environments are operative upon the race smell only as modifiers, increasing or decreasing that smell according to circumstances. Witness the strong race smell of the Negro, persisting in spite of the environments of ages of civilization.
The application of the foregoing to the question under discussion lies in the fact that the race smell of the Japanese is so slight as to be scarcely recognizable, while the Chinaman has the race smell so well developed as to be distinctly noticeable in any considerable assemblage. Its marked feature is that it produces a distinct tingling in the end of the nose of the European, and once experienced will never afterward be mistaken. The Chinaman says we smell like sheep, and our race smell is as disagreeable to him as his is to us, another and novel application of the old adage of "de gustibus non est disputandum."
In Japan one looks in vain for exam
ples of bygone architectural ability, for the remains of bridges or monuments, roads or temples, and the idea impresses itself upon the mind of the observer that Japan is a new country, that its past is but of yesterday. in comparison with China, Korea, or India; but this impression is speedily forgotten when an examination of the literature, laws, language, and art discloses the fact that Japan counts her history by thousands of years, and that her literature contains examples written before the day of the Roman Empire. We are shown pieces of bronze-work two thousand years old. We look upon an emperor who is the one hundred and twenty-first of an unbroken dynasty which was founded 660 B. C.!
We are impressed with the national virility which can, after so many centuries of existence, voluntarily modify its system of government into sympathy with the ideas of today, and follow up that tremendous change by adopting the best the modern world has to offer in every branch of human thought, and adapting itself as a people to the use of all those ideas which form the difference between the universe of yesterday and the world of today. Whether their attempts are successful is not pertinent to the subject, for, looking at the intent of the Japanese nation as exploited by her leading men, we see that, modified, it is true, by the environments of their traditions and history, Japan is well in the forefront of the family of modern nations.
In China, on the other hand, but little of interest presents itself which is not a monument of a long-departed glory. Splendid bridges, huge gateways fashioned in stone, canals, bronzes, remain unequaled elsewhere for beauty and fitness of design, a literature stretching back beyond the limits of any written history outside of this huge empire. China is of the past; her dreams are all reminiscent; her efforts are expended in