that I was worthy of his friendship. We took zealous part in all the chemical proceedings, and in that way Tom was fitting himself for the business of his life.

Mr. Smith was a most genial tempered man. He was shrewd and quick-witted, like a native of York, as he was. I received the greatest kindness from him as well as from his family. His house was like a museum. It was full of cabinets, in which were placed choice and interesting objects in natural history, geology, mineralogy, and metallurgy. All were represented. Many of these specimens had been brought to him from abroad by his ship captains who transported his colour manufactures and other commodities to foreign parts.

My friend Tom Smith and I made it a rule -- and in this we were encouraged by his father -- that, so far as was possible, we ourselves should actually make the acids and other substances used in our experiments. We were not to buy them ready made, as this would have taken the zest out of our enjoyment. We should have lost the pleasure and instruction of producing them by aid of our own wits and energies. To encounter and overcome a difficulty is the most interesting of all things. Hence, though often baffled , we eventually produced perfect specimens of nitrous, nitric, and muriatic acids. We distilled alcohol from duly fermented sugar and water, and rectified the resultant spirit from fusel oil by passing the alcoholic vapour through animal charcoal before it entered the worm of the still. We converted part of the alcohol into sulphuric ether. We produced phosphorus from bones, and elaborated many of the mysteries of chemistry.

The amount of practical information which we obtained by this system of making our own chemical agents was such as to reward us, in many respects, for the labour we underwent. To outsiders it might appear a very troublesome and roundabout way of getting at the finally desired result. But I feel certain that there is no better method of rooting chemical or any other instruction, deeply in our minds. Indeed, I regret that the same system is not pursued by young men of the present day. They are seldom, if ever, called upon to exert their own wits and industry to obtain the requisites for their instruction. A great deal is now said about "technical education"; but how little there is of technical handiness or head work! Everything is bought ready made to their hands; and hence there is no call for individual ingenuity.

I often observe, in shop-windows, every detail of model ships and model steam-engines, supplied ready made for those who are "said to be" of an ingenious and mechanical turn. Thus the vital uses of resourcefulness are done away with, and a sham exhibition of mechanical genius is paraded before you by the young impostors -- the result, for the most part, of too free a supply of pocket money. I have known too many instances of parents, led by such false evidence of constructive skill, apprenticing their sons to some engineering firm; and, after paying vast sums, finding out that the pretender comes out of the engineering shop with no other practical accomplishment than that of cigar-smoking!

The truth is that the eyes and the fingers -- the bare fingers -- are the two principal inlets to sound practical instruction. They are the chief sources of trustworthy knowledge as to all the materials and operations which the engineer has to deal with, No book knowledge can avail for that purpose. The nature and properties of the materials must come in through the finger ends. Hence, I have no faith in young engineers who are addicted to wearing gloves. Gloves, especially kid gloves, are perfect non-conductors of technical knowledge. This has really more to do with the efficiency of young aspirants for engineering success than most people are aware of!

  By PanEris using Melati.

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