The Illustrated London Reading Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about The Illustrated London Reading Book.


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The enterprising traveller, Moorcroft, during his journey across the vast chain of the Himalaya Mountains, in India, undertaken with the hope of finding a passage across those mountains into Tartary, noticed, in the district of Ladak, the peculiar race of sheep of which we give an Engraving.  Subsequent observations having confirmed his opinion as to the quality of their flesh and wool, the Honourable East India Company imported a flock, which were sent for a short time to the Gardens of the Zoological Society, Regent’s Park.  They were then distributed among those landed proprietors whose possessions are best adapted, by soil and climate, for naturalising in the British Islands this beautiful variety of the mountain sheep.  The wool, the flesh, and the milk of the sheep appear to have been very early appreciated as valuable products of the animal:  with us, indeed, the milk of the flock has given place to that of the herd; but the two former still retain their importance.  Soon after the subjugation of Britain by the Romans, a woollen manufactory was established at Winchester, situated in the midst of a district then, as now, peculiarly suited to the short-woolled breed of sheep.  So successful was this manufacture, that British cloths were soon preferred at Rome to those of any other part of the Empire, and were worn by the most opulent on festive and ceremonial occasions.  From that time forward, the production of wool in this island, and the various manufactures connected with it, have gone on increasing in importance, until it has become one of the chief branches of our commerce.

[Illustration:  THIBETAN SHEEP.]

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[Illustration:  Letter O.]

On being told the number and size of the sails which a vessel can carry (that is to say, can sail with, without danger of being upset), the uninitiated seldom fail to express much surprise.  This is not so striking in a three-decker, as in smaller vessels, because the hull of the former stands very high out of the water, for the sake of its triple rank of guns, and therefore bears a greater proportion to its canvas than that of a frigate or a smaller vessel.  The apparent inequality is most obvious in the smallest vessels, as cutters:  and of those kept for pleasure, and therefore built for the purpose of sailing as fast as possible, without reference to freight or load, there are many the hull of which might be entirely wrapt up in the mainsail.  It is of course very rarely, if ever, that a vessel carries at one time all the sail she is capable of; the different sails being usually employed according to the circumstances of direction of wind and course.  The sails of a ship, when complete, are as follows:—­

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The Illustrated London Reading Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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