The mechanical principle involved in the boy’s button buzz was applied in Canton and in many other places for operating small drills as well as in grinding and polishing appliances used in the manufacture of ornamental ware. The drill, as used for boring metal, is set in a straight shaft, often of bamboo, on the upper end of which is mounted a circular weight. The drill is driven by a pair of strings with one end attached just beneath the momentum weight and the other fastened at the ends of a cross hand-bar, having a hole at its center through which the shaft carrying the drill passes. Holding the drill in position for work and turning the shaft, the two cords are wrapped about it in such a manner that simple downward pressure on the hand bar held in the two hands unwinds the cords and thus revolves the drill. Relieving the pressure at the proper time permits the momentum of the revolving weight to rewind the cords and the next downward pressure brings the drill again into service.
UP THE SI-KIANG, WEST RIVER
On the morning of March 10th we took passage on the Nanning for Wuchow, in Kwangsi province, a journey of 220 miles up the West river, or Sikiang. The Nanning is one of two English steamers making regular trips between the two places, and it was the sister boat which in the summer of 1906 was attacked by pirates on one of her trips and all of the officers and first class passengers killed while at dinner. The cause of this attack, it is said, or the excuse for it, was threatened famine resulting from destructive floods which had ruined the rice and mulberry crops of the great delta region and had prevented the carrying of manure and bean cake as fertilizers to the tea fields in the hill lands beyond, thus bringing ruin to three of the great staple crops of the region. To avoid the recurrence of such tragedies the first class quarters on the Nanning had been separated from the rest of the ship by heavy iron gratings thrown across the decks and over the hatchways. Armed guards stood at the locked gateways, and swords were hanging from posts under the awnings of the first cabin quarters, much as saw and ax in our passenger coaches. Both British and Chinese gunboats were patrolling the river; all Chinese passengers were searched for concealed weapons as they came aboard, even though Government soldiers, and all arms taken into custody until the end of the journey. Several of the large Chinese merchant junks which were passed, carrying valuable cargoes on the river, were armed with small cannon and when riding by rail from Canton to Sam Shui, a government pirate detective was in our coach.