There he stood, very quietly overlooking some sailmakers who were mending a top-sail in the waist.
There is no reason to doubt that most of the records have at least a basis of fact, for the cases are in accord with well-attested phenomena of a similar nature at the present day; but there are others, such as the miraculous mending of a broken vase, which suggest either invention or trickery.
In 1742 a workman named Thomas Bolsover was mending the handle of a knife made of silver and copper, when, accidentally overheating it, he caused the metals to fuse and flow, and found that as a consequence the silver adhered to the copper as a thin coating.
Gum tragacanth is used in calico-printing as a thickener of colours and mordants; in medicine as a demulcent and vehicle for insoluble powders, and as an excipient in pills; and feltsetting and mending beetles and other insect specimens.
So the soldiers, after a twenty-mile march, were kept mending and cleaning all night long without closing their eyes, while the adjutants and company commanders calculated and reckoned, and by morning the regiment--instead of the straggling, disorderly crowd it had been on its last march the day before--presented a well-ordered array of two thousand men each of whom knew his place and his duty, had every button and every strap in place, and shone with cleanliness.
Soldiers scattered over the whole place were dragging logs and brushwood and were building shelters with merry chatter and laughter; around the fires sat others, dressed and undressed, drying their shirts and leg bands or mending boots or overcoats and crowding round the boilers and porridge cookers.