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of barrels and cylinders must be mathematically
straight, and every one of the many
parts must be exactly a duplicate of another.
No one part belongs, as a matter of course,
to any other part of one pistol; but each
piece may be taken at random from a heap,
and fixed to and with the other pieces until a
complete weapon is formed; that weapon being
individualised by a number stamped upon
many of its component parts. The advantage
of these contrivances is obvious. In every case
of revolvers are placed, when sold, a number
of such parts of a pistol as are most liable to
accident; and, with these, any soldier or
sailor may, in a few minutes, repair his own
weapon. Seventy-odd out of a hundred of
the injured revolvers picked up on the
battle-field during the Mexican war were
repaired with bits of other pistols on the
spot.

In the top floor, just above this, men and
women, with black hands and faces, are
polishing at lathes still moved, as everything
is moved, by the steam engine in the hot
stone chamber below. Everybody gets a
slice of his thirty horse-power; and my
conductor says, they have still plenty of power to
spare, as if steam power were an article like
gas or water, to be laid on whenever it is
wanted from a distant reservoir. Such,
indeed, it is; though when carried far,
as I saw it by a belt across the yard, much
of the force, of course, is wasted. Here
is our friend, the butcher, still wearing a
blue smock, and very busy polishing
cylinders. His work spins so rapidly that
red-hot particles of emery fly off and
lodge upon his face, which is specked and
spotted all over in rather a comical manner.
He gets a hit in the eye sometimes (for he
will not wear spectacles), which causes great
pain; but not more than is occasioned by the
minute chips of steel which trouble the workmen
down stairs, and which have to be taken
out with a magnet; or, when they stick in, by
scraping the eye with the sharpest knife that
can be found. The butcher is very quiet and
intent upon his work, as the manager enters
with me; but the American close to us is
singing a song when we come in, and does not
think of leaving offnot he. The girls have
a natural shame of black hands and faces,
though they cannot help themselves, and look
more closely down at their work while
strangers are near, than the neat and tidy
girls below.

All this time we have been seeing only the
making of little bits of a pistol. Pausing a
moment, to see the engraving of a ship in
full sail, and other ornamental workincluding
the maker's name stamped by great
pressure on the cylinderwe come into a
great room, where all the minute portions
are brought to be examined. Here, by means
of gauges, but chiefly by the practised eye of
the superintendent, each separate article is
examined, and rejected if in the slightest
degree faulty. From this room the various
parts are served out to the workmen who
put them together, and turn out the complete
revolver.

Every revolver being equal to six single
pistols, they are rarely spoken of as braces.
Most customers take only a single revolver and
the name of every purchaser being recorded,
and the number, which is marked on many
parts of the weapon, being noted at the same
time, some curious identifications occur.
Several anecdotes are related of persons
who have been traced by the revolver in their
possession. In the skirmishing in Florida,
the death of many poor fellows whose
names were unknown, and who were found
killed, was certified to their friends by publishing
the number of the pistol in their belt, or
grasped in their stiff hands. There is a
revolver, says my conductor, which was brought
to me to repair, some months since. I recognised
it, by the number, in a moment for one
stolen from here long ago, and I think the
man who brought it saw I did, for he never
came to fetch it away again. In cases of
murder perpetrated by a Colt's revolver, the
weapon itself, if ever one should be so used,
would become a conclusive evidence.

Here is the proving-room, where the
pistols undergo a preparatory trial, before
being sent up for the regular government
proof. It is by no means, the dark, mysterious
iron-plated room, in which I have been
taught to believe that guns are proved; but
an ordinary workshop, with two square
wooden pipes, fixed horizontally, and open at
the end, breast high. I am invited to prove
a pistol, by firing it into one of these pipes,
which, I am told, afford sufficient protection
to the firer in case of a barrel burstingan
event, pains were taken to assure me, of very
rare occurrence. After a little practice, I
find that a mere novice may, with one hand,
discharge the six rounds as rapidly as the eye
can wink.

My companion has nothing more to show
me except the baths and the reading room,
supplied chiefly with newspapers, for the
benefit of the workmen; so I bid him good
day, and go out of the smell of hot rank oil,
to enjoy more keenly the cool breeze that is
blowing from the river.

NEW TALE by Mr. CHARLES DICKENS now
publishing Weekly in HOUSEHOLD WORDS.

ON the Third of June will be published, in Household
Words, the TENTH Portion of a New Work of
Fiction, called
HARD TIMES.
BY CHARLES DICKENS.
The publication of this Story will be continued in HOUSEHOLD
WORDS from Week to Week, and completed in Five Months, from
its commencement on the First of April.

Price of each Weekly Number of HOUSEHOLD WORDS, (containing, besides, the usual variety of matter), Twopence; or  Stamped, Threepence.

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