IT FRIGHTENED THE BURMESE.
Major E. C. Browne, an Englishman, writing about the acquisition of Burmah by the British, describes the effect upon the natives of the first exhibition of the electric light. “ A great ray of soft light,” he says, “shoots across the heavens from horizan to horizon. A flood of light is cast upon a spot in the village, but it is off with more than lightning rapidity to illuminate another. It leaps and bobs and bounces about the earth in a most uncanny fashion. The village is illumined, It visits every portion of it, and seems to enter at the doors and windows. At first the people rush away, but finding that in many cases the light follows, they throw themselves down with their faces to the earth. In a few minutes the village and river banks are cleared, and the terrified people take refuge in the bush or at the backs of the houses. But this only lasts a very short time. Curiosity is stronger than prudence. So far the light has struck no one dead. Perhaps it may be harmless; so the children, clinging to each other, venture into the glare, then run to their mother’s arms screaming half with fear and half with delight. Some of the big boys then rush out, have a good stare, and having dared so much once more disappear. The ladies seem to gain confidence next to the children. Their curiosity cannot be restrained any longer, so they gel together in groups and hide their faces and scream and giggle. Some of the more cheeky ones actually put out their tongues at us and begin dancing and gyrating about. The men, last of all, moodily emerge from their cover, and still, not half liking it, walk cautiously about, and gradually the village is gay.”