ALL who read this may not know what a "rope-walk" is. It is the name of a long, narrow building in which rope is manufactured, and which is so-called because in spinning the small threads of the rope the spinner walks back and forth from end to end.

Until 1820 all the cordage made in the United States was the product of hand labor alone, but now it is made almost entirely by machinery in a few large establishments in our principal cities. While in Boston last summer, we had occasion to visit the ropewalk of the Charleston Navy Yard, and became much interested in the various processes which had to be gone through before rope could be produced.

The materials most commonly used in making rope are hemp and flax. These must first be hackled in order to draw out the fibers in straight lines and remove the short lengths and dust. The old-fashioned hackle is a sort of a comb made of long, sharp, steel points set upright upon a firm bench. A bundle of hemp or of flax held near one end is thrown over the points and drawn through, and the operation is repeated, reversing the ends. If you will ask your mother, or grandmother about this, they will probably tell you more, for this is the way they used to prepare the flax from which they spun and wove all their linen. This work is now performed by a machine which can do more in five or ten minutes than a person by the old process could do in all day.

There are several processes by which rope may be made, but the one which particularly interested us was the hand process. In this the spinner wraps a bundle of hemp around his waist, having the middle portion of the fibers in front and the ends behind. He then draws from it in front a portion sufficient for making a small thread, and attaching the end to a whirl kept revolving in one end of the room, walks backward. As he proceeds, the fibers are continually drawn out from the bundle, the quantity being regulated by the action of his hands, one of them pulling the fibers forward or holding them back, and the other compressing the yarn as it passes through a thick woolen cloth held around it. Several of these threads put together form a strand, and three or four of these twisted together make a rope, while several ropes make a cable.

As we stood watching this process, we could but think what a good illustration of the way in which habits are formed. It is only one small thread at a time, only one wrong act or one good deed. But, as many of these small threads twisted together form a cable strong enough to support hundreds of pounds, so by the repetition of wrong acts habits are formed which it will require the greatest effort to break.

Youth is the time when habits are most easily formed. How careful then ought all to be to form good and correct habits in early life. Now while it is comparatively easy, young friends, form habits of sobriety, prudence, and perseverance; learn to carefully respect the rights of others, and to sacredly regard the truth. Remember that you are continually spinning threads of habit, which will one day bind you in hopeless misery, or lead to joy unspeakable. 

M. K. W.