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trencher and blind-man's buff are in prospect, and mulled elder wine and toast, before we break up for the night.
But shall I be wiser, and tell you where the commodities in the grocer's shop and window come from? Oh yes; for if you do not know, it will be useful information; and if you do, others may not possess this advantage. With all the amusement we can gather, there is no going through the world in a creditable manner without a little knowledge.
Raisins are brought from Spain and Turkey; currants from the isles of the Archipelago; lemons grow in Portugal, Spain, and Italy; and spices as well as sugar, are the produce of the East and West Indies.
The latter article is brought to England in hogsheads. See! there are two empty ones standing at the door, with a swarm of flies and a crowd of boys round them. One youngster is picking the sugar from the bung-hole; another is reaching up to the top, where the rough hoop and rusty nails are likely enough to tear his ragged jacket; and a third has his head and body in the cask, with his legs in the air, like a duck getting up something from the bottom of a shallow pond. There they are, all licking their sugary fingers, and smiling.
A friend of mine, who is a dear lover of cheerfulness, once gave me this advice: “ Whenever you get into a corner among a set of people unreasonably silent, afraid to speak, or even to smile, say to them at once,
What a hubbub a score of kankaroos would kick up in a plantation of dry sugar canes !' and if that observation does not provoke a little merriment, you may give them up as perfectly incorrigible.”
I never see a sugar cask at a grocer's door, without thinking of the kangaroos and the sugar canes.
I might say a great deal about the poor negroes, who have so much to do with sugar ;
" Thus saith Britannia, empress of the sea,
Thy chains are broken, Africa, be free !" Though the chains of slavery are ordered to be broken, myriads are still bound by the fetters of igno
The mighty cry of outraged humanity has ascended to the throne of Heaven on their account; and He who sitteth there will not hold him guiltless who withholds the debt of retribution and mercy that is due for the past. If we have deeply injured negroes in this world, let us ardently help them on their way to a better.
Tea is too important an article to be passed by without a remark. You know, as well as I do, that the tea plant grows principally in China and Japan ; but you may not know the following particulars :
The order of the East India Company, to their agent in Bantam, in 1668, was to send home 100lbs. weight of “goode tey" as a speculation. A very pretty speculation this turned out to be; for the yearly consumption of tea has been raised in the United Kingdom, by the East India Company, from 100lbs. as above, to nearly 32,000,000. It seems almost incredible, and yet it is not to be disputed, that during eighteen years the immense sum of 70,000,0001. was paid into the British exchequer as revenue collected on the tea leaf.
Tea has produced to England a commerce amounting to upwards of 8,000,000l. sterling, that is, in imports and exports ; and has yielded an annual revenue
to the British exchequer of 3,300,0001. It has also promoted the health and morals of the people.
Pekoe is the leaf buds, picked early in the spring, sometimes mixed with olive flower for fragrance; hence the term " white blossom tea." I hardly think that
you were aware of this.
Congo, Souchong, and Bohea, take their names from the districts where they grow, or the mode in which they are prepared. Green tea differs from black by being dried in iron pots over the fire, while black is dried in the open air under a shade, and afterwards in a heated warehouse. Black tea improves by keeping, but this is not the case with green. The Chinese prefer black tea, ten or fifteen years old, if it has been kept from the atmosphere.
We are purblind beings at the best, and cannot fathom His almighty counsels, whose 6 ways are not as our ways." The tea trade, which we only regard as a source of luxury and temporal profit, may one day, by the Divine permission and blessing, be a battering-ram to knock down the wall of China, a key to unlock the hearts of the Chinese, and a channel through which a flood of gospel light may flow, to illumine the three hundred millions of pagans which the “ celestial empire" contains.
“Waft, wast, ye winds, His story,
And you, ye waters, roll, 'Till, like a sea of glory,
It spreads from pole to pole :
The Lamb, for sinners slain,
In bliss returns to reign." What have we here ? An oil and colour shop, where they seem to sell many things: oils, vinegar, mustard, salt, and soap; honey, bees' wax, and emery; black-lead, glue, sponge, and packthread; brushes, brooms, blacking, door-mats, tobacco, snuff, pipes, and candles.
About five hundred years ago, candles were so great a luxury that splinters of wood, dipped in oil or grease, were used for lights. Why the thought of reading and writing by the light of a greasy piece of wood is enough to make one look on a candle with gratitude, to snuff it with double care, and to regard it as a friend.
Tobacco is cultivated in America, the West Indies, and other places. It was first introduced into Europe by Jean Nicot of Nismes, agent from the king of France to Portugal, who procured the seeds from a Dutchman, and sent them to France. It is smoked as cigars, and in pipes; and is chewed by thousands of soldiers, sailors, and other people. Common smoking pipes are made of a soft white clay; they are formed in a mould, the hole in the tube is made with a wire, and then they are burnt in an oven.
Do .you see the oils and colours, the reds and the blues, the greens and the yellows? West, when he began to paint, pulled hairs from a cat's tail to make him a pencil: but painting brushes are plentiful here. Here are materials for a new school of painters, an absolute academy of Hogarths, Rembrandts, Rafaelles, and Guidos; Titians, Teniers, Poussins, and Paul Potters When you next look at a real Vandyck, a Godfrey Kneller, a Murillo, or a Carlo Dolce, you may think more highly of an oil and colour shop.
How eloquent might I be about industry, as I look at the bees' wax and the honey-pot; about the British navy, while I gaze on the pitch and the tar-tub; and
what strange things in music does that lump of rosin bring to my remembrance! Even now Paganini is be
I could brighten up in my remarks at the very sight of the ball of lamp-cotton, while the spermaceti puts me at once on board a whaler, bound to the icebergs of the northern ocean.
Now I shall have a treat, for this is the shop of a mercer, and linen and woollen draper. What a magnificent window! It makes me afraid to look in, lest some one should jostle me against the splendid panes of plate glass. They are of unusual dimensions. How tastefully are the goods arranged! A Cashmerian need not be ashamed of these shawls! A Persian might be proud of those silks! How the muslins and prints wave, like streamers, in the doorway! And then, look at the huge rolls of superfine broad cloth, that remind one of an English squire of the olden time, with his good old dame beside him ;
“ He in English true blue, button'd up to the chin,
And she in her broad farthingale." What a fine mirror is that at the end, yonder, doubling the shop's length to the eye, and multiplying the gas-lights in the evening! With what complaisance and courtesy the well-dressed shopmen attend to their customers ! How cleverly that youth cleared the counter, by placing his hand upon it and springing over ! Do you observe the lady on the right, seated, carelessly examining the different articles before her? that is the twentieth piece of silk the shopman has shown her, yet he is still active and obliging, although she has at present purchased nothing.
See here, I would not have passed these plaids and