' --I VI
The BI1 I rujn
| m'B "r
AUNT MARTHA'S CORNER CUPBOARD.
HONEY MAKERS AT WORK
]UNT IART HA'S
EA OFFEE U iGAg
AUNT MARTHA'S CORNER CUPBOARD.
A1 Stovr for ILiltlc os amb Sirls.
MARY AND ELIZABETH KIRBY,
AUTHORS OF HE WORLD AT HOMEE,' "THE SEA AND ITS WONDERS,"
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINEURGH; AND NEW YORK.
I. THE CORNER CUPBOARD, ...... 9
II. THE STORY OF THE TEA-CUP, ... ... ... ... .. I8
III. HOW THE TEA-CUP WAS FINISHED. ... ... .. ... 30
IV. THE STORY OF THE TEA, ........ 45
V. THE STORY OF TIE SUGAR, ... ... ... ... ... 60
VI. THE STORY OF THE COFFEE, ... ... ... .. 75
VII. THE STORY OF THE SALT, ... .. ... ... 92
VIII. THE STORY OF THE CURRANTS, ... ... ... .. ... 106
IX. THE STORY OF THE NEEDLE, ... ... ... .. ... 118
X. THE STORY OF THE COTTON, ... ... ... ... ... 131
XI. THE STORY OF THE RICE, .. ... ... .. ... 145
XII. THE STORY OF THE HONEY, .. ... ... ... 159
AUNT MARTHA'S CORNER CUPBOARD.
THE CORNER CUPBOARD.
I'f AM afraid that Charley and Richard
rL Knight gave their master a great
-i- deal of trouble.
The school they went to had just
broken up for the Christmas holidays, and
neither of them had won a prize. Indeed,
they were never likely to do so, judging
from the way in which they went on.
They were good- tempered lads, and
favourites with their playmates. If they
had a cake sent them from home, they
10 IDLE BOYS,
always shared it with the rest of the school.
And they were first and foremost at every
game that was played. Their blue eyes
were always twinkling with fun; and if
they had been sent to Mr. Birch's Academy
merely to enjoy themselves, it would have
been all very well.
But it is of no use mincing the matter:
they were the most idle lads in the school.
Nobody could make them learn their lessons
-not even Mr. Birch, though he was very
strict, and now and then gave them a
It was a pity they were so idle. Their
papa was a learned man, and wished them
to follow in his steps. It made him very
unhappy when they came home without a
prize; and always, by the next post, a long
letter from the schoolmaster to complain
that he could not make them work.
Their mamma tried to excuse them, and
GOING TO AUNT MARTHA'S. 11
said it was "time enough yet." But their
papa was of another opinion, now that
Richard had turned twelve; and he used
to shake his head, and look very sad.
This cold, snowy Christmas the boys
were not going home. It was a promise
that they should spend the holidays with
their Aunt Martha; and her old-fashioned
carriage was at the door to take them.
They had not the least objection, for
they were very fond of Aunt Martha, as
indeed was everybody that had ever seen
She lived in a house with gable ends,
just as you turn into the village. It was a
very old house, and was said to have been
built in the reign of King John. It was
quite covered with ivy; and there was a
large garden, but the snow had hidden
everything in it.
The rooms were large, but very low.
12 THE CUPBOARD.
The one Aunt Martha liked the best had
the morning sun upon it, and looked into
the garden. And here she had her work-
table, and her basket of knitting, for her
eyes were not very good, now she was
getting old. And here she sat all the day
Close by was her corner cupboard, that
she kept locked up, and the key was on a
bunch that she carried in her pocket. She
never left her cupboard open, because it
had so many things in it.
The boys knew the cupboard by heart.
Out of it came sweet cakes, and honey and
sugar; and tops and marbles, and all the
things they liked. And there were no
tiresome spelling-books, or grammars, or
anything of the kind, to plague them.
But you must not suppose that Aunt
Martha was an ignorant lady. Far from
it. She knew a great many things indeed,
AUNT MARTHA'S SCHEME. 13
and she did not like the thought that her
dear little nephews should grow up to be
dunces, which was most likely to be the
Of course, she did not presume to think
she could teach them so well as Mr. Birch,
who understood Latin and Greek, and had
kept a school twenty years. 'But she had
a scheme in her head to teach them some-
Not that she intended them to learn
lessons in the holidays,-that would have
been extremely unkind. The knowledge
she meant to give them was not to be
found in their lesson-books, thumbed and
dog-eared as they were; for an idle boy
can wear his book out without using it.
No; the lore she was thinking about was
contained close by, in her corner cup-
It seemed to Aunt Martha-for she was
14 THINGS FROM FOREIGN PARTS.
a lady of a lively imagination-as if every-
thing in that cupboard,-her china, her tea,
her coffee, her sugar, even her needle,-had
a story to tell, and a most entertaining one
too. Had not many of the things been in
foreign parts, where are great palm-trees,
and monkeys, and black men, and lions,
and tigers ?
And if they had not been abroad, they
were sure to have something torelate that
the boys had never heard of.
The boys loved to hear stories told them.
There was a time, just when it got dusk,
before the lamp was lighted, or the tea and
plum-cake brought in. Charley and Richard
would have played about all day long, and
pelted each other with snow-balls, and
made slides on the pond, and scampered
up and down the lane, till their legs, young
as they were, began to feel tired. And
then it was nice to sit on the hearth-rug
WHAT THE SCHEME WAS. 15
before the fire, and hear Aunt Martha tell
Now, Aunt Martha had prepared a great
many tales, and had them, so to say, at
her finger-ends. She had not to make them
up as she went on, or that -would have
spoilt everything. Indeed, I almost think
she had learned them by heart.
She hoped that when her dear little boys
had heard all the curious things she was
about to relate, it would make them want
to read for themselves.
Charley and Richard had no idea of the
trouble their good aunt was taking on
their account, and they did just as they
had always done. They trundled their
hoops, and threw snow-balls, and scampered
about to their heart's content. And when,
at last, their legs began to ache, good old
Sally, who had lived with Aunt M 1 lrtha
for nearly thirty years, fetched them in,
16 WANTED-SOMETHING NEW.
took off their wet boots and put on dry
ones, and brushed their hair, and washed
their faces, and sent them into the parloui
to their aunt.
She'll have a story to tell, I warrant,"
said old Sally, who was a little in the
Now, everything happened just as it
ought to do.
The boys wanted a story as much as
ever, but, like the rest of the world, they
wished for something new.
They were thoroughly acquainted with
" Jack the Giant-killer," and entertaining
as he had once been, they were by this
time a little tired of him.
They knew "Cinderella and "Little
Red Riding Hood" by heart, and they did
not want to hear them over again. Not
that they could get really tired of such
delightful stories, but they "might lie by,"
THE FIRST STORY BEGUN. 17
Charley said, "for one Christmas, and
something else come out."
Aunt Martha was quite willing-indeed,
this was just what she had been planning
for. Her dear old face brightened up, and
looked as pleased as could be, when Charley
settled himself on the rug, and Richard
brought a stool and sat close by, their
merry blue eyes fixed intently upon her.
Then Aunt Martha began to relate her
first story-" The Story of a Tea-Cup."
THE STORY OF THE TEA-CUP.
.. 'M IE," as I daresay you have heard
"* it said, "was not built in a day."
S- People who use the expression, mean
by it that nothing of any value can be done
without a great deal of time and trouble.
The tea-cup seems a simple thing, and
you use and handle it very often, and drink
your tea out of it every afternoon. But
perhaps you have never been told its whole
history "from beginning to end," as the
story-books say, and do not know that it
takes a vast amount of labour, and sets
numbers of persons to work, before it can
become a cup at all.
BEST CHINA. 19
I will speak of the best china, that is
kept on the top shelf in the cupboard, and
only comes out on high days and holidays.
It is very superior, let me tell you, to the
blue and white cups and saucers in the
kitchen, that have no gold rim round them,
and did not cost nearly so much money.
The word china will remind you of a
country a long way off, where the gentle-
men have great plaits of hair hanging down
their backs, that look like tails, and the
ladies hobble about in little shoes turned
up at the toes.
The Chinaman drinks a great deal of tea,
because he likes it, and the tea grows in
his country. And the tea-cups are always
being handed about on little trays, that
everybody may have some. So the China-
man has a great deal of practice in making
tea-cups, and can do it remarkably well.
I am sorry to say he is not of an open
20 THE CHINAMAN'S SECRET.
disposition, and likes to keep everything
he knows to himself.
He would not tell the people who lived
in other countries how he made his cups,
though they were very curious to know,
and asked him over and over again.
There is a town in China where a great
many potters lived, and made their beauti-
1 _---'i S 1 ,i R.
CHINAMlAN BAKING HIS CUPS.
ful cups. The streets were quite crowded
with the potters, and boat-loads of rice
came every day for them to eat.
There was a river close by the town; and
THE TWO STRANGERS. 21
when the cups and pots were finished, they
were packed and sent away in the boats.
The potters' furnaces were always burning
to bake the cups, so that at night the town
looked as if it were on fire.
The potters would not let a stranger stay
all night in the place, for fear he should
find out the secret of the cup-making. He
was obliged either to sleep in one of the
boats, or to go away till the next morning.
But it happened that two strangers had
been on the watch for a long time, and at
last they thought they had found out the
One day they bought some great squares,
or bricks, that were being sold in the
market and carried off by the potters.
They felt quite sure this was the stuff the
cups were going to be made of. Now the
bricks were sold on purpose to be used in
the potteries. They were made of a kind
of flint called petunse, that looks bright and
glittering, as if it had been sprinkled with
something to make it shine. And the
Chinaman collects it with great care, and
grinds it to powder, and makes the bricks
The two strangers carried the bricks
home to their own country, and set to
work to make cups.
But, alas! they could do no kind of
good. They were like a workman who had
left half his tools behind him. For they
wanted another substance to mix with the
petunse, and that was called kaolin.
Now kaolin was dug by the Chinaman
out of some deep mines, that he knew very
well, and often went to.
It lay about in little lumps, and he
picked it out, and made it into bricks just
as he had done the other.
And he laughed very much when he
PORCELAIN CLAY. 23
heard what the "barbarians," as he called
them, had been trying to do. For he did
not pity them in the least.
"They think themselves very clever," he
said, "to make a body that shall be all
flesh and no bones."
He meant that the kaolin was hard, and
could not turn to powder when it was
burnt as the petunse did; so that it was like
bones to the cup, and made it firm. In-
deed, without it the cup was too soft, and
did not hold together.
I should not have told you this long
story if it had nothing to do with the best
china. But people can get a kind of clay
out of our own county of Cornwall that
does quite as well as the Chinaman's bricks,
and the best china is always made of it.
People come a long way to look for the
"porcelain clay," as it is called ; and they
dig it out of the earth, and carry it to a
great building that is, in fact, a porcelain
manufactory, where all kind of cups and
saucers, and jugs and basins are constantly
And as soon as the clay got there, it was
thrust into a machine, where it ran upon a
number of sharp knives that work round
and round, and have been set there on pur-
pose to chop it to pieces. When it had
been chopped long enough, it was turned
into a kind of churn, and churned as though
it were going to be made into butter. In-
deed, when the churning was over, the
person who had churned it called it "clay-
Other matters, such as flint and bone,
were now mixed with it. But, in order
that they might work in harmony one with
the other, the flint and the bone had each
to be ground to a fine powder, and then
made like itself into clay-cream."
"READY FOR THE POTTER." 25
The two creams, in two separate vessels,
were carried to a room called "the mixing-
room," and put into a pan of water and
stirred well about.
They were stirred until they were quite
smooth, and without an atom of grit.
But as cups could not be made of the
clay-cream, it had to be made solid again.
And it was boiled over a fire until the
moisture was dried up, and it was very
much like dough. A man now began to
slap and beat it, and cut it in pieces, and
to fling the pieces one on the other with
all his might. And when he had slapped
it long enough, he said it was quite "ready
for the potter."
The potter was called a thrower,"-and
a good name for him.
He flung a ball of the clay on a little
round table before him, with such force
that it stuck there quite fast.
26 A WHIRLING TABLE.
The table was called a whirling table;
and well it might, for it began to whirl
round and round as fast as could be.
The reason why it whirled, was because
a long strap went from it to a wheel in the
corner, that a boy was turning. When
the boy turned his wheel, the table turned
as well. And as the table went round,
the potter began to pinch, and pat, and
work the clay about with his fingers and
thumb, and give it what he called a shape."
He could do just what he liked with the
clay, and could make it into any shape he
He had some tools to help him, such as
little pegs and bits of wood, with which he
scraped it on the outside and pressed it
on the inside, until he had brought it into
the form of a cup. And all the while the
wheel kept going round and round, until
it was enough to make you giddy.
THE BEST CHINA. 27
At last the wheel stopped, and so did
the table. And the clay was taken off, to
all intents and purposes a cup.
Aunt Martha had scarcely time to finish
the last sentence before there was a tap at
the door, and old Sally came in with the
Now, the best china had been taken
down and carefully dusted; for Christmas
was looked upon as a high day and a holi-
day, and Charley and Richard were com-
pany, as a matter of course. As their heads
were still running upon cups and saucers,
they jumped up and began to look at them,
and to talk about "flint," and "clay," and
"kilns," in a very learned manner, and one
that made old Sally smile.
Aunt Martha was very much pleased,
for she saw that her story had been care-
fully listened to, and had not gone in at
28 SEEKING KNOWLEDGE.
one ear and out at the other, as such in-
structive stories do sometimes.
And she was more pleased still, when
her little nephews asked her a great many
questions, and wanted to know more about
She did not tell them any more just then;
for she was a wise old lady, and she wished
to keep their curiosity awake, and not let
them have too much of the subject at
So she talked about something else all
tea-time, and then she had out puzzles and
bagatelle, and a great many other games,
to make the evening pass pleasantly. But
old Sally told her that when the boys went
to bed, and she fetched away their candle,
they were talking very fast about the tea-
And the next afternoon, when they had
given over running about, and their hair
THE STORY RESUMED. 29
had been brushed, and their faces washed,
they ran into the parlour where their aunt
was sitting, and asked her to go on with
her story, for they wanted to know a great
Now it was rather early, and Aunt
Martha had hardly finished her afternoon's
nap. But she did not like to keep the
little boys waiting. So she roused herself
up, put a log of wood on the fire,-for it
was very cold,-and when Charley and
Richard had settled themselves, she began,
or rather went on with-" The Story of the
-'- . J .o'-4v
!; 4 .f .i
HOW THE TEA-CUP WAS FINISHED.
iJHt L cup was, as I told you, taken off
.' the wheel. It was then set aside to
dF ldry; and very soon it reached what
the potter called "the green state"-though
he had better have said the "hard state,"
for it was getting gradually harder. It
was next taken to the turning-lathe, and
had all its roughness smoothed away, and
its appearance very much improved. Still,
the cup was by no means so handsome as
it is now; and it had no handle.
The Chinaman makes his cup without a
handle; and when tea-cups were first used
in this country, they had no handles, and
HOW THE HANDLE IS MADE. 31
were very much smaller than they are now.
People in those days could not afford to
drink much tea at a time, it was so dear
and so scarce.
11 C. nll
MIE POTTEK AT 111S LATHE-MAKING A VAE.
But fashions are always changing, and in
our days every cup must have a handle.
The handle was made separate from the
cup, and fitted on afterwards. It was
nothing but a strip of clay cut the proper
length, and pressed into a mould to make
it the right shape. The man who has to
32 THE POTTER'S KILN.
do it, takes a great deal of pains to make it
fit very neatly.
The parts where the handle was to join
the cup were wetted with a certain mix-
ture of clay and water, to make them stick;
and they did so at once.
The cup was now put into a square box,
or case, with sand at the bottom. Other
cups were placed in with it, though care
was taken to prevent them from touching
each other. Another box, just like it, and
full of cups, was set over it, so that the
bottom of one box made a lid for the other.'
All the boxes, piled up in this way, were
put into an oven, called "the potter's kiln."
It was in the shape of a cone, and with a
hole at the top to let the smoke out.
The Chinaman is at the trouble of put-
ting each cup into a separate box, in order,
as he says, that its delicate complexion may
not be spoilt by the fire !
When the cup is taken from the box, it
is pure white, and nearly transparent. It
is not yet thought worthy of the name of
porcelain, and is merely called "biscuit
People were a long time before they
found out how to paint pictures on the
cup, or to give it its beautiful gloss.
The surface of the cup was not hard
enough to hold the colours, and wanted a
coating upon it that is called enamel."
No one in England knew how to make
the enamel, though the Chinaman did.
But a potter named Bernard Palissy tried
again and again to make it. Indeed, he
spent all his time in trying' first one thing
and then another.
He made cup after cup, and coated them
over with what he thought was the right
thing; but not one of them would do. And
at last he became so poor that he had no
Z BERNARD PALISSY.
wood left to heat his furnace-just at the
time, too, when more cups were ready to
go into it.
He wanted wood to such a degree that
he became quite frantic, and felt that he
must put something into his furnace, he
did not care what. And he ran into the
room where his wife was sitting, and
snatched up the chairs and tables as if he
had been crazy, and ran with them to his
Poor Madame Palissy wrote a book about
her troubles, at which I do not wonder. It
is a comfort to know that he succeeded at
last, and earned a great deal of money.
But many improvements have been made
in tea-cups since his time.
Before the pictures are painted on the
cup, it is nicely cleaned, to remove any
atom of dust; and then it has to be glossed,
or, as it is called, "glazed." The stuff that
THE DIPPING-ROOM. 35
gives it its gloss, and makes it shine, looks
like thick cream, and is kept in wooden
PALISSY MAKING FUEL.
troughs in a room called "the dipping-
A man dips the cup into the trough, and
turns it about in such a way that every
36 THE PAINTING-ROOM.
part shall be coated, and yet every drop
It is now put on a board, and, with other
cups, again baked, but in a cooler oven than
before. When it comes out of the oven it
shines with the beautiful gloss you see.
But it is not finished; for it is a bare cup,
without any pictures of flowers or fruit, or
figures like those on the best china.
It is taken to a room where there are
long tables, and a great many windows to
let in the light.
People sit at the tables, with brushes
and colours before them, and are busy
painting the cups.
In China one man paints nothing but
red, another paints nothing but blue; and
so on. But here, in the painting-room,
there is a little difference. One man paints
flowers, another leaves, another fruit, and
THE LAST OPERATION. 37
The colours they use are obliged to be
made of metals-such as gold, iron, and
tin-for nothing else can stand the heat of
the furnace, in which the cups have once
more to be baked. Indeed, the painter
now and then pops -,
his cup or his saucer : i
into the kiln to see
how the colours will
stand, before -it is
When the cup has
been painted, and ,o. .,E O ,O
baked for the last time, it is taken to an-
other room still, where there are a great
many women and girls busy at work.
Each girl sits with her face to the light,
and takes a cup in one hand, and a stone
called an agate in the other. She rubs the
parts of the cup that are intended to look
like gold with the stone until they become
38 THE DAYS OF OLD.
of a brilliant gloss, and shine as if they
There is a place in Staffordshire called
"the Potteries," where cups and pots have
always been made.
In old time they were very rough-look-
ing things, and had neither gilding nor
gloss. But the people who used them were
just as rough, and so was the country
The roads were very bad indeed, and full
of deep ruts, so that no carriage could go
over them. There were no towns or fac-
tories, and the potter lived in a little
thatched cottage like a hovel.
He had a shed where he worked at his
wheel and baked his pots. He dug the
clay out himself, and his boys helped him
to "throw" and "press," and do all that
was wanted to be done.
When he had finished making his pots,
"' THE POTTERIES." 89
his wife used to bring up the asses from
the common, where they were grazing, and
get them ready for a journey. She put
panniers on their backs, filled with her
husband's pots; and then she set off, over
the bad, rutty roads, to the towns and vil-
lages to sell them.
That part of Staffordshire is still called
"the Potteries;" but it is very much im-
proved-and has great towns, and factories,
and good roads, and is not at all what it
used to be.
One of the towns is called Burslem;
and a potter named Mr. Wedgwood lived
there. He spent all his life in making the
cups of a more beautiful kind than had ever
been made before. They were of a cream
colour; and instead of the ugly figures that
were in fashion then, he painted them with
flowers and fruit, as we see them now.
One reason why he got on so well, was
40 AWAKENED INTEREST.
because he took so much pains, and would
not let anything pass unless it was perfect.
If a cup came off the wheel with the slight-
est fault in it, he would break it to pieces
with his stick, and say, "This will not do
Charley and Richard were so interested
in what Aunt Martha had been telling
them, that old Sally tapped at the door
twice before they heard her. And then,
when she had brought in the tea, and the
muffins hot out of the oven, they could
neither eat nor drink for talking about
"the tea-cups." And Richard began to
wonder what Aunt Martha's next story
would be about, and tried to make her tell
him. But she did not think this would be
wise; and all he could ascertain was that
the subject of it would come out of her
THE BOYS AT PLAY. 41
It was clear, however, that the story had
done them good; for the next morning,
Charley and Richard, instead of spending
every moment in play, walked up and
down the garden-walk, talking about the
clay, and the glaze, and the enamel-things
they had known nothing about before.
But their greatest pleasure was to come;
for strolling out by the gate into the lane,
they spied, all at once, some bits of broken
pot. You would have thought they had
found something very precious indeed, they
were so pleased. They picked them up,
and carried them off in triumph into the
old tool-house, where Charley at once set
to work with a great stone to pound them
to powder. He had nearly broken them
up, to mix with some clay that Richard
brought out of the ditch, when the thought
struck him that these blue and white pieces
of pot were not like Aunt Martha's best
42 COMMON CUPS.
china. He would go in and ask her if they
Aunt Martha was seated at her work-
table, in the parlour, when the boys, with
dirty hands, came running in. She sent
them out again to wash their hands, and
then told them that Charley was right.
Her best cups and saucers had the pat-
terns painted on them, and required a
deal more skill to make than these.
Common blue and white cups-such as
Charley had a bit of in his hand--were
managed in quite another way. A paper,
with the pattern printed on it, was wrapped
round each cup. The cup was rubbed for
a long time, and then set in water. The
paper soon peeled off, but the blue marks
were left behind.
Richard and Charley wanted to know a
great deal more; but Aunt Martha would
not answer any of their questions. So they
FLAYING AT POTTERS. 43
went back to the tool-house again, to play
at potters. What delightful work it was 1
so delightful, that Charley made up his
mind to be a potter as soon as he was old
enough,-and if his papa would let him.
Richard said, if he was a potter he ought
to go to China; and then he remembered
his dog's-eared geography in his desk at
school, and thought when he got back he
would look into it, and see if it said any-
thing about China. He should like to
know a little more than Aunt Martha had
That afternoon old Sally had to keep the
boys from going into the parlour too soon;
for their faces were washed and their hair
brushed half an hour before the usual
But good Aunt Martha was ready; and
when she heard their feet pattering along
the hall, she got up and opened the door.
44 ALL ATTENTION.
Then Charley settled himself on the hearth-
rug, and Richard fetched a stool; and the
boys were as still as mice while Aunt
Martha told them-" The Story of the Tea."
-u~t -ll -
THE STORY OF THE TEA.
TEA-CUP is not of much use, if
it is kept only to look at. It
wants to be filled with good strong
I wonder what people did before tea
was brought to England; for it is not,
as everybody knows, a native of this
climate. It grows in China, where the
beautiful cups are made on purpose to hold
it. And it was sipped by emperors on
their thrones, and by their grand man-
darins, many years before we knew any-
thing about it. And even now, the best
of the tea is kept at home for the benefit
46 A NEW DRINK FROM CHINA.
of the Court, and it is only the next best
that finds its way into our tea-pots.
About two hundred and fifty years ago,
there was no tea in England except what
people made of the herbs that grew in their
gardens, such as mint, and thyme, and
sage; no one, not even their majesties the
kings and queens, had ever tasted a cup
of real Chinese tea.
But it happened that in the year 1610--
for I daresay you would like to know the
date-some Dutch ships brought a little
tea to Holland; and then a little more
was brought home to England, and people
talked about it as "a new drink that came
Everybody would have liked to taste
some of it, but it was very difficult to get;
and when a present of two pounds of tea
was made to the king, he thought it a
very handsome gift indeed.
A FUNNY STORY. 47
Not many people could buy tea in those
days; and even when they did get it, they
hardly knew whether it was to be eaten or
There is a funny story of two old people,
who had an ounce of tea sent to them, and
who were quite at a loss what to do with
it. At last, the old lady proposed to her hus-
band that they should sprinkle it on their
bacon, and eat it; which they accordingly
did-and very nasty it must have been.
By slow degrees, however, tea found its
way to every home in England; and in
these days every one can afford to buy it.
It is welcomed in the palace of our royal
lady the Queen, and it affords refreshment
to the poorest cottager. A cup of tea is
equally grateful to all.
It must be confessed that tea makes its
appearance under great disadvantages. No
one who has seen it growing in the Flowery
48 THE TEA IN FLOWER.
Land of its birth, can suppose it to be the
same thing. And it is rather whimsical as
to where it does grow. The north is too
.. cold, and the
south is too hot;
Sx but there is a
Middle tract of
"-"k country neither
Stood hot nor too
Scold, that suits
it the best.
S\ i It is called by
7--* -- the Chinaman
< Teha or Tha, and
from this word
comes our Eng-
TEA-PLANT IN FLOWER lish name of tea.
It has white flowers, a little like the wild
rose; and when the flowers are over, there
come some green pods, that contain the
= ----_ : : -
SOWING THE SEEDS OF THE TEA-PL-ANT
' ;.) .: ._ -,
.._ ..::- --: !.: ._-- ,. :--_
SOWING THE SEEDS OF THE TEA'PLANT
50 SOWING THE TEA.
The Chinaman is very careful how he
sows his seeds, because his next crop is to
come from them. And he sows six or seven
seeds in one hole, to be quite sure that
some of them will come up.
The leaves are, as you may suppose, the
most important part of the plant. They are
very handsome and glossy, like the leaves
of the camelia that lives in the hothouse.
But it is not on account of their beauty they
are so much valued; they have some good
qualities that no other leaves possess.
When a person drinks a cup of tea, how
refreshed he feels That is because of the
reviving and strengthening quality in the
leaf. The leaf also has in it a bitter sub-
stance called The i--or, as it might be
styled, pure extract of tea; and this has a
great effect in taking away the feeling of
The Chinaman has his tea-plantation,
S.... .'. A, f ... '' "~ _- _.
'.. / -- --- -. -
-. ._ I -_-i,: i__ .
_~ 3 .-
__ ."-I, --, -- .
T P O L .
STRIPPING OFF THE LEAVES.
52 A TEA-FARM.
just as we have our vegetable-garden, or
the Irishman has his potato-ground. It is
called "a tea-farm;" and the farmer lives
close by, in a funny little house, like a
pagoda, with long pointed eaves to it.
He and his wife are always busy in the
plantation, for she helps him to weed and
water, and her feet have no little shoes to
pinch them. She could not afford to hobble
about as the fine ladies do, or to be carried
in a sedan.
In the early spring, when the young leaves
were newly put forth, and had a delicious
flavour, the family began to be very busy.
The children came into the plantation and
stripped them off, until the branches were
nearly bare. But they left enough for an-
other gathering by-and-by.
Of course the young tender leaves were
the best, and made the nicest tea. The
Chinaman called it Souchong. When the
' "'"' ''... "
,, i' ;" ',;T ' A '' 1 '1',,I D R 1 ,jIE-. ,',,L'
", L, .. ._ ' ls~ii l
THE TEA BEING DRIED.
54 STRIPPING OFF THE LEAVES.
leaves that are left get older, they are
gathered; but they are not so delicate, and
people do not like them so well.
There is still a third gathering, but this
is worse than the last, and makes very
When the leaves are stripped off, they
are thrown into some shallow baskets, and
set in the sun, where the wind can blow on
them to dry them. They are then put in
a pan, and placed on a stove with a fire
under it, to be dried still more. While
they are over the fire, they are stirred
about with a brush until they are quite dry.
You may see that the tea-leaf is rolled up
and crumpled, and that it comes straight
when it is put into the water. The China-
man takes the trouble to roll it in this way.
He does it at a board, and rolls the leaf
between his fingers. After this has been
done, he again dries the leaves over the fire.
THE FARMER SELLING HIS TEA. 55
He takes a good deal of pains to pick
out all the bad leaves and throw them away.
He knows his tea will be looked at, before
it can be sold to a person who knows good
tea from bad.
This person is a tea-merchant, and lives
at the next town. All day long, the farmers
keep coming into the office where he sits,
with chests of tea slung over their shoulders.
They want him to buy, and he is quite
willing. Indeed, the more he can get the
better, for he wants to send it in a ship to
But he always makes the farmer open
his chest and spread his tea out before him.
He looks at it very sharply, and takes it
in his hand and smells it; and he would
find out in a minute if any bad leaves were
left in it. But if it is really good tea, he
gives the farmer some money, and sends
him away, leaving his tea-chest behind him.
56 THE TEA-LEAVES BEGIN TO UNROLL.
The farmer goes to the market and lays
out some of his money,-though he is very
saving and thrifty, or he would not be a
It was a good thing that old Sally just
then came in with the tea, for that was
what Charley and Richard wanted. Not
that they were either hungry or thirsty;
but it was delightful to jump up and look
at the tea in the caddy, as Aunt Martha
took it out with a scoop.
It was better still to watch the water
being poured on it, and to see the tea-
leaves begin to unroll themselves and to
get quite flat. Charley clapped his hands
with glee, and they both skipped round
the room, saying they had never enjoyed a
cup of tea so much as now they knew some-
thing about it.
For I am afraid they were sad little
A PICTURE IN AUNT MARTHA'S BOOK.
58 IN THE LIBRARY.
dunces; and if they knew that the tea
was a plant at all, it is more than could
But it is never too late to mend; and the
very next afternoon Charley and Richard
found their way to a room they had never
much cared about before. This room was
called the library, and had rows and rows
of shelves, with many books upon them.
But besides the books upon the shelves,
there were others on the table. And
Charley, who was thinking very much
about foreign countries, was glad to find a
book lying open on Aunt Martha's desk,
telling all about India and China. It was
full of pictures; among them were some of
potters making cups and other vessels, and
of people picking off the leaves of the tea-
How quickly the time passed in looking
at them Instead of being tired of doing
PLEASANT EMPLOYMENT. 59
nothing, as Charley very often was when
it rained and he could not play out of doors,
the time seemed to fly; and Aunt Martha
had finished her nap and taken her knit-
ting, and was ready to tell her story, almost
before they were ready to hear it.
Not that they were a moment too late;
oh no !-they wanted very much to know
more about the contents of Aunt Martha's
corner cupboard, and were very glad when,
without any delay, she began-" The Story
of the Sugar."
2 " ^"^? ^-
THE STORY OF THE SUGAR.
T VERYBODY likes sugar. The Christ-
mas pudding would be nothing with-
-i^' out it; and the plum-cake, and the
tarts, and the custards, and all the
nice things that little boys are so fond of,
would have no sweet taste in them if it
were not for the sugar.
But its range is much wider than this.
It is found in the ripe peach on the wall,
and in the juicy nectarine. The bee knows
the taste of it right well, and finds it hid-
den deep in the bell of the flower. It lurks
in the grape, and the orange, and fruits too
many for me to name.
THE SU GAI-CANE. 61
And it finds its way into the stems of
plants, and makes their juices sweet and
delicious. There is a tall, reed-like plant,
with a yellow stem. It is called the sugar-
cane, because there is :
so much sugar in it. -
In some places, people .
are always chewing it.
They cut it with their ,F,
knives to make the -- '
juice come out, and go /' A'., '
on cutting and chew- *
ing all day long. ,
The sugar-cane grows -
in very hot countries, E UOAR-C
where black people live and monkeys run
about on the trees. The burning sun pours
its rays full upon it; but this is what it
likes, and what makes its juice so sweet.
There is an island that belongs to England,
and is called Jamaica; and the sugar-cane
62 A SUGAR-MILL
grows there, and we get a great deal of
sugar from it. At one time the black people
who made the sugar and took care of the
-.- _ -. _.. -
- __-. - -_ _ ,
,. _-. : -: : --} < --: ___ _-_
_r~ .hre .-= ,T~ ge :-<_-_.:o gn _--~ ___-
su a -,~ o ._ -,- -- olz tm ,--t., -: ..c -- '
wh "-" cl h :u a -=c _-o _ar _f t- --.,.'- ---_-.- .. -
THE GIANT STEAM. 63
canes were slaves, and were bought and
sold in the market; but one happy morn-
ing they were all set free.
A great giant called Steam helps to make
the sugar now, and does more than all the
black people put together. People did not
all at once find out how helpful he was, and
that he could turn mills, and push carriages,
and do all kinds of things. But they were
very glad when they did know it; and when
he began to help them to make the sugar.
For weights, and rollers, and heavy wheels
are nothing to him.
A sugar-plantation is a very pretty sight.
The tall yellow canes rustle in the wind;
and at the top is a tuft of flowers, that looks
like a silvery plume. And here and there
black people are busy at work, hoeing and
weeding. The women have blue and scar-
let handkerchiefs tied round their heads,
for they dearly love a bit of finery.
64 THE MONKEYS AND THE SUGAR-CANE.
Sometimes, in the middle of the night,
when all is still and cool, and the moon is
shining, a troop of monkeys come racing
down from some mountains near. Then
woe betide the sugar-canes
: - - -----.
The monkeys love the taste of sugar; and
they clutch at the canes with their long
fingers, and pull them up, and bite them,
and do a great deal of mischief.
WHAT SUGAR COMES FROM. 65
Happily, the black man has a fancy for
roasted monkey,-a dish we never see in
England; and he thinks it no trouble to
sit watching hour after hour, with his gun
in his hand, waiting for the monkeys.
Down they come on the full run, and do
not all at once see him. But pop goes the
gun, and one or other is sure to be shot.
It is time that I told you of a fact con-
nected with the history of the sugar-cane.
The stem is not hollow like the grass or the
reed, but it is solid, and filled with the
sweet juice we have been talking about,
and that makes the sugar.
But the juice, before anything is done to
it, is very wholesome, and people who suck
it are sure to be strong and healthy. Even
the horses that work in the sugar-mill get
as fat as can be, for they are always chew-
ing the canes. And nothing fattens poul-
try half so. well,-and there are plenty of
60 ITS MANY STAGES.
fowls pecking about in the negro's little
But the juice is too good to be wasted.
It forms the material of that vast supply of
CUTTING TElE C.ANES.
sugar met with everywhere, in every town,
and village, and household. And it has to
go through a great many stages, and pass
through a great many hands, like the tea-cup.
IN THE SUGAR-MILL. 67
In the first place, the beautiful yellow
canes are cut down close to the ground,
and tied up in bundles. Then they are
carried to a mill, and the big giant Steam,
-- .-_---_ -- -- ----- -------- -
; I I I I I I ---
IN THE SUUAR-MILL.
in places where he has been set to work,
sends great iron rollers over them, and
squeezes out every drop of juice.
The juice runs into a cistern, and is made
68 THE SPARKLING CRYSTALS.
hot, lest it should turn sour; and a little
lime is put in with it, to make it clear, and
then the liquor is boiled very fast indeed.
"When it has left off boiling, and is set
to cool, there will be a great many spark-
ling crystals in it, which are the real sugar.
But the crystals are mixed up with a thick
stuff that is called molasses, and which has
to be got away. This used to be a very
tiresome process indeed, in the old days
when the poor slaves made the sugar.
They poured the liquor into a great many
tubs with little holes at the bottom of them;
and it was left to stand a long time-till
the thick stuff or molasses had slowly
drained through, and had left the sugar
But now the giant Steam is set to work,
all this is done as quickly as can be. The
liquor is poured into a large square box
made of iron, and divided into two cham-
- : : .-.- ,,-"-=--- ",i ,li'i
^ ^ -' ," :i, ~. ,' ,,
--* III ,.'. " ' , 1
BOIIN TH S G...p
i,: II 'I, i I I, II
BOILING THE SUGAR.
70 HOW THEY ARE GOT.
bers, an upper and a lower. The liquor is
poured into the upper chamber, on a floor
made of wire like a sieve. Then the good-
natured giant begins to pump the air out
of the lower chamber. Now nature abhors
a vacuum, and always finds something to
fill it. So the liquid molasses come pour-
ing down, through the sieve, into the lower
part of the box. The sugar that has be-
come crystallized cannot run through the
sieve, for the holes are too fine for it to
get through; so it is left behind, and that
is just what the sugar-maker wants.
All this is done in two hours, while in
the old-fashioned way it used to take eight
The food with which the giant fills his
capacious maw is the raw sugar-cane, after
all the juice has been squeezed out. It
burns well, and there is plenty to be had,
and it does not cost a penny.
-- -4 4.-
z. 7 _\--__
SENDING THE SUGAR OFF TO EUROPE*
When the sugar is made, it is packed in
great casks, afd sent to Europe.
After it gets here, some of it goes through
another process, and is made quite white,
and into tall cone-shaped loaves. This is
called "lump-sugar;" and the other goes
by the name of "raw."
Aunt Martha had hardly finished speak-
ing when Charley, who was seated before
the fire with his elbows on his knees and
his chin between his hands, observed that
monkeys had a better time of it than boys
had. If he had been a monkey, he should
not have minded. Just think how pleasant
it would be to pop down among those sugar-
Richard said he did not think so. Char-
ley might like the chances of being shot,
and roasted for a black man's dinner; but
he preferred less sugar and a safe life. Not
A SAFE PLACE. 73
that he pitied the monkeys for being shot;
it served them right for being so greedy as
to pull down the canes.
Charley could not agree with this.
"Sugar," he said, "was so tempting-no-
body knew how tempting," added he, rising
and looking wistfully at the old-fashioned
sugar-basin heaped up with lumps of sugar,
which old Sally was taking out of the cor-
ner cupboard. That basin was very full-
too full; he feared that top lump would
topple over. A remark which made Aunt
Martha smile, and say that if he could find
a safer place for it, he might.
Charley said he knew of one much safer;
and, opening his mouth, waited for old Sally
to pop it in. Then he thanked his aunt by
an embrace, and they sat down to tea.
The next morning the two boys were
early, and went into the kitchen just as old
Sally was putting the coffee-berries into
74 COFFEE FOR BREAKFAST.
the mill to grind for breakfast. Charley
asked where they came from, and what
they were. Old Sally said she was not
book-learned; if they wanted to know, they
had better ask their aunt.
The boys said they must; but that when
they got back to school they would try to
learn a few things for themselves.
Sally thought they had better be quick
about it; for if they did not learn while
they were young, they were not likely to
know anything when they were old. And
there were not many Aunt Marthas in the
world. What a long tale she had told them
last night !-too long, said she slyly.
Charley said, Not a bit. He meant to
ask for a longer one to-night. He wanted
to know all about the coffee.
So when Aunt Martha came down, it
was agreed that her next tale should be-
"The Story of the Coffee."
THE STORY OF THE COFFEE.
c'H EN the morning sun shines cheer-
ilI.v on the window, and the snow-
S\\ ite cloth is spread on the table,
S coffee is always present. There are
few breakfast-tables in the kingdom where
it is not to be found.
You may know it is there by the pleasant
odour it spreads around. It is as nice to
drink as tea, and a great deal more strength-
ening. Many a poor man can work hard
from morning till night, and not drink any-
thing stronger than coffee.
It was a long time before coffee was
brought to England; but in the reign of
76 THE FIRST COFFEE-HOUSE.
Oliver Cromwell, a merchant who used to
go backwards and forwards to Turkey, to
trade there, brought home with him a
Greek servant. This man had tasted coffee
--for the Turks drink a great deal of it,
just as the Chinese drink a great deal of
tea-and he knew how nice it was.
He brought some berries home with him,
and used to make coffee, and let people in
London have some of it. Indeed, at last
he got so famous for his coffee, and so much
talked about, that he set up a coffee-house;
that is, a house where coffee is sold instead
Perhaps you would like to know where
this first coffee-house was, for there are
plenty of them now in every town in Eng-
land. It was in George's Yard, Lombard
Street. This Lombard Street is in the
very heart of the business world; and it
gets its name because some Jews from
Lombardy once came to live there,-who
used to lend money, for which they made
people pay a great deal.
Bankers now live in Lombard Street,
and their name comes from the Jews. The
Jews had benches with their bags of gold
upon them, and there they used to stand
and carry on their trade. Now, banco in
Italian means bench; and this became
corrupted into banker, a man who lends
money as the Jews did, only in a more
honest manner.-But all this has nothing
to do with coffee.
From the little coffee-house in Lombard
Street, the habit of drinking coffee spread
all over the country.
At first, like tea, it cost a good deal of
money; and it was brought from only one
small province in Arabia, called Yemen.
I should tell you that Arabia is divided
into three parts. One is all stones and
rocks; and another all sand and desert.
But there is a third region, called "Happy
Arabia," that is full of gardens and vine-
yards, and olive-trees. And here is the
province of Yemen.
"S^B" - ,' 'f- i "
Mocha is the chief town, and the place
where the coffee came from. It stands close
to the sea-shore, on a very sandy plain, and
at the entrance to the Red Sea.
THE GATE OF TEARS. 79
The entrance to the Red Sea is through
some dangerous straits called "Bab-el-
mandeb," or "the Gate of Tears," because
so many ships are wrecked there. Indeed,
the Arab, who is very fanciful, says that
the spirit of the storm is always perched
on a rock that overlooks the straits.
Any lady in Mocha, when she goes out
for an evening visit, carries on her arm a
little bag of coffee, and has it boiled when
she gets there. And all over the town
people are to be seen lying on the ground,
under awnings spread to screen them from
the sun. These are their coffee-houses;
and there they do nothing all day but sip
coffee and smoke their pipes.
The people at Mocha pretend that they
like coffee best when it is made of the husk
of the coffee-berry, and not of the berry
But all the coffee that Mocha and the
80 PLANTING THE COFFEE.
province round could supply was very
little, compared to what comes to Eng-
land now ; and of course the price of coffee
was extremely high. So, when it began
to be so much liked, the kings and queens
in the different countries of Europe set
about having coffee planted in all places
where it would grow.
The French sent some coffee-plants to
one of their islands in the West Indies, in
order to have a plantation there. An officer
had the care of the plants, and he sailed in a
ship from Amsterdam. He had a long and
very stormy passage, and the wind pre-
vented the ship from getting on.
It might be said of the people on board
as it is in the poem,-
Water, water everywhere,
And not a drop to drink !"
In fact, the water on board was nearly all
used up, and no more was to be had until
82 THE BRAVE OFFICER.
they came to their journey's end. Each
man was allowed only a very small quantity
a day, and they had often to suffer from
The French officer had no more given to
him than the rest, and he would gladly
have quenched his thirst. But, alas! the
tender plants he was cherishing with such
care began to droop. They too wanted
water; and rather than let them die, he
went without himself, and poured the scanty
supply given him on their roots.
The crew laughed at him, and he had to
bear a great many rude speeches. But,
thanks to this act of self-denial, the plants
were able to live until the vessel came at
last to land. Then the brave officer received
his reward. The plants grew and multiplied,
and became great plantations, that supplied
other countries and islands.
Many places now furnish coffee in the
S 1 7
.-.-,-,-- I -
84 ANCIENT CUSTOMS.
greatest abundance. Brazil sends out
enough almost to supply the world. The
plant had grown wild in the island of
Ceylon from the earliest times; and the
natives used to
luck the leaves
c-'nd mix them
w',ith their food
to give it a fla-
4-our ; they also
'- ade garlands
.- '. '. t its flowers to
.;' decorate their
"temples; but it
-r-" \\-as a very long
*- : time before they
i made any use of
COFFER PLAN IN FLOWEP.-AND FRUIT. the berries.
When the coffee-plant is left to nature it
grows rather tall. But, as a rule, its top is
cut off to make it throw out more branches.
WHERE THE BEST COFFEE COMES FROM. 85
The leaves are ever-green; and the flowers
are white, and a little like those of the
"When the berry is ripe it is red, and like
a great cherry. There are two hard seeds
in it, like beans, that are known to every
one, for they are ground into coffee. In
many plantations they fall to the ground,
and lie under the tree until they are picked
up. But in Arabia this is not allowed
The planter, as he is called, spreads a
cloth on the ground, and then shakes the
tree, so that the ripe berries drop off. He
then puts them on mats, and lets them lie
in the sun till they are dry. And then the
husk is broken by a roller, and the berries
All his trouble is amply repaid, for this
Arabian coffee is the best in the world.
The coffee-berries have still to be roasted,
80, PURE COFFEE,
and then ground to powder. They are
brought to England, however, before they
are ground. Many people have little coffee-
By'tis me an -
GAlHERINi THE CUOFEiE-BE 11E.
mills in their houses, into which the ber-
ries are put, to be ground for breakfast.
By this means they can obtain the coffee
in a state of purity. For it is the custom
.'- s !- ,
,... . . ,. _.. .. ,
-... ..... ; i, 1,. :. ,,
~~~ .- 3 .
in a state of p~urity. For it is thle custom
ENEMIES TO THE COFFEE-PLANT. 87
in these days to mix the ground coffee with
the roots of a plant called chicory, to make
it go further. This is done to such an
extent, that a law has been made obliging
the person who sells the coffee to declare
whether it is pure or not. And if it is
mixed, he is obliged to print on the packet
the words, Coffee and Chicory."
The coffee-plant has a great many ene-
mies. Wild cats climb up the stem and
run along the branches to get at the berries;
and the squirrel nibbles them as he does
nuts; to say nothing of the monkeys, who
are always ready for a.taste.
In Ceylon, there is a kind of rat that lives
in the forest, and makes its nest in the
roots of the trees. It comes into the plan-
tation in swarms to feed on the berries.
Its teeth are as sharp as a pair of scissors;
and it gnaws through the branch that has
the fruit upon it, and lets it fall to the
SS WAR AGAINST THE RATS.
ground, where it can feast at its leisure.
It is very provoking to the planter to find
all the delicate twigs and branches cut off,
and he wages war against the rats.
The natives of the opposite coast of India
think the flesh of the rat, fed as it is on
such delicate fare, very nice, and they come
and work in the plantations on purpose to
get as many of them as they can. They fry
them in oil, and make a dish of them with
hot spices, and call it "currie."
The little boys were sorry when Aunt
Martha came to the end of her story of the
coffee," and wanted to know a great many
things about the brave man who went with-
out drinking, in order to water the plants,
and get them safe to their journey's end.
Aunt Martha could not answer all their
questions, for she was tired of talking, and
wanted her tea. But she made a promise
THE PLEASURE OF HAVING KNOWLEDGE. 89
that the next time she went to London, if
Charley and Richard were there, she would
take them into a coffee-house and give
them each a cup.
Charley said it was a long time to wait
for that treat; but if their aunt would let
them, they should like to get up a little
sooner each morning, and grind the coffee
for breakfast. And then they remembered
old Sally's ignorance, and how they must
tell her where the coffee came from, and all
Yes, it was very pleasant indeed to know
a few things, and to be able to teach other
people. And Richard thought of a little
schoolfellow of his, and of how much he
should have to tell him when he got back
When old Sally brought in the tea, she
set a dish of new-laid eggs upon the table,
and Aunt Martha gave one to each of her
90 SPILLING THE SALT.
guests. Charley was talking away, and
not thinking of what he was doing, so he
upset the salt-cellar, and spilt all the salt
on the tablecloth. Aunt Martha asked
him if he knew where salt came from. He
answered very quickly, "From the shop."
But then Richard wanted to know where
the shopman got it from.
Instead of telling them, Aunt Martha
said it was well for Charley that he did not
live in olden times, when salt was very
scarce, or he would have got into disgrace
for wasting it. For in those days it was
dear, and people took much more care of it
than they do now. One large salt-cellar
used to be set in the middle of the dinner-
table, and everybody helped themselves to
a little. It was the custom for the master
and mistress to sit above the salt-cellar,
and all the servants to take their places
PROMISE OF ANOTHER STORY. 91
Yes, indeed, he would have got into
trouble then, if he had spilt the salt. And
Aunt Martha promised that to-morrow
night she should tell them--" The Story of
THE STORY OF THE SALT.
-IH I 1 is something on the lower
U,!', -i1_lt' of the corner cupboard, that
,j-' i., more importance than many
of its neighbours.
You might contrive to live without either
tea or coffee, as people were obliged to do
in years gone by, when they drank stout
ale for breakfast, and had dinner at twelve
o'clock. But what would you do without
salt ? What would become of your nice
relishing dishes, if salt did not season them ?
They would taste no better than white of
Nay, you would not have those rosy
A SALT-LICK. 91
cheeks, nor be able to scamper about from
morning till night as you do now. You
would be pale and sickly; and I hardly
think you could live, without the little
harmless doses of salt you are always tak-
ing in some form or other.
In a part of the world called North
America, the cattle and the deer come a
long way to get a taste of salt. The salt is
in some well or spring that bubbles up
among the grass; and the water leaves it
behind like a crust on the stones that may
chance to be lying about; and the grass all
round tastes very much of salt.
The place is called a "salt-lick," because
the cattle keep licking at the stones. They
are sure to find their way to the salt-lick,
even though they live miles away. And
they keep cropping the grass, and licking
the salt, till they have had enough, and then
they go home again. They make a path
94 A CUNNING HUNTER.
on the grass with their hoofs, and quite
tread it down. The hunter knows what
the path means the moment he sees it, and
he lies in wait with his gun. The poor deer
is sure to come before long, or the buffalo
with his great horns, and then the hunter
shoots at them.
The man who owns the salt-lick very
often begins to bore down into the ground.
He thinks he may find a salt-mine, or, at
least, a way underground that leads to one,
and then he can get quite rich and become
a person of importance.
A man once came to a salt-lick and tasted
the water. He found it was all right, and
that when he boiled some in a kettle and
let it get cold there was a crust of salt at
the bottom. He was highly delighted, and
bought the land, and set people on to
bore. But, alas there was no salt to be
found anywhere. A cunning hunter had
A STRANGE CIRCUMSTANCE. 95
put salt into the spring, and sprinkled
it on the grass, to entice the deer, and
make them believe the place was a salt-
lick. And so the poor man had spent his
money for nothing !
In some places the salt-licks are very far
apart, and the cattle can hardly ever get
to them. The cattle have plenty of food,
and large rich pastures to browse in; but
they long for a bit of salt, and there is none
for them. Once a fortnight their master
lets them come home to the farm, and gives
each of them a bit of salt. The cows and
horses know the right day as well as can
be, and they set off at full gallop to the
farm. The farmer is quite ready for them;
and when they have had their salt they
trot back again to the fields, as contented
In Norway, when the farmer's wife goes
out with her maidens to collect her cows
96 THE SALT DESERT.
and have them milked, she takes a bowl of
salt in her hand. The moment the cows
see it, they come running up from all parts
of the field, as if asking for some. Their
mistress gives each of them a large spoon-
ful, and expects them to be satisfied. But
sometimes a cow is greedy, and wants
more, and keeps pressing to the bowl until
it becomes quite troublesome; and then
the mistress gives it a box on the ears
with the wooden spoon, to teach it better
There is a desert in Africa where the
ground under foot is not sand but salt. It
is called the "Salt Desert;'" and the salt
sparkles in the sun with such a crystal
whiteness that people who travel upon it
are almost blinded.
Because salt is so useful and so necessary,
it is found in great abundance. The great
wide sea could not keep sweet and fresh
"" -- -T"^*---2-=:*^ *-CTSr ^ *:^ < ^-_
SAL E AR A
SALT DESERT IN AFRICA.
98 BAY SALT AND ROCK SALT.
without salt. People put the sea-water in
large shallow pans, and let the sun dry it
up. The salt found at the bottom is called
" bay salt," and is very bitter. And some-
times it is mixed with other things,-such
as a relation called Epsom salts, that has
a disagreeable taste, and is used as a
But the salt makes its way from the sea
by all kinds of secret paths under the
ground, and then it is found in places called
mines, and is named rock salt." The mine
is like a great deep cavern, and has tall
pillars of salt to hold up the roof; and the
roof, and the walls, and the pillars glitter
as though they were covered with precious
When any person of consequence comes
to visit the mine, the men who are at
work make a great illumination. They
stick torches here and there as thickly as