The Baldwin Library
BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
Wtitb flumeroust originall IIuItrations
L ONDO N
AND NEW YORK
THIS Fairy Tale of Common Things has been
written for very young children, whose curiosity
about the objects round them is well known to
mothers and nurses. It .is in the easiest and most
simple language, and all scientific explanations have
been avoided, as the small book -is intended chiefly
for the amusement of the little ones, rather than for
instruction; the facts, and simple, external views of
manufactures, etc., being merely given; outlines to
be filled in hereafter.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
L ITTLE May was standing on a bank under some
great trees looking down on a field of golden wheat
just ready for the harvest. She thought it looked
very pretty when the warm air blew the heavy cars a
little downwards and she saw the red poppies and blue
corn-flowers growing amongst it. She fancied that the ears
bowed to her, and she laughed and bowed back again;
then the little breeze died away, and she watched the
cloud-shadows and the sunshine flitting over the wheat
till they made her feel quite sleepy, and she sat down
under a great elm. Now a very strange thing happened.
Suddenly May saw a very pretty carpet spread just before
her, and on it stood a lovely little lady holding a wand
in her hand. May knew at once that she was a fairy. So
she rese and held out her hand and said, I hope you
are quite well, dear fairy." The fairy laughed and took
her hand, saying, I am quite well, May. I am the Fairy
: I; :r --
10 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF' COMMON THINGS
: l Things, and
S.I am come
to talk to you
Swill tell you
the wheat; I
saw the far-
mer's in e n
THE REAPERS. by-and bye
the little green things came pushing up, and they have grown
into these tall ears, and I have rubbed out some of them
and eaten the nice little seeds."
"You have done well to watch the growth of the
wheat; now I will tell you of what use it is to us. The
earth God made feeds all the creatures on it; this field
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS iI
will give many loaves." f
"Loaves!" said May,
do loaves grow?"- '
"Some loaves do;
but not those we eat. :
Ours are made from
wheat. Very soon
and with their sharp _h -
little curved sickles
they will cut down -.
the ears and give TAKING HOME THE SHEAVES,
bunches to the women, who will tie them into bundles called
sheaves. These sheaves will stand about the field, leaning
against each other, till the wheat is all cut; then the carts will
come, and the reapers will pile the sheaves on them and take
them to the farm. The last load is the Harvest-Home, and
the men will be glad, for the farmer will then give them a
nice supper for their pains. Then the sheaves will be taken
to the threshing-floor and threshed out, and the stems will be
straw, of which your hat is made. Next the ears must go
to the wind-mill, where they are ground between two great
stones; the sails of the wind-mill, blown round by the wind,
move these stones and grind them round on the wheat.
The sails are like long arms, and at the back of them is a
vane, which turns the sails so that they may always meet the
wind. When it is a water-mill the mill-stones are moved
by means of a wheel turned by water. The stones grind,
and the wheat, powdered into four, runs down a spout
into a bin in the room below. At first it is mixed with
12 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMiON THINGS
bran, for the husks are ground with the
Grains. You know what bran is, your
doll is stuffed with it."
Yes," said May, "it ran out of a
hole in her side once."
S" This mixed flour is sifted three
times. When some of the husks still re-
Smain in the flour, it makes brown bread.
The last sifting leaves white flour. This
-, flour is made into dough by pouring water
'^.i" ..'" on it and kneading it well ; and a stuff
A WINDMILL. called yeast, a kind of froth on beer, is
put in to make it 'rise or grow light. When it has risen
the cook or the baker
shapes it into loaves, 'i
puts them in a brick
oven and bakes them. f
"That is very amus-
ing," said May, "I shall -
get cook to give me some
flour, and I shall make a /
loaf. But do oats make i
bread? They are pret- e.
tier, I think, than wheat."
People may make
oaten bread just as _
wheaten is made, but it THE BAE
is not as good. When oats are ground they make porridge
that you and John have at breakfast; and nice oat-cakes
and biscuits. Have you ever seen barley, May?"
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COAMMJON THINGS
"No, I haven't." ,
Here are ears of oats, wheat, and barley ; the last 'i
has a field mouse's nest in it. The barley is shut in
with a sort of stiff fence. Barley is used to make beer.
In some countries the people make bread of barley.
We do not in England, we make it of wheat, because
that grain makes the best bread. Now, May, step on
this carpet, and I will show you other fields in far-
May put her little hand in the fairy's, seated herself
on the carpet, and in a moment found herself in a very
strange country. A great river with very many HEA
i boats on it was before her, and close by were larg-c
I fields in which men in long dresses with pig-tails, yellow
Skins, and strange, sloping eyes, were planting little
tufts of grass in camp ground. The sun was warm,
but the fairy held an umbrella over May's head.
"Why are they planting grass so
carefully?" asked Mayf
OATS. It is not grass," said the fairy, \\
"it is rice that they are planting out. You
know what rice is ? "
"Oh yes," replied May, and I love
rice pudding; but I did not know that it
grew as wheat does."
"Yes, it grows as other grain does.
The Chinese children you see by that
pagoda are eating boiled rice."
"They have no spoons," exclaimed /
May, "they are eating it with sticks!" BARLEY.
14 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
.- "Yes, chop-sticks; they
eat as easily with them as
you do with a spoon. The
rich people's chop-sticks are
of ivory, the poor use wooden
ones. Now, May, step again
Son the carpet."
May obeyed, and in a
moment they were on a great
plain in India. Here the
women, who were as dark
i a as gipsies, were planting out
ee ttufts of rice in a field, their
bare feet under water.
We are now in India,"
CHINA. said the fairy. These are
Hindoo women, who work
in the rice-fields while their husbands do the household
needle-work. The Hindoos live almost entirely on rice.
They eat no meat. A handful of rice is a Hindoo's dinner.
Whilst it has its husk on, the people here call it Paddy.
"Many years ago an American gentleman came to
India on business, and a -friend who lived here made
him a present, when he left, of a little bag of rice. You
would not think that a great present, May; but it was
better than a bag of gold. The American took it home
to his own land and sowed it, and it grew and grew, and
more was sown again and again, and now it is the best
rice in the world, and is called Carolina rice. But
me your hand again and sit on the carpet."
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF CO.7/OIAON THINGS
May obeyed, and instantly they floated in the air over
a country that seemed nearly under water.
Oh !" cried May, the people here will be drowned."
No, they are always prepared for this water, which is
not very deep. It is the river Nile overflowed; the land
The river little Moses was put on by his mother in
his cradle ? asked
May, a little awed.
Her mother had
told her the story. -- ':i
"Yes ; and the
overflow is a great
blessing, for when
the river sinks down cm
it will leave on the
ground a very rich
But there is another grain, a little like wheat, on which
the poor here chiefly live. It is called Durra. Without
water the land would become a desert, as part of Egypt
indeed is, where the only water is that of springs that come
old kings of Egypt-the Pyramids, sharp-pointed triangular
buildings. Now we will take a backward journey to the
land where tea grows."
16 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
"Does tea grow?" asked May. "Yes. Here we
are." And suddenly May found herself in a grove of
trees. The air was very warm, much warmer than in
Egypt, and there was a pleasant fragrance in it, but not
the scent of any flowers that May knew. The trees
were not very high; they might almost be called shrubs;
they had lovely white flowers on them. Exactly like
our wild hedge rose," May said, when she had looked
closely at one. Men, women, and even children, were
picking the leaves off these trees, and throwing them
pr 1 I~
:: ~~~. I!
: ,r D_.
a .-.. rgy
_v. z-2 -
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COAIOAION THINGS 17
into flat baskets. The people who gathered them were
May turned to the fairy? May I pick some leaves
with the people, dear fairy? she asked.
Yes ; if you like."
And May was soon very busy gathering the leaves
within her reach, and putting them in the baskets. When
she grew tired, the fairy told her that the baskets would be
left in the hot sunshine for a whole day ; and led her to a
place where some of the dark brown labourers were stirring
the leaves that lay on a sheet of hot iron with their hands;
and May saw the leaves curl as they dried. After stirring
them twice the men took them out and rubbed them between
their hands to roll them small. May rolled some herself,
while the labourers looked on and smiled. Then some
of the leaves were put in baskets and roasted over a char-
coal fire, others, the fairy told her, were roasted in large
quantities; and afterwards she saw a table covered with the
leaves, and men
picking them care- '
fully over, andi
taking out all that e- _--
were broken, un-
rolled, yellow or IN
too large. When
that was done, the 1
tea was ready to be
packed in chests
and sent to Enog- SORTING THE TEA LEAVES.
land, but May saw that the green tea leaves were put hot
18 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
into the chests; and they had been rolled more tightly
than the black leaves.
"What country are we in, Fairy?" asked May.
"We are in the island of Ceylon. Tea came at first,
May, from China; but the tea tree has been planted in
India, and this Indian island, and grows well. I brought
you here because I can show you in the same island
coffee also growing."
"So," said May, "mamma's five o'clock tea is made
of these leaves."
"Yes; ask her to let you look in the teapot. You
will see that the hot water has unrolled the leaves, while
drawing out their strength. The Dutch were the first
people who got tea from China; they exchanged sage
leaves for it, the Chinese thinking sage a wonderful plant.
The first tea came to England more than two hundred
years ago in the reign of Charles II.; a pound of tea then
cost two pounds ten shillings. The finest tea trees grow
in Japan, on a mountain that is carefully guarded, for only
the Emperor may have those leaves. Three times a year
the tea is gathered, for the tree is an evergreen.
They had moved on under the trees, and now May
exclaimed, Oh, look at those pretty shrubs, with their
red berries like cherries. Are those berries good to eat ? "
No; they are very hard; they are coffee berries, and
must be ground to powder to be used."
"But, Fairy, they are red-coffee is quite brown."
Look at those mats covered with berries put in the
sun. They look dry; take up one and pick off the skin."
May did so, and found the brown berry under it.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 19
Those berries," said the
fairy, "are again dried when the
skin has been taken off-not by
little fingers, but by a mill,-then
they must be roasted and ground
to powder in a smaller mill, and
we can have the powder made
into coffee for breakfast."
P" I know," said May, "that
there is a little coffee-mill, as
cook calls it, in the kitchen."
S" es; your mother prefers
to buy the berry and have it
ground at home."
Did the English people
COFFEE P. have coffee before they had tea ?
asked May, still amusing herself by picking off the pink
skin of the berry.
"Yes, about seventeen years before tea came to
England. A Turkey merchant, named Edwards, brought
it there, and a Greek servant he had, who knew how to
roast and grind the berries, set up a coffee shop where
people went to drink it. But this island of Ceylon has
better plants than its coffee, for the best coffee comes from
Arabia, not from Ceylon. Come with me." And the
fairy led her into a plantation where the brown natives-
natives are the people belonging to a country--were very
busy. May looked round in great wonder. Trees rose all
round her with bare stems seven or eight feet high, much
taller than a tall man; then branches grew out from them
20 AUNT LOUISA'S .BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
with dark green leaves like those of a plum-tree, and from
these branches hung great pods, some green turning yellow,
some yellow, with a red side next the sun. The brown
men were sitting on the ground
round large round baskets. Whole
heaps of the great pods were on
the earth near them, and the peo-
ple by the baskets burst open the
pods, stripped away the rind and
took out the nuts; there were a
great, great many nuts in every
pod. They were laid out to dry,
and then packed in bags to send
They will be sent to Messrs.
FRUIT OF CACAO TREE. r *
UIT OF CACO Fry at Bristol," said the fairy,
"to his great factory, where they will be made into cocoa
and chocolate. You shall see how for yourself; sit on the
carpet." May obeyed, and in a moment stood in a gallery
running round a great room, into which bags of these nuts
were swung through the air to the place. Then they were
poured into long, roller-shaped pans that turned slowly
round over open coke fires. Every now and then the men
stirred them; they could tell by the taste on their lips of
the vapour, or sort of steam that rose from them, if they
were done. When they were roasted, they were put into
hoppers connected with the lower room by shoots. Here
.a machine crushed the nut, took off its hard outer skin or
shell, drew both to a point over the winnower, where the
blowers separated the husk from the nut, and the nut
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
being quite clear of the
shell became cocoa-
nibs. They now went
to the suoar-rindino-
room. All the work-
men in it looked as if
i they were in a flour
Smill, they were so
white. Great quantities
of loaf-sugar were be-
ino ground and sifted
till it was as fine as
the finest flour, and
felt soft and silky when
May touched it. The
and it made her lips
Suite sweet. This
ro,. room opened into the
ROASTING COCOA NIBS. pan room, where the
cocoa- nibs, in great
pans that turned round, were mixed with the fine sugar
and pounded by stone rollers into a paste.
Do they put water to it?" asked May.
No," said the fairy, they only keep it warm; there is a
good deal of oil in cocoa-nibs, and the heat brings it out and
moistens the nibs. So they are made into paste like dough."
May really could not quite understand all the
machinery, but soon this paste became chocolate, which
would be mixed with nice tasting vanilla or cinnamon. At
22 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
last the fairy took her to where the women and girls were
filling the cocoa-cases and packing the fancy chocolates.
Chocolate-creams are very nice, May," said the fairy,
and she spoke to one of the girls, who at once gave May
a lovely box of delicious chocolate-creams. May was de-
lighted, and was thanking the fairy, when she felt something
shake her; she screamed, opened her eyes, and there was
her brother John laughing at her.
Where is the fairy?" she cried, rubbing her eyes;
"am I on the carpet?"
"No," said John, "you are on the grass under the
oak tree, but you couldn't be found anywhere. Where
have you been hiding ?"
Oh, I have been in China, and India, and Egypt,
and in Ceylon," said May; "a fairy took me. I have lots
to tell you, Johnny."
"India!" cried Johnny, "why, it's miles away, parted
by half the world nearly from us ; and a fairy! You
have been dreaming."
"No, I have not," said May. "Is this a dream?"
And she showed him her pretty chocolate box. He
looked at it; opened it and took some of the contents.
" It's the best chocolate I ever tasted," he declared.
"The fairy gave it to me," May told him proudly;
"at least, she told a girl to give it to me."
"Then she's a jolly old fairy, and I wish she would
take me also with her," said John, devouring some more
Mrs. Bell was very much surprised when she heard
May's story, and promised to take the fairy's place next
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
day, and to show them something nearer home.
ILNT HE next day
took the children to
Farmer Bull's. As
they went they met
th e cows rcturnino
to their shed.
What a gift
God has given us in
the cow !" said M rs.
Bell; "her milk is so
-- necessary to babies
MILKING THE COWp. that they could not
do without her. Let us walk with them to the cow-house."
So they turned and walked beside the first cow, who
often turned and glanced at them with her gentle eyes,
uttering now and then a soft Moo." They went into the
cow-house and saw Susy milk the cows. The warm milk
splashed and foamed in the pail, and when it was full they
went with Susan, who carried it to the dairy. It was a
place all lined with stone: a stone floor, and stone shelves,
in which were large shallow pans. Into these Susy poured
most of the milk, keeping some in a deep marble pail.
That," said Mrs. Bell, is milk for using. You
shall have some of it for tea and for your supper. The
milk in the pans will be left for cream to form on it. Do
you know what cream is? Mixed with the milk are little
bits of a rich, milky oil; they are the lightest part of the milk,
24 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
and, of course, when it stands they come to the top, as the
lightest things always do. Then in the morning Susy will
skim it off and put it in a churn to make butter.
"A people who live in tents, in the Arabian deserts,
and are called Arabs, learned to make butter by accident.
A great man sent a quantity of cream as a present to his
friend. The man who carried it across the sandy desert
rode upon a very swift camel, called a drom-e-da-ry, which
shakes one very much. The cream was in a leather bag.
Well, it was bumped and bumped about by the camel and
shaken dreadfully; and when the rider reached the chief's
tent and opened the bag, behold, the cream was turned into
butter. So then they knew how to make it."
The next morning early the young Bells and their
mother again visited Farmer Bull's dairy. The butter,
Susy told them, had "come beautifully. The cream had
been put into a churn, and she had beaten it with a churn-
staff till it was quite solid; then it had been taken out of the
churn ; and
S"" they found the
T BTpressing the
water out of
the butter by
a machine that
-;.> ,rolled over it.
.. The liquid left
from the but-
ter is called
PRESSING THE BUTTER. butter- milk,
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 25
and is much_
drunk by the --,
Irish people,-_ .
May's mother 7-i 7"
told her. :
"And how C | ,/
do they make -F
cheese? Is !,
that made ..., .
from cream?" i n -.
May asked. TURNING THE CHEESES.
"No, dear, it is made from milk. A stuff called rennet is
put into the milk, this curdles it and separates the curd from
the whey. You have seen and tasted curds and whey, May ?"
Oh yes, when we were in Bath last year, I remember."
The curd is taken out and formed into the shape of a
cheese, and then it is put in a cheese-vat and placed under
a machine that squeezes it till every drop of whey has run
out of it; then it becomes cheese.
In one part of England the people put the milk-pan
over a hot stove; the cream then rises very thickly, and
is called Devonshire cream."
Now I know how we get our nice butter and cheese,"
said May, but it is not the earth that gives it to us, as
the fairy said: it is the cow."
But the cow would have no milk, and would die if
the grass did not feed her," said Mrs. Bell, laughing, and
May nodded her little head to say she understood.
Some weeks passed, and the children did not see the
fairy again ; but one day, as they sat on a bank in the
26 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
wood, they suddenly beheld the magic
carpet, and the fairy once more stood
\ before them. May gave a cry of joy;
the fairy kissed her and said, So you
Share glad to see me ? And this is your
Brother ? Can we find room on the
carpet for him?"
Oh yes," said May, I will make
room. It is so nice to have him with
And she did make room for him,
squeezing herself into as small a com-
SUGAR CANES pass as she could, and putting her
arm round him.
"Shut your eyes," said the fairy; and then in a
moment, "Open them."
They obeyed, and found themselves in one of the
strangest groves or plantations they had ever seen.
"What are these stiff stems ? asked Johnny; "they
look exactly like our grandfather's stick, only that they
are longer and have leaves hanging down on them.
They have joints like his cane. What are they?"
"Taste," said the fairy, breaking a piece off one of
the canes at the joint. Suck the juice out of this bit."
John did so at once, and was in no hurry to put it down,
nor was May, who had had another given to her.
It is so good," she exclaimed, as she finished sucking
out the juice, so sweet and nice!"
It is sugar," said the fairy; "these are sugar canes,
and the juice is sugar."
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
Not the sugar we have at breakfast?" objected May.
"Yes, the very same when it has been prepared."
Then how is it made crumbly and in lumps ? asked
"Well, as soon as the leaves hang down and look
dead the people here cut down the canes and carry them
to the mill. That mill is not like a wind or water mill.
It is made of three wooden rollers covered with steel
plates; these roll over the canes and crush out the juice
into vessels prepared for it. Then it is boiled six times,
and poured into a wooden trough to get cool. When it
is cool it is raw sugar, that is, very coarse brown sugar.
This is put into barrels and sent to England. But it is
not yet fit for use; it has to be boiled again with white
of eggs and other things to clear it. White sugar is
made by filtering the sugar till it is white; then it is
cleared again, poured into sugar moulds, and baked till it
is hard. The coarse remains of the sugar syrup is treacle,
is made by -
boiling and .
clearing the .
sugar with '
in it till it is "" -
thick ; then it
is twisted into
candy is sugar GATHERING THE SUGAR CANES.
28 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
boiled to a syrup, and baked in a very hot oven.
., Sugar canes grow only in hot countries."
The fairy next led the children into a gar-
den full of beautiful trees, bearing a pretty light
Sfruit. These," she said, "are pimento trees,
/ and the fruit is allspice, so called because it has
ALLSPICE. the taste of almost all the other spices."
"Oh," said May, "what pretty fruit there is on those
shrubs !" and she put out her hand to gather a long
shining red pod, growing on one near the pimento trees.
"Take care," said the fairy, "and if you have touched
it, don't touch your eyes till you.have washed your hands.
I had a young friend once who touched a capsicum, that is
its name, and afterwards rubbed her eyes. The hot juice
caused her great pain, for it got into them. It is very hot.
A red pepper called cayenne is made from capsicums;
but here are some common pepper plants."
How pretty they are! The red bunches are just like
I suppose," said John, "they are mashed up to make
pepper, for that is a powder; some flew
in my eyes once and hurt me,"
"When they are quite ripe," said
the fairy, they are dried, become black, '
and are ground into black pepper. To. ''.
make white pepper the best berries are
chosen; they are put for a little time in --- :
sea water, then dried in the sun. The
skin shrivels and is easily rubbed off. ,
The berry is then white. PEPPER PLANT.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMJION THtINGS
"And now," said the fairy, once more sit on the
carpet, and I will take you to see the most useful of all the
In a moment the children saw beneath them a tall
tree growing close to --
the sea, but the fairy _
passed over it, and-
brought them to a
great urove of the
same kind of trees,
a little further in-
land. Very, very tall .
trees they were; the .
children had to look -
up very high to see "-
their tops; the great _
stem or trunk was
bare and had no
boughs except at the
very top, where there
were great branches
.exactly like beautiful z
feathers, and they i
were more than four
yards long! In the
middle of them were COCOA-NUT PALM.
great bunches of immense nuts; and a dark-skinned man
was actually climbing one of these trees that had no lower
branches. He had an axe in his hand; he cut a space in
the trunk and put one naked foot in it, then he cut another
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
higher up and stepped into that, pulling himself up with his
arms; and he went on and on till May grew giddy looking
at him, dreading lest he should fall. But he did not, and
he reached the top and hung something on the tree. He
has hung a gourd-bottle-that is, a bottle made from a
kind of plant like a pumpkin-on the branch," explained
the fairy. In it he will catch the juice of the tree,
which is called toddy; mixed with rice it becomes a strong
spirit by fermenting, called arrack. I have told him to,
knock down some nuts, that you may see and taste the
cocoa-nut." Some of the great nuts fell; the fairy picked
one up. "Look," she said, "at the rough covering of the
nut. From it rope can be made and sail-cloth. Do you see
these spots like eyes near the top of it: I will pierce them."
There was a cup made of half a cocoanut shell lying close
by on the grass; the fairy pierced the holes and poured
from them some sweet milk. The children tasted it and
found it very nice. Then the fairy touched the nut with
her wand, and it parted in the middle; John had a knife,
and with it cut out some of the white nut for May. The
trunk of the cocoa-nut tree can be made into a boat by
hollowing it out, and the branches serve to thatch a native
house," added the fairy.
It is really a very useful tree," said John.
We will call at the island of Malta as we return
home," said the fairy, "to look at the orange groves there;
meantime, follow me here." And she led them into a
grove the scent of which was delicious, for the trees had
lovely white flowers on them as well as fruit like great
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 31
-" How sweet! said May, drawing a deep
Yes, the orange blossom has a delightful
"Are these oranges?" exclaimed the little
girl. But they are not yellow."
FLOWER AND FRUIT "No, not these oranges ; but they are
OF ORAGE. quite ripe: the orange tree bears fruit and
blossom at the same time; you may eat some of them."
A permission they gladly accepted, and when the oranges
were finished, the fairy showed them some lemon trees,
bending under their golden fruit.
"The orange," she said, "is a delicious and most whole-
some fruit, and the lemon is valuable for the delightful
flavour it gives, and for making lemonade, and many other
uses. But take your place on the carpet again and we will
go to Malta, where the blood-orange grows."
They obeyed her, and in a few minutes they were
standing in the garden of St. Antonio. Here the golden
oranges and the pomegranate grew near each other.
The fairy cut an orange open and showed them that
it was red inside ; the children tasted it and liked it better
than the Indian fruit.
The fairy procured a basket and filled
it with fruit for them. "You shall take
home some of this fruit, and a few pome-
granates," she said. "You see the pome-
granate is full of bright red seeds like
currants, but I do not know if you will .
like them. These blood-oranges, as they LEMONS.
32 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
are called, are believed to have come from grafting the
orange on a pomegranate tree which has a bright scarlet
flower as well as red seeds. A nice scent, called Bergamot,
is made at a town from which it is named, in Italy; to
make it the rind of the orange is cut into small pieces and
the oil is pressed out into glass vessels. Oranges are made
into the nice marmalade you like so much. There is a
large, dark-coloured, bitter orange growing in Spain; it is
called a Seville orange. This bitter orange is mixed with
the sweet orange to make marmalade. The pulps of both
are pounded and mixed with sugar by machinery, and then
it is made as any other preserve is. But it is getting late;
you may take your basket of fruit; I see John has secured
a few cocoa-nuts, and I will give you as a parting present
a little silver case of candied ginger."
In a few minutes more the happy children were at
home again beneath the fairy-haunted oak. They thanked
their kind friend warmly for the treat they had had, and then,
as she disappeared, they ran, laden with their gifts, to tell
their mother of their adventures.
Mother," said May the next morning, after they had
related their fairy trip, "we want you please to tell us a little
about salt. From where does it come-from over the sea ?"
"No, dear, we have in England salt mines and salt
springs, and salt is also taken from the sea."
Can we see how ?" asked John.
"Yes, we will drive to the sea-shore this morning, and I
will show you the salt pans." So the carriage was ordered,
and Mrs. Bell and the children drove down to the shore of
a lovely bay near where they lived. On one part of the
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 33
shore stood the salt works. The children saw trenches cut
near the shore; they were wide but not at all deep, and
something white glittered at the bottom of them. John
took a little on his finger from the top of the trench and
Yes," he said, "it is salt. How did it get there ?"
"The people fill these trenches with sea-water," said
Mrs. Bell; "the heat of the sun dries up the water, and the
salt is left. It is called Bay salt and is used for pickling
meat and fish; the Rock salt is the best, and that is what
you see in the salt cellars. As I am not a fairy I must try
34 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
to tell you about the way salt is made from the springs that
rise from the salt beds. The houses used for salt are called
Wych-houses. It is thought that wychh' was the old British
name for salt, because the names of the places near salt mines
in England all end in which as Droitwich, Northwich, and
so on. Wych-houses have in. them great pans into which
the brine, as the salt and water is called, is pumped.
Then great heat is used to boil it; the water goes up in
steam, and the salt is left in the pans. I should not like
to take you into a wych-house, because it is very full of
hot steam, and it would be very dangerous for you to fall
into the hot brine, which scalds and cakes on the skin.
Salt is one of the precious things God has given us. It
preserves food for us; it keeps us well. People kept en-
tirely without salt become very ill."
"And I shouldn't like to eat my egg without it, or my
meat," said John.
"Mustard," said Mrs. Bell, "also grows in England;
it is a wild plant, but is cultivated as plants in gardens are
in Durham. Its seeds are ground into the yellow powder
"I like mustard with beef," said John,
f but ugh! I hate it when nurse puts it on
my chest for a cold."
"Yet it makes you well, and is of great
Suse," said his mother.
SMother," said John, "do let me go and
see the lobster pots, please. I can see old
Smith down where I know he puts them to
MUSTARD PLANT. catch the lobsters."
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF CO.7MJMOIV THINGS
Very well, run away and
S_ com e back soon."
-.- I- May sat and talked with
"- her mother about the great
sea and the things in it.
By-and-by John came run-
May," he said, "w hat
colour is a lobster?"
Why red, of course."
No, it is not red, it is
THE LOBSTER. a dark-bluish colour."
It will be red when it is boiled," said his mother.
One of the lobsters," added John, had lost a claw."
The lobster can throw off his claws, if he chooses," said
Mrs. Bell. If he is caught by a claw he will cast it off
and get away."
Mother and I have been talking about fish," said May,
"they live in the sea, you know. But they are not salt-
salt fish, mamma says, are
cod fish or herring salted
by the fishmongers."
"Are herrings also -.
salted ?" asked John. -
"Yes, and they are
most useful for food thus -
preserved; when salted
or smoked they are called
bloaters and kippers. In-
deed in the sea we could THE HERRING.
36 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
find food for all mankind. But
we must be going home, the car-
riage is still waiting.
When they reached the house
Mrs. Bell said, "We have time to
look into the poultry yard; I think
I hear a hen clucking."
"Yes," said May, "she has
laid an egg, and is so proud of it.
I shall go and look for it. Oh, *
mamma she cried, returning AN GG AND AN O.ELETTE.
with an egg in her hand, I have found it, and do you
know there is a hen sitting on some eggs ?"
"No; I think not, May. They set hens in the spring.
The hens have eggs put for them ; they sit
\ \ on them for three weeks, and then the wee
Chicks come. out, ready to run about and
peck at once. Of late years people have
used a machine that came
Sto us from Egypt, in which
chicken are hatched by
Seat. It is called an in-
; cubator, and never fails to
.' hatch.good eggs."
S- ,.." But the hen is a good
S' mother, is she not ?
.-Y-" "Yes, a very good
"" mother; pheasants' and
S ".: ducks' eggs are often given
A HEN AND HER EGGS. to a hen to hatch because
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
she is such a good mother. When the pretty little yellow
ducklings she has hatched run down to the pond and plunge
in, the hen is very much frightened and distressed. She
fears they will be drowned. Ducks' eggs are very rich, but
I think not as good as hens' eggs, of which we eat greaL
numbers, and use many more in cooking."
Mother, where do we get plovers' eggs ? you have
them sometimes at breakfast."
Plovers are wild birds
that are generally seen in
flocks in our meadows or by -
the sea shore. Many live on _t--
our highest mountains; they -
are pretty birds, and their
eggs are thought a great
"Are game birds wild
"Yes, in a way, but not
wild as the plover. Phea-
sants and partridges are pre-
served; that is, they are
taken care of by the game-
keeper, fed when food is not easily gained, and only shot
at certain seasons. The little pheasants and partridges
are fond of eating ants' eggs. Pheasants came originally
from the East. Partridges are found all over Europe,
and are native birds here.
"The hen partridge is a good mother and very clever.
If a dog goes near her nest she will try all sorts of cunning
38 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
tricks to get him away from it. She pretends she can't fly
well and falls down before him; but she never lets him
reach her, and when by keeping near him she has lured
him a good distance away from the nest, she flies merrily
away, and leaves him looking up after her and vainly
The fairy did not appear again for
: some days; but one morning-it was
SMay's birthday and a holiday-the carpet
-with their friend seated on it glided to
Fairy, dear Fairy !" cried May, I
S. am so glad to see you."
"And so am I," said John more
A BUNCH o G.RAPES. slowly; "are you come to take us for a
"Yes ; but it is not for such a long one as the last, and
you will not find it so warm. Sit down on the carpet and
shut your eyes." They obeyed; when they opened them they
both gave a cry of delight. They stood on the side of a hill:
great mulberry trees grew on it, and festooned from their
branches were garlands of vines heavy with great bunches of
How lovely! cried May.
What jolly grapes! exclaimed Johnny.
"You may eat a few," said the fairy, giving them each a
bunch. They ate them with delight, watching all the time
the pretty, black-eyed women, girls, and men picking the
bunches from the trees, and carefully laying them in shallow
baskets, which they carried away on their heads.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 39
"What country is this ? asked John.
"It is Italy," answered the fairy; "look to the left
and you will see a glimpse of the Mediterranean sea. I
am going to show you how wine is made. The wines of
France and Germany are better than those of Italy; but this
vineyard is much prettier. There they train the vines low;
here they hang from the trees; and also here they still tread
the grapes, though generally machinery is used now to get
out the juice. Let us follow this woman."
They followed a peasant to a great press in which all the
grapes were put, and by-and-by, when it was full, some men
who looked very merry and wore ear-rings, as May noticed,
stepped into the
press, and began
to tread on the
grapes with their
.. bare brown feet.
"Generally in the
__ present day," said
_i the fairy, men do
not tread out the
grape juice; it is
done by machin-
ery; but in this
spot the old way
is kept up and I
wished you to see
"__- "Will the juice
PICKING THE GRAPES. be wine-wine is
40 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
made of grape juice, mother said."
"No, it will not yet be wine. Come with me and I
will show you how it is made into it."
Then she led them to a great open cask with its top
off, and they watched the juice in it, which was moving and
Is it boiling ?" asked John.
No, it is fermenting.,- A part of the air acts on the
sugar in the juice, and
with the heat of the
sun changes the sugar
into spirit. When the
fermentation stops the
juice has become wine.
If it is bottled before
the fermentation is
quite over, it becomes
a sparkling or fizzing '
wine, as Champagne. r '
Red wines have the ii
skin of the black grape L
left in the juice; white
wines are made from
white, grapes, or from
black grapes the skins
of which have been
taken off. The wine -
is put into great casks --
and a mark called a --- --
brand is put on each .TASTING .THE WINE.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
cask. When wine merchants come to buy, they are let taste
"A little hole is made in the cask with a gimlet; some
wine is drawn from it to be tasted, and then the hole is filled
up again, and the buyer says which brand he will prefer.
"Port wine comes from Oporto in Portugal; sherry from
Spain; Champagne, Claret, and' Burgundy from France;
Hoch from Germany. There is a terrible story told of a
cask of wine. King Edward IV. had shut up his
brother, the Duke of Clarence, in the Tower, and by some
one's cruel advice had him drowned in a butt of Malmsey
-a rich white wine made in the Canary Islands.
"Wine can be made also of raisins, which are dried
grapes-very small dried grapes are called currants ; of these
raisins and currants we make our Christmas puddings.
Cowslips make nice wine; even dandelions can be used for
it. Elder wine is good warmed in winter."
Do they make brandy of grapes ? asked John.
It is distilled from wine."
"What is distilled?" inquired May.
The strength of the wine is got out of it drop by drop
through a distiller. A distiller is a kind of pot closely
covered, and with a very long spout that goes through a
vessel of cold water. Wine is put in it, and it is set over
a good fire. The wine boils, and steam rises; it cannot
get out anywhere else, so it goes into the long spout. The
cold water changes the steam into liquid again, and this
falls drop by drop into a vessel placed to catch it; that is
brandy. It is quite white at first, but they colour it with
burnt sugar, and the oak cask also darkens it.
42 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
In the same way whisky is distilled from
barley over a peat fire, which gives it rather
a smoky taste. Rum is distilled from the
coarse part of sugar-boiling, called Molasses."
The present. the fairy gave them that
day in parting from them was a great
basket of grapes.
Mother," said John,
the next morning at break-
fast, "we have seen how /,:
wine is made; is beer
,, i --' HOP KILNS.
made in the same way ?
"Fermentation, about which you already know some-
thing, is required for beer, but in the first place malt has to
be made from barley. The ears of barley are steeped in
water for three or four days. Then they are taken out and
laid on the floor, where they remain till they begin to grow
or sprout, then they are taken to the kiln to dry. A kiln is
a brick building with a furnace in it. When the malt is dry,
hot water is poured over it, and it is let stand for some time,
then the liquid is drawn off and is called Wort. You have
been in a hop-ground, May ?"
Yes, and I have helped the hop-pickers gather the
"And they filled sacks and sacks with the hops," said
John; "are they used in beer ?"
"Yes; they are boiled in the wort, and they make it a
little or very bitter, as less or more of the blossoms are used ;
hops also keep the beer good. When the wort has boiled long
enough, it is put into barrels left open, in order that it may
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 43
ferment. To help it to do so, some yeast is put in it: yeast
is, you know, the sort of froth that rises on malt when it fer-
ments. When the beer has quite done fermenting the barrels
are closed down, and the beer will soon be ready to drink."
Thank you for telling us; and, mother, of what animal
is bacon the flesh ?" asked May.
"It is the flesh of that most useful animal the pig,
preserved by salting and smoking it.
"You have been in the New Forest, John; did you
not see the great herds of pigs there ? "
Yes, they were rooting up acorns, and the swine-herd
told me that though they were all scattered about they would
come to him when he blew his horn."
PIGS IN THE NEW FOREST.
44 A CUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
,, ',... ," Pigs are very intel-
C -, ligent animals, and very
S: useful," said their mother.
"Yes said their
father laughing, my
saddle is made of the skin
of one. Have you not
heard a saddle called a
_- -pig-s kin ? My purse,
THE OX. which never wears out,
is of pig-skin also. The skin makes excellent leather, and
even the bristles are of use. Its flesh salted as pickled pork
or bacon is the food of great numbers of the poor people,
who also like sausages as much as you do, when you are
allowed a little bit of one. Fresh pork is also a food much
liked by many people, but it is rather rich, and is not often
"And what animal gives us beef, May?" asked her
Oh, the cow, mother."
"The ox generally, for the cow is more valuable for
her milk, though her flesh is eaten sometimes. The ox is
a most useful animal, its flesh is excellent. The loin
was knighted in jest by one of our kings, who thought
it very good, and it is still called Sir-
loin. In some countries the ox draws :
carts and the plough instead of the IB
horse. Its flesh is beef; its skin lea- :
their; its horns make the handles of _
knives, cups, and many other things. SIRLOIN OF BEEF.
AUiNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 45
Its hair and its blood are useful, and the refuse even is of
service to man. The young of the ox is the calf."
the flesh of
the sheep, '
quite as val-
uable as the
ox. It can-
ploughs as .
the ox can,
but it gives
us wool for
which once DRIVING HOME THE FLOCK.
was used as paper is for writing on. The old books
were all written at first on parchment. Vellum is a finer
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
parchment made of the
skin of the calf. The fat
of the sheep boiled down
makes tallow, of which
o-' candles are made. At
: l present the tallow of can-
dles is mixed with other
4 substances; but tallow is
used for a great many
THE SHEP. purposes, especially for
making soap. The tallow is mixed with soda, oil, and other
things, and soap is made by boiling them together.
What is soda, mamma ? "
It is a salt, or alkali as it is called, got from the plants
that grow by the sea-side. An alkali is a salt gained from
the ashes of burnt vege-
tables. The soaps we use
are made of lard and potash,
with oil from the olive tree
or palm oil."
What is potash '" '
An alkali found in
some vegetable substances :" -
by burning them. It is
called potash because it i --
used to be prepared in large i
"The dressed skin of
the sheep is used as leather, SOAP BOILING.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK Of COMMON THINGS 47
and in it books are bound. As I have said, parchment is
made from it. The entrails, properly prepared and twisted,
form the strings of violins, harps, guitars, and other musical
instruments; the bones burnt down are used by refiners.
Every part of the sheep is useful. Its milk is richer than
that of the cow. When the wool has grown very thick and
heavy the sheep are sheared." "What is that, mamma ?"
--- "- -- -_ .- ...... ,.-
".The wool is cut off. But first the sheep are carefully
washed in some pool or stream, to clean them, then the
shearer cuts off the wool. The sheep struggles against it,
yet as soon as it is freed from the weight of its wool, it
springs away and seems very glad and happy. The wool is
put into bags and sold. The sheep are taken care of by a
put into bags and sold. The sheep are taken care of by a
48 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
shepherd and by a dog, who is as clever as his master, and
who will not let any one hunt or steal the sheep.
The wool makes more things than I can mention, and
without it I don't know what your father would do, for his
coats and all his outer garments are made of wool, as are
blankets, carpets, rugs, and our flannels, dresses and cloaks."
But how do they make the wool, when it is sheared off,
into cloth ?" asked John.
The wool when sheared off the sheep is very dirty still
in spite of the sheep-washing. It is most carefully prepared
by washing and combing till it is quite clean and white and
light. Then it is woven in a loom."
What is a loom ? asked May.
I must get some weaver to show you one. It is a sort
of upright frame. Clean woollen threads are drawn from the
top to the bottom of it, these are called the warp; then the
weaver crosses the upright threads with other threads going
from side to side with a shuttle. These crossing threads
are called the weft or woof. The cloth is a little open when
taken from the loom, but the threads are pressed close
together by a fulling-mill. The cloth is washed with soap
and water several times, being dried after each washing,
which scours and presses the cloth; then it is carded with
heads of teazel, a plant grown for the purpose, and any
loose ends of wool are cut off by machinery. Next the cloth
is pressed to make it smooth."
But, mother, the wool you said was white, the cloth is
black, or brown, or red; and is the black taken from black
sheep ? "
Ba, ba, black sheep, have you any wool ?" sang May.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 49
"No, it is dyed. Either
the wool is first dyed, or
the cloth is dyed. Cloth
"X has only been made in
E-. England since the reign
Sof Edward the Third.
English wool was always
ws very good, but the people
did not know how to
,ot manufacture it till that
COTTON PLANT. king had some poor people
over from Flanders and they set up woollen manufactories..
There are two kinds of looms, the hand-loom, and the power-
loom which is worked by steam. At first the hand-loom
was used, and the men in country villages were weavers; but
since the power-loom has been invented, the hand-loom is
not much used. Blankets were named from the. man who
first made them in his looms, Thomas Blanket, of Bristol."
A few days after this long talk about wool, the fairy
again appeared beneath the oak. The children greeted
her with delight.
We are so glad to see you; are you going to take us
somewhere ? they asked.
Yes; your mother has told you how you are clothed by
an animal ; now I will show you how you are partly dressed
by a tree. All from the earth, you see !" laughing.
They seated themselves on the carpet and shut their eyes-
the fairy made them do this lest they should be giddy and
fall off-and when they opened them again, they stood in a
road under a very hot sun, to screen them from which the
50 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
fairy gave them Japanese umbrellas. At
4 AY- the end of the road was a cocoa-nut
"This country," said the fairy, "is
India, the place Bombay. Look at the
trees on the bank to your right hand."
-_jf A COTTON "What strange fruit they have on
S- LO. them," said May. "They are pods
that have opened, and look as if they were full of snow."
"Gather one and touch the snow," said the fairy,
May took a large pod, opened it, and said, It feels
softer than wool. Wha' is it ?"
Cotton," replied 'the fairy. It is the cotton tree.
Now we will go to the place where the bales are gathered
The children exclaimed with amazement, for on a plain
by the shore there were great square piles of cotton as high
as a small house.
What quantities of cotton," cried Johnny.
"It is going to England by the ship you see yonder in
the harbour, and it is only a small quantity compared to
the bales that are sent from every place where cotton grows.
It .will first be pressed, and put in iron bands, and then it
will be carried and laid in the hold of the ship. Years ago
England used to get cotton only from America, where there
are great plantations of it, that were worked by negro slaves.
But war broke out between the Northern and Southern
states, and we could not then get any cotton from the South.
This caused the most dreadful distress in the part of Eng-
*1*'' Il "
COTTON PICKING AND PACKING IN AMERICA.
,i' I'- --1,
52 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
land where cotton goods are
S' made, Lancashire. The cot-
F ton mills were shut up; the
... poor workmen had no wages;
and their wives and children
Were starving. However, the
people subscribed money and
-\ helped them. The English
then saw that they must get
i cotton from other places;
ARRIVAL OF THE FIRST BALES
AFTER THE COTTON FAMINE. and India and many other
countries have since supplied them with it, as you see.
When at last the valuable stuff came again to Liverpool,
the poor people were so glad that they brought in the cart
with the bales on it with shouts of joy. Once more the
mills would make longcloth, calico, dimity, muslin, thread
on reels for needlework, cotton velvet and velveteen."
But how is this soft, woolly stuff turned into calico ?"
asked John; "one could not put it on a loom."
No; it must be spun into threads first-but before
the spinning it goes through much preparing and cleaning
"When it is quite fit it is spun, and then the threads are
put in a loom to be woven. The poor women in the villages
and towns used to work very hard at their spinning wheels,
till a clever barber, named Richard Arkwright, thought
that he could help his poor wife if he tried, and he invented
the first spinning machine. This was afterwards greatly
improved by another poor man, a weaver, and he called
his new machine after his wife, a spinning Jenny. A
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMiMON THINGS 53
Mr. Compton again improved it and called it 'the Mule,'
and now the old hand spinning wheels have ceased to
be of any IYI ,..!,.'
great use. i ---" -
has to be
or made H rd
white, stif- "' M
flour, pres- '
s e d and A
then it can -.....
be dyed `1
this little --
er I have
brought u h-
from I re- __
land." ARKWRIGHT AND HIS SPINNING MACHINE.
"How pretty it is!" cried the little girl.
54 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
It is flax," said the fairy, "and it grows chiefly
in Ireland. From it linen is made, tablecloths and
sheets and underclothes. It is sown in the spring.
When it is ripe it is pulled up, steeped in water, \
and let ferment; this fermenting separates the bark
from the flaxy part, which is dressed, spun, woven
into linen, and bleached or made white.
But we will not talk of the Irish plant now, for
I wish to show you how an insect helps to clothe youLX
and your mother in silk. Look at these fine trees."
They are mulberry trees," said John. Oh, I know
about the silkworm. I had some of its eggs on a card and
I put them in my drawer. They all turned into little black
worms, and nurse was so angry when she found them that
she threw them all away. Do they spin silk?"
The little worms you had should have been fed with
mulberry leaves or lettuce leaves for thirty days, when
they would have turned into fat white worms, and would
not have eaten any more. They are then given little
brushes of heath or broom, on which they begin to form a
silken ball. In three days the silkworm has covered itself
up in it. On the tenth the
cocoon, as it is called, is
formed, and the worm in-
side is called a chry-sa-lis.
Then the silk-the lovely
F- pale gold silk of the cocoon
-must be at once wound
off, or the moth will spoil it
SILKWORM ON MULBERR'-LEAF. in trying to get out."
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 55
And is the poor worm killed when
his curtain is stolen ?" asked May.
No; it is changed into a dark
brown grub, and that again changes
into a white moth that flies away, enjoys
0 3 -^^ --''
''"- the sunshine, lays its eggs, and soon
after dies. The mulberry trees in India
have leaves all the year round, and the worms feed on them,
so the Indian silk-weavers get several crops of silk in a year.
The silk of the silk-worm was at first woven on a loom as
wool and cotton are, but now wonderful machinery is made
to weave it. The worm is a native of India, though it thrives
in Greece, Italy, and the south of Spain. Of course silk
has to be dyed the colours we see it."
How are dyes made? asked John.
From wood, leaves, berries, plants, insects and fish."
From fish ? "
Yes ; a little shell fish called the murex, or purple fish,
gives lovely purple dyes. A little French and Spanish
worm gives a fine crimson dye. And in this rich land of
India is the indigo plant, from which a beautiful blue dye is
pressed. There are many indigo planters
here. But ask your mother to tell you all ,
about dyeing. You can see it at home.
It is time for us to return to England."
A few minutes afterwards they found
themselves under the oak, and May was
the possessor of a large doll, with a box
containing a woollen cloak, linen under-
clothes, a print dress, and a blue, and a INDIGO PLANT,
56 AUNT7 LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
crimson silk one, all made by clever fairy fingers and
John was presented with a large box of paints.
Mother," said May the next morning, is your black
velvet dress made of silk ?"
"Yes, dear, it is silk velvet; there are also velvets made
But it is not smooth, though it is so soft," observed
No, it is a rich silk covered, as you know, by a short
fine shag, as it is called. This is made by the workman
putting the silk of the warp over a long narrow channelled
ruler or needle which raises it from the warp ; then he cuts
it by drawing a sharp steel tool along the channel of the
needle to the ends of the warp."
"The fairy told us to ask you to explain to us about
dyeing," said John. She showed us the indigo plant ; but
had not time to tell us much about it, only that it dyed things
a beautiful blue."
There are many things that give us dyes. Brazil-wood
gives us a red dye, woad, which grows in England, a blue
dye; the ancient Britons used to paint their bodies with it.
Saffron is a plant that gives yellow dye. Then there is an
insect called the cochineal; it is very small, not bigger than a
pea, but a number of them make a bright scarlet dye if mixed
in a solution of tin, or a duller red without the tin. I must
tell you that before the cloth, cotton or silk can be dyed it is
first well cleaned, and then dipped into a solution called a
mordant. For wool or silk this mordant must be a solution
of metals, for linen and cotton a solution of alum. When
the thing to be dyed has been cleaned (if the colour has
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
to be changed, it must be taken
perfectly out of the stuff), it is put
into the great vats with the dye pre-
pared for it. The mordant fixes
the colour so that it will not wash
out, and makes it bright. The men
who work at a dyer's have red,
black, blue, or yellow hands,-dyed
by being put into the dyes. When
the things are dyed they are taken THE OX.
to the drying room. Here they are stretched on frames,
slipped by machinery into hot chambers, and are dry in
Mother," said John the next day, "we walked down
the green lane just outside the town, but we had to turn back,
for there was such a horrid smell all the way."
I daresay there was, for it runs close by the tanneries."
"What are they ?" asked May.
Places where there are pits for tanning skins to make
leather. First the skin is steeped in lime water to take off
the hair; then it is scraped clean with a knife. It is then
stretched in a pit, covered with tan, that is oak-bark, and the
pit is filled with water. There the skins stay till they are
tanned, and the yard does smell very disagreeably, I think;
but the smell is not thought unwholesome. When the skin
has been well tanned it is greased, waxed, blacked and
What skins do they tan at the big tannery ?"
The skin of the ox, of the buffalo, the horse, and the
calf; all these are strong hides, as they are called, and are
58 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
tanned with oak-bark. These make very strong leather for
shoes, and harness, and saddles.
in a peculiar manner invented in Morocco, from which
country it is named. Roan is an imitation of morocco made
of lamb-skins. Russian leather, the best of all, is first
steeped in alkaline dyes and then tanned with birch-bark,
which gives it its nice smell. No insects will touch Russian
leather, which is used for binding books and covering cases,
etc. Hog skins are never tanned, they are so greasy, but
they are used for saddles."
Our gloves are made from skins," said John, but are
they tanned "
No; the skins used for gloves are those of the kid, the
lamb, the rabbit-called the doe-and the elk."
I do not know an animal called an elk," said May.
"There is a picture of one in our Natural History,
May," said John. It is a very big deer, and it eats the
twigs and branches of trees; it is doing so in the picture."
Well, these skins," went on Mrs. Bell, "are not tanned;
AUNT L.OUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 59
the leather is prepared with alum when it has been well
washed, and this is called tawing; and it makes the kid soft
and pliant. Here is a picture of the whole process of glove
making. You will see the man treading on the skins to
wash them; another dressing them, making them smooth by
'stroking out.' Then a machine cuts out the many pieces,
_'i iIIIr L
and they are sewn together and 'pointed,' as it is called."
Mother," said May, "I like velvet very much for a
dress, but I like your seal-skin jacket better than your velvet
cape. What is the seal skin made of? "
"Why, May," said her brother, you saw a seal at the
Zoo, don't you remember it ? the animal that dashed in and
out of the water and was so tame,"
60 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
Oh, was that a seal ? and is your jacket the skin of a
Her mother nodded. Yes; the seal is a singular
animal. It lives in the cold seas near the North and South
Poles. Its head is like a dog's, and it is very intelligent. It
Sne comes out of
the sea and
basks in the
s the ice or on
the rocks. The
female seal is
THE COMMON SEAL. ate mother,
and her young ones are very obedient to her. The seals
like to live in herds and are sociable animals. They are
very watchful creatures, sleeping only a minute or two at a
time, and then looking round them. They can be easily
tamed and are very affectionate. If in the seal-catching a
mother-seal misses her young ones, her lamentations are quite
sad to hear, and she seeks for them even at the risk of being
Poor thing !" said May. I shan't admire that jacket
any more, because a seal must have been killed to get it."
It is sad," said her mother; and seals are not now
allowed to be killed in the numbers they used to be."
And the sable on father's great coat," asked John, "is
that the skin of a sable ?"
"Yes; and the fur of the sable costs a great deal of
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
money, because it is so difficult to hunt them. The chase has
to be carried on in the depth of the coldest winter, among
mountains covered with snow, and in desolate places where
no men live. The hunters suffer dreadfully in it. The
sables are found in Siberia, in Russia, and in other northern
places. The sable is a kind of weasel. It burrows in the
earth all day and roams about at night. It is caught in traps
or snares, that its fur may not be injured. Another valuable
fur is ermine. The ermine has a lovely pure white fur with
C. Z .
a tip to its bushy tail of jet black. Its fur is so like snow
that it is not easily seen. They also are hunted in winter."
Mother, what is swan's down ?"
It is the skin of the wild swan. The fur of the martin,
the squirrel, the bear, and the fox are all valued for lining
winter cloaks and making muffs and tippets. The skins of
Spanish cats are also used. The beaver, an animal that
62 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
knows how to build itself a house, has a valuable skin also.
Formerly the hair of the beaver was used for making hats for
gentlemen, and ladies' bonnets. The beaver lives both on
land and water, and is found in North America. But now
you must run off to get your walk."
May brought back with her from the village some hemp-
seed for her goldfinch, and as she held it in her hand, looking
thoughtfully at it, she asked, Where does this seed come
The plant grows and is cultivated in Norfolk and
Suffolk, and Russia has a great trade in hemp. It is a plant
something like a common nettle. Like flax, it is steeped
in water, and fermented. This separates the finer parts from
the bark. These, which are very much coarser than flax, are
then cleaned, combed out, or, as they say, heckled." Here
is a picture of a man heckling the hemp, though now in large
factories the hemp is combed out by machinery. It is then
spun into thread and woven into canvas and strong cloth. It
also makes twine, rope, and all sorts of cordages. I am sure
Johnny has nearly always a ball of string made of hemp in
his pocket. Rope making is a very necessary business, and
the places where it is made
are called rope walks. The
spun hemp is there stretched
along from post to post and
made into the great ropes
that hold and fasten a ship's
Sails, and on the strength of
which many lives may de-
HECKLING THE HEMP. pend."
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 63
The autumn passed away with its grand crimson, -reen
and gold tints of flowers and leaves, and winter came to close
the year. The children had seen nothing more of the fairy,
but they had learned a great lesson from her: that of
wishing to know all about common things. It was this new
fancy that made Jack say one cold winter's evening as they
drew near the fire, and his little chair knocked against the
Mother, what are coals, and where do they come
from ? (Jack's grammar was not always good.)
"Coal is a mineral," said Mrs. Bell. A mineral is a
substance found in the earth. There are many minerals:
coal, iron, silver, gold, copper and others. Coal is a mineral
that easily catches fire and burns well, as you know. It is
dtrn out of the earth in mines, and is really the remains of
large forests, which long, long ago, by some earthquake or
convulsion of nature, were buried in the earth, and became
coal. We have fine coal mines in England. The deepest
we know of is at Monkton-Wearmouth, in Durham, which
runs for some distance under the sea. Coals are of ureat
value. Not only do they warm us by our fires, but without
them we could scarcely have the help we get in our
manufactories from steam, for coal is the fuel that boils the
water that gives the steam."
"And do people work in the coal mines as they do in
salt mines ? asked the boy.
Yes ; but it is hard and dangerous work. The miners
are let down into the pit or mine in a thing called a cage.
Then they set to work and hew down great pieces of coal.
Now the air of the pit is very foul, and when it mixes with
64 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
AT THE MOUTH OF A COAL MINE.
the common air it makes it explosive, just as gunpowder is.
This inflammable air is called gas."
Why, we burn it in our house, and it does not blow
up !" cried May.
But it would if it escaped from the pipes and a light
were brought near it. In mines it collects, and a lamp in
former days caused many dreadful accidents; but a clever
man-Sir Humphry Davy-invented a safety lamp for
miners to use. 'It is made of such very fine wire that the gas
cannot reach it, but it gives light enough. Of course the
miners are not allowed to smoke pipes in the mine; but
sometimes the men will disobey and open the door of the
lamp to light their pipes. Then, if there is gas about, many
are killed by the explosion."
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMOIJN THINGS
How selfish and foolish of the man who would do so) !
When the coal has been hewn down they fill a sort of
cart with it, and a horse-horses are kept in the mine-draws
it on the tram lines to the pit's mouth, as the entrance is
called, and it is
hoisted up to the
edge of the pit by
steam. Here is a
picture of it going
But there are
that the men can-
not help. Some-
times a part of the
mine where they
have been hewing
out coal with a
pickaxe falls down
and shuts in and
imprisons the poor
men. There they
must stay in dark-
ness, and without
food, till their IN A COAL MINE: AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SHAFT.
friends and comrades outside can break open a way to them.
Men and boys-for boys work in mines-have been known
to be shut in for days and days, like this, while their friends
dug to them. Sometimes a spring is opened, and the mine is
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
filled with water. The miner's life is always full of danger."
"As coal is made of decayed trees, forests and woods
have been very useful to us," said John.
Yes, trees alive or dead are most useful; their leaves
store the raindrops for us; their wood, called timber, is most
valuable. Formerly houses were wholly built of wood, and
till Charles I.'s reign logs of wood were burnt for household
fires. The oak is
used for building
ships; its bark or
outside cover is tan
used by the tanner
and dyer; the saw-
dust that falls from
sawing wood even
is of use; the very
ashes are used for
purifying wine, and
are mixed with
hard water to soften
it for washing
for hammers and
knives are made
from the roots of
the oak. Its fruit,
the acorn, supplies
food for pigs and
deer, and when
bruised poultry like
THE OAK TREE.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMONi THINGS 67
it. Oak bark is of use in medicine .-'-
and for making hotbeds for pines. The
mistletoe grows on the oak as well as
on the apple tree. Then there is the "
"Does cork grow? exclaimed .
Yes; it is the bark of a very cur. ICoKK.
beautiful tree, a kind of large evergreen oak. It grows
in Spain, Italy, and most of the Southern countries of
Europe. When the tree is fifteen years old, the bark is
stripped off, soaked in water, and dried over a strong fire;
then it is ready for use. The bark is stripped off every
eight years. It is cut into corks to stop bottles; it is made
into floats for nets, and buoys to show ships their way up
rivers; it is used for soles of shoes, to keep the feet dry;
jackets to swim in; life-boats and life-belts, for it is wonder-
fully light and keeps afloat, because water cannot get through
it. The parings are burnt to make the Spanish black, which
Mother, the.cat killed my rose tree by tearing off the
bark; does it not hurt the cork tree to have its bark stripped
all off? "
No, not at all; in its natural state the cork tree sheds
its old bark regularly and gets a new one. Cork is used for
toys also. The weather toys, where the little figures go in
and out to show if it will rain or be fine, are made of cork,
and the models of cathedrals and churches. Balls bound
because thay have 'a cork inside them,' as the conceited ball
boasted, you know, in Hans Andersen's story. Some are of
63 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
cork altogether. Indeed, great numbers of toys /
are made of it on account of its lightness." '
Mother," said May solemnly, "it takessmuch
to make some toys. My doll now The wheat
must grow and be ground before -A.
she could be stuffed; and the cotton
plant must grow and come over the ./
sea to make her skin ;-and then 7
her wax face and arms ?-Oh, where
does wax come from ? MAY'S WAX DOLL.
From the little busy bee. The bee makes wax as well
"And for cricket," said John, "we want timber, leather
There are cork dolls also. The animals in your Noah's.
ark are of cork, and I think the bricks with which you build
are generally of cork. The flower-stands outside windows.
are made of it. In short, its use to toy-makers and other
workmen is very great."
And carpenters couldn't do without the other trees;
we couldn't spare one of them."
No; but now you must say good-night, for here is.
nurse come for you.
The next day Mrs. Bell took
the children for a walk. It was a
clear, cold day, but the sun shone,
a robin still sang in a tree, and
there was a pleasant regular tap-
ping sound that came cheerily in.
PORTION OF HONEY-COMB. the air.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 69
That is the blacksmith at work," said John, may we
look in at the smithy? "
Mrs. Bell nodded assent, and the children looked in at
the door. There was a blazing fire, and two men were
working with great hammers which made the sound the little
ones had heard.
They are hammering red-hot iron," said Johnny, when
they had run back to their mother, and they have a big fire.
does iron come
from, and why do
they make it red-
hot ? "
"Iron is a
metal. It is dug
out of the earth in
iron mines, and it
is worked, as you
saw, when it is
when red-hot it is THE PLACKSMITH.
soft and can be made into shapes. It is then called forged
iron. Iron is the most valuable of metals. Without it we
could not cultivate the ground, for it makes our ploughs,
and spades, and harrows; in fact, all our tools for trade.
And, John, it is found in everything: in leaves, fruit, stalks,
stems and flowers; in the flesh and blood of man and
animals; even in milk and water. Iron is everywhere to
strengthen and uphold."
Are iron mines worked like coal mines ? asked John.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
Yes. There are iron mines in England, in Wales,
and in France. The iron is found as ore, that is, mixed
with other things, and the ore is called ironstones. Johnny,
I wish I were a fairy to take you at twilight to Wales,
where I have seen on the hill-sides the blaze of the fires of
the blast furnaces which light up the country all round like
a burning mountain. Here the ore is smelted or melted.
But before that is done it is broken up into small pieces and
roasted in layers of small coals. Then it is put into the
blast furnace with coke and limestone, and air is blown in by
a blast-pipe. The ore is soon melted by the terrible heat,
and runs in a fiery stream into channels formed for it in a
bed of sand. The largest of these gutters is called the
'sow,' the smaller gutters that branch out from it are called
the 'pigs.' The iron, when cold, is called 'pig iron.' The
furnace is never let get empty. This is cast-iron.
Iron mines are generally near coal mines, or the
smelting could not be done."
Mother," said John, is my knife made of iron ?"
It is steel, that is, a very perfect kind of iron, made
by heating bars of iron with charcoal ashes and bone
shavings; this makes it whiter, and of a finer and closer
grain, and it can be highly polished. It is made hard and
brittle by being plunged, when it is red-hot, into cold water.
If it is let get cold slowly it becomes soft. From steel,
knives are made; scissors and needles, swords and razors,
pens and wire, steam vessels, guns, bridges, spades, iron
churches, and all sorts of useful and necessary things. The
steam engine, of course, you will have thought of.
"Yes," said May, "I often see steam coming out of
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 71
the spout of nurse's kettle,
and she says that shows it !
"The water turns into -
steam," said her mother. "If ,-
the kettle were left to boil l '
long enough, all the water
would go; there would be -
none left in it."
"And," said John, "I
once saw the lid of the kettle
jumping up as if it were I
alive, and nurse said the steam
That was just the way,"
observed his mother, "that
the power of steam to move O
things was found out. James NURSE PUTTING ON THE KETTLE.
Watt, observing how it lifted up the lid of the kettle, thought
that it might be used for moving other things."
And so," said Johnny, nodding his head, he invented
the steam engine."
"The engine that draws a train, or locomotive as it is
called, was invented a little later by George Stephenson; but
Watt was the first to invent and apply the principle of steam
in the stationary engine for turning machinery. It is said
that the steam-engine was known long before. Just at the
beginning of the reign of Charles I., more than two hundred
years ago, people began to burn coal in their houses ; before
that time the fires were all made of wood. Well, Lord
72 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COllMMON THINGS
Marquis of Worces-
ter, lived in a very
fine castle on the bor-
ders of Wales. He
invented machines or
Ei --=-J- engines, worked by
_1 : l-- steam, to carry water
/up to the highest
Shower of his castle.
SThen a locksmith in
Devonshire, in the
GEORGESTEPHENSONS gn o
FjIST LOCOMOTIVE. re. n of Queen Anne,
invented a steam-
engine ; but people did not think of using it. If we had not
coals for making steam, and iron for making the engine, we
could have no railway travelling or steam vessels."
Mother, what does locomotive mean? "
It is derived from two Latin words meaning to have
the power of changing place. James Watt had made
engines useful for many manufactures, but the first railway
for travelling was invented by George Stephenson. It was
opened in I830. Wonderful things have been done since
we have been able to work so successfully in iron. For it
is stronger and will stand more firmly than anything else.
The wonderful Tower Bridge across the Thames in London
is constructed very largely of steel and iron. With it the
French built the great Eiffel Tower to an immense height,
higher than any other building in the world, and equally
strong and light.
TlhU -'a l-'ilL
THE TOWER BRIDGE,
74 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
"The Forth Bridge is also built of this strongest of
materials, and it can bear great heavy trains running over it,
In iron mines the loadstone or lead-stone is found. You
remember, May, how your toy fish would follow the steel
hook you held, all round the basin of water in which you
had them ?"
Yes ; you told me that the hook had been rubbed on a
THE FORTH BRIDGE.
loadstone and drew their steel-pointed mouths to it. Does
the loadstone draw everything to it ? "
Everything made of steel or iron. But it has a much
more wonderful power. It causes a needle that has been
rubbed on it to point always to the North Pole. A needle
which has been so treated is called a magnet. A magnet
has two poles. One end points to the North, the other to
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COM1TMON THINGS 75
the South; one end of the magnet attracts or draws iron to
it; the other end or pole drives it away. A magnetized
needle, balanced about its centre on a pivot, and put in
a case, is called a compass, and is used by sailors to guide
their vessels over the sea by showing where the North is.
Before the compass or needle was known, men had to sail
over the great sea guided only by the stars."
Mother," said John, "the end of my pencil keeps
breaking off, and cutting it makes my thumb black; what is
it? Not iron, or it wouldn't crumble."
No; it is a kind of lead called plumbago-don't you
know that we call it a black-lead-pencil ?"
Yes, I recollect; but what is lead ?"
It is a coarse, soft metal, found in the earth. The lead
mines of England are the largest in the world. Lead is
found as ore, it is broken in pieces, washed, roasted, then
melted and let run into large pans. From these it is ladled
into cast-iron moulds, and is called pig-lead. It is rolled
out into sheets on tables, and is used for roofing houses and
churches, making water-pipes and cisterns, bullet and shot."
"Yes," said John,-
There was a little man,
And he had a little oun,
And-his bullets were made of lead, lead, lead."
Mrs. Bell laughed. Quite an instructive nursery
rhyme," she said. My boy cousins used to melt lead in an
iron ladle and pour it into moulds to make lead soldiers.
The mould is in halves, and the figure of the little soldier
is cut on it; then the halves are put together, and the
76 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
melted lead is poured in
through a hole at the top.
When it is cold the soldier
can be taken out."
S-" Mother, I wish I
might make some lead sol-
You are rather too
young to play with boiling
lead, Johnny. Lead is a
very poisonous metal; the
men who work in lead
mines have bad health and
W .-- suffer from palsy. No dog,
cat, or fowls can be kept
PENCIL MAKING-GROOVING THE WOOD. near lead mines. Bullets
are, of course, made in moulds, but your black-lead pencil is
not made with pure lead, but, as I told you, with plumbago,
a mineral found in a mine at Borrowdale, in Cumberland.
This lead, or plumbago, is prepared by being pounded, mixed
with a very little water, and ground to a very fine thick paste.
The paste is then moulded into long thin slips and baked till it
is red hot; when cool again the slips of lead are put between
two pieces of wood in which four little grooves have been
made, as in the picture, and the halves are glued together.
The pencils are then complete, and have only to be cut up,
rounded, and polished."
What is glue, mother ? "
It is made from the sinews of animals boiled down to a
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMliMON THINGS
"I have tin soldiers also, mother. Is tin found in
Yes ; it is a metal of a bright white colour. The tin
mines of England were so famous in the times long ago that
the British Isles-were called the 'tin islands.' Tin is found
as an ore either in streams or in mines. The tin ore found
in streams is the best, it is called grain tin. The ore is
A TIN MINE IN CORNWALL.
pounded up, and washed, then it is put into a blast furnace,
melted, and run into a kettle filled- with wet charcoal. The
impurities rise and are skimmed off. Tin is removed with a
ladle when it has been thus made pure. The ore from the
mine is brought out, broken into small lumps, reduced to
powder by a stamping-mill-that is by heavy beams of wood
cased in iron and raised by machinery-then it is washed,
sifted to get it pure, melted and let run into iron kettles. It
is used to line iron saucepans, to make pins of brass wire
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
white by boiling them in tin; to make pewter, bronze, bell
metal, tin foil, etc."
Is the kettle over the lamp made of metal ?"
Yes, May, of brass, and the kettle nurse puts on the
fire is of copper. Copper is a red-coloured metal, and if
.struck gives out the loudest sound of all metals. The largest
and best mines of it are in Cornwall and the Isle of Anglesea.
It is used for saucepans, but they must be lined with tin for
fear of a greenish poison that comes on copper. It is used
in making brass wire for pins for fastening, and cables for
ships, for boilers, for locomotives, and other steam engines.
It is prepared from the ore by crushing in mills, washing and
"Are there brass mines in England mother," asked
"No; brass is made from other metals; it is of cop-
-per, zinc, and the calamine stone, which renders it yellow
and hard. This stone, is dug out of the ground, roasted for
five or six hours, passed through a sieve, ground in a mill,
and then sold to add to copper'
and zinc to make brass.
F Gold is the most valuable
Sof metals. It is found in lumps
called nuggets, and in quartz
rocks, and is washed and sifted
from the mud and sand of rivers.
i When it is found in quartz the
stone has to be stamped to
i powder, so that the gold may
A FIVE STAMP GOLD IILL. be washed out. Here is a pic-
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 79
ture of a stamping mill; you can imagine what a noise it
would make when all its five hammers were working. Gold
is used for coining money, you know, and for setting jewels.
Silver is a bright white metal found in mines, most of which
are in America; it is used, as you know, for money; and
dishes, spoons, forks and many other things are made from it."
May was examining her mother's rings. Your rings are
gold," she said; and this shining one is a diamond, I know.
Does it, too, come out of the earth ? "
"Yes; and it is the hardest and brightest of all stones.
The red stone is a ruby; the green an emerald. They all
come out of the earth as other precious stones do."
Only fancy stones being so beautiful said May.
And other stone is so useful," said John. Churches
are built of stone, are they not, mother ? "
Yes, and houses. The best stone for building is Granite.
Fine buildings are constructed of it and noble bridges. Granite
is found at the top of some of the highest mountains in the
world. The hole or place out of which it is dug is called a
quarry. A cousin of mine has a granite quarry on the top
of the Duerstone rock in her grounds. She told me that the
workmen, to begin the quarry, had to be hung in iron stirrups
and by chains round their waists over the side of the cliff, till
they had made a great hole to stand in, and it is very high.
It must have been terrible to hang there, but they made the
-quarry, and Blackfriars Bridge is built of the granite. The
men work in the quarry, and chisel-the great stones for use-
here is a picture of one-and then the stones are hoisted out of
it, as you see, by machinery. The most beautiful stone is
Marble, of which chimney-pieces are made. The best marble
THE STONE QUJARRY.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 81
comes from Italy, and from the Isle of Paros. Sculptors use
it for statues. There is both black and white marble ; it is
hard and can be highly polished. We also get Sulphur out of
the earth ; it was used formerly for making matches. The
present lucifer matches-little splints of wood-are dipped
into a mixture of phosphorus, nitre, fine glue, and ochre.
Making matches is very hurtful work, from the fumes that
rise from the materials.
There are also slate quarries, another useful kind of
stone. It can be split into thin plates and is used for the
roofs of houses and also for the slates of children. For these
slates a dark-coloured slate is chosen, split and smoothed
with an iron instrument. Then it is rubbed with sandstone,
slightly polished, rubbed with charcoal powder, and put in a
"And the pencils are slate, too," said John.
Yes; they are made of a soft slate which falls into long
splintery pieces. These are split by an instrument made
Mother, will you tell us where the Glass Mines are ?"
Mrs. Bell laughed. "We have talked so much of mines
that you think everything comes out of one. Glass is not
found in mines. It is made of sand, flint, and an alkali,
mixed together, and melted in a very hot furnace."
Sit down, John," said May, who was dressing her doll,
sit down; and mother will tell us all about Glass. Won't
you, mother ?"
"Well, how did they ever think of making such clear stuff
out of sand and flint ? asked John, sitting down on a stool.
"We are told that it was discovered by accident; but
82 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
only an idea of it could, I think, have been gained. Some
merchants were wrecked on the coast of Syria, at a spot on
the shore where there were many kali plants. They made a
fire to cook their food of these plants ; the ashes of the burnt
kali got mixed with the sand, and they saw a glittering
morsel of glass lying in them. One of the merchants must
have been very clever (or all), for they took up the idea,
made glass, and the town of Sidon, close
by the place where they were
wrecked, be- came famous
for making it. lass is still
made of sand, an
alkali, and lime to
blend or unite the
two, but the alkali
is some- times soda,
potash, or pearlash,
which is re- o fined potash.
It is melted in earthenware
pots, and in two days and two
nights becomes transparent; it is
then cooled and is GLASS BLOWRS AT WORK. as thick as paste."
"But," said John, "as glass breaks so easily how can
they make things of it ? "
Because when glass is made hot by the furnace, it is
soft and can be cut with a pair of scissors, or it is melted so
as to be blown through a pipe into moulds,. or to form
shapes. Plate glass is made by letting the melted glass run
into cast-iron plates; as it cools a metallic roller is passed
over its surface. This glass is made of kelp and fine white
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 83
sand, just as crown glass is made. Flint ,,--.
glass is made of Lynn sand, red lead,
and refined pearlash.-
What is kelp ? asked John.
"Burnt sea-weed; it is found in
Scotland and the Orkney Islands.
Crown glass is used for our ordinary
windows. Of blown glass very pretty GRINDING cur GLASS.
things are made. It can be blown to a wonderful fineness.
I have seen a small blow-glass bird of Paradise, the feathers
of which waved and glittered in a really wonderful manner,
they were as fine as a fine spider's web. Cut glass is very
handsome, and the bottles and jugs made of it are very much
better than when the glass is only pressed in imitation of it.
It used to be even better done than it is now. I have some
large water-jugs the sides of which are cut in sharp clear
points, reflecting the light in many colours. Glass beads are
made of all colours and sizes. Dolly's necklace is of ruby;
glass beads and brooches are made of coloured or white
glass which bear a close resemblance to the colours and
glitter of the jewels.
Looking glasses are made of plate glass, the back
being silvered or covered
---' with a mixture of quick-
~ -silver and tin. Glass win-
.-- ,. dows for churches were
t known nearly a thousand
.---- years ago, but they were
-=-' --*- not put in houses till Oueen
CUT GLASS. Elizabeth's days."
84 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
Then what did people do for window panes ? "
They were made of horn. The horns of oxen and
cows can be melted to quite a jelly, which is thin and trans-
parent; horns will keep out cold and let in a dim light.
The great value of glass however, is, that it helps our sight,
by affording us spectacles and telescopes."
Yes; grandmamma could not read well without her
'specs,' and papa uses a telescope. I have looked through
it. It makes far-off things come quite close," said John.
"How does glass do that ?"
"You could not quite understand; but it is because the
glass is cut so as to make the rays of light magnify objects
seen through them : it is of great value. In Germany the
first spectacle maker discovered this use of glass through
his little girl taking up a piece of glass, and saying, as she
looked through it, Father, the church is come close to the
house !' He took the piece of glass from her, noticed how
it was formed and its effect, and made spectacles. It is said
that an English monk invented telescopes long before that
time. Through the telescope we have been able to study
the stars and the sun, and moon; and sailors find it of great
use at sea."
"Then by cutting and arranging the glasses (they are
called lenses) differently, the microscope is
Made; through which we can see the small-
est things, even the feathers on the wings of
I Mother, is china made like glass ? They
... always say the 'china and glass.' "
THE MICROSCOPE. China or porcelain is made of a hard,
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMJMION THINGS 85
rocky stone like flint, ground to a fine powder and mixed
with a soft white clay. Half of each is mixed together
into a fine paste, well kneaded with the hands. This is
moulded into shapes; then it is partly baked in an oven,
and called biscuit. Next they paint and gild it, and
baking it in c i'
they use a c
kind of clay
flint to make
it. It was
first brought i
are made in 1 i;
POTTER AT WORK AT HIS WHEEL.
that one with china flowers raised upon it is from Dresden,
"A much cheaper kind of ware, called pottery or earthen-
ware, has been made from the very early times of the world.
86 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
The dishes, and cups, and saucers, and jugs, and basins that
are not china are made of Devonshire clay, and flint which
has been made red-hot and quenched in water. Both are
then carefully powdered and sifted and mixed in water, which
evaporates or dries up and leaves a kind of paste. This is
then formed by the potter's wheel into round shapes, and
other forms, which after being dried are put into clay boxes
like band boxes, and placed in a kiln, where they are made
red-hot. They are kept so for some time, and then they are
glazed and again baked."
How much trouble everything takes to make!" said
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMAM1ON THINGS 87
Yes; nothing is done
without care and toil," said
That afternoon they walk- .
ed past some brick-fields, and
Mrs. Bell took the children
just inside one, and let them
see bricks made. The men
took clay that was well mixed GRINDING AND lG TE
a p a wic thGRINDING AND MIXING THE CLAY,
and prepared, and which they
called loam," and put it in wooden moulds, just the shape
of a brick-they looked like boxes without lids. There
were rows of these moulds, mud-pies," Johnny called them.
The man told them that these bricks must be left to dry,
and then piled up in heaps with cinders and straw between
each brick to keep them hot, then they would be burnt. It
took," he said, "two or three weeks to do them thoroughly.
These square heaps are called clamps but the best bricks are
burnt in a kiln
.i--- -"-. with a furnace
A machine has
S.h been invented
now for mak-
inmo bricks, and
is used nearly
F. ri,,_!" everywhere. It
faster than we
BRICKFIELD, SHED, KILN, ETC. can.
88 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
"I saw the men building our garden wall," said John,
"and I did so wish to do it too! They dabbed some soft
stuff on a brick, and then laid another on it, very even.
They called the stuff mortar. Do you make mortar here ?
What is it ?"
Mortar," said the man, is made by mixing lime, sand,
and cut horse-hair with water; we use it for plastering."
What is lime ?"
It is made," said the brick-maker, from a stuff found
in stones, shells, marbles, and chalks. It becomes lime by
being burnt for a long time in a kiln, then it is called quick-
lime, and is used to make mortar ; it makes the bricks stick
together firmly. To use good mortar is of great consequence
in building. That is a lime-kiln over yonder."
Thank you for telling me," said John. I wish Imight
make some bricks! "
The man laughed. Mrs. Bell thanked him and gave him
Mother," said May, the next day, of what is paper
made ? "
"Paper was first made in Egypt from a rush called
papyrys that grows on the banks of the Nile, and from
which it is named. Now it can be made
of many things: of linen and cotton rags,
grass, wood, straw; in fact it can be made
of almost any fibrous material."
But how ?"
S" The rags are sorted: the white ones
make the best writing paper; the coloured
PAPYRUS PLANT. rags are bleached and used for the com-
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 89
AN ENDLESS PAPER-MAKING MACHINE.
moner paper. They are then taken to the paper-mill, and
put into an engine standing in clean water. This engine is
.of iron ; it has long, sharp teeth or knives that move round
very quickly, tear the rags to atoms and make them into a
pulp. This pulp is put into a copper of warm water and
looks like starch. Then it is put into the new paper-making
machine. It passes over an endless wire gauze, then along
a felt, through a number of rollers, that press out the moisture,
and on the best modern machines it is sized, dried over hot
'cylinders filled with steam, and even cut into sheets. These
are sorted and the bad ones thrown
,out. It is then pressed and tied up. .. _
in quires and reams.
"The people of Japan make more .7- '
use of paper than any other nation
does. They make all kinds of things
of it, even umbrellas. Formerly paper
used for books was very inferior to
that made now; it was coarse and often MAKING PAPER BY HAND.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
; -of a blue tinge. The manufac-
.. .- ture has been much improved,
.,_ and it is now cheaper, as well as
What is size ?" asked John.
A kind of glue made from
j the edges of sheepskins or from
slips of parchment. Brown
paper is made of old ropes or
any refuse. Rice, barley, straw
GALL-FLY. and grass, as I have said, can
be made into paper. Before people had paper they wrote
on the bark of the ash or lime tree, on parchment or vellum,
or on wax tables with a steel pen that had a flat end to rub
out the writing if the writer wished. These tables did not
require ink, you see."
How is ink made, mother ? "
From galls, which are round lumps that are found on
the twigs of the oak. They are made by little insects called
gall-flies, which leave their eggs in them. There are two
gatherings of these nut-galls: one before the baby fly has
eaten its way out of the leaf-nest, then they are called blue
galls; the other made later, when they are called
white galls. These are powdered with copperas
-a mineral salt-water is added, and gum arabic,
which is the sap or gum of a tree growing in Egypt
and Turkey, and thus ink is made. Red ink is
made from alum and gum coloured with the red
of Brazil wood. Printers' ink is as thick as paint,
and is put on the metal letters by rollers.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS 91
"And now I must tell you how printing was invented.
A Dutch gentleman at Haarlem amused himself by cutting
the letters of his children's names on the bough of a beech
tree. Then he thought that he might take an impression of
them on parchment; so he put ink on them, and after a little
time he printed the names. He saw what might be done
with these letters, so he cut out an alphabet in wood-
there is still a parchment to be seen on which he printed
from it an alphabet and the Lord's Prayer. But two of his
servants stole these letters-types they are called-and ran
away with them to a German town, where they set up as
printers, pretending that they had invented the art.
When the first Bible was printed in Paris, the printer,
Faust, was supposed to be a magician, and was tried for
witchcraft. A printer named Caxton came to England,
and set up a printing press at Westminster in the reign
of Edward IV. A very old print shows him exhibiting-
his new art to Edward, his queen, and their two sons, the
poor little princes who were afterwards murdered in the
Tower. Some books printed by Caxton are still in exist-
ence, and are of great value.
"I do not think that you can understand more about
printing than that the letters, which are
now of metal, are put in a case-here is a .
picture of one-each letter is in a separate 10
division: the printer picks out the letters A 1
he wants, and makes them into words in i -
his composing stick. Then they are ar- ,--
ranged in lines for a sheet, a roller covers
the letters with printers' ink, then it is A CO.MPOSITOR AT IS CASE.
92 AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
put in the printing press, and
"Here is a picture of an
_-- -old-fashioned press worked by
hand. It was probably thus
that Caxton printed his books;
S but the invention of machinery
has achieved wonders in the
AN OLD-FASHIONED HAND PRINTING PRESS. art. Now, in the Wharfdale
rotary machine, the paper goes in in a roll at one end,
and works out a printed paper at the other, cut, folded, and
packed together ready for use.
Toy printing presses of the old-fashioned kind were
sold as toys for children in the days when Miss Edgeworth
was writing her stories for children; and the type-writer that
you have seen your Aunt use is another adaptation of print-
ing. I must just tell you that picture books called block-
books were of even earlier date than printing."
A MODERN PRINTING MACHINE.
A MODERN PRINTING MACHINE.
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
I am glad printing was invented, for I suppose people
had to read books in writing before then; and I can't read
it well yet," said John.
"Yes ; it is a great blessing; for now we can all get
books; in the days when they had to be copied with a pen
they were few and cost a great deal of money."
On the following night May had a strange dream. She
thought that she and John were sitting side by side on a
raised seat, supported on each side by a wooden horse, and
that the common things, of which they had heard so much,
were walking round them and talking A loaf of sugar
was pushing itself forward, but a loaf of bread, trying to pass
Keep back; I am of more consequence than you are.
I am called the staff of life."
"You may be," said the sugar, "but I am May's
favourite; she loves sugar better than bread."
"And," cried a pert little matchbox, "you could not be
baked, bread, unless I kindled the fire, so you are not the
first person here."
No," flared up the candle, I am first of all things, for
I give light."
"My mother says that I am very wonderful," said an
Milk ho Milk ho !" cried the milk can. "I am of
a very old family, and that is a great honour."
"I am not of such an old family," said a glass bottle
modestly, but I am useful, and I think that is better."
Of course," said a reel of cotton; I am of an old
family, but I am prouder of being of use."
AUNT LOUISA'S BOOK OF COMMON THINGS
Then came a confused, sound of voices from the back
room. "I am red, blue and black; you could not have
books unless I made them; nor have a letter; nor write a
copy without me," cried an ink-bottle.
But they could write with us, if our points are not
broken off," said the pencils crossly; "and we can draw."
Then May spoke.
Pray, do not quarrel," she said. Old or new, you are
the gifts of God, for which we ought to be thankful. He
has made all of you, or taught men to make you from the
things He has given them. Be good friends; love one
another, and keep in the place given to you."
"Very good advice, little May," said the fairy, suddenly
appearing, I am come now to say good-bye to you both;
be good children, mind all your mother says, and you will
not want a fairy to teach you."
May held out her arms to kiss the fairy-and awoke!
Day dawn was peeping in at the window and her dream
Btrler & Tanner, Trhe Selwood Printing Works, Frone, and London.
.*- a '