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advertisements in the newspapers, were in vain. I heard, but too late, uncertain news that a young lady was seen, about the time of Justine's departure, travelling towards the Lake of Constance; but there every further race was lost. I would certainly have assisted the poor girl in her despair.”
"Often there happens what we do not dare to hope for!" said I. "Perhaps a lucky chance may discover to us the place of her retreat. In the mean time, dear doctor, I am delighted to find you in better spirits than you were at our first meeting. You must own that time is a good doctor. Your mother, too, appears consoled, and even more cheerful than yourself."
who became really more moderate; and the example of our village soon produced a benefical influence upon some other villages of the neighbourhood. We formed a Temperance Society, from which-"
"Stop!" cried I, interrupting him, "is this Society still in existence? This is most important for me to know, is it still in existence, or--"
"Certainly, it is still in existence," answered the doctor, "and has been fornearly two years. We have only about nine hundred inhabitants in this village, and eight hundred and sixty of them belong already to our Society."
"How is that?" asked I, laughing, "do your girls and women, and even your children, belong to your Temperance Society, that you count nearly the whole population?" The doctor looked at me with amazement, and said, "Certainly: how is it possible to form such a Society,how could it have a salutary influence,―without the women and children? The influence of the female sex upon men, in promoting a moderate, sober life, especially upon young people and children, is very great. It is they who suffer most by the drunkenness of men. They can save from ruin, if not always the grown-up persons, at least the rising generation."
"Yes," said Fridolin, "but on my arrival, I found her dangerously ill in bed, and had every reason to fear I should lose her too. The sudden death of my father-he was found one morning dead in his bed, having been struck by apoplexy, and the discovery that he had been carried away so early from life by his own fault-he was only fifty years of age-all this had brought my mother to the brink of the grave." I looked somewhat astonished at the doctor: "Apoplexy, and his own fault, you say? Dare I ask you what you mean by that?"
Fridolin answered, "Unfortunately he shared the common vice of our days. Do you remember our conversation daring our journey?"
"I have not yet forgotten it," answered I, "for since then I have become a very moderate wine-drinker, but a very strong water-drinker, and I have taken leave of all spirits. Therefore, thanks to you, I am now well, and will endeavour to remain so."
"Oh, if my good father had done like you, he would still be living!" said Fridolin, with sad earnestness. And then he related to me the particulars of his father's fate.
FRIDOLIN's father, as the doctor said, had always been a respectable, honest man: he had always liked, it is true, a glass of good wine in good company; but not beyond measure. He was never seen drunk, but sometimes what we call “wine warm." He seldom took brandy or other strong liquors.
The honest man would perhaps have continued this manner of life a long time, though not with the best advantage to his health. A moderate use of wine at dinner refreshes and strengthens, if it is not used like water for quenching the thirst. But Fridolin's father shared the fate of many other people; they drink, and do not know when they have too much, and forget themselves. He was every day flushed with wine, so that, after a few years, his health was much affected. He became indisposed to work, his face became pale, his features heavy; he lost his former good humour, and complained of restless nights: he attributed this to his becoming older. Mrs. Walter thought it was the consequence of his labours, and the vexations united with them. She herself offered him sometimes an extra glass of wine, in order to refresh him. This was poison to him. He became more accustomed to it. He was in good humour as long as his blood and his nerves were excited by the wine; but afterwards he always sunk back into his former state of uneasiness.
What!" cried I, astonished; "a blessing? how is this possible! you excite my curiosity." Fridolin answered: "The suicide of old Thaly, and the death of my good father, which succeeded that event, being the effect of drinking, were a great warning for the people,
I confess this appeared to me very strange, and I said, "How have you arranged this? Relate it to me. In my native town we have tried to establish such Temperance Societies, for brandy-drinking had also increased there; but we met with such great obstacles to it that we were obliged to give up the plan."
Fridolin was just going to answer me, when his mother entered, and invited us to supper, which, in the beautiful evening, was to be taken in the summer-house. We obeyed. The doctor said to me on the way, "To-morrow we shall find an hour in which we can be alone together: then I will satisfy your curiosity. You have probably begun upon wrong principles the establishment of a Temperance Society, as has happened in other places."
Indeed, during the whole evening, we could not find a single moment to continue our conversation. Mrs. Walter directed it to a hundred different subjects, and complained jokingly "that her son had left her in the beginning of her old age, without the friendly assistance of a young industrious daughter-in-law; and that he preferred, as it appeared, to remain a bachelor."
This was of course a chapter full of matter to talk about. I began by and bye to speak of the lovely Justine; but the icy tone in which Fridolin spoke of his former beloved one, and asked directly about other things, and the sudden silence of Mrs. Walter, whose features appeared to show to me that I had touched upon a not very pleasant subject, hindered me from proceeding. I was silent and somewhat confounded. I saw that great changes had occurred, and that the aim of my journey was not welcome. So I desisted and deferred until the morrow speaking about her to Fridolin. Oh, poor Justine!
"My mother became at last very nervous," said Fridolin, as she feared he was ill, and caused the physician to be fetched. My father laughed. He was certainly not ill, if we take the word ill in its common meaning; but death was already stealing upon him. The physician prescribed to him to drink water. My mother watched anxiously the progress of the case. My father renounced wine, even in the evening parties, to please her; yet his health did not improve. He became rather more morose, more sleepy, and complained of headache, and heaviness in his limbs; he Worked notwithstanding, and frequently took bodily exercise. One morning he died in an apoplectic fit. After his death, many empty brandy bottles were found in his buffet. He had drunk secretly, probably to procure for himself sleep at night. His death, however, proved to be the greatest blessing to this place, and some neighbouring
HOWEVER the world may affect to despise the genuine Christian, it is beyond their power; they feel too sensibly the necessity of attaining that very state of feeling and disposition which is displayed in such a character, to entertain in their heart any mean or degrading opinion of the character which they apparently undervalue. Every thought which it wrung from their conscience by its unwelcome intrusion upon their contemplation, rises in judgment against their indifference-God has not permitted them to despise a true Christian; they may pass him by with a haughty and supercilious coldness: they may deride him with a taunting and sarcastic irony; but the spirit of the proudest man that ever lived will bend before the grandeur of a Christian's humility You are at once awed, and you recoil upon your own conscience when you meet with one whose feelings are purified by the Gospel. The light of a Christian's soul, when it shines into the dark den of a worldly heart, startles and alarms the gloomy passions that are brooding within. Is this contempt? No: but all the virulence which is excited by the Christian graces can be resolved into envy, the feelings of devils when they think on the pure happiness of angels-and, to complete their confusion, what is at that moment the feeling in the Christian's heart? Pity most unfeigned pity!-WOLFE's Remains.
DIRECTLY a man determines to think he is well nigh sure of bettering his condition.
Ir will probably be a new and interesting fact to many of our readers when we tell them that it is quite possible to enjoy the luxury of growing plants, in the most confined and apparently unfavourable situations, if we inclose them in glass cases or wide-mouthed bottles, and carefully exclude the atmospheric air.
This fact was accidentally discovered in the following manner. Mr. Ward, who made a report on the subject to the British Association, in 1837, had often attempted to grow plants, especially mosses and ferns, in and about his own dwelling, but being in the neighbourhood of manufactories, and enveloped in smoke, he found all his efforts unavailing, owing to the necessity which he supposed to exist for exposing his plants more or less freely to the air. But happening on one occasion to place the chrysalis of a sphynx, buried in loose mould, in a widemouthed bottle securely closed, that he might observe its change into the winged state, he was surprised, about a week before the insect assumed the perfect form, to find a seedling grass and fern springing out of the mould. He found that they required no water, for the condensation of water on the internal surface of the glass kept the mould always equally moist; and he was willing to try how far the change of air within the vessel, which must naturally result from every change of temperature, might be sufficient for the purposes of vegetable life. He placed the bottle outside his window, and had the pleasure of finding that the plants grew well. The success of this trial led to a series of experiments upon plants of all structures, and belonging to a great variety of natural families, in which Mr. Ward was greatly assisted by the kindness of Messrs. Loddiges.
These experiments were conducted upon a large scale. The glass cases in which the plants were inclosed were of all sizes and shapes, from small wide-mouthed bottles, to a range of houses, about twenty-five feet in length, and ten in height. The houses were filled with rockwork, for the purpose of accommodating plants which grow best in such situations. Some of these cases were quite closed at the bottom, and when once watered required no further watering for a long period: others had several openings, and the plants were watered once in three or four weeks or months, as they seemed to require. The latter was found the most advantageous method. The glazed roof and sides of these cases were made as tight as putty and paint could effect, and the doors were made to fit closely, but in no instance were any of the cases sealed hermetically, from the almost impossible nature of the task in these instances, and from a conviction on the part of Mr. Ward that if it were done it would prevent that alternate expansion and
contraction of the air within, on which so much of the success of the experiment appeared to depend.
The result of other experiments made by Mr. Yates, one of the "Committee appointed for making experiments on the growth of plants under glass, and without free communication with the outward air," is also very interesting. In 1837 he thus writes:
Nearly a year ago I planted Lycopodium dentatum in a chemical preparation-glass, with a ground stopper. During that time the bottle has never been opened. The Lycopodium continues perfectly healthy, and has grown very much, although for want of space the form of the plant is distorted. Seeds, which happened to be in the soil, have germinated, and Marchantia has grown of itself within the glass. I also obtained a hollow glass globe, of eighteen inches' diameter, and with an aperture sufficient to admit my hand for planting the specimens. A variety of ferns and lycopodiums were then set in the soil, which was properly moistened with water. This having been done, the aperture was covered with sheet India-rubber, which was every day forced, either outwards, as the air within the glass was heated and expanded, or inwards in the reverse circumstances. These ferns grew probably as well as they would have done in a greenhouse or hothouse. They were all foreign, and some of them requiring a great heat. Several have ripened seed.
Mr. Yates also mentions the erection of a greenhouse in the yard of the Mechanics' Institute, Mount-street, Liverpool, for the purpose of affording a specimen on an enlarged scale, to be exhibited at the meeting of the British Association in that city. It was stocked with foreign plants of all kinds, and was not provided with any means for the application of artificial heat. The plants flourished perfectly well, many of them flowered, and some ripened seed.
Another series of experiments was undertaken by Dr. Daubeny. During the month of April, 1837, he introduced a considerable number of living plants into glass globes, having only a single aperture through which the air could circulate, and that one covered over by a sound piece of bladder, closely attached to the edges of the glass, so as to preclude the possibility of any air entering the vessel, except through the membrane itself. The plants, which consisted of anemonies, primroses, lobelias, speedwell, &c., were allowed to remain undisturbed for ten days, at the end of which time they appeared healthy, and had grown considerably: some even had flowered since their introduction. The air contained in the jars was then examined during the day, and found to contain in the first jar 4 per cent. of oxygen more than the proportion present in atinospheric air; in the second jar 14 per cent. more; in the third jar 2 per cent. more. The amount of oxygen was found to be on the decrease in successive examinations, and at length, on June 20th, of the same year, No. 1 was found to contain 2 per cent. less of oxygen than that in atmospheric air; No. 2, 3 less; No. 3, 4 per cent. less. Even then there was sufficient aerial circulation to sustain the vitality of the plants, though they were less vigorous and healthy.
Mr. Ward considers the change of air produced by alternate expansion and contraction, which is regulated by heat, as being exactly proportioned to the increased wants of plants grown in this manner, arising from their greater excitement. Vascular require a greater change of air than cellular plants, and this is effected by surrounding them with a larger volume. It is of great importance that light be freely admitted to all parts of the growing plant, for it is thus assisted in developing its flowers, and enduring cold.
The air in these cases is in a perfectly quiet condition, and therefore the plants will bear variations of temperature, which in ordinary circumstances would prove fatal to them. Australian and Cape plants are found to bear the cold of our climate in this way without injury, and some of the inhabitants of cold regions may, in the same manner, be reared in our sunny apartments, being sur
rounded with a protecting atmosphere of their own creation. Mr. Ward gives a striking illustration of this ability in inclosed plants to bear changes of temperature. A case of plants, brought by Captain Mallard, from New Holland, was prepared in the month of February, at which time the thermometer stood 94° in the shade. In rounding Cape Horn, two months subsequently, the thermometer fell to 20°: a month after this, in the harbour at Rio, it rose again to 100°: in crossing the line, the thermometer attained 120°, and fell to 40° on their arrival in the British Channel in November, eight months after they were inclosed. These plants were taken out in the most healthy condition.
HAS THE MOON ANY INFLUENCE ON
AN inquiry whether the moon exerts any influence on organized beings is not less interesting than a similar investigation of her influence on the weather. Gardeners and agriculturists have a strong faith in the existence of such influence, and it is right that the tenability of the opinion should be gradually tested.
The gardeners in the neighbourhood of Paris apply the name of the "frosty moon to the lunation, which, commencing in April, becomes full in the early part of May. They assert that the light of this moon exerts an unfavourable influence on the young shoots of plants; that, during a clear night, the leaves and buds exposed to this "frosty moon" become, in some measure, blighted by frost, although the temperature of the air may be many degrees above the freezing-point; and that if the night be cloudy, so that the moon's rays cannot reach the plants, the bad effect does not take place, although the temperature may be the same as before. Many of the scientific men of Paris have laughed at these notions, but Arago shows that they may not be altogether unreasonable. Dr. Wells, some years ago, demonstrated that, through the radiation of heat, a plant may be during the night many degrees colder than the surrounding air: if the sky be clear, this difference may amount to 10° or 12° Fahrenheit, but if cloudy, the difference becomes little or nothing. Now it is known that in the month of April and the beginning of May, the temperature at night is frequently only 6° or 8° above the freezing-point, and the plants may thus become frosty on the principle which produces dew and hoar-frost in other cases. Arago says that, by viewing the matter in this light we may agree with the Paris gardeners as to the fact, though the moon's action has nothing to do with it.
By means of the glass case we are able to surround our plants with an atmosphere of any required humidity, and thus we may now, in the heart of cities, have our drawing-room tables adorned with growing specimens of choice and beautiful flowers, or if we prefer it, with the lovely, though humble, denizens of our woods and forests.
ON THE PERCEPTION OF PAIN.
UNHEALTHY people depend far too much on the druggist's shop.
But there are thousands upon thousands who do not
"Trees ought to be cut down during the wane of the moon, if we wish the wood to be of good quality and durable." This is a favourite maxim of foresters, and was formerly so strongly believed in France, that a law was passed to ensure attention to it in the royal forests. The same opinion prevails in many other countries. Sauer, a German agriculturist, after expressing his belief in the fact, explains it by saying that the sap rises in a plant more abundantly during the first than the second half of a lunation, and that consequently, if the tree be cut before full moon, the wood will be spongy, easily assailable by worms, slow in drying, and not durable. Arago remarks that, if true, nothing in science would be more remarkable than the increase of sap at a particular part of the moon's age. It does not appear that Sauer made any experiments to support his assertion, and he meets with but little support from other quarters, for M. Duhamel de Monceau cut down a great many trees of the same age, situated in the same field, and under precisely similar circumstances: on comparing the wood of these trees, he could not perceive that the trees cut down during the wane yielded wood differing in any respect whatever from those cut during the moon's
Some gardeners maintain that if you wish to have cabbages and lettuces which will shoot; if you want double flowers, or trees which shall give early fruit, you must sow, plant, and cut during the increase of the moon. The only attempt at explanation which we that of Montanari, who says: "During the day the have ever seen, in support of this fanciful opinion, is solar heat augments the quantity of sap which circulates in plants, by increasing the diameter of the tubes through which it flows. The cold of night produces an opposite effect. Now at the time of sun-set the moon, if not yet full, is above the horizon, and therefore lessens the cooling effect resulting from the disappearance of the sun. During the wane, on the contrary, the moon often does not rise till some hours after sun-set, that is, till the cool
ing of the organs of the plants has produced its full effect." This explanation is full of objections, but it will suffice to say that a calculation on the heating effects of the moon's rays is quite inadmissible. These maxims appear quite as insupportable as that of Pliny, that we should sow beans at full moon, and lentils at new moon. No fair experiments have proved the maxims to be true. Pliny observes that if we wish to gather grain for the market, we should do so at full moon, because the grain augments considerably in size during the increase of the moon. The first objection to this statement is, that we are deficient in proof of its correctness, and the next is, that, supposing it to be correct, it would be much more rational, as Arago remarks, to seek for the explanation in the slight increase of rain which seems to take place just before full moon, rather than in any direct influence of the moon.
The Italian vine-dressers maintain that wine which is made at the latter end of one lunation and the beginning of another is never so good as that which is begun and completed during one lunation. Toalda explains it thus. "The vinous fermentation never embraces parts of two lunations except when it commences just before new moon; and as the moon then has her enlightened hemisphere turned away from the earth, the atmospheric temperature ought to be at its minimum, and it is well known that fermentation is less active when the temperature is low." Here is the same fallacy as before, in attributing a positive heating effect to the moon's rays, for it has been proved that the moon does not elevate a thermometer so much as sath of a degree in temperature, a quantity quite insignificant for all practical purposes. The vine-dressers of Italy also tell us that wine ought not to be bottled in January and March, except during the wane of the moon, as it would otherwise be spoiled. Fortunately we are spared the trouble of confuting this dogma, for Pliny tells us just the reverse: he instructs us not to bottle or clarify wine except when the moon is seven days old, that is, when she is increasing. We may therefore safely leave these opposite opinions without an attempt to examine into their truth.
Upon the whole, M. Arago, a man peculiarly fitted to form an opinion on these subjects, thinks that of all the maxims and dogmas respecting the influence of the moon on plants, the greater part are not true, and that those which appear to be matters of fact are caused by some other circumstances, and not by the direct influence of
not alter its texture nor modify its tint?" He is willing to accept the fact that the skin is apt to change its tint in a clear night, but he would attribute it to the radiation of heat, and not to any influence of the moon.
Almost as many opinions have been formed of the moon's influence on animal bodies as on plants. It is said that the moon's rays darken the complexion. Supposing that the skin does become darkened by longcontinued exposure in clear nights, there are two ways of considering the question. Up to a very recent Up to a very recent period no substance was known to the scientific chemist, the colour of which was at all affected by moonlight. Recent discoveries in photography enable us now to produce compounds so extremely sensitive to the action of light that their colour is affected by long exposure to moonlight. It is, however, very difficult to see how the lunar rays can change the complexion. When we receive upon the body the light of the moon, the sky is clear: when the sky is clear, heat radiates from animal bodies in the same way as from plants, for we should find that on two nights, the one clear and the other cloudy, when the thermometer indicated the same temperature, the clear night would feel colder to us than the cloudy. Although the animal heat would prevent the cooling of the skin by radiation from going on to too great an extent,-although, for instance, it might not permit hoar-frost to form on the skin,-yet there is reason to believe that a cooling of the skin does take place under these circumstances, and Arago asks, "Who would venture to affirm that the physical condition in which the skin is placed by a very intense local coldness, would
Pliny and other ancient naturalists stated that the moon spreads an abundant moisture on all bodies which receive its light, and that this light hastens the putrefaction of animal substances. The same opinions exten sively prevail at the present day in the West Indies. Without charging the moon with being the cause of these phenomena, it is not difficult to account for them by referring them to dew. When the moon shines bril liantly, the sky is clear: when the sky is clear, heat radiates from bodies at the earth's surface: when this radiation occurs, a portion of the aqueous vapour sus pended in the air becomes condensed, and settles on the cold body in the form of dew or moisture; and as animal substances putrefy more readily when wet than when dry, this dewy moisture would hasten the process. Hence it is perfectly possible to believe that animal substances putrefy more quickly in the moon's light than in a cloudy night, without looking for the cause in any particular action of the lunar rays.
Some of the ancients assert that lobsters, oysters, and some other kinds of fish, are larger during the increase of the moon than during the wane. The Academicians del Cimento at Florence professed to inquire into this matter, and, admitting the fact, attributed it to the aid which the light of the moon gave to the fish in seeking their food. It has been well observed, however, that exactly as much light from the moon falls on the earth or sea from new to full as from full to new, and therefore the above difference could not exist if the lunar rays produced the effect. Moreover, Rohault asserts, from careful observation, that there is no evidence of the fact itself; that there is no such difference in the sizes of the fish caught at these different periods.
Sanctorius once asserted that a man weighs one or two pounds more at the commencement of a lunation than towards the latter end, and he states that he found it true in himself. We may pretty safely assert that horsemen, sportsmen, and others who are accustomed to be weighed frequently, would be well acquainted with such a fact if it were true. In the absence of such evidence credence is impossible. The butchers o France, and perhaps of other countries, used to enter tain the opinion that there is more marrow in the bone of animals at one period of the moon's age than at others but Rohault, after more than twenty years' observation found that there was not the slightest ground for such an assertion.
A great many isolated circumstances have been re corded, having for their object to show that human mala dies are influenced by the phases and eclipses of the moon Dr. Mead mentions an instance of a child who alway had convulsions at the moment of full moon. Piso speaks of a man who had an attack of paralysis ever new moon. Menuret has recorded an instance wher epilepsy came on at full moon. Gall is said to hav observed that weak and feeble persons are more irritabl at two periods of the lunar month than at other time: Faber tells us that when a lunar eclipse took place, maniac was found to become additionally furious, to ar himself with a sword, and to strike all who came withi his reach. Ramazzini reports that the persons attacke with an epidemic fever which raged throughout Italy i the year 1693, perished in great number on the 21st January, the day of a lunar eclipse. Vallisnieri say that, being at Padua, recovering from a long illness, b was attacked with unusual feebleness and trembling the day of a solar eclipse, and when, consequently, th moon was between the earth and the sun.
Now although it would not be right to give a deni to all these statements, yet there are two or three circun stances which should be borne in mind in estimating th
probability of truth. We all know the effect of imagi- | COMMERCIAL HISTORY OF CURRANTS AND nation in increasing the maladies of the human frame; and we are all aware of the undefined feeling of dread and awe experienced by many persons at the mention of an eclipse. That the imagination, urged by this dread and awe, should affect the frame, and bring on certain disordered symptoms, is fairly within the bounds of probability. If a person of a weak and superstitious turn of mind should be told, and should believe, that he would die on a certain day, it is not improbable that his death would really be brought on, or at least hastened, by the effect of imagination on the human frame. And so it is likely to be in other cases. It is also worthy of remark that the observations recorded by physicians have seldom been long continued, so that we have no means of judging whether the phenomena occurred uniformly for years.
As far as present observations go, 'there does not seem any evident reason why the moon should affect either plants or animals, but still it would be rash to say that such affection does not take place. Multiplied observations, for a long series of years, are required before we shall properly understand the subject. Meanwhile it is well to bear in mind the reply of an ancient philosopher, who, when he was asked, "Why is it that foals who have been chased by a wolf become better runners than other foals?" answered, "Why because, perhaps, it is not true!" We must be quite certain of the accuracy of the facts before we draw conclusions.
On some future occasion we may probably return to this subject, and collect the opinions and superstitions of the philosophers, the natural historians, the poets and the wise men of the olden time, on the action of the moon on organized beings. The subject has both its interest and its moral. These fancies and superstitions may be amusing enough to those who live in the present enlightened age, but they probably form a remnant of that idolatry which excited the anger of the Almighty against His chosen people when "He turned and gave up to worship the host of heaven."-Acts vii. 42.
Ir I looked upon the frame of society only with the eye of an artist, if I cared not what became of human government, or the human character, or anything else human, I should be compelled to see and admit that there is no basis for human welfare, individual, social, or national, none conceivable or possible, none provided by the great Framer of the World, but intelligence and virtue.-DURY.
WEEP not, sad moralist! o'er desert plains,
AN ELEPHANT'S PULSE.
THERE chanced to be a female elephant and her calf stationed not far from my tent. I carried the young one a large basin of sweet tea, after breakfast one morning, into which he dipped his trunk, and drained the contents in an instant; and, perceiving his mamma looking on wistfully, I procured her one also, which she drank with much gusto. Soon after this inrtoduction we became great friends, and the mother and her son were regular pensioners of my teapot; the lady permitting me to take many liberties with ber, such as toying with her delicate ear, scratching her beck, &c., and giving me now and then a hug about the waist with her trunk, which in no instance exceeded the reasonable bds of a friendly embrace. One morning when she was Pricularly affectionate, I took a fancy to feel her pulse: a when handling her ear, I groped for an artery at the and noted the number of pulsations in a minute, wich was twenty-four-and I need scarcely add that there wint of strength.-FORBES' Ceylon.
IT is perhaps not generally known that the two kinds of fruit which form part of the ingredients of a "Christmas pudding" are nothing more than different varieties of the grape, dried previous to the exportation. The terms currants and plums, as applied to the dried fruits sold by the grocer, are rather ill-chosen, for those names have been long given to two well-known kinds of fresh fruit, cultivated in England, and very different from the similarly named dried fruits.
Dried currants are a species of grape grown in Zante and other of the Ionian Islands, and likewise in the southern parts of Greece. Sir George Wheler, who travelled in Greece a hundred and sixty years ago, gave what was probably the first correct account of their growth and preparation. He states that their name was borrowed from the city of Corinth, where they were appellation, Uva Corinthiace, or grapes of Corinth, first cultivated, and from which they obtained their Latin afterwards changed to currant. He says:
They grow not upon bushes, like our red and white currants, as is vulgarly thought, but upon vines, like other grapes; only their leaf is something bigger, and the grape and in those parts are only red, or rather black. But when much smaller than others. They are also without stones; I passed Piacenza in Italy, I saw white ones of this kind, only differing in colour.
were left till dried.
He proceeds to describe the mode in which the fruit being ripe by about the month of August, were gathered was, in his day, prepared for exportation. The grapes, and placed in a thin layer on the ground, where they cleaned, brought into the town, and put into warehouses They were then gathered up, called seraglios; into which they were poured through a hole above, till the warehouse was completely filled. The currants, by their own weight when thus accumu lated in a large quantity, caked so closely together as to require digging out with sharp instruments, when about to be barrelled for exportation. A very primitive mode was adopted for pressing the currants into barrels, viz., by a man, who, getting into the barrel with bare legs and feet, trampled down the fruit as fast as it was laded in. In 1680, the island of Zante bore enough of this fruit yearly to load five or six vessels; Cephalonia three or four; Nathaligo, Messalongha, and Patras, one. The English had a small factory at Zante, and the French and the Dutch had consuls, to regulate the trade with their respective countries. Sir George Wheler adds quaintly:
The English have the chief trade here; and good reason they should, for I believe they eat six times as much of their fruit, as both France and Holland do. The Zantiotes have not long known what we do with them; but have been persuaded that we use them only to dye cloth with; and are yet strangers to the luxury of Christmas pies, plum-pottage, cake, and puddings, &c.
The same islands which supplied us with currants in 1680, do so at the present day; but the visits of more recent travellers enable us to give a somewhat more complete account of the cultivation and commerce of this article. The species of vine which produces this much care and attention during its growth. Six or fruit is of a small size and delicate nature, requiring seven years elapse after a plantation has been formed, before the vines yield a crop of grapes. The plants grow low, and are supported by sticks. In the beginning of October the earth about the roots of each plant is loosened and gathered up in small heaps, away from the vine. The operation of pruning is performed in March; the plant. The crops are liable to injury in Spring from after which the ground is again laid down smooth around the blight called the brina; and rainy weather in the harvest season produces great mischief. The gathering, as before observed, takes place about August or Septem