« ПредишнаНапред »
into the British exchequer as revenue collected on the tea leaf.
Tea has produced to England a commerce amounting to upwards of ^68,000,000 sterling, that is, in imports and exports; and has yielded an annual revenue to the British exchequer of 363,300,000. It has also promoted the health and morals of the people. Pekoe is the leaf buds, picked early in the spring, sometimes mixed with olive flower for fragrance; hence the term, "white blossom tea."
Congo, Souchong, and Bohea, take their names from the districts where they grow, or the mode in which they are prepared. Green tea differs from black more on account of the way in which it is prepared, than because it is of a different kind. The common belief that green tea is dried on copper is ill founded; both black and green teas are dried in iron pots over the fire. Black tea improves by keeping, but this is not the case with green. The Chinese prefer black tea, ten or fifteen years old, if it has been kept from the atmosphere. We are purblind beings at the best, and cannot fathom His almighty counsels, whose "ways are not as our ways." The tea trade, which we only regard as a source of luxury and temporal profit, may one day, by the Divine permission and blessing, be a battering-ram to knock down the wall of China, a key to unlock the hearts of the Chinese, and a channel through which a flood of gospel light may flow, to illumine the three hundred millions of pagans which the "celestial empire" contains.
"Waft, waft, ye winds, His story,
And you, ye waters, roll,
It spreads from pole to pole:
The Lamb, for sinners slain,
In bliss returns to reign."
What have we here? An oil and colour shop, where they seem to sell many things: oils, vinegar, mustard, salt, and soap; honey, bees' wax, and emery; black-lead, glue, sponge, and packthread; brushes, brooms, blacking, doormats, tobacco, snuff, pipes, and candles.
About five hundred years ago, candles were so great a luxury that splinters of wood, dipped in oil or grease, were used for lights. Why the thought of reading and writing by the light of a greasy piece of wood is enough to make one look on a candle with gratitude, to snuff it with double care, and to regard it as a friend.
Tobacco is cultivated in America, the West Indies, and other places. It was first introduced into Europe by Jean Nicot of Nismes, agent from the king of France to Portugal, who procured the seeds from a Dutchman, and sent them to France. It is smoked as cigars, and in pipes; and is chewed by thousands of soldiers, sailors, and other people. Common smoking pipes are made of soft white clay; they are formed in a mould, the hole in the tube is made with a wire, and then they are burnt in an oven.
Do you see the oils and colours, the reds and blues, the greens and the yellows? West, when he began to paint, pulled hairs from a cat's tail to make him a pencil: but painting brushes are plentiful here. Here are materials for a new school of painters, an absolute academy of Hogarths, Bembrandts, Raffaelles, and Guidos; Titians, Teniers, Poussins, and Paul Potters. When you next look at a real Vandyck, a Godfrey Kneller, a Murillo, or a Carlo Dolce, you may think more highly of an oil and colour shop.
How eloquent might I be about industry, as I look at the bees' wax and the honey-pot; about the British navy, while I gaze on the pitch and the tar-tub; and what strange things in music does that lump of rosin bring to my remembrance! Even now Paganini is before me.
I could brighten up in my remarks at the very sight of the ball of lamp-cotton, while the spermaceti puts me at once on board a whaler, bound to the icebergs of the Northern Ocean.
Now I shall have a treat, for this is the shop of a mercer, and linen and woollen draper. What a magnificent window! It makes me afraid to look in, lest some one should jostle me against the splendid panes of plate glass. They are of unusual dimensions. How tastefully are the goods arranged! A Cashmerian need not be ashamed of these shawls! A Persian might be proud of those silks! How the muslins and prints wave, like streamers, in the doorway! And then, look at the huge rolls of superfine broad cloth, that remind one of an English squire of the olden time, with his good old dame beside him;
"He in English true blue, button'd up to the chin,
What a fine mirror is that at the end, yonder, doubling the shop's length to the eye, and multiplying the gas-lights in the evening! With what complaisance and courtesy the well-dressed shopmen attend to their customers! How cleverly that youth cleared the counter, by placing his hand upon it and springing over! Do you observe the lady on the right, seated, carelessly examining the different articles before her? that is the twentieth piece of silk the shopman has shown her, yet he is still active and obliging, although she has at present purchased nothing.
See here, I would not have passed these plaids and tartans for a crown. There are the tartans of the Frasers, and the M'Phersons, the Abercrombies, the M'Farlans, the Camerons, and the duke of Montrose. The blue dark ground with broad bars of green I remember well, it is the tartan of the 42nd regiment; it prates about the broad-sword. The red ground with large squares, crossed with black, is that of Rob Roy; and the most lively of all, the small squares of red and green, barred with black, is the glowing tartan of the M'Duffs.
I know not if these things affect you as they affect me; but, as I look at the window, these tartans serve me as a text. Try if you cannot mend the sorry sermons that I make from it.
They breathe of other things to me,
The draper himself is attending some ladies who are in a carriage at the door. With what a bow he takes leave of them! It expresses much of respectful homage and attention. Surely the business with which he is charged will be faithfully performed, if human energy can accomplish it. Other ladies have now come in, and he dismisses his former customers from his thoughts, but not until he has spoken quickly to one of his shopmen, who notes down where certain parcels are to be sent. The man in the elevated desk is