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and sunshine for some hours. They are then placed on a flat cast-iron pan, over a stove heated with charcoal. From a half to three quarters of a pound of leaves are operated upon at one time.
7. The leaves are stirred quickly about for some time with a kind of brush, and are then swept off into a basket.
8. The next process which the leaves undergo is that of rolling, which is effected by carefully rubbing them between men's hands. They are then placed upon the iron pan, and subjected again to heat, but at a much lower temperature, just sufficient to dry them effectually, without the risk of scorching them.
9. When this process is finished, the leaves are thrown upon a table and carefully picked over.
Every unsightly or imperfectly dried leaf that is detected, is removed from the rest in order that the sample may present a better appearance when offered for sale.
10. With some of the finer sorts of tea a different process is adopted; the heated plates are dispensed with, and the leaves are carefully rolled into balls, leaf by leaf with the hands.
11. There are many varieties of the tea-plant, and in China several sorts of tea are used, mostly named after the districts in which they are grown. In our own country, however, tea is generally divided into two sorts—black and green, which were at one time believed to be obtained from entirely different plants. It is now known, however, that both sorts grow on the same tree, and that the difference in colour is only the result of two different methods of treating the leaves.
12. In the preparation of green tea, the leaves are roasted almost immediately after they are gathered, and dried as quickly as possible. In black teas, on the contrary, the whole process is retarded, and the leaves are exposed to the air until they become soft and flaccid, when they are finally dried slowly over charcoal fires.
13. The chemical changes induced under these different conditions account for both the difference in colour and in the quality of black and green tea.
14. The people of China partake of tea at all their meals, and frequently at other times of the day. They drink it without either milk or sugar.
15. Formerly all teas imported into Europe were brought from China, but now large supplies are received from our possessions in India. It was thought by many that the tea-plant would thrive on the slopes of the Himalaya Mountains in India, and many thousands of plants were imported from China. These have been so successfully cultivated, that tea of a very superior quality is grown, and commands a high price in the market. Being of a strong description, it is principally bought by merchants for mixing with the low sorts of Chinese teas so as to raise their quality.
16. Two hundred and fifty years ago tea was unknown in Europe. It had been used in China from the earliest ages, and was common enough in India, Persia, and Tartary. It was first brought to Europe by the Dutch, who imported it as a drug; indeed
one of their physicians commended it as a sure cure for many complaints.
17. It was first introduced into England in the year 1664, but its price made it a curiosity. It is recorded that the East India Company paid £2 for two ounces of tea, which they presented to Charles the Second. For some years after 1664, tea was sold for sixty shillings per pound, and for a long time the rich only could afford to buy it.
18. Now its use is almost universal, and more than 80,000,000 lbs. are imported into this country annually. Its importation employs a large capital and numerous shipping, and so important is this article reckoned, that its fall or rise in price is looked upon with anxiety by the poorest individual in the nation.
evergreen, always green.
detected, observed. varieties, sorts. frequently, often. retarded, kept back. shallow, not deep. principally, chiefly. capital, money laid out
in trade. imported, brought in.
heat. sufficient, enough.
de-scrip-tion re-ceiv-ed cov-er-ed fin-ish-ed ca-mel-lia fur-nish-ed, un-sight-ly el-e-vat-ed
success-ful-ly cu-ri-o-si-ty phys-i-cian
Name the countries of which the tea plant is a native. What kind of a tree is it? What sort of bark has it? What plant grown in this country does it resemble? Describe the shape and colour of the leaves. What colour are the flowers, and where are they placed? Where does the plant grow in China? What ground is best suited for it? How many times a year are the leaves gathered? When is the first gathering? When is the second? When does the third and last take place? Which gathering of the leaves is the most valuable? Into what two sorts is the tea used in this country divided ? How is black tea made? How is green? In what other part of the world is tea now grown? What sort of tea is produced there? How many years ago is it since tea was unknown in this country? How long has it been used in China? What nation first brought it to Europe? How much per ounce was given for some for a present to Charles the Second? What was the price per pound for many years afterwards? How much is imported into this country annually!
GUSTAVUS III. AND THE POOR GIRL.
1. There was a good King of Sweden called Gustavus the Third, who died in 1792, after a reign of twenty-one years. One morning he was riding through a village near Stockholm, the capital of his kingdom. Seeing a young girl at a fountain getting water, he asked her for the favour of a drink. Without knowing who was addressing her, she stepped forward, and lifted her pitcher to his lips.
2. The ready kindness of the girl, her artless manner, and her poor appearance, drew the king's heart towards her. He told her if she would come to live in the city, he would place her in a more agreeable and comfortable position in life.
3. “Ah!' good sir,” answered the girl, “I am not anxious to forsake the position in which Providence has placed me; and even if I were, I would not leave my home to accept your offer.”
“And why not?” replied the king, with some surprise.
4. “Because," said the girl, “my mother is poor and sickly, and I am the only one she has to take care