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elderberries, however, it will be purple; if
logwood, reddish purple; if beet-root juice,
or Brazil-wood, red; if American grape,
yellow.

A very little oil of vitriol is allowed in
vinegar, by law, to prevent decomposition.
Adulteration of vinegar with a great deal of
dilute oil of vitriol is a common fraud. The
addition of a little nitrate of baryta will
detect it, by throwing down a copious white
precipitate.

Of the injuries we suffer through our tea
and coffee, a good deal has latterly been said.
The adulteration of tea by sloe and other
British leaves, in London, at any rate, is
scarcely practised. The great murderers of
tea are the Chinese themselves, and green tea
is the grand subject of their cruelty. The
black tea sold in our shops may here and
there contain a trifle of black-lead, but, on the
whole, is pure and wholesome. The
black-lead and plumbago are attached chiefly, if not
wholly, to the fancy black teas, "scented
orange pekoe" and caper. Unadulterated
green tea from China is scarcely to be had in
London. It is faced with Prussian blue,
turmeric, and China clay, and it is far more
liable to mixture with other leaves and with
Lie tea. In fact, the only green tea in the
case of which, whatever its quality, we may
be sure that it is clean, is the Assam tea, made
out of China.

Mixtures sold to improve the strength of
tea contain catechu, or other astringent
matters active to do harm.

Upon coffee we have often spoken. It
may be worth while to make familiar, by
repetition, the easy although somewhat rough
test of the adulteration of ground coffee with
chicory. If the mixture be lightly shaken in
a tumbler of cold water, chicory will sink, and
coffee, by virtue of the oil that it contains,
will float. The coffee after a few minutes
will sink; the test is rough, but, carefully
applied, is satisfactory. Coffee will very
slightly tint cold water, but chicory will give
it a decided tinge. To procure colour,
however, burnt sugar is often used, and
sometimes added to whole coffee in the roasting.
Whole coffee, that has not been sugared or
over roasted, should be of a light chocolate
colour; and when ground and steeped in hot
water for use, it ought not to blacken the
water readily. Of course, everybody knows
that coffee should be made by steeping in hot
waternever boiled. They who desire the
entire virtue of the berry, its bitter as well as
its aroma, having first steeped their coffee
thoroughly and put aside the liquor, should
then separately boil the dregs as vigorously
as they please, and add the two results.

The impurities contained in moist brown
sugar are visible to the eye upon dissolving it
in water. Among them is included a
peculiarly disgusting insect, of the same family
with that which gives rise to the itch. Eggs,
legs, and bodies of this creature abound in
most kinds of brown sugar; and in the
cheapest, moistest kinds, it lives and swarms.
We say nothing of sand, treacle, plaster of
Paris, chalk, sawdust, starch, potato sugar,
and fungi. In the choice of brown sugar, one
should desire that which is driest and most
crystalline in appearance, preferring that
which has the largest crystals. The choice
of a moist sugar for use is not a question of
taste merely, but of health and cleanliness.
An extra halfpenny upon the pound that
would be denied to a dictate of luxury, might
be afforded, probably, to a more reasonable
sense of fitness, by nearly all the classes who
in the present day buy sugars that are quite
unfit, until they have been cleansed, to be
exposed for sale as articles of food.

If the British public has a little breath left,
after its hard running in the wrong direction,
after the cry of strychnine in the bitter beer,
perhaps it will continue its exertions in
another path. In this hope, we especially
suggest a close attention to the use of alum,
in our bread, and poison in our sweetmeats.

ROUND THE MIDSUMMER FIRE.

THE very old custom of Bonefires on St.
John's eve, the twenty-third of June, still
prevails throughout Ireland. The same is, or
was lately, to be found in parts of England,
Wales, Scotland, and the continent of Europe.
Of its origin various opinions have been
advanced, each with some show of likelihood
and authority; and whether that be Oriental,
Greek, Roman, Druidical, or Christian, or its
first intention the honour of Fire, the Sun, the
Heavenly Host, Baal, Ceres, Apollo, or Saint
John, remains in dispute. A Roman Catholic
Bishop, Dr. Milner, in his "Inquiry into
certain Vulgar Opinions concerning the
Catholic Inhabitants, and the Antiquities of
Ireland," (as quoted in Ellis's "Brande's
Antiquities"), affirms the celebration to be in no wise
traceable to Paganism, but solely in honour of
Christ's precursor; and the particular
significancies of the fires and their materials are
said to be expounded in an ancient homily on
the Feast of St. John the Baptist. Yet it
may well be believed that the ceremony of
the Midsummer Fires reaches farther back
than the Christian era; and as marking the
sun's point of culmination in, the northern
zodiac, it appears a natural correlative of a
knowledge of the astronomical fact. Gebeliu,
in his "Monde Primitif," (as quoted in
Brande), states it to be "of the most remote
antiquity," and continues: "The origin of
this Fire, which is still retained by so many
nations, though enveloped in the mist of
antiquity, is very simple; it was a feu de joie,
kindled the very moment the year began; for
the first of all years, and the most ancient
that we know of, began at [or, in?] this month
of June. These feux de joie were accompanied
at the same time with vows and sacrifices for

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