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will be no worse, and the cows, the grass,
the widow, and her dairy-maidens very much
the better.

By this time, my visit was quite long
enough. I had obtained leave to come at
seven in the morning to see the whole
process of cheese-making. The maidens,
of whom there are always three, and
sometimes four, rise at five o'clock. There is the
milking and the breakfast; and by seven
they are ready to begin upon the cheese.

The meal of milk of the evening before
was put into tubs, except what is wanted for
butter, and for domestic use. The tubs
which receive the milk for cheese are two;
and there are two more to contain the whey
of the preceding batch. When the evening's
and morning's meal were poured (mixed)
into the two tubs, there were about fifty
gallons in each, the yield of sixty cows, ten of
the seventy cows on the farm being dry, or
calving at the time.

There are two things to be put into this
deluge of milk, one for show, and the other
for use. For show, a table-spoonful of
arnotta is mixed in. The arnotta is a thick,
viscid, dark red substance, thicker than
treacle, and quite as dark. It is made from
the lining of the seed-pod, and from the
pressed seeds of a South American and West
Indian plant of the Bixa kind; and it is
used merely to colour the cheese. There
cannot be too little of it put in, for its taste
is nauseous to the last degree; and its
properties are purgative. There is a constant
tendency among the cheese-makers to put in
more and more, to make the cheese rich, as
they say, which means merely highly-coloured.
Mrs. S., however, allows only one spoonful to
a tub of fifty gallons; and that cannot well
hurt anybody.

The other substance put in is the rennet.
Irish rennet is found to be the best. Some
of the farmers in the cheese districts bargain
with the butchers, in selling their calves, to
have the stomachs back again; but they
must, for the most part, use them for their
own cheese-making; for the regular cheese
dairies are provided with the stomachs of
Irish calves, brought by travelling agents.
Mrs. S. buys enough in the spring for the
whole year. She keeps it in a basket on a
shelf in the cheese-house, cuts off a few small
pieces of the long-dead stomach (which looks
half-way between tripe and parchment) and
soaks them in a pipkin with cold water for a
few minutes. Some people pour boiling
water on them, and let it stand till cold; but
the cold water does quite as well, and causes
no delay. There is some appearance of
mystery in a cup fall of water, in which a bit of
calf's stomach has been washed, turning fifty
gallons of milk into curd in a quarter of an
hour: and till lately it was a mystery what
the gastric juice of all stomachs was
composed of, and how it acted. Now the
chemists have ascertained what are the
constituents of this wonderful secretion, this juice
which is in all stomachs, which has no effect
on living creatures, but reduces all dead
substances that are swallowed into one uniform
pulp, the best part of which goes to nourish
the frame. But how it acts there is no
knowing, any more than how any of the
changes of the living frame are produced.
There it is, in the stomach of the calf when
killed; and the coats of the stomach are
dried; and, after many months, the juice is
as good as ever for turning milk into curd,
in Cheshire in the autumn, just as it did in
the stomach of the living calf, down in
County Kerry in spring. While the process
is going on, a wooden bowl, with hot water,
floats on the surface of the milk, and some
people put into the tub a pint, or so, in
summer, and more in winter.

The maids are not idle while the curd is
setting. One stout wench draws several
pailsful of buttermilk from a copper in one
corner, for the pigs: and next, she sets about
skimming the whey of yesterday. A thick
cream has risen, and makes that great tub
look exceedingly rich. She skims it, and
deposits the cream in an earthen jar, ready for
the churn; and then she empties the whey
by pailsful into what seems a great copper
in another corner; but, as the whey vanishes,
it is clear the copper is a funnel. The whey
runs off through a pipe to the piggery. She
is a clever girl who does this. She wears a
blue bib like a child's, up to her collar-bones,
and her gown is short, to a most sensible
degree, as is that of the other dairy-maids.
They do not go slopping and draggling about,
as ladies do in London streets; but have
their dress no lower than the ankle, and
shoes thick enough to keep them out of the
damp of the moist brick floor. This girl
wants to tilt the tub when she gets near the
bottom. She begs no help, but hoists her
stout apron through one of the handles, and
while she hoists it, kicks a log of wood under
the tub. When emptied, the tub is well
scalded, and left to hold the evening's milk.

The head dairymaid is meantime looking
to the cheeses made on Thursday, Wednesday,
and Tuesday, to-day being Friday. In the
two rooms now under observation there are
six presses, more being in other parts of the
premises. These presses look like any first
stone that any prince is going to lay for a
public buildinga square mass which ascends
and descends by a screw. The two cheeses
made on Tuesday are taken out and
examined. They are pressed into keelerstubs
made of substantial oak, lessening in size to
suit the lessening bulk of the cheese as it
dries. The cheese is now turned out of its
keeler, and the damp binder which bandaged
it is thrown aside. It is put into the keeler
again, the other end up, and the part which
does not go in (for the keeler holds only
about two-thirds of it yet) is bound round
with a broad strip of tin pierced with holes,

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