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and his duchess have been perhaps our principal figures. For the head of the house of Hohenzollern an heir had long been desired in vain, and when a prince was born at last he was ushered into the world with quite as much, if not more bonfires and rejoicings of every kind than recently welcomed our Queen's first grandson into life, that small descendant of this little prince born in the sixteenth century. Upon that joy no shadow fell from the dark hour to come, which was to see Duke Albert deserted by his friends, forced to disband his troops, and so completely in the power of a lawless faction, that when Hurst, his faithful adherent, clinging to his master's knees, besought protection, the duke, we are told, had nothing for him but his tears, and saw him led off to be beheaded.

The duke and duchess did not survive the indignities they had to suffer; they died of grief on the same day, leaving their unhappy son Albert Frederick in the hands of his enemies, and he was finally driven into insanity through the treatment he received.

We cannot help thinking that in spite of active household ways, embroidery, shirt and mantua making-in spite of dog and parrot, dwarfs and fools, these German dames must have led a somewhat dull and monotonous existence in those grim-looking castles by which flowed the Rhine, the Danube, or the Elbe, planted in a desert part of the country, girt with frowning woods, or overlooking, from some rock, a wide expanse of sterile soil. To the world of resources opened for their descendants by book, pencil, and music, they were utter strangers. Rarely did any twice-blessed work of mercy awake their sympathies for the peasants whom their lords oppressed. Very scanty was the culture afforded these ladies for the taste and intellect; only so much for the affections as Nature herself bestows on all who bear the names of wife and mother. It is noteworthy that the highest type to be traced in all these faded letters is that of the careful, frugal German housewife; we search in vain for some touch of the high-souled and high-hearted English lady, whose portrait Ben Jonson has drawn from life; for any token of the learning Elizabeth and Mary of England display in their autograph Latin letters to Duke Albert, still preserved at Konigsberg; or the deeper study, which, when the hunt was up, and the hounds swept past, kept their gentle cousin in her solitude, delighting more "to unsphere the spirit of Plato" than to join the throng of knights and ladies in the chase. L. F. P.

SPICES.

NUTMEG-CLOVE-CINNAMON,

DURING the memorable period when Rome entered on the slope of her long decline, certain merchants of Arabia brought to the great port of Egypt some packages of a curious fruit, found, they said, in the Indies, but in what particular place they knew not. They were delivered to them by traders of the Red Sea, who received them from others on the borders of the East; and as they passed from hand to hand, the countries which produced them remained entirely unknown. To supply the void in their knowledge, the ancients invented many fables; but it was not for several ages that Europe discovered the real sources of the new luxury that ministered to her appetite. The fragrant nut, the red clove, and the perfumed cinnamon were mingled in the delicate ragouts that regaled the Roman epicures, but the place of their growth was hidden in mystery.

Such continued long to be the case. Spices were brought from Ceylon and from the Indian Archipelago, chiefly overland, by one caravan after another, until the trader, entering the gates of the Eternal City, was ignorant whence his burden was derived. Long, indeed, after the commencement of the Christian era, during the flourishing period of Venetian commerce, the islands of the East were known only through rumours swelled into romance, or the reports of merchants disposed to exaggerate in fanciful language the wealth and the wonders of a region concerning which there were none to contradict them. Marco Polo, in the fourteenth century, and John Batuta wrote various accounts of the Oriental islands; yet it was not until 1506 that Portugal gained a direct intercourse, discovered Sumatra, conquered Malacca or the Malay Peninsula, and then explored the Spice Islands lying in that vast sea which rolls between Borneo and New Guinea.

The Spice Islands, properly so called, consist of Amboyna, the Bandas, Zernate, Tidor, Batchian, with many others too small to be noticed in detail. They are of great beauty, rising in the form of irregular cones from the sea, green and verdant, and displaying landscapes among the most picturesque in the world. None of them are larger than Jersey; but in the costliness of their products they excel every other region. The spices they produce were at one time so highly prized in Europe that merchants gained three thousand per cent. on their original cost. The Portuguese first, and

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practised in Amboyna, where it is a foreign plant; but in its native islands, where it has been all but extirpated, whole forests grow without culture, producing a rich fruit, and flourishing for a hundred years untended by the care of man. Much depends on the quality of the soil, the abundance of moisture, and the absence of a worm which occasionally heads in a plantation, destroying thousands of trees in a season.

the Dutch next, occupied the islands, establishing a system of monopoly which has been their curse. In order to enhance the value of the cloves and nutmegs, they rooted all the trees except those in three or four islands, forbidding the people to sell to any other nation, and punishing with the utmost cruelty any infraction of this law. History has to record no more revolting horrors than occurred in the Molucca group. In some of the islands all the people were slaughtered, and not a vestige of the original population allowed to remain. Some sketches of this system may be introduced in a later portion of this article. Let us now describe the precious commodities which tempted the Dutch to heap such odium on their name as a colonizing nation. The clove-tree, though introduced by naturalists into other parts of the world, is peculiar to the Indian Archipelago. Of all useful plants, it has, perhaps, the most limited geographical distribution. It was originally confined to five islands, but is now allowed to be grown only in Amboyna, where it is not indigenous, and produces far less than in the parent soil. Such is the blindness of monopoly. It has been described as the most beautiful, the most elegant, and the most precious of all known trees. In form it resembles the laurel, with the height of a common cherry-tree. A straight trunk rises about five feet, before throwing out branches. The bark is smooth, thin, and firmly laid on; the wood is hard and close-grained, but of an ugly colour, which prevents its employment in cabinet-work. About May-which, in the native country of the clove, leads in the rainy season-the tree sprouts abundantly; and the young leaves multiplying, all the plantation displays a mass of foliage of the most tender tints of green. The blossoms then begin to form, followed by the fruit; at first of a beryl colour, changing to primrose, deepening into blood-red, and varying thence to crimson, when it is fit for gathering, though scarcely ripe. Indeed, the mature clove loses much of its flavour and fragrance. Five varieties are distinguished: the common, the female, the long, the royal, which is very rare, and the wild, which is worth-ters are taken by the hand, the more disless. From the first three a rich essential tant by the aid of crooked sticks-men oil is extracted, valuable to the chemist. climbing among the branches and showerThe cloves called by the Chinese "odori-ing down the fragrant harvest to the ferous nails" are most abundant where ground. Particular care is taken not to dark loam prevails, resting on a stratum of injure the trees; as when roughly handled dusky yellow earth, intermixed with stones. they sometimes cease bearing for years. The best situations are at a moderate dis- When gathered, the cloves are piled on tance from the sea, under the shelter of hurdles, and submitted for several days to hills. An uniform method of cultivation is the action of smoke from a slow wood fire.

Where it is cultivated, the tree is propagated either directly from the "mother cloves," or by transplanting the young shrubs that spring up spontaneously from seeds scattered by the wind. This plan is preferred, the plants raised by the other method being observed to yield more leaves than fruit, and, growing very straight, are difficult to climb in the gathering or harvest season. The planter cannot reckon on success until his trees have reached a height of five or six feet, as in the early stages of their progress they are delicate, requiring to be shaded from the sun and sheltered from the wind. Gradually they are exposed to the open sky, with a few palms scattered among them. Care must be taken to prune the branches, to weed the ground, and keep the plantation sufficiently open to the heat and light, or the hopes of the proprietor may be blasted by a crop of wild cloves.

About October the aspect of Amboyna, which is crowded with clove-plantations, is singularly picturesque. The whole island, with its central hill, and bold volcanic peak, its mountains traced by the tracks of scorching lava-streams, its shores belted by graceful woods of palms, its plains diversified by piles of verdant hillocks, appears at intervals painted with tints of crimson, glowing amid masses of rich green foliage, and absolutely dazzling under the splendour of a sun never clouded, all that season, in an oriental sky. Then commences the harvest. The natives, divided into gangs, and attended by Dutch overseers, crowd the plantations, and the ground is swept clean as the floor of an English granary. There is no wind to shake down more leaves, and the whole remains exquisitely neat. The picking is next begun. The nearest clus

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indelible dye, though not applied to that purpose, since to obtain it it is necessary to destroy the tree. The leaves are like those of the pear, but larger and sharper, with the under-surface a dark green, and the upper grey-a characteristic in trees of the nut tribe. When pounded or bruised they yield a rich aromatic odour.

Coming to maturity about its ninth year, the nutmeg-tree usually lives to the seventyfifth. The manner of its natural propagation is exceedingly curious, and baffles all the efforts of the Dutch to extirpate it from the islands. A certain blue pigeon, called by the Malays the nutmeg-bird,, by the Hollanders the nut-eater, feeds on the pulpy-covering, called mace, which envelopes the fruit. This only being digested, the nutmegs are scattered over the islands, abundantly supplied with a kind of guano manure, and groves of trees spring up as though by magic where the inveterate watchfulness of the Dutchman had previously not left a root. When they are three years old the saplings are transplanted carefully, and interspersed throughout parks of palm, whose shade they require. There is a law in Banda against hewing down any

of these trees.

The nutmeg bears fruit all the year, though April, July, and August are the regular harvest seasons. The plantations display an aspect of unequalled beauty. Millions of little white heads sparkle on the trees, betokening the fruit in its first stage. At the same time flowers-like the lily of the valley, advanced a stage beyond-glitter amid the green foliage, and from these small red pistils spring, expanding gradually throughout nine months into the perfect fruit. The nut, with its covering of mace, has the size and appearance of a nectarine. Round it runs a furrow, like that on one side of a peach. The outer coat is smooth, and green during the early stage of its existence. As it ripens, a flush overspreads it, like that of the apricot. At length this covering, which resembles the thick rind of a walnut, bursts, and discovers the rich crimson coat of mace, exhibiting through its interstices a glossy black shell, the last covering of the nut. Under the heat of the sun these breathe out the finest perfumesa rich fruit's rind, Fragrant and sweet, and fluted by the wind.* They are then gathered, and the rind thrown away, while the nuts are carried to the stores to be separated from the mace. This is dried in the sun for some days,

John Stebbing.

changing its gorgeous crimson into a dull red, and ultimately a dusky yellow.

The nuts have to be cured with much attention, a certain insect always breeding in them, which it is necessary to extirpate. They are daily smoked on hurdles, over a slow wood fire, during two or three months. They are then freed from the shells, dipped in lime-water, and are then fitted for the market. Such is the planter's task in the

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CINNAMON.

Moluccas. In the island of Pinang, however, in the Straits of Malacca, where the cultivation has been introduced, a far more laborious process has to be pursued. A deep-red friable soil, a well-sheltered, welldrained, yet well-irrigated spot, must be chosen. The stumps of trees must be removed, the nests of white ants extirpated, the ground trenched, manured, and nuts perfectly ripe selected for seed-those of a spherical form being the best-and placed in the earth twenty-four hours after being gathered. Then the "nursery" must be continually weeded, smoked with bonfires, and thinned; the young shrubs, transplanted to the plantation and set into large holes, covered over with sheds filled up with manure and burnt earth, and supplied from ground must be kept loose, that the roots time to time with liquid fish manure. The mav spread. Very curious processes have

been found by Dr. Oxley to improve the tree and enrich the flavour of its fruitdead animals buried near, blood poured on the earth, fish and oilcake-but not the much-lauded guano, which is injurious. Besides these accurate details of attention, the trunk of the tree should, once a-year, be washed with soap and water, to keep it clear of moss.

In weeding the plantation, also, much discrimination is to be practised. Certain grasses are destructive, certain others benecial to the nutmeg-tree, which, it will thus be seen, is in a foreign soil a tender subject for culture, though, when once brought to maturity, it thrives long and well, rewarding the planter by an abundance of the fragrant nuts so highly prized in Europe. Formerly they were eaten at dessert, preserved in syrup, like the cloves, or pickled in sweet vinegar.

In drying the nuts, great care is taken not to shrivel them by the application of excessive heat. Having been cured, they cannot be too soon sent to market; whereas the mace is not valued in London until, after being kept a few months, it has lost its crimson tinge, which deepens into a golden colour.

The produce of nutmegs in the Banda Isles is about six hundred thousand pounds annually, and of mace a fourth of that quantity. Of cloves, about three hundred thousand pounds are exported to Europe, China, Bengal, and the United States. As, however, we have already said, the monopoly which has ever restricted the culture of spices confines the amount of their produce, the islands having been watered with human blood to preserve the privilege of exclusive trade.

A visitor to the London Docks may observe the bags of cloves there piled. When once ready for sale, it requires little care, keeping well, and not easily injured. They are now sold at a comparatively low rate, though formerly considered the most costly articles of commerce. Among the first direct traders to the Spice Islands were the companies of Magellan, who gave at the rate of £12 for about six cwt. of cloves. These were sold at 3,000 per cent. profit in England. To enhance the price, the Dutch destroyed myriads of trees, paying small pensions to the native chiefs to carry on the process year by year. The Moluccas, indeed, contain the only farms for the culture of nutmegs and cloves. The natives tend the plantations, collect the produce under inspection, carry it to the stores, receive a fixed price-about 3d. a pound. A consi

derable contraband trade also exists, though the smugglers expose themselves to immense peril-death being the punishment of a plebeian, banishment the award of a native noble. To complete these precautions, a squadron of lightly-built galleys annually visits all the islands in the group, to enforce the regulations, to seize and punish offenders, to compel the destruction of illegal plantations, and uphold the exclusive privileges of the Dutch. In consequence of this demoralizing, tyrannical, wasteful system, the Molucca Islands have degenerated from age to age, until they now exist as a monument to the grasping cupidity and blind ambition of Holland.

Next in order among these familiar accounts of spices, the cinnamon introduces itself. The name means Chinese wood, and it has been disputed which is the native country of the tree. Certainly, it appears to have flourished from the remotest period in China, though in Ceylon, also, the natural adaptation of the soil to its cultivation, with many other circumstances, lead us to suppose it was indigenous there. Certain it is, also, that the ancients knew the virtues, and enjoyed the flavour and fragrance of this curious product. It was known to the Greeks and Romans under a name closely similar to that we bestow on it, but was so rare and costly that none but the wealthy could purchase it. Some say it was at first used by birds in the construction of their nests, and collected in this form, none knowing where and how it grew. That it came from the East was generally supposed, but, as with nutmegs and cloves, its native place was a great mystery.

In 1506, it was discovered to flourish wild in Ceylon; and thenceforward that island was highly esteemed on account of its production. In 1770 an improved quality was obtained by cultivation by the Dutch governor. The chiefs at first resisted the attempt, which shocked their prejudices, and vast number of trees were destroyed by the natives, who went out at night and poured boiling water over them. This feeling, however, gave way before the perseverance of the Europeans, and Ceylon was gradually covered with cinnamon gardens.

Thousands of acres unvaried by any other cultivation, are covered by plantations of this elegant and aromatical laurel. The general aspect is that of a vast laurel-copse, with a few trees of extraordinary growth shooting up to the height of forty or fifty feet, with a trunk twenty inches in dieme

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