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growers have no control, and for which they cannot account Sometimes only one or two butts in a vintage will be affected, and in other years none at all. Those which some mysterious influence designs for Amontillado, produce a kind of vegetable weed after having been put in the cask; it is long and stringy, like some of our fresh-water weeds, but with very fine fibres, and bears a very inute white mflower. Immediately after shedding these flowers, the whole plant dies away, and never again appears, but it leaves that peculiar flavor. This description has been positively stated and verified by those who have visited the Spanish wine districts. Natural sherry has a peculiar aromatic flavor, somewhat richer than that of its brother, the Amontillado, and partakes of three different colors, viz., pale or straw, golden, and deep golden, the latter being the description denominated by us brown sherry. The Amontillado is of a straw color only, more or less shaded according to the age it possesses. Its flavor is drier and more delicate than that of natural sherry, recalling in a slight degree the taste of nuts and almonds. The word " Amontillado" signifies like or similar to Montilla, i. e. the wine manufactured at that place. Montilla is situated in Upper Andalusia, in the neighborhood of Cordouc, and produces an excellent description of wine, but which, from the want of roads and communication with the principal commercial towns of Spain, is almost entirely unknown.
Amontillado sherry was first imported into England about the year 1811, and the supply was so small that the entire quantity was only sufficient for the table of three consumers, who speedily became attached to it, and thenceforward drank no other sherry. One of these was the late Duke of Kent.
The two sweet wines of Xérès are the “ Paxarite,” or “Pedro Ximenès," and the “Muscatel.” The first-named is made from a species of grape called " Pedro Ximenes," sweeter in quality than that which produces the dry sherry, and which, moreover, is ex
posed much longer to the action of the sun previous to the process of manufacture; its condition when subjected to the action of the pressers resembling very nearly that of a raisin. Fermentation is in this case much more rapid on account of the saccharine nature of the mout or wort. In flavor it is similar to the fruit called “Pedro Ximenès,” the color being the same as that of natural sherry. Muscate wine is made from the grape of that name, and in a manner precisely similar to the Paxarite. The wine produced from this grape is still sweeter than the Pedro Ximenes, its taste being absolutely that of the Muscat grape. In color also it is deeper; but the color of both, like that of the two dry wines, increases in proportion to their age, a circumstance exactly the reverse of that which takes place in French wines. German sherry wines are capable of preservation both in bottles and casks for an indefinite period. In one of the bodegas or cellars belonging to the firm of M. P. Domecq, at Xérès, are to be seen five or six casks of immense size and antiquity (some of them, it is said, exceeding a century). Each of them bears the name of some distinguished hero of the age in which it was produced, Wellington and Napoleon figuring conspicuously amongst others : the former is preserved exclusively for the taste of Englishmen.
The history of sherry dates, in a commercial point of view, from about the year 1720 only. Before this period it is uncertain whether it possessed any existence at all: at all events, it appears to have been unknown beyond the immediate neighborhood in which it was produced. It would be difficult, perhaps, , to say by whom it was first imported; all that can be affirmed with any degree of certainty is, that a Frenchman, by name Pierre Domecq, the founder of the house before mentioned, was among the earliest to recognize its capabilities, and to bring it to the high state of perfection which it has since attained. In appreciation of the good service thus rendered to his country, Ferdinand VII. conferred upon this house the right exclusively to bear upon
their casks the royal arms of Spain. This wine, from being at first cultivated only in small quantities, has long since grown into one of the staple productions of the country. In the neighborhood of Xérès there are at present under cultivation from ten thousand to twelve thousand arpents of vines; these produce annually from thirty thousand to thirty-five thousand botas, equal to seventy thousand or seventy-five thousand hogsheads. In gathering the fruit, the ripest is invariably selected for wines of the best quality. The wines of Xérès, like all those of the peninsula, require the necessary body or strength to enable them to sustain the fatigue of exportation. Previous, therefore, to shipment (none being sold under four to five years of age), a little eau de vie (between the fiftieth and the sixtieth part) is added, a quantity in itself so small, that few would imagine it to be the cause of the slight alcoholic taste which nearly all sherries pos
In consequence of the high price of the delicious wines, numerous imitations, or inferior sherries, are manufactured, and sold in immense quantities. Of these the best are to be met with at the following places : San Lucar, Porto, Santa Maria, and even Malaga itself. The spurious sherry of the first-named place is consumed in larger quantities, especially in France, than the genuine wine itself. One reason for this may be, that few vessels go to take cargoes at Cadiz, whilst many are in the habit of doing so to Malaga for dry fruits, and to Seville for the fine wool of Estremadura. San Lucar is situated at the mouth of the Guadalquiver.
RHYMES ON PLACES.
Roger Gale, in a letter dated August 17, 1739, states that he saw the following lines in a window at Belford (between Newcastle and Berwick) :
Cain, in disgrace with heaven, retired to Nod,
Reliquiæ Galeana, 67.
Charles Mathews, in a letter directed to his son at Mold, N. W., dated 4th November (1825), says:
Lord Deerhurst, who franked this letter, laughed at the idea of your being condemned to be at Mold, and told me an impromptu of Sheridan's, upon being compelled to spend a day or two there :
Were I to curse the man I hate
From youth till I grow old,
Memoirs of Charles Mathews, v. 504.
THE ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH.
In one of the early numbers of The Spectator, is a paper by Addison, in which he introduces in his excellent and playful manner a quotation from Strada, a learned Italian Jesuit, in one of his Prolusiones Academicæ ; and though, it is true, the story aims at nothing further than a chimerical supposition of the instantaneous transmission of thoughts and words between two individuals, over an indefinite space, and which, when Strada wrote and Addison quoted, never entered into the minds of either as to its almost ultimate realization ; yet, as perhaps there may be some persons who may not have particularly noticed this apparently prophetic forewarning, the story is worth recording for the benefit of those who have never seen or thought on the subject. It should be observed that Strada tells this story about 250 years ago, and Addison relates it 140 years afterwards.
Addison tells us, in the 241st number of The Spectator, that
Strada, in one of his Prolusions, gives an account of a chimerical correspondence between two friends by the help of a certain loadstone, which had such virtue in it, that if it touched two several needles, when one of the needles so touched began to move, the other, though at never so great a distance, moved at the same time and in the same manner. He tells us that the two friends being each of them possessed of one of these needles, made a kind of dial plate, inscribing it with the four-and-twenty letters, in the same manner as the hours of the day are marked upon the ordinary dial plate.
They then fixed one of the needles on each of these plates in such a manner that it could move round without impediment, so as to touch any of the four-and-twenty letters. Upon their separating from one another into distant countries, they agreed to withdraw themselves punctually into their closets at a certain hour of the day, and to converse with one another by means of this their invention. Accordingly, when they were some hundred miles a sunder, each of them shut laimself up in his closet at the time appointed, and immediately cast his eye upon his dial plate ; if he had a mind to write any thing to his friend, he directed his needle to every letter that formed the words which he had occasion for, making a little pause at the end of every word or sentence, to avoid confusion. The friend in the meanwhile saw his own sympathetic needle moving of itself to every letter which that of his correspondent pointed at. By this means they talked together across a whole continent, and conveyed their thoughts to one another in an instant over cities or mountains, seas or deserts.
Addison goes on to say
That in the mean while, if ever this invention should be revived or put in practice, I would propose that upon the lover's dial-plate there should be written not only the four-and-twenty letters, but several entire words, which have always a place in passionate epistles, as flames, darts, die, language, absence, Cupid, heart, eyes, hang, drown, and the like. This would very much abridge the lover's pains in this way of writing a letter, as it would enable him to express the most useful and significant words with a single touch of the needle.
There is a passage in the Pseudodoxia Epidemica of Sir Thomas Browne, wherein this invention is foreshadowed in terms more remarkable and significant, if less imaginative and beautiful, than that from The Spectator, which, perhaps, may have