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that the increased consumption was so remarkable. Port and sherry took a share of the general increase; and men whose foresight was already acknowledged had begun to look to other vineyards than those which had for so many years yielded our only supplies. One of the foremost of these gentlemen was Mr. Denman, who, beside carrying out by practical experiments his belief in some of the old classical wines of Greece, has contributed largely and ably to the wine literature of the country. Utterly despairing, as it would appear, of the integrity of port and sherry, and believing that the lighter continental vintages were insufficient to satisfy the requirements of the English palate, too long accustomed to heady and adulterated brewages, Mr. Denman devoted himself to a thorough examination of the Greek wines; and his researches have been so successful that he sees reason to believe that, for natural strength, purity, and capacity for rapidly maturing into great excellence, they are not to be equalled by the wines of Spain or Portugal. That they will successfully compete even with the very finest of the ports and sherries, is maintained from the fact that the latter frequently require the addition of alcohol to prepare them for the market, and that the lower qualities are not only alcoholized, but frequently artificially flavoured, while the vintages of Visante, Santorin, St. Elie, Keffesia, and the rest of the old classical grounds from Mont Hymet to the Commandery, where the Knights of St. John became trading vintners, are distinguished for their natural, and therefore wholesome alcoholic strength derived from their rich saccharine quality, and the consequent chemical change in fermentation. The success with which Mr. Denman has imported these wines, and their increasing consumption, indicate that Greece will rapidly develop its resources as a wine-producing country, and that a market will be found for as much as she can send here; for the variety, as well as the excellent quality of these wines cannot fail to be appreciated. While the lighter

descriptions, such as the red and white Keffesia, are at once cheaper and more generous in tone than some Burgundies or Sauternes; and the There is certainly superior to much of the Madeira sold at more than twice the price; the St. Elie, when it has been only three years in bottle, will bear comparison with Amontillado by those who have not artificially educated their palate to that spurious dryness so repulsive to the unsophisticated taste. The Santorin and the Como may be called Greek ports, and the Visanto (or Bacchus) and Lachryma Christi may be considered unique, and only comparable for exquisite flavour to the Imperial Tokay, of which so little comes to this country. It is strange, indeed, and quite out of the cold calculations of a generation which has only just learned to recognize any more than two wines, port and sherry, to learn that all the wines served with the various courses of a state dinner, from soup to olives and filberts, may be the product of one country; and one is almost obliged to go back to ancient history and the mythical ages to realize that, for a few shillings, we may crown even our humble repast with the nectar of the gods; but events move fast in our day, and the heroes themselves might find some improvement in their old 'favourite wanities,' if they could pay a visit to Piccadilly, and have half an hour's talk with the gentleman who there represents the spirit of enterprise, which includes the acceptance of things both new and old, and their adaptation to modern wants. Even now that the importation of wines and the consumption of the lighter European wines have so greatly increased, however, the public has not fully appreciated the opportunity. A large number of beverages of various estimable qualities are waiting for English acquaintance, and are willing to render themselves, at any moment when their presence is desired. It is surprising that up to the present time, though five years have elapsed, the experiences of light-wine drinkers have not been more enlarged. The soft, mellow, and fragrant produce

of the Burgundian vineyards, the delicate purity and aroma of the Sauterne vintage, the Chablis, and the Chateau Giraud; the velvety softness and rich glow of the great claret families; the Langoa, the Margaux, the Beychevelle, are yet only partially appreciated; while the Rhenish wines are still comparatively confined to a few sagacious connoisseurs, who find in the pure, fresh, and invigorating draught a cheap stimulus as well as a wholesome beverage.

The increase in the consumption is enormous notwithstanding, and those who foresaw in the reduction of the duty on these wines, and their proper adjustment in relation to the heavier spirituous liquors that had for so many years been forced upon us, a complete and gradual reclamation of the national taste, have already vindicated their opinion.

It is true that of the fifteen million gallons of wine consumed in 1868, France sent but five millions out of the hundred million gallons that she produces, but that increase represents an encouraging fact. In the first days of the reduced duty the English market was threatened with an enormous influx of inferior and a great deal of utterly worthless wine. The probability of this result at once operated to check the demand which the promise of a rapid supply had at first produced; and it cannot be denied that the threat was carried into execution to an extent which it required all the sagacity of the promoters of the new order of things to overcome. of these gentlemen, Mr. H. R. Williams, who may be said to have been the principal pioneer of the present light-wine trade, had already given timely warning of the danger, and he as well as others waited patiently till the first excitement had subsided. His own name had already become identified with the claret, the advent of which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had foretold, and he was soon regarded as a representative of the public as against the publican. The business which he re-established on the reformed basis was soon so large as


to require extensive warehouse room, for the remission of the duty brought about, among other changes, increased bulk in proportion to diminished profits: singular enough, the only available place that could be then attained was the ancient palace of Crosby Hall, once the dwelling-place of Richard III., in the grand old banqueting-room of which Shakspeare and Ben Jonson, Raleigh, and Spenser, and even the august Elizabeth herself had quaffed the French wines and drunk toasts in sack. But the old building wanted cellar-room; the claret that had been sold at fourteen shillings had grown into favour and was reduced to twelve; a lower price than that charged for a bottle of Bourdeaux in a Parisian café, and of a purity and excellence not always to be secured in Paris in consequence of the adulteration which the Parisian restaurateur employs to compensate him for the octroi duty; an adulteration beginning, by-the-by, with water, and too often consummated by damson juice, potato spirit, and others of those devil's elixirs which moved the wrath of Longfellow, and led him lyrically to doubt the purity of the low-priced wines of the American refreshment bars.

It was to be expected that the firm which had so patiently and confidently awaited the results of the French treaty should become as much a representative institution as a house of business; and it was in accordance with the principle of importing only wine of known virtue as far as was possible, and securing the natural growths in port and sherries, as well as in the light delicate wines, where blends and sophistications are infinitely more difficult, that H. R. Williams and Co. outgrew Crosby Hall, and had to find room for further extension in the enormous block of building which stands upon the site of the old East India House in Lime Street. This place is justly entitled to be regarded as representing the enormous public advantages already derived from the Commercial Treaty; and foreigners who come to London already connect it with

the inevitable London Docks, in its important significance in relation to our trade in European wines. It is still to the light wines that the greatest space has to be devoted; but the visitor, if he should make the tour of the building, will find that the old order of things has been reversed in more ways than one, and that the port which it was once the fashion to mature amidst the dirt and prolific fungi of a foul cellar occupies a warehouse, to reach which it is necessary to ascend more stone steps than a stout foreigner can count without emotion. There is no need for this violent exercise, however, for a lift, worked by steam and used for the transportation of butts and hogsheads from floor to floor, travels from roof to lower basement; that is to say, from the very topmost warehouse on the seventh floor to the sub cellarage, that being connected by an excavated tramway with the actual basement, goes in a succession of lofty light and airy crypts right under East India Avenue and as far as the quiet quadrangle of Leadenhall Market.

That topmost floor is devoted entirely to the washing of bottles, an operation admirably performed by means of a machine something like an extended lathe, and turned by the steam-engine. In this lathe there revolve a series of spindles, each of which is in fact a bottlebrush, with a tube through its centre; on the revolving brush is placed the bottle, and through the tube runs water supplied by a pipe and falling into a trough beneath. The saving effected by this method of washing, as well as the cleanliness secured, is a very considerable advantage. Having deposited our foreign visitor safely on the lift, which is in waiting for a downward journey through some of the wine countries of Europe, the signal bell is rung, and almost before we have comfortably settled down on the case of champagne placed as a seat, we are in the packing floor, where the sound of hammers, the smell of new deal, and a kind of methodical bustle and composed hurry are signs that the day's orders are not

yet delivered to the lower story, where the railway vans are already waiting in a courtyard flanked by a large elevated platform from which they can receive their loads.

The smell of sawdust is penetrated by a more subtle odour, and the voice of the hammers ceases. We are in Nantes, Champagne, Cognac, Schiedam (if there be such a place), Glenlivat, Islay, Jamaica, Cork, Geneva, and we decline to stay in any of them, for, seductive as they are, they are dangerous in a forenoon. This is, in fact, the spirit floor; and though it does not belong emphatically to the representative nature of the house, it is important enough to require a steam-pump of its own to transfer the various liquors from the hogsheads to the casks from which they are bottled.

It is only when we sink away from this department, or rather when it appears to mount slowly above us as we descend that we come to the tranquil solidity of port wine. Here it is, in spite of all its detractors, asserting itself with the dogged and invincible logic of facts, as a good and wholesome supplement to our ordinary beverages-as a kindly medicine, a pleasant cordial, and now, thanks to the reformation, as a moderately economical luxury, even when it is accredited by a genealogy, or guaranteed by the verdict of an experienced judge. Very delicately does the steam-pump here perform its office, transferring the tawny liquid ruby without making it vibrate. It has vibration enough in the great fining-vat, where several pipes at a time are subjected to the judicious action of a revolving flange, which keeps up the necessary agitation till the operation is completed, and the bottlers are waiting to bin the next instalment of the 30,000 gallons represented by the pipes all round us. It is in a very modest office on this floor that Mr. Williams is to be found an office so crowded with sample phials and cups and tasting-glasses and bygrometers, that it is quite a matter of breakages to reach the table where he is sitting in front of a big map, all spotted with red dots, as

though he had stuck a wafer on every place in the United Kingdom where he has consented to appoint an agent. If you like to taste port you can do so-young wine that arrived as it were but yesterdayand old mellow nectar that has been in hiding somewhere for these fifty years. If you want to peep at Spain, however, the lift is waiting to belie its name by sinking with you again to another great area just like the last, with pump and fining-vat and bottlers busily engaged in extracting streams of dark gold and pale amber from casks that exude a subtle vinous perfume. Here, at all events, some of the natural sherry is to be found, if it exists at all, for it is pale as chablis and dry as the driest hock; and here, too, is that noted Vino Fino, the very perfection of a fish wine, but requiring an even temperature and delicate appreciation before it will reward the unaccustomed palate. In the office which is on this floor there is some of the quaint medieval-fashioned furniture from the old house at Crosby Hall; but you must keep your seat

on the champagne case if you mean to finish your tour, for we are bound to the first cellar leading from the external courtyard and platform by a flight of steps, and still below that to the real subterranean, to which the intelligent visitor from Champagne and Bordeaux renders himself with effusion.' In fact, there is nothing like it in any private establishment between this and the wine country, for it is the depôt for millions of bottles of light wine. The great champagne cellars where the choice vintages are stored by the million bottles may be of course compared with it; but they, like this, are representatives of a branch of national commerce, and the lofty gas-lighted and well-aired arches-without a vestige of cobweb; the clean, sawdusted level asphalte flooring; the great stacks and walls with faces composed of thousands of cylindrical shapes; the cases and casks, the tramways and the easy conveyance into free air and daylight, are all significant of the new truth that has come to us with the restoration of cheap wine.



HE wind is loud this bleak December night,
And moans, like one forlorn, at door and panc;
But here within my chamber warm and bright
All household blessings reign.

And as I sit and smoke, my eager soul

Somewhat at times from out the Past will win,
Whilst the light cloud wreathes upwards from the bowl,
That glows so red within:

And of the Protean shapes that curling rise,
Fancy, godlike, so moulds and fashions each,
That dead hands live again, and kindly eyes,
And even dear human speech.

Often in this dim world two boys I see,

Of ruddy cheek, and open careless brow;
And one am I, my fond heart whispers me,
And one, dear Tom, art thou.

With many a rosy tint the picture glows,-
Wild sport avenging school's hard tyranny,—
Bright holidays, with games and fairy shows,
And shouts of frolic glee;

Till all melts into air. Upon my ears

Sweet bells sound softly through the summer hours, And Oxford, fairest city, slow uprears

Her glittering spires and towers:

And here by Isis' banks, and Cherwell's stream,
And haunted Cumnor, and the hundred ways
Where thou and I, dear friend, were wont to dream,
My yearning spirit strays.

And now 'neath chestnut avenues we tread,
Now by gray arch, and lichen-cover'd wall;
Or on tranc'd ear, in pillar'd fanes, the dread,
Deep organ-thunderings fall.

And as the witching incense round me climbs,
I feel those wealthy summer eves once more,
When from full hearts we read our venturous rhymes,
Or favourite poet-lore,

And, pausing, saw the still night drawing on,

And o'er the turret-roofs, serene and clear

Within their order'd spaces, one by one,

The solemn stars appear.

So in this odorous cloud full oft I see

Sweet forms of tender beauty; and a tone

Steals through the echoing halls of Memory,

That these are all my own.

Yea, though, dear Tom, Death's passionless cold hand
Hath thrust her sable cloud 'tween thee and me,

And thou art lying in an alien land,

Beyond the Atlantic sea.

J. W. T.

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