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bitter taste, and are more active when freshly dried. By permission we have tasted a fresh leaf in the Botanic Gardens, and the benumbing effect on the tongue -dulling its sensibility was apparently much greater than that of a number of dried leaves. The plants are raised from seeds, and the cultivation, at an elevation of from two to seven thousand feet above the sea level, is carried on with great care, as described by Dr. Weddell, who sup. poses the name coca to be derived from an Indian term signifying the tree or plant. Its original habitat is doubtful. It has been acclimatized in Ceylon. Botanical specimens were first sent by Joseph de Jussieu to his brother in 1750; these Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu referred to the genus Erythroxylon, and finally they served as types for Lamarck to give the plant his designation Erythroxylon coca in his Encyclopédie. The coca shrub yields three or four crops of leaves annually, from the age of eighteen months to forty years. The produce has been estimated at from thirty to forty million pounds yearly. Its value on the spot varies from amounts equal to from one to five shillings per pound English. The most productive plantations, or cocals, are in the province of La Paz, in Bolivia, but our principal imports come from Lima. Coca was used in the religious rites of the Incas; it was by them treated with great reverence, and by their conquerors with some superstition. A council of bishops at Lima in 1569 condemned its use, and stated that the belief entertained by the Indians that the habit of chewing coca gave them strength was an illusion of the devil. By the Indians working as miners or at other occupations, coca is still chewed with a paste made of the ashes of certain plants or with lime. They become more or less slaves to the habit; opinions differ as to the ill effects of this chewing on them. On Europeans who became accustomed to, but had not been addicted to, its use from youth, Dr. Weddell noticed that it did sometimes produce evil consequences, and that in some a peculiar aberration of the intellectual faculties occurred, indicated by hallucinations. His view of its action was that it deceived or lulled hunger and fatigue. The Indians who accompanied him on his journey chewed coca during the whole day, but at night they filled their stomachs like fasting men. Dr. Mantegezza, of Milan, who practised in South America, further tried and wrote on its marvellous properties, as did Sir Robert Christison. Mr. G. Dowdeswell

also tried it, but came to negative conclusions as to its action. Except by the force of advertisements of French specialties made from it, coca has of late received little attention in England; but now, again, the observations of Herr Koller on the local anesthetic action possessed by its alkaloid, cocaine, have brought it to the front.

From Sunday at Home.

THE JEWS IN CENTRAL ASIA. WE paid our first visit to the central Asian Jews, in Tashkend. At the synagogue in the Russian quarter, I presented my letter as an introduction, and asked whether they had any ancient manuscripts; but so far were they from having antiques that everything appeared almost new. I had rarely before entered a synagogue so clean and gay. The walls had been newly whitewashed and ornamented with native painting, and though there was no service going on, there were several men and boys reading. They manifested the utmost interest in my letter, but had nothing of ecclesiastical interest to show, whereupon I discovered that we had been brought to the new synagogue of the European Jews, most of whom had come to Turkistan as soldiers, and on their discharge had preferred to settle in Tashkend rather than go back to Russia. We drove therefore to Asiatic Tashkend to seek the meeting-place of the Asiatic Jews; and after going as far as the isvost chik, or cabman, could take us by reason of the narrowness and miserable paving of the streets, we took to our feet, and passing through narrow lanes and alleys came into a small yard. On one side was a miserable shed with a lean-to roof of poles wretchedly covered, whilst under and all around sat a crowd of people. It is customary on Friday evening for the Jews to assemble in the synagogue, which in the service is compared to a bridegroom, to welcome the coming in of the Sabbath, beautifully figured as a bride, and on Saturday evening they gather to bid the Sabbath farewell. Whether on the present occasion it was this Sabbath evening service or something of a less formal character, I am not sure; but so surprised did they appear at our sudden visit, and above all, so curious to get a peep at my letter, that, the service being speedily concluded, all crowded around. I was taken, with my interpreter, to an

adjacent spot, where within still narrower | insulted, or even beaten by a Mohamme. limits under a straw roof, a number of dan, he could claim no redress. On reachgrave and reverend elders were assem- ing Samarkand, the ancient capital of bled, sitting on the ground and praying or Tamerlane, which until a few years ago reading, and intoning. This struck me was in the possession of the emir of as a remarkable sight, by reason of the Bokhara, we found the Jews in large nummagnificent countenances of some of the bers and in a more flourishing condition. old men. With their huge turbans of Nor had we been many hours there before spotless white, and Oriental flowing robes, we made the acquaintance of one of them. they reminded me of the typical Israelites. He was on the official staff of interpreters, The Jews of central Asia, like the Sarts, and General Korolkoff, the acting gov shave their heads, except that they leave ernor of the province, would have sent a lock falling in a curl from each temple. him with us for our guide about the town, This patch of hair is left uncut in obedi- only that we had arrived during the Feast ence to the Levitical injunction, "Neither of Tabernacles, when work might not be shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard," done. The Jew therefore explained that which by transference from the beard to he could not drive with us even to Tamerthe hair is fairly intelligible, though it is lane's tomb, which was not far distant not so patent how they evade the other from the palace where we were staying, command, "They shall not make baldness though his conscience was sufficiently upon their head," for this appears to be elastic to allow of his walking there. We the very thing they do. They received accordingly set out, and he told us on the my visit with evident pleasure; and both way how much more strict in keeping showed me their copy of the law, orna- their law are the Asiatic than the Euromented with silver and precious stones, pean Jews. He left us on our return from and permitted me to look into the cup- the famous tomb, and then went off to board containing their books. Their hav- make arrangements with a fellow Israelite, ing no synagogue, together with the pov-one Raphael Moses Kalendaroff, at whose erty and ill-furnished condition of their place of prayer, was explained to a large extent by the fact that almost all the Jews in Tashkend are sojourners only, as also by the oppressions to which they were subject under the khans of Khokand before the Russian occupation. An intelligent Jew came to our house to buy copies of the Old Testament. I took the opportunity to ask him concerning the Jews in central Asia, who, he said, were descended from Judah and Benjamin, the two tribes dispersed over Europe and Asia, whereas the ten tribes he thought were dwelling "beyond China." In Khokand he said there were from two to three hundred Israelites born on the spot, and from three to four hundred sojourners, mostly merchants, dyers, manufacturers, and druggists. I expressed surprise that they had no regular synagogue, but he explained that until the advent of the Russians, the Jews had been few in number, that they had no right to buy land, and were forbid den by the khans to build a synagogue, that they were in fact under similar restrictions to those from which their brethren in Bokhara still suffered. They could not enter the city mounted, were forbidden to wear a turban, and allowed only a black calico cap for the head, and a piece of string for a girdle; and though they were compelled to pay double taxes, as compared with the natives, yet if a Jew were

house we might see how they kept the Feast of Tabernacles. On the afternoon of the same day we found in the court or garden of Moses a cotton tent erected, out of which nothing might be eaten for seven days. Here I presented the lord mayor's letter, and the introduction of a Moscow rabbi, received at once a welcome, and was invited to eat. The ancient law directed (Lev. xxiii. 39-44; Neh. viii. 14-16) that the people should dwell in huts, which is interpreted to mean still that the roof, if not the sides, should be of branches, but these would not be easily obtained in sufficient quantity in Samarkand, and I am under the impression that there not even the roof was so formed. My host, however, had remembered the injunction of the law in providing at least the fruit of goodly trees," if not "olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and willows of the brook." Perhaps these latter were represented by the leafy decorations over our heads in the form of a large framework, something like a chandelier, from which were hanging apples, quinces, and saffron flowers, whilst on the carpeted floor were spread parched peas, pistachio nuts, grapes, peaches, and apples, as well as mutton and carrot pies, and roasted apricot and plum kernels. Many came in, and kneeling down, sat upon their haunches, but not cross-legged, round the

more than a century, and he added that they were from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. With reference to the so-called "lost tribes," he related a well-known Jewish tradition that on the river Sambation (which he located in China, though some others affirm that it is in Africa) are people whom the Chinese call "sons of Abraham," and that Mussulmans profess to the Jews in Samarkand to have seen their brethren in China; though the Samarkand Jews have not so done, and for this wonderful reason, that the aforesaid river Sambation is hot on six days, and cold only on the seventh. On this latter day it would be unlawful for the Jews to cross, but the Mohammedans, not being similarly bound, embrace the

four walls of the tent. Two days later we
called on the rabbi, who was still keeping
the feast in his tabernacle, where he re-
ceived us. I was glad to make inquiries
of him respecting his people. He said
there were twenty-five hundred Israelites
dwelling in four hundred houses in Samar-
kand. A piece of traditional information
he gave me was that Samarkand had been
destroyed seven times, and that therein
had perished twenty-four thousand Koha-
nim Jews, these having a separate ceme-
tery from the Israelites. Tamerlane was
said to have brought from Meshed seven
families of Jews, whose descendants were
still living at Bokhara and Samarkand.
But these stories were very much of the
nature of "idle tales," for the rabbi said
that the Jews had not been in Samarkand | opportunity to do so.

WOOL IN NEW South Wales.-The north- against pastoral tenants, as it is said they hold west of the colony offers special advantages possession of a large tract of country, and emfor sheep-rearing, although water is not so ploy but little labor. There is no doubt that plentiful as it might be. But that difficulty is proportionately fewer hands are employed now being gradually overcome, partly by excavating than was formerly the case, owing to improved tanks for holding rain water, and partly by methods of working and management having borings on the artesian-well principle. Those come into vogue. After having been shorn, runs which have no river or creek frontage, or the wool is sorted, the sorter being a rather the back blocks as they are termed, become important personage, who is well paid. There after a drought little better than deserts. But are various qualities, and each must be kept since the construction of tanks has been sys- to itself in order to sell to the best advantage. tematically undertaken a great improvement It is becoming the custom now in some locali. has been shown, and this, coupled with the ties to wash the wool, although experts differ benefit derived from boring operations, is ex- as to whether it is desirable to do so or otherpected ultimately to change the opinion hith-wise. Some contend that it is injured, and erto entertained regarding the condition of that certain valuable properties are destroyed these north-west pastoral lands. Water is now in the process; but it would appear to be led to the tanks by means of drains, which ex- nearly the general opinion that such disadtend in some cases for several miles. Sheep- vantages are more than counterbalanced by stations can in ordinary seasons be worked very the removal of dirt, and by the better price cheaply after the capital outlay necessary to which clean wool fetches at the sales. Very provide fences, and station buildings and yards expensive and elaberate machinery is in use at has been made. It is the practice now to sur- some stations for scouring the wool, more parround the run with wire fencing, and subdivide ticularly in localities where there is not a plenit into paddocks, where the sheep roam at will, tiful supply of water. But where there is a and are said to produce an annual increase frontage to a river, and water is practically equal to seventy-nine per cent. of the breeding unlimited, older and more simple methods are ewes, and the lambs thrive rapidly. It is only usual. The process of cleaning is in the first when the work of drafting, branding, or shear- place to soak well the wool in large vats with ing has to be done that the flock are disturbed hot water and soap until the impurities are by the station hands. The shearing season loosened or removed, and then to put it into falls at the latter end of the year, and the pay-perforated zinc boxes sunk in the water. ment to the shearer is per score of sheep shorn, good shearers being able to earn high wages; but the labor employed is comparatively small, one gang of shearers travelling from station to station, and doing the work at each. Indeed, this labor question is a standard complaint


it is again well soaked and stirred by men with poles, and finally it is taken to the dryingground, where it dries a clean white color. Still, it is to be remarked that the bulk of the wool reaching this country from Australia comes in its greasy state.

British Australasian.

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