In Kang-hi's Dictionary, it is said that everybody says that tea is the ancient t'u; but they do not know how many sorts there are of tea. The t'u of chia-k'u-t'u is the present tea. Sun says the t'u is not a clean plant, and is not the so-called k'u-ts'ai (bitter vegetable). The chia-k'u-t'u is said to resemble the chih-tzeTea 39 gardenia florida. The Pen Ts'ao speaks of shan-ch'a mountain or wild tea, Camellia Japonica, because its sprouts resemble the ming

Duty on tea was first levied in the 14th year ofTea 42 (794 A.D.). It began then to be drunk as a beverage. Before this period, the drinks in use were soups made of flesh, vegetables, grains, and the juice of fruits. Every place has its distinctive name for the shrub or beverage, and these names are simply legion. The tea planters and sellers selected their own names, with a view to enhance the value of their article. Its consumption increased greatly after the T'ang. In the succeeding dynasties of the Sung and Yuen, more and more tea was drunk. In the Ming dynasty, tea was exchanged for horses with the Hsi Fan Thibetans. There were officials appointed to control this duty on tea, which had become of very great importance, and added largely to the finances of the State.

The Indian account of the origin of tea is that Darma, son of an Indian king, who lived in profound solitude, devoting himself to study, and meditating all night in the garden, found himself one night almost succumbing to sleep; whereupon he tore off his eye-lids, which he threw on the ground, and which forthwith produced the tea plant. In Kaempfer's Japan, a slightly different and extended version of the same legend is given, it being there stated that Darma came to China, about 519 A.D., as a missionary; and that, eating the leaves, he discovered their extraordinary virtues, thereby acquiring renewed strength to enable him to continue his godly contemplations.

The Japanese tradition, which ascribes its introduction into China to this Indian Buddhist priest, who visited this country in the 6th century, favours the supposition of its Indian origin. Fortune describes its introduction into Japan by a Buddhish priest, in the beginning of the 9th century.

The Dutch were the first to make Europeans acquainted with the properties and use of tea, and have thus rendered Europe tributary to China to the extent of some thirty millions of taels annually. The average export is about two millions of piculs.

Assam would seem to have been the original habitat of the plant, and its cultivation in India is merely a return to its old home.

As infused and immediately drunk, Chinese tea is wonderfully free from tannic acid and rich in theine, and proves a good restorative without either milk or sugar. It is refreshing in a marked degree, and enables one to bear fatigue without exhaustion. In the Artie regions, it has been found that those who took tea stood the cold better and kept warmer than those who took spirits, although there is a widely prevalent fallacy abroad regarding the heating powers of spirits. Milk and sugar spoil Chinese tea, particularly the milk which clogs the mouth and prevents the palate from enjoying the aroma of the plant. The tea is made by pouring boiling water over-it, and infusing it for a few minutes in a covered cup. The Chinese always use boiling water. They will not drink tea made with water not boiling. Such tea is said to cause indigestion and diarrhoea. If the water is not boiling, the tea leaves float for some time on the surface. With boiling water, they sink almost immediately. The Chinese, like many of ourselves, do not know the secret of using only freshly boiled water for making tea. The water-kettle in their houses and restaurants is constantly kept boiling, so that hot water and tea are everywhere to be had on the instant. Tea made with water which has long been kept boiling is not good. Even in the Russian samovar, which is supposed to have the advantage over the English hot water urn of having boiling water always ready, may sometimes be at fault in this respect. Water should be brought up to the boil, but not past it. In the West, we usually allow the water to boil for some time, and then allow it to "stand" too long, and, when refilling the teapot, the water is not boiling. There is much truth, therefore, in the homely saying -

" Unless the kettle boiling be, Filling the teapot spoils the tea."

Some of our residents have adopted the practice of using only distilled water for all dietetic purposes. Such water, it is unnecessary to say, should be filtered through charcoal or other means employed to enable it to regain its lost oxygen.

The Chinese mode of infusion is perhaps not so well suited for our teas, as in their preparation they are already spoiled to delicate palates accustomed to the less highly cured, sun-dried teas of China and Japan. Tea which requires milk and sugar has been spoilt by repeated firing and fermentation. The infusion made from such tea is coarse and bitter, and so we find it necessary to disguise its bitterness with sugar and neutralize its astringency by milk, a thin albuminous fluid, which forms in the stomach an insoluble albuminate of tannin. We thus mollify and sweeten the black draught we are so fond of imbibing. In this way, we first make our tea unpalatable and semi-poisonous, and then minimize its nauseous and bad qualities by additions which destroy the delicate flavour. Tea should not be infused and left to " draw," so as to take " the strength out of it," as it is termed, but the leaves should be subjected to a rapid percolation with hot water. This object is attained by using a cup with a perforated bottom, held over or fitting into the teapot while the hot water is poured upon the leaves. The leaves do not come into contact with the infusion after it has passed the strainer.