When milk is coagulated by rennet, or some other acid, it separates into solid curd, and liquid whey (or serum). If the solid parts are collected, and pressed together in a mould, hoop, or vat, they unite to form firm Cheese. Other substances will serve to curdle milk in a like manner, such as the "Bedstraw" (Galium, from gala, milk), a hedgerow plant; also the juice of the fig-tree. - Parenthetically the curative virtues of the common hedgerow Galium aparine (goose-grass, cleavers, or hedge-heriff) which are specially present in this herb, and its allies, should certainly be told about. They are of undoubted reputation with reference to cancerous growths, and tumours of a kindred nature. For open cancers an ointment is made from the leaves, and stems, with which to dress the ulcerated parts, and at the same time the expressed juice of the fresh herb is given internally. On analysis this plant is found to contain three distinct acids - the tannic acid (of galls), the citric acid (of lemons), and its own peculiar rubichloric acid. Considered generally, the Goose-grass exercises acid, astringent, and diuretic effects, being remedial therefore against such diseases of the skin as lepra, psoriasis, and eczema, whilst remarkably helpful in some cases of epilepsy.

An authorized officinal juice of the herb is dispensed by druggists, as well as a thickened extract; or, this Goose-grass maybe readily gathered fresh about most of our rural fields, and waste places, in which it grows luxuriantly, climbing with boldness by its slender, hairy stems through the dense vegetation of our hedges into open daylight, whilst having sharp, serrated leaves, and producing small, white flowers "pearking on the tops of the sprigs." The stalks and leaves are armed with little hooked bristles with which they attach themselves to adjacent shrubs so as to ascend in ladder-like fashion. The botanical affix "aparine" is derived from a Greek verb, "apairo," to lay hold of. Dr. Quinlan, of Dublin, directs that whilst a bundle of ten, or twelve stalks is grasped with the left hand, this bundle should be cut into pieces of about half-an-inch long by a pair of scissors held in the right hand. The segments are then to be bruised thoroughly in a mortar, and applied in the mass as a poultice beneath a bandage. The goose-grass has been employed thus with highly successful results to heal chronic ulcers on the legs. Appellations of "Cheese-rennet" and "Cheese-running" are given to its order of herbs.

Highlanders make use in particular of the common Yellow Bedstraw (Galium verum) for curdling their milk to get Cheese, and to colour it; this grows abundantly on dry banks, chiefly near the sea; from its small golden flowers is prepared an ointment "good," says Gerarde, "for anointing the weary traveller." This herb is par excellence the Bedstraw of "Our Lady,"who gave birth to her divine Son, says the legend, in a stable, with wild flowers only for the bedding. Thus in an old Latin hymn she sings right gloriously: -

"Lectum stravi tibi soli: dormi, nate bellule! Stravi lectum foeno molle: dormi, mi animule! Ne quid desit sternam rosis: sternam fcenum violis, Pavimentum hyaointhis, et proesepe liliis".

"Sleep, sweet little babe on the bed I have spread thee: Sleep, fond little life, on the straw scattered o'er! ' Mid the petals of roses and pansies I've laid thee, In crib of white lilies: blue bells on the floor".

Pure milk, when curdled by rennet, leaves most of its fat in the Cheese (casein, or curd, as in Cheddar Cheese); but if some of the cream is first removed from the milk by skimming, then a Cheese is produced which is poor in fat, like Dutch Cheese. Good Cheese is composed of from 30 to 50 per cent of water, 20 to 25 per cent of casein, or curd, 18 to 30 per cent of fat, and 4 to 6 per cent of mineral matter. If, again, the curd is precipitated by letting the milk become sour, or if by adding vinegar to it, then a comparatively poor Cheese is the result. Also the nature of the Cheese will depend much on the kind of milk used. When the casein, or curd, is squeezed, and pressed so as to remove the liquid whey, if high pressure is used then hard Cheese is made; if lower pressure is employed, then a soft Cheese is produced, but not of a sort which keeps well. The next step is to ripen the Cheese, a process dependent on bacterial life introduced from without, either spontaneously, or by design, the flavour of the Cheese being determined by the particular species of germ which obtains access to it whilst it ripens.

The mineral matters contained in Cheese are chiefly salts of lime, and some Cheeses contain further about 2 per cent of milk sugar (lactose). The infiltration of plentiful fat comprised in Cheese makes it always an article of diet not easily dealt with by delicate stomachs, especially when animal food is likewise eaten. The incorporated fat (which is not miscible with the gastric juices) prevents digestive juices reaching the curd thoroughly, so that Cheese should be carefully masticated in order to finely divide its substance before swallowing the same; or, another plan is to grate the Cheese before eating it, or to dissolve it in a little water or milk, (perhaps adding a few grains of alkaline potash to assist the solution). Another reason why Cheese proves indigestible to certain persons, is that during the process of ripening, small quantities of fatty acids are produced, which are apt to disagree in the stomach; but when once reaching the intestines, Cheese is absorbed as readily, and as completely as meat.

To the person who wishes to use Cheese as a substitute for meat (because more economical, and fully as nourishing), the Canadian, or Dutch quality may be best commended, preferably the former; and new Cheese is much to be advocated, before fermentation has begun to any degree of progress. But Cheese should not be eaten at all freely by persons who are leading inactive, indolent lives, since the substantial casein, which is its chief constituent, would to such persons be difficult of digestion; otherwise its component principles furnish fat, heat, and energy to a remarkable degree.