Belfast, Ireland, is the home of linen and damask. There are manufactories in both Scotland and France, but it is in Belfast that the fabric attains to the highest perfection, and "Irish linen" has come to be synonymous with excellence of design and weaving and luster - a most desirable trilogy. The prospective purchaser of table linen should go to her task fortified with some information on the subject, that she may not find herself totally at the mercy of the salesman, who often knows little about his line of goods beyond their prices. First of all she will probably be asked whether she prefers bleached or unbleached damask. The latter - called "half-bleach" in trade vernacular - is made in Scotland and comes in cheap and medium grades alone. Though it lacks the choiceness of design and the beauty and fineness of the Belfast bleached linens, it is good for everyday wear and quickly whitens when laid in the sun on grass or snow; while the fact that its cost is somewhat less than that of the corresponding quality in the bleached damask, and that it wears better, recommends it to many. Occasionally the chemicals used in the bleaching process are made overstrong to hasten whitening, with the result that the fibers rot after a while and little cutlike cracks appear in the fabric. This is not usual, but of course the unbleached damask precludes all possibility of such an occurrence. One firm in Belfast still conscientiously employs the old grass-and-sun system of bleaching, and their damask is plainly marked "Old Bleach." The half-bleach is sold both by the yard and in patterns.