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Page 73.

FLAX,

FLAX.-LINSEED.

73

ness.

Flax is another herbaceous plant, but of a much finer fibre and quality than hemp, and capable also of being bleached to snowy white

Need I say that linen is hence obtained ?

It is supposed that we are indebted to Egypt for this incalculably useful plant. Cotton, it is true, now largely supplies its place, but only as an inferior substitute, by no means as

a rival.

This plant is cultivated with considerable success in many parts of England. Like hemp, it is sown in the spring; and the plants, when ready, are pulled up by the roots. Both stem and seed are objects of importance. The latter, commonly called linseed, yields a valuable drying oil for the painter's use and for other purposes.

A liquor is also obtained from this seed, by means of boiling water, which our

nurses call linseed tea, and which is accounted useful for coughs and other diseases proceeding from irritation of the throat and lungs.

The flax intended for linen is conveyed in bundles to the place where it is to undergo the process of watering ; there it is thrown into ponds of soft stagnant water, in which it is kept for several days. By this means the bark is detached. The bundles are then laid out on the

grass, in regular rows, till the flax separates from the stalks on being rubbed between the hands. After various dressings, similar to those of hemp, it is fit for the manufacturer's

use.

I knew a gentleman, a few years ago, who cultivated very successfully several crops of flax, on a small scale, in this neighbourhood. He was then tempted to proceed more exten

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