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Clothing.   121

the lye is to be made by pouring hot water on them), it must be recollected that all plants are not equally efficacious those that contain the most alkali (either potash or soda) are the best. On this account, the stalks of succulent plants, as reeds, maize, broom, heath, and furze, are very much better than the wood of any trees ; and twigs are better than timber. Pine and fir-trees are the worst of woods. The ashes of most kinds of seaweed yield abundance of alkali. Potash is the alkali that is obtained from the ashes of land plants, and soda from those of marine plants.


10,000 parts of pine or fur ..


4 parts of alkali.

poplar ..

7   „


14   „


oak   ..

15   „



, ,



elm, maple, and wheat

straw   ..   ,.



thistles, flax-stems, and




small rushes .. , .



large rushes

72   „


stalk of maize




200   „

Soap is made by keeping fat constantly simmering in lye of ashes (see preceding paragraphs) for some days ; adding fresh lye as fast as the water boils away, or is sucked up by the fat. After one or two trials, the knack of soap-making is easily caught. The presence of salt makes the soap hard ; its absence, soft; now many ashes contain a good deal of salt, and these may make the soap too hard, and will have to be mixed with other sorts of ashes before being used : experience must guide the traveller in this. A native woman will probably be found without difficulty, who will attend night and day to the pot-boiling for a small payment. Inferior soap may be made by simply putting some grease into a tub of very strong lye, and letting it remain for two or three weeks, without any boiling, but stirring it every day.

Marine Soap is made of soda lye (the lye of seaweeds) and cocoa-nut oil ; it makes a lather with salt water, but it has the defect of being very bulky.

To wash Flannels.-Make a lather of soap on a small piece of flannel, and rub with it those parts that require the most