Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/444

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

trated when both differences and agreements Lave to be noted. They would have to be resumed after the discussion of the intellectual force of agreement or similarity. The chief stress of the present explanation lies in regarding discrimination as the necessary prelude of every intellectual impression, as the basis of our stored-up knowledge, or memory. Agreement is presupposed likewise; but there is not the same necessity, nor is it expedient, to follow out the workings of agreement, before considering the plastic power of the intellect.

 

THE PRODUCTION OF COGNAC BRANDY.

THERE is a small district in the south of France known as the Deux Charentes, which has a commercial centre called Cognac. From the grapes of this district there comes a wine, and from this wine there is distilled a celebrated liquor which is named after the place, and called Cognac brandy. This spirit, eau de vie supérieure, as the French call it, is liked by a great many people, and hated by a great many more, so that it may fairly be assumed as an object of general interest. A writer in the Pall Mall Gazette has been at the pains to collect a large amount of information concerning it, to which we are indebted for the substance of the following statements.

England consumes by far the greater part of the supply; English firms practically control the export trade; and English influence is so potent in Cognac, that the rural population of the department speak jocularly of the place as the "little English town on the river Charente."

The Cognac-brandy district begins at Angoulême, about three hundred miles south of Paris, and comprises from fifty to sixty square miles. It is divided into five parts, and is cut in two from east to west by the river Charente. The parts are, in the order of their importance as established by the quality of the brandy they produce, though in the inverse order as to size, as follows: the Grande Champagne; the Petite Champagne; the Borderies, a strip of land along the banks of the Charente opposite the Grande Champagne; the Fins Bois; and the Bon Bois. The country is undulating. The surface, dotted with towns and villages, and diversified by occasional tracts of woodland between bright-green pastures on either bank of the river, is divided into fields spotted with walnut-trees and vineyards, with red-roofed farm-houses, and traversed by broad roads lined with rows of tall elms and poplars. The soil is principally clayey and flinty rock, supported by a bed of chalk or limestone, and occasionally of marl, that in the Grande and Petit Champagnes being of the best quality.