USES OF SALT

Curiously enough although so beneficial and even necessary to a healthy human body salt has a depressing effect on the nature and kills many of the lower forms of life. The desolate and lifeless character of the Dead Sea is proverbial. In America the Great Salt Lake with its islands and shallow waters is heavily impregnated with salt and its shores sparkle with the saline particles thrown off. Incidentally it may be mentioned that salt is not only used generally as a condiment, but it is largely employed commercially in the manufacture of chemicals, and in a variety of processes of manufacture it is found very useful. There are many interesting stories told of Eastern countries and their quaint customs associated with the use of salt, of its importance in domestic economy, also its symbolic meaning in feasting a guest. Many of the formalities associated with its use are recounted in the Bible where much importance is attached to the nutritive qualities of salt. With very stately ceremonial salt was handed to the guest in those early days when Arab Chiefs dwelt in tents and welcomed a stranger. Its importance increased along with its use, and as may be gathered from the magnitude of the great salt-cellars and vats of olden time, and from the customs associated with the use of the condiment, its value was fully appreciated in this country as it was in Eastern lands. In connection with the annual frolics of the " Boy-bishop " celebration at Eton, the scholars marched to Salt Hill accompanied by boy salt bearers who carried small bags of salt and in exchange for a pinch levied a toll of money from passers by. Very remarkable were the great salt vats, immense receptacles which in the quantity they contained formed a marked difference from the salt cellars that followed. The vats were plainer and the designer evidently had in view the storage and evident freer use of salt than when the salt cellars although very large were more ornamental and their size consisted of their enrichment and exterior ornament rather than their capacity for holding the condiment. One very large silver salt vat, formerly belonging to Archbishop Parker is still safely preserved in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.