Billeder på siden

brother, Helim durst not trust him with the secret, which he knew would have fatal consequences, should it, by any means, come to the knowledge of the old king. Ibrahim was no sooner mounted to the throne, but Helim sought for a proper opportunity of making a discovery to him, which he knew would be very agreeable to so good-natured and generous a prince. It so happened, that before Helim found such an opportunity as he desired, the new king Ibrahim, having been separated from his company in a chase, and almost fainting with heat and thirst, saw himself at the foot of Mount Khacan; he immediately ascended the hill, and coming to Helim's house, demanded some refreshments. Helim was very luckily there at that time, and after having set before the king the choicest of wines and fruits, finding him wonderfully pleased with so sensible a treat, told him that the best part of his entertainment was to come, upon which he opened to him the whole history of what had past. The king was at once astonished and transported at so strange a relation, and seeing his brother enter the room with Balsora in his hand, he leaped off from the sofa on which he sat, and cried out, “ It is he! it is


-having said this, he fell upon his neck and wept. The whole company, for some time, remained silent, and shedding tears of joy. The king, at length, after having kindly reproached Helim for depriving him so long of such a brother, embraced Balsora with the greatest tenderness, and told her, that she should now be a queen indeed, for that he would immediately make his brother king of all the conquered nations on the other side the Tigris. He easily discovered in the eyes of our two lovers, that, instead of being transported with the offer, they preferred their present retirement to empire. At their request, therefore, he changed his intentions, and made them a present of all the open country, as far as they could see from the top of Mount Khacan. Abdallah continuing to extend his former improvements, beautified this whole prospect with groves and fountains, gardens and seats of pleasure, till it became the most delicious spot of ground within the empire, and is, therefore, called the garden of Persia. This caliph, Ibrahim, after a long and happy reign, died children, and was succeeded by Abdallah, a son of Abdallah and Balsora. This was that king Abdallah, who afterwards


fixed the imperial residence upon Mount Khacan, which continues at this time to be the favourite palace of the Persian empire.

With this amusing paper Mr. A. took his leave of the Guardian ; which, wanting his support, could not but drop, as it did, soon after. Of these fine diurnal essays, which have engaged us so long, it is to be observed, that, next to the humorous and allegorical, those of an Oriental cast are the most taking. The subject of them was well adapted to the author's dramatic genius and flowing imagination.


No. 10.


- Magis illa placent quæ pluris emuntur. I HAVE lately been very much teased with the thought of Mrs. Anne Page, and the memory of those many cruelties which I suffered from that obdurate fair one. Mrs. Anne was, in a particular manner, very fond of china ware, against which I had, unfortunately, declared my aversion. I do not know but this was the first occasion of her coldness towards me, which makes me sick at the very sight of a china dish ever since. This is the best introduction I can make for my present discourse, which may serve to fill up a gap, till I am more at leisure to resume the thread of my amoury.

There are no inclinations in women which more surprise me than their passions for chalk and china. The first of these maladies wears out in a little time; but when a woman is visited with the second, it generally takes possession of her for life.' China vessels are playthings for women of all ages. An old lady of fourscore shall be as busy in cleaning an Indian Mandarin, as her great-grand-daughter is in dressing her baby.

The common way of purchasing such trifles, if I may be. , lieve my female informers, is by exchanging old suits of clothes for this brittle ware. The potters of China have, it seems, their factors at this distance, who retail out their several manufactures for cast clothes and superannuated garments. I have known an old petticoat metamorphosed into a punch-bowl, and a pair of breeches into a tea-pot. For this reason, my friend Tradewell in the city calls his great room, that is nobly furnished out with china, his wife's ward.




[ocr errors]

my dear

robe. “In yonder corner (says he) are above twenty suits of clothes, and on thať scrutoire above a hundred yards of furbelowed silk. You cannot imagine how many nightgowns, stays, and mantuas went to the raising of that

pyramid. The worst of it is, (says he,) a suit of clothes is not suffered to last half its time, that it may be the more vendible; so that in reality, this is but a more dexterous way of picking the husband's pocket, who is often purchasing a great vase of china, when he fancies that he is buying a fine head, or a silk gown for his wife.” There is, likewise, another inconvenience in this female passion for china, namely, that it administers to them great matter of wrath and sorrow.

How much anger and affliction are produced daily in the hearts of country-women, by the breach of this frail furniture. Some of them pay half their servants' wages in china fragments, which their carelessness has produced.

“ If thou hast a piece of earthen ware, consider, (says Epictetus,) that it is a piece of earthen ware, and very easy and obnoxious to be broken : be not, therefore, so void of reason, as to be angry or grieved when this comes to pass.” In order, therefore, to exempt my fair readers from such additional and supernumerary calamities of life, I would advise them to forbear dealing in these perishable commodities, till such time as they are philosophers enough to keep their temper at the fall of a tea-pot, or a china cup. I shall further recommend to their serious consideration these three particulars : first, that all china ware is of a weak and transitory nature: secondly, that the fashion of it is changeable: and thirdly, that it is of no use. And first of the first: the fragility of china is such as a reasonable being ought by no means to set its heart upon, though, at the same time, I am afraid I may complain with Seneca on the like occasion, that this very consideration recommends them to our choice, our luxury being grown so wanton, that this kind of treasure becomes the more valuable, the more easily we may be deprived of it, and that it receives a price from its brittleness. There is a kind of ostentation in wealth, which sets the possessors of it upon distinguishing themselves in those things wherel it is hard for the poor to

Things where.] The adverb where includes the idea of place, and is, therefore, inaccurately used, when what precedes does not suggest that idea. If he had said—“ Which puts the possessors of it upon striking out into those paths, where,” the use of it had been proper.



[ocr errors]

follow them. For this reason, I have often wondered that our ladies have not taken pleasure in egg-shells, especially in those which are curiously stained and streaked, and which are so very tender, that they require the nicest hand to hold without breaking them. But, as if the brittleness of this ware were not sufficient to make it costly, the very fashion of it is changeable, which brings me to my second particular.

It may chance, that a piece of china may survive all those accidents to which it is by nature liable, and last for some years, if rightly situated and taken care of.

To remedy, therefore, this inconvenience, it is so ordered, that the shape of it shall grow unfashionable, which makes new supplies always necessary, and furnishes employment for life to women of great and generous souls, who cannot live out of the mode. I myself remember, when there were few china vessels to be. seen that held more than a dish of coffee; but their size is so gradually enlarged, that there are many at present which are capable of holding half a hogshead. The fashion of the teacup is also greatly altered, and has run through a wonderful variety of colour, shape, and size.

But, in the last place, china ware is of no use. Who would not laugh to see a smith's shop furnished with anvils and hammers of china ? The furniture of a lady's favourite room is altogether as absurd: you see jars of a prodigious capacity, that are to hold nothing. I have seen horses, and herds of cattle, in this fine sort of porcelain, not to mention the several Chinese ladies, who, perhaps, are naturally enough represented in these frail materials.

Did our women take delight in heaping up piles of earthen platters, brown jugs, and the like useful products of our British potteries, there would be some sense in it. They might be ranged in as fine figures, and disposed of in as beautiful pieces of architecture; but there is an objection to these which cannot be overcome, namely, that they would be of some use, and might be taken down on all occasions, to be employed in the services of the family, besides that they are intolerably cheap, and most shamefully durable and lasting.

« ForrigeFortsæt »