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mistake it for a real pie, and Mr. Wedgwood had new ones made repeatedly, till at last one appeared so perfect, that at a little distance it could not be known from pie crust. "When I took off the cover," said Mr. Frankland," the child next me was agreeably surprised to hear it jingle on the dish."
"Besides this," said the old gentleman, "Mr. Wedgwood made a number of little every-day useful contrivances; that dish, in which there is a well for the gravy. In the olden times, unhappy carvers were obliged to poke under the heavy sirloin for gravy; or to raise and slope the dish, at the imminent hazard of overturning the sirloin, and splashing the spectators. Knife, fork, spoon, slipping all the while, one after another, into the dish! And, ten to one, no gravy to be had after all! Nothing but cakes of cold grease. But now, without poking, sloping, splashing, the happy carver, free from these miseries of life, has only to dip his spoon into a well of pure gravy. Thanks to the invention
of one man, all men, women, and children, may now have gravy without stooping the dish. So I give you, gentlemen and ladies, for a toast, The late Mr. Wedgwood, and the comforts of life."
After he had drank his glass of wine, the old gentleman continued speaking :
"I remember that Mr. Coxe, the traveller, was pleased by meeting with a beautiful service of Wedgwood ware in Russia. I dare say he might find one now in Siberia. Last year, when I was in Holland, I learnt, that even the town of Delft, which, for many years, used to furnish all Europe with crockery, is now supplied from England with our Staffordshire ware."
The conversation next turned on China, and Chinese artists.
"They are very exact," said Mr. Frankland," in imitating whatever is bespoken from them, but sometimes they carry this to a degree of provoking stupidity."
Of this he gave an instance. A lady wanted to match some of the plates of a
remarkably handsome service of china, which had been given to her husband by the East India Company. She sent a pattern to China, and bespoke some dozens to be made exactly the same. In due time they arrived, were unpacked, but, to her surprise and mortification, the lady found, that every one of the new plates had the appearance of a crack across it; and, on examining the plate which had been sent as a pattern, it was found that there was a crack in it, which had been exactly imitated.
Even Harry, though he loved exactness, thought this was too much.
Lucy observed the beauty of the china. On her plate there lay, or there seemed to lie, a convolvulus: it looked so natural, that she thought she could take it up. On her mother's was a Celsia, a geranium on another, and on Harry's a honeysuckle, of which she could almost fancy that she smelt the perfume. Even as she eat her ripe cherries, she paused to examine these
flowers. She thought it the most beautiful china she had ever seen. When she went into the drawing-room she saw on the chimney-piece flower-pots of the most delicate blue, with white figures on them, embossed like ivory, and exquisitely carved. The drapery on the figures was so light, that it seemed as if blown by the wind, and so transparent, that she could see the blue ground through it.
Mrs. Frankland came to Lucy, as she was looking at these flower-pots, and told her that they were Wedgwood's ware, as well as the plates which she had admired at the dessert.
"Wedgwood's ware!" repeated Lucy. "I thought that Wedgwood's ware was always black or cream-coloured, such as the common yellowish plates."
Mrs. Frankland told her there was a great variety of Wedgwood's wares. She took
her into a cabinet at the end of the drawing-room, where she showed her several vases, made in imitation of antiques, which
had been dug up from the ruins of Etruria, in Italy, and thence called Etruscan. Some had red grounds, with black figures; others red figures, on black grounds; others, which were called jasper, were very valuable. After Lucy had examined and admired all these, Mrs. Frankland said she would show her another, which was more valuable than all the rest. The original, from which it was exquisitely imitated, cost the present possessor four thousand guineas. As she spoke she opened the case which contained the vase, and carefully raised it from its crimson-cushioned bed.
"I know it, I have seen it before, mamma," exclaimed Lucy.
"Seen it before, Lucy!" said her mother. "Where?"
"In a book, when I was reading to you, mamma."
"You mean, that you have seen an engraving of it," said her mother.
"Yes, mamma, you remember the three views in the Botanic Garden, of a vase just