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from. They tell me, a certain cum dignitate air, that has been buried so long with my other good parts, has begun to shoot forth in my person. I perceptibly grow into gentility. When I take up a newspaper, it is to read the state of the opera. Opus operatum est. I have done all that I came into this world to do. I have worked task-work, and have the rest of the day to myself.
I HAVE an almost feminine partiality for old china. When I go to see any great house I inquire for the china closet, and next for the picture gallery. I cannot defend the order of preference but by saying that we have all some taste or other, of too ancient a date to admit of our remembering distinctly that it was an acquired one. I can call to mind the first play and the first exhibition that I was taken to; but I am not conscious of a time when china jars and saucers were introduced into my imagination.
I had no repugnance then (why should I now have?) to those little, lawless, azure-tinctured grotesques, that under the notion of men and women float about, uncircumscribed by any element, in that world before perspective-a china tea-cup.
I like to see my old friends whom distance cannot diminish-figuring up in the air (so
they appear to our optics), yet on terra firma still, for so we must in courtesy interpret that speck of deeper blue which the decorous artist, to prevent absurdity, had made to spring up beneath their sandals.
I love the men with women's faces, and the women, if possible, with still more womanish expressions.
Here is a young and courtly Mandarin, handing tea to a lady from a salver, two miles off. See how distance seems to set off respect! And here the same lady, or another, (for likeness is identity on teacups,) is stepping into a little fairy boat, moored on the hither side of this calm garden river, with a dainty mincing foot, which in a right angle of incidence (as angles go in our world) must infallibly land her in the midst of a flowery mead a furlong off on the other side of the same strange stream!
Farther on-if far or near can be predicated of their worldsee horses, trees, pagodas, dancing the hays. - Here a cow and rabbit couchant and co-extensive; so objects show, seen through the lucid atmosphere of fine Cathay.
I'was pointing out to my cousin last evening, over our Hyson, (which we are old-fashioned enough to drink unmixed still of an afternoon,) some of these speciosa miracula upon a set of extraordinary old blue china (a recent purchase) which we were now for the first time using; and could not help remarking how fa' vourable circumstances had been to us of late years, that we could afford to please the eye sometimes with trifles of this sort, when a passing sentiment seemed to overshade the brows of my companion. I am quick at detecting these Summer clouds in Bridget.
"I wish the good old times would come again," she said, "when we were not quite so rich. I do not mean that I want to be poor; but there was a middle state," (so she was pleased to ramble on,) "in which I am sure we were a great deal happier. A purchase is but a purchase, now that you have money enough and to spare. Formerly it used to be a triumph. When we coveted a cheap luxury (and Oh, how much ado I had to get you to consent in those times !)-we were used to have a debate two or three days before, and to weigh the for and against, and think what we might spare it out of, and what såving we could hit upon, that should be an equivalent. A thing was worth buying then, when we felt the money that we paid for it. · "Do you remember the brown suit, which you made to hang upon you till all your friends cried shame upon you, it grew so thread-bare, and all because of that folio Beaumont and Fletcher, which you dragged home late at night from Barker's, in Covent Garden? Do you remember how we eyed it for weeks be fore we could make up our minds to the purchase, and had not come to a determination till
it was near ten o'clock of the Saturday night, when you set off from Islington, fearing you should be too late, and when the old bookseller with some grumbling opened his shop, and by the twinkling taper (for he was setting bedwards) lighted out the relic from his dusty treasures,--and when you lugged it home, wishing it were twice as cumbersome, and when you presented it to me, and when we were exploring the perfectness of it (collating you called it),-and while I was repairing some of the loose leaves with paste, which your impatience would not suffer to be left till daybreak-was there no pleasure in being a poor man? Or can those neat black clothes which you wear now, and are so careful to keep brushed, since we have become rich and finical, give you half the honest vanity with which you flaunted it about in that overworn suit--your old corbeau-for four or five weeks longer than you should have done, to pacify your conscience for the mighty sum of fifteen shillings-or sixteen was it? (a great affair we thought it then) which you had lavished on the old folio. Now you can afford to buy any book that pleases you, but I do not see that you ever bring me home any nice old purchases now.
"When you came home with twenty apologies for laying out a less number of shillings upon that print after Lionardo, which we christened the 'Lady Blanch;' when you looked at the purchase, and thought of the money-and looked
again at the picture, and thought of the money -was there no pleasure in being a poor man? Now you have nothing to do but to walk into Colnaghi's, and buy a wilderness of Lionardos. Yet do you?
"Then do you remember our pleasant walks to Enfield, and Potter's Bar, and Waltham, when we had a holyday, (holydays and all other fun are gone now we are rich,) and the little hand-basket in which I used to deposit our day's fare of savoury cold lamb and salad -and how you would pry about at noontide for some decent house, where we might go in and produce our store, only paying for the ale that you must call for, and speculate upon the looks of the landlady, and whether she was likely to allow us a table-cloth, and wish for such another honest hostess as Izaak Walton has described many a one on the pleasant banks of the Lea, when he went a fishing; and sometimes they would prove obliging enough, and sometimes they would look grudgingly upon us; but we had cheerful looks still for one another, and would eat our plain food savourily, Scarcely grudging Piscator his Trout Hall. Now, when we go out a day's pleasuring, which is seldom moreover, we ride part of the way, and go into a fine inn, and order the best of dinners, never debating the expense, which, after all, never has half the relish of those chance country snaps, when we were at the