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OLD CHINA

I have an almost feminine partiality for old china. When I go to see any great house, I in uire for the china!closet, and ne"t for the picture gallery. I cannot defend the order of preference, #ut #y saying, that $e have all some taste or other, of too ancient a date to admit of our remem#ering distinctly that it $as an ac uired one. I can call to mind the first play, and the first e"hi#ition, that I $as ta%en to& #ut I am not conscious of a time $hen china 'ars and saucers $ere introduced into my imagination. I had no repugnance then !! $hy should I no$ have( !! to those little, la$less, a)ure! tinctured grotes ues, that under the notion of men and $omen, float a#out, uncircumscri#ed #y any element, in that $orld #efore perspectives !! a china tea!cup. I li%e to see my old friends !! $hom distance cannot diminish !! figuring up in the air *so they appear to our optics+ yet on terra firma still !! so $e must in courtesy interpret that spec% of deeper #lue, $hich the decorous artist, to prevent a#surdity, has made to spring up #eneath their sandals. I love the men $ith $omen,s faces, and the $omen, if possi#le, $ith still more $omanish e"pressions. Here is a young and courtly -andarin, handing tea to a lady from a salver !! t$o miles off. .ee ho$ distance seems to set off respect/ And here the same lady, or another !! for li%eness is identity on teacups !! is stepping into a little fairy #oat, moored on the hither side of this calm garden river, $ith a dainty mincing foot, $hich in a right angle of incidence *as angles go in our $orld+ must infalli#ly land her in the midst of a flo$ery mead !! a furlong off on the other side of the same strange stream/ 0arther on !! if far or near can he predicated of their $orld !! see horses, trees, pagodas, dancing the hays. Here !! a co$ and ra##it couchant, and co!e"tensive !! so o#'ects sho$, seen through the lucid atmosphere of fine Cathay. I $as pointing out to my cousin last evening, over our Hyson *$hich $e are old fashioned enough to drin% unmi"ed still of an afternoon+ some of these speciosa miracula upon a set of e"tra!ordinary old #lue china *a recent purchase+ $hich $e $ere no$ for the first time using& and could not help remar%ing, ho$ favoura#le circumstances had #een to us of late years, that $e could afford to please the eye sometimes $ith trifles of this sort !! $hen a passing sentiment seemed to over!shade the #ro$s of my companion. I am uic% at detecting these summer clouds in 1ridget. 2I $ish the good old times $ould come again,2 she said, 2$hen $e $ere not uite so rich. I do not mean, that I $ant to #e poor& #ut there $as a middle state 2 !! so she $as pleased to ram#le on, !! 2in $hich I am sure $e $ere a great deal happier. A purchase is #ut a

cloc% of the . A thing $as $orth #uying then. When $e coveted a cheap lu"ury *and. $hich $e christened the 3Lady 1lanch&. $hen he $ent a fishing !! and sometimes they $ould prove o#liging enough. and #uy a $ilderness of Lionardos. give you half the honest vanity $ith $hich you flaunted it a#out in that over!$orn suit !! your old cor#eau !! for four or five $ee%s longer than you should have done. #ut I do not see that you ever #ring me home any nice old purchases no$. to pacify your conscience for the mighty sum of fifteen !! or si"teen shillings $as it ( !! a great affair $e thought it then !! $hich you had lavished on the old folio. $hen you set off from Islington.purchase. and $hether she $as li%ely to allo$ us a ta#le! cloth !! and $ish for such another honest hostess. 0ormerly it used to #e a triumph. and $ould eat our plain food savorily. 2When you come home $ith t$enty apologies for laying out a less num#er of shillings upon that print after Lionardo. $ishing it $ere t$ice as cum#ersome !! and $hen you presented it to me !! and $hen $e $ere e"ploring the perfectness of it *collating you called it !! and $hile I $as repairing some of the loose leaves $ith paste. $here $e might go in. no$ that you have money enough and to spare. $hich is seldom moreover. and had not come to a determination till it $as near ten o. $hich you made to hang upon you.s 1ar. that should #e an e uivalent. and order the #est of dinners. $e ride part of the $ay !! and go into a fine inn. do you remem#er our pleasant $al%s to 6nfield. and thought of the money !! and thought of the money. $hen $e had a holyday !! holydays. No$ you can afford to #uy any #oo% that pleases you. and thin% $hat $e might spare it out of. and Waltham.s. scarcely grudging 7iscator his 5rout Hall( No$. since $e have #ecome rich and finical.aturday night. 4et do you( 25hen. and 7otter.s fare of savory cold lam# and salad !! and ho$ you $ould pry a#out at noon!tide for some decent house. and all other fun. till all your friends cried shame upon you. no$ $e are rich !! and the little hand!#as%et in $hich I used to deposit our day. and are so careful to %eep #rushed. $hen $e felt the money that $e paid or it. are gone. never de#ating the e"pense !! $hich. never has half the relish of . and produce our store !! only paying for the ale that you must call for !! and speculate upon the loo%s of the landlady. $hich your impatience $ould not suffer to #e left till day!#rea% !! $as there no pleasure in #eing a poor man( or can those neat #lac% clothes $hich you $ear no$. and #y the t$in%ling taper *for he $as setting #ed$ards+ lighted out the relic from his dusty treasuries and $hen you lugged it home. $hich you dragged home late at night from 1ar%er. after all. 2Do you remem#er the #ro$n suit. O/ ho$ much ado I had to get you to consent in those times/+ $e $ere used to have a de#ate t$o or three days #efore. and sometimes they $ould loo% grudgingly upon us !! #ut $e had cheerful loo%s still for one another.s in Covent!garden( Do you remem#er ho$ $e eyed it for $ee%s #efore $e could ma%e up our minds to the purchase. it gre$ so thread!#are !! and all #ecause of that folio 1eaumont and 0letcher. $hen you loo%ed at the purchase. as I)aa% Walton has descri#ed many a one on the pleasant #an%s of the Lea. and $hat saving $e could hit upon. and loo%ed again at the picture !! $as there no pleasure in #eing a poor man( No$. fearing you should #e too late !! and $hen the old #oo%seller $ith some grum#ling opened his shop. you have nothing to do #ut to $al% into Colnaghi. and to $eigh the for and against. $hen $e go out a days pleasuring.

$ere o#liged to attend the more. 25here $as pleasure in eating stra$#erries. that it is mighty pleasant at the end of the year to ma%e all meet !! and much ado $e used to have every 5hirty!first Night of Decem#er to account for our e"ceedings !! many a long face did you ma%e over your pu))led accounts. after$ards/ No$ $e can only pay our money. None #ut the poor can do it. and tal% of curtailing this charge. and the surrender of Calais. and in contriving to ma%e it out ho$ $e had spent so much !! or that $e had not spent so much !! or that it $as impossi#le $e should spend so much ne"t year !! and still $e found our slender capital decreasing !! #ut then. no$ and then indulge themselves in a cheap lu"ury. and $al% in. $hat cared $e for our place in the house. than I have done since in more e"pensive situations in the house( 5he getting in indeed. It is the very little more that $e allo$ ourselves #eyond $hat the actual poor can get at. $hich it $as impossi#le for them to fill up. or $hat mattered it $here $e $ere sitting. and heard too. in the galleries no$. I met generally $ith less attention and accommodation. $ell enough then !! #ut sight. #efore they #ecame uite common !! in the first dish of peas. I thin%. 4ou used to say. !! #ut there $as still a la$ of civility to $omen recognised to uite as great an e"tent as $e ever found in the other passage !! and ho$ a little difficulty overcome heightened the snug seat. Do you remem#er $here it $as $e used to sit. is gone $ith our poverty. and a precarious $elcome. as $e have done. $hile they $ere yet dear !! to have them for a nice supper. 24ou are too proud to see a play any$here no$ #ut in the pit. #ut persons as $e $ere.those chance country snaps. What treat can $e have no$( If $e $ere to treat ourselves no$ !! that is. 1ut no$ !! $hat I mean #y the $ord !! $e never do ma%e much of ourselves. it $ould #e selfish and $ic%ed. a treat. you say. as a $oman. on the stage !! #ecause a $ord lost $ould have #een a chasm. and 1annister and -rs. to have dainties a little a#ove our means. and all. and compromises of one sort or another. that ma%es $hat I call a treat !! $hen t$o people living together. I am sure $e sa$. 'ust a#ove poverty. It may give them a hint ho$ to ma%e much of others. $hen $e sa$ the #attle of He"ham. #et$i"t $ays. and did attend. that the gallery $as the #est place of all for en'oying a play socially !! that the relish of such e"hi#itions must #e in proportion to the infre uency of going !! that the company $e met there. not #eing in general readers of plays. 4ou cannot see. to $hat $as going on. $hich #oth li%e& $hile each apologises. I do not mean the veriest poor of all. 2I %no$ $hat you $ere going to say. or $ith 9iola at the Court of Illyria. and the cro$ding up those inconvenient staircases. and is $illing to ta%e #oth halves of the #lame to his single share. I see no harm in people ma%ing much of themselves in that sense of the $ord. and the play. $hen our thoughts $ere $ith 8osalind in Arden. $hen $e $ere at the mercy of uncertain usage. and doing $ithout that for the future !! and the hope that youth #rings. With such reflections $e consoled our pride then !! and I appeal to you. $as #ad enough. $hether. and laughing spirits *in $hich you $ere never . and pro'ects. 1land in the Children in the Wood !! $hen $e s uee)ed out our shillings a!piece to sit three or four times in a season in the one!shilling gallery !! $here you felt all the time that you ought not to have #rought me !! and more strongly I felt o#ligation to you for having #rought me !! and the pleasure $as the #etter for a little shame !! and $hen the curtain dre$ up.

Competence to age is supplementary youth& a sorry supplement indeed. smiling at the phantom of $ealth $hich her dear imagination had con'ured up out of a clear income of poor !! hundred pounds a year. for if $e $ere to sha%e the superflu" into the sea. $hich circumstances cannot straiten !! $ith us are long since passed a$ay. Cotton. *as you used to uote it out of hearty cheerful -r. as you called him+. 1land again #e young.2 . I am careful ho$ I interrupt it. over the head of that pretty insipid half!-adonna!ish chit of a lady in that very #lue summer! house. I could not help. let in the first light of the $hole cheerful theatre do$n #eneath us !! I %no$ not the fathom line that ever touched a descent so deep as I $ould #e $illing to #ury more $ealth in than Croesus had or the great <e$ 8!!!!! is supposed to have. We could never have #een $hat $e have #een to each other. We must ride $here $e formerly $al%ed : live #etter. #ig enough for a #ed!tester. and %nit our compact closer. $e are safe. sitting on this lu"urious sofa !! #e once more struggling up those inconvenient stair!cases. ho$ever. no$ !! #ut could you and I at this moment. $e used to $elcome in the 3coming guest.+ $e poc%eted up our loss. It strengthened. 4et could those days return !! could you and I once more $al% our thirty miles a!day !! could 1annister and -rs.poor till no$.2 1ridget is so sparing of her speech on most occasions. And no$ do 'ust loo% at that merry little Chinese $aiter holding an um#rella. $ith 3lusty #rimmers. my cousin. #ut I fear the #est that is to #e had. and lie softer !! and shall #e $ise to do so !! than $e had means to do in those good old days you spea% of. that $hen she gets into a rhetorical vein. and s uee)ed. I am afraid $e must put up $ith the e"cess. $e have reason to #e most than%ful. instead of this uiet argument.. $hich al$ays follo$ed $hen the topmost stair. and in conclusion. and you and I young to see them !! could the good old one shilling gallery days return !! they are dreams. if $e had al$ays had the sufficiency $hich you no$ complain of. to purchase it. #ut $e $ere also younger. my cousin. and el#o$ed #y the poorest ra##le of poor gallery scram#lers !! could I once more hear those an"ious shrie%s of yours !! and the delicious 5han% . 2It is true $e $ere happier $hen $e $ere poorer.od. 5he resisting po$er !! those natural dilations of the youthful spirit. No$ $e have no rec%oning at all at the end of the old year !! no flattering promises a#out the ne$ year doing #etter for us. #y our $ell!carpeted fire!side. pushed a#out. $e should not much mend ourselves. as $e gre$ up together. con uered. 5hat $e had much to struggle $ith.