THE STORY OF PORCELAIN
SARA WARE BASSETT
Author of "The Story of Lumber" "The Story of Wool" "The Story of Leather" "The Story of Glass" "The Story of Sugar" "The Story of Silk" etc.
Illustrated by Isabel W. Caley
The Penn Publishing Company Philadelphia 1919 Copyright 1919 by The Penn Publishing Company
The Story of Porcelain
this book is affectionately inscribed
Some master-craftsman, maker of porcelains, to the Emperor, the Son of Heaven, Having attained the paradise of artists, who mould in life and fire, Fashioned this day:
A bowl blue as the iris within the sacred gardens, Based with a low design of brown bare hills, A pine or two new-tipped with tender needles, With oak buds, pink and saffron, And birds red, brown, and blue.
Into this bowl, exquisite and perishable, The Patron of all artists heaps light and more light; Then holding high the brimming chalice, quaffs, And folds it in his altar-cloth of stars.
Carl H. Grabo. (From the Nation.)
I. Into the Woods
II. Mr. Croyden Keeps His Promise
III. Theo Meets with a Calamity
IV. Mr. Croyden's Story
V. The Potter Who Burned His Chairs
VI. From Vases to Drain-Pipes
VII. Porcelain at Last
VIII. The Third Famous Potter
IX. The Romance of French China-Making
X. How the Italians Made China
XI. Our English Cousins
XII. Theo Makes a Present
XIII. The Trenton Visit
XIV. The Beginning of the Porcelain Pilgrimage
XV. How Porcelain is Made
XVI. Dishes, Dishes Everywhere
XVII. The Decoration of China
XVIII. Theo's Great Choice
"It Was No Ordinary Dog" Frontispiece
"I Had Forgotten All About Bed"
"He Used Every Splinter of Wood"
"His Servants Dug Some of the Clay"
"This is a Present"
"It is a Costly Process, and Rather Slow"
THE STORY OF PORCELAIN
INTO THE WOODS
Theo Swift dropped into a chair before the blazing fire in the log cabin, and drew a long breath of delight. At last his dream had come true; he was in the heart of the Maine woods! It was a wonderful experience for a boy of his age to be his father's companion on a fishing trip. Each spring when Dr. Swift had packed his tackle for his annual vacation into the wilderness, and Theo had looked on with hungry eyes as the rods, flies, and tramping boots had been stowed away in the canvas grips, his father had said:
"Wait until you are a bit older, son, and you shall go with me."
And now that day had come, and here he was! It seemed too good to be true.
He glanced up to find his father smiling down at him.
"Well?" questioned the older man. "What do you think of the camp? Does it come up to your expectations?"
"I should say it did!" Theo managed to gasp. "It is great, Father!"
"Think you can be contented here for a month?"
"Contented!" laughed Theo.
"You won't be getting lonesome and wishing you were back in New York?"
"Well, I hope you'll have a good time. Certainly with plenty of fishing and tramping you should. You will find Manuel, our Indian guide, a never-ending source of entertainment; he can do everything from dressing a moose to building a canoe. There isn't a trail through these woods that he couldn't travel blindfolded. You will be perfectly safe with him; only you must do exactly as he says, no matter how silly his orders may seem. He knows the woods better than you do—or than I do, for that matter. Remember you are no longer on Fifth Avenue, where you can call a policeman or a taxicab if you get lost. This vast forest is an entirely different proposition."
"How still it is," he said softly.
"Yes," rejoined his father; "that is why it means to me something that no other place can. After the rush of the city, the jangle of telephones, the constant sight of sick people, there is nothing to compare with the restfulness of these woods."
The Doctor, who had been standing with his back to the fire, his hands clasped behind him, drew out his pipe, lighted it, and puffed a ring of smoke into the air.
"You have had a very busy year, Father."
"Yes, and I fancy there will be a still busier one ahead. Before I attack it I feel that it is my duty to get a good rest. In these war days a doctor never knows where he may be needed to serve. Thus far my place seems to have been at a home hospital. With eight of our operating staff in France it has meant much extra work, too. Not that I am complaining of that. I am only too glad to do my bit wherever it is. But I had got to the point where I felt that the man who can give the best service is the man who does not allow himself to become too fagged. So I determined to take my usual vacation even though on the face of it it seemed a crime to devote myself to nothing but fishing for a whole month."
Theo glanced into the face of the big, earnest man before him; he felt suddenly very grown up. His father had seldom talked to him like this.
"This war," went on Dr. Swift thoughtfully, "is going to make demands on all of us—demands for money, work, and time. We should be proud to give these, for it is the first time our country has ever asked anything of our generation. We have taken unthinkingly all the benefits America has to offer—libraries; schools; well ordered cities to live in; the blessings of constant peace and prosperity. For it we have returned to the government only the slight taxes demanded for the up-keep of these things; and most of us, I blush to say, have grumbled a great deal about it, at that. As a nation we were becoming too comfortable, too rich, too selfish, too complacent. Now a crisis has arisen when the United States is asking more of us, as it has every right to do; and we should be eager to prove our gratitude for all we have so freely received. Only those who have traveled much can fully realize what a home and an education in a place like America mean. Never forget, son, that all we can do, even to the sacrifice of our lives, is none too high a price to pay for our beloved country."
"I wish I might have gone to France, Father," said Theo earnestly.
"A boy of fifteen is too young to go," returned Dr. Swift. "If you were older I should be the first to bid you Godspeed, for it is a great opportunity for service. Those who are not sharing it are missing one of life's richest experiences. It means danger, privation, perhaps death; but it means also the exercise of all that is finest in our natures—patriotism, heroism, the dedication of ourselves to a great cause. I should have been proud to have you in France, Theo. However, there is much a boy can do here and now. He can begin being a loyal unselfish citizen, and training himself to bear his part when he shall be older. Get your education first. Prepare yourself to be of value to humanity so that when your time to help comes it may find you useful and ready."
There was a moment of silence.
The great logs in the rough stone chimney crackled and snapped, and up the flue roared the blaze. Outside all was still save when the breeze stirred the giant pines causing them to give out a mighty whisper like the murmur of the sea.
It was a cozy interior over which the firelight flashed.
The log cabin had been sheathed to keep it warm and tight, and to conceal its barrenness on the walls had been tacked a few gaily colored prints. On one side of the room were several well-filled bookshelves, while on the opposite wall were racks for pipes and guns. From over the fireplace an elk's head peered forth, catching the scarlet glow from the fire on its mammoth antlers. Two small bedrooms which led out of this living-room completed the cabin. Outside stood four others built exactly like this one, and in addition a dining-cabin, cook-house, and two cabins for the guides.
Aside from this tiny settlement on the lake's edge there was not a house for twenty miles. It was a wilderness indeed!
"Are there any other people staying here at the camp beside ourselves?" inquired Theo at last.
Dr. Swift, who had seated himself before the fire, nodded.
"Yes, there is a Mr. Croyden, from Trenton, New Jersey, whom I have met here before—a splendid man, whom you will like. He is a great fisherman—comes back every season just about this time. At present there is no one else, so you will not find the woods overcrowded."
Theo laughed at the bare suggestion, then yawned drowsily.
"Nor will you be troubled by not sleeping to-night, eh, son? You look about ready to hit the pillow this minute."
"I am," replied Theo. "I never was so sleepy in my life."
"That is the Maine air."
"Some of it is the effect of the corduroy road," the boy observed with a grin.
"It is a beastly road, that carry," agreed Dr. Swift. "It shakes every bone in your body. When you do manage to get here, however, it certainly is worth the trip. Do you feel as if you could worry down a little dinner?"
The Doctor chuckled.
"So do I. It ought to be ready soon now, for it is nearly six."
Just at this moment the sound of a horn was heard.
Dr. Swift rose promptly.
"That is dinner," he said.
"I expected a bell," Theo answered, springing up.
"Waiting for a Japanese gong, are you? Well, you won't hear it here."
Clapping a hand affectionately on his son's shoulder the elder man led the way to the dining-cabin and pushed open the door.
Upon the hearth inside another bright fire glowed, and before it stood a long roughly made table covered with immaculate enamel cloth, on which was spread a smoking meal.
A man with a pair of merry brown eyes rose from his chair as the two travelers entered.
"I am glad to see you, Dr. Swift," he exclaimed heartily, putting out his hand. "So you are back to the fishing grounds once more!"
"I certainly am, Mr. Croyden, and thankful enough to be here. I've brought my boy, Theodore, with me this time; Theo, we call him."
Mr. Croyden took the lad's hand cordially.
"I'm glad to see you, youngster," he said. "If you prove half as good a fisherman as your father the two of you won't leave a trout or salmon in these waters."
"But I'm not a fisherman at all," Theo confessed. "I never cast a fly in my life."
"You certainly have come to the right place to learn, then. Your father has been neglecting your education, I fear. I see there is something we can teach you."
"I'm afraid there are a good many things," replied Theo modestly.
Mr. Croyden regarded him approvingly.
"That's right, boy," he said kindly. "Never be afraid to learn. We all are still learning, at least I am; and I will wager your father is, too."
"A doctor is always learning," assented Theo's father.
"And a business man as well," put in Mr. Croyden. "When we no longer need to learn we can be pretty sure we are near the end of our usefulness in this world. Now suppose we begin your education, Theo, by teaching you the proper way to eat a brook trout. How would that lesson please you?"
There was a twinkle in the stranger's eye.
"Very much indeed."
"I rather thought so," was the laughing answer. "Here, Franz, help Dr. Swift and his son to some of the fish I caught to-day. They are the first of the season, Doctor, with my compliments." He made a courtly gesture with his hand. "Remember, Theo," he added, "always to open a fish up the back. In that way you can take the backbone out whole and save yourself a deal of trouble."
Theo nodded his thanks for the suggestion.
What a dinner it was!
The trout were fried to a rich bronze, and the crisp potatoes were discs of golden brown; in addition there were baked beans, smoking brown-bread, slices of creamy cheese, and a pyramid of doughnuts. At the conclusion of the meal Franz came running from the cook-house with a covered dish heaped high with pancakes.
It was only when the three campers were unable to crowd down another mouthful that they rose from the table.
"Don't you and Theo want to come into my cabin and enjoy my fire for a while?" asked Mr. Croyden.
"Why, thank you, Croyden," answered Dr. Swift; "we might make you a short call. We are off to bed early, however, so we must not stay long."
Mr. Croyden's cabin proved to be a replica of the Swifts' own cozy one, except that it was more sumptuously furnished; for Mr. Croyden, who was a hunter as well as a fisherman, had adorned both couch and floors with great bearskins, trophies of his luck.
As his guests entered he hurried forward to put another four-foot log on the fire, after which he dragged out three steamer-chairs and placed them before the blaze.
"All the comforts of home, you see," he said gaily.
"More comforts than some of us get at home," smiled Dr. Swift. "There is nothing to equal this in New York."
For a moment none of them spoke; they were watching the scarlet rise and fall of the flame.
"What a lot of company a fire is!" mused Dr. Swift.
"I know it," came from Mr. Croyden. "And did you ever think how easily we can produce it? Within the space of a second we can start a blaze. A fire was quite another problem for our forefathers who lived long before matches were invented. Think back to the time when people rubbed dried sticks together to make a spark; or later when they were forced to use flint and matchlock. It meant no end of work to capture that first light, and even then it frequently went out. How housewives struggled to keep the embers on the hearth always glowing that a new fire might be built without so much trouble; and how men carried from place to place coals enough to kindle other fires! When we strike a match and so quickly get our response of flame we do not half appreciate how fortunate we are."
"I never thought what it would mean to have no matches," reflected Theo.
"Man's discovery of the use of fire was one of the first steps in his civilization," Dr. Swift put in. "It meant that henceforth instead of eating raw food as did the other animals he could have it cooked. For man, you must remember, is the only animal who cooks his food."
"And hand in hand with the cooking came the need of dishes in which to prepare it," rejoined Mr. Croyden. "Meats could, of course, be broiled over the fire on a forked stick; but no stews or soups could be had until man invented some utensil which would contain liquid and at the same time withstand the heat of the blaze. That problem was the one that confronted all primitive races, and set them to fashioning pottery. The history of their first attempts is most interesting. Probably chance led people to the discovery that they could mix clay with water, and that it would harden in the sun. They may have seen a print of their own feet immortalized in the sun-baked mud, and caught at the idea of taking the clay for more useful purposes. Nobody knows where they got their first inspiration. But every race that has existed has had its crude receptacles for food and water."
Theo was not sleepy now; he was far too interested to think of sleep.
"Even in the Stone Age, when men lived in caves and great creatures now extinct roamed the earth, men made bowls, pots, and vases, some of which are in existence in our museums of to-day," continued Mr. Croyden. "We have, too, a few specimens of clumsy vessels made from grayish black clay which are relics of the Lake Dwellers, who fashioned their houses on piles, and set them in the middle of small lakes as a protection against wild animals and rival races of savages. Then followed what is known as the Bronze Age, and we find that the people of this era also worked with clay. Their designs showed a decided advance, too, even some simple decoration being attempted."
"All that was in Europe, I suppose," Theo ventured shyly.
"By no means," replied Mr. Croyden. "On the contrary, we have found in our own hemisphere specimens of this prehistoric pottery. In some cases baskets of twigs were woven and lined with clay, after which they were baked in the fire and the twigs burned off. Other pieces were built up from coils of clay wound round and round, and when partly hardened these were worked together with a tool in order that the cracks might be filled. All through the western part of our country have been found clay relics of various early tribes of Indians; and in some places are giant mounds in which have been buried all sorts of crude clay jugs and bowls. Since these primal peoples used for materials the natural clays and earths they succeeded in producing some excellent colors, too."
Mr. Croyden paused.
"Was the potter's wheel in use then?" questioned Dr. Swift.
"Probably not. There is no trace of it in this early work. It is not until the historic age that we have the potter's wheel, the oldest and first mechanical device mentioned in history. Mexicans, Peruvians, Egyptians, Greeks, Assyrians, Romans, Gauls, Teutons all used it."
"I have seen some of the old Mexican or Aztec pottery," declared Dr. Swift, "and it was very interesting. It was of reddish clay, and I was told it was much like the variety made in Peru. Not only were there roughly modeled dishes and jars in the collection, but also all sorts of strange clay idols. You see, instead of worshipping the gods of goodness, Theo, these early peoples thought they could propitiate the gods of evil if they worshipped them instead; accordingly they made all sorts of grotesque images, some of them very hideous. None of this clay work was glazed, of course, for at that time men had not yet discovered that they could put a glaze over the surface of objects and thus protect them and render them water-tight. It was a great pity that Cortez and his followers destroyed this early Mexican civilization, which was surprisingly advanced.
"I suppose the Peruvians had also gone quite as far if not further than the Aztecs when in 1531 Pizarro invaded South America," rejoined Mr. Croyden. "They were making some very good pottery decorated in red, black, and brown; and they must have known how to bake it, or the colors in the design would not have lasted until now."
Mr. Croyden rose to stamp out a spark that had snapped from the fireplace onto the fur rug at his feet.
"Strange, isn't it, how much of our knowledge of the ancient races has come down to us through their clay work?" he reflected. "What should we have known of these western civilizations save through their handiwork? And when we travel across seas it is the same. Much of our acquaintance with Egyptian, Greek, and Roman life has been handed down to posterity through tiles and pottery which have served to record nations' customs and advancement. The march of the invading Roman armies, for example, can be traced by the fragments of pottery left behind them. These relics have been found in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, and prove that very early the Romans made use of clay utensils for cooking their food. Even beneath the city of London old Roman furnaces for firing dishes have been discovered; and moreover, some of the very dishes themselves."
Theo seemed astonished.
"Later the Romans made much beautiful pottery; but it was never as beautiful as that of the Greeks. Sometime, however, Theo, you should go to one of our museums and see some Samian ware, the finest of Roman clay work. The red in it is almost as vivid as sealing-wax, and it has a wonderful polish not unlike that on modern Egyptian ware. No one has ever been able to discover from what clay this marvelous pottery was made. Some historians think the ware was first made by wandering Greek artisans. The Romans also made a very beautiful black ware now known as Upchurch pottery because of the location in England in which it was found. This black color, scientists have decided, was not produced by mixing a pigment with the clay as did the Greeks, but resulted from an ingenious use of oxide of iron which, when burned by a reducing fire, turned black; the Romans also gave us Castor ware, a pottery moulded from a dark clay and having on it figures traced in a lighter color."
"Did anybody else in Europe make as beautiful pottery as the Greeks and Romans?" inquired Theo.
"Perhaps not so beautiful," answered Mr. Croyden. "Yet before we hear either of Greek or Roman we find the Egyptians and Assyrians, nations famous for their skill in the arts as well as their prowess in war, making pottery and tiles. These have been preserved to us in tombs and pyramids, for these races, you know, were accustomed to pay great honor to their dead. It was a fortunate custom, too, since by means of it much history has come down to us which would otherwise have been destroyed. Unquestionably the Saxons, Scandinavians, Gauls, and Teutons also made pottery, but their attempts were of a cruder sort. Dishes, vases, toys have been exhumed in their countries, all displaying characteristic clay designs. But no country in the world has ever equaled the pottery of the Greeks."
"Did the Greeks——" began Theo; but his father cut him short.
"See here, young man," he declared, drawing out his watch, "this is no time of night for you to be setting forth on a history of Greek pottery. You are going to bed."
Theo rose with a laugh.
"I had forgotten all about bed," he said.
"That speaks pretty well for your charm as an historian, Croyden," observed Dr. Swift. "The boy could scarcely keep his eyes open at dinner."
"Can't you tell me about Greek pottery some other time, sir?" asked Theo.
"I'd be glad to, sonny," Mr. Croyden returned. "I never dreamed a boy would be interested in such a dull subject."
"It isn't dull when you tell it," came naively from Theo.
"That is the biggest compliment I ever had in my life," exclaimed the fisherman with pleasure. "You shall hear more of Greek pottery to-morrow if by that time you still want to. Good-night. The most beautiful thing I can wish you is that you dream of Greek vases all night long."
MR. CROYDEN KEEPS HIS PROMISE
When Theo awoke the next day the novelty of his surroundings drove every thought of Greek pottery from his mind. As he peeped out of his window he could see slanting rifts of early sunlight flecking with gold the trunks of the great pines. From the chimney of the cookhouse a spiral of blue smoke was ascending and as it rose it carried into the air with it a pleasant odor of burning wood and frying bacon.
Theo did not dally with his dressing, you may be sure; he was far too hungry, and too eager to attack the program for the day.
"Put on thick boots, son," called Dr. Swift from his room. "The weather is fine. It is an ideal morning to tramp across Owl's Nest Carry and fish in the lake beyond there."
"What time is it, Father?" inquired Theo. "I forgot to wind my watch last night."
"Six o'clock. We shall have a three mile walk, and plenty of time to get in some fishing before the sun is high. Then we can paddle up-stream to the camp at the farther end of Owl Lake and cook our lunch. How does that plan please you?"
"Hurrah!" cried Theo. "Is there a camp like this over there?"
"Oh, no. Just a lean-to which serves as a shelter, if people want to spend the night and be on hand for early morning fishing. Sometimes, too, I have gone over in the late afternoon and fished until dark, afterward turning in on the pine boughs for the night. It is only a crude little camp, but it is perfectly comfortable. You will like Owl Lake. It is smaller than this one, but it has a very pretty shore bordered with a stretch of white sandy beach."
"It must be a great place for swimming."
"It is. Just now, however, the water is too cold. Later in the season when things get warmed up it is the finest bathing place imaginable. Are you ready for breakfast now?"
"Then you'd better run along. I will join you in a few moments. I must go first and see Manuel about the lunch."
"All right, sir."
Through the crisp morning air Theo bounded across to the dining-cabin, where he found Mr. Croyden.
A bright fire burned on the hearth and the table with its heaping plates of hot johnny-cake looked most inviting.
"Hello, youngster!" called the older man, glancing up with a smile. "How do you find yourself to-day? All lamed up after your jolt over the carry?"
"Not a bit, Mr. Croyden," laughed Theo. "I'm not lame at all. I'm just hungry."
"A perfectly normal condition. So long as you can eat I guess there is not much the matter with you."
"Oh, I can always eat," grinned Theo. "Mother says my appetite never goes back on me."
"Well, fall to. It looks as if Franz had prepared for the worst," chuckled Mr. Croyden. "What are you and your dad up to to-day?"
"We are going to Owl Lake to fish."
"That isn't a bad beginning. It is not a long tramp, and the fish are biting well over there. I have tried it several times and had excellent luck. You are wise to start in gradually and not attempt too long a jaunt at first. There is everything in getting into training, as your father well knows."
There was a bang of the door, and Dr. Swift entered.
"Good-morning, Doctor," said Mr. Croyden. "So you and your son are to try your skill at Owl to-day?"
"Yes. That seemed to be a good starter."
"An excellent one."
"Why don't you come along with us?"
"Yes; that is, unless you have other plans. We should be glad to have you. The more the merrier."
"I wish you would come, Mr. Croyden," urged Theo.
"That is very kind of you," returned Mr. Croyden, hesitating a little. "I had not planned my day. Are you sure you want so many?"
"Three is not many. Come along, by all means," declared Dr. Swift. "Manuel says the lake has not yet been fished much and that the trout are biting well. Get Tony, your guide, to pack up your tackle and bring some lunch. I am afraid we have not enough for all hands."
Mr. Croyden sprang to his feet.
"I'll do that," he replied. "What time are you starting?"
"Just as soon as I have succeeded in getting Theo to take a little nourishment," returned the Doctor.
This task Dr. Swift evidently did not find difficult, for within a half hour the party were setting forth through the woods.
The luncheon, tackle, and sweaters had been put into a canoe, which Tony and Manuel raised to their shoulders as if it were a feather.
"There is a punt over at Owl that we can use, so we shall need only one canoe," explained Manuel as he strode along.
The carry was not a rough one, but to Theo, accustomed to the smoothness of city pavements, it seemed very rough indeed. He was continually stepping into holes or climbing over fallen tree-trunks, and although a good walker, the pace the guides set made him pant. Even Dr. Swift was forced to confess that he was out of breath and was obliged now and then to stop and rest. Mr. Croyden, on the contrary, swung along the narrow trail with the ease of an Indian.
"You will get into trim in a few days," he observed encouragingly to Theo. "I myself am always stiff and slow until I get limbered up."
When, however, Owl Lake finally came into sight both Theo and his father instantly forgot their fatigue.
There stretched the tiny sheet of water, a gem of flashing blue whose calm surface mirrored the pines and delicate birches bordering its margin.
The punt and canoe were launched, the tackle unpacked, and amid a silence broken only by the dip of oar and paddle the fishermen drifted out into the stillness.
Ah, it was a day never to be forgotten! Certainly Theo would never forget it, for it was during the first half-hour of this Arabian Night's dream that he proudly landed a beautiful lake trout, the first one he had ever caught.
From the moment he felt the tug at his line until his catch was safely in the bottom of the boat his excitement was tremendous. How the little creature pulled! How it swept away with the bait into deep water! With Manuel, Dr. Swift, Tony, and Mr. Croyden all coaching him, and almost as frenzied as he, poor Theo hardly knew where he was. But he obeyed the insistent command of: "Play him! Play him!" and play him he did. Even with the captive's final leap into the air the trout did not succeed in freeing itself from the hook. Keeping his prize well away from the boat that the line might not slacken Theo at last reeled in his victim.
He gasped when the feat was accomplished.
The second time he knew better what to do; and before the sun was high and the fish had ceased to bite he landed five beauties.
In the meantime both his father and Mr. Croyden had been so absorbed in watching his pleasure that they had almost forgotten their own lines, and it was not until a big land-loch struck that the Doctor remembered he, too, was fishing. When finally a lull in the sport came and the party pulled up-stream toward the lean-to, there were a dozen good-sized trout in Mr. Croyden's basket and as many more in the Doctor's.
Then came the disembarking at the upper end of the lake, and the building of the fire. Dry wood was taken from the shelter of the house, and in the clearing before the camp, on a foundation of large flat stones, the fire was kindled. It was a marvel to Theo to see how quickly Manuel and Tony made things ready. They produced a small frying-pan, greased it, and had the fish sizzling in it before you could say Jack Robinson. Then they unpacked the hampers and brought forth tin plates, knives, and forks.
How good the meal tasted!
The great slices of bread-and-butter, with layers of creamy cheese between them, seemed a royal feast to the ravenous sportsmen; and the steaming coffee and thin slices of crisp bacon food for the gods. As for the trout—particularly the big one Theo himself had caught—well, there never was such eating!
After lunch was done the fishermen were loth to leave the sunny shelter of the cabin.
Dr. Swift and Mr. Croyden lounged on the door-sill, while Theo skipped stones in the water until his arm was tired. Then exhausted by his exertions he sank wearily down on a stump near the lean-to and remarked:
"Why wouldn't this be a good time, Mr. Croyden, to tell us some more about Greek pottery?"
"Greek pottery? Bless my heart! I thought you had forgotten all about that."
"So I had when I was fishing," confessed Theo honestly. "But I have remembered it again now."
"You are a frank youngster," laughed Mr. Croyden. "Well, let me see. You know the making of pottery was a fine art among the Greeks. They made two kinds—neither of them glazed, of course, because at that time nobody knew how to glaze pottery. The first kind was a pottery of red clay on which were placed decorations of black pigment; the other was a pottery on which they painted figures in red, afterward filling in the background around them with black. These two varieties of ware are briefly known as black on red, and red on black. The black portion of this pottery possessed a wonderful polish which came from the black pigment mixed with the clay; the red part, on the contrary, had no lustre, evidently being smoothed and polished with some hard tool after the vase was finished. These vases were very beautiful in form and design, no two of them being alike. Each was made by an individual artist who pleased himself as to the arrangement of the birds, animals, and gracefully draped figures with which he decorated it. The famous Francois vase at Florence is a marvelous example of this sixth century workmanship; every inch of its closely adorned surface is covered with carefully drawn figures in black, white, and purple. This particular piece was probably made by two Athenian artists, as it shows two distinct types of work. Think how fortunate we are to have had it come down to us unbroken through the tumult of the years!"
Mr. Croyden gazed thoughtfully into the fire.
"You know that at the time these exquisite vases were made the entire Greek nation was devoting itself to the fashioning of beautiful things. Sculptors were carving wonderful statues, toiling eagerly to make each piece more perfect in form; architects were rearing such buildings as the world has never since seen; and in the centre of Athens a district was reserved which was entirely occupied by the shops of potters and painters and known as the ceramicus. It is from this ancient word that our present day term ceramics is derived. Within this area devoted to the making of pottery the artists worked, each one reverently bending his energy to give to the world a thing which should be as nearly perfect in form and decoration as he could make it. Thousands of vases went out, many of them into the homes of rich, beauty-loving Greeks; many into the temples; and many into Athenian tombs; for the people of this nation always loyally honored their dead. In addition to these vases there were smaller articles—perfume bottles, jars for wine or water, utensils used at ceremonials in the temples; and the beautiful amphora, a vase given as a prize at the great Greek festivals, and the progenitor of the silver cups we now give the winners in athletic games. This latter type of vase had two handles and frequently its base was tapered to a point in order that it might rest in a tripod, or be thrust into the earth. At the Louvre in Paris there is a very famous Greek amphora which I hope you will see some day."
"I should like to see it," declared Theo eagerly.
"I intend you shall, son," put in Dr. Swift. "I mean to give you the chance to see all the finest things in the world, if I have my way."
Theo smiled gratefully into his father's face.
"When we marvel at the grace and perfection of Greek decoration we must bear in mind that as a spur to their artistic sense the people had beauty constantly before them. Theirs was a country of smiling skies, of blue heaven and golden sunshine; their buildings breathed the very essence of all that is highest in art; even the throngs that filled the streets were picturesque and classic in appearance. For in those days fashions of dress did not change as capriciously as they do now. A beautiful style of costume was adopted and retained, and in consequence artists had ever before them men and women who were excellent models for chaste decoration. In our time such a procedure would be impossible, as the national dress of both our men and women has become utilitarian rather than beautiful, and now has little artistic to recommend it. If we wish classic draperies and faultless styles of hair-dressing we must revert to the past for our models."
There was a silence broken only by the snapping of the fire.
"To give you some idea how much of this pottery the Greeks turned out I must tell you that at Naples there is a collection of two thousand Greek cups and vases. The Vatican at Rome has one thousand more; Florence has seven hundred; Turin five hundred; Vienna three hundred; Berlin about seventeen hundred; the Louvre at Paris fifteen hundred; and the British Museum nearly twenty-six hundred. Besides these there are some twenty thousand more scattered all over the world in private collections."
A whistle of surprise escaped Theo.
"Not all of these are equally good, however," went on Mr. Croyden. "The Etruscan work done by wandering Greek potters and by some persons rated as identical with the Roman Samian ware, is one of the finest varieties remaining to us; probably because it escaped being buried with the dead and therefore was not injured or discolored by the soil as were so many of the Greek vases found at Athens. Moreover, we must remember that not every artist who made and decorated an object excelled. Naturally some did more perfect work than others, even in the days of the best Grecian art. How sad it is that at a later period in history the work of the Greeks became less fine because the ideals of the race degenerated. Pottery makers, sculptors, and builders began to produce cheap, gaudy things which were lavishly decorated, and reflected the luxury and extravagance that had crept into the nation. From that moment the glory of Greece decayed. For it is the ideals of a country and its people that serve as guide-posts to the greatest and finest deeds. Unless each individual in a land aims at the purest and best his country will never reach holiness. It is the struggle for perfection in every field of life that results in fine art, fine men, and fine nations."
Mr. Croyden had become very grave.
Then he rose abruptly, took out his pipe, and knocked the bowl of it upon a stump.
"Well, well," he exclaimed with a swift return to his accustomed gaiety, "I think I have lectured long enough. See! Manuel has everything packed up and is waiting for us. Suppose we start back home."
But Theo was very quiet on the trip back to the camp.
He was thinking about the Greeks.
THEO MEETS WITH A CALAMITY
It was when Theo had been three days in camp that the accident happened.
Outside the cook-house stood a ladder to be used in case of fire, and as one morning the boy passed it, it suddenly came to him what fun it would be to mount to the ridge-pole of the cabin and toss a handful of tiny pebbles down on the heads of the guides as they passed through the door beneath. What a surprise it would be to Tony and Franz to have the stones come clattering down upon them; and what sport it would be to watch them as they tried to solve the riddle as to where the missiles came from!
It was a foolish scheme, and probably had Theo thought it over a second time he would have abandoned it; but he was an impulsive boy who often acted before he carefully considered what he was doing. Therefore without a moment's hesitation he cautiously dragged the ladder to the end of the cabin and, making sure that no one was looking, began climbing it. He was on the top rung and was just stepping softly to the roof when there was a snapping of rotten wood and the bar beneath his foot gave way, sending him crashing headlong to the ground.
Fortunately for Theo the cabin was a low one, and he had not far to fall; but in trying to save himself he twisted one leg beneath him, and the result was most disastrous. He felt a sudden sharp pain as he struck the earth, and when a second later he attempted to rise he discovered to his chagrin that it was impossible for him to do so. Every movement he made hurt him excruciatingly, and presently feeling both faint and dizzy he abandoned further effort.
For an interval he lay very still, ashamed to call for help; then pocketing his pride he began to yell lustily. His cries brought Franz and Manuel from the kitchen, Mr. Croyden from his cabin, and Dr. Swift from his room. Luckily it was just noontime and every one was indoors awaiting lunch.
Of what followed Theo had only a vague idea. He remembered that his father and Mr. Croyden raised him in their arms, and that in spite of their gentleness he had cried with pain at their touch. Then he had been put on his bed where his father proceeded to examine the injured leg. Every motion the Doctor made caused the boy intense agony. Afterward he had been allowed to rest, and then his father bent over him very gravely and with trembling lips said:
"Son, I've got to hurt you; I've got to hurt you a great deal. Your leg is broken, and we are miles from a hospital. I have no ether to give you, and the bone must be set. I want you to be as brave as you can and bear the pain that I must cause you. I need not tell you that I will work as gently as possible. Now pull yourself together and show me the sort of son I have. The more steady your nerve is the more it will help me, and the sooner I can finish what I must do."
"All right, Father."
"That's the stuff!" ejaculated Mr. Croyden, who was standing at the bedside. "You are a genuine Spartan, Theo."
The lad smiled feebly.
"I'll try to be."
"Of course you will! You are your father's own boy."
Dr. Swift stooped and touched the drawn forehead with his cool hand.
"I am going to leave you with Mr. Croyden for a few moments while I get some of the things I need," he said in a low tone. "Keep perfectly still and rest a little if you can. There is no need for you to worry. We will have you all fixed up within an hour. It is a clean break—a merciful thing, for we couldn't take an X-ray of it if we wanted to."
With these words he left the room.
It was some little time before he returned, and in the meanwhile Mr. Croyden sat beside Theo's bed and talked cheerily.
"Nothing like traveling with your own doctor," he remarked jocosely. "Now if my leg was broken I should have to hire some one in to see it, and it would cost me a pretty penny. But here you are miles from a settlement with your own private physician in attendance. Were you a young prince you could not be more royally cared for. Think of having one of the best New York surgeons at your beck and call here in this wilderness. You are a lucky beggar!"
Theo laughed faintly.
"As for splints—here is a forest of the finest, straightest, and strongest timber. What more can you ask? You couldn't do things on a grander scale if you were in New York City."
Again Theo smiled.
"Your father will have you comfortable as a cricket before long," went on Mr. Croyden, "and you will be all ready to start back——"
"Start back!" interrupted Theo in distress. "Oh, surely, Mr. Croyden, Father is not going to take me home!"
The older man hesitated.
"Oh, of course I have no way of knowing what your father means to do," he protested hastily. "I only imagined that you would be more comfortable at home, and would rather go. There really would not be much point in staying out the month here, would there? You see, you won't be able to get about, and your father would not like to go off every day and leave you here alone in camp."
"But Father has spent all this money to come into the woods, and he has looked forward to the trip so much!" groaned Theo. "Besides, he is very tired and needs the rest; he told me so. If he takes me back home he will miss it all! He doesn't want the vacation just for his own fun, but so he can serve our country better if he is needed. I don't see why we couldn't stay on here just as we planned, even if I have a broken leg," was Theo's concluding plea.
"Think how stupid it would be for you to be left in the house alone."
"I shouldn't care. I could find some way to amuse myself."
"But your father——"
"He could go fishing just as he always does!" exclaimed Theo promptly. "You surely don't suppose I'd be so selfish as to make him stay in the house just because I had to, do you? You see"—Theo colored and then went on bravely—"this accident was my own fault. Father told me the other day to let that ladder alone—and I didn't. It serves me right to break my leg. If I had been in Dad's place I'd have said: I told you so. But he didn't even whisper it. He was just patient and kind as he always is. Can't you understand now, Mr. Croyden, that I am the one to be punished—not Dad? If we go back home it will be punishing him too, and that wouldn't be fair, would it?"
"No, not fair at all," admitted Mr. Croyden slowly.
"That is what I think," nodded Theo. "You see, I am the one to suffer."
"If you disobeyed, I guess you are."
"I did disobey."
"Humph! It was a pity."
"I'm sorry; but it is done now," said Theo soberly. "You know how you feel when you've done wrong. It's bad enough anyhow; and it makes you feel a hundred times worse if somebody else gets the blame for what you've done—somebody who doesn't deserve it."
"So, you see, that is why I want you to urge Father to stay on here," begged Theo. "Tell him the Maine air will do me good; tell him I'll get a fine rest keeping still; tell him—oh, tell him anything; only don't let him pack up and go home, and have his whole vacation spoiled. If you'll just get him to stay, Mr. Croyden, I will promise not to bother, and he can go off every day and fish just as if I weren't here."
"You are a trump, Theo."
"It—it is only that I think it's square, sir," faltered Theo.
There was not time for further discussion, for at this juncture the door opened and Dr. Swift, followed by Manuel, entered.
Theo knew the moment for his boasted heroism had come.
He shut his lips tightly, and although the interval of anguish which followed forced the tears from his eyes he made no outcry. But never in his life had he experienced such pain. He did not know there was such pain in all the world.
When it was over and, faint from suffering, he lay languidly back among the pillows, Dr. Swift's stern face relaxed, and it was then Theo realized for the first time that his father, too, had been bracing himself to meet the ordeal and had also been suffering.
"My poor boy!" was all the Doctor said. "You have borne it like a man! I am proud of you, Theo."
The words were few, but the praise was at that moment very precious.
His father sat with him the remainder of the day, as well as a good part of the night, and during the wakeful hours when the boy tossed to and fro he would have ventured to speak about staying in camp had not Dr. Swift bidden him to be quiet every time he attempted to talk. The next morning, however, after the invalid had been bathed and had his breakfast the Doctor said of his own accord:
"So you think you would be happier to remain here in the woods, Theo, instead of going home."
The lad glanced up in surprise.
"Did Mr. Croyden tell you that?"
Dr. Swift nodded.
"He said you'd like to stay," he returned quickly.
"I should, very much."
"Suppose we call it settled then, and say no more about it. I am sure I have no wish to jolt you over those miles of rough corduroy road if it can be avoided. You seem better this morning. Your fever has gone down, and I see no reason why you should not get on all right from now on."
Theo smiled; then he whispered timidly:
"I just want to tell you I'm sorry I disobeyed you, Father."
His father put out his hand gently and covered the boy's two with his own.
"You have the worst of it, son. Experience is a great teacher, they say. Let it help you not to do such a foolish thing again."
Theo met his father's eyes gratefully. He still felt weak and shaken and he was thankful not to have his fault rubbed in.
During the long hours of the long days that followed the lad had many an opportunity to put his unselfish resolutions into practise. He insisted that his father and Mr. Croyden go off on the long tramps they had each season been accustomed to take together, and during their absence he remained with Franz, who was very kind to him. The Indian had a great many devices for entertaining him. Now he fashioned for the boy's amusement a miniature birch-bark canoe; now he showed him how to weave baskets from lithe twigs of alder. Sometimes he whittled wonderful whistles and toys from bits of wood; sometimes made tiny bows and arrows or snowshoes. His resources seemed never ending.
Then when night came and Dr. Swift and Mr. Croyden returned from fishing Theo was always carried into the living-room of the cabin, and while he lay on the couch before the fire he would listen to the tale of the day's adventures. This bedtime hour was the best in the whole day.
At last there came a morning when Theo awoke to hear a storm beating noisily down upon the roof. The wind was blowing hard and sheets of rain drenched the windows.
"There'll be no fishing to-day," announced Dr. Swift after breakfast. "Instead Manuel is going out over the carry for provisions, and before he goes I must write some letters for him to take. In the meantime Mr. Croyden wants to know if you would like to have him come in and talk with you for a while?"
"Like it!" was the delighted exclamation.
"I believe I hear him now. Yes, here he is. Come in, Croyden!" called the Doctor heartily. "Our patient says he will be glad to see you."
"Glad? I should say I should!"
Mr. Croyden chuckled.
"I don't know that any audience ever gave me such a royal welcome before," he declared with amusement. "How do you find yourself this morning, sonny? Able to talk Greek pottery?"
"Able to hear you talk it," Theo answered instantly.
"I am thinking of shifting my subject to-day and telling you about Chinese and Japanese pottery instead."
"That will be fine."
"Very well, we'll begin our lecture right away, since the audience seems to be assembled," observed Mr. Croyden merrily. "Not only have you a private physician but a private lecturer, you see. My, but you are a royal personage! One thing will be very satisfactory about this audience. No matter whether it likes my talk or not it can't run away."
There was a peal of laughter from Theo.
In the meantime Mr. Croyden poked the fire into a blaze and sitting down in a comfortable chair began his story.
MR. CROYDEN'S STORY
"Hundreds and hundreds of years ago," said Mr. Croyden, "while the Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans were experimenting at pottery-making, the Chinese, inside their great walled country, were busy with the same task. In fact as far back as two thousand years before Christ the Chinese were famous potters, making earthenware of such fine quality that it was difficult to tell whether it was pottery or porcelain. For the two are quite different, you must remember, Theo. It is not enough to say that pottery is thick and porcelain thin, for much of the Chinese and Japanese pottery is very thin indeed. The difference lies in the clay itself, of which the ware is made. Do not forget that. Pottery is an opaque ware composed of various combinations of clay which afterward may or may not have a coating of glaze put over it. But genuine porcelain is made from a mixture of quite different materials—a mixture of decomposed feldspar known as kaolin, and petuntse."
Mr. Croyden paused a moment.
"There are of course so-called porcelains made from other ingredients; but we call them soft paste chinas, and do not rate them as true porcelains. Only a hard paste, or kaolin ware, is acknowledged by experts to be genuine porcelain. Now all this sounds very simple. By putting the kaolin and the petuntse together in the right proportions, moulding the clay, and afterward applying to it a glaze of some sort the Chinese made their porcelain, and very beautiful porcelain it was. Some day I will tell you more about it. This porcelain was not only very hard but was semi-translucent; by that I mean that if it was held to the light one could see the glow through it. It was not, of course, transparent like glass. These two qualities of hardness and translucence help us to distinguish porcelain from pottery."
Again Mr. Croyden stopped.
"For example, Canton ware, commonly known as Canton china, is not really china at all, but is instead a fine quality of stone, or earthenware, coated over with a slip or glaze containing porcelain. Nor is the exquisite Satsuma ware china; that too is a pottery."
Theo listened intently.
"Now all this time the Chinese kept the secret of how they made their wares to themselves, not sharing their knowledge with any outside peoples. Many a nation would have given almost anything to know from what materials the beautiful bowls, vases, and dishes were made. It would have saved years and years of the toil of patient men. But the Chinese had no mind to tell any one. Instead, they went on making more and more pottery and porcelain, improving their work with each successive generation. It is amusing to recall that while our ancestors in England were barbarians, and were eating out of the crudest clay vessels or from trenchers of wood, the Chinese were enjoying the luxury of the finest pottery and porcelain."
Theo's eyes opened very wide.
"Undoubtedly the Chinese deserved the good results they obtained, for they selected their clays with extreme care; ground and mixed them most skilfully; modeled each piece with the keenest feeling for its beauty and perfection; and decorated it in a truly artistic spirit.
"In the meantime they constantly became more and more expert. They began to learn the use of colors, and to perfect them. Some of the blues or cobalts they employed have never been surpassed. One for instance is the blue used on their Nankin china, and known as Nankin blue."
"Did the Japanese make pottery too?" questioned Theo.
"Yes, but we do not know exactly how early they began to make it. Probably some of the Japanese crossed to China and there learned the art. Some think pottery-making came into Japan through Korea. However that may be, long before other countries had to any extent perfected the manufacture of glazed pottery and porcelain China, Japan, Persia, and India had turned their attention to it. As far back as 1000 B. C. the Japanese were making porcelains similar to those of China. Then followed a long stretch of years when, because of various wars between China and Japan, the art of producing glazed pottery and porcelain was lost. All those workmen who possessed any knowledge of their manufacture perished. This was the period when the Greeks and Romans were making their red and black ware which, you recall, they did not know how to glaze, and therefore had no means of preventing liquids from leaking through it."
"I wish they had had the secrets of the Chinese and Japanese!" Theo said.
"I wish so too," echoed Mr. Croyden. "As it was, they struggled along with their beautiful pottery vases through which the water percolated just as it does through a flower-pot. And so it was for a time in China and Japan. It was not until centuries afterward that the Chinese and Japanese again rediscovered the art they had lost, and by that time the Greeks and Romans were no more, newer races having taken their places. Some of the wonderful old enamel work of the Chinese, however, was never reclaimed, and rare pieces of porcelain of a kind no one has yet been able to reproduce remain to tell us of the skill of those ancient Chinese workmen."
"If the Chinese kept everything so secret how did the art of glazed pottery-making ever get into Europe?" asked Theo.
Mr. Croyden smiled.
"It was a marvel that it ever did," he answered slowly. "Of course as people traveled little in those days one country did not know much about what another was doing. But there were wars when much booty was carried from one land to another; the pilgrimages of the Crusaders, too, helped to spread a knowledge of widely separated sections. Gradually bits of Chinese pottery and porcelain found their way into different parts of the East; and as a consequence men began to be highly dissatisfied with their red and black ware, and with the crude clay dishes they had previously thought so fine. They wanted to make white ware like that of the Chinese. But because they did not know what clays to use, or how to glaze their products, all their experiments failed. There did nevertheless appear throughout the Orient a ware of common clay over which a simple covering of white had been painted, and this slip or engobe of white gave to the variety the name of Oriental Engobe. This type of ware decorated with a conventional dull-hued design was many years later revived and imitated by Theodore Deck of Paris, one of the great French porcelain makers. But even this was not like the white Chinese ware everybody wanted so much to make."
"Did they never find out the secret?"
"Of that I will tell you some other time. It is a most interesting story," returned Mr. Croyden. "In the meantime the Moors and Arabs who had lived in the Orient had in some way learned that tin or lead could be used for enameling clay surfaces. The discovery apparently did not particularly interest them because, you see, in the East minerals were not plentiful. When, however, in the twelfth century they conquered Spain they found in that country quantities of lead and tin, and they then recalled that these could be used as a glaze for pottery. In consequence they promptly set to work making an enameled ware called Majolica or Maiolica from the Island of Maiorca. These Moors were a highly cultured race who built in Spain beautiful temples and palaces, among them the Alhambra, of which perhaps you have read."
Theo's eyes shone.
"We read about it at school!" he cried.
"I am glad to hear that," exclaimed Mr. Croyden. "Then you will remember what a wonderful structure it was. In its interior have been found many highly glazed tiles beautifully designed and decorated in colors and in gold. Within this palace, too, was found the famous Alhambra Vase, three feet four inches in height, and made in 1320. It is a piece of work quite different from anything the Greeks made, but in its way is quite as perfect. It is of earthenware, with a white ground, and is enameled in two shades of blue with a further decoration of gold or copper lustre. I speak particularly of this use of glaze because it is very important. Until people knew how to glaze their wares many of the comforts and conveniences of living were impossible. Men carried water or wine in leather gourds, or in clay vessels coated on the inside with a layer of gum to prevent the contents from leaking or evaporating."
"I should think the gum would have made the liquid taste," said Theo.
"It did. That was precisely the trouble. Beside that think of the waste. Suppose you lost half the water you needed for your journey by having it evaporate. Think in addition what it meant if a large part of your food dried up in the cooking."
Theo looked grave.
"I should not like that at all."
"Nor did your ancestors," laughed Mr. Croyden. "Well, it was to these Mohammedan Arabs, or Saracens, as they are termed, that Europe fundamentally owed its knowledge of the use of glaze, and its consequent beginning in the art of pottery-making. The Saracens did not, however, remain in Spain. There was an uprising of the Christians and they were either driven out or slaughtered, almost every relic of their civilization being destroyed. A stray temple or palace alone remains as a monument to them and this was more the result of chance, probably, than of intention. For two centuries following came an interval known as the Dark Ages, when none of the arts flourished. But before the Moors had fled from Spain the Italians who lived near at hand and whose territory the invaders often plundered had tired of their pillaging and in return had made an expedition into the Saracens' country bringing back with them to Italy some of the Majolica ware of the Arabs. When the nations began to awaken out of their two hundred years of warfare and strife, and Genoa, Venice, and Leghorn became great commercial centres, then the Renaissance came and the Italians, who were ever an ingenious people, began among other things to attempt to copy the glaze on this Majolica ware. As a result in the fifteenth century Luca della Robbia, who was both a sculptor and a potter, contrived to perfect his wonderful glazed terra cotta."
"Not the Delia Robbia who did the Singing Boys we have on the wall at school!"
"The very same. He made great blue and white enameled tiles for wall decoration too; figures of babies and children, as well as whole altars fashioned entirely from this beautiful enamel. Whether he used a plumbiferous, or lead glaze; or a stanniferous, or tin glaze, we do not know. Probably it was of tin. But the important fact is that he got a fine durable surface, very shiny and very hard, which wrought a revolution in pottery-making. If you visit Florence some time you can still see set in the walls of some of the public buildings the identical enameled terra cottas made by Luca della Robbia."
"I'd like to see them."
"Then tell your dad to take you to Italy after this war is over. We will pray that Germany may spare these art works of the world."
Mr. Croyden did not speak for a moment; then he said:
"And while you are remembering so many things remember in addition that the word glaze comes from the term glassing or glazing, which means putting a coating of glass over the surface. Of course the covering is not really glass, but it is hard and shiny, and so people used to think it was. Some day I will tell you more about the different kinds of glazes."
"So it was the Italians who gave Europe its glazed pottery and porcelain," remarked Theo.
"Not alone the Italians," protested Mr. Croyden, "although they helped. Somebody else had a share in the discovery—somebody very far away from Italy. It was the knowledge of the Italians combined with the skill of this other distant nation that gave to Europe the perfect product."
"What nation was that?" demanded Theo.
"Yes. You see at this time the Dutch were great traders, and it was while the nation was at the height of its commercial glory that the Dutch began bringing from China shipments of Chinese porcelain. Portuguese traders had also brought some of it into Europe, so in these two ways the beautiful blue and white ware we know so well was introduced to the Continent.
"The Portuguese were content to import it; they never attempted to copy either the pottery or the porcelain. But the Dutch were more ambitious. As early as 1300 they began experimenting with glazed pottery. To the knowledge of glaze which they got from Italy they added all they could find out about the making of Chinese wares. They learned that the blue color the Chinese got came from oxide of cobalt, which would melt and mingle with the glaze when exposed to a high temperature; they also learned a little—a very little, of the clay. As a result they began to turn out a blue and white pottery known as Delft, which they soon made in great quantities and sold to European nations at a much lower price than imported Chinese potteries and porcelains could be bought."
Mr. Croyden bent forward and tossed a small log upon the fire.
"This fact revolutionized daily living throughout Europe. Up to this time you must remember the common people everywhere were using square pieces of tile or wood for plates, and were eating from wooden bowls or hollowed out slabs of wood called trenchers. The more well-to-do used pewter, and kings and queens dined from dishes of silver. There was, it is true, some earthenware made in Saxony and France, but as it was of a finer and more expensive quality than Delft ordinary persons could not afford to buy it.
"At the time the Dutch began importing their Delft ware into England Henry IV was on the throne; so you see how long ago all this happened."
Mr. Croyden smiled mischievously.
"I suppose you have that date at your tongue's end," he added.
"I think it was about 1400," ventured Theo thoughtfully.
"Bravo! I had no idea you would remember it. Henry IV reigned from 1399 to 1413, so you see you are nearly right. As Delft ware began to be manufactured in 1310 the art was pretty well developed by this time, and much beautiful pottery was being made. Some of the best Dutch painters were trying their hand at its decoration, and in the Museums of the Hague there are old Delft pieces painted by many of these famous artists. Most of the scenes upon them were copied from the landscapes the Dutch saw every day—windmills, ships, Dutch women in their quaint costumes, fishermen, and children in wooden shoes,—the ordinary sights, such as were common in Holland, but novel and interesting to those who lived in other places. There were, too, many imitations of Chinese ware adorned with copies of Chinese designs. Bear in mind, Theo, that all of this was pottery, not porcelain; for the secret of porcelain-making had not yet been fathomed," said Mr. Croyden impressively.
"It was glazed pottery," responded Theo.
"Exactly," nodded Mr. Croyden. "As time went on the Dutch increased and perfected their output until they became ambitious to make larger pieces. Potters began turning out small foot-stoves, vases, candlesticks, and dinner sets. One of the most amusing relics of this old Delft is now in one of the foreign museums. It is a violin perfectly modeled and exquisitely decorated. The story goes that it was one of four such instruments which were made as wedding gifts for the four daughters of a rich Dutch pottery manufacturer. It is even asserted that the instruments before being presented to the four brides were used by the musicians at the wedding festivities. I'm afraid they did not make very good music."
"Besides these fantastic things the Dutch also made tea sets, and when I say that you must realize that this was a very important fact; for up to about 1660 tea was a great novelty in England. It had but recently been introduced there by Oriental traders, and was very expensive, selling for about eight dollars a pound—at that time a great deal of money, and even quite a price when rated by our own standards. People were very ignorant still as to its use. You have probably heard the story of the servant who, knowing nothing about preparing the new delicacy, boiled the tea leaves, sprinkled them with salt and pepper and, throwing away the liquid, served the dainty to his master in a covered dish."
There was a hearty laugh from Theo.
"As late as 1661 an Englishman named Samuel Pepys, whose diary is an interesting record of the time, writes: 'I had to-day some tea—a China drink of which I had never drank before.' Isn't it a pity that while he was writing the little man did not also put down how he liked this new beverage?"
Mr. Croyden drew out his watch and rose.
"So you can see, Theo," he added as he stood with his back to the fire, "what it meant to have tea sets introduced into England. Of course the cups had no handles as do our teacups of to-day. The Chinese cups were in reality small bowls without either saucer or handle. Therefore the Delft teacups copied from them were made in the same way. The Chinese did not drink their tea very hot, you see, and therefore could take hold of the cup without burning their fingers; moreover, they used in their houses tables of teak-wood to which hot cups did no injury. Since, however, teak-wood was unknown in England and oak was in general use the English found that the hot cups marred their tables and later they invented saucers to go under them. Nevertheless it was a long time before it dawned on potters that they could make handles for their cups. One of the ear-marks of tea sets of early manufacture is these handleless cups. With this advent of dishes, of Delft plaques to be hung on the wall in place of pictures, and of Delft tiles, many of the common people for the first time awakened to the discovery that the interiors of their houses might be made attractive, and something more than mere shelters from cold and storm. They began buying vases and crude pottery ornaments, images of flower-girls, fishermen, and of the saints. In Holland people even hung Delft plaques on the walls of their stables. It was a new thought to have anything about which was not for actual use."
"I should think that with all this Chinese and Delft ware to copy from the English would have tried making earthenware of their own," speculated Theo.
"They did," was Mr. Croyden's prompt reply, "and of that I will tell you some other day. But there is one interesting fact in connection with these early tea sets. Remember that if ever you see in a museum or private house a tea set which you are told came over in the Mayflower nothing of the sort could have happened. The Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620, and it was not until from 1660 to 1770 that tea and tea sets became general in England. By that time the Pilgrim Fathers, and more especially the Pilgrim Mothers, were far across the ocean."
Mr. Croyden moved toward the door.
"Some one may have brought tea sets to them but they never carried them in the Mayflower," he concluded. "Now I have talked too much for one morning, and it is lunch time. Listen, there is the horn! And see, Theo, the rain has ceased and the sun come out."
"I hadn't thought of the weather," smiled Theo. "I had not thought of anything, I guess, but what you were telling me. You will come again, sir?"
"And you won't forget your promise to tell me about English pottery?"
"No indeed, son," was the cordial reply. "You are too good a listener for me to forget."
THE POTTER WHO BURNED HIS CHAIRS
It was not for some time that Mr. Croyden again had leisure for a long talk with Theo, because with the return of pleasant weather he and Dr. Swift went for a three days' canoe trip up Elk River, a small stream emptying into the lake on which the camp stood. Dr. Swift had thought of giving up this excursion, because it necessitated leaving Theo for such a long time; but the boy was insistent that his father should go.
"I won't be lonesome, Father," he protested. "Franz is here, and he is as good as a vaudeville show; besides I can read, and whittle, and write to Mother. The days will pass so quickly I shall not have time to miss you. It would be too bad to have you stay in camp just for me. I have made trouble enough already."
Perhaps it was because of Theo's genuine regret for what he had done that Dr. Swift consented to carry out his original plan. The boy was intensely sensitive, and any allusion to his accident, or any interference with his father's pleasure because of it, immediately brought a shadow of distress to his face. The Doctor was quick to notice this fact; and eager, if possible, to avoid every reminder of the disaster. Accordingly on hearing Theo's plea he packed his tackle, and with a gentle word of caution to the invalid to be careful during his absence, set forth with Mr. Croyden to fish Elk River.
It was no easy thing for Theo to play an unselfish part and see them start off. How he wished that he, too, were going! But for his own folly he might have gone. Well, he had no one to blame but himself, that was certain. Therefore he put as brave a front on the matter as he could, resolving to make the best of it and be cheerful.
It was not, however, much fun to be lying there in bed during those fine spring days. From his window he could see the blue waters of the lake between the aisles of straight pines. It was a glorious world if one could only be abroad in it. Even the glimpse he had of it from his bed was beautiful. But to lie still and look out upon this alluring scene was not a satisfying role for an active boy. In spite of the wood-carving, the books, the writing; even despite the time Franz could spare to entertain him the hours dragged pitifully. Furthermore, now that the severed bone had begun to knit he felt restless and uncomfortable.
Hence when on the afternoon of the third day he awoke from an uneasy doze to find his father standing beside him it was a joyful surprise.
"Father!" he cried.
"Right here," came gruffly from the Doctor. "Glad to have your old dad home again?"
"Glad? Well, I guess!"
"I am glad to see you again too, son. I've thought of you a hundred times. How did you get on?"
"All right, sir. Franz took fine care of me, and I found lots of things to do," answered Theo bravely. "But it is much nicer when you are here than when you're not."
His father smiled.
"You are a plucky youngster," he said huskily. "No matter how silly and childish your accident was you certainly have shown yourself a man since. Look! Here comes Mr. Croyden to see you. He has brought you a fine four-pounder, the record trout of the catch."
During the time the fishermen had been gone he had sadly missed the delicacy of fresh fish.
"Eating this trout will be the next best thing to pulling it in, Theo," said Mr. Croyden. "I only wish you might have had that pleasure, too."
"I shall be pretty glad to eat the trout, sir," Theo declared promptly.
"We shall let Franz get to work cooking it then, right away, so to have it ready for your dinner," Dr. Swift said, passing out with the fish in his hand.
After the Doctor had gone Theo looked up into Mr. Croyden's face.
"I suppose you are dreadfully tired after your tramp," he remarked.
"I? Oh, no," was the instant answer. "Why?"
"I—I—don't know," faltered Theo. "I just wondered."
"Whether after dinner you would be too tired to come in and talk to me a little while?"
"No, indeed. I'd be glad to come," responded Mr. Croyden. "I'll come and tell you all about our trip."
"If you don't mind I'd rather you'd leave that to Dad, and instead tell me some more about china-making," Theo said naively.
Mr. Croyden seemed vastly amused at the remark.
"Bless my soul! What a boy you are," he said. "Of course I am perfectly willing to talk to you on anything you like. Would you rather hear about china than anything else?"
"Yes, sir, just now I should," came vigorously from Theo.
"All righty, china it shall be, then! But I am surprised that you should be so much interested in it. How came you to be so eager to learn about pottery and porcelain?"
"I guess because you make it all so much like a story book," answered Theo frankly. "How did you happen to know so much about it, Mr. Croyden?"
"Why, it chances to be my business, son," Mr. Croyden replied. "In Trenton, New Jersey, where I live, we make quantities of earthenware and porcelain; more of it than anywhere else in the United States. That is the way I earn my money to come on fishing trips."
"Oh, I see! Then of course it is no wonder that you know all about it!" cried Theo.
"I know some things, but not all," was Mr. Croyden's answer. "However, since you like to hear about it I am ready and glad to tell you what I can. We will have a session on French pottery to-night, if you say so; there are some things I want you to know before we take up the making of the English wares."
"Whatever you say!" exclaimed Theo.
"Very well. I'll be back after dinner, and unless your father wants you for something else we'll have a nice evening together before your bedtime."
Mr. Croyden was as good as his word.
Theo had just finished his share of the big trout when into his room came the china merchant.
"Your father and Manuel are busy icing some fish to ship home, so here I am," he affirmed.
After dragging a steamer chair up to Theo's bedside and stretching himself comfortably in it the elder man began:
"Most of the pottery of the seventeenth century was an outgrowth of the Italian Renaissance when all the arts such as painting, wood-carving, sculpture, literature, glass and pottery-making were revived. In France the attempt to imitate Italian Faenza ware gave rise to the word faience, a term applied to French porcelains made both from hard and soft paste. French potters at Nevers, spurred on by Dutch and Chinese products, began to turn out a type of pottery not unlike Delft, except that the method of coloring it was reversed, and instead of having blue figures on a white ground it had white figures on a background of blue. This innovation, however, was not an entirely new variety of pottery. It still remained for France to invent its own peculiar kind of ware, and this it soon did. Nevertheless you must not make the mistake of thinking that these first attempts were very far reaching, for on the contrary they were very limited. They are significant only because they are the beginnings of that wonderful art of porcelain-making which later the French carried to an amazing degree of perfection."
There was a moment's delay in the story while Mr. Croyden rearranged more comfortably the pillows behind Theo's head.
"Is that better?" he asked of the boy.
"Lots better, thank you," said Theo gratefully.
"All right, son. Then we'll go on. Two of the most important of these beginnings are the Henri Deux ware, as it is called; and the enamel work of Bernard Palissy."
"We read about Palissy in school," put in Theo.
"I am glad to hear that, for he was one of the three men whose names have come down to us as being most vitally connected with pottery and porcelain-making. But before we talk of him I am going to tell you just a little about the Henri Deux ware, sometimes known as Faience d'Orion. Very few pieces of it now remain; but for perfection of workmanship and beauty of quality it has never been approached. Just who made it we do not know; nor do we know anything of the conditions under which it was manufactured. Only about fifty pieces of it are in existence—half of them in England and half in France; and it is from these, and from vague historic hints, that we have welded together the rather uncertain tale that I am now to tell you."
A smile of anticipation passed over Theo's face.
"Long ago there lived in France a wealthy woman named Helene d'Hengest, who was deeply interested in all the arts, and who owned a beautiful home known as Chateau d'Orion. Here she had a library, a rather rare possession in those days, and a librarian called Bernard. Now many persons think that it was this Bernard who was the maker of the now famous Henri Deux ware, or Faience d'Orion."
"Why should they think that?" questioned Theo.
"Well, there are several excellent reasons," Mr. Croyden replied. "One is that the ware shows traces of a book-binding tool. Book-binders, you know, use many small instruments to decorate or tool their leather. This faience was a ware of natural cream-colored clay, and upon it was tooled a flat design the hollows of which were filled in with darker clays that were afterward covered with a lead glaze. Infinite care and pains had evidently been expended upon each piece of the ware, such pains that it must have taken much time to complete even a single article. No manufacturer could have afforded to do this, and therefore the inference had been drawn that the pottery was made purely for pleasure by some one who had an abundance of leisure. Perhaps this very Bernard, the librarian, who may have become interested in the art as a recreation, and done the work in his idle hours."
"What a funny thing to do as a pastime!" exclaimed Theo.
"No stranger than that now many persons take up metal work, wood-carving, or other of the so-called arts and crafts for diversion."
"I suppose not," admitted Theo thoughtfully.
"It certainly is possible such a thing might have happened even so long ago as the time when the Henri Deux ware was made. History offers us no aid in solving the puzzle, so we can only find an answer as best we may. The ware, however, is unique, and there is no mistaking it. Some of it bears the monogram of King Henry II, and that accounts for the name by which the product passes. There are authorities that assert the H does not stand for the king's name, but for Helene, mistress of the Chateau d'Orion; others declare the king's monogram was used merely to fix the date when the pottery was made. Hence you will find some china collectors calling it Henri Deux ware, and others speaking of it as Faience d'Orion; while still others refer to it as Saint Porchaire. When examining it it is interesting to notice how much finer the later pieces are than the earlier ones. Evidently Bernard, if Bernard it was, improved a great deal with practice."
It was obvious that Mr. Croyden had no more to say about the elusive Bernard, for he came to an abrupt stop.
Theo waited a second, and then remarked suggestively:
"Palissy? Oh, he was another matter altogether. What did you learn about him when you were at school?"
"Not much, I'm afraid," responded Theo with a shrug. "At least I do not remember much of it now. The teacher told us that one day Palissy saw an enameled cup of Saracen workmanship and that he was so anxious to discover how the glaze on it was made that he worked years experimenting; he even chopped up all his furniture as fuel for his furnaces."
"This is quite correct," smiled Mr. Croyden. "I see you recall a good deal. What you have told me are the main facts of the story. Palissy did work fifteen years. He used every splinter of wood he could lay hands on as fuel, and indeed burned up every particle of his household furniture, until he had not a chair to sit upon. He spent every cent he had, too, until he was so poor that he could scarcely feed his family, and owed money to all his neighbors."
"In the end did he find out how to make the enamel?" came breathlessly from Theo.
"No, not that particular kind of enamel the Moors made in Spain. That is the sad part of the story," replied Mr. Croyden. "He did, however, find out by his experimenting how to get marvelous colored enamels of another kind, and this was a very important discovery. He colored his glazes before putting them over the clay, instead of using a white enamel and then painting it as had previously been done everywhere. So you see after all Palissy did a great deal for pottery-making, since up to this time no one had ever thought of coloring the glaze itself. He made many vases, platters, and covered dishes adorned with designs in this colored enamel, often putting on the cover of a dish a fruit or vegetable in relief, tinted in its natural colors. Much of this work now can be seen in the museums of France; but it never became a distinctive type of art. What we chiefly remember of Palissy is his introduction into china-making of these hitherto unknown colored enamels."
"What became of him?" inquired Theo at last. "Did he ever get any more money?"
"He had a strange life," mused Mr. Croyden. "He was a Huguenot, and at that time the Catholic party was in power, and an edict went forth that all Huguenots should be killed. Many of them fled into other countries and thus escaped death. But Palissy refused to flee, and because he was a man skilled in pottery-making, one of the things France was eager to perfect, the king wanted to retain him in his kingdom. Therefore he took Palissy under his protection, and for a long time allowed him to work unmolested in a little building in the grounds of the Tuileries. But by and by the Catholic adherents of the king became too strong even for their royal master's control, and so insistently did they clamor for Palissy's death that the king was forced to send for the potter and beg him to renounce his Protestant faith. Now by this time Palissy was a white-haired man of eighty. Nevertheless when the king told him he must either recant or lose his life he did not flinch. Fearlessly he clung to his religion."
"Did they kill him?"
"No. Perhaps it was because the people did not dare displease the king," answered Mr. Croyden. "They did, however, imprison the old man in the Bastille and there, after years of confinement, he wasted away and died. It was probably only the influence of his royal patron that prevented him from being murdered in the first place. Both the Henri Deux ware and Palissy's colored enamels brought fame to France. In 1800 at Nevers, where the blue and white ware similar to Delft was made, there were twelve factories. Then there was a quaint pottery made at Beauvais with the coats of arms of France and Brittany upon it. At Rouen, too, an extensive pottery industry sprang up, and it was to these factories that in 1713 Louis XIV, when forced to pay his war debts, sent his silver service to be melted up and replaced by a less expensive earthenware dinner set. Some pieces marked with the fleur-de-lis, and probably remnants of this set, are to be found in French museums. There were various other small potteries in different parts of France: some at Marseilles, others at Moustiers and Nancy. There were a number in Paris itself. All of these were making a more or less fine variety of earthenware. But the time was not ripe for France's greatest contribution to china-making. Of that you shall hear some other day. Now have I not told you quite a long story?"
"A long one and a very good one," said Theo. "I hope you'll tell me another very soon."
"Will you never have enough of all this chinaware?"
Laughingly Theo shook his head.
"I'd like you to keep right on until——"
"Until you are on your feet again," interrupted Mr. Croyden teasingly. "Then I suppose you will promptly run off and forget all about it."
"Not at all, sir!" contradicted Theo. "I was going to say I wished you would keep on telling me about it until I got well and could go to see some of these potteries and porcelains made."
"Oh-ho! So you want to come to Trenton and steal my business away from me, do you, you young rascal? We'll see about that."
With a broad smile Mr. Croyden rose and shaking his fist playfully at Theo sauntered out the door.
FROM VASES TO DRAIN-PIPES
During the week that followed neither Dr. Swift nor Mr. Croyden took any more long trips away from the camp. They went, to be sure, on short fishing excursions, often being absent an entire morning or afternoon; but they passed no nights away from Theo. The boy suspected that his father's reason for this decision was because for the last few days try as he would he had been unable to conceal how miserable and uncomfortable he felt. Dr. Swift, however, would not own that this was the cause of his loitering at home. He merely declared that when the near-at-hand sport was so good it was foolish to tramp ten miles to waylay some unwary and distant trout. And indeed this logic appeared to be sound, for not once did the anglers return from one of their brief tours that they did not bring with them baskets well lined with yellow perch, trout, or land-loch salmon.
As a consequence the Doctor managed to keep very close watch of his son, and Theo saw a great deal both of his father and Mr. Croyden.
The friendship of the latter for the sick lad was no empty pose.
He sincerely liked Theo—liked his manliness and his intelligence; his brave attempt at unselfishness; his boyish love of fun.
Mr. Croyden was very fond of boys and, in fact, often betrayed the circumstance that in reality he himself had never really grown up.
Accordingly he sought Theo out whenever he had leisure, and many a happy hour did the two spend together.
One day when he chanced to be sitting beside the invalid's couch Theo said:
"You told me once that there were three famous potters in history, and that Palissy was one of them; who were the others?"
"If I should tell you their names and nothing more about them it would be only so much dry sawdust," was Mr. Croyden's reply. "The only reason they were great was because of what they did; and that is a long story."
"Too long to tell?"
"Too long to put in a nutshell."
"Wouldn't you have time to tell me some of it now?"
"I might have time to tell you about one of the men, but not both; and even were I to tell you about one of them, in order to make you understand how truly great he was I should have to tell you much that happened before he began his pottery-making," answered Mr. Croyden slowly.
"I shouldn't mind that at all," laughed Theo. "The longer your stories are the better I like them."
Mr. Croyden smiled.
"Suppose, then, we begin," he said, "and I will try before luncheon to introduce you to our second great potter. But before I do this we must go back a little that you may recall exactly where we left off. While Holland was turning out its Delft ware; Italy its glazed terra-cotta; and France its Henri Deux and other enameled earthenwares, in the Low Countries and the German States a new variety of pottery with a coarse surface not unlike the porous skin of an orange was being made. This was known as Gres de Flandres, gres meaning earthenware. The unique feature it possessed was not so much its orange-skin surface as the surprising method by which it was glazed. The ware itself was made on a potter's wheel often from the commonplace kinds of clay, such as are employed in making stone china; sometimes this was brown, sometimes gray, sometimes cream-colored. There was nothing original about the material employed. But afterward—then came the amazing thing! When the clay articles were put into the kiln to be fired a quantity of common salt was thrown in with them and this salt created a vapor which when it settled upon the ware fused with it, giving to the clay a coarse, porous-appearing surface."
"How do you suppose anybody ever thought of using salt?" inquired Theo.
"I do not know. Probably the discovery, like so many others, was a mere happen-so. At any rate it was a fortunate happening, for immediately this method of glazing earthenware was carried to England, where Doulton of Lambeth began manufacturing some very beautiful gres. For gres can be of exquisite beauty as well as of most ordinary type. Do not forget that. The term serves to cover those opaque earthenwares which are fired until vitrification or an external glassing results. At first all styles of gres were called Gres de Flandres, but later the single term gres was given them. You will hardly be surprised when I tell you that those past masters in the art of every kind of pottery-making, the Chinese and Japanese, have given us our finest specimens of gres, some of them having designs of imitation jewels upon them; and others decorations of beautifully colored enamels. Next to these Oriental varieties Germany has always excelled in the making of gres. There is a great scope for artistic expression in this ware, a far broader range for merit than in many others."
"So it was this salt glaze that England took up, was it?" ruminated Theo.
"Yes. You see, up to this time very little glazed ware had been made in England, for until the Dutch traders came with their Chinese and Delft wares the English had been cheerfully using, as I told you, unglazed clay, wood, pewter, and on rare occasions silver dishes. Even the ladies of Queen Elizabeth's household felt no shame to eat from wooden dishes. As for knives and forks—nobody used those! Every one ate with his fingers. Think how primitive it must have been to go to a banquet of the Lord-Mayor of London arrayed in your silk or velvet costume, and eat roasted ox with your fingers from a trencher, or square slab of wood! Yet such a procedure was considered entirely proper in those days."
Theo was much amused.
"Afterward for quite a long time dishes of brown stoneware were in vogue; and then as an improvement on those came a coarse greenish-yellow type of ware. It was about 1645 that into England strayed a few Dutch potters who began to make a reproduction of Delft pottery. In the meantime in quite another part of the country a salt-glazed stoneware of far better quality than any previously manufactured made its appearance. To this the name porcellane was given, and although the product was in reality simply a gres the fact is interesting because it is the first time that we have the word applied to china. It probably came from the Italian noun porcellana, meaning a shell, which the thinness of the new ware may have suggested; or the term may have been derived from the French word pourcelaine, a word used for any material from which a sculptor models his statues. We are not certain which of these theories is correct. Nevertheless we have the name, although at this particular date it was incorrectly applied."
"But the English had nothing at that time but pottery to give the name to," objected Theo.
Mr. Croyden chuckled.
"Exactly! So they shouldn't have used the term at all," he said, "because they have confused a lot of good people since then. From this period on England went steadily forward with its china-making. Earthenware of various kinds covered with salt glaze were made at Fulham, Stoke-on-Trent, and Staffordshire. It was about 1750 that the second of the great potters made his advent."
"Ah!" cried Theo, "now we are going to hear who he was!"
Mr. Croyden paused a moment as if thinking just how he should best tell the story. Then he began:
"The name of this second pottery-maker to whom the world owes a mighty debt was Josiah Wedgwood. He was a man who came naturally by his skill at pottery-making, for, not only was he himself a potter, but he also had several ancestors who had followed the trade. He was a conscientious workman of limited education, but a person to whom a thorough, careful piece of work, done as well as it was possible to do it, was a satisfaction and delight. Remember that fact, for it had much to do with Wedgwood's subsequent success. He also loved beauty of form, and probably had he been able to choose he would have turned his entire attention to making a classic type of pottery. But being one of thirteen children he was poor, and his common sense told him that there were far more necessary things to be done in the world than to give all one's time to articles that were not useful. So he put his dream behind him, like the practical fellow he was, and looked about to see what his contemporaries needed, and what he could do to aid his generation."
"I should think that if he could have made some dishes it would have helped as much as anything," asserted Theo emphatically.
"That was precisely what he decided," answered Mr. Croyden. "Accordingly he went to work to apply his knowledge of pottery to the improvement of English earthenware. First he made a kind of cream-white pottery which he dubbed Queen's Ware in honor of Queen Charlotte; and which in spite of the fact that it boasted no decoration, became very popular in England because of its moderate price. From this simple beginning Wedgwood got money to experiment further, and work out other varieties of china. In 1773 he began his famous dinner-set for Empress Catherine II of Russia, which had upon it over twelve hundred enameled views of English estates, and for which she paid three thousand pounds. For two months before this set was packed and sent away it was on exhibition in London, where it was the marvel of every one who saw it."
"I'd like to have seen it!" interjected Theo.
"And I too," echoed Mr. Croyden. "By this time Wedgwood had money enough to carry out some of his dreams. He was fortunate in having the friendship of several Englishmen of wealth and through one of them, Sir William Hamilton, he obtained a chance to take impressions of rare cameos from Italy and Pompeii; later the Duke of Portland, who you may recall outbid him at the sale of the world-famed Portland Vase, allowed him to copy it. It was a very generous thing for an art-lover to do, and I think it must have cost the duke a wrench. It took Wedgwood a whole year to copy this vase, and when he had succeeded in doing so he made fifty more copies. The venture cost him not only his time but a small fortune as well; but it proved far from a waste of hours or money, since the feat brought to the manufacturer a familiarity with Grecian art which had its outcome in his well-known Jasper ware."
Theo glanced up questioningly.
"Surely you have seen this ware, Theo," asserted Mr. Croyden. "It comes in blue sage-green, or purple, and has upon it Grecian figures in white."
Instantly a flash of recognition came into Theo's face.
"Oh, I know it now!" he ejaculated. "Mother has a teapot of it at home."
"That is more than likely," came cordially from Mr. Croyden. "At first, however, Wedgwood did not put the white figures on this ware; he merely mixed the coloring matter with the clay and got as a result a dull, opaque ware of green. Afterward he conceived the idea of making the pottery in other colors and decorating it with the Grecian, Italian, or Roman figures of which he had long before taken impressions. As this venture took form sculptors became interested in the project and lent their aid, so that by and by an entirely original ware was developed which has come down through history as one of the significant art contributions of the age. In addition to his Queen's ware, and Jasper ware, Wedgwood also made a black Egyptian-like ware called Basalt; another variety of cream-colored ware known as Bamboo; and a kind of terra-cotta that imitated granite."