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Nor would I for ten thousand worlds presume it.
'Tis not thought
THE SET OF CHINA.
BY MISS LESLIE.
How thrive the beauties of the graphic art?—Peter Pindar.
“ MR. GUMMAGE,” said Mrs. Atmore, as she entered a certain drawing school, at that time the most fashionable in Philadelphia, “I have brought you a new pupil, my daughter, Miss Marianne Atmore. Have you a vacancy.”
“Why, I can't say that I have,” replied Mr. Gummage;
66 I never have vacancies." “ I am very sorry to hear it,” said Mrs. Atmore; and Miss Marianne, a tall handsome girl of fifteen, looked disappointed.
6 But perhaps I could strain a point, and find a place for her,” resumed Mr. Gummage, who knew very well that he never had the smallest idea of limiting the number of his pupils, and that if twenty more were to apply, he would take them every one, however full his school might be.
“ Do, pray, Mr. Gummage," said Mrs. Atmore; “ do try and make an exertion to admit my daughter; I shall regard it as a particular favour.”
66 Well, I believe she may come," replied Gummage: “ I suppose I can take her. Has she any turn for drawing?"
“I don't know," answered Mrs. Atmore, “she has never tried.”
“ So much the better," said Gummage; “ I like girls
that have never tried; they are much more manageable than those that have been scratching and daubing at home all their lives.”
Mr. Gummage was no gentleman, either in appearance or manner. But he passed for a genius among those who knew nothing of that ill-understood race. He had a hooked nose that turned to the right, and a crooked mouth that turned to the left-his face being very much out of drawing—and he had two round eyes that in colour and expression resembled two hazel-nuts. His lips were “pea-green and blue," from the habit of putting the brushes into his mouth when they were overcharged with colour. He took snuff illimitably, and generally carried half a dozen handkerchiefs, some of which, however, were to wrap his dinner in, as he conveyed it from market in his capacious pockets; others, as he said, were “ to wipe the girl's saucers."
His usual costume was an old dusty brown coat, corduroy pantaloons, and a waistcoat that had once been red, boots that had once been black, and a low crowned rusty hat—which was never off his head, even in the presence of the ladies—and a bandanna cravat. The vulgarity of his habits, and rudeness of his deportment all passed off under the title of eccentricity. At the period when he flourished—it was long before the time of Sully-the beau ideal of an artist, at least among the multitude, was an ugly, ill-mannered, dirty fellow, that painted an inch thick in divers gaudy colours, equally irreconcilable to nature and art. And the chief attractions of a drawing master-for Mr. Gummage was nothing more-lay in doing almost every thing himself, and producing for his pupils, in their first quarter, pictures (so called) that were pronounced “fit to frame.”
“ Well, madam,” said Mr. Gummage, “ what do you
wish your daughter to learn? figures, flowers, or landscapes?”
“Oh! all three,” replied Mrs. Atmore. 66 We have been furnishing our new house, and I told Mr. Atmore that he need not get any pictures for the front parlour, as I would much prefer having them all painted by Mari
She has been four quarters with Miss Julia,* and has worked Friendship and Innocence, which cost, altogether, upwards of a hundred dollars. Do you know the piece, Mr. Gummage? There is a tomb with a weeping willow, and two ladies with long hair, one drest in pink the other in blue, holding a wreath between them over the top of the urn. The ladies are Friendship. Then on the right hand of the piece is a cottage, and an oak, and a little girl dressed in yellow, sitting on a green bank, and putting a wreath round the neck of a lamb. Nothing can be more natural than the lamb's wool. it is done entirely in French knots. The child and the lamb are Innocence."
“Ay, ay.” said Gummage, “ I know the piece well enough—I've drawn them by dozens.'
6. Well,” continued' Mrs. Atmore, “ this satin piece hangs over the front parlour mantel. It is much prettier and better done than the one Miss Longstitch worked of Charlotte at the tomb of Werter, though she did sew silver spangles all over Charlotte's lilac gown, and used chenille, at a fi'penny-bit a needleful, for all the banks and the large tree. Now, as the mantel-piece is provided for, I wish a landscape for each of the recesses, and a figure-piece to hang on each side of the large looking-glass.
* Miss Julianna Bater, an old Moravian lady, from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who was well known in Philadelphia, many years since, as a teacher of embroidery.
with flower-pieces under them, all by Marianne. Can she do all these in one quarter?”
“ No, that she can't,” replied Gummage; “it will take her two quarters hard work, and may-be three, to get through the whole of them.”
66 Well, I won't stand about a quarter more or less," said Mrs. Atmore: “ but what I wish Marianne to do most particularly, and, indeed, the chief reason why I send her to drawing-school just now, is a pattern for a set of china that we are going to have made in Canton. I was told the other day by a New York lady, (who was quite tired of the queer unmeaning things which are generally put on India ware,) that she had sent a pattern for a tea-set, drawn by her daughter, and that every article came out with the identical device beautifully done on the china, all in the proper colours. She said it was talked of all over New York, and that people who had never been at the house before, came to look at and admire it. No doubt it was a great feather in her daughter's cap.”
“ Possibly, madam," said Gummage.
“ And now," resumed Mrs. Atmore, " since I heard this, I have thought of nothing else than having the same thing done in my family; only I shall send for a dinner set, and a very long one too. Mr. Atmore tells me that the Voltaire, one of Stephen Girard's ships, sails for Canton early next month, and he is well acquainted with the captain, who will attend to the order for the china. I suppose in the course of a fortnight Marianne will have learnt drawing enough to enable her to do the pattern?”
“Oh! yes, madam-quite enough." replied Gummage, suppressing a laugh.
6 Very well,” said Mrs. Atmore. 66 And now, Mr. Gummage, let me look at some of your models.”
“ Figures, flowers, or landscapes?” asked the artist.