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money?" would be Billingsley's constant appeal. Maybe be was on the edge of success the day the thunderbolt came, through the post. "While "endeavoring to strengthen and improve this beautiful body," Mr. Dillwyn related afterwards, "i was surprised at receiving a notice from Messrs. Flight and Barr of Worcester, charging the parties calling themselves Walker and Beeley with having clandestinely left an engagement at their works, and forbidding me to employ them. Flight and Barr in the most gentlemanly way convinced me that this granular body"— soft china has a granular fracture, like lump sugar—"could never be made any use, and as it was not worth their while to prosecute them, the runaways went back to Nantgarw."
That was in 1817, and the staggering Billingsley received two other blows that year; in January the faithful Sarah died, and in September died Lavinia. On the day of this second bereavement the father wrote to his wife a letter marked by blots and erasures, that spoke his anguish of mind. "My sufferings are now arrived at the highest pitch of Misery. Our dearest Lavinla is taken away from me, the only prop i had left." He was now "a distress'd inconsolable mortal never more to be happy. Think, oh think, what troubles i have! But all my other troubles are as nothing compared with the severe loss of my dearest children, whom no man ador'd more." The note of pathos and tragedy sounds through the stilted eighteenth-century style.
Back at Nantgarw, he made a fresh and heroic endeavor, but three years later he stood midst his cold kiins and the utter ruin of his hopes: two thousand pounds of capital, subscribed by "gentlemen of the County," had been sunk in vain. He went to Coalport
Tbe Oornhlll MagazlnP.
for a living, as a "hand" again. Mr. John Rose, of the china works there, had promised that at Coalport his revised and re-revised recipe for the perfect porcelain should be tried. Tried it was, but again it failed, in its last chance; and thenceforward the beautiful Billingsley china, no more renewed, was to waste and lessen in quantity by kitchen breakages, and only out of long neglect and suppression win at last to a niche beside the treasured "Chelsea" ware itself. Billingsley did not live to see that trinmph, and bitter it must have been for him to know that at Coalport, and at Swansea also, his recipes were modifying pastes which were not to be associated with his name. But his brush remained to him': i think be sometimes painted on Bloor china, which would reach him by stage-wagon from Derby. Certainly at Coalport he founded a school, and thus through the influence of that famous pottery he came to transform the styles of chinapainting all over England, and even abroad: so vivid and life-giving is art, though "the potter tempering soft earth" may fall.
in the year 1826 Mrs. Billingsley died: there is no evidence that she had ever seen her daughters or her husband since they fled away, eighteen years before. in 1828 Billingsley himself expired, in a little house "near the works at Coalport, on the Shifnal road," and all seemed ended: the Nantgarw kiins stood deserted, the pilgrim of porcelain was gathered into the great compost himself. But fame for his shade has come, and still in cabinet and gallery, on plate and saucer, cup and dish, spill-case and vase and bowpot, blooms in time-heightened beauty and value the incomparable, the ineffable, the Billingsley rose.
J. H. Toxall, U.P.
MATE 1N TWO MOVES.
There is a delusion abroad in the 'world that chess is a game of Persian origin, but you would do well not to advance this meagre hypothesis in Altpoppendorf. For Altpoppendorf will have much pleasure in proving unto you with hammering gutturals— with hammering fists if you are too dense—that you have simply confounded the two predicative adjectives, Persian and Prussian. The first article of the Altpoppendorfian "Quicumque vult" is, that schach—or chess —was invented at Altpoppendorf; and those who make a show of not accepting this clause are unpopular at Altpoppendorf.
When you go to Altpoppendorf you can easily acquire and maintain the impression that you have walked into chessland. The village is set in a shallow saucer of a plain that is devoted to the raising of flowers for seed, and up to the close horizon in all directions are laid vast glaring squares -of startling variety of hue. The cubical houses, with their white plaster and black timber walls, have the look of fancy chess pieces set ready for some competition of giants, And walking in this land of right angles,—the acute and obtuse variations are unrecognized in Altpoppendorf,—and influenced by the "Quicumque vult" of the village, you would not be greatly surprised to see a gigantic thumb and forefinger come out of the clonds, take up by its waist the old gray church tower, and set it down with a thunderous "Check!" in a square of marigolds or hollyhocks, or some other flower that is out of men's minds for the year anywhere but at Altpoppendorf.
The moral atmosphere is even more richly impregnated than the material with the fine flavor of the noblest of games, The very childhood's "Http
spiel," or hopscotch, takes on the importance of a sixty-four square complication, and chess is in Altpoppendorf an integral part of the primary education. When the infants of Altpoppendorf wend their way of an early morning hour towards the village school,—in long hand-linked flies, looking with their light flaxen plaits or close-cropped little round white skulls, their china-bull eyes, and their print garments of faint hue, as if their overzealous mothers had scrubbed all the color out of them,—the last question shot from the home door after the retreating Hlinschen or Gretschen is, "Hast thou then man's chessboard?" A child who at eight years of age does, not know as many openings, is sighed over as one who is pitifully backward with the "Einmaleins"—the "once one is one"—of life. A sound theoretical and practical knowledge of chess, among other things, is demanded of those who present themselves for the degree of confirmation, which in the Fatherland is rather an entrance into this world than a first independent step towards the next, and may therefore without impropriety be accorded as fitly for proficiency in a noble and highly logical game as for the mechanical repetition of "Vaterunser" and the articles of faith. Chess is the Altpoppendorfian's main business of life from his cradle, where he endeavors to suck the color out of a coral pawn, to that last tussle with Death, finest of combatants, against whom no man has ever scored so much as a drawn game. And as your skilful player stereotypes more and more opening moves, till at the end be can leap over fifteen or twenty of these and come without vain preliminaries to the heart of the matter, so it is with the Altpoppendorfian in his social relations, He is chary of ftords and salutations, does not talk about the weather, and when he has business in a shop, he walks squarely in (castle move), lays a finger on the article he desires, and names his price. if that is not acceptable, he retires,—by the castle move again.
Of course Altpoppendorf has its chess legend, which may be said to be composed of fact and fancy in about equal proportions. Here is the legend as i read it in that old volume of which the pages are memories and traditions, and the book-markers the centuries.
There was much important bustle about the doors of the Altpoppendorf hostelry of the Golden Eagle one spring afternoon, for the Lady Abbess of 'Quedlinburg had alighted from her litter at the inn door and was enjoying a short repose in the great guestchamber. Things have quieted down again by now, for that was some three hundred years ago.
The Abbess was a great lady. She was of high, most transparent, birth, for her brother was no other than the Herzog Adalbert von Gilzum, of whom most people have probably never heard, though he was a very considerable person in his way for all that. He could not have been otherwise; for the Abbey of Quedlinburg was rich and powerful, and the Lady Abbess had sway over the rock of Quedlinburg with the Abbey and Castle perched on the top of it, over the town crouching humbly at its feet, and over the wide fertile' plain that rock and Castle commanded. And there can be no doubt that the Herzog Adalbert von Gilzum, who could acquire such an appanage for his sister in the teeth of the fiercest competition, was a potentate of great power and influence.
You must not, however, be too quick to envy her Grace the Lady Abbess Dorothea von Gilzum her transparent
birth and her proud position. As she reclined in the great guest-chamber, with her eyes closed and her white hands folded over the Book of Hours on her lap, she was thinking more of the cares of office than of its splendor, —as empty of comfort these latter as the brilliants encrusted in the covers of the devotional volume. Of all her anxieties, fhe one that recurred most persistently to her mind was that connected 'with the Graf Albrecht von Regenstein, the most unruly of her vassals, who exercised the honorable profession of Raubritter,—GentlemanBrigand as you might say,—and from his almost impregnable aerie harried her tenants, intercepted her revenues, and laid violent hands on the merchants journeying under her protection between Magdeburg and Halberstadt and her town of Quedlinburg. You may still see the nest of this mountain eagle or vulture, the Graf von Regenstein, bis palace hewn out of the hard sandstone, and the deep well in which the captive merchants sat waiting for death or remittances. A Blergarten— sweet horticultural development!—now graces the spot, and where horrors were done or planned, the stout Herr and Housfrau play the eternal "Skat," unmindful of the past . But the Lady Abbess had no such lighter associations of the Regenstein rock to cheer her reflections, into which there entered rather a vision of her gallows of Quedlinburg with a Gentleman-Brigand dangling thereon. And yet, alas! he was such a presentable man, this wicked, troublesome Graf Albrecht von Regenstein!
You have probably conceived of the Lady Abbess as an aged and venerable person, weaned by time if not by grace from the vanities of earth and royal courts, and stopping up with a tardy zeal the devotional gaps in a long life of frivolity or high politics. if so, you have formed an entirely wrong impres8iou; for, let ine tell you, there are Lady Abbesses uud Lady Abbesses, and Dorothea von Gilzum was still young, still very fair, and, with that, gentle and womanly. Her youth was, of course, not against her, for the faculty of command Is hereditary; and even if youth is a fault, the Lady Abbess made atonement in due course. For she lived to a good age: you can see her portrait as a handsome old dame in the Installation Room of the Castle of Quedlinburg, where the lines of the marvellous parquet radiate out from the chair of state to figure the gracious influence that emanated from its occupant. It brings this great lady somewhat nearer to me to know that she painted in oils as shockingly as I should do, had I the mind. In a room. which a glorious Butch oven renders worthy of more artistic things, they still show one of her productions. In this picture Delilah,—and is it not touching to find the simple young Abbess illustrating In oils the life of an extremely improper person?—Delilah In fifteenth-century costume Is represented as shearing most conscientiously the head of a very ansemlc Samson. And despite its glaring errors of design and execution, the picture is, for the memory of the reverend young artist, pathetic and lovable.
Some hours before sunset the Lady Abbess decided to order her litter and continue her journey, for she had still a matter of four leagues to cover before she reached her Castle of Quedlinburg, and even with an armed escort the roads were none too safe, more especially In the night and in the neighborhood of a turbulent Albrecht von Regenstein. The Abbess had just put her hand to her silver bell when one of her ladies entered and asked if her Grace would receive his Excellency the Domherr Heinsius of Halberstadt. Now the Bishop of Halberstadt was a mighty prince, temporal and spiritual,
LIVING ACE. VOL. XXXV. IK
in the days before the power of Rome was upset by one Dr. Martin Luther, and the Cathedral Canons—the Doinherren—were powers too. It would never do to deny his Excellency an audience; and, moreover, Dorothea von Gilzum had a pretty girlish curiosity to see him, for he had but newly come to the cathedral, and his piety and learning were much spoken of. So she Intimated that he should be introduced, meaning to set out on her way in no later than half an hour. Dr. Heinsius or no Dr. Heinsius.
The Domherr entered, and the Lady Abbess had all she could do not to cry out aloud. For she had expected an aged, somewhat decrepid, churchman, bowed with the weight of years and learning, and here was a tall young priest with the face of an angel—and a commanding face—so that she, mistress of life and death in her district of Quedlinburg, lady paramount of so many vassals, spiritual and temporal, was silent, and almost confused before this young Canon of Halberstadt.
Dr. Heinsius explained that, being on his way back afoot to Halberstadt from a village where he had bad business, he had heard that her Grace was lying at the Golden Eagle of Altpoppendorf, and had ventured, journeystained as he was, to turn aside from the Held paths to pay his respects to her. The Lady Abbess invited the Canon to a seat, and they spoke on and on of many things till the sun was near the horizon. And the Abbess had not yet ordered her litter, for the voice of the young Domherr was like the chiming across the Holds of the tenor bell of Halberstadt, and his face was the face of an angel.
Then the eyes of Dr. Heinsius chanced on the Abbess's chessboard, without which she never stirred,—a marvel of silver and ebony, with ivory pieces, that had come overland from China, and had taken two years in the coming. And the Domherr confessing that he had deeply studied and loved the game, as the highest and purest of all intellectual exercises, they set out the board. The Lady Abbess was renowned for her skill far beyond the limits of her suzerainty, but here she had met an adversary who taxed all her powers. The sun sank below the horizon, and still the mules of the Abbess drowsed In their stalls.
On and on they played, the young Abbess and the young Domherr. The candles that were brought in and set by them enveloped In their golden light the two noble, serious faces and the chessboard and chessmen of marvellous workmanship, and threw restless shadows back up the dark length of the great guest-chamber. All around was the silence of night. When at last one of the candles flickered out In its sconce, the Lady Abbess rose with a gesture of amazement and went to the window. She drew back the curtain, and the clean light of a spring sunrise flooded the room, turning the golden flame of the candles to a sickly fire.
And there was no one but herself in the great guest-chamber!
Only perhaps the outline, fading like a mist on the air, of a tall standing form and an angelic face.
The Abbess rang for her ladies, who came all red-eyed and peevish with sleeplessness. To her inquiries they gave answers that filled her with astonishment For they assured her that no Domherr, or Herr indeed of any kind, had come to visit her; that, bringing candles to the guest-chamber, they had found her Grace engaged with her chessboard, as if studying some problem; that she had seemed not to hear them when they had hinted at evening bread; and that so they had left her Grace to her meditations. The host, too, knew nothing of the visit of Dr. Heinsius. In great perplexity the Lady Abbess ordered her litter and set
out for home. And when she was come near half way, one rode up to tell her that the Graf Albrecht von Regensteln had set an ambush in her road on the previous evening, determined to take her and hold her to ransom. He had waited till sunrise, when, supposing that she had wind of his scheme, and had gone by another path, he had ridden back to bis rock of Regensteln with his army of cutthroats.
Then the Abbess turned off the direct way and rode to Halberstadt. There she called upon the Lord Bishop, and begged him—it was a matter of idle curiosity: she had heard so much talk—to present the new Domherr, Dr. Heinsius, to her. My lord in some astonishment sent for the canon, assuring her Grace with a smile that her expectation might be disappointed. When Dr. Heinsius came, the Lady Abbess found him to be a little, old. bent churchman, with very bad manners and not too cleanly. After he was gone, she told my lord her vision of the night, for a vision it certainly was. And It was evident to both of them that her journey had been hindered by a heavenly messenger, the holy St. Ambrose in all probability, for he was her Grace"s patron saint.
The Abbess presented to the host of the Golden Eagle of Altpoppendorf her curious chessboard and chessmen, and they are still to be seen on the occasion of the quinquennial chess tournaments, held for three hundred years in their honor, in the great guest-chamber of the hostelry where her Grace had the miraculous vision. At one end of the room hangs a large portrait of her Grace, another of her favors bestowed on the Golden Eagle.
As for the audacious GentlemanBrigand of Regensteln, the Lady Abbess let the trumpet be sounded twice before each of the hostelries where her captains lay. Her captains led the