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saw clinging to their mother, while, in their place, two others had been born, inheriting alas ! their malady. Of late, Lisette, full of gloomy thoughts, had taken to complaining, and remonstrating with her husband. Her temper had been soured by disappointment and trouble; and hope, so long deferred, ceased to buoy up her spirit. She could not understand the course Bernard was pursuing. She did not partake in liis glowing visions of future fame and prosperity, and the instinct of power and the energy of will that nerved and inspired him were all unknown to and unshared by her. Poor suffering woman! She felt as any other common-sense wife and mother would have felt in her circumstances; and bewailing his obstinate persistence in such profitless labour, she embittered his home by her lamentations and reproaches.
In this strait Palissy began to give way: he faltered, and at length made a compromise with his anxious helpmate. One more last trial he pleaded for; and then,-if it failed, he would abandon the search for ever! He must have felt that the happiness as well as the fortune of his life depended on the cast. Rather, we learn from his own touching account of what ensued, that he looked for counsel and help from above. In all his ways did this good man acknowledge his heavenly Father's hand, and seek His blessing. What befell, in this crisis, he thus tells us: “God willed that, when I had begun to lose my courage, and was gone for the last time to a glass furnace, having a man with me carrying more than three hundred kinds of trial pieces, there was one among them which was melted within four hours after it had been placed in the furnace, which turned out white and polished, in a way that caused me to feel such joy as made me think I was become a new creature."
With winged feet he flew home, bearing his treasure, which he pronounced "exceedingly beautiful," and, almost beside himself with delight, he rushed into the chamber, where his poor wife lay in her sick bed, and holding up the shining white fragment, exclaimed, “ I have found it !" Lisette caught the infection of his gladness, and hailed the first ray of returning prosperity. Poor woman, she little knew how long she must wait before she could warm herself in its sunshine.
But Palissy was convinced that he had now discovered the full perfection of the white enamel ; and his delight was in proportion to all the toil and struggle the discovery had cost him. more any idea, now, of giving over, and returning to his old calling. Illustrious results must soon follow, he was sure, and from henceforth it was necessary he should work privately, and construcť for his own use a furnace like that of the glassworkers. Already in imagination stretching out his hand to grasp the prize, he eagerly betook himself to moulding vessels of clay, shaped after his own designs, which covered with the exquisite white enamel he had discovered, he purposed to adorn with lovely paintings. He saw them doubt
less in his mind's eye, beautiful, as those he actually produced in after years, those perfect masterpieces of porcelain in relief, and dishes ornamented with figures, beasts, reptiles, insects, beetles, and flowers : treasures of art, full of grace, beauty, and simplicity, which were eagerly purchased by the rich seigneurs ? of that day, to adorn their cabinets and beautify their château, and which now sell for their weight in gold.
But though his fancy saw them, as his taste, so exquisite and refined, had already designed them, still it was with the rough clay his hands were actually at work, and he had, unfortunately for his present need, "never understood earths."
Some seven or eight months more were expended in making these vessels, and then he began to erect the furnace. With incredible difficulty and labourfor he had none to assist him in the work, not even so much as to draw water, and fetch bricks from the kiln---the indefatigable man wrought till he had completed the furnace, and the preliminary baking of his vessels. And then, instead of reposing after all this toil, by the space of more than a month, he worked, night and day, grinding and compounding the materials of which he had made the white enamel. At length his task was completed, and the vessels, coated with the mixture were arranged within the furnace.
Look at him now! He has kindled his furnacefire, and is feeding it through its two mouths. He does not spare the fuel; he diligently throws it in all day; he suffers it not to slacken all night. Yet the enamel does not melt. The sun rises, bright and glowing, and Nicole, now a sturdy boy of eleven or twelve years old, brings his father a basin of pottage for breakfast; a poor and scanty meal, ill-fitted to recruit his over-taxed powers, but eagerly devoured by the hungry artisan, who pauses for a few moments in order to swallow it. How pale and thin and haggard he looks! what a strained expression does his countenance wear! But all indomitable and calmly hopeful 'mid his toil.
“God bless thee, my child," he says, as he returns the empty basin to the boy; “learn well thy lesson to-day, and to-morrow, I hope, we may make holiday, and ramble together through the fields as we once used to do." "Nay, father, and who will mind the furnace ?” “I trust it will have done its work. The enamel will surely melt soon.”
But the hours of that day passed on; and the dark night succeeded, and still, amid the blaze and crackle of the furnace, Palissy worked on. Another day dawns; and still he feeds his fire. Worn and weary he occasionally drops asleep for some minutes, but his ever wakeful spirit rouses him almost instantly, and he throws in more wood, again. In vain. Six days and six nights has he spent about the glowing furnace, each day more anxious and laborious than the preceding—but the enamel has not melted. At length, convinced that something is amiss, he ceases from his task. He sits, with drooping head and lack-lustre eye, gazing on the smouldering fires, which begin slowly to slacken ready to die away. What will he do next? In a few and hcart-stirring words he tells us what: “Seeing it was not possible to make the said enamel melt, I was like a man in desperation; and although quite stupified with labour, I counselled to myself that in my mixture there might be some fault. Therefore I began once more to pound and grind more materials, all the time without letting my furnace cool; in this way I had double labour, to pound, grind, and maintain the fire. I was also forced to go again and purchase pots, in order to prove the said compound, seeing that I had lost all the vessels which I had made myself. And having covered the new pieces with the said enamel, I put tiem into the furnace, keeping the fire still at its height. But now occurred a new misfortune, which caused me great mortification, namely, that the wood having failed me, I was forced to burn the palings which maintained the boundaries of my garden, which being burnt also, I was forced to burn the tables and the floorings of my house, to cause the melting of the second composition. I suffered an anguish that I cannot speak, for I was quite exhausted and dried up by the heat of the furnace; it was more than a month since my shirt had been dry upon me. Further to console me, I was the object of mockery; even those from whom solace was due ran crying through the town that I was burning my floors. In this way my credit was taken from me, and I was regarded as a madman."