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Original Penny Readings A Series of Short Sketches   By: (1831-1909)

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Original Penny Readings A Series of Short Sketches By George Manville Fenn Published by George Routledge and Sons, London This edition dated 1867

Original Penny Readings, by George Manville Fenn.




Now, it don't matter a bit what sort of clay a pot's made of, if when it's been tried in the fire it turns out sound and rings well when it's struck. If I'm only common red ware, without even a bit of glaze on me, and yet answer the purpose well for which I'm made, why I'm a good pot, ain't I, even if I only hold water? But what I hate is this to see the pots that we come against every day of our lives all on the grumble and murmur system, and never satisfied. The pot of common clay wishes he was glazed, and the glazed pot wishes he was blue crockery, and the blue crock pot wishes he was gilt, and the gilt pot ain't satisfied because he ain't china; and one and all are regularly blind to the good they have themselves, and think their neighbours have all the pleasures of this world. They're so blind that they can't see the flaws in some of the china. "Oh! if I had only been that beautiful vase!" says the common yellow basin that the missus washes the tea things up in "Oh! if I had only been that beautiful vase!" says the basin, alluding to a piece of china as stands on our mantel piece a vase that I picked up cheap at a sale. Why, the jolly old useful basin can't see the cracks, and flaws, and chips in our aristocratic friend; he can't see the vein like marks, where he has been put together with diamond cement, nor that half dozen brass rivets let into him with plaster of Paris. There, go to, brother yellow basin; and look alive, and learn that old saying about all not being gold that glitters. Aristocratic china is very pretty to look at very ornamental; but if we put some hot water into the mended vase, and tried to wash up in it, where would it be, eh? Tell me that; while you, brother yellow basin, can bear any amount of hard or hot usage; and then, after a wipe out, stand on your side, dry, and with the consciousness of being of some use in this world; while the bit of china well, it is werry pretty to look at, certainly. It's werry nice to look at your heavy swell the idle man of large means, who gives the whole of his mind to his tie or his looking glass; the man with such beautiful whiskers, and such nice white hands; and when you've done looking at him you can say he's werry ornamental, werry chinaish, but he ain't much good after all. But there; instead of grumbling about having to work for your living, just thank God for it. Look at your dirty, black, horny fists: stretch 'em out and feel proud of them, and then moisten 'em, and lay hold of whatever tool you work with, and go at it with the thought strong on you that man had mind, hands, and power given him to work with; and though toil be hard sometimes, why, the rest after 's all the sweeter; while over even such poor fare as bread and cheese and an onion there's greater relish and enjoyment than the china vase gets over his entrees , which often want spice and sauce piquante to help them down. Man wasn't meant to be only ornamental; so don't grumble any more about being a yellow basin.

But don't mistake me in what I mean; don't think I turn up my nose at china: it's right enough in it's way, and at times vastly superior to your common crockery. I honour and feel proud of the china pots which, having no occasion to work, throw aside idleness, and with the advantages of power and position, work, and work hard work with their heads, and do great things men who live not to eat, but eat to live and benefit their fellows in some way. Don't mistake my meaning, for I don't want to make a man look with contempt on those above him; but learn to see how that, whatever his position in life, he can do some good, and that he is of service; and above all things, learn to see that your yellow basin your working man is of quite as much value in this world of ours as the china ornaments of society, whose aim and end is often to there I'm almost ashamed to say it to kill time... Continue reading book >>

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