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"Baron P was the owner of a very handsome one, which Catherine the Great was continually admiring, so that the Baron could do no less than present it to the Empress, who most graciously received it, and henceforth poor pug was so constantly crammed with luxuries, which he had never previously tasted, that he actually died of repletion.
"The Empress, much grieved at this event, said
to one of her officers 'Take P , and let him be
flayed and stuffed.' In obedience to this despotic order, straightway the officer went to the Baron's house, and with a face full of horror, repeated the Empress's commands.
"As may be readily conceived, the Baron by no means considered his position a pleasant one; for he well knew if she really was determined to flay and stuff him, there was no appeal. Nevertheless, he prevailed on the officer to let him go to the Empress, who, on hearing of the ridiculous mistake, was ready to expire with laughter. She soon, however, dispelled the Baron's fears, by telling him it was the dead pug, to whom she had given his name, and that she had ordered it, not him, to be flayed and stuffed.
"By the spirit of Bottcher, I verily believe the china pug you have purchased is a facsimile of the Baron."
Visit Meissen, my friends, and recollect, Art is truth: and truth is religion.
The specimens of Dresden, marked ^z^C are as common as turnips ; but those generally found in shops must not be confounded or mentioned in the same breath with those grand pieces and services bearing this mark, which were made for Royalty alone, either for use or presents, and marked in gold. Genuine specimens of this mark are usually painted with views, and Chinese subjects were made under the superintendence of Horoldt, about 1376. An esteemed friend of my own has a set of fine vases of this period and mark, which are exquisitely painted in Chinese Examples.
Returning to the Nymphenburg, the name of "Auer" is justly celebrated as a first-rate artist who painted for that Factory; his signature appears on a service most charmingly decorated in classical subjects, in the possession of a well-known English connoisseur.
Dresden china, if old and fine, was, and is, doubtless, beautiful, and much of modern Dresden has its charms to those who do not esteem refined art. But there were other factories in the past German Empire which produced specimens of surpassing beauty: need I name Frankenthal, Fulda, Carl Theodore, as also Nymphenburg?
I recently beheld a set of this latter china, which belonged to the Countess Darner, who left ten millions of thalers to the poor; her collection of China was also sold: this specimen, now in the collection of a friend in England, is exquisite. I venture also to remark, as I have already said, that first-rate Dresden china, particularly figures, are rarely surpassed; but the trickery and humbug, if I may use the word, are also rarely surpassed. As regards Nymphenburg, many of the finest specimens were painted by the justly celebrated artist "Auer," his signature is on the admirable service to which I have alluded.
TI THEN the fruit-trees are in the full blossom of late spring-time, and all nature is alive, there are few pleasanter scenes than that on which the traveller looks as he journeys from Dresden by the banks of the Elbe, to the Austrian frontier at Bodenbach. From thence to the ancient city of Prague the route is scarcely less interesting; and a few days' ramble amid the mountains of the Saxon Tyrol will amply reward all lovers of the picturesque,
Ere I commenced my quests as a bric-a-brac hunter in various capitals and towns throughout Europe, I felt, and still feel, that I might possibly create additional interest by briefly describing to my readers the countries and places in which for a time I lingered, rather than by dwelling merely on the tastes which induced such pursuits, inasmuch as to those who have not precisely the "brica-brac" fever, which causes me to halt at every window of what is generally termed a curiosity-shop, some few words in reference to the modes and manners of those far away in foreign lands, among whom my pursuits have led me to associate—as to the beauties of nature which, from time to time, my wanderings have enabled me to look upon and enjoy—must, I imagine, cause pleasant sensations to the lover of travel. Any man, be who he may, who has ears to hear and eyes to behold, who in simple language can tell his tale of other lands, and offer his experiences for the benefit of his fellow-men, must cause pleasure to many who seek knowledge beyond the narrow channel which divides them from people of other tongues, tastes, and habits.