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The Red Book of Heroes
written by "Lang, Andrew, 1844-1912"
...ht and day,' grinding into powder the substances such as he had used at the moment of his success. But heat the furnace as he might, it would not bake, and again he was beaten. He had found the secret of the enamel, but not how to make it form part of the pots. Each time victory appeared certain some fresh misfortune occurred, the most vexatious of all being one which seems due to Palissy's own carelessness. The mortar used by the potter in building his kiln was full of small pebbles, and when the oven became very hot these pebbles split, and mixed with the glaze. Then the enamel was spread over the earthen[Pg 361] pots (which at last were properly baked), and the surface of each vessel, instead of being absolutely smooth, became as sharp as a razor and tore the hand of any unlucky person who touched it. To guard against such accidents Palissy invented some sort of cases—'lanterns' he calls them—in which to put his pots while in the kiln, and these he found extremely useful. He now plucked up heart and began to model lizards and serpents, tortoises and lobsters, leaves and flowers, but it was a long while before he could turn them out as he wished. 'The green of the lizards,' he tells us, 'got burned before the colour of the serpents was properly fixed,' and the lobsters, serpents and other creatures were baked before it suited the potter, who would have liked them all to take the same time. But at length his patience and courage triumphed over all difficulties. By-and-by he learned how to manage his furnace and how to mix his materials; the victory had taken him sixteen years to win, but at last he, and not the fire, was master; henceforth he could make what he liked, and ask what price he chose. And there we will leave Palissy the artist and turn to the life of Palissy the Huguenot. For some years past the reformed religion had spread rapidly in this corner of France, and Palissy, always anxious to und...

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