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A Crystal Summer-House

FURETIERE has given a description of a very curious crystal summer-house, invented for the King of Siam. The description was transmitted to him by a friend, who had had the honour of a seat in it.

The King of Siam has in one of his country palaces, a most singular pavilion. The tables, the chairs, the closets, &c. are all composed of crystal. The walls, the ceiling, and the floors, are formed of pieces of ice, of about an inch thick, and six feet square, so nicely united by a cement, which is as transparent as glass itself, that the most subtile water cannot penetrate. There is but one door, which shuts so closely, that it is as impenetrable to the water as the rest of this singular building. A Chinese engineer has constructed it thus as a certain remedy against the insupportable heat of the climate. This pavilion is twenty-eight feet in length, and seventeen in breadth; it is placed in the midst of a great basin, paved and ornamented with marble of various colours. They fill this basin with water in about a quarter of an hour, and it is emptied as quickly. When you enter the pavilion, the door is immediately closed, and cemented with mastick, to hinder the water from entering; it is then they open the sluices; and this great basin is soon filled with water, which is even suffered to overflow the land; so that the pavilion is entirely under water, except the top of the dome, which is left untouched for the benefit of respiration. Nothing is more charming than the agreeable coolness of this delicious place, while the extreme fervour of the sun boils on the surface of the freshest fountains.