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The Two Artists

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In a dirty and gloomy lane of Seville, there stooa an old building that had undergone so many altcrations by subtractions and additions, that could any of the workmen engaged in its original construction be arousod from that sleep that " knows no waking," they would find it dimcult to recoguize it in any one particular. This building was erected over a century before the date of our stor}', l(ilü, and niay bo described as a two-story-and-attic brick house, containing a cellar, a ground floor, a second story, and a garret. The design of its elevation was peculiarly its own, and, indeed, this old mansión was considered by the people the most reinarkable building in all Seville, as many incidents of a scrange character had been connected with its history, and now served as a sort of story book of the most wild and marvelous description. The door of the mansion was coniparatively narrow, with a heavy stone lintel, which in its broken state showed the remnant carving that originally might have been meant for tho coat-of-arma of its first owner. After ascending the rirst flight of stairs, you carne to a landing at the back part of the building, where stood a ladder that passed up through a scuttle which conducted you to the garret Hoor, lighted by two dormer windows overlooking the street. Any one, on first entering this sort of p.nolrloft, -TT-ould ba Uo mnek - :1its singular arrangement as with the outside of the edifice ; but your interest was still more excited when you discovered this wretched place to be the studio of an artist. Everythiug was in a state of disorder ; cobwebs, thickened with dust, hung in lieavy festoons in the corners and fiom the rafters, while here and there could be seen standing around panels in preparation for painting, some with finished and others with unfinished studies of ügures and landscapes ; over in one corner stood a large old oaken arm-chair, from which hung a Grecian costume, with one sleeve dangling in an earthen basin containing dirty water and serving as a vessel for the artist to wash his in ; on the opposite side of the room, slung with bits of rope from the wall, were three or four boards, intended for a sort of book-case, on the shelves of which rested some volumes of poetry, the works of Alberto rero, Basalio, and Daniel Bárbaro, with others of like character. Near the center of the room, and almost opposite the window, with the lower part covered with bits of paper and old cloth, for the purpose of proper arrangement of light, stood the painter's easel, holding a canvas, on which was cominenced the portrait of a beggar-boy, while at a proper distance upon the floor sat the subject himself, with a face full of thfi most brilliant color, eyes sparkling with vivacity, and an expression of mirth so strongly developed as to make it almost iinpossible for the beholder to keep from laughing. At a little distance fiom the easel stood the artist, a youth of not more than nineteen years. His dress gave ampie evidence of personal neglect, which manifestly arose more from an overdevotion to his profession than from a natural want of personal refinement. His face possessed stronger marks of iutellectuality than of beauty. His dark hair clustored around his brunette forehead, finely relieving his rich brown eyes that nervously moved alternately from the boy to the canvas. After one or two strides backward and forward, as ifin deep study of his picture, he dipped his brush into the color on his palette, and then placed a touch upon that portion of the face where he desired to represent reflected light produced upon the boy's cheek by a piece of bright yellow drapery that had been flung across his shoulder for effect. Evidently the last effort had failed, equally with previous attempts in this one particular, to produce the effect of reflected light. He tried, until at last, vexed, uncontrollable, with a nervous twitch of his strong arm, he flung his brush at the picture, -which, in sweeping across the face still wet with color, made an outline in the forra of a rainbow. Staggering, he sank back into the old arm-chair, with the exclamation, "By St. lago, I cannot paint ! It is not in the power of human genius to produce those incomparable tints !" Ite'sting his head against the back of the chair, he remained as motionless as if dead. This extraordinary conduct of the artiat seemed to have little or no efifect upon the boy who was sitting for the Btudy. He looked pleased, rather, than otherwise, . and after a while, observing no signs of motion on the part of his master, he quietly took from his bosom a bit of brown bread, and feil to his repast with as much gusto as an epiourean of of the most refreshing daintiness. Still, the artistdid not move. The boy becoming wearied, aud observing the long shadows of evening throwing their gray gloom over the quiet room, stealthily made his way across the apartment, when, just as he was about to disappear through the Bcuttle-hole, he discovered that he had left his cap behind. Liko a cat on all-fours, he noiselessly crept to the easel, whore, grasping his cap, he then as silently returned, and made his exit in triumph, for he dreaded anothor half hour sitting which he muBt endure had his master discovered him. The artist passed a restless night, but as the first purple rays of the morn feil through somo of tho broken places in the roof of his apartment, spotting the wall, here and there, with splashes of rich, warm color from the newly set palette of oíd Sol, he hastily rose from his couch, and adjusting his brown slouch hat, with its broken plume of drab and blue color, and a dark cloak thrown about his shoulders in the picturesque style so peculiar to all urtists, he immediately left his room to seek the refreshing air of fair Aurora's new-made mom. Alter sauntering along for a while, turning into one street and another, at last reaching the public square he pausod and stood in meditation, looking at the quaint old sidewalk, and would perhaps, have stood so engaged for a much longer time, had not the deep tones of a cathodral organ attracted his attention. As he slovvly raised his head and looked behind him, he seemed awakened to new thoughts, and thus for sevcral moments he stood listening to tho svveet, deep sound of church music. Th cathedral doors stood open, and, looking down the long, broad aisle, he beheld at the far end the grand altar, with its burning candles, illuminating Michael Angelo's picture of the " ïransfiguration," which glorifies the preat panel abovo tho tabernacle. Upon the steps beneath were sen the priests in rich vestments, and the boys in their crimson cassocks, one swinging back and forth a richly wrought silver incensario, in salutation of tbe Sacred Host, surrounded withsparkling diamonds set in shining gold, raised on high by the priest, all looking like a beautiful dream revealing itsolf through wreaths of smoke, tinted by tho many-colored lights that foll through the stained-glass windows. In another inoment he was within the church, and as he was a good Christian, his knees soon sought the hard texture of the tessellated pavement in devotion to that Great Spirit who senda the storm unto the heart aud soothes its troubles into calm. In a few moments more, early mass was over, and as our young friend was leaving the church, he feit a touch on his shoulder, and heard the salutation, " Vaya con Dios Señor Diego '" The person who so spoke was far advanced in years, perhaps seventy. His tigure was tall, his face full of meaning, and he had that peculiar something about him bespeaking the man of genius. His dress consisted of a halfworn-out camlet cloak, a doublet of black velvet, dark brown tights or stockings, russet boots, and a long sword dangling at his side, with his hat so placed upou his head as to have tho dash and stylo of soldiers of his time ; and although his dress was the worso for wear, still there was a neatness that showed an effort to make things appear to the best advantage. No matter what sucli a man iniglit wear, he would look like a gentleman. The contrast of the two men was striking. The youth with his sad face, apparently dissatisiied with himself and the world, seemed to look in doubt over the long foreground of life into au indistinct future - a future he could not fashion to his desire. i. he oíd man looked libe an oíd book, written long since and of wellestablished uierit, whoso leaves a friend could turn over and obtain the refreshing memories of a glorious past that had done wotk to the comfort of his soul, and a hope of life beyond the grave. He was a soldier and a poet, but who, in his own day, was not f ully appreciated, unless by a few artists and men of genius, like our tanee, and had couiniitted to memory several of his choice sonnets and romances, and on discovering who had saluted him, repeated some Unes of his apropos of their meeting. ■ ' But how is this ï" inquired the old soldier ; " why your pale face and bloodshot eyes ? Ah, my dear boy, do not thus waste your lifi; that in the end might bo so glorious to yourself and the world. You are too young to give your heart to a woman, and - " " Stop," interrupted the artist. " No, 'tis not a woman. My careworn face carne from a night of torment and rage and sleeplessness." " Why, one would think that it was your first love that so disturbed you. But if in your case it is not love, I pray you teil me the cause, that I may advise you what to do. What has happened?" terrogated the old soldier. The artist hesitated for a moment to answer ; but soon, looking his companion full in the face, he said : " My ambition has been plucked of its wings.pulled out by the very root ! And instead of soaring with hopes of success and glory, I grope in darkness with despair." " I fear, my young friend, youbave undertaken more than your years will warrant ; or, perhaps, you havo taken an uninspired moment to accomplish a subject that demands the first inspiration. Is it not 80 '(" " No," was the quick reply of the youth; and he continued, " 1 cannot get beyond a certain point, and so I must be estimated with the million instead of standing as a peer with the lofty few." " Have no fear of that. You will never bo confounded with the million ; not if you take courage, and work for the desired end. My life upon it, with patience and industry, success and glory await you." " Glory ! - my friend, never ! I havo had my dreams of glory, and to you I owe my first inspirations. But let him crow who has won the.fight," answered the young artist. " Had I your youth and power, it would not be long beforo I would hear the world's applause." "Tis in vain. I should consume all my power before I could struggle through the darknoia into the light I would walk in. AU my patience would be gone, of which so much is required to excel in my profession." For a moment both were silent. The old man shrugged hia shouldera, as if he thought it useless to continue his argument : but our young artist, in a sort of half-sad voice, seemed not altogether dispoaed to drop the subject, and further remarkod : " And af ter all, what ia it ? What does it amount to V You have fought the long battle of life, and in your inspired moments created verses, romances, comedies, and the greatest satire ever penned by human genius ; but did, or does, the world give back commensurate comforts and rewards for our devotion and the hours of our toil and trouble r Are old cauilet cloaks the just or only reward for a lifo of industry and genius like yours r ' The sarcasm aud truth of this reinark disturbed not in the least tho old man with all bis experience, nor would ho let the hardships and deprivations of his life be an argument to persuade others froin the developinent of their talent. Henee his answer to tho allusion cf tho canilet cloak was a3 full of philosophy as his heart of truth and interest for his young friand. "Yes, Diego, 'tis truo my old cloak is the best covering I havo. 1 have, 'tis true, been neglected, persecuted, and now in my old days want many of tho comforts of life. But let me teil you, my young friend, that all of lifo is not in the covering of our bodies, the quality of our diot, or tho style of tho castlo we are aheltered under. No '" Here our old soldier throw back his camlot cloak, revealed his underdress, and resting ono hand on his sword, continuod with a moro measured emphasis : " I om poor ; but, thank God, I am est. Not only this, I have written not so much for others as for myself. There is au indescribablo reward when we indulge the exercise of whatever genius God in his mercy may have graced us withal. It is an exquisito pleasure to see and know our own creations, whether iu writing, painting, or the sciences. For mysolf, I have a world of my own, peopled with children bom of my imagination. I talk with them, walk with thotu, eat with them, and whether good or bad iu character, they serve a moral, and all alike give more joy to my old heart than oould all other treasures of Spain. Still more, who can doprive me of them ? They aro part of my own being. They stay with me while I live, and will long survive my poor body !" As he concluded this outburst of triumph, the old man looked like the perfect embodiment of human grandeur. - The eagle look of the soldier, and the eloquence of the poet, quite subdued the young man, who now seemed at a loss for a reply. But our old companion, feeling he had broken the shackles of depression that had bound our young friend, took furthor advantage, and turning him around by the arm, said : " Come, come, let us go to your studio, and there see what you are about." The youth submitted, and followed, with his mind more calmed and peacoful with new resolves. A few moments' walking brought them to the old house. Of course the apartment was found in the same disorderly condition as he last left it. The old man, after tugging up thestairway, was qaite exhausted, and sank back into the old armchair. Very few persons at his time of life could have been induced to undertake the task of climbing up such a stairway, unless urged by something of the most exciting importance. - After a puff or two over his fatigue, he exclaimed : " In heaven's name why don't you iind au apartment where you can have 6tairs to go up instead of such an infernal arrangement as you have here 'i It may all be well enough for young limbs like yours, that havo the nimbleness of the antelope, but as for a man of sixty-eight, you might as well invite him to aBcend the guillotine. However, whero is the picture that has given you so much trouble and disappointment ? Come, let ine see it, and perhaps I can give you encouragement." " There it is upon the floor." So saying, the artist tooK it up and placed it against the lower part of the easel. The old man's attention was immediately arrested, and after looking at the picture for a few moments, he turned to the artist, and with a look of intense inquiry, said : " Can it be possible that a man of your intelligence would treat so line a production, in so shameful a manner ï Would you destroy or even abuse that which, perhaps, youcannot reproduce ? It is the rinest effort I have seen from your brush, and is worthy of an older artist than yourself. That bit of reflected light, running up the side of the neck and blendiug its cold, blue shadows with the warm blood tints, cannot be bettered ; the real and the human pervade the whole picture." ' Eeflected light ! why there is the failure. O my friend, say not so, or I shall havo cause to doubt your judgment." - i ■„,■' .... walked away. " Sir, there is no excuse for your harsh conduct. The picture is fine in drawing, rich in color, and the expression of the face is admirable." This extraordinary opinión of the old man was more than our artist could stand, and, as if he desired to hear no more said oa the subject, he took the picture from its place and stood it, face in, to the wall, and then walked away to the window that overlooked the street, where, gazing upon the passing crowd below, he feit mortified at tho old man's censure. However, he made no remark, for he knew his friend to be a man of superior judgment, and one well skilled in art criticism. The old soldier feit at once the feelings and position of the artist. He also knew how easily youth are discouraged, and how much persuasión is sometimes required to hold them to their purpose. He feit, toe, that now was the time to iinpress a lesson that would inake a lasting mark upon his young minö, and save for the art world one who, perhaps, at some tnre day would stand an equal with the first masters of the age. Our old friend followed him to the window, and throwing a glance over his shoulder into the street, beheld an old waterman with his cask upon his back vending water, as was the habit of the times. As soon as he saw the waterman's face, he grasped the artist by the arm, exclaiming : " By heaven, there is a subject for you ! Send for him !Out with your brushes and to work ! Look at that silver beard and flowing hair in such rich clusters about hÍ3 sunburnt face. Halloo, there ! I say waterman ! Halloo !" While thus shouting at the top of his voice, the boy who had sat the day beforo carne running into the room. Our poet, soon as he entered, thrust some coppers into his hand, and dispatched the boy with directions immediately to bring him, the waterman, to the studio. This was soon accomplished, and so strong was the inducement for our artist to go to work, that, in a very few mements more, his crayon was dashing over the canvas in composition of a group of the waterman offering a drink to the beggar boy. Soon tho outlino was finished, and the artist had commenced the ooloring. During the progress of the work, the old soldier sat in the arin-chair behind the artist, looking over a manuscript which he had taken fsom the pocket of his camlet cloak, but would now and then throw a glance at the picture. Hour after hour passed away, until the cathedral clock struck the noonday time. So deep was the interest of the artifit, that he observed and noticed nothing else but the work he was at. He counted neither minutes nor hours. He heard no Btriking of the cloek; but, however little may be noticed the rlight of time spent in intense application to a subject, nevertheless, the physical and mental organista keeps a faithf ul record and marks each second by a natural consumption of its own material. As haustion takes place, so the human system becomes debilitated and restless. - Such was now the oondition of the artist. He gave every indication of it by his frequent moving backward and forward, by the frequent mixing of his tints, comparing them with the flesh of hls subject, and then wiping them all frotn his palette as if nothing suited him, and as if it were impossiblo to aocomplish what he desired. So he continued, minutely observed by his friend. At last he stepped toward his canvas with the intention of putting on a touch ; but before he could do so, the old man stepped close behind him, and, quietly taking the artist by the arm, he prevonted him with the remark : " Stop ! What would you do ?" " Do Y" repeated the artist, his loud, clear voice reaching among the cobwebs and rotten rafters. " Do V What I cannot qo- paint ! Everything is distortion to me. There is no blood in my flesh ; no transparency in my shadows ; my efforts are fruitless !" With considerable passion he then dashed his palette and brushes upon the paint table. " Bo quiet, young man, and listen to me. Your work is right. There is no fault in thé picture : nor do you lack the talent to make it a great result. It is your eyes tliat aro to blame by being overworked, and theso mako all this deception. Eest, my friend, your eyes require rest. Put your work asido for the day, and, to-morrow, you will soe your pioture as it is - admirable in color, composition and drawing." So saying, the old man resumed his seat. The truth was too cloar for our artist io doubt it. He could not fail to see the moral. The very pains that were at this moment shooting through his congosted eyes fixed the seal of eonviction upon his old friend's words, and quietly placing his mahl across the pegs in tho easel, ho turned to his friend and said : " You haye taught me a good lesson - a lesson that has perhaps not only saved me my eyes, but held me to a profession I love as dearly as my soul." " Well, say no more. Come !" shouted the old man, jumping up from his chair. " Come ! let us go without, and refresh ourselvea with a quiet glass, and that social interchange of thoughts and feelings so necessary to the health and happiuess of men. Wine, my boy ; wine, I say ! - and we will talk of men we lovo, and women, too, - of poetry ! of songs ! and the drama !" In a few moments more theso two noble spirits sat opposito to each other at a well-providod table. The wine was ruby red in their goblets. They talked of poetry and the drama with their soulsablazo on tho subject. But alas ! how littlo thoy dreamed when parting, that it was for the last time. Young Diego Velazquez, Spain's best painterof the period, a-t parting shook heartily the hand of the immortal Miguel Cervantes, the author of " Don Quixote," who in a few weeks after this pleasant meeting with Velazquez, died, and his great soul winged its way to another world of etrnal years, side by side with that other immortal spirit, Shakspeare, both dying on the same day, April 2.'3,


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