Puslapio vaizdai


worth recording. I quote it to give myself and my fellow-Europeans an opportunity of rejoicing that Tag's scheme belonged to those that were not to be realized. It runs thus:

As Du Maurier's eye, though better, will most probably not allow him to resume his profession as a painter, we have determined to try our fortune together in Australia, and mean to start from here early in February. He hopes to obtain employment by drawing sketches, caricatures, etc., for the Melbourne « Punch and other illustrated papers. You know how eminently suited he is for that kind of work, and we hear that an artist of talent of that description is much wanted out there, and would be sure to do exceedingly well. I of course do not intend to start in that line, but hope to be able to support myself for the first few years, after which I shall establish myself in business on my own account; and I trust, with luck, I may return home in the course of from ten to fifteen years, if not with immense riches, at all events with enough to enable me to pass the remainder of my "old age» in peace and comfort.

Did Tag ever go, I wonder? Did he come back, and has he perhaps been enjoying his old age somewhere over here for the last thirty years? I wish you would say what has become of you, my dear Tag. I'm sure we should be chums again.

That music of a certain spontaneous kind,

the music within us which we were ever longing to bring to the surface, was a bond of union between Du Maurier and me I have ålready mentioned; but that bond was to be greatly strengthened by the music that great musicians on more than one occasion lavished on us. First came Louis Brassin, the pianist. He had studied under Moscheles at the Conservatory of Leipsic, the city of Bach and Mendelssohn; and there from the days of his boyhood he had belonged to the little circle of intimates who frequently gathered about the master at his house. When, a few years later, he came to Belgium on a concert tour, he and I found no difficulty in taking up the old friendship contracted in my father's house just where we had left it. The boy had become the man, the student had developed into the artist and thorough musician. There was something decidedly interesting about Brassin's looks, but his figure gave one the impression of having been very carelessly put together. When he walked his head went back on his shoulders and his hat went back on his head, his long arms dangled pendulum-like by his sides, while his lanky legs, dragging along anyhow, were ever lagging behind each other. But when he opened the piano and put hands and feet to keys and pedal he was not the same person. He would turn on nerve- and muscle-power, and would hurl avalanches of music at his audience till he in his turn was overwhelmed with thunders of applause. In the accompanying drawing Du Maurier shows him at the piano entertaining us on «A Rainy Day.»

Ah, Felix, amico mio [he says], may thy room be always as jolly, thy coffee be ever as sweet, as on that happy morning! May Brassin's fingers be ever as brilliant and inspired! May Tag be ever as lazy, and with equal satisfaction to himself! And may I never be blinder! Amen.

The pianist was certainly a fine subject for Du Maurier, whom I always looked upon as a sort of vivisector of musicians, of their methods and their moods. Brassin's brilliant career was suddenly and unexpectedly cut off by his death some ten years ago, at the age of forty-four.

In 1858 my father came on a visit to Antwerp with my mother and my youngest sister, Clara. Wherever my father took up his abode, even temporarily, a grand piano in the natural course of events would gravitate toward him, and a select circle of art lovers would soon be grouped around it. Among the friends in the Antwerp circle were Van Lerius, Tadema, Baron Leys, Huysmans, and Bource. My sis


ter at that time was a bright and happy creature, not long out of her teens, full of hopes, alas! never to be realized, and of talents never to be matured. The large dark eyes-they seemed the gift of her godmother, the famous Malibran-reflected the artist's soul, and a grand soprano voice spoke its powerful language. Du Maurier and she were soon on a brother-and-sisterly footing, and they ever remained so.

Of the pleasant evenings we of the circle spent together I recall one in particular. My sister had been singing one song after another, my father was engaged in an animated conversation with Stefani, the pianist, on the relative merits of Mendelssohn and Schumann. Du Maurier and I had been sitting at the farther end of the room, talking of his eyes. At that time one doctor held out hopes; another, a great authority, had considered it his painful duty not to conceal «the truth » from his patient, and with much unction and the necessary complement of professional phraseology had prepared him for the worst: the sight of one eye had gone, that of the other would follow. Those were anxious days both for him and for his friends; but whatever he felt, he could talk about his trouble with perfect equanimity, and I often wondered how quietly he took it, and how cheerfully he would tell me that he was fearfully depressed. That evening I had been putting the chances of a speedy recovery before him, and making predictions based, I am bound to admit, on nothing more substantial than my ardent hopes. But Du Maurier was too much of a philosopher to be satisfied with

such encouragement as I could give, and said: "No; I had better face the enemy and be prepared for the worst. If it comes, you see, my dear fellow, there is nature's law of compensation. I firmly believe that one cannot lose one faculty without some great gain elsewhere. I suppose one gets to see more inside as things grow darker outside. If he can't paint, he must do something else-write per

haps-that is, as long as he can; and then if the steam accumulates, and he wants a safetyvalve to let it off, dictate.» Happily, to this day he writes, and need not have recourse to dictation.

When we joined our friends we found Van Lerius and Huysmans making sketches for my sister's album. Du Maurier took up a pencil, and with a few characteristic touches drew that sister's eyes, and wrote underneath his sketch:

Quand je les vois j'oublie les miens. (Reflection d'un futur aveugle.)

Or in English:

When I see them I forget mine. (Reflection of a man going blind.)

Soon the main business of the evening was resumed. Was it Beethoven's sonata for piano and violin or a mighty improvisation on classical themes that came first? I do not recollect; but I remember that Du Maurier's rendering of Balfe's «When other lips and other hearts,» with my scratch accompaniment, was warmly greeted by all lips and hearts present. When these pleasant evenings had come to an end

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to 'clock 28 Nov. 58.

the friendly intercourse was not allowed to drop, and so a number of sketches by her new friends found their way into my sister's album.

Du Maurier's talent manifested itself not only in a desire to illustrate this or that incident or adventure, but also in his inexhaustible capacity for making something out of nothing.


enberghe, ye celebrated Rag, deeming himself alone, treateth himself to a private performance of ye padre furioso e figlia infelice, in imitatione of his illustrious friende Felix Bobtailo. Presentlie a voice exclaimeth behind him, «Monsieur, permettez moi de vous féliciter, and a ladie politelie maketh him complimente on his talente. Rag replieth that she must not be surprised thereat, as hys life has been spent among ye great musicians, and that therefore he can scarcelie helpe being a consummate musician himselfe. Shortly after, as he lighteth hys cigarre at ye barre, he enquireth bumptiously: «Who might that good ladie be?» «She is the prima donna of the Munich Opera, monsieur.»> Whereupon ye soul of ye humiliated Rag sinketh into hys bootes, and he retireth for ever under a perpetual extinguisher.

Ye hero of ye above unfortunate adventure presenteth hys compliments to Miss Clara Moscheles, and beggeth she


DEAR BOBTAIL: I will never write without send- will deigne to accepte ye sketche in acknowledging my compliments to thine album.

He starts a short missive with a sketch of himself seated in his trunk, pipe in mouth, and says:

I write to you out of sheer idleness, so as to have an excuse not to pack up for the next half hour.

Or he draws himself looking over my shoulder while I am writing to my sister, and puts the supposed context of my letter thus:

BOBTAIL writes (in German of course): «I won't write any more, because there's an indiscreet fellow looking over my->>

RAG: «It's not true, I swear!>>

Another time he asks me to send him some brushes and various other paintingmaterials; among which he enumerates, «Oh, and a little thing like this for oil to dothething cheesy.»> He depicts himself quite elated. His eyes seemed so much better that he had once more resumed work in the studio of his friend Goyers.

Another drawing shows what happened when, for once in a way, he presumed to accept the homages of the fair.

One fine morninge, earlie, at ye café de la Plage, Blank

ment of ye last box of "accidulated lemon-flavoured droppes» entrusted to her brother's care (need he remark that they have not yet reached their destination?).

Miss Clara is invited to observe how cunninglie ye profile of Rag is made to imitate that of her talented brother.

Du Maurier's stay in Blankenberghe was but short. He soon went to Düsseldorf to put himself under the treatment of a famous oculist who resided not far from there, at Gräfrath. He wrote in high spirits:

Spent yesterday in Gräfrath; jolly place, lots of beauties, plenty of singing and sketching, and that


sort of thing, you know. Long walks in beautiful valleys, most delightful. The fact is, I'm so merry I only want your periodical visits, and permission to have my fling on Saturday nights, to be in heaven. Doctor says he 'll do me good; have to go to Gräfrath once a week. Ça me botte joliement.

He had met some old acquaintances and fraternized with some English and American artists, had got into the swim of Gräfrath society, such as it was, and was soon placed on a pedestal while sundry beauties sat at his feet and, to the best of my belief, sighed.

thirty-six periodical papers which I have got for you. In haste, BOBTAIL.» Eyes the same as ever. Write soon, and tell all about that portrait.

The letter is headed by a drawing representing me soaring heavenward, while he, chained to the spot, is philosophically consulting the cards on his prospects of release.

Before his final return to England we met once more in Antwerp and Mechlin. And that takes me back to Carrie. We found her changed to her advantage-so at least the world of Mechlin thought. We were not quite

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Among his sketches sent to me at this time was one called "A New Adaptation from the New Testament.» He and a charming «she» sit waiting their turn at the oculist's door. He is looking into her eyes, and she into his. Really, I don't see the slightest mote in your eyes,» says she. «No; but I can see the beams in yours, he replies.

In Paris I was probably absorbed in some work I had in hand, and must have neglected Du Maurier, for he writes:

DEAR BOBTAIL: Est-ce que tu te donnes le genre de m'oublier par hazard? I have been expecting a letter from you every day running thus: «DEAR RAG: Come to Paris immediately to illustrate

so sure that the change would prove altogether to her advantage. She had been quite pretty enough before, and we thought she could well have done without developing further physical attractions. She had always known how to use her eyes, not unfrequently shedding their beneficent light on two persons at the same time, and we considered that that number should not be exceeded.

«Now, Bobtail,» said Rag, as we walked along the sober old streets of Mechlin discussing the state of Carrie's mind and heart [he has omitted the streets, but has put us into our very best medieval suits]-«now, Bobtail, what do you think? Is she in love? And if so, with whom?»

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always thought particularly unfair, as he never gave me a chance of being loved. I am compensated, however, by the possession. of the first volume of the «Noces de Picciola,» or «Cari-catures,» as they are called. Suffice it to show how Félix and Georges produced the portrait of Picciola. Félix put all his talent and Georges all his good-will into it; for, once pe completed, Picciola was to select a husband from the two suitors. After much cogitation she decides for Félix while offering her friendship to Georges, who seems but moderately satisfied with this arrangement; and then, when husband and wife leave for distant countries, Georges, who cannot bear the thought of being parted from his dear Picciola, enters the service of the young couple, and accompanies them on their honeymoon. This mythical journey gives the author opportunities for the subtle psychological analysis of a young lady's heart strongly inclined to revolt against some of the conventions laid down by society for its regulation.

But it was not to be, for Carrie married a young doctor, a Southerner of the French meridional type, excitable and impulsive, and went to Paris. We only knew, and that we learned in a roundabout way, that she was the happiest little wife in Paris. Once, and only once, she wrote to us to tell us how complete was her happiness in the birth of a child. It was not till three years later that I was in Paris, and succeeded in picking up the thread of Carrie's story. One morning the young


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