Puslapio vaizdai

excitements of the day, she was not yet tion. She was dry sand drinking the ready for sleep. She must have the luxu- shower. ries of consciousness; she must tread the “You have made no mistake,” she said. roomy spaces of reflection, and be quieted “It is a great voice, and he will have a by their largeness. And so she had gone great career.” to her windows, and had remained there The choir-master was impatient to have for a long time looking out upon the the lessons begin. She asked for a few night.

days to get him in readiness. She needed The street beneath was dimly lighted. them, she said to herself; he could not Traffic had almost ceased. Now and then make his first appearance at the school in a car sped past. The thoroughfare along white linen knickerbockers. here is level and broad and smooth, and This school would be his first, for she being skirted on one side by the park, it had taught him at home, haunted by a offers the illusive freedom of a country sense of responsibility that he must be speroad. Across the street at the foot of the cially guarded. Now just as the unsafe park a few lights gleamed scant amid the years came on, he would be safe in that April foliage. She began at the foot of fold. When natural changes followed, the hill and followed the line of them up- as follow they must later on, and his voice ward, upward over the face of the rock, broke, and then came again, whatever leading this way and that way, but always afterward befell, behind would be the upward. There on the height in the dark- memories of his childhood. And when he ness loomed the cathedral.

had grown to full manhood, when he was Often during the trouble and discour- an old man and she no longer with him, agement of years it had seemed to her that wherever on the earth he might wander her own life and every other life would or might work, always he would be going have had more meaning if only there had back to those years in the cathedral: they been, away off somewhere in the universe, would be his safeguard, a consecration to some higher evil intelligence to look on the end. and laugh, to laugh pitilessly at everything human. She had held on to her Now a few days later she stood in the faith because she must hold on to some- same favorite spot, at her windows; and thing, and she had nothing else. Now as it was her favorite hour to be there, the she stood there, following the winding, coming on of twilight. steep road over the rock, her thoughts All day until nearly sundown a cold went back and searched once more along April rain had fallen. These contradicthe wandering pathway of her years; and tory days of young green and winter cold she said within herself that a Power the pious folk of older lands and ages greater than any earthly had led her with named the days of the ice saints. They her son to the hidden goal of them both, really fall in May, but this had been like the cathedral.

one of them. So raw and chill had been The next day brought no disappoint- the atmosphere of the grateless garret that ment: he had rushed home and thrown the window-frames had been fastened himself into her arms and told her that down, their rusty catches clamped. he was accepted. He was to sing in the At them she stood looking out and choir. The dream was a reality.

looking up and away toward a scene of Later that day the choir-master him- splendor in the heavens. self had come down to speak to her when It was sunset, the rain was over, the the pupil was not present.

He was

sky had cleared. She had been tracing guarded in his words, but could not con- the retreating line of sunlight. First it ceal the enthusiasm of his mood.

crossed the street to the edge of the park, "I do not know what it may develop then crossed the wet grass at the foot of into," he said, -"that is something we the slope; then it passed upward over the cannot foretell, - but I believe it will be bowed, dripping shrubbery and lingered a great voice in the world. I do know on the tree-tops along the crest; and then that it will be a wonderful voice in it had famed out far off on the western choir."

sky behind the cathedral. She stood before him mute with emo- It was a gorgeous spectacle in nature.


The cathedral seemed not to be situated wild object swung recklessly, unsteadily, in the city, not to be based on the rocks almost striking the curb and lamp-post, of the island, but risen out of infinite and then, righting itself, came on with a space, and to abide on the eternity of rush- the dark terror. Now on one side light. Long she gazed into that vision, of the street, now in the middle, now on full of happiness at last, full of peace, full the wrong side; gliding along through the of prayer.

twilight, barely to be seen, creeping nearer Standing at her windows at that hour, and nearer under the shadows, on the she stood on the pinnacle of her life. wrong side of the street where it would

From the dark, slippery street shrill, not be looked for. familiar sounds rose to her ear, and drew A bolt of horror shot through her. She her attention downward, and she smiled. pressed her face quickly against the winHe was down there at play with friends dow-panes as closely as possible, searching whose parents lived in the houses of the for the whereabouts of the lads. As she row. She laughed as those victorious looked, the mass of them went down, the cries reached the upper air. Leaning for others piled on She thought she ward, she pressed her face against the knew which one, -- he was the strongest, window-pane and peered

over and then they passed from sight, rolling in watched the group of them. Sometimes nearer to the sidewalk. And straight toshe could see them and sometimes not as ward them rushed that terror of the land. they struggled from one side of the street She tried to throw up the sashes, to lean to the other. No one younger or older, out and cry down to him, to wave her stronger or weaker, was ever defeated hands to him as she had often done with down there; everybody at same time got joy. She could not raise the sashes. She worsted; no one was ever defeated. All had not the strength left in her to turn the whipped were conquerors. Uncon- the rusty bolts. Nor was there time. She querable children! She said to herself looked again; she saw what was going to that she must learn a lesson from them happen. Then she began with frenzy to once more.

beat against the window-sashes and to With her face still against the glass moan and stille her moans. And then as she caught sight of something approach- shrill, startled screams and piteous cries ing carefully up the street. It was the came up to her, crazed now and no longer car of a physician who had a patient in knowing what she did, she beat against one of the houses near by. It was his the window-panes in her futile agony unhour to make his call. He guided the car til they were shattered and she thrust her himself, and the great mass of tons of arms out through them with a last, blind weight responded to his guidance as if it instinct to reach him, to wave to him, to possessed intelligence, as if it entered into drag him out of the way. For a moment his foresight and caution: it became to the arms hung there, and a shower of her, as she watched it, almost conscious drops from her fingers splashed on the almost human. She thought of it as being paving-stones far below. Without reason like some great characters in human life she kept on waving them more and more which need so little to make them go faintly; and then they slipped inward after easily and make them go right. A wise the body, which dropped unconscious. touch, and their enormous influence is sent whither it should be sent by a pressure that would not push a leaf.

She chid herself once more that in It was a gay scene over at the art school world where the great is good she had so next morning.

Even before the accusoften been hard and bitter; that many a tomed hour the big, barnlike room, with time she had found pleasure in setting the a few prize pictures of former classes empty cup of her life out under the clouds scattered about the walls, and with the and catching the very showers as though old academy easels standing about like a they were drops of gall.

caravan of patient camels, ever loaded All at once her attention was riveted with new burdens, but ever traveling the on an object up the street. Around a

same ancient sands of art-even before bend a few hundred yards away a huge, nine o'clock the barnlike room presented



a scene of the tumult of eager, healthy studied again the progress made the preanimal spirits. On the easel of every vious day, correcting, approving, guiding, youthful worker, nearly finished, lay the encouraging. His demeanor showed that portrait of the mother.

he entered into the unique ent!ıusiasm of In every case it had been differently his class for this particular piece of work. done, in all cases inadequately done; but A few minutes were thus quickly conit had been done. Hardly could any ob- sumed. Then, watch in hand once more, server have failed to recognize what was he spoke of the absence of the model: there depicted. Through smearings and 'Something seems to detain the model daubings of paint, as past the edges of this morning. But she has sent me no concealing clouds, one caught glimpses of word, and she will no doubt be here in a a serene and steadfast human radiance, few minutes." made out the familiar image of that orb He went back to the other end of the which in dark and pathless hours has been studio and sat down, facing them with the immutable light of the world.

impressiveness which belonged to him even The best in them had gone into the without speech. They fixed their eyes on painting of this portrait, and the outgohim with a sudden expectancy. Whenof our best gives us the sense of our ever as now an unforeseen delay occurred, power, and the consciousness of our power he was always prompt to take advantage yields us our enthusiasm; hence the ex- of the interval with a brief talk. To them hilaration and energy of the studio scene. there were never enough of these brief

The interest of the members of the class talks, which invariably drew human life was not concerned solely with the portrait, into relationship to the art of portraiture, however: a larger share went to the model set the one over against the other-the herself. They had become strongly bound turbulence of humanity and the still imto her. All the more perhaps because she age. They hoped he would talk to them held them firmly to the understanding now; and in truth he wore the air of castthat her life touched theirs only at the ing about in his mind for a theme best point of the stranger in need of a small suited to the moment. sum of money. Repulsed and baffled in their wish to know her better, they never- That mother, now absent, when she had theless became aware that she was under- blindly found her way to him, asking to going a wonderful transformation. The pose, had fallen into good hands. He change had begun after the ordeal of the was a great teacher and he was a remarkafirst morning. When she returned for the ble man, remarkable even to look at. second sitting, and then at later sittings, Massively built, with a big head of black they had remarked this change, and had hair, an olive complexion, and a bluntly spoken of it to one another—that she was pointed, black beard, and with a mold of as a person into whose life some joyous, countenance grave and strong, he looked unbelievable event has fallen to brighten like great Rembrandt; like some splendid the entire future. Every day some old, full-length portrait by Rembrandt painted cloudy care seemed to loose itself from its as that master painted men in the prime lurking-place and drift across her face, of his power. And with shadows on him. leaving it less obscured and thus the more Even when the sun beat down upon him real to them. Now, with the end of the outdoors, even when you met him in the sittings not far off, what they looked for- blaze of the city streets, he seemed not ward to with most regret was the last, altogether to have emerged from a backwhen she, leaving her portrait in their ground of shadow, to bear on himself the hands, would herself vanish, taking with traces of a human night, a living darkher both the mystery of her old sorrows ness. There was light within him, but it and the mystery of this new happiness did not irradiate him wholly. which covered her like a radiant veil. Once he had been a headlong art stu

Promptly at nine o'clock the teacher of dent himself, starting out to become a the class entered, greeted them, and great painter, a great one. glanced around for the model. Not see- abroad under the foremost masters and ing her, he looked at his watch, then with- other years of self-trial with every favoraout comment crossed to the easels, and ble circumstance his, nature had one day

After years




pointed her unswerved finger at his latest truth copied from her one of the great

as at the earlier ones and had beacon-lights of human expression that judged him to the quick: you will never has been burning and signaling through be a great painter. If you cannot be con- ages upon ages of human history - the look tent to remain less, quit, stop!

of the devoted mother, the angel of selfThus youth's choice and a man's half sacrifice. a lifetime of effort and ambition ended in "While we wait, we might go a little abandonment not because he was a failure, way into this general matter, since you, in but because the choice had been a blun- the study of portraiture, will always have der. A multitude of men topple into this to deal with it. This look of hers, which chasm, and crawl out nobody. Few of you have caught on your canvases, with them at middle age in the darkness of that all the other great beacon-lights of human pit can grope within themselves for some expression, stands, of course, for the inner second candle, and by it once more be- energies of our lives, the leading forces of come illumined through and through. He our characters. But, as ages pass, human found his second candle, -it should have life changes; its chief elements shift their been his first, -and he lighted it, and it places, some forcing their way to the became the light of his life; but it did front, others being pushed to the rear; not illumine him completely, it never dis- and the great beacon-lights change corpelled the shadows of the one that had respondingly. Ancient ones go out, new burned out.

ones appear; and your art of portraiture, What he did with it was this: having which is the undying historian of the hureached the end of his own career, he man countenance, is subject to this law turned and made his way back to the fields of the birth and death of its material. of youth, and taking his stand by that ever "Perhaps more ancient lights have died fresh path, always, as students would out of human faces than modern lights rashly pass him, he halted them like a wise have been kindled to replace them. Do monitor, describing the best way to travel, you understand why? The reason is this: warning of the difficulties of the country throughout an immeasurable time the aim ahead, but insisting that the goal was of nature was to make the human counteworth the toil and the trouble; searching nance as complete an instrument of exsecretly among his pupils year after year pression as it could possibly be. Man, for signs of what he was not, a great except for his gestures and wordless painter, and pouring out his sympathies sounds, had nothing else with which to on all those who, like himself, would speak; he must speak with his face. And never be one.

thus the primitive face became the chroniNow he sat looking across at his class cle of what was going on within him as with mastery of them. They sat looking well as of what had taken place without. eagerly at him. Then he struck his theme: It was his earliest bulletin board of intel

"Your work on this portrait is your ligence. It was the first parchment to best, because the model, as I stated to you bear tidings, it was the original newspaat the outset would be the case, has called per; it was the rude, but vivid, book of forth your finer selves; she has caused you the woods. The human face was all that. to feel. And she has been able to do this Ages more had to pass before spoken lanbecause her countenance, her whole being, guage began, and still more ages before radiates one of the great passions and written language began. Thus for an faiths of our common humanity—the look immeasurable time nature developed the of reverent motherhood. You recognize face and multiplied its expressions to that look, that mood; you believe in it; enable man to make himself understood. you honor it; you have worked at the out- At last this development was checked; post of its living eloquence. Observe, what we may call the natural occupation then, the result. Turn again to your of the face culminated. Civilization becanvases and see how, though proceeding gan, and as soon as civilization began, the differently, you have all dipped your decline in natural expressiveness began brushes as in a common light; how you with it. Gradually civilization supplanted have all drawn an identical line around primeval needs; it contrived other mea that old-time tenderness. You have in for doing what the face alone had done

When you


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frankly, marvelously.

to paint that look now! Galleries are print news on paper, you may cease to well filled with portraits of contemporary print news on the living skin. Moreover, women who have borne children: how the aim of civilization is to develop in us often among these is to be found the porthe consciousness not to express, but to trait of the mother of old? Well, you suppress. Its aim is not to reveal, but to have found it. Here in this studio with conceal, thought and emotion; not to this woman you have painted the mother of make the countenance a beacon-light, but ages which seem slipping away from us. a muffler of the inner candle, whatever

He rose.

The talk was ended. He that candle for the time may be. All our looked again at his watch, and said: ruling passions, good or bad, noble or “It does not seem worth while to wait ignoble, we now try publicly to hide. longer. Evidently your model has been This is civilization. And thus the face, kept away to-day. Let us hope that no having started out expressionless in na- ill has befallen her and that she will be ture, tends through civilization to become here to-morrow. If she is here, we shall expressionless again.

go on with her portrait. If she should “How few faces does any one of us not be here, I will have another model know that frankly radiate the great pas- ready, and we shall take up another study sions and moods of human nature except until she returns. Bring fresh canvases." what little is left of this ancient tremen- He left the room. They lingered, lookdous drama in the poor pantomime of the ing again at their canvases, understanding stage? Search crowds, search the streets. their own work as they had not, and more See everywhere masked faces, telling as strongly drawn than ever toward the wolittle as possible to those around them of man whom that day they missed. Slowly, what they glory in or what they suffer. and with disappointment and with many Search modern portrait galleries. Do you conjectures as to why she had not come, find portraits of either men or women they separated. who radiate the overwhelming passions, the vital moods, of our galled and soaring nature? It is not a long time since the It was the Sunday after. All round St. Middle Ages. In the stretch of history

In the stretch of history Luke's Hospital quiet reigned. The day centuries shrink to nothing, and the Mid- was very still on the heights up there undle Ages are as the earlier hours of our der the blue curtain of the sky. own day. But has there not been a change When he had been left stretched against even within that short time? Did not the the curb on the dark roadway, rolled over medieval portrait-painters portray in their and tossed there with no outcry, no movesitters great moods as no painter portrays ment, as limp and senseless as a mangled them now? How many painters of to-day weed, the careless crowd which somewhere can find them in the faces of his sitters? in the city every day gathers about such

“And so I come again to your model. scenes quickly gathered about him. In What makes her so remarkable, so signifi- this throng was the physician whose car cant, so touching, so exquisite, so human, stood near by; and he, used to sights of is the fact that her face seems almost a suffering, but touched by that street tragsurvival of a great tender past in which edy of unconscious child and half-crazed the beacon-lights of humanity did more mother, hurried them both to St. Luke's openly appear upon the features. In - to St. Luke's, which is always open, alher case one beacon-light most of all;– ways ready, and always free to those who the greatest that has ever shone on the

lack means. faces of women,- the one which seems to Just before they stopped at the entrance be slowly vanishing from the faces of she had pleaded in the doctor's ear. modern women, the look of the mother, “To the private ward,” he said to those that transfiguration of the face of the who lifted the lad to the stretcher, speakmother who believed that the nativity was ing as though he added his authority to the divine event in her earthly existence,

her entreaty. and the emotions and energies of whose life “One of the best rooms," he said before centered about her offspring. How often the operation, speaking again as though he does any living painter have his chance shouldered the responsibility of the ex


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