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conda." In 1496 she gave birth to a girl, and some accounts state that it was stillborn, others that it expired after a few weeks. In either case, for a time the young mother's life was despaired of, and later she suffered much from melancholia.
THE ENIGMATICAL SMILE
So much is really known. But it is quite enough to account for the portrait's enigmatical smile, so long the despair of critics; for well may it have been to cheer her in her sorrow that her husband induced his friend Leonardo to paint her portrait, while at the sittings that ensued the artist resorted to means to make her smile concerning which Vasari has written.
Aside from the plausible presumption, based on the lady's health, her mourning garb, and the traditional date of the Prado portrait, that the sittings must have begun about 1499-1500, and not in 1503, the recorded date of the Louvre panel, there is evidence of the former date in a rough pencil drawing of "La Gioconda" made by Leonardo, according to an attached record, at "about 1499." This drawing is in the collection of Giuseppe Vallardi of Florence, and is fully described in his "Catalogo di Disegni di Leonardo da Vinci," published in 1855. The description therein is too abstract to be of much use in identifying the drawing
as a study for either portrait. Although in appearance it has something of the matronly aspect of the Louvre picture, its proportions are more nearly those of the Prado's. Its size is 25% by 201⁄2 inches, and is smaller than either.
THUS, apparently, according to recorded facts, emphasized by reasonable conjecture, La Gioconda, a sorrowing mother of about twenty years, sat for her portrait to the master in 1499–1500, when he painted the panel that is still preserved in the Prado of Madrid. Did she again sit in 1503, more matronly in aspect, more placid in smile, or did Leonardo then paint the "Mona Lisa" for Francis I from the Vallardi drawing made four years before? Either is possible.
For years the "Mona Lisa" of the, Louvre has been on the point of dissolution, and quite beyond the restorer's most cunning art. Her beauties have long been a delusion, unconsciously inspired by Vasari and fostered by poet victims of persistent misapplication of his words.
But in the Prado of the Spanish capital is this reality apparently just as it was created by the brush of the master, all in a marvelous state of preservation-a youthful, sorrowing mother, still in her ineffable grace and beauty, still with that bewitching, mysterious smile which is now no longer an enigma.
BY LOUIS UNTERMEYER
HO can be dull or wrapped in unconcern,
A world of ardent conflict, honest spleen,
Vivid and vulgar, with no heart to learn,
See how that drudge, a thing unkempt, unclean,
Who can be listless in these stirring hours,
When, with athletic courage, we engage
To storm, with fierce abandon, sterner powers,
And meet indifference with a joyful rage,
Thrilled with a purpose and the dream that towers
HERE 's absolutely no use in talking about it," said Teresa.
We had talked of nothing else for half an hour and would, I knew, talk of nothing else for the remainder of the time we were likely to be together, so I said nothing, and Teresa continued:
"My aunt is as much opposed to it now as she was a year ago."
"We 've got more time to waste," said I, with a shrug of amiable philosophy, "than she has opposition."
"Well, we have not exactly wasted it." Teresa appeared to sweep the whole past twelve months with one reflective glance. "We 've managed to be together a good deal. And I do think she likes you a little better-for yourself, I mean."
"But I want her to like me for you." "She still says it 's not at all a suitable match," began Teresa.
"Rubbish!" said I, interrupting her, for I was tired of this statement, which I had heard many times before. "First and foremost, I consider that I am fully as good-looking for a man as you are for a woman."
"That 's very conceited of you," giggled Teresa, who is acknowledged by everybody to be exceedingly pretty.
"Fully as fine a specimen in every way," I went on firmly. "Fully as well born and bred; five years older than you, and twenty-five years wiser. What more does she want? What more could any guardian want?"
"Only to be certain that you'll ever have the means to support my niece in the way my niece has been accustomed to be
ing supported," remarked Teresa, with her nose in the air and a very creditable rendering of her aunt's manner.
We both laughed. I should not have stopped at that if we had been anywhere. but driving along the open road in Teresa's pony-cart.
"I'm doing uncommonly well in my profession," I suggested.
"You'll have to do better before you can equal my fortune," said Teresa, still imitating her aunt.
Teresa's fortune is the most tiresome thing about her. It kept me from falling in love with her for several weeks, and from telling her so, after I had done it, for several weeks more. It gives her a feeling that it is not wrong to be extravagant about herself, and it gives her relatives the idea that it is right to be extravagant about her. Altogether, while I rather prefer that a woman should have some money in her own right, I have wished a hundred times that Teresa's was still buried in the mines from which it
"Hang your old fortune!" I exclaimed. "If it were not for that, I'd run away with you to-morrow."
"Oh, do!" cried Teresa, stopping the pony short with the jerk she gave his mouth. "I was so hoping I could work you up to that!"
I gasped. Whatever natural feelings of impatience induce a lover to rage against barriers, and rave over the delicious thought of snatching his lady arrogantly from behind them, he is not always prepared to leap in a minute from his im
aginings to the practical outcome and end of them. Hotly as my heart might express itself, I knew in my head that I could not elope with Teresa the heiress, no matter how much I longed for Teresa the woman. What would the world say? The idea was rash, inexpedient, mad; delightful, but impossible. She must know it, too. Still, girls are rash. It is part of their dangerous charm, enchanting, but flighty. It was well to be on the safe side. She had followed my lead so quickly, I must set about showing her at once that, for a thousand reasons, we really ought not to consider this proposition seriously.
"Lord! don't I wish we could!" said I, sighing as a preliminary to the word "but."
"I don't see anything to prevent it," returned Teresa, calmly.
I looked at her sidewise. Unquestionably she meant what she said.
"Darling," I began impulsively, "I 'd like nothing better; but we 're not driven to that yet. You'll soon be twenty
"In another long year," put in Teresa. "And then we can do as we please," I continued. "You don't want it to be said that I hurried you into a runaway match with me because I was afraid you 'd change your mind if I gave you half a chance."
"I can't imagine a more excellent reason for a man's hurrying a woman," declared Teresa, obstinately.
"People would say very disagreeable things of me, all the same," said I.
"What? Because you were so much in love that you could n't wait and wait and wait, letting all these good days go by apart that we might be spending together, till my aunt had exhausted her list of eligible young men, and I was worn to a shadow?" cried Teresa. "I don't believe it."
"You must believe it, my dear," said I, "because it's true. They'd belittle the love, and magnify the money I was stealing away with you. If we can be patient till next year-"
"You mean if I can," put in Teresa, tartly. "You seem to be as patient as Job."
Now, no man likes to be called patient, because, however admirable he may con
sider himself for exercising that virtue, he knows the woman who accuses him of it holds it in the utmost contempt.
"One of us must show some sense," I declared, extremely irritated, and hoping I concealed it, "no matter how reckless we may feel."
"Reckless!" echoed my lady-love, casting an appraising glance at my somber face. "If you 're reckless now, don't ever let me see you when you 're cautious." "That is a taunt," said I. "So it is," agreed Teresa. We looked straight ahead, and the pony jogged on peacefully.
"Well, what do you want to do? Come, now, really," I began again after a moment, ready to extend a lover's indulgence to any argument.
"I don't want to do anything," interrupted Teresa, tossing her head. want you to want me to do somethingfor once."
"I'm always wanting you to do things," I exclaimed, highly indignant at this injustice. "You little monster! you gobble up my good resolutions as fast as I make them. I try not to induce you to dance all the time with me at balls in town, and loiter about secluded lanes with me here. I'm always accusing myself of making our affairs too conspicuous in one place and too furtive in the other; and yet the moment I see you I'm as bad as
You know I can't keep away from you, even when I see that in fairness to you-yes, and to myself, too—I must not press things. I must give you a chance to change your mind and dislike me, and your aunt a chance to change hers and like me, and I myself a chance to stand out and work for you like a nailer.”
"I should think you 'd hate being a lawyer, and seeing the consequences of the nicest actions in the gloomiest way all your life," remarked Teresa, suddenly flying off at a tangent, as is her custom.
"I try to see everything in a great, white light," I submitted, laughing. My companion was silent while you could draw a breath.
"Well, you may have some ability as an adviser," she observed at last, slowly and judicially, "but as an animal you have n't the spirit of a mouse.
"Have n't I?" said I, and I kissed her half a dozen times in quick succession.
It was a pity that the butcher's boy happened at that moment to turn the corner into our road from a cross-road, and come plump upon us. He was a lightminded boy, and his reticence could in no way be counted upon. I saw glee in his twinkling eye as he passed.
Teresa put up a hand to straighten her hat, and looked at me with malicious triumph.
"That settles it," said she. "He'll tell the cook, and she will tell my aunt's maid, and my aunt will come back at me, and you'll have to account for your conduct, and there'll be the deuce to pay all round."
"Confound him!" said I, looking angrily after the butcher's boy. "I'm dreadfully sorry."
"I'm delighted," said she. "We'll be off to-night!"
"No, we won't," said I, firmly. "Yes, we will," declared Teresa. "Who has the conducting of this business?" inquired I.
"If there was a man anywhere about, he would have," replied Teresa, insultingly. "And he 'd conduct it like a man,
"That's what I 'm doing," said I. Teresa surveyed me from head to foot with the greatest disdain.
"I dare say that 's true," she conceded, after an awful pause.
The sex could be no deeper damned than I had damned it. We drove on in bitter silence. She usually refused to drop me till we were near her own gate, and then reluctantly we parted, and I was left to walk back in the sunset, along the roadside, half a mile or so to my family abode. But to-day she ceremoniously stopped at the turning which led directly to our old lodge.
"I think perhaps you 'd better get out here," she said.
"I don't see any reason for departing from our usual custom," I replied stoutly. "I should have said, 'Will you please get out here?' "corrected Teresa.
"And the answer to that is, 'No, I please won't,'" returned I.
So a pony and a cart and a young man and a young woman remained for at least five minutes as nearly motionless, against a background of oak-woods, as it is photographically possible to be.
At the end of that time Teresa sighed -a sigh of hopeless impatience.
'Don't be absurd, my dear little girl," I said as pleadingly as I knew how. "It 's all right. Who cares? Your aunt knows I love you. What does it matter if she does hear that I 've kissed you? It's not the first time."
"It 's going to be the last," murmured Teresa.
"On the highroad, perhaps," said I, doubtfully, looking back to be sure we were unobserved.
"I can't make you understand," said Teresa, leaning away from me and any intentions I might have. "I'm tired of all this hesitating and hoping, and holeand-corner business. I'm ready to marry you, and I want to do it now. We 've got to lead our lives for ourselves, not for other people. I could defy Aunt Justina, -sometimes I 'm miserable enough to do it, but I hate all the fuss and fight it would make, so I 'd rather take my own way, and let them scold when it's too late. It's very vulgar to have the butcherboy see us making love, but it 's not vulgar to run away for good and all and be married."
"Well, once and for all, I won't take you that way," said I.
"Then, once and for all, you 'd better get out here," said Teresa.
She said it with emphasis and signifi
I got out.
Teresa drove away without looking back.
I was in an exceedingly morose and melancholy state of mind when I reached home, and having allowed a sufficient time to elapse for the anger of a naturally sweet nature to cool, I went to the telephone and called up Teresa's house. sent the message we had agreed upon in times of stress, and the answer came back that there were "no orders of any kind for John, the locksmith, and no necessity for any one to speak to him." This was serious and very vexatious. I had not imagined such a state of things possible between her and me. I slammed down the receiver and stamped out upon the piazza, where I walked up and down, smoking, and swearing at myself and to myself, till the dressing-bell rang. Then I stamped into the house again, and en
countered my sister at the foot of the stairs. She put her hand through my arm, and though I made that member discouragingly limp, she only leaned against me affectionately, and shouldered me into the library. The room was empty. She shut the door and faced me.
"Now, then," she demanded, "what 's the matter?"
"Nothing," said I, with as stolid and unpromising an expression as I could produce.
"Oh, don't be ridiculous, Martin. You don't come home earlier than usual and tramp up and down the piazza for an hour for nothing."
"I wanted exercise," said I.
"Not a bit of it," said she. "You can't deceive me. I've helped you through scrapes too often. You 're troubled about something. Is it business or Teresa?"
"Well, it 's Teresa," I admitted, breaking into a half-smile as I met her kind, quizzical eyes fixed upon me with an affection which, despite her marriage, has never altered since I began by being ten years her junior; and which promises to continue till I catch up to her and pass her, as I surely shall, for it 's inconceivable that she will ever grow a day older than she is at present.
"Oh, you 've quarreled, have you, you and Teresa?" said my sister, and there followed a word which she hastily smothered. It sounded like "again." It might have been "when." I answered it as if it had been "when."
"Just this afternoon," said I. “But I believe I'm making a mountain out of a mole-hill," I added, for somehow her happy, handsome presence, and her air of having met and not been depressed by such situations before, gave me a sudden sense of security. "It will be all right. I'll write a note, I think, and send it over before dinner."
"Do," she said. "The motor can take it. It's just come back with my scamps." Giving me a push toward the writingtable, she went out into the hall to welcome her husband and children, who had returned from some holiday expedition.
I dashed into my letter. The first sentences were easy. I called myself every known name under the sun, and the gods to witness how unhappy I was at having displeased the dearest heart in the world;
but then I could n't help going over the ground of our dispute, and giving my reasons twice as strongly as I had before for a resolute campaign instead of a hasty flight. In the middle of this my sister came back.
"Not done yet?" said she.
"There's a good deal to say, you see," I answered, without looking up.
"Well, don't say it. After a quarrel, no man's letter had better be more than: 'I 'm a donkey, and you 're a darling. When can I see you?'
"But you don't know what all this was about," said I, leaning back in my chair with a confused and exasperated feeling of being misunderstood by everybody. "Teresa wanted me to run away with her to-night."
Here I paused. Then, thinking I'd as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, and hoping some good might come of our taking counsel together, I poured out the whole story to my sister.
"Well," she said, when I came to Teresa's final statement and stand.
'Well, I won't do things that way, and I told her so very decidedly."
"Oh, Martin, you are an idiot!" I stared at her in astonishment. "You don't think I was right? You take Teresa's point of view? You would like me to elope with her?"
"No, certainly not; but I should like to think, as Teresa would like to think, that you had it in you to do it."
"Oh, Lord!" groaned I, making a gesture of distraction.
"Look here, Martin, it is n't a question of this particular action at all. I don't want you to run off with Teresa. Neither does she, really."
"Oh, does n't she?" I interpolated sarcastically.
"But she does want to feel that you put your love for her above any conventionality, especially in a crisis, even a small crisis like this."
"Well, a man 's got to consider such things, if a woman won't," said I, sulkily.
"He's generally considering it more from his point of view than hers, when he does," returned my sister. "And the woman will turn round and do that for him, nine times out of ten, if he leaves the decision to her. She only wants to know she can count upon him, and then not