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She wasn't like girls; different, altogether different; not the same. I was going to tell you the colour of her eyes, but I don't exactly know. I never could get a right look into them, they danced so much. But her lips were just like sister's used to be when we picked wild strawberries on the mountain side at Troy.
My time came at last. Mildred and I had had a turn in the dance hall, and, by evading her aunt, had strolled out and found an obscure seat near the fountain. Lights played upon the water, and through the palms and shrubbery filtered soft cadences of a Strauss waltz. Could anything have been
fitting? I spoke my heart like a man. She listened to every word.
When I had finished, she raised her eyes to mine, and with them her lips. I stooped nearer. The music seemed faint and far away. The lights on the water played in fantastic, rhythmic movement. I stooped nearer. Just as our lips-ah, I could swear it!— touched, the aunt coolly fanned herself into our presence.
Next morning, as I sat smoking, two letters were handed to me. One read :
anything. The first person I met was Brown. He said he was here spending his honeymoon.
"Yes, I was married a week ago, were we not, Mildred," he said, as she came around the corner of the walk.
She and I bowed rather distantly. Nothing further of any moment was said. Slowly they moved one way; I another. Her letter was crumpled in my hand.
Look for me on the first steamer, Bill.
As of old,
P.S.-I guess I'll not go as soon as I thought I should. Going to mail this letter, I met Mildred. We took a turn of the walks together. It seems I was somewhat mixed in my conclusions this morning. Brown married Mildred's sister. Mildred is leaning over my
shoulder as I write. She says I
shouldn't send this letter, but adds that
AGONIES OF A BOHEMIAN.
of their persons with large copper clasps. I was still a Philistine, so felt strongly inclined to laugh.
Instead of shaking hands, my hostesses crossed their hands over their bosoms, and, with downcast eyes, sank gracefully to the ground. I tried to do the same, but failed.
A once rebuked
friend of mine for telling her I was an Englishman, because she had heard me say I was "Bohemian."
The kingdom of "Bohemia" is ruled by the monarch "Art," in all its branches, and some people are under the fond delusion that unkempt hair and long nails, to say nothing of very objectionable manners, constitute "Bohemianism." But such, however, is not the case.
Conversation began: "So you are studying under Armorincci. How interesting, personally I don't care for his style of teaching at all, but some people consider him very clever." I looked very much impressed with the originality of that statement. After this we started off with a rush for "Art." I hate talking "Art," for I know so little about it, and I am always putting my foot in it, and my hair stood on end when my fair friend asked me what I thought of "Beloochinnizque's" work. I had never heard of the gentleman, and confessed my ignorance blushingly. The look I received was not a nice one. After that followed a series of names, such as "Campoochinni," "Maccorinni," and a host of others of the same sort, all I believe, invented on the spot in order to impress me. The situation was getting desperate, and so finally, when a new name was mentioned ending in three z's and an x, and which almost dislocated her mouth to pronounce, I made a bold rush, and although I had never heard of the artist, looked my friend full in the eye, and said I admired his work very much. Then the fun began. "Do you like his work, how strange! Don't you think his colour
I have wandered about the kingdom for some time, and spent many an entertaining hour amongst its subjects.
One of my first experiences was a reception, at a lady's studio in London. Everything was most "artistic," and the hostess was assisted by several friends; they were robed, I cannot say dressed, in draperies of gorgeous colours fastened in some mysterious
way, and caught up on various partsing very peculiar ?" I answered sweet
The principal hostess took me under her immediate protection, and we both sank on a divan, consisting of two cushions, with very few feathers in them, placed carefully in the centre of the room. I went down suddenly with an awful crash and felt that all eyes were on me. But my hostess was more graceful. I chose a part of the cushion with a feather in it and sat carefully on that feather, fearing it might move, and so leave nothing but a thin satin cover to protect me from the hard floor.
ly that though the colouring might be peculiar, I thought his drawing very strong." I knew that " strong was a good word to use. The lady looked puzzled and said "Yes, but, dear me, that peculiar coloured hair, surely you don't like that?" I plunged boldly and said "No, but the eyes I thought were very full of life." I had just been reading George Moore on "Modern Painting," and so quoted him, suggesting that the eyes were like "Pools of Light." I wanted also to discuss the colouring of the horns, but was uncertain what the man painted, not knowing whether it was an animal or angel. Anyhow, after a tremendous lot of fencing, we decided that the colour was peculiar, drawings strong and the eyes full of life. Luckily, just then coffee was served, in small filigree cased cups, and I wiped my perspiring brow and longed for the time to leave.
people think all the more of one if high terms are asked. When the house was reached, I judged of the future pupil's income, and promptly halved my terms. When I saw the interior, I quartered them and decided to demand fees in advance.
The lady appeared and invited me upstairs to her studio, and we went into a room about the size of a very large match-box, the walls thickly hung with startling works of art. There was no featherless divan this time for me to sink into, so I remained standing. I was called on to criticize, which I did. Bearing in mind that my friend had told me that this was to be a future pupil, I was gentle, though firm, softening all my remarks with a judicious application of praise, and played the part of painting-master beautifully, and felt uncommonly like the wolf in the fable who swallowed a lump of chalk to make his voice sound soft.
Since then I have learned many tricks of the trade, and can hold my own more or less with most people.
I was often amused during the time that I studied to hear the various remarks made by people who visited our studio, as they evidently looked upon us as strange beings from another world. The great remark on entering was, "What an odour of paint," as if that was a matter for surprise. And they generally followed up the statement by saying, "Of course, you know I know nothing of painting, but I think I know what I like." After that brilliant confession, a most complicated criticism followed, in which set expressions and quotations from books. were used. The whole conversation showed that they indeed did not know anything about painting, and I very much doubt the fact of their even knowing what they liked.
Once a friend much interested in my welfare, came to me and told me that a "lady" was most anxious to have lessons from in painting. I at once donned all my best clothes, combed my hair well in my eyes and tried to looked artistic. On the way I decided to ask very high terins, hearing that
Landscapes, flowers, sea-scapes, oils, water-colours, pastelles, charcoals, nothing seemed too hard or too ambitious for this artist. Finally, still weak from various shocks my mind had received, I turned around, on being requested to do so, and came face to face with a life-size study of a tom cat glaring at me out of a huge gilt frame. He looked ready to spring at me on the slightest provocation, and I started back in horror. The animal's whiskers had been drawn with pure white chalk, and looked very fierce and military. After a faint gasp I expressed a feeble opinion, and that ended the lesson. What nearly ended me, was the information that my fair hostess did not want lessons in painting, or anything else, and that the visit had been requested in order that " we might talk" about her pictures. I could have talked a great deal about those pictures if I had only known at first.
The subjects of the King of Bohemia are numerous, and though his rule is very hard, at times, the life has many compensations.
A favourite remark made by people
who know nothing about the matter is, "If I could paint I would go on all day without stopping." The idea among so many, even in these days of higher education, is that all one has to do is to sit in a chair and put paint on
Occasionally friends, thinking to be very kind and anxious to advance one's interest, say, "This is so and so he is quite an artist and does such dear little pencil sketches." Naturally on those occasions one feels an absolute fool. Who wouldn't under the circumstances? Then, again, the interest that other people try to pretend to feel in the work, often brings about very idiotic remarks. An intelligent looking being said, he supposed there was quite an art in mixing the colours alone.
Anxious friends will turn to you before people and say: "How are you getting on with your work? Are you painting a cat or a haystack?" very much in the same tone as you would speak to a little school child. Others again wonder why artists have their things framed. In vain are Academy rules quoted and reasons given. It is all useless: they know more than anybody else, and thus illustrate the wellknown quotation that "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."
Then again there are others who look at all one's cherished work, coldly, keeping up a severe silence, which is almost more eloquent than abuse. "This is a little thing I did one day: I like it myself, but perhaps you may not:" and the wretched victim, simpering and blushing, stands by the side of the "little thing" placed on the easel in a good light. The silence that follows is somewhat trying, and the critic, on leaving, invariably thanks. you for the privilege of the visit.
How embarrassing it is to have a doting parent take down off the wall an oil painting done by the daughter of the house, and come out with the following remark: "Now, you are an ar
tist, tell me what you think of this. My daughter did it, you know, and she never has had a lesson in her life, and you know, she is only thirty-nine: she did it all by herself." I generally feel inclined to recommend a speedy course of instruction.
Yes, the agonies endured by an artist are many. So, no doubt, are the sufferings of the friends to whom the productions are shown.
But, before finishing, let me add one warning to those who are meditating a visit to a studio. Don't say, "I don't know anything about painting, but I know what I like." The fact will be apparent enough. Smile sweetly and say, "How strong your work is, what lovely colour." This remark is very safe, and always gives pleasure. This was not known by a frame-maker who was shown one of my first productions. I was in the room at the time, and he did not realize the fact that he was in the august presence of "the artist who had painted the picture." One of my admiring relatives, thirsting for praise of my work, and recognition of my genius, asked the man what he thought. The brute looked at it, and said, "It is a very nice frame, but I cannot say much for the picture."
Since then I have taken the precaution of first telling the people who the picture is painted by before throwing myself on their mercy. I find this little plan, with very few exceptions, succeeds admirably; and I can recommend it to all who, like myself, are of a retiring and sensitive nature.