It was the portrait of a young girl just ripening into womanhood...
It was a mere head and shoulders,
done in what is technically termed a vignette manner
- much in the style of the favourite heads of Sully.
The arms, the bosom, and even the ends of the radiant hair,
melted imperceptibly into the vague yet deep shadow
which formed the background of the whole.
The frame was oval, richly gilded and filigreed in Moresque.
As a thing of art
nothing could be more admirable than the painting itself.
I had found the spell of the picture in an absolute life-likeness of expression,
which at first startling, finally confounded,
subdued, and appallled me...
'She was a maiden of rarest beauty,
and not more lovely than full of glee.
And evil was the hour
when she saw,
and having already a bride
in his Art.
in his Art.
-all light and smiles,
and frolicsome as the young fawn;
loving and cherishing all things;
hating only the Art which was her rival;
dreading only the palette and brushes and other untoward instruments
which deprived her of the countenance of her lover.
It was thus a terrible thing for this lady
to hear the painter speak of his desire to pourtray even his young bride.
But she was humble and obedient,
and sat meekly for many weeks in the dark high turret-chamber...
And he... became lost in reveries;
so that he would not see that the light which fell so ghastly...
withered the health and the spirits of his bride,
who pined visibly to all but him.
Yet she smiled on, uncomplainingly,
because she saw that the painter took
a fervid and burning pleasure in his task,
and wrought day and night to depict her who so loved him,
yet who grew daily more dispirited and weak.
... as the labour drew nearer to its conclusion,
there were admitted none into the turret;
for the painter had grown wild with the ardour of his work,
and turned the eyes from the canvas rarely...
...and he would not see that the tints
which he spread upon the canvas
were drawn from the cheeks of her who sat beside him.
And when many weeks had passed,
and but little remained to do,
save one brush upon the mouth
and one tint upon the eye,
the spirit of the lady again flickered up
as the flame within the socket of the lamp.
the brush was given,
the tint was placed;
for one moment,
the painter stood entranced before the work which he had wrought;
but in the next,
while he yet gazed,
he grew tremulous and very pallid,
and crying with a loud voice,
"This is indeed Life itself!"
turned suddenly to regard his beloved