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“I have looked this letter over, and am inclined to think it is a little rough. I didn't mean to make it so. With the exception of this kicking over the traces, you have been a good son to me, and I suppose I ought to be thankful that your whim didn't také some vicious turn, instead of this merely ridiculous one. You will excuse me. Come home, my boy, and welcome. I'll keep a civil tongue in my head, and not twit you about all this,-unless I see the old symptoms returning. Your mother is in a perfect fever to see you, and I understand that a certain dark-eyed young lady is not exactly sorrowful at the prospect of your return. Well

, there's no use in saying that I am not myself awfully anxious to have you by me again : so come at once to

Your affectionate father,

“ JOSIAH EVANS." “P.S.-I suppose your expenses in that outlandish Sheard's Corners can't have been very heavy, and that the enclosed will cover them. If not, you know an old pork-packer you can draw on; and can you say as much for any editor of your acquaintance? That is positively the last allusion of the kind.”

One other letter will close this chronicle. This one was from Mrs. Copp to a distant married daughter, whom she kept informed of events in Sheard's Corners, and to whom she had written often about Henry Evans. After first retailing her minor items, she skilfully led up to the climax of interest in her biggest piece of news, and went on :

“Well, my literary boarder has gone for good. It was rather sudden, though I'd been suspecting something, he'd been so out of sorts and nervous-like for a while. Finally he went off on two days' notice. He paid me up, though, in full, and give me something over, too. Mr. Boyd took on terribly when he found out that Mr. Evans was going. He said it was painful to think of our relapsing into our original be-ocean condition,—whatever that means. He said that it was a shame we hadn't done more to recognize the presence of an author among us. And at the very last, if you will believe me, he flew round and got up a sort of address, he called it, --said it was Scotch style, to read to Mr. Evans. And he actually did it, too, the very night he went away, and while he was a-setting on the store steps waiting for the stage to come along. I wish I could remember what it was all about. He said something about the great Sir Walter being offered the freedom of the city, and we'd do it to him if only we had a mayor and a gold box, and put in something about his great Carlyle's being elected lord rector of something or other,—though it was the first I'd heard that he was either one or the other, being plain Mr. Carlyle, I'd always supposed, and not being a very good Presbyterian member, much less an Episcopalian minister,--and went on to say how greatly honored we had all been by the presence of an author, and how we all hoped to see his name become famous. Mr. Evans got as red as a beet during the reading, and then burst into a fit of laughing till you'd 'a' thought he would split. Then he quieted down and said it was all a mistake, that he wa’n't

no author nor ever would be, that he'd been making a fool of himself all this summer, and that we would bear him witness he hadn't tried to deceive us. It was all too puzzling for me, for I was bound to believe him when he said he wasn't an author; but hadn't he told me at the start that he was a-going to do some literary work, and hadn't he written and mailed no end of pages of writing? I forgot to say that, the afternoon before he went off, I heard a great roaring in the chimney, and went up to his room to see what was the matter. There he sot by the stove, stuffing in sheets of paper. What on earth are you a-doing, Mr. Evans ? I said. He sort o' laughed, and said he was lighting the fire of genius ; though what he meant by that I leave you to guess. Anyhow, there must have been something in his being an author, for after he'd gone I found in his waste-basket a lot of letters from a lot of editors which they had written to him, saying they was dreadfully sorry they couldn't find room in their magazines just then for his excellent article, and thanking him in the most polite manner for having been so kind as to have sent it to them. And they'd even taken pains to have their letters specially printed, all but the name and date, which was filled in, and it must have been an extraordinary case to make them take so much pains as that. Well, perhaps I may find out more about it by my next : so good-by.

“Your loving mother,
“DOROTHY COPP, Postmistress."

Rollo Ogden.

TEMPORA MUTANTUR.

BE

FORE the photograph was known,

Your grandmamma; and one must own

Its likeness to yourself, I'm sure.
Yet, as I look upon it, dear,-

The curious dress, the banded hair,-
At first I say, How very queer!

And then I add, How very fair!
And here's your picture by its side,

Your latest photograph. The hat,
The dress, the gloves,--you know with pride

They're quite the mode, and all of that.
Serenely conscious of your art,

Before the camera you stood.
A rival belle must, in her heart,

Own that the picture's very good.
But fashions change. In years to come,

They'll say, How queer the dress, the hair !
Some call it very quaint, and some
Quite odd, but all must call it fair.

Walter Learned.
VOL. XLIV.-16

VERESTCHAGIN AND HIS WORK.

A

novelist Dostoyevsky; and many believe that the same terms would just as well apply to the Russian painter whose works have been exhibited in several of our leading cities. And even the friends of the artist must recognize that there is truth in the comparison : many are the instances where this celebrated painter displays a peculiarly “cruel talent."

Just as Dostoyevsky portrays human sufferings, fanaticism, superstition, and psychical malformation in their most varied forms, so in a measure does Verestchagin. Wherever it is possible for him to do so, he brings out in full, though never overstepping the strictest limits of realism, illustrations of human capacity for suffering or inflicting pain.

Even when we leave out of consideration the three great paintings which bear the common appellation of "An Eye for an Eye, and a Tooth for a Tooth," and those other canvases where blood, gory wounds, and mutilated bodies predominate, still the impression left by Verestchagin's collection as a whole must inevitably prove a “cruel" one. He always prefers the delineation of men ruthlessly exposed to danger, wearing the thorny crown of martyrdom, led to execution, down-trodden people washing the sacred stones of Solomon's Wall with their tears, religious zealots displaying human heads as lawful trophies, pickets freezing to death at their posts, fanatics performing intolerable tasks through the exigencies of their hard religion. Even in portraits we see the working of the same relentless choice : here we bave the hermit averaging in his prayers a thousand prostrations a day before the holy images; there the old wrinkled hag, the wife of the coppersmith, who has done nothing for forty years but make cockades. They one and all arouse in the mind of the spectator an uneasy feeling, all the more painful since they are so astonishingly life-like.

It is worth remarking that Verestchagin has never yet painted a portrait except of his own choice: the subject must be one that pleases him. As for painting portraits for money, he assured me that he felt he should not be able to make a successful likeness of a face thrust upon him, as it were, and not chosen by himself. Thus even his portraits have to be ranked with the canvases serving to illustrate the painter's interpretation of life; and as we become better acquainted with the artist as a man, as we read the notes appended to his catalogue of his works, we discover that we have to do not with a painter alone, but with a serious student of contemporary life, of social problems, even while not one of his productions is intended by him to convey a moral of any kind.

It is idle to reproach an artist for not giving us something outside of the peculiar field of his genius; it would be worse than idle to ask why Verestchagin does not follow in the line of other artists. The "cruelty of the talent” is there, and cannot be gainsaid. Yet we cannot place it on the same level as that of Dostoyevsky's. The stirring writings of the famous novelist are creations of an undoubtedly morbid mind; Verestchagin's intellect is pre-eminently healthy and sane and bright, unimpaired by any physical weakness. Morbidity is enervating in itself, and surely a man handicapped by it could never display the unexampled heterogeneity and the stanch energy required for the achievement of the tremendous amount of work already accomplished by Verestchagin,-a man scarcely forty-seven years old.

As we stand spellbound or filled with amazement at Verestchagin's works, we naturally wish to know what sort of a man it is that is driven to such peculiar channels of execution. What is this man who, with all his faults of technique, handles so masterfully such diverse subjects and has turned out such a titanic amount of work in scarcely more than a score of years ?

As we become better acquainted with this genius, we perceive that he has a nature quick to recuperate from any outlay of energy. This recuperative quality is inherent in the man's mind. Exceedingly appreciative of humor, plentifully endowed with the sense of fun, the Russian artist is as capable of enjoyment as a child, as full of vitality as a healthy youngster,—and at times, it must be owned, as little apt or willing to calculate the possible effects of any such excess of overflowing spirits. Strange as it may seem, with all the cruelty of his talent, this big, strong man displays in many ways the disposition of a mere child, with all the faults as well as the winning ways of a child of nature,-a disposition, let us remark, that presents a most fertile soil for the reception of external impressions. These impressions reproduced through the brush give a new impulse to human thought, notwithstanding the painter's entire lack of premeditation in the choice of subjects.

“I paint only what forcibly impresses me,” Verestchagin has told me on many occasions. “Images press themselves on my brain; they pursue me forcibly, group themselves in my mind in ready pictures, sometimes appear before me in the most incongruous surroundings and give me no rest until I sit down to transfer them to the canvas. Now, for instance, I am very fond of going about gathering mushrooms. Well, sometimes I see the red or yellow head of a mushroom peeping out at me from under the dead leaves, and then side by side with the tempting mushroom will suddenly appear to me a whole completed picture combined from the images that had been long haunting my brain. And I have often stopped on the spot, spellbound, with my hand extended towards the mushroom, yet not daring to move, for fear of having the vision dispelled.”

Celebrity has its drawbacks, and one of them is that it makes the personality of a man public property. Verestchagin's record as a traveller and soldier, his adventurous spirit, his powers of endurance, and his presence of mind in the most trying circumstances, are well known; but it may be interesting to get a glimpse of the man as seen in every-day life. Those who had the pleasure of Verestchagin's acquaintance during his stay in this country will doubtless be ready, one and all, to testify to the man's peculiar charm whenever he was in a sunny mood;

and that was by no means a rare one with him. Artist and traveller, Verestchagin is the farthest possible from being a conventional tourist and proceeding on the beaten track and making it a point to do the sight-seeing of a city. Yet he managed to study almost all the public institutions of New York, and on the very first day that he landed, though he knew scarcely a single man in the place, he found his way into Central Park and was most favorably impressed by it. “Almost every day do I wander about your delightful Park," he wrote me at that time. “What a charming place it is! and how cleverly laid out!"

Likewise, later on, Verestchagin was in the habit of taking some one of his friends on a walk, and as he strolled down Fifth Avenue he would point out many of the beautiful details in the architecture of the houses, such as had wholly escaped us, the unobserving people. Most of all the artist was inclined to admire the independence of the Americans in architectural conceptions,—their boldness in borrowing good and convenient features from the most widely differing sources and adapting them to local exigencies without scruples of conscience about impairing the architectural purity of any given school.

From his partiality to Central Park Verestchagin never swerved,– partly, it may, be, on account of the strange friendship he struck up with the Bruin family in the bear-pit. Rain or shine, Verestchagin, with his pockets stuffed full of candy and apples, was sure to call on the bears at least three times a week, and the beasts got to know him so well that at the first sight of the artist they would growl out their welcome, thrusting out their paws for a hand-shake with him and their usual instalment of fruit and sweetmeats.

But, ready as Verestchagin was to admire whatever happened to attract his attention, he was stubborn in his refusal to “take in" the standard sights of the place. Thus, I could never prevail upon him to go to see Riverside Park. “ What is there to see there?" he would ask. “Why, the beautiful natural scenery, which is far more attractive than the artificial beauty of Central Park.”

“Well, I have seen enough beautiful scenery in my life.” And go to Riverside Park he would not. Eventually, however, thanks to the stratagem of a common friend, we brought Verestchagin over to Riverside Park late of a November afternoon. He was perfectly delighted with the view against the background of the sunset, and insisted that each one of the party should bend the head sidewise so as to get a horizontal look at the landscape, —which indeed, as we found it, singularly enhanced our enjoyment of the scene. It may be remarked here, incidentally, that the Russian artist never enjoyed much the banks of the Hudson: he had a good opportunity to see the river during his trip to Albany, but he always insisted that the Hudson was too gloomy to be enjoyable.

He was just as unwilling to meet new people as to go sight-seeing. “What do you want me to meet these people for ?”

“What for? Because they are nice, interesting people.” Or else,

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