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THE PRIMA DONNA'S REVENGE. idle :-- quite the contrary; but he had bestowed great pains A ROMANCE IN SIX CHAPTERS.
on his work; the process of manipulation was slow and tedious; BY GEORGE AUGUSTUS SALA,
and ever and anon had come days when the sky was over. AUTHOR OF "TWICE HOUSD THE CLOCK," "A JOURNEY DUX NORTH," TUB
shadowed with clouds, or invitations in the neighbourhood "KOGARTH PAPERS," LIC, KC.
were pressing, or he felt a disinclination to do anything, and, CHAPTER IV.
consequently, did nothing. Such a day, for instance, was the GREEN TEA AND POLITE CONVERSATION.
one foilowing the supper at the Three Red Pigeons; but on The autumn leaves had fallen thick in Cidre-Fontaines. the morrow Leonurd bustened to luis work early, and was hard The leaves had changed from golden yellow to ruddy brown, at his fresco by ten in the morning. Something like a guilty from brown to dusky purple, from that to yellow again, but to pang shot through him when he saw that his mysterions a sere and sickly tawny. They were dry and shrivelled, and critic, the Fairy with the Fair Hands, had already arrisen?, the wind began to chase them about the paths in eddies of and, in her usual low-seated, rush-bottomed chair, her white vengeful disdain. The harvest, of wheat, apples, and what hands folded before her, and her inscrutable veil, was taking scant Normandy vintage there was, had been gathered in stock of his performance. The Fairy never missed the The cider presses foamed at the mouth, and ran streams of church now. Whether Leonard was there or absent, she took sugared tears. The Toussaint was long gone and past. It her invariable station in front of his fresco every day, and sat was blesk in the morning and chill at night; albeit at noon there for hours. the sun yet shone out kindly to warm and gladden the simple
There was another little circumstance to discompose villagers. Cidre-Fontaines was always a great place for sun. Leonard, as, arrayed in the orthodox paiut-stained bloase shine, and the swallows were loth to leave it.
cap of an artiste peintre, he slipped his fresh-lai3 The church of St. Luc-des-Fontaines had triumphantly palette on to his thumb, and grasped his sheaf of brushes. achieved the phenix process, and had arisen from its ruins He remembered, with a hulf-amused, half-shamefaced conradiant and restored. Messrs. Limayrac and De Presmes sur- sciousness, that the culininating performance of the sympaian veyed their w rk with proper pride, and embraced each other, at the Pigeons had been to make the Fairy's domestic, Serge à la Française, for pure joy.
Il y eut bombance at the Ali Hammam exceedingly tipsy. The landlady, who wass Three Red Pigeons. The artists gave a supper there to the plain-spoken dame, and did not admire the Countess Malinski, notabilities of the village. The abbé, from reasons of eccle- principally because she abused Leonard, declared that the siastical etiquette, could not be present ; but M. Leonard negro,-ce vilain noir,-ame as a spy and eavesdropper il Dayrell was good enough to take the vice-chair. The presi- | the sorceress of the Chateau de Luz. Whatever was ha dential fauteuil was occupied by M. Dubois of the silk factory, errand, there was Serge Ali Hammam hovering about the bar, supported right and left by MM. Limayrac and De Presmes. as the guests, more or less unsteady on their legs, cand down The jollity was enormous. To the “ toast,” porté à la from the gay supper. When the black saw Leonard de winged santé of the munificent Marquis of Swinestale, Leonard | in another fit of hoarse langliter similar to the merriment he responded with much eloquence, and with very few gram had displayed when the five-tranc piece had been presented matical mistakes, in a French speech. The two Parisians to him ; but whether he laughod in gratitude er in derision is delivered each a chaleureu.c discours,- ,--an ardent oration,- uncertain. It occurred to Leonard, partly for mischiei s suks, full of praises of the marquis's generosity, of the Abbé Guil. partly out of good nature, to invite Serge Ali Hamman 10 lemot's goodness, of Leonard's talent and kind-heartedness. drink; an invitation which, nothing loth, he accepted. The For a wonder the name of Albion, as associated with perfidy, dark retainer partook of a variety of stimulants : Doubly was not once mentioned during the festivities. M. Dayrell cider, rough and bottleu, cognac, absinthe, vermouthe, 143, returned thanks for his own health (by request) in his own hot punch, and biere de Mars. He ended by becoming exlanguage, and although the company did not understand a ceedingly intoxicated, but, fortunately for madam's bottias word he said, the enthusiasm of their applause was tremen- and glasses and the lives of the company, not ouiragecany dous. Subsequently, the Marquis of Swinestale's representa- so. He sang, or rather screeched, a song in some se tive condescended to sing a comic song ; and about midnight known language; he danced a maniacal fandango, inut he incited the entire assemblage to join hands, and, following nous probably to his native land, accompanied by guttura! his initiative, to attempt perhaps the most execrable imitation yells and frantic snappings of his fingers. Then he prostrated of“ Auld Lang Syne” that was ever heard by human ears. himself before Leonard, calling out “ Bono Anglais, Angih. After that M. de Presmes undertook to sing the proscribed man bono," ma le as though to lick his feot, yelpol and air, the Marscillaise. No davger was incurred thereby ; first, whived like a dog, and finuliy, barking at the spectstrs because the brigadier of gendarmerie who was present, and around, crawled off on all-fours, like a wild beust as he most thoroughly overcome with punch d la Romaine, cried, “Sing, have been, and was seen no more. How ever he reached the my child,” and declared to his neighbour, the mayoral adjoint, Chateau de Luz that night is exceedingly problematical. that he had adored the Marseillaise from his youth upwards; Lt o lard thought of this as he dipped his brushes in pure and next, for the reason that M. de Presmes, after intoning spring water, and, but that he knew the terrible Fairy mai the first line of the republican chant in question, fell comfort. behind liim, and for somo natural reverence inspired br the ably under the table, and begin at once to snore with twenty place he was in, would have burst out lauguing. MM. Limay. trombone power. It was a most convivial evening. The rac and De Presmes, all Catholics as they were, would have Frenchmen, ordinarily abstemious, h: d dreadful headaches been troubled with no such scruples. They smoked sa the next morning, and their faces assumed a variety of ghastly laughed habitually in the church, pending its re pusecrati, hues; and even Leonard, whose hardy frame could stand a and saw no harm in it. good deal, and who had enjoyed himself somewhat copiously, Leonard was marking in a broad shadow of the Virgia's felt a litilo flustered, and was compelled to have recourse to drapery when he heard a voice behind him.
u de Selz dashed with cognac, and a long walk in the It was the Fairy. She was speaking English, very purely country, ere he felt equal to conversation with the Abbé and correctly, but with the slightest and prettiest foreign Guillemot.
accent, although to what country that accent bolongad The renovated church was to be solemnly inaugurated by Leonard could not, for the life of him, determine. monseigneur himself from Rouen. His vicar-general wrote “ You work very hard when you do work,” said the Fairy. to say that his grace might be expected in the carly days of “How much are you paid for your labour ?" November ; but although the exterior and interior looked “Nothing, madam, save thanks," replied the painter, rising beautiful, and painters, carvers, glass stainers, and decorators and bowing to his mysterious guest. had made an end of their task from organ loft to Lady chapel, The Fairy did 10 vouchsafe the slightest inclination of the there yet remained something to be done ero monseigneur's head to this demonstration of court 81. “Nothing?" she visit could with propriety take pace, and his grace judge for continned, interrogatively.“What a fool you must be !" himself how prosperously the end had crowned the work. “Merci du compliment, Mulane," Leonard returned with M. Dayrell's fresco of St. Luke painting the portrait of the a good-humoured shrug of his shoulders. Virgin was not quite tinished yet. Leonard had not been I understand your odious language well enough," was
the calm reply of the black lady, but without the slightest was probably too poor to purchase the liqueurs of which he acrimony of tone to suit hier insulting words. “ You need was fond, the gift was to be considered as an aet of charity on not interlard your discourse with scraps of French. It only the part of the mistress of the Chateau de Luz. makes you more ridiculous. You get nothing for your labour, This capricious benefactress seemed by no means disposed and yet you are an Englishman.”
to relax in her attendance at the studio in the church. Day “I am, madam.”
after day she was to be found at her post ; now, as the whim “Go on working, and don't look at me; your bold eyes will seized her, preserving an impenetrable silence : now estab. not pierce my veil. I thought Englishmen did nothing for lishing a conversation with the painter on the same terms of nothing. You must be very rich thus to waste your time in mingled sarcastic familiarity and frigid hauteur which had smearing walls with paint as a child does its picture book." before distinguished their entretiens. One morning,-St.
“On the contrary, I am as poor, to use an English proverb, Luke's drapery was quite finished now, and the last touches as a church mouse. If there be any about St. Luc des Fon- were being put to his sainted sandals, -the Fairy said abruptly taines they can't be poorer than I am."
to Leonard: “I understand,” rejoined the Fairy, "you are the good.
“ You smoke?" looking pauper who hung on to my Lord Swinestale, the
“ Somewhat too frequently for my health, I am afraid," pampered beggar whom his kinsmen loathe, and who toadies was the reply. my lord in hopes of having a place in his testament.”
“Smoke now, then," continued the countess, producing a There was such an odd conflict of idioms in the two words tiny green velvet case embroidered in seed pearls, and pre“ toadies” and “testament,” that Leonard was fuirly hewil. senting the painter with a symmetrical cigarette of remarkdered. He could not help wincing somewhat at the remarkably ably odoriferous tobacco. uncomplimentary epithets so liberally bestowed upon him ; “Pardon me, madam,” Leonard objected with a bow, "the but he was determined not to lose his temper, and replied:- locality is scarcely suitable for such a relaxation. I confess
“You are at liberty to think what you like, madam. My to having more than once smoked in a churchyard; but I own conscience will acquit me of the unworthy motives you would rather not smoke in a church.” ascribe to me."
“Hypocrisy! Are you not a Protestant?” “Very fine! The usual excuse of parasites and legacy “I admit it; but that is no reason why I should be a hunters. Why did you make my slave drunk on Monday heathen.” last ?”
“ I say again, Smoke!" The transition was of the abruptest, and the thrust a home "I must respectfully decliné. If you will allow me to take Leonard parried as well as he could.
He was away the cigarette, I will promise to smoke it after lunch.” amused, and began to defy the Fairy
For all reply the Fairy crumpled up the little paper cigar “I did not know that slavery was permitted in France, at in her tiny white hands, and scattered the tobacco dust over least since the glorious charter of 1830."
the marble pavement. Then she produced another cigarette “He is my slave, and that is sufficient," the Fairy haughtily from her case, together with a golden fusee box, drew from it tetorted. “Why did you make him drunk ??
a piece of amado, kindled it, deliberately lighted her “He only swallowed what I gave him."
weed,” and, puffing the smoke in little blue spirals through “ I say again, why did you make him drunk ? and how dare goodness knows what interstice of her veil, swept towards the you make him so ?”
door. May I ask you, Madame la Comtesse Malinska, on my “I shall retorn no more," she said, in a cold and bitter side, why you bade him threaten me with denth by means of tone. And in a moment the Fairy with the Fair Hands was a double-barrelled fowling-piece? Why did you call me a gone. dog ? Why are you always vilifying me? Why do you keep She did not come again for a week. At first Leonard your window open, and resent the vicinity of listeners ? I laughed at her absence, and thought "she will return towon't ask how you dare do any of these things, because it morrow.” But she did not return. Then he strove to perappears to me that you are a lady who would dare do any- suade himself that she would come the next day. But thing."
another and another day elapsed, and there was no Fairy. “ I asked you one question, and you are insolent enough to Dayrell grew uneasy, he knew not why, and in spite of him. ask me half-a-dozen in return. It does not matter. The self. Braving Serge Ali Hammam and the menace of the wretched negro will be seen no more at the infamous ale-double-barrelled fowling-piece, he thought, on the fifth day house where he disgraced himself."
of the Fairy's absence, that there would be no harm in “Surely you have not shot him with the double-barrelled strolling up to the Chateau de Luz. Its occripant might be fowling-piece, Madame la Comtesse ?"
ill, might have gone away, he debated within himself. Why “ I am not at my own home, and have not the power of should Leonard Dayrell have troubled himself about the life and death, but I have bastinadoed the wretch soundly. proud and insulting lady of the chateau and her movements ? He had a headache yesterday, and now he has an acbe in the The window towards the road was closed. “ The weather soles of his feet. He had need walk on all-fours, the de- is growing cold,” murmured Leonard. “Fond as she is of graded barbarian.”
open windows, she will scarcely risk bronchitis." And he « Yon are quite oriental in your notions, madam."
returned very slowly and sadly to the vicarage. He was The Fairy with the Fair Hands disdained to reply to this, quite out of spirits. The Abbé Guillemot rallied him on and, without any word of farewell, gathered up her sombre his melancholy. Madame Grugeon opined that it was the drapery and swept out of the church.
migraine, and prescribed a warm tisane of marjoram with a “At least,” said Leonard to himself, “it is something to soupçon of rhum de Jamaïque therein. “After all,” remarked hear her talk. Her speaking voice is quite as pretty as her these good people among themselves, “it is not so very sursinging one. I don't believe she is half so mad as she seems.' prising. M. Dayrell has nearly finished his fresco (and a
That evening there arrived at the vicarage,-not, however, charming fresco it is). My lord marquis doubtless requires by the hands of Serge Ali Hammam, who had not been his presence in Albion, the cold and brumous. He has a seen since the momentous nigbt of the supper, and it is to be kind heart; and he is sorry to leave the village where he has presumed was anointing his swollen feet somewhere,-a been so happy, and on which he has conferred such happi. delicate little basket containing divers flasks of Maraschino, ness.' curaçoa, parfait amour, and eau d'or de Dantzic. On the card Thus reasoned the sages of Cidre-Fontaines. Some por. nailed to the basket it was intimated, in the Countess tion of their surmises was correct. The fresco was nearly Malinska's well-known handwriting, that these cates were completed; and Lord Swinestale was growing exceedingly for the Englishman who was staying with tho Abbé Guil. | fidgetty for the return of his protegé, and had written him lemot; and as the countess never conferred a favour withont more than one kindly yet pressing letter, applauding the adding an insult thereto, it was quite natural to find appended fresco enterprise ; but telling him that he was wanted very a paragraph stating that as the English were well known to badly in London, and recommending him, if he found the work be a drunken nation, and the Englishman at the vicarage lag on his hands, to allow
oue of those French fellows” to
finish it. But the anticipation of his approaching departure dictates of a feeling which he was half ashamed of and half from Cidre-Fontaines was not by any means the chief cause delighted in, Leonard, who was the soul of honour and of Leonard Dayrell's sadness.
candour, duly informed the Abbé Guillemot of his invite to Just seven days were past since the Fairy had visited him, the chatean. The good ecclesiastic received the news with a and he had never met her abroad since the adventure of the puzzled look; scratched his head, and, according to his cigarette, and the notable fresco was really finished. Leonard custom, had recourse to the blue cotton pocket-handkerchief
, was “scumbling" the foreground, reviewing his work,--with “You have made a conquest, my son,” he remarked, after which, although the abbé and the inhabitants generally were a pause. “The countess's condescension is, to say the least, in ecstasies at every touch thereof, he was but half satisfied, - eccentric. Yet, frankly, I cannot see any harm in your and, perhaps from fatigue, perhaps from some occult feeling, accepting it. She is a femme posée. Her passport is perfectly had given vent to a long-drawn sigh, when he felt a light en règle, and describes her as Madame la Comtesse Malinska, touch on the shoulder.
thus inferring that she must be either married or a widow. He turned round and found the Fairy.
I would go with you, only it is most probable that the “You were right, and I was wrong,” she said in a softer imperious lady of the chateau would at once order me to be tone than he had ever yet known her assume. “I am sorry, shown to the door. I know you to be good and honourable. forgive me!" And she held out one of her little white Go, therefore, and if anybody dares to whisper scandal about hands.
your visit, I, Guillaume Guillemot, curé of St. Luc des FonThe painter seized it, and by an almost involuntary impulse, taines, will denounce the slanders even from my own pulpit.” was about to carry it to his lips, but he timorously checked With this sacerdotal acquiescence in his mission, Leonard bimself, and, contenting himself with a pressure in which he went with a light heart to the chateau at the time appointed. endeavoured to combine respect with tenderness, bowed low, He was received at the gate, with many grins, by Serge Ali and faltered :
Hammam, who did not seem any the worse for the pedal “I thank you, madam. I feared not only that you were punishment he had been said to have endured. Perhaps he had angry, but that you were ill."
recently recovered from the effects of his chastisement. At "No," replied the Fairy, gaily ; " I have been as well as,”- all events he skipped quite nimbly before the expected guest, she hesitated,"as I can hope to be," she resumed. “You and led him to a comfortably furnished little salon, whose have been watching the Chateau de Luz, and found the win. chief ornament was a magnificent grand pianoforte, and in dows closed, the piano silent, and my roucoulement hushed.” which apartment, seated before a little walnut-tree table, “ I assure you, madam, that if I"
Leonard found the Fairy with the Fair Hands busily “ You need not explain. I tell you again that I am not employed in writing. She was not quite alone, for, at a few angry. You are a very good boy; and I am a wilful, per- paces from her, sate, on a low stool, the wrinkled old Mus. verse, and ungovernable woman. I will give you a reason covite attendant, sedulously plying needle and thread at a why you have heard or seen nothing of me. I have been at tambour frame. work."
The countess, not one fold of whose veil was disturbed, “And my work is just finished,” the painter said, with “ However can she see to write through that thick silk pa another sigh, and looking towards St. Luke and the Virgin. Leonard asked himself,-rose as her visitor entered.
“I am sorry, very sorry.” The Fairy said this, and both “I have just finished my work,” she said, laying down her remained silent. Then, if I am not mistaken, there was pen. “Come and sit by me. I am going to give you some another sigh, and a very tender one. But I think it came tea. Serge Ali Hammam, slave and toper, tea!” through the folds of the Fairy's sable veil.
The negro made an abject oriental reverence, grinned, and “You are going away?” she asked in a low tone. disappeared. He soon returned bearing a huge Russian
“In two or three days. I must hasten back to England, Samovar, a brazen urn for hot water, heated by live charcoal or I shall be in disgrace with my patron. I am poor, and contained in a tube passing down the centre. Then Serge must not venture to offend him.
Ali Hammam brought a lacquer tray with two glass tumblers, “I will give you twenty thousand francs if you will stay, a porcelain saucer full of slices of lemon, and a plate of crisp and cover the walls of the church with pictures,” cried, with a little biscuits. Leonard had to drink the very strongest short, sharp, passionate suddenness, the Fairy with the Fair green tea, made without sugar or milk, and flavoured only Hands.
with one of the slices of lemon. The tea itself was exceed. “Place yourself in my position, madam,” Leonard replied ingly aromatic; but it was so potent an infusion, that it had in sadly expostulating accents, “would you not sacrifice your very nearly as strong an effect on the painter's head as the inclination to your duty ? would you act with base ingrati. ponche à la Romaine at the Three Red Pigeong. This the tude ? would you inflict pain on a good and generous old Fairy was good enough to inform him was thé à la Russe. man who had befriended you since your childhood, and She offered him some caviar to eat with his biscuits ; but as protected you when you were solitary and forlorn pas Leonard had once before tasted that saline condiment, and
“No," answered the Fairy, decisively; “I would not. I found it intolerably nasty, he declined with such earnestness, am wrong again. See how humble I am. I who was so that the countess laughed, did not insist, and asked him if proud and disdainful a week since.”
he would smoke instead. This he was only too glad to accept; She was indeed humble, and, which is much more, quite whereupon the Fairy clapped her hands, and Serge Ali caressing and affectionate in manner. What could have | Hammam brought her à Sevres vase full of the finest come to her ?
Bassarabian tobacco, and a sheaf of papiros or cigarette tubes “You will grant me one favour, M. Dayrell” (she had never in paper; with her own fair hands the countess made the called him by his name before), the Fairy said, almost in a cigarettes ; Leonard smoked, she smoked. The evening supplicating manner.
seemed to pass as in an enchanted castle. The Fairy sang to “Any favour that it is in my humble power to grant." him, she played, she laughed. She talked in French and
“Come to the Chateau de Luz this evening. You need English and Italian on art, on literature, on music, on politics not be afraid. You will do me no harm, and I shall do you even. none. You may tell the Abbé Guillemot, if you like ; only, At last midnight struck. promise to come."
“ It is time for you to go," the countess said. “ Go, and Leonard promised. How could be avoid doing so ? If the God bless you, Leonard: stay, take this with you." Fairy had bade him smoke a large meerschaum in the church, She held out to him a little packet, which she had just it is not, I am afraid, unlikely, in his then frame of mind, sealed. “Read it at your leisure," she continued. that, all scruples notwithstanding, he would at once have com- wile away an idle hour.". plied with her request. So he promised, and the Fairy gave Leonard took the packet, but he detained the hand that him her hand once more, and once more he pressed it, and extended it to him. No warniug gesture from the Fairy then he began to count the minutes that lay between him and deterred him, and he kissed the white hand once, twice, nay, eight o'clock.
thrice. At last the Fairy wrenched her band from his grasp, With an eye to the bienséances, though sorely against the and vanished through a curtain doorway. Leonard was con
“ It may ducted to the gate by Serge Ali Hammam, more profuse cal in mind and art, and if less classical, then, doubtless, in grins than ever. The painter crammed all the loose cash more religious, more gothic, and more English. in his pocket,--there were two or three gold pieces among This society, from which lately Mr. Millais has a little the handful ; but had there been a hundred napoleons he wandered (for a certain ambitious, and perhaps rather would not have stayed to count them,-into the negro's dingy arrogant, wilfulness of aspiration is a ruling feature of his palm, and rushed, rather than ran, home.
mind), professed to return to the principles, not to the The Abbé Guillemot had long since retired to rest. Madame technical manner, of the painters before Raphael, particularly Grugeon admitted him with a smile of peculiar significance; Giotto and Angelico. They sought for more simplicity and wished him bonne nuit and bonne chasse, and retired to her truth, even at the risk of occasional meanness and ugliness. own isolated domicile. No sooner had Leonard entered his They laughed to scorn the conventions of composition, sleeping chamber than he eagerly examined the packet, declared that nature was good enough for them, and that which the countess had given him. The outer envelope everything must be painted (almost without selection) from wasıblank; he tore it off, and found in the inner cover, in the nature. They sought for quaint, scriptural, and early Italian handwriting of the Fairy, this superscription :
stories, and thought we had had enough of Gil Blas, Don “FOR LEONARD DAYRELL.
Quixote, Scott, and stale scenes from Lemprière and English THE MEMOIRS OF THE MOST MISERABLE WOMAN IN THE WORLD.": Ovids. Prettiness they held to be a most crying sin. «The (To be continued).
Germ; or, Art and Poetry,” for several numbers expressed their aspirations, but the brotherhood was too small then to
support a magazine ; now, they no longer require one. Soon EMINENT LIVING ARTISTS.-MR. J. E.
Mr. Paton, Mr. Charles Collins, Mr. Lockyer (since dead), MILLAIS, A.R.A.
Messrs. Wallis, Martineau, Marks, and a crowd of other Mr. John EVERETT MILLAis is of Guernsey descent, and young men joined the P.R.B. banner ; a storm of abuse and was born in Southampton in 1819. His strong instinct for ridicule broke out on them as they rose above the horizon; art manifested itself very early; and I believe almost before but in every school it was soon seen that the rising generation he could spell short sentences he had learned to draw ships, of thinkers and workers was with them. You could hardly get and to sketch cleverly, spiritedly, and with more than ordinary the lads to chain themselves to the classic ; nothing but the correctness. At nine years old he was already a phenomenon, necessity of doing drawings from the antique in order to and, coming to London, entered Mr. Sass's academy in Char- qualify themselves for the Royal Academy schools kept lotte-street. At eleven, a cherub boy, beautiful as a child them steady at all. They were all mutineers; the best of Pericles, he throned himself on a little hard-edged stool in them wavered, to a man. the Royal Academy antique school, and set hard to work Though always true in principle, the movement at first had measuring, stippling, and anatomizing. By the time he was certainly a ridiculous side. It was “ too picked, too spruce, eighteen, no Peninsula veteran could have hung more medals too peregrinate, as it were," for the great public. The P.R.B. upon his breast than this stripling genius had done.
drew such ugly faces and lean splay forms, fiddled so with When only nine he won his first medal at the Society of Arts. leaves of mustard and cress herbage, chose such fantastic or Years later the gold and silver decorations were still being ascetic subjects, their colours were so vivid yet so crudely plucked by him from the tree of honour. Like Massena, bright, they had no background, no air, and not much perwhile still a lad, he might have been called the Spoiled Child spective ; they did such extraordinary surprises, and were a of Fortune. Still wrestling with the angel for his blessing, little mountebank in their juggleries. In fact, they were still watching nature, learning, thinking, and weighing, in young men, and they scarcely knew what they wanted; they 1846, Mr. Millais, who seemed to unite French elasticity with were experimentalizing ; they were also wilful and obstinate, English depth, exhibited his first picture at the Academy, and were angry at the unjust and cruel abuse heaped upon Pizarro seizing the Inca of Peru, -whether his gold medal them. They had at all risks to attract attention and get picture or not I do not know, but I believe it was a clever i talked about; and certainly, as struggling men of genius, though conventional work, full of good colour and remark- as yet undeveloped, they were very cruelly treated. But still able for exquisite drawing, equal to Maclise's. The artist nothing could strangle them. They were far too much alive. bad chosen a picturesque subject, but he did not attempt to Foremost among these young men for breadth and versatility pass a moral verdict on the shameful act of Spanish treachery. came Mr. Millais, for Mr. Hunt felt his way by more mystic In his next picture, Dunstan's Emissaries seizing Queen and quieter works. He was the P.R.B champion,--their Elgiva, one could not again help feeling that here was a David, ---because he was such a manifest colourist, and knew young genius taking up the first subject he met with that the artifices of both schools. He drew well and daringly; would allow of vigorous treatment, and furnish scope for a he coloured, too, as if he had spent a lifetime discovering redundant but as yet immature judgment.
pigments. In the year of the Westminster Hall Exhibition of fresco His earliest heretical works (Was Saul also among the designs, this daring young Prometheus,-this creator,-broke Prophets ? said the Academicians), were daringly origmal. out on an enormous scale with his Widow's Mite, a weak and No flower girls, or gipsies, or boys by the coast, or bar-maids, inadequate subject. This design I do not remember. half-silly, half-wanton. No! In 1850 appeared, I think, his
In 1818, a register of facts tells us, appeared at the British picture of Christ in the Carpenter's Shop, beautiful in detail, Institution Millais' Tribe of Benjamin seising the Daughters but mean in face, affected, quaint, and fantastic,-fantastic, of Shiloh. This I think was a medal picture. I remember too, with the dead affectation of the thirteenth century, as if it well. It was a scriptural version of the Rape of the i we had anything in common with those days of pure faith Sabines, utterly wrong in costume and details, but vigorously, ) and frank manliness. Ferdinand lured by Ariel, too, an daringly drawn, in the old manner : but originality or pur. imaginative but wild picture, appeared the same year. Not pose it had none.
long after this came out Noah's Daughters, a thoughtful, About 1819, -with Keats's Isabella I think,—the date of wilfully eccentric picture, and in 1851, Mariano in the the real dawn in Mr. Millais' mind must be fixed. His friends Moated Grange, and the Woodman's Daughter. These picHolman Hunt, Dante Rossetti, and Maddox Brown, were tures were quite misunderstood and much abused. The to be found in the next year, 1850, the P.R.B.,-the Pre- papers, rejoicing in the vivid gown of Mariana, calls her a Raphaelite Brotherhood, -one of the most powerful sects lazy housemaid yawning; while the woodman's daughter English art has ever given birth to,--the sect that Royal Aca- was nicknamed “a horrible dowd.” Hard, crudo caricademicians think arose like Mormonism, but that some of the tures, with vulgar colour and hideous faces, cried some ; first minds of the day consider arose rather as the Protestant- original, fervid, hopeful, powerful, wonderful works, shouted ism of Luther, to confute old errors and revivify the blank others; and the others were right,--so were the some. corpse of true art. This Keats picture showed that Mr. Yet still, said the majority, this artist is a colourist; he is Millais was reading Keats, and if Keats, Wordsworth and utterly born blind as to beauty; he deforms all he touches ; the Lake school; if he was reading the Lake school with but the students could not be torn from their herosies, and enjoyment, he was also becoming more gothic and less classi. furious was the controversial babble in studios.
In 1852, however, Mr. Millais charged forth “twenty tenets he condemned. But there was nothing inconsistent in thousand strong," like the Irish rebellion. His Huguenot this. (engraved) and Ophelia were exhibited the same year. In 1856 Mr. Millais fell off sadly; he painted too much, and The first represented a Catholic lady on the eve of St. neglected the finish and drawing and truth which had gained Bartholomew trying to fasten the white scarf, the badge of him so many admirers. Peace Concluded was vulgar and her own party, round the arm of her lover; he, staunch hot in colour, the Child of the Regiment a mere pretty as steel to his faith, will not accept safety at such a price, and sketch of a sleeping child, and the Blind Girl, a very poor is fondly reasoning with her ere he parts. Her face is one of picture indeed. extreme loveliness and purity, the terror wavering upon it The Autumn Leaves was his best work of this year, in could only have been shown us by a painter of the highest which he seemed to have renounced, in defiance, all the qualigenius. The lover was but so-so. I do not know how it is, ties by which he had won his fame. If he goes on like this, but there was something lubberly about his big feet and his said his enemies, he will soon sink into one of those mere awkward black velvet shooting-jacket of a coat. In colour miserable picture manufacturers of whom we have already this picture was matchless, and the brick garden wall behind so many. Haste seemed now his great characteristic, quantity the lovers was a marvel of industry and painter skill. The rather than quality his great aim and his poor ambition. Ophelia, though also beautiful, was less liked, and the bath- His colour too grew hot and mottled, and his very faces room effect was much criticized. Thousands thronged mannered. to see these pictures, and the poor, vapid, brainless ideals Yet still by many the Autumn Leaves was thought true round them were extinguished and murdered by their vivid- and poetical; the twilight was so deep toned and luminous. ness, power, and truth.
The children were of such a grand type of children, and there Yet still the P. R. B.'s would have remained mere guerillas was something about the whole so sombre, grave, and proin art for some years more, had not in 1851, in the nick of found; but even about them there was too little of the old time, Mr. Ruskin stepped forth as to an Homeric contest, and patience and fanatic fervour. It was said that Mr. Millais, done battle for the new faith, in letters to that great mouth- angry at being praised perpetually for such a low quality as piece of the world, the Times. He showed that Turner him- finish, determined somewhat arrogantly to show the world that self had in his art asserted P.R.B. principles. He showed he could, if he chose, excel in the broad style of his noisy adver. that, with many defects, the new pictures contained many saries. The dealers, always ready to sniff out low motives, patent, but still more hidden, beauties. He gave, in fact, said, on the other hand, that the young genius found it more arguments to their friends and death-blows to their enemies. profitable to paint fast and carelessly. In his pamphlet on Pre-Raphaelitism, and in his lectures In 1857, still equally rough and ready, Mr. Millais threw on architecture and painting, Mr. Ruskin followed up later fresh shells into the academic camp. His Sir Isumbras at the the same views, with all his great and subtle sense and Ford was a most clever but most preposterous picture of a eloquence.
gigantic knight on & toy horse; never was horse worse painted; It was something, to show that Pre-Raphaelitism was but still the old knight in the gilt mail had a thoughtfal, wise not a new error, but only a new truth revired. People tenderness about his face, and the children were shy and began to see that after all it was the idealists who were the pretty. The Escape of a Heretic was equally unpleasant. heretios, and the laughter began to turn. As men became The story told was confused and difficult to read, and, from convinced, purchasers, too, flocked in, and soon the young the old want of a perception of the ludicrous, the anxious lover's artist was loaded with commissions at his own price. face became ridiculous in its overstrained passion. It proved,
In 1853 Mr. Millais showed great progress. His work had what already scarcely needed proof, that Mr. Millais' genias more breadth and thought, was more built up with colour, was great, but that his taste was still intermittent and immore massive, more full of common sense. In this year mature. appeared his celebrated Order of Release, and his Proscribed Mr. Millais' later pictures we must now dismiss. Varied, Royalist,-- both engraved. In the latter picture the painting prolific, and original, Mr. Millais, during the last few years, was in part hard and metallic; and, again, I suppose, from a has had many triumphs and many reverses, but he has never want of sense of the ludicrous, the hiding man's face was rather since risen as high as the Order of Release, never fallen as ludicrously woe-begone. The Order of Release is, however, a low as Sir Isumbras. truly great work. It represents a wife bringing proudly to That was a great year of daring intellectual exertion that her Jacobite husband in prison an order of release. The old he exhibited the Nun's Burial Place and the Children cocked-hatted gaoler-soldier at the door receives it with lin- Junketing. I forget what were the names the painter himgering indifference. The child is asleep in its mother's arms, self appended to these clever but singular productions. In and some primroses picked by the way side have fallen from some portions the colour was quite Titanesque, and the breadth its little hand on the prison floor. The Highlander, over- of both was extreme ; yet the want of finish was painful, and come with joy, has thrown his head on his wife's shoulder. the execution, in places, slovenly beyond all precedent. The This is one of the best pictures the English school has pro. Nun's Burial Place was a twilight scene,-the children duced, so strong is it in thought and rigorous in execution. picture a spring noon, with an orchard in flower, and with The figures (painted, I believe, on a white Vandyck ground), fresh grass sprinkled with flowers like dots of gold. The stood out like figures in a relief. The pablic were taken different stages of girlhood and its varieties were skilfully by storm. Night and day, from May to July, delighted shown, but some of the children were hard and cruel-looking, jostling crowds stood before that picture.
and there was a vicious grimness about others that was repugMr. Millais bad now grown braver and maturer in style. nant to even many admirers of Mr. Millais. I think of the Some admired his detail, others his colour, all the bold, manly two that I preferred the nun picture. It had a most imtruth of his drawing, his industry, and his vigour.
pressive, hurid sadness about it, and there was a whole library It was a difficult task to surpass the Order of Release, nor against nunneries in the stern asceticism of the elder sister lid the 1854 picture, the Rescue, at all even equal it. In who watches the younger nuns digging a grave in the twilight. searching for startling new effects, Mr. Millais thought of a The skull-like face of this elder woman was dreadful to look London fire, and, by means, I believe, of stained glass reflec- upon, and the background was as lurid and as strong as the tions, painted the Rescue,-the sabject, a fireman rescuing figures. some children and restoring them to their mother. The com- This last year Mr. Millais delighted his admirers with the position of this picture was wilful, awkward, and confused, and Black Brunswickers, a picture in which he seemed to have neither the rich flame colour and black of the picture, nor the returned somewhat to his old principles, and to more carefal clever audacity of the conception, could remove this defect of finish. This painting, executed, report goes, in order to be style; by testing the capacities of the art, however, such pic. engraved as a companion to the Huguenot, is not equal to it tures are useful in helping to fix limitations and frontier lines. either in colour or expression ; yet it is a very admirable In 1853 Mr. Millais had been elected Associate of the Aca-" piece of work.” It represents a Black Brunswicker parting demy, so that now he stood an authorized leader of the oppo- with his mistress, who would fain detain him; it is the night sition, and yet a candidate for honours in the body whose before Waterloo. The scene is laid in a drawing-room in