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by the hand, and led away where I saw the countenances of parents and sister.
13. Many years have gone by on the wings of light and shadow, but the scenes I have portrayed still come over me, at times, with terrible distinctness. The oak yet stands at the base of the precipice, but its limbs are black and dead, and the hollow trunk looking upward to the sky, as if " calling to the clouds for drink,” is an emblem of rapid and noiseless decay.
14. A year ago, I visited the spot, and the thought of bygone years came mournfully back to me. I thought of the little innocent being who fell by my side, like some beautiful tree of spring, rent up by the whirlwind in the midst of blossoming. But I remembered, and 0, there was joy in the memory, that she had gone where no lightnings slumber in the folds of the rainbow cloud, and where the sun-lit waters are broken only by the storm-breath of Omnipotence.
1. It may not be known to all the admirers of the genius of Albrecht Dürer, that that famous engraver was endowed with a
“ better half,” so peevish in temper, that she was the torment not only of his own life, but also of his pupils and domestics. Some of the former were cunning enough to purchase peace for themselves by conciliating the common tyrant, but woe to those unwilling or unable to offer aught in propitiation. Even the wiser ones were spared only by having their offenses visited upon a scape-gcat.
2. This unfortunate individual was Samuel Duhobret, a disciple whom Dürer had admitted into his school out of charity. He was employed in painting signs and the coarser tapestry then used in Germany. He was about forty years of age, little, ugly, and humpbacked; he was the butt of every ill joke among his fellow disciples, and was picked out as an object of especial dislike by Madame Dürer. But he bore all with patience, and ate, without complaint, the scanty crusts given him every day for dinner, while his companiops often fared sumptuously.
3. Poor Samuel had not a spice of envy or malice in his heart. He would, at any time, have toiled half the night to assist or serve those who were wont oftenest to laugh at him, or abuse him loudest for his stupidity. True, he had not the qualities of social humor or wit, but he was an example of indefatigable industry. He came to his studies every morning at day-break, and remained at work until sunset. Then he retired into his lonely chamber, and wrought for his own amusement.
4. Duhobret labored three years in this way, giving himself no time for exercise or recreation. He said nothing to a single human being of the paintings he had produced in the solitude of his cell, by the light of his lamp. But his bodily energies wasted and declined under incessant toil. There were none sufficiently interested in the poor artist, to mark the feverish hue of his wrinkled cheek, or the increasing attenuation of his misshapen frame.
5. None observed that the uninviting pittance set aside for his midday repast, remained for several days untouched. Samuel made his appearance regularly as ever, and bore, with the same meekness, the gibes of his fellow-pupils, or the taunts of Madame Dürer, and worked with the same untiring assiduity, though his hands would sometimes tremble, and his eyes become suffused, a weakness probably owing to the excessive use he had made of them.
6. One morning, Duhobret was missing at the scene of his daily labors. His absence created much remark, and many were the jokes passed upon the occasion. One surmised this, and another that, as the cause of the phenomenon; and it was finally agreed that the poor fellow must have worked himself into an absolute skeleton, and taken his final stand in the glass frame of some apothecary, or been blown away by a puff of wind, while his door happened to
No one thought of going to his lodgings to look after him or his remains.
7. Meanwhile, the object of their mirth was tossing on a bed of sickness. Disease, which had been slowly sapping the foundations of his strength, burned in every vein; his eyes rolled and flashed in delirium; his lips, usually so silent, muttered wild and incoherent words. In his days of
health, poor Duhobret had his dreams, as all artists, rich or poor, will sometimes have. He had thought that the fruit of many years' labor, disposed of to advantage, might procure him enough to live, in an economical way, for the rest of his life. He never anticipated fame or fortune; the height of his ambition or hope was, to possess a tenement large enough to shelter him from the inclemencies of the weather, with means enough to purchase one comfortable meal per day.
8. Now, alas ! however, even that one hope had deserted him. He thought himself dying, and thought it hard to die without one to look kindly upon him, without the words of comfort that might soothe his passage to another world. He fancied his bed surrounded by fiendish faces, grinning at his sufferings, and taunting his inability to summon power to disperse them. At length the apparitinns faded away, and the patient sunk into an exhausted slumber.
9. He awoke unrefreshed; it was the fifth day he had lain there neglected. His mouth was parched; he turned over, and feebly stretched out his hand toward the earthen pitcher, from which, since the first day of his illness, he had quenched his thirst.
Alas! it was empty! Samuel lay for a few moments thinking what he should do. He knew he must die of want, if he remained there alone; but to whom could he apply for aid in procuring sustenance ?
10. An idea seemed, at last, to strike him. slowly, and with difficulty, from the bed, went to the other side of the room, and took up the picture he had painted last. He resolved to carry it to the shop of a salesman, and hoped to obtain for it sufficient to furnish him with the necessaries of life for a week longer. Despair lent him strength to walk, and to carry his burden. On his way, he passed a house, about which there was a crowd. He drew nigh; asked what was going on, and received for an answer, that there was to be a sale of many specimens of art, collected by an amateur in the course of thirty years. It has often happened that collections made with infinite pains by the proprietor, were sold without mercy or discrimination after his death,
11. Something whispered to the weary Duhobret, that here
would be the market for his picture. It was a long way yet to the house of the picture-dealer, and he made up his mind at once. He worked his way through the crowd, dragged himself up the steps, and, after many inquiries, found the auctioneer. That personage was a busy, important-like man, with a handful of papers; he was inclined to notice some. what roughly the interruption of the lean, sallow hunchback, imploring as were his gesture and language.
12. “What do you call your picture?” at length, said he, carefully looking at it. “It is a view of the Abbey of Newbourg, with its village, and the surrounding landscape,” replied the eager and trembling artist.
13. The auctioneer again scanned it contemptuously, and asked what it was worth. “Oh, that is what you please; whatever it will bring,” answered Duhobret. “ Hem! it is too odd to please, I should think; I can promise you no more than three thalers."
14. Poor Samuel sighed deeply. He had spent on that piece the nights of many months. But he was starving now; and the pitiful sum offered would give bread for a few days. He nodded his head to the auctioneer, and retiring took his seat in a corner.
15. The sale began. After some paintings and engravings had been disposed of, Samuel's was exhibited. Who bids at three thalers ? Who bids?” was the
Duhobret listened eagerly, but none answered.
66 Will it find a purchaser ?" said he, despondingly, to himself. Still there was a dead silence. He dared not look up; for it seemed to him that all the people were laughing at the folly of the artist, who could be insane enough to offer so worthless a piece at a public sale.
16. “What will become of me?'' was his mental inquiry. “That work is certainly my best;" and he ventured to steal another glance. “Does it not seem that the wind actually stirs those boughs and moves those leaves ! How transparent is the water! What life breathes in the animals that quench their thirst at that spring! How that steeple shines ! How beautiful are those clustering trees !” This was the last expiring throb of an artist's vanity. The ominous silence continued, and Samuel, sick at heart, buried his face in his hands.
17. “Twenty-one thalers !" murmured a faint voice, just as the auctioneer was about to knock down the picture. The stupefied painter gave a start of joy. He raised his head and looked to see from whose lips those blessed words had come.
It was the picture-dealer, to whom he had first thought of applying.
18. “Fifty thalers," cried a sonorous voice. This time a tall man in black was the speaker. There was a silence of hushed expectation.
“One hundred thalers," at length thundered the picture-dealer.
19. « Three hundred!” • Five hundred !" 16 One thousand!” Another profound silence, and the crowd pressed around the two opponents, who stood opposite each other
looks. 20. "Two thousand thalers !" cried the picture-dealer, and glanced around him triumphantly, when he saw his adversary hesitate. • Ten thousand !” vociferated the tall man, his face crimson with rage, and his hands clinched convulsively. The dealer grew paler; his frame shook with agitation; he made two or three efforts, and at last cried out "Twenty thousand !"
21. His tall opponent was not to be vanquished. He bid forty thousand. The dealer stopped; the other laughed a low laugh of insolent triumph, and a murmur of admiration was heard in the crowd. It was too much for the dealer; he felt his peace was at stake. “Fifty thousand !” exclaimed he in desperation. It was the tall man's turn to hesitate. Again the whole crowd were breathless. At length, tossing his arms in defiance, he shouted “One hundred thousand!” The crest-fallen picture-dealer withdrew; the tall man victoriously bore away the prize.
22. How was it, meanwhile, with Duhobret, while this exciting scene was going on? He was hardly master of his
He rubbed his eyes repeatedly, and murmured to himself, “ After such a dream, my misery will seem more cruel!" When the contest ceased, he rose up bewildered, and went about asking first one, then another, the price of the picture just sold. It seemed that his apprehension could not at once be enlarged to so vast a conception.
23. The possessor was proceeding homeward, when a de.