beastly old plate ; I think it was the ugliest plate I ever saw. We
were all buying bric-a-brac then, and he thought our transports
nonsense ; he never bought anything except painting materials.
So we were surprised on his announcing that he had finally
come across such a fine piece of pottery that even he could not
resist buying it. Now there was present the wife of another artist
who was easily hypnotised ; so, when he at last unwrapped his
find with great solemnity, she was fully primed and went off into
This joke of his the only one so far as I know must have
lasted him the rest of his life. But here the reader has a right to
say : What on earth has all this to do with little troubles espe-
cially fleas ? Nothing except that he once said he liked fleas;
they tickled him. I told you his sense of humour was peculiar.
In this he differed slightly from an old German who used to
say, " It is n't de piting I don't mind de piling ; it 's de vaulk-
ing de vaulking."
In an old sketch-book, I find the records of a hurried trip I
made to the town of Deruta, once celebrated for its pottery, al-
though of course it was also noted for its share of troubles in the
very troubled Middle Ages. It was only a voyage of exploration,
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and it is a lasting regret that I have never returned to profit by my
discoveries, for I find in a note among my sketches that I consid-
ered I had found the best tranquil river scenery in Italy so far as
my experience went. With my faithful contadino and a little one-
horse trap, I left the Villa Ansidei, and on getting down into the
plain through which flows the Tiber, came across groves of vener-
able oak trees, which would have been so useful to me had I ever
painted a long-contemplated picture of the Oaks of Dodona,
with the brazen shields hung in the branches, clanging in the wind,
and the flocks of pigeons being fed by the wild priestesses watch-
ing them for omens. I was also reminded of Decamps' truffle-
hunter and his grubbing sow. There is something so amusing in
this idea of hunting by the aid of a pig, that I can't help interrupt-
ing one excursion by another and translating what a charming
Italian writer, Dr. Cavara, says on this subject in a little treatise
on "Funghi," or mushrooms. The good Doctor says: "A well-
trained dog, faithful and obedient, is without doubt preferable to
a surly sow. In the first place, you have an active companion for
your excursion and can without trouble explore a wide extent of
territory. And you see him participate with eagerness and intelli-
gence in the hunt all joy when he has made the find, indicating
it with scrapings and strong sniffs in the hole which he digs. You
need not say a word to induce him to let you finish the operation,
for, giving him a piece of bread, no matter how small, he will lie
down beside you, satisfied and proud of his work, gazing at you
with his large eyes all love and intelligence. The sow, aside from
her knowing where to find the truffles, gives you no other pleasure.
Slow of step, a grumbler, often annoying, petulant, constantly
hunting with her long snout where there is nothing for you, and
then difficult to get away when she has found what you want
448 THE DIGRESSIONS OF V.
for you have to be quick indeed to prevent her from appropriating
to herself the long-sought truffle. She certainly is not for this
quest the animal fin-de-siecle"
Here I start up the little horse again, remarking that this way
is the best way to see the country. Your contadino sits by him in
the stable to see that he gets his well-earned oats, thus foiling the
wily hostler, and although a bicycle is good, the little horse, no
matter how tired he is, does not burst his tire and leave you
stranded, as a bicycle might. Following the river we came to a
hamlet with wonderful haystacks against the stormy sky. It was
autumn, and all the colour in the landscape had been brought
out by the rain, as the colour is in a freshly varnished sketch.
And what a relief to see the dry, yellow clay of the Perugian hill-
side replaced by a rich coffee-coloured loam as the soil was turned
over by the plough. And then came an old mill and an old high-
arched bridge, and an ancient church, a very little one, and then
a tavern at the foot of the ascent into the little town of Deruta.
The town is walled by its houses, which look directly down on
the ploughed fields outside. I did not go up to it, but contented
myself with noting its picturesque gateway, promising myself to
return and explore it some other time. I am sorry, for an antiqua-
rian friend has told me it is a painter's town and that I could have
found lodgings, but not for the horse, so perhaps that explains
why I stayed in the tavern below. This friend tells me how, later,
in this same place, where not a scrap of the celebrated ware was
brought to me, he heard of the finding of the sites of former fur-
naces, and, not losing a moment, went there and secured thous-
ands of pieces of broken pottery, the celebrated Deruta ware, and
how guided by the patterns he had managed to piece together
several plates and formed a fine collection of fragments which he
sold for a large sum. Such things are constantly happening yet,
and Waldo Story not only found, on the site of an old furnace,
splendid fragments of Samian ware, but the very moulds them-
selves, from which casts can now be made as perfect as ever. And
such beautiful things that it is an unending wonder to me how an
art can so utterly die out of a nation as that did. This savours of
Polonius, and reminds me that at the tavern was a very old man
who was allowed to earn his daily bread by doing odd jobs about
the place but only his bread. When I saw him, he was sitting
in the ample fireplace turning patiently a spit on which a long
row of birds was being done to a turn. On these I feasted later,
and I also gave the old fellow some wine. It was touching to see
his gratitude. I did not think then, for I was yet young and
strong, but have since thought of a certain old fellow patiently
turning a spit full of beccaficos for others to eat. This making
me sad, I stop.
Egypt. A knowledge of the difference between the cartouches
of Thotmes the Third andSeti the First is not necessary to enable
one to feel the grandeur of Egyptian architecture, nor does the
name of Cleopatra add to the real beauty of Philae. Size is one
of the essentials, but in Egypt it was wisely used and never fell
into the monstrous ; but it is not altogether that rather a certain
inherent grandeur of conception which finally satisfies both the eye
and the mind, belonging to the things themselves and totally inde-
pendent of a knowledge of their history or meanings. It is their
unwritten meaning, their poetic meaning, far more eloquent than
words can express ; and it sometimes seemed to me that this im-
pression would only be dulled or lessened by a greater unveiling
of their mysteries, and that tome Isis unveiled would be Isis dead.
THE DIGRESSIONS OF V.
The Roman Forum was infinitely more poetic buried than it is
disinterred, and the sight of its skeleton is more painful than po-
etic. But to return to the number
of grand Egyptian conceptions, all
different expressions of grandeur.
Take the wide-based pyramid, con-
tracting high up against the blue to
a single atom, and all its sides lit by
the sun. Or the Sphinx, her charm
gradually growing on you like the
dawn she seems waiting for. Then
the two patient Memnon giants, now
mute watchers of the East, far out
on the green plain of growing wheat.
See the delicate tapering of those
needle-like monoliths, the obelisks,
and feel the growing sense of their size and weight. And then
what gateway can possibly form a grander entrance than the
Pylon to the mystery of the temple beyond. And that song in
granite, Philae, its stones still singing as they sink submerged
in the rising tide of utility. How overwhelming the impression of
those four great kings at Aboo Simbel, as they sit against the
mountain-side waiting that rising star whose slender ray will at
its appointed time pierce the rocky and colonnaded corridor, to
rest deep in the mountain on the smiling face of its god. All else
sinks into insignificance compared with this pervading spirit of
grandeur. Hieroglyphs and symbolism run riot, degenerating
into the ridiculous ; the beauty of the goldsmith's work, all
these seem of little worth and the records of past life, stately
ceremonials and enslaved peoples, while helping one to under-
stand, do not constitute the beauty and the grandeur of Egyptian
I will here mark the end of this for me sublime and sus-
tained flight, and not waiting for the critic, lure my Pegasus down
to earth and tie him to my bed-post, by saying that to me at least
there was nothing funny in Egypt nothing to be laughed at.
There the people seemed more happy than the crowd in Broadway
during business hours, in spite of its blessings of liberty and vast
wealth. The song of the Sakieh and the groan of the Shadoof did
indeed recall the plaintive cry of an oppressed people, but that
oppression is now but a tradition. I have seen more poverty and
more unfortunate, distorted cripples in one day in the streets of
Rome than during my whole stay there and women can walk
the streets of Cairo without being insulted. ^Throwing stones is
a poor business, yet one cannot help chucking a pebble now and
then, just for fun ; so I will say that the Arabs at the pyramids
compared favourably in courtesy, dignity, and dress with the
check-suited, Murray-laden camera-snappers, who write about
them, and if laughter there must be, the native has the best of it.
The landscape seemed beautiful, simple, and grand, with a total
absence of that exaggerated colour, that expensive jewellery, with
which the modern landscape in many pages is bedight. A little
amber, a little amethyst, a little pearl, perhaps, but like salt in
a salad, Nature seemed to use these things like a sage. Now the
afterglow to me was a thing beautiful beyond words, so that
a certain writer may be pardoned if to him it was "an exquisite
spasm." At the same time I must confess that the afterglow
which most impressed me was that after a long camel-ride;
then indeed I felt that I could echo his words and that it
454 THE DIGRESSIONS OF V.
was "like an exquisite spasm, a beautiful, almost desperate
effort ending in the quiet darkness of defeat."
I saw Egypt, but did not live there, although I felt that I could
have lived there for ever. The two portions I liked the best were
Nubia and the Delta. I merely read the menu, as it were, of the
first, and had a glimpse of the second, passing through it. And
then the Desert ! But how useless such discriminations when all
was so absorbingly interesting. I felt that my interest and liking,
could I have lived there but a short time, would have turned to
love. And again I felt that it is being spoiled rapidly. Yet there
is always the Desert perhaps the best of all. I wish but
why wish, after the lesson of the futility of human hopes one gets
Here I am reminded (the whole book is but a reminder)
of the old man turning the spit of beccaficos for others to eat,
and I somewhat sadly yield the beccaficos to them. If
this book has an imperfect and abrupt ending, it is because
I have no longer the heart to go on. Part of its imperfection con-
sists in my not giving a notice of each of my friends, as I had in-
tended doing, for I have experienced how painful it is to be " left
out." This I foresee will be a lasting regret. The reason of its
abrupt ending may be gathered from these few words sent me by
an ever-faithful friend together with a few flowers of her rearing:
"There can be no need of comfort for you now with the mem-
ory of that beautiful figure of repose and youth lying where you
had so long looked on suffering."
Ton. riitivg / v 08 ' ' Haf looks pr
1 J low oft ftereaffe)- tli ske v<,x
J |"\ow eft k*t-e(!t^>>- r5vj took for <^S
A List of the Works of V.
SOLD SINCE THE YEAR 1856
(Prices given only up to 1867 as "an example and a warning "
to young painters.)
Sold in The first picture sold by V. was a copy from an en-
New York graving of Wilkie's Blind Fiddler: disposed of in
1856 Cuba at a raffle, for $40
Painted for his old master, Mr. Brinkerhoff, a
picture of a ship, the ship his son went to Cali-
fornia in $10
Number of pictures, 2 $50
FLORENCE: PARIS FIRST TIME
Went to Paris, April 18, 1856, and July 1856.
Then on to Italy.
Sold in Landscape with sheep and old well $20
Florence Canal in Venice 10
from Aug. Portrait of Kate Field 55
1857 to Copy of Rembrandt Head : for some college in the
Dec. 1860 South 40
4 6o APPENDIX
1857 Boy playing a mandolin: bought by an English-
to man in Leghorn 30
1860' Album of studies made at night: sold to Mr.
Total in four years (number of pictures, 6) $245
NEW YORK WARTIME
Sold to one Hatfield:
Sold in The Knight's Signature soldier sealing letter
New York with hilt of his dagger, scribe standing by $25
during the Italy in the Fifteenth Century 20
War, 1861 The Revellers seven figures ; all " how come you
to 1865 so" 20
Jealousy young man reading letter to old fop,
girl spying them (only picture sold to dealer
during the War) 25
To Miss Jerome, New York :
To Charles Siedler:
The Sentinel "Who goes there?" 30
To Mr. Guyer:
Portrait of a Lady 50
Plaster cast of Endymion 50
Plaster cast of Arab Slave 30
To Martin Brimmer, Boston:
The Questioner of the Sphinx (may be considered
a large sketch, more carefully studied after-
The Fisherman and the Genii 250
The Roc's Egg 200
THE MUSE OF AMERICAN HISTORY
(Design in plaster for a monument)
1861 To Miss Hunt, W. Hunt's sister:
to The Monk's Walk (small, long picture ; the up-
1865 right of same subject lost in Madison Square
To Mrs. Milton Sanford, New York:
View near Florence, Bed of the Mugnone Torrent:
The Autumn Leaf(?)
Monk(?) 3 pictures 200
To Tom Appleton, Boston:
Lair of the Sea-Serpent 300
Monk's Head 37
To George W. Long, Boston:
Children gathering Flowers 75
To Mr. Hitchcock, Boston:
Plaster cast of Endymion
The Revellers variation 40
Jealousy variation 80
1865 To Mr. George Snell, Boston:
Monk, writing 75
To Mr. Ritter:
Tubs for washing Sea-weed 100
To Mr. Osgood, Boston:
Man packing Sea-weed Cohasset 100
Tubs for washing Sea-weed 100
To G. Whitney, New York:
The Sentinel variation 200
1865 To Jeremiah Curtis, New York:
The Lost Mind 575
To Mr. Bigelow, New York:
Little Girl, reading(?) 50
Painting Arab Slave 250
To Samuel Allen, Boston:
Sketch Geese 1 50
PARIS SECOND TIME
Leave for Paris second time, December 8, 1865. My
stay in Paris the second time included a trip to Eng-
land, and a stay in Brittany.
1866 To 0. D. Ashley:
No. 2 of the Fable of the Miller and his Son 30x5
To Barry and Co.:
Girl with Lute (sold afterward in Boston for $750) 200
Coast on Windy Day 150
Total sales in 1866 (3 pictures) 650
(N. B. On this became engaged. Men were brave
in those days because the girls were fair.)
1867 Here commences the financial fun. No barometer
could register the ups and downs, but in general the
financial barometer was set fair more properly
"from fair to middling."
Left Paris December 1st. Arrived in Rome Janu-
ary 4, 1867.
1867 To Dr. Stearns:
Small picture of woman with strange head-dress
going upstairs, looking down on youth; red sun-
set very romantic must have been replica
of picture painted in Florence and given to
To A. B. Stone:
Hermit of the Desert
To Jeremiah Curtis:
Etruscan Girl with Turtle
Peasant Girl, spinning
To Mrs. E. B. Finch:
Street Scene Figure at Well
Cypresses at San Miniato
To G. W. Long, Boston:
To Mrs. Bullard, New York:
Pictures sold by Doll in Boston:
A Lonely Spring
The Gloomy Path
Girl feeding Chickens
Music six figures
Eleven pictures: in all (dealer's commission not de-
4 66 APPENDIX
1867 Sold by Doll subsequently:
To J. F. Kensett:
The End of a Misspent Life (small picture; no
note of price)
To Ticknor and Fields:
Four drawings, "Enoch Arden" 150
I must not forget, indeed cannot forget, how grati-
fied I was by the sale of the latter picture to Kensett,
the landscape painter. I did not, but the public christ-
ened it "Old Mortality."
No account of drawings on wood, comic valentines,
drawings made for calisthenic man, and in graphotype,
and sketches and drawings given away, a perni-
Total receipts in America for four years (59 pictures) 5652
In gold 2826
I said I would earn my living and I did. I have given
these figures to show the financial beginning of a life.
Owing to my archaeological researches, the reader will
have obtained a better idea of the dates in that life than
I can retain myself.
1868 To Mrs. Enoch Bullard (daughter of Mrs. J. Curtis) :
Small picture, five figures, Music Party.
To Mr. W. W. Herriman:
To Rinehart (the sculptor) :
Music Party (left by him to Mr. Herriman).
To William Hazeltine:
Spanish Flag against dark sky.
To Mr. Martin Brimmer:
The Roc's Egg.
Must be some mistake, as he is just down for one Roc's
Egg (a big one, although the picture was small) in sale in Bos-
ton; a for me fortunate fondness for eggs.
To Charles Gordon:
Small head and fancy frame.
The Sea Princess.
Doll of Boston sold a small picture of Geese. What more
geese? He has already been pricked for that but so it is
put down. After all what is one picture more or less,
when so many have been painted as you shall see.
SALES BY DOLL.
1869 To Mrs. Huntington Walcott :
Boccaccio small picture; three figures in garden. A good
4 68 APPENDIX
1869 By the way, from Boston I must have extended my travels,
for I find I was married to Caroline Beach Rosekrans, July
13, at Glens Falls, N. Y. Also, as these are accounts, I find
we received moneys from our respective fathers. I remember
mine wanted to give much silverware, perhaps thinking thus
to keep it in the family, but I advised cash, which was accord-
ingly substituted. Poor father little did he know! Keep
money in this family! much.
SALES IN BOSTON resumed, BY DOLL, understood.
To Mrs. Howland G. Shaw:
A Gleam of Sunlight.
Tall upright Study from Nature painted when I was with
To Mrs. Governor Andrew:
To G. W. Long:
To Miss Georgiana Lowell:
Commission No. 3 of Fable of the Aliller and his Son.
To David Gray :
Commission for small Cumaean Sibyl.
To G. W. Long:
Head of Abel.
(You will see how G. W. and others stuck by me.)
To Samuel Allen:
Landscape San Remo.
To Mrs. Milton Sanford (Kate Field's aunt) :
Roc's Egg still prolific.
1869 To George Yewell (painter}.
Sketch. From price must have been small, but then the
compliment; fellow artist, you know.
Thus endeth the lesson of 1869, and Rome commences
again, - - I, this time, a married man; also commences with
my giving lessons to a Mr. Page and a Miss Peabody. Also
found that as a teacher I was no good, although as a picture-
doctor, called in to give advice in cases of weak and ailing
pictures, my services have been found invaluable.
1870 To Mrs. William G. Heath:
Soul of the Sunflower (head).
This was a commission and I was to get $300; but as I
painted it in one sitting, I told her I could not think of asking
such a price, without more work on it. She would not allow
me to touch it again and gave me $40x3, and of such is the
kingdom of heaven. This was in April, estimable month.
To D. M. Armstrong (fellow artist, good friend}.
Lessons and sketch.
To Charles Gordon:
Large sketch of Alchemist.
To I. 0. Eaton:
Composition (landscape near Perugia).
To H. Fargo, Buffalo, N. .:
1871 To D. M. Armstrong:
(You see, my friend was still undeterred, although an
To Miss Bangs:
To Charles Howe:
Girl with Casket.
1871 To D. N. Barney:
Glimpse of the Sea, Bordighera.
These Bordighera things were painted from sketches made
on a trip down to Italy from Paris, or three years afterwards,
on our honeymoon.
To Miss Ellen Frothingham:
To W. S. Gurnee:
The Dance, Fifteenth Century.
This being an important commission for me in those days,
the payment was in three instalments, the last one in 1872,
thus helping along.
To Edmund A. Ward:
The Dancing Girl.
To Miss Bangs:
Torre dei Schiavi (landscape).
To Captain R. S. Oliver, Albany:
"Break, Break, Break," may have been only waves, or
a head seen in clouds over the sea ?
To F. L. Higginson, Boston:
The Dead Abel.
To E. A. Ward:
Archway and Sea.
To Miss Bell Barney (Mrs. J. Gurnee') :
Six pencil drawings.
In this year also received small legacy from my brother,
he having died at San Francisco on his way home from Japan.
Also three trunks full of beautiful Japanese objects.
47 2 APPENDIX
1872 To W. W. Herriman:
To R, S. Oliver:
. I find that about this time I commenced selling photo-
graphs of my work, singly or in sets. Afterwards I sold also
many retouched with colour and gold, on the principle
that "mony a mickle makes a muckle." (I am doubtful about
this quotation, for I have found that no one but a Scot or
Scotchman can ever get anything right in Scot or Scotch.
I am doubtful about last also.)
To F. W. Guiteau, Irvington, New York:
Bordighera, storm effect (small).
To Henry A. Dike, New York :
Large Bordighera landscape.
To Miss E. S. S. Clark, Boston :
To Miss L. Shaw, Boston :
Small landscape, Arch and Sea.
To Mrs. George Beebe, Boston:
Small Ideal Head.
To Mrs. Fannie L. Fiske, Boston :
To F. W. Guiteau:
Small Bordighera landscape.
(It is astonishing how they return to the charge these
friends of mine.)
1872 To Charles Fairchild, Boston :
N. B. The word small prefixed or added to the title of a
picture is getting on my nerves; I am sure this will lead to
a Digression sooner or later.
To S 1 . M. Colman (brother artist) :
Small Ideal Head.
(N. B. Received $900 awarded for land taken for streets
out of the old place in Brooklyn.
1873 To Mrs. Warren, Boston:
Small Ideal Head.
To Ada A. Draper:
To Mrs. Wyckoff:
Small Ideal Head.
To W. W. Herriman:
Greek Actor's Daughter (charcoal drawing).
1874 To William Dorsheimer:
To Frederic Hall, London:
Tower and Lake Trasimeno.
To C. E. Detzuold:
Roman Girl (head).
To W. Hooper, Cincinnati:
Landscape with Figures.
1874 To W. A. Brown, New York:
To J. R. Lowell, Cambridge:
Burghers and Water Nymphs.
To Governor E. D. Morgan:
Girl at Shrine.
1875 To Mrs. J. W. Deforest :
N. B. I must say here that many of my pictures were sold
on the instalment plan, and that the payments coming in
from time to time were of course always welcome, and also
that this was a good arrangement for me. They tell of an
English soldier who begged the corporal to take charge of a
sixpence of his, for otherwise he would only "lavish it"; our
"lavishing" was of the most modest kind, yet I will confess
that I did manage to buy "oggetti" occasionally, and it is
maddening to think now of the bric-a-brac that could have
been bought at that time, things that would now be quite
a fortune. But what can one do with a sixpence?
To G. M. Nickerson, Chicago:
Storm in Umbria.
To Henry Sampson:
Moths and Blossoms.
Greek Actor's Daughter (painting).
To J. F. Morgan:
Sorceress (charcoal drawing).
To General Lucius Fairchild:
The Long Road (small).
1876 This year Boston, ever faithful, again to the front.
To Mrs. David Sears, Boston:
The Sorceress a little copy.