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which, as I looked, seemed to contort and shake, and
at times to hide the legend."

"What did it mean?" said Clayborne.

"Was it," I returned, "advice to confess to the
waters ? That were safe indeed."

"Or," said St. Clair, "was it a mere pretty, fancy-
born appeal to them to tell us their secrets?"

"Ah, if they but would!" murmured Vincent. "I
am for St. Glair's idea of it. When you make a foun-
tain, master sculptor, set around it that verse of the
19th Psalm. It is not there applied to the waters, but,
like all high poetic thought, is capable of many appli-
cative uses. I quote the Prayer-book version. It is,
I think, 'There is neither speech nor language; but
their voices are heard among them.' "



68 CHARACTERISTICS.

"That would be charming," said St. Clair.

Clayborne picked up his unwieldy length, and, as
Mrs. Vincent liked to say, added on his legs last, and,
having put himself together, went to a corner, whence
he took two or three books in turn, and while we went
on with our chat looked them over. Presently he
came toward us, for we had dropped at last into cane
easy-chairs, and were all smoking together near the
window. "Vincent is apt to get his quotations incor-
rect," he said. "The words apply, of course, to the
verse before, 'One day telleth another; and one night
certifieth another,' and also to the preceding verse.
I should hesitate to use it as Vincent suggests."

"But I should not," cried St. Clair.

"King James's Bible," Clayborne went on, "says,
' There is no speech nor language where their voice is
not heard.' And here, this will interest you. My old
friend, Leeser's translation for use among Hebrews,
has it, 'There is no speech ; there are no words ; their
voice is not heard: but their melody extendeth
through all the earth, and to the end of the world
their work/ and so on. For force, beauty, and clear-
ness this is better than our version."

"Let me look at it," said Vincent

"This is the octavo," said Clayborne; "the quarto
edition is full of notes, and more interesting."

"I see," returned Vincent, as he glanced over the
book. "The renderings of the poetic forms of
Deborah's grand ballad-poem are admirable. I will
borrow it, Clayborne."

"I have had it bound in two volumes," returned
the scholar. " I dislike thick books, fat books, books



CHARACTERISTICS. 69

which do not lend themselves to the hospitality of the
hand. I hate to lay a book open on the table and see
it shut itself up. If a man lives with books, he gets
sensitive about their dress and their manners."

"How poetical he is !" said St. Clair, who was apt
to have a long memory for small annoyances.

"Is that your idea of poetry ?" growled our host.
"Take both volumes, V." he had a fashion of call-
ing us by the initial letter of our names, "both,
please. And don't forget to return them. I hate to
lose books; but to lose one volume and to have the
other as a perpetual reminder of the baseness of man-
kind is unendurable."

"Do you remember," said I, "S ; s keeping one

of your volumes of 'Cardan/ two years ago, and your
sending him the rest with a note to the effect that if
he would not return volume one, it were better that
the family were kept together?"

"Oh, I do, indeed. And then he sent them all back.
I knew he would, but the volume he had kept so long
was horribly abused. Actually the man had made
penciled comments on the margins."

"That does seem incredible," I said.

As to Vincent, he smiled in his quiet way when re'
quested to be sure to return the books.

"What did a man like S want with the book?"

said St. Clair. "I know of Jerome Cardan in a dim
sort of way. He was a doctor, I think."

"Oh, but he was a master of algebra too," said I,

"and S is a mathematician. And a banker, too,

by all that is strange. Mathematics is his hobby. He
is a common fellow, coarse of grain, strong of head.



70 CHARACTERISTICS.

A hard business man, and horribly exact in his deal-
ings j full of prejudices ; full even to hostility for
those who differ with him, but very generous. I
know him well."

" I should like to know your full estimate of us,"
cried Vincent, with a laugh. " I can understand the
perfect compatibility of generosity with exactness,
even cruel exactness, in business. It is not a rare
type."

"And to me," said St. Clair, "it is incomprehensible."

"I can at least illustrate it," I returned. "On one
occasion I knew him to ruin a man by insisting on the
return of money lent. He declined to wait, took the
last cent of what was due, and a month later lent the
penniless man a really large sum on easy terms to
start him in business again."

"I know of a case quite as illustrative," said Vin-
cent. "A friend of mine, a physician, did a rich man-
ufacturer a vast service in the way of his profession.
When the obliged man asked for his account, he
requested a deduction for prompt payment, and this
being declined, grumbled over the amount. The doc-
tor was immovable. 'You are at liberty,' he said, 'to
pay nothing or all.' 'But this is business,' answered
the other ; 'why not discuss it like any other business ?'
'I am not a business man,' said my friend; 'I belong
to a profession. I sell that which no man can weigh
or measure.' Finally the bill was paid, and then the
manufacturer, suddenly changing his tone, said, 'Well,
now that the business is completed, I should like you
to accept this as a slight proof of our gratitude.' It
was a check for thrice the amount of the debt. The



CHARACTERISTICS. 71

doctor said, 'No ; I never allow a man to overpay me.'
The next day the check was sent to a hospital in which
the physician was interested."

"I like that definition of a profession," said Clay-
borne. "I think I can guess who the doctor was."

Vincent looked up with a faint smile.

"The story is true," I said. "How difficult it is for
us to comprehend these men who are born and bred
in a commercial atmosphere. The type of mere busi-
ness men, devoid of this man's generosity, is a more
unpleasant one.''

"Oh, I know them," cried Vincent, "and I see them,
too, as you do not, on the business side. They have
set ideas and utter absence of tastes or pursuits outside
of the game of money-making. I mean that they have
in life no other game. They do not read, or shoot, or
fish, or even ride. They have no liking for books, or
art, or music. Travel soon bores them, and brings no
new resources."

"The nemesis comes with loss of health," said I, "or
with some threat of incapacity to work. Then the
doctor says, travel, and either the man does not care
for that, or will not obey, or goes like a bird in its
flight from land to land, and comes back to his desk
unutterably weary. It is useless to say, shoot, fish,
ride. He has but one taste in life, and habit has made
all else impossible."

"To do him justice, it is not always the money but
the game he loves," remarked Vincent. "I think the
gospel of play needs to be preached in this land of
ours."

"The moral is," said Clayborne, "have a hobby."
6



72 CHARACTEEISTICS.

"And learn to ride it early," said Vincent, rising.
"I must go." And he left us.

For a few minutes we smoked in silence. Then
Clayborne said, "V. has left his books."

"Yes," I returned; "when he put them on the table
I saw, as he pushed them aside, that he would not
take them."

"Why?"

"You asked him to be sure to return them."

"I did. What then ? What of that ?"

"He did not like it. He is as sensitive as a girl, and
as reserved as a man can be."

"And I annoyed him. I will send him the quarto
to-morrow, and ask him to keep it. How queer for a
man of his force."

"His sensitiveness is a part of his force. He sees
and feels as by instinct all the shades of difference in
men's ways and conduct. His reserve hides the effect
on himself. He is master of his moods, however they
are caused. Socially, as now, he may act on his too
ready sense of the meaning of a word or a phrase
lightly dropped ; but even this is rare, and in his pro-
fession his fineness of perception never does him harm
or injures his value."

" I see," returned Clayborne, thoughtfully. " Go on ;
it interests me, well as we know him."

"I could wish that he had the art to appear unre-
served," I said. "Reserve is disliked by men in gen-
eral. Familiarities, even from friends, I fancy Vincent
finds it hard to bear."

"And yet, what friend can compare to him?" said
St. Clair, who was like a child with those he loved.



CHAEACTERISTICS. 73

"He is manly, brave, and generous as few men are.
And what I like, too, is a slight old-fashioned quaint-
ness about him quite undefinable."

"His ears should burn by this time," said I. "And
where, indeed, as he would say, did that familiar phrase
arise?"

"Do one's ears burn at praise?" said Clayborne.

"Praise me a little, and try," said St. Clair. "Come,
North, it is time we went home. I wanted to go back
to that fountain, but it is too late."

"I meant," said I, "to add a word to what you said
of Vincent's manners. It is the manner of his man-
ners which makes him so charming. Many men have
good manners ; few men have manner."

" Too fine for me, that," cried Clayborne. "What is
manner?"

"The grain of the wood under the polish," returned
St. Clair.

"The modification which character gives to man-
ners," said I.

"Shade of Chesterfield, help me!" laughed Clay-
borne. " Get ye gone, both of you, or I shall go mad."




VI



was some weeks before we were all
together again. St. Clair had asked
us to come to see certain clay models
he had been at work upon, and thus
it chanced one night that we met at
his studio. This was a long building
of brick, and only a story high. The rooms were sepa-
rated only by heavy curtains, and the roof was broken
by skylights. The place was ablaze with gas-jets as I
entered the waiting-room, which was full of bas-reliefs,
statuettes, and pictures the gifts of artist friends.
St. Clair was walking to and fro.

"A penny for your thoughts," I said, as I greeted
him.

" They are worth more. I was thinking how Michel-
angelo would have enjoyed this good pipe of tobacco.
As to Shakspere, he must have smoked. I should like
to know who of the poets smoked. Lamb alone has
sung of it. Lowell loved a pipe : so does Tennyson ;
but neither ever sang its praise."

" Certainly you are wrong as to Lowell," I said. " I
recall a charming passage of his about the solace of
the pipe. It is an immense help to good talk, makes
decent pauses, gives time to reflect, and what a re-
source it is when a good solidly constructed bore has
you in his coils."



CHAEACTEEISTICS. 75

" You speak feelingly. When shall you write that
little essay about bores we talked of ? "

" Oh, who can say ? When I shall have written my
natural history of fools. I began it once, but was
checked at the outset by the need to define a bore. It
is more mysterious than it seems. We are all bores at
times. I am, I know. I am acquainted with two very
able and original thinkers who never talk very long,
and never pay long visits, but who nevertheless inde-
scribably bore me. I made out at last, as regards one,
that it was something in the tone of his voice ; and as
to the other, that it was the excessive slowness of his
talk."

" The man who bores one the worst," said St. Clair,
"the through-and-through bore, is the man who as-
sumes the utter absence of capacity on your part to
imagine or to know what is easily imagined or known.
He begins with the Ark, or the Fall of Man, when he is
about to relate how he slipped on an orange-peeling."

" I know," said I. " We have a style of professional
bore we call a case-doctor, who is always relating to
you cases just in that fashion. As to the fool business,
that is simpler. There is the foolish fool, the fool who
is a good fellow, the ass fool, and the fool finely en-
dowed with obstinacy the mule fool, and the middle-
aged woman fool. They are all first cousins of the
bores."

"And which am I?" cried Vincent, as he entered
with Clayborne.

" The reverse of all folly," I cried.

"IT By George ! If you had my intimate acquaint-
ance with Fred Vincent you would hardly say so."



76 CHAEACTERISTICS.

" Envy no man," said Clayborne, " who is not some-
times a fool. The thing is to know it. Your true fool
never does. Sickness, my dear Owen, must present
you with some interesting varieties of the genus fool."

" Yes," I returned ; " the hysterical fool is of all the
worst. How about the statues, St. Clair ?"

" Come in. They are only huge sketches as yet."

"We followed him into the middle room, where, amid
plaster legs, arms, torsos, and medallions, were three
tall formless things draped in wet gray cloths. About
them lay chisels, molding-tools, buckets, and troughs
of damp clay.

" Do you recall," said St. Clair to me, " that a year
ago you were here when I was modeling my Venus ? "

" Perfectly."

" You inquired of me how the female form would
look in a masculine attitude like that of the gladiator

striking with the cestus. I asked Miss S , the

model, to take the attitude. I was struck with its
beauty, and a month ago I made use of it, or began
to. It is a Roman lady, in the days of the decadence,
boxing. You know it became the strange fashion to
imitate the gladiators. Look ! " And at this he cast
off the wet covering.

A young, nude, and beautiful woman was striking
exactly as does the trained boxer. The face, somewhat
large of feature, was proud, sensual, and cruel. The
muscles were rather too strongly marked for beauty,
but the long, sinuous curves from shoulder to foot were
of marvelous vigor.

" It has its moral," said Vincent, gravely.

"Yes," returned the sculptor; "I hope so."



CHAEACTEKISTICS. 77

Then we were silent a moment, and he went on.

" It had a curious effect on my model. Miss S is

a perfectly good girl, like many of our models, and
queerly full of the art sayings and criticisms of a dozen
studios. She said she did not like it, and I really think
was angry, but I could get nothing more out of her."

" One might guess why she disliked it," said Vin-
cent. "It is a terrible conception. Let us see the
other. I am like your model, I hate it."

" And I may in a week," returned St. Clair, as he
removed a second cloth, and looked around at us,
smiling.

Four armed Greeks bore on their shoulders a shield
on which lay, passive in death, the body of a young
man slain in battle. The beardless face, still in the
relaxation of death, rested on the edge of the shield.
The features wore the expressionless calm of eternal
rest from strife. I remarked on the success of the
rendering of this difficult expression, or simple lack of
expression, which I had seen on so many battle-fields.
It is not lasting, and it is not common.

" But," said Vincent, " are not men, killed with the
sword, apt to show pain in the lines of the face after
death?"

"Really," I said, "so few men are killed with the
/ sword or bayonet in modern warfare that it is rather
hard to answer you. For the artist this is of little mo-
ment. Men killed instantly by bullets sometimes pre-
serve for a time precisely the expression of the moment,
and no doubt you have all seen those photographs of
/ the dead at Gettysburg, where some of them remain
in exactly the postures of their last act."



78 CHARACTERISTICS.

" No," said Clayborne. " How strange ! "

" It appears," I continued, " to 'be a sudden, indeed,
an almost instantaneous, rigor mortis. Usually the dead
grow rigid after some hours. Previous fatigue is said
to have to do with this early and abrupt rigidity. The
effect is ghastly. One of our greatest generals * told
me that at a spring in Georgia he halted to water his
horse, and called to a man kneeling with his head at
the water-level to move and make way for him. As
he did not stir, an aide dismounted and spoke to him.
He still remained motionless, and it was then seen
that while in the act of kneeling to drink a bullet had
crashed through his brain, and he had stayed, as if of
stone, in the attitude in which the deadly messenger
of fate found him."

" I recall your having mentioned this before," said
Clayborne. "You spoke then of an essay upon the
subject."

"Yes; by Surgeon John H. Brinton a most cu-
rious record."

" I once chanced," said Clayborne, " to mention it to
General Grant. He said that it could not be true, as
he had seen numberless battle-fields, but had never
noticed a single instance of a man shot retaining his
posture. I replied that General Sheridan had told me
he had many times seen it, and spoke of Brinton's pa-
per. General Grant replied at once that what these
two men said they had noticed must be correct, but
that it was strange that he himself should never have
had his attention called to what was so singular a
fact."

* Sherman.



CHAEACTEEISTICS. 79

" The singularity," I replied, " is indeed in his failure
to see what must have been before him many times.
He must have been lacking in the power of minute
observation, or rather in that automatic capacity to
note details amidst such scenes, which some possess."

" He might," said Vincent, " have been too profoundly
absorbed by the greater problems with which he had
to deal."

" No ; it was want of the naturalist's habit of observ-
ing without effort of attention, and in part defect of
interest in the unusual. He saw, but was not im-
pressed, and so took away no remembrance of what
impressed others. Certainly it was not the mere ab-
sorption in greater matters. He was almost abnor-
mally unimpressible. Neither sudden deaths of masses
of men, nor sudden reverses, disturbed his mind. I
have known him to discuss breeds of horses with in-
terest while a battle was going on."

As I talked, and after I ceased, we moved about the
group for a while in silence. Then presently Vincent
said, " The charm of the thing is in the bearers of the
dead. It is not a calamity for them. The young hero
goes home on his shield from victorious strife, dead
with honor. The contrast of his set, still face with the
look of triumph in their features is really a noble suc-
cess in art, and there is, too, some remnant of the pas-
sion and wrath of fight still suggested in the lower
facial lines of the living bearers. I congratulate you,
St. Glair 5 it is a poem in clay. The epitaph of the dead
man is in their faces."

St. Clair was delighted. " You have seized my mean-
ing precisely," he said. " My chief trouble was in the



80 CHARACTERISTICS.

management of the arm which hangs over the shield.
It does not yet satisfy me, and to finish it in marble
will be difficult."

" Had you good models ? " I said. " The four men
are remarkably individualized, both as to form and ex-
pression. One is much younger than the others, and
his face is distinctly more sad."

" Might be a brother of the dead man," said Vincent.

"Precisely," returned St. Clair. "What charming
critics you fellows are ! As to models, I was fairly
well off j I had two brothers of Miss S ."

"The shield is not correct as to form," said Clay-
borne.

" That may be true," returned the sculptor.

" Nothing seems to me more strange," I said, " than
the life of a female model. And yet great ladies have
been willing to be models."

" What you say," returned St. Clair, " recalls a rather
singular story, which came to my knowledge in Italy
years ago. Come into the outer room ; it is less warm
there, and we can talk at ease. The third figure is un-
finished, and does not please me. It is after Brown-
ing's poem of ' Saul.' No ; I won't show it, at least not
to-night. Come."

We followed him into the outer room, and settled
ourselves on lounges or easy-chairs, pipe in hand.

" And now for the story," said I.

"!T was in Florence," he said, "years ago. The

sculptor N , at present a man of world-wide fame,

was just rising into notice. He was desperately poor,
proud as only an impoverished noble can be, and as



CHAKACTEKIBTICS. 81

handsome as one of my young Greeks. His absorption
in his art was something past belief. He lived in it,
and for it, and neither man nor woman seemed to at-
tract him save in their relation to his work. I remem-
ber once, after an evening at the theater, being amused
to discover that he did not know what opera had been
sung, his attention having been entirely captured by
the lines of the neck of a woman in a box near by.

" To cut a long story short, the young widow of an
old Neapolitan prince fell madly in love with him, and,
to my surprise, I learned that he was to marry her. He
was rather cool about it when I congratulated him,
and so the affair ran on for some months, the woman
evidently much the more interested of the two.

" One night, at an open-air concert, he was talking
to me excitedly of his new statue a vestal virgin, a
partly draped figure. I had seen his sketches, and an-
ticipated a triumph of original work in its completion.
Certainly the idea was novel. The vestal was asleep
in her chair beside the dying altar-fire she had been set
to guard. A tender smile, perhaps the dream-gift of
rorbidden love, was on her face a charming concep-
tion. He told me he had had several models, but that
all lacked the dignity and refinement of a Roman pa-
trician. He foresaw failure, and wailed in an outspoken
Italian way. What was the world to him? What
was anything, with this fate before him, to know he
might realize his vision of chastity and loveliness, and
to find it eluding him ? There were models in Rome,
but he had no means to seek or bring them. I offered
help as delicately as I could, and he resented it almost
as an insult.



82 CHARACTERISTICS.

"'Do you suppose/ said he, 'the Princess N

would not help me if I asked her ? I would die first !
Money ! I wish she had none.'

" ' Hush ! ' I said ; ' some one will overhear you. You
have so much in life your art, your growing fame, a
noble woman, love, youth.'

" ' And what are these ? ' he cried, bitterly. ' What
is anything to me ? What is youth or fame ? What
is she compared to my art? Do you suppose any
woman's love can compensate me for what I am losing ?
These dreams must be born into marble or they be-
come as wind-torn mists, and fade away. I have had
this bitterness before, and love! you talk to me of
love ! '

"'Nonsense,' I said; 'you cannot love as a man
should love as that woman is worthy to be loved.'

" He started up.

" 'Love her as I love my art? Not I. The mortal
before the enduring? Not I.'

" He was too passionately moved to hear the quick
rustle of garments behind us. But, turning my head,
I saw, or thought I saw, the Princess retreating swiftly.
A week later I met him radiant and joyous. As he
took a seat beside me at a cafe, he cried :

" ' I have it ! The clay is nearly done. Count R

has bought it, and I am to put it into marble at once.'

< And the model?' I said.

" 'Ah, thereby hangs a tale, as you English say. The
day after I saw you the Princess left Florence. She
returns next week. It is strange how she disturbs my
use of the power which I know is in me. I felt free
once more. You will think that horrible ; it is true.



CHARACTERISTICS. 83

Well, the day I bade her good-by I found a peasant
woman waiting in my studio. She was, to my amuse-
ment, masked, and carried a little slate, like Ursula,
the dumb model in Rome. On the slate was written :
" I am a modeL My brothers insist that my face shall
not be seen. I can come daily for a week." I said :
" Well, here is the statue in the rough. Go back of
the curtain; take this veil stuff; arrange yourself;
and we will see." Presently she came in, still masked
and took instantly the pose of my vestal. I was struck
as dumb as she. An arm and shoulder are bare ; the
left arm, gathering the drapery, lies across the waist ;
the limbs are partly draped; the feet are in little
sandals I had had made. Anything more gracious,
more virginal, man never saw. I asked no questions,
but went on as if I were inspired. No model I can
recall so caught the spirit of the thing. If the ghost
of some patrician girl of Rome's noblest had come to
help me, it could not have been more wonderful It
was not a model ; it was a vestal. The seventh day
she did not appear, and that is the queerest of all, be-
cause I had agreed to pay her then, and her terms were
unusually moderate. However, it is done, or nearly
done ; I can do without her but '

" 'But what r

" ' Oh, I should have liked to have seen her again.
That is all.'

" ' And/ I said, ' when does Princess N return ? '

" ' To-morrow. I shall be glad to see her. My mind


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