to me such an undertaking; expressing, however, my fears that I was not competent to the task, and concluding by saying what a pity it was that Crome was dead. "Crome," said the little man, "Crome; yes, he was a clever man, a very clever man in his way; he was good at painting landscapes and farm-houses, but he would not do in the present instance were he alive. He had no conception of the heroic, sir. We want some person capable of representing our mayor striding under the Norman arch out of the cathedral." At the mention of the heroic an idea came at once into my head. "Oh," said I, "if you are in quest of the heroic, I am glad that you came to me; don’t mistake me," I continued, "I do not mean to say that I could do justice to your subject, though I am fond of the heroic; but I can introduce you to a great master of the heroic, fully competent to do justice to your mayor. Not to me, therefore, be the painting of the picture given, but to a friend of mine, the great master of the heroic, to the best, the strongest, [greek text which cannot be reproduced]" I added, for, being amongst orators, I thought a word of Greek would tell.’

‘Well,’ said I, ‘and what did the orators say?’

‘They gazed dubiously at me and at one another,’ said my brother; ‘at last the watchmaker asked me who this Mr. Christo was; adding, that he had never heard of such a person; that, from my recommendation of him, he had no doubt that he was a very clever man; but that they should like to know something more about him before giving the commission to him. That he had heard of Christie the great auctioneer, who was considered to be an excellent judge of pictures; but he supposed that I scarcely - Whereupon, interrupting the watchmaker, I told him that I alluded neither to Christo nor to Christie; but to the painter of Lazarus rising from the grave, a painter under whom I had myself studied during some months that I had spent in London, and to whom I was indebted for much connected with the heroic.

‘"I have heard of him," said the watchmaker, "and his paintings too; but I am afraid that he is not exactly the gentleman by whom our mayor would wish to be painted. I have heard say that he is not a very good friend to Church and State. Come, young man," he added, "it appears to me that you are too modest; I like your style of painting, so do we all, and - why should I mince the matter? - the money is to be collected in the town, why should it go into a stranger’s pocket, and be spent in London?"

‘Thereupon I made them a speech, in which I said that art had nothing to do with Church and State, at least with English Church and State, which had never encouraged it; and that, though Church and State were doubtless very fine things, a man might be a very good artist who cared not a straw for either. I then made use of some more Greek words, and told them how painting was one of the Nine Muses, and one of the most independent creatures alive, inspiring whom she pleased, and asking leave of nobody; that I should be quite unworthy of the favours of the Muse if, on the present occasion, I did not recommend them a man whom I considered to be a much greater master of the heroic than myself; and that, with regard to the money being spent in the city, I had no doubt that they would not weigh for a moment such a consideration against the chance of getting a true heroic picture for the city. I never talked so well in my life, and said so many flattering things to the hunchback and his friends, that at last they said that I should have my own way; and that if I pleased to go up to London, and bring down the painter of Lazarus to paint the mayor, I might; so they then bade me farewell, and I have come up to London.’

‘To put a hundred pounds into the hands of - ‘

‘A better man than myself,’ said my brother, ‘of course.’

‘And have you come up at your own expense?’

‘Yes,’ said my brother, ‘I have come up at my own expense.’

I made no answer, but looked in my brother’s face. We then returned to the former subjects of conversation, talking of the dead, my mother, and the dog.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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