The Day Resurgent
I can see the artist bite the end of his pencil and frown when it comes to drawing his Easter picture; for his legitimate pictorial conceptions of figures pertinent to the festival are but four in number.
First comes Easter, pagan goddess of spring. Here his fancy may have free play. A beautiful maiden with decorative hair and the proper number of toes will fill the bill. Miss Clarice St. Vavasour, the well- known model, will pose for it in the Lethergogallagher, or whatever it was that Trilby called it.
Secondthe melancholy lady with upturned eyes in a framework of lilies. This is magazine-covery, but reliable.
ThirdMiss Manhattan in the Fifth Avenue Easter Sunday parade.
FourthMaggie Murphy with a new red feather in her old straw hat, happy and self-conscious, in the Grand Street turnout.
Of course, the rabbits do not count. Nor the Easter eggs, since the higher criticism has hard-boiled them.
The limited field of its pictorial possibilities proves that Easter, of all our festival days, is the most vague and shifting in our conception. It belongs to all religions, although the pagans invented it. Going back still further to the first spring, we can see Eve choosing with pride a new green leaf from the tree ficus carica.
Now, the object of this critical and learned preamble is to set forth the theorem that Easter is neither a date, a season, a festival, a holiday nor an occasion. What it is you shall find out if you follow in the footsteps of Danny McCree.
Easter Sunday dawned as it should, bright and early in its place on the calendar between Saturday and Monday. At 5.24 the sun rose, and at 10.30 Danny followed its example. He went into the kitchen and washed his face at the sink. His mother was frying bacon. She looked at his hard, smooth, knowing countenance as he juggled with the round cake of soap, and thought of his father when she first saw him stopping a hot grounder between second and third twenty-two years before on a vacant lot in Harlem, where the La Paloma apartment-house now stands. In the front room of the flat Dannys father sat by an open window smoking his pipe, with his dishevelled grey hair tossed about by the breeze. He still clung to his pipe, although his sight had been taken from him two years before by a precocious blast of giant powder that went off without permission. Very few blind men care for smoking, for the reason that they cannot see the smoke. Now, could you enjoy having the news read to you from an evening newspaper unless you could see the colours of the headlines?
Tis Easter Day, said Mrs. McCree.
Scramble mine, said Danny.
After breakfast he dressed himself in the Sabbath morning costume of the Canal Street importing house dray chauffeurfrock-coat, striped trousers, patent leathers, gilded trace chain across front of vest, and wing collar, rolled-brim derby and butterfly bow from Schonsteins (between Fourteenth Street and Tonys fruit stand) Saturday night sale.
Youll be goin out this day, of course, Danny, said old man McCree, a little wistfully. Tis a kind of holiday, they say. Well, its fine spring weather. I can feel it in the air.
Why should I not be going out? demanded Danny in his grumpiest chest tones. Should I stay in? Am I as good as a horse? One day of rest my team has a week. Who earns the money for the rent and the breakfast youve just eat, Id like to know? Answer me that!
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