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From The Idler.
with a dead, muffled sound. The great white THE MAD PAINTER.
horses arched their necks, and, glancing at
the two candle-lamps flickering on the footBY JOHN CORDY JEAFFRESON.
way, pranced with wonder and disdain. “ An, he is already at work, and the pink Through the glass of the closed windows pa per of the lamp that was broken last week were visible two beautiful girls, arrayed for has been pasted on afresh.”
conquest, and a richly-accoutred soldier. He was a worn, but not aged man, busily " Ah, sir, you are warmer in that luxuriant employed on a work at which I had often carriage than the poor beggar down there, watched him with interest, and was sitting I muttered ; not that I wanted to see them on the cold pavement, at a point where the change places. street brought me into the square in which The clock of St. Peter's 'struck a quarter stands the church of St. Peter. On either past eight, the doors of the church opened, side of him was a lamp, composed of a feeble and through them poured a flood of music. candle, surrounded by a shade of oiled paper; The Evening Hymn ended,
& pause for the and on the stone, which was his seat and priest to utter his benediction in, -- and then sketching-block, were three papers of colored the congregation came forth. Some of them chalk in powder : his fingers served for stump turned off in the square, but the majority and brush ; and with these materials and came down the street between me and the tools he was drawing on the white flag that poor artist, who received many stares, but old, old face.
few pence. When I first came near enough to him to Lingering behind the others of the condiscern his operations accurately, he had only gregation came, as I knew she would, a completed the outline. From some reason or woman dressed in mourning. Concealed by other, he was ten minutes later that night the pillar of a door-way, I saw her approach than usual ; and it surprised me, for the the artist, and, standing over his picture, poor fellow's punctuality had for months look down upon him. At first he did not attracted my attention, as much as anything appear to recognize her. "Surely, Alfred, else about him.
you know me, she said, drawing up her The evening was a keen one of April, not veil. Instantly he sprung to his feet, and rainy, but very cold. An east wind whistled grasped her hand warmly; and for a moment round the corners of the street, and swept a light of joy flashed across his wan and boisterously over the square, beating against vacant face. the windows of St. Peter's church, which " 'Tis very cold, Alfred," she said, tenwas lighted up for an evening service. derly; "you want a better coat and warmer
“ The congregation will be out in a quar- clothing. You are pinched and starved with ter of an hour. In the meanwhile I will cold and hunger ; I would to God I could walk about briskly, and warm the blood in help you." my feet, not in this retired place, but in a Alfred replied only with a wandering guze. livelier thoroughfare."
• What kind of evening have you made? On my return the portrait was accom- continued she, in her gentle voice, at the plished, the wreath of oak-leaves placed same time opening the hand in which he held round it for a frame, the last touch given to his poor gains.
* Alas! only a few pence! the long ringlets, and the perfecting tint of He shook his head dejectedly. rose bestowed on the thoughtful cheek. The Taking a silver coin from her purse, she parcels of color were packed up for the night, added it to the store, and closing his hard, the lamps arranged so as to throw the best horny fist, pressed it to her lips. possible light on the achievement, and the For a few moments he seemed unwilling artist sat patiently waiting the result of his to accept the gift; but she prevailed on him, toil, not begging, but ready to receive. At looking at him, and saying distinctly, “ It is the most, his age was not fifty ; but deep not I who give it; it comes from her ; she lines were in his pale face, and his hair was sent it to you." gray.
Giving a motion of significance, he pointed There were very few passers along the down to the portrait on the pavement. street. A stranger might have wondered “Yes, yes; she sent it you,” repeated the how the man came to locate himself in such lady; and, adding a fervent “God bless you, an out-of-the-way spot.
Alfred," she moved quickly away,
back over The wind grew momentarily colder. The the square towards Oxford-street. artist felt it as well as myself, for he turned “ It must be she; it is her voice, her figure, up the collar of his shabby overcoat, and I could swear to her, and yet I could not raised his eyes to the heavens, as though in-catch a glimpse of her face,'' said I, followquiring if they could not be kinder to himn. ing after her, to track her home. Several A rich man's carriage rolled by, slowly and times I had failed in pursuing her to her
residence, having the misfortune to lose sight | depart from that spot without such a greeting
in the calm, quiet evenings of summer,
and The lady was the mistress of the house, not in the foggy frosts of winter, contenting my wife (for I am that most unhappy thing, myself with being acquainted with his outan unwedded Englishman), but my house- door proceedings, and with my housekeeper's keeper.
systematic attention to him, when I deterThe discovery was a great success, and pro- mined to follow him to his home, wherever portionably elated me.
it might be, and inspect his household gods. “ You have been to church this evening, He was on the point of quitting his station Mrs. Shirley?" I inquired, when she kindly, in Bayswater, and was engaged in rubbing and according to custom, brought me the out the last remains of his picture, when I hot water for my evening grog.
resolved to do so. Acting on the impulse “I go every Thursday evening."
(it was about half-past nine, and in the 66 A good preacher ? "
month of November), I followed him that “ A good preacher, and a good man too, night, at a slow pace, to the back of Gray's
Inn, where he entered a decent court, pushed 660, indeed ; that's all right. Where is open the door of a house, and left me. The his church?
next day, on my return from the city, I di" St. Peter's, sir: my husband was buried verged from my customary route to pay my there."
respects to the locality by daylight. It was As she answered this last question, she a cleanly-enough place for the quarter and looked at me with an air of inquiry and dig- the class of its inhabitants ; a brisk tide of nity, that reminded me I had not a right to people passed through it, making a short cut make her the victim of my curiosity, although from one thoroughfare to another, and the she was my servant. So I desisted from ex- houses were not the decayed mansions of a amining her farther at the time.
previous day, but new-built, and appropriate I was so perplexed by attempting “ to solve to the residents. The second door on the the mystery,' that I kept up for an hour left was the one the artist entered; the later than usual that evening, taking an extra ground-floor of the establishinent was used cigar and glass of grog to aid my judgment as a newspaper-shop. I entered it, and and invention. How comes she to take such asked a respectable middle-aged an interest in him? What can be the con- she could sell me the last number of the nection between them? He can't be a rela- Illustrated News. tion, for she was a lady by birth; and, more
My request was complied with ; and then
It was not long before I made myself ac- rolling on the floor before a small fire, with
I'll run my eye over
His stations were some of them far apart. this house,” I said, after looking at the enOn Monday evenings he was to be found in gravings of my paper for a few minutes. the good old Church-street of Newington, The woman raised her head, and gave me opposite the house once inhabited by De a glance of surprise. Foe; at the close of Saturday he made his ** For a long time past,”' I continued," my appearance on the Cheyne Walk of Chelsea ; interest has been aroused by a poor fellow Thursday night saw him in the quiet street who apparently gets his livelihood by paintnear St. Peter's church ; and never did he ing a girl's face on the street pavement; and
66 What She did « Come, - kindly, suspicious any questi harm to ao other reaso here. You & gentlema my face an duced to th
She was silence, ret "You a
say; and I
& poor wc speak with know how
'll allow me,
The wo and then, tion, said, 8.3 I can Shirley is woman; for her
stairs, by in life sh ance, sir.
last night I had the curiosity to be a spy I had no design in making this response ; upon him, and trace him to this house. Can but I could see that it penetrated to the you tell me anything about him? for I would woman's heart, and that I had won her congladly help him, if he needs aid.”
fidence by it. “You are talking of the 'mad painter, " When Mr. Shirley was alive," she she answered, with a countenance of in-proceeded to inform me, “I was Mrs. Shircreasing intelligence; "yes, sir,- he is my ley's servant; and a good friend she was to lodger.
me - in every way à friend, although my • The mad painter! Is he insane, then ?” mistress, with power to command me. And
“Well, sir, he never does any harm, and I have often thought I could see the Lord's he is quiet (quiet enough, for 'tis not once doing in it; that though she has been brought in a month he speaks a word) - and he is to a low estate, she has still been able, up to a poor innocent; but every one in the court this time, to do well by her son, and has here calls him the mad painter.' You see, found as kind and good a master as she was he is very strange in his ways.
a mistress.” “ How long has he been here?"
Her manner was very earnest, and great 0, now, for three years; – but,” she tears glistened in her eyes. added, apologetically," he is an honest man, " Come, come,” said I,“ don't speak thus though some may call him a beggar. He to me. " And I forthwith introduced myself has no acquaintances whatever, of any kind, to her more particularly, telling her Mrs. and is an orderly fellow."
Shirley was my housekeeper, and that I had "No acquaintances? not a single friend?" a high regard for her, and concluding with I inquired, quickly, and perhaps rather expressing a wish to visit the poor artist in sharply.
his own apartment. 6. Well, for the matter of that, I am his “ You may do so," she answered readily; friend," she replied, evasively.
you will find it but a sorrowful sight. 6. What is his name?”
You need not be afraid of disturbing him, She did not know he had one.
for he will take, most likely, no notice of
painter." The door was open, so I entered
“But,” said I,“ tell me one thing; do you the centre, sat the artist, surrounded by know Mrs. Shirley?"
hundreds of fragments of coarse paper, on The woman jumped with astonishment; all of which was visible the whole or a porand then, with an expression of mortifica- tion of the face whose portrait I knew as tion, said, • It appears you know as much his one production for the public. Apas I can tell you. All I can say of Mrs. parently his powers were confined to the Shirley is, shě is a good and charitable achievement of that one likeness; and a woman;
may God see fit to reward her restless spirit within his miserable exhausted for her goodness to the poor innocent up- frame was ever urging him to reproduce it. stairs, by bringing her back to the position It was dusk, but the light from his fire in life she once held; for she was a lady, fell upon his face, giving me a good view of
it, and enabling him to go on with his works. " And is so still, I trust," I said. His cheeks were sunken and pale, his eyes “I mean, sir"
the woman corrected stood forward from his forehead, and his lips herself, " she has seen better days." were compressed, as if he had suffered pain
- God help her, poor thing; for she is bravely for long years. nigh fifty-and better days do not often come After a while, he heaved a deep sigh, and to gray hairs."
regarding the portrait (in miniature) he had
and that was
and that there shall be a paper fixed upon | had not been prevented
Archibald Cornwall was one of the town ditious pasquils, detracting us and our most noble progenitors ; and thereafter that he be officers of Edinburgh. His duties seem to taken to the gallows and hanged till he be have resembled those of a bailiff at the present dead, as ye will answer to us upon your time. Some unfortunate tenant had fallen offices and obedience. Whereanent these into arrears for rent, and the relentless hand presents shall be
of the law had seized this man's goods –
chairs, benches, tables, bed, and, unfortuThis was dated the 23d of September. In nately for poor Cornwall (who was perhaps no three or four days, calmer and softer thoughts great judge of the fine arts) a portraitour" came into the king's mind. He reflected, of the king. Let us hope it was hideously probably, on the length of time which had like, and did justice to the truculent insignia occurred since the pasquinade was written, or ficance of expression of the great original. the sufferings of the poor author during his While the worthy official was preparing to long imprisonment; and generous, noble dispose of the goods by auction at the market James ! - he writes on the 27th to his sub-cross, it struck him that if this splendid speciservient judges “ that they are to omit the men of painting could be seen by the crowd tongue-cutting, and merely hang the culprit assembled, he might have a chance of getting - escheating his goods to the crown.' Ay, a few extra shillings when its turn came to here is the moving power in all the interfer- be sold. He therefore got a hammer and a ences of this exemplary sovereign with the nail, and was in the act of going towards & course of justice. Mr. Pitcairn, who defends certain tall, dark, dismal-looking beam which the king's character wherever he can, gives stood close to the rostrum he occupied, for him up here. “ Independently of his the purpose of hanging the representation of wounded kingly dignity,'he says, “the majesty high enough to be viewed by all. wealthy burgess’escheat had proved too What was this tall upright beam, with the great a bait to James' cupidity to admit of projecting arm and the remains of a piece of his passing scot-free.”
cord dangling from it in the air ? Some What the arena, with the excitement of friends stopped the auctioneer from making its gladiatorial combats, was to the Roman use of the fatal tree. The hammer was put emperors, the courts of law were to the son back in its place - the nail left innocuous in of Signor Davie. He seems to have watched the wood. What! is James to be disapthem with the keen interest with which Cali- pointed of his vengeance? Is he to have no gula may have observed the struggles of a blood? Listen to the “ dittay,” or accusaChristian martyr in the grasp of a tiger. He tion: was perpetually in a fidget till he got his vic
“ The which day Archibald Cornwall
, one tim condemned. His judges were removable
of the town officers of Edinburgh, being enat pleasure, and not displeased with the taste tered on pannel, dilated, accused, and pur of blood. So king and lawyer were mutually sued for the treasonable and ignominous displeased.
honoring and defaming, so far as in him lay, One day – it was the 23d of April, 1601 of our sovereign lord, the King's majesty, by - there was excellent sport provided for the taking of his Highness' portraiture to the Lord's anointed, as he called himself, and the public market-place of this burgh, and there dispensers of justice in the Parliament House. shamefully and vilely setting the same to the The blood of Francis Tennant was still dripping more, and manifest, and treasonable con
stoops and upbearers of the gibbet ; from his hands, when his wrath was roused tempt and disdain of his majesty, he stood ur by a much greater enormity than the mere upon a board or form beside the said gibbet publication of a pasquil; an enormity so and drove a nail therein, so high as he could great, that nothing but the doer's death could reach it, and lifted up his Highness' portrai
aforesaid, and beld the same upon the gibbet, expiate the offence. The offence, to be sure, was unpremeditated. It was not even carried thereon, and to have left it there as an igno
pressing (intending) to have hung the same into execution ; but the man had shewed an minious spectacle to the whole world, if he intention of committing the crime – he had not been staid by the indignation of the would have completed the dreadful act if he whole people, menacing to stone him to
death, and pulling him perforce from the sulted the foreigner wherever he appeared. said gibbet, to stay his treasonable fact as They hooted him on account of his dress, aforesaid."
and of course despised him because he spoke The jury found the unfortunate man with a foreign accent, and perhaps because "guilty of setting his Majesty's portrait to he occasionally washed his hands. At all the tram or beam of the gibbet, and present events, they made the man's visit very disaing of the same to be hung high upon a nail greeable. He revenged himself by the publiinfixed in the said gibbet. And then comes cation of a pamphlet called a Legend of Rethe sentence which sent James rejoicing proaches ; and, in it, expressed some very free home : “ For the which cause the said Justice opinions as to the politeness, the kindness, Depute, by the dempster of the said court, the civilization of the Scottish nation. The decerned and ordained the said Archibala king read the book ; and from that hour, Cornwall to forfeit life, lands, and goods, the fate of Stercovius was sealed. He had (Oho! he was a wealthy man, this bailiff!) left the country ; he was quietly living at and to be taken to the said gibbet, whereupon home. But he had a king for his enemy, he intended to hang his Majesty's portrait, and nothing could save him. An ambassaand thereon to be hanged till he be dead, dor was sent over to demand his life : money and to hang thereupon by the space of was lavished to bribe compliance : the claimtwenty-four hours with a paper on his fore- ant was King of England. The culprit's head containing that vile crime committed by native state was anxious to stand well with him."
zu br 51
the successor of Elizabeth; and Stercovius The careful editor of these curious trials was arrested and hanged ! The persecution informs us, that James took a deep and active of this poor man cost his Majesty upwards of part in the death of this poor man; and that six hundred pounds - a great sum in those on all occasions the slightest infraction on days — but revenge was sweet; and, if it his personal dignity was never forgiven. could be had for nothing, sweeter still. So Nay, we find as he advanced in years he ex- he applied to the Scotch burghs for the retended his guardianship of his individual payment of the coin expended in vindicating honor to that of his native land. Touch a the Scottish honor. We looked carefully for Scotchman, you had the king for your enemy; the result of this application, and we turned and at that time, when all the scum and out-over with some misgivings. We read, and pouring of the north forced its way into every rejoiced greatly that the applicant was foiled. cranny and corner of England, his majesty The burghs declared it a national question behad quite enough to do to restrain the re- yond their jurisdiction, and Stercovius' ghost proaches and sneers and animosities of his may perhaps have been soothed by the new and less obedient subjects. It was with agonies of grief with which the murderer difficulty the Scotch of all ranks and degrees parted with the siller." But what? If could be protected from personal violence. foreigners are thus punished for aspersing the They were mubbed in theatres, and lampooned countrymen of the king, shall one of the Scots in prose and verse. But woe to the lam-themselves turn traitor to the cause of Scotpooner if he were discovered. There was a tish honor, and revile his auld respected mothbloated jester in Whitehall, with a broad er, and live? No, no. Call Thomas Ross Scotch brogue, with the vanity of a woman into court. and the malevolence of a coward, who resented Mr. Thomas Ross has been a minister in any depreciatory allusions to his ancient king- the Scotch kirk, but has gone to study at dom as insults to himself and attacks on his Oxford preparatory to being episcopally orBovereign power. There appeared one day in dained : a flighty, light-headed man, who has the streets of Edinburgh a Polish gentleman been sometimes in custody of his friends as of the name of Stercoff (Latinized into Ster- not quite in his right mind. They should covius). He travelled in his national garb, have kept him from pen, ink, and paper ; for as he had probably done in all the other en- one day - in bis new-found zeal for the Englightened capitals of Europe ; but the Scot- lish form of Church government, and pertish people, with an instinctive persuasion suaded, with the absurd vanity common to that nobody could visit their cold and inhos- the half-witted, that his talents would amply pitable land without some sinister object, in- redeem any little wrong his enmity might do