Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Hand and Soul (Corrected Page Proofs)
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of Composition: 1869 August
Type of Manuscript: corrected proof pages

The full Rossetti Archive record for this transcribed document is available.

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Hand and Soul.

  • “Rivolsimi in quel lato
  • Là 'nde venia la voce,
  • E parvemi una luce
  • Che lucea quanto stella:
  • La mia mente era quella.”
Bonaggiunta Urbiciani, (1250.)
Before any knowledge of painting was brought to Florence, there

were already painters in Lucca, and Pisa, and Arezzo, who feared

God and loved the art. The keen, grave workmen from Greece,

whose trade it was to sell their own works in Italy and teach

Italians to imitate them, had already found in rivals of the soil with a

skill that could forestall their lessons and cheapen their crucifixes

and addolorate, more years than is supposed before the art came at

all into Florence. The pre-eminence to which Cimabue was raised

at once by his contemporaries, and which he still retains to a wide

extent even in the modern mind, is to be accounted for, partly by

the circumstances under which he arose, and partly by that extra-

ordinary purpose of fortune born with the lives of some few, and

through which it is not a little thing for any who went before, if

they are even remembered as the shadows of the coming of such an

one, and the voices which prepared his way in the wilderness. It is

thus, almost exclusively, that the painters of whom I speak are

now known. They have left little, and but little heed is taken of

that which men hold to have been surpassed; it is gone like time gone

—a track of dust and dead leaves that merely led to the fountain.
Nevertheless, of very late years, and in very rare instances, some

signs of a better understanding have become manifest. A case in

point is that of the tryptic h and two cruciform pictures at Dresden,

by Chiaro di Messer Bello dell' Erma, to which the eloquent pam-

phlet of Dr. Aemmster has at length succeeded in attracting the stu-

dents. There is another, still more solemn and beautiful work, now

proved to be by the same hand, in the gallery at Florence. It is

the one to which my narrative will relate.

This Chiaro dell' Erma was a young man of very honorable

family in Arezzo; where, conceiving art almost, as it were, for him-

self, and loving it deeply, he endeavored from early boyhood towards

the imitation of any objects offered in nature. The extreme longing

after a visible embodiment of his thoughts strengthened as his years

increased, more even than his sinews or the blood of his life; until
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he would feel faint in sunsets and at the sight of stately persons.

When he had lived nineteen years, he heard of the famous Giunta

Pisano; and, feeling much of admiration, with, perhaps, a little of

that envy which youth always feels until it has learned to measure

success by time and opportunity, he determined that he would seek

out Giunta, and, if possible, become his pupil.
Having arrived in Pisa, he clothed himself in humble apparel,

being unwilling that any other thing than the desire he had for

knowledge should be his plea with the great painter; and then,

leaving his baggage at a house of entertainment, he took his way

along the street, asking whom he met for the lodging of Giunta. It soon

chanced that one of that city, conceiving him to be a stranger

and poor, took him into his house, and refreshed him; afterwards

directing him on his way.
When he was brought to speech of Giunta, he said merely that

he was a student, and that nothing in the world was so much at

his heart as to become that which he had heard told of him with

whom he was speaking. He was received with courtesy and con-

sideration, and shewn into the study of the famous artist. But the

forms he saw there were lifeless and incomplete; and a sudden

exultation possessed him as he said within himself, “I am the master

of this man.” The blood came at first into his face, but the next

moment he was quite pale and fell to trembling. He was able,

however, to conceal his emotion; speaking very little to Giunta,

but, when he took his leave, thanking him respectfully.
After this, Chiaro's first resolve was, that he would work out

thoroughly some one of his thoughts, and let the world know him.

But the lesson which he had now learned, of how small a greatness

might win fame, and how little there was to strive against, served

to make him torpid, and rendered his exertions less continual.

Also Pisa was a larger and more luxurious city than Arezzo; and,

when in his walks, he saw the great gardens laid out for pleasure,

and the beautiful women who passed to and fro, and heard the

music that was in the groves of the city at evening, he was taken

with wonder that he had never claimed his share of the inheritance

of those years in which his youth was cast. And women loved

Chiaro; for, in despite of the burthen of study, he was well-favoured

and very manly in his walking; and, seeing his face in front, there

was a glory upon it, as upon the face of one who feels a light round

his hair.
So he put thought from him, and partook of his life. But, one

night, being in a certain company of ladies, a gentleman that was

there with him began to speak of the paintings of a youth named
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Bonaventura, which he had seen in Lucca; adding that Giunta Pisano

might now look for a rival. When Chiaro heard this, the lamps shook

before him, and the music beat in his ears and made him giddy. He

rose up, alleging a sudden sickness, and went out of that house with

his teeth set. And being again within his room, he wrote up over the door the name of Giunta Bonaventura, that it might stop him when he would go out.
He now took to work diligently; not returning to Arezzo, but

remaining in Pisa, that no day more might be lost; only living en-

tirely to himself. Sometimes, after nightfall, he would walk abroad

in the most solitary places he could find; hardly feeling the ground

under him, because of the thoughts of the day which held him

in fever.
The lodging he Chiaro had chosen was in a house that looked upon

gardens fast by the Church of San Rocco. During the offices, as he

sat at work, he could hear the music of the organ and the long

murmur that the chanting left; and if his window were open,

sometimes, at those parts of the mass where there is silence through-

out the church, his ear caught faintly the single voice of the

priest. Beside the matters of his art and a very few books, almost

the only object to be noticed in Chiaro's room was a small conse-

crated image of St. Mary Virgin wrought out of silver, before which

stood always, in summer-time, a glass containing a lily and a rose.
It was here, and at this time, that Chiaro he painted the Dresden

pictures; as also, in all likelihood, the one—inferior in merit, but

certainly his—which is now at Munich. For the most part, he was

calm and regular in his manner of study; though often he would

remain at work through the whole of the day, not resting once so

long as the light lasted; flushed, and with the hair from his face.

Or, at times, when he could not paint, he would sit for hours in

thought of all the greatness the world had known from of old;

until he was weak with yearning, like one who gazes upon a path

of stars.
He continued in this patient endeavour for about three years, at

the end of which his name was spoken throughout all Tuscany. As

his fame waxed, he began to be employed, besides easel-pictures,

upon paintings in fresco: but I believe that no traces remain to us

of any of these latter. He is said to have painted in the Duomo:

and D'Agincourt mentions having seen some portions of a fresco by

him which originally had its place above the high altar in the

Church of the Certosa; but which, at the time he saw it, being very

dilapidated, had been hewn out of the wall, and was preserved in

the stores of the convent. Before the period of Dr. Aemmster's

researches, however, it had been entirely destroyed.
Chiaro was now famous. It was for the race of fame that he had
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girded up his loins; and he had not paused until fame was reached:

yet now, in taking breath, he found that the weight was still at his

heart. The years of his labor had fallen from him, and his life

was still in its first painful desire.
With all that Chiaro had done during these three years, and even

before, with the studies of his early youth, there had always been a

feeling of worship and service. It was the peace-offering that he

made to God and to his own soul for the eager selfishness of his

aim. There was earth, indeed, upon the hem of his raiment; but

this was of the heaven, heavenly. He had seasons when he could

endure to think of no other feature of his hope than this: and some-

times, in the ecstasy of prayer, it had even seemed to him to behold

that day when his mistress—his mystical lady (now hardly in her

ninth year, but whose solemn smile at meeting had already lighted

on his soul like the dove of the Trinity)—even she, his own

gracious and holy Italian art—with her virginal bosom, and her un-

fathomable eyes, and the thread of sunlight round her brows—should

pass, through the sun that never sets, into the circle of the shadow

of the tree of life, and be seen of God, and found good: and then it

had seemed to him, that he, with many who, since his coming, had

joined the band of whom he was one (for, in his dream, the body he

had worn on earth had been dead an hundred years), were permitted

to gather round the blessed maiden, and to worship with her through

all ages and ages of ages, saying, Holy, holy, holy. This thing he

had seen with the eyes of his spirit; and in this thing had trusted,

believing that it would surely come to pass.
But now, (being at length led to enquire closely into himself,) even

as, in the pursuit of fame, the unrest abiding after attainment had

proved to him that he had misinterpreted the craving of his own

spirit—so also, now that he would willingly have fallen back on

devotion, he became aware that much of that reverence which he

had mistaken for faith had been no more than the worship of beauty.

Therefore, after certain days passed in perplexity, Chiaro said within

himself, “My life and my will are yet before me: I will take

another aim to my life.”
From that moment Chiaro set a watch on his soul, and put his

hand to no other works but only to such as had for their end the

presentment of some moral greatness that should impress the be-

holder: and, in doing this, he did not choose for his medium the

action and passion of human life, but cold symbolism and abstract

and to this end, he multiplied abstractions, and forgot the beauty and passion of life> the world. . So the people ceased to throng about his pictures

as heretofore; and, when they were carried through town and town

to their destination, they were no longer delayed by the crowds
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Printer's Direction: Banfield
Editorial Description: Compositor's name

eager to gaze and admire: and no prayers or offerings were brought

to them on their path, as to his Madonnas, and his Saints, and his

Holy Children , wrought by him for the sake of the life he saw in the faces that he loved. . Only the critical audience remained to him; and

these, in default of more worthy matter, would have turned their

scrutiny on a puppet or a mantle. Meanwhile, he had no more of

fever upon him; but was calm and pale each day in all that he did

and in his goings in and out. The works he produced at this time

have perished—in all likelihood, not unjustly, It is said (and we

may easily believe it), that, though more labored than his former

pictures, they were cold and unemphatic; bearing marked out upon

them, as they must certainly have done, the measure of that boun-

dary to which they were made to conform.
And the weight was still close at Chiaro's heart: but he held in

his breath, never resting (for he was afraid), and would not know it.
Now it happened, within these days, that there fell a great feast

in Pisa, for holy matters: and each man left his occupation; and

all the guilds and companies of the city were got together for games

and rejoicings. And there were scarcely any that stayed in the

houses, except ladies who lay or sat along their balconies between

open windows which let the breeze beat through the rooms and

over the spread tables from end to end. And the golden cloths that

their arms lay upon drew all eyes upward to see their beauty; and

the day was long; and every hour of the day was bright with the

So Chiaro's model, when he awoke that morning on the hot pave-

ment of the Piazza Nunziata, and saw the hurry of people that

passed him, got up and went along with them; and Chiaro waited

for him in vain.
For the whole of that morning, the music was in Chiaro's room

from the Church close at hand: and he could hear the sounds that

the crowd made in the streets; hushed only at long intervals while

the processions for the feast-day chanted in going under his windows.

Also, more than once, there was a high clamour from the meeting

of factious persons: for the ladies of both leagues were looking

down; and he who encountered his enemy could not choose but

draw upon him. Chiaro waited a long time idle; and then knew

that his model was gone elsewhere. When at his work, he was

blind and deaf to all else; but he feared sloth: for then his stealthy

thoughts would begin, as it were, to beat round and round him,

seeking a point for attack. He now rose, therefore, and went to

the window. It was within a short space of noon; and underneath

him a throng of people was coming out through the porch of San

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The two greatest houses of the feud in Pisa had filled the church

for that mass. The first to leave had been the Gherghiotti; who,

stopping on the threshold, had fallen back in ranks along each side

of the archway: so that now, in passing outward, the Marotoli had

to walk between two files of men whom they hated, and whose

fathers had hated theirs. All the chiefs were there and their

whole adherence; and each knew the name of each. Every man

of the Marotoli, as he came forth and saw his foes, laid back his hood

and gazed about him, to show the badge upon the close cap

that held his hair. And of the Gherghiotti there were some who

tightened their girdles; and some shrilled and threw up their

wrists scornfully, as who flies a falcon; for that was the crest of

their house.
On the walls within the entry were a number of tall, narrow fres-

coes, presenting a moral allegory of Peace, which Chiaro had painted

that year for the Church. The Gherghiotti stood with their backs

to these frescoes: and among them Golzo Ninuccio, the youngest

noble of the faction, called by the people of Golaghiotta, for his de-

based life. This youth had remained for some while talking list-

lessly to his fellows, though with his sleepy sunken eyes fixed on

them who passed: but now, seeing that no man jostled another, he

drew the long silver shoe off his foot, and struck the dust out of it

on the cloak of him who was going by, asking him how far the

tides rose at Viderza. And he said so because it was three months

since, at that place, the Gherghiotti had beaten the Marotoli to the

sands, and held them there while the sea came in; whereby many

had been drowned. And, when he had spoken, at once the whole

archway was dazzling with the light of confused swords; and they

who had left turned back; and they who were still behind made

haste to come forth: and there was so much blood cast up the

walls on a sudden, that it ran in long streams down Chiaro's

Chiaro turned himself from the window; for the light felt dry

between his lids, and he could not look. He sat down, and heard

the noise of contention driven out of the church-porch and a great

way through the streets; and soon there was a deep murmur that

heaved and waxed from the other side of the city, where those of

both parties were gathering to join in the tumult.
Chiaro sat with his face in his open hands. Once again he had

wished to set his foot on a place that looked green and fertile; and

once again it seemed to him that the thin rank mask was about to

spread away, and that this time the chill of the water must leave

leprosy in his flesh. The light still swam in his head, and bewil-
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Sig. C

dered him at first; but when he knew his thoughts, they were

“Fame failed me: faith failed me: and now this also,— the hope

that I nourished in this my generation of men,—shall pass from me,

and leave my feet and my hands groping. Yet, because of this, are

my feet become slow and my hands thin. I am as one who, through

the whole night, holding his way diligently, hath smitten the steel

unto the flint, to lead some whom he knew darkling; who hath

kept his eyes always on the sparks that himself made, lest they

should fail; and who, towards dawn, turning to bid them that he

had guided God speed, sees the wet grass untrodden except of his

own feet. I am as the last hour of the day, whose chimes are a

perfect number; whom the next followeth not, nor light ensueth

from him; but in the same darkness is the old order begun afresh.

Men say, ‘This is not God nor man; he is not as we are, neither

above us: let him sit beneath us, for we are many.’ Where I

write Peace, in that spot is the drawing of swords, and there men's

footprints are red. When I would sow, another harvest is ripe.

Nay, it is much worse with me than thus much. Am I not as a

cloth drawn before the light, that the looker may not be blinded;

but which sheweth thereby the grain of its own coarseness; so that

the light seems defiled, and men say, ‘We will not walk by it.’

Wherefore through me they shall be doubly accursed, seeing that

through me they reject the light. May one be a devil and not

know it?”
As Chiaro was in these thoughts, the fever encroached slowly on

his veins, till he could sit no longer, and would have risen; but

suddenly he found awe within him, and held his head bowed,

without stirring. The warmth of the air was not shaken; but

there seemed a pulse in the light, and a living freshness, like rain.

The silence was a painful music, that made the blood ache in his

temples; and he lifted his face and his deep eyes.
A woman was present in his room, clad to the hands and feet

with a green and grey raiment, fashioned to that time. It seemed

that the first thoughts he had ever known were given him as at

first from her eyes, and he knew her hair to be the golden veil through

which he beheld his dreams. Though her hands were joined, her

face was not lifted, but set forward; and though the gaze was

austere, yet her mouth was supreme in gentleness. And as he

looked, Chiaro's spirit appeared abashed of its own intimate

presence, and his lips shook with the thrill of tears; it seemed such

a bitter while till the spirit might be indeed alone.
She did not move closer towards him, but he felt her to be as

much with him as his breath. He was like one who, scaling a
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great steepness, hears his own voice echoed in some place much

higher than he can see, and the name of which is not known to him.

As the woman stood, her speech was with Chiaro: not, as it were,

from her mouth or in his ears; but distinctly between them.
“I am an image, Chiaro, of thine own soul within thee. See me, and

know me as I am. Thou sayest that fame has failed thee, and faith

failed thee; but because at least thou hast not laid thy life unto riches,

therefore, though thus late, I am suffered to come into thy know-

ledge. Fame sufficed not, for that thou didst seek fame: seek thine

own conscience (not thy mind's conscience, but thine heart's), and

all shall approve and suffice. For Fame, in noble soils, is a fruit of

the Spring: but not therefore should it be said: ‘Lo! my garden

that I planted is barren: the crocus is here, but the lily is dead in

the dry ground, and shall not lift the earth that covers it: therefore

I will fling my garden together, and give it unto the builders.’

Take heed rather that thou trouble not the wise secret earth; for in

the mould that thou throwest up shall the first tender growth lie to

waste; which else had been made strong in its season. Yea, and

even if the year fall past in all its months, and the soil be indeed, to

thee, peevish and incapable, and though thou indeed gather all thy

harvest, and it suffice for others, and thou remain vext with empti-

ness; and others drink of they streams, and the drouth rasp thy

throat;— let it be enough that these have found the feast good, and

thanked the giver: remembering that, when the winter is striven

through, there is another year, whose wind is meek, and whose sun

fulfilleth all.”
While he heard, Chiaro went slowly on his knees. It was not to

her that spoke, for the speech seemed within him and his own. The

air brooded in sunshine, and though the turmoil was great outside,

the air within was at peace. But when he looked in her eyes, he

wept. And she came to him, and cast her hair over him, and,

took her hands about his forehead, and spoke again:
“Thou hadst said,” she continued, gently, “that faith failed thee.

This cannot be so. Either thou hadst it not, or thou hast it. But

who bade thee strike the point betwixt love and faith? Wouldst

thou sift the warm breeze from the sun that quickens it? Who

bade thee turn upon God and say: “Behold, my offering is of earth,

and not worthy: thy fire comes not upon it: therefore, though I

slay not my brother whom thou acceptest, I will depart before thou

smite me.” Why shouldst thou rise up and tell God He is not

content? Had He, of His warrant, certified so to thee? Be not

nice to seek out division; but possess thy love in sufficiency: as-

suredly this is faith, for the heart must believe first. What He hath

set in thine heart to do, that do thou; and even though thou do it
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without thought of Him, it shall be well done: it is this sacrifice

that He asketh of thee, and His flame is upon it for a sign. Think

not of Him; but of His love and thy love. For God is no morbid

exactor: he hath no hand to bow beneath, nor a foot, that thou

shouldst kiss it.”
And Chiaro held silence, and wept into her hair which covered

his face; and the salt tears that he shed ran through her hair upon

his lips; and he tasted the bitterness of shame.
Then the fair woman, that was his soul, spoke again to him, saying:
“And for this thy last purpose, and for those unprofitable truths

of thy teaching,—thine heart hath already put them away, and it

needs not that I lay my bidding upon thee. How is it that thou, a

man, wouldst say coldly to the mind what God hath said to

the heart warmly? Thy will was honest and wholesome; but

look well lest this also be folly,—to say, ‘I, in doing this, do

strengthen God among men.’ When at any time hath he cried unto

thee, saying, ‘My son, lend me thy shoulder, for I fall?’ Deemest

thou that the men who enter God's temple in malice, to the

provoking of blood, and neither for his love nor for his wrath will

abate their purpose,—shall afterwards stand with thee in the

porch, midway between Him and themselves, to give ear unto thy

thin voice, which merely the fall of their visors can drown, and to

see thy hands, stretched feebly, tremble among their swords? Give

thou to God no more than he asketh of thee; but to man also, that

which is man's. In all that thou doest, work from thine own heart,

simply; for his heart is as thine, when thine is wise and humble;

and he shal have understanding of thee. One drop of rain is as

another, and the sun's prism in all: and shalt not thou be as he,

whose lives are the breath of One? Only by making thyself his equal

can he learn to hold communion with thee, and at last own thee

above him. Not till thou lean over the water shalt thou see thine

image therein: stand erect, and it shall slope from thy feet and be

lost. Know that there is but this means whereby thou may'st

serve God with man:—Set thine hand and thy soul to serve man

with God.”
And when she that spoke had said these words within Chiaro's

spirit, she left his side quietly, and stood up as he had first seen

her; with her fingers laid together, and her eyes steadfast, and with

the breadth of her long dress covering her feet on the floor. And,

speaking again, she said:
“Chiaro, servant of God, take now thine Art unto thee, and paint

me thus, as I am, to know me: weak, as I am, and in the weeds of

this time; only with eyes which seek out labour, and with a faith,

not learned, yet jealous of prayer. Do this; so shall thy soul

stand before thee always, and perplex thee no more.”
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And Chiaro did as she bade him. While he worked, his face

grew solemn with knowledge: and before the shadows had turned,

his work was done. Having finished, he lay back where he sat,

and was asleep immediately: for the growth of that strong sunset

was heavy about him, and he felt weak and haggard; like one just

come out of a dusk, hollow country, bewildered with echoes, where

he had lost himself, and who has not slept for many days and

nights. And when she saw him lie back, the beautiful woman came

to him, and sat at his head, gazing, and quieted his sleep with her voice.
The tumult of the factions had endured all that day through all

Pisa, though Chiaro had not heard it: and the last service of that

Feast was a mass sung at midnight from the windows of all the

churches for the many dead who lay about the city, and who had to

be buried before morning, because of the extreme heats.

In the Spring of 1847 I was at Florence. Such as were there at

the same time with myself—those, at least, to whom Art is some-

thing,—will certainly recollect how many rooms of the Pitti Gallery

were closed through that season, in order that some of the pictures

they contained might be examined, and repaired without the neces-

sity of removal. The hall, the staircases, and the vast central suite

of apartments, were the only accessible portions; and in these such

paintings as they could admit from the sealed penetralia were pro-

fanely huddled together, without respect of dates, schools, or persons.
I fear that, through this interdict, I may have missed seeing many

of the best pictures. I do not mean only the most talked of: for

these, as they were restored, generally found their way somehow

into the open rooms, owing to the clamours raised by the students;

and I remember how old Ercoli's, the curator's, spectacles used to

be mirrored in the reclaimed surface, as he leaned mysteriously over

these works with some of the visitors, to scrutinize and elucidate.
One picture, that I saw that Spring, I shall not easily forget. It

was among those, I believe, brought from the other rooms, and had

been hung, obviously out of all chronology, immediately beneath

that head by Raphael so long known as the “Berrettino,” and now

said to be the portrait of Cecco Ciulli.
The picture I speak of is a small one, and represents merely the

figure of a woman, clad to the hands and feet with a green and grey

raiment, chaste and early in its fashion, but exceedingly simple.

She is standing: her hands are held together lightly, and her

eyes set earnestly open.
The face and hands in this picture, though wrought with great

delicacy, have the appearance of being painted at once, in a single

sitting: the drapery is unfinished. As soon as I saw the figure, it

drew an awe upon me, like water in shadow. I shall not attempt to

describe it more than I have already done; for the most absorbing

wonder of it was its literality. You knew that figure, when painted,

had been seen; yet it was not a thing to be seen of men. This

language will appear ridiculous to such as have never looked on the

work; and it may be even to some among those who have. On

examining it closely,I perceived in one corner of the canvass the

words Manus Animam pinxit, and the date 1239.
I turned to my Catalogue, but that was useless, for the pictures

were all displaced. I then stepped up to the Cavaliere Ercoli, who

was in the room at the moment, and asked him regarding the
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subject of authorship of the painting. He treated the matter, I

thought, somewhat slightingly, and said that he could show me the

reference in the Catalogue, which he had compiled. This, when

found, was not of much value, as it merely said,“Schizzo d'autore

incerto,” adding the inscription.* I could willingly have prolonged

my inquiry, in the hope that it might somehow lead to some result;

but I had disturbed the curator from certain yards of Guido, and he

was not communicative. I went back therefore, and stood before

the picture till it grew dusk.
The next day I was there again; but this time a circle of students

was round the spot, all copying the “Berrettino.” I contrived,

however, to find a place whence I could see my picture, and where

I seemed to be in nobody's way. For some minutes I remained

undisturbed; and then I heard, in an English voice: “Might I beg of

you, sir, to stand a little more to this side, as you interrupt my view.”
I felt vext, for, standing where he asked me, a glare struck on the

picture from the windows, and I could not see it. However, the

request was reasonably made, and from a countryman; so I com-

plied, and turning away, stood by his easel. I knew it was not worth

while; yet I referred in some way to the work underneath the

one he was copying. He did not laugh, but he smiled as we do in

England: “ Very odd, is it not?” said he.
The other students near us were all continental; and seeing an

Englishman select an Englishman to speak with, conceived, I sup-

pose, that he could understand no language but his own. They had

evidently been noticing the interest which the little picture appeared

to excite in me.
One of them, and Italian, said something to another who stood

next to him. He spoke with a Genoese accent, and I lost the sense

in the villainous dialect. “Che so?” replied the other, lifting his

eyebrows toward the figure; “roba mistica: ‘st' Inglesi son

matti sul misticismo: somiglia alle nebbie di là. Li fa pensare

alla patria, “E intenerisce il core

Lo dì ch' han detto ai dolci amici adio.”
“La notte, vuoi dire,” said a third.
There was a general laugh. My compatriot was evidently a

novice in the language, and did not take in what was said. I

remained silent, being amused.
‘Et toi donc?” said he who had quoted Dante, turning to a

student, whose birthplace was unmistakable even had he been

addressed in any other language:“que dis-tu de ce genre-là?”
“Moi?” returned the Frenchman, standing back from his easel,

and looking at me and at the figure, quite politely, though with an

evident reservation: “Je dis, mon cher, que c'est une spécialité dont

je me fiche pas mal. Je tiens que quand on ne comprend pas une

chose, c'est qu' elle ne signifie rein.”
My reader thinks possibly that the French student was right.

Transcribed Footnote (page 33):

*I should here say, that in the catalogue for the year just over, (owing, as in

cases before mentioned, to the zeal and enthusiasm of Dr. Aemmester) this, and

several other pictures, have been more competently entered. The work in

question is now placed in the Sala Sessagona, a room I did not see — under the

number 161. It is described as “Figura mistica di Chiaro dell' Erma,” and

there is a brief notice of the author appended.

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