Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: Hand and Soul
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Date of publication: 1869
Publisher: [privately printed]
Printer: Strangeways and Walden

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

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Note: Bookplate showing lamp of knowledge flanked by two pairs of books on either side. In the center of the image, the name "John A Spoor" is written on a banner, and on either side of the name are the words "Ex" and "Libris". The lamp is engraved with a monogram of the initials J.A.S. On the opposite page, the ornamented nameplate of Robert H. Taylor.
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Manuscript Addition: W.M. Rossetti / from Gabriel's books / 1882.

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Note: Two letters have been bound with this copy of Hand and Soul. The first letter is from William Michael Rossetti to a Mr. Sutherland, dated 13 Dec 1900. The second letter is not dated, but it was written earlier than the first, from Christina Rossetti to a Mrs. Scott, and it includes a page of light verse. The letters are omitted from this transcription because they are irrelevant to the document.
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  • ‘Rivolsimi in quel lato
  • Là onde venìa 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

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 a skill that could

forestall their lessons and cheapen their labours, 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 extraordinary 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
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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 in-

stances, some signs of a better understanding have become

manifest. A case in point is that of the triptych and two

cruciform pictures at Dresden, by Chiaro di Messer Bello

dell' Erma, to which the eloquent pamphlet of Dr. Aemmster

has at length succeeded in attracting the students. There

is another still more solemn and beautiful work, now proved

to be by the same hand, in the Pitti 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

for himself, and loving it deeply, he endeavoured 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 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 per-

haps a little of that envy which youth always feels until it

has learned to measure success by time and opportunity, he
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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 enter-

tainment, 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 consideration, and soon stood

among the works 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

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 ren-
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dered 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 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. 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 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 entirely 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 Chiaro had chosen was in a house that
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looked upon gardens fast by the Church of San Petronio. It

was here, and at this time, that 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

a 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

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 wall-paintings; 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 picture 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 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
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labour 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. Sometimes it had

even seemed to him to behold that day when his mistress

—his mystical lady (now hardly in her ninth year, but whose

smile at meeting had already lighted on his soul,)—even

she, his own gracious Italian Art—should pass, through the

sun that never sets, into 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 inquire 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
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Sig. A2

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 influence the beholder: and to this end, he multiplied

abstractions, and forgot the beauty and passion of the world.

So the people ceased to throng about his pictures as hereto-

fore; and, when they were carried through town and town

to their destination, they were no longer delayed by the

crowds eager to gaze and admire: and no prayers or offer-

ings were brought to them on their path, as to his Madonnas,

and his Saints, and his Holy Children, wrought 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 laboured than his former pictures, they were cold

and unemphatic; bearing marked out upon them the

measure of that boundary to which they were made to

And the weight was still close at Chiaro's heart: but he
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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 sun.
So Chiaro's model, when he awoke that morning on the

hot pavement 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 to beat
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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 Petronio.
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 Maro-

toli, 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 pictures, presenting a moral allegory of Peace, which

Chiaro had painted that year for the Church. The Gher-

ghiotti stood with their backs to these frescoes; and among

them Golzo Ninuccio, the youngest noble of the faction,

called by the people Golaghiotta, for his debased life. This

youth had remained for some while talking listlessly 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
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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 daz-

zling 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 paintings.
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 bewildered him at first; but

when he knew his thoughts, they were these:—
‘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,
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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 fol-

loweth 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
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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

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 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 knowledge. Fame sufficed

not, for that thou didst seek fame: seek thine own con-

science (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
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Note: There appears to be a missing period at the end of the final sentence in paragraph 27. In that location, between the 'l' and close quote, is a small blot, as if from a broken or misaligned piece of type.

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 vexed with emptiness; and others drink of

thy 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 hast said,’ she continued, gently, ‘that faith failed

thee. This cannot be. 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
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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: assuredly 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 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

Then the fair woman, that was his soul, spoke again to

him, saying:—
‘And for this thy last purpose, and for those unprofit-

able 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
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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 shall have understanding of thee. One drop of rain is

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

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 mayest

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

‘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 something,—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 necessity of removal.

The hall, the staircases, and the vast central suite of apart-

ments, were the only accessible portions; and in these such

paintings as they could admit from the sealed penetralia
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were profanely 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

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,
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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 subject and 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 some-

how 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
Transcribed Footnote (page 20):

* I should here say, that in the latest catalogues, (owing, as in

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

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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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 vexed, 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 complied, 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 suppose, 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, an Italian, said something to another who

stood next to him. He spoke with a Genoese accent, and

I lost the sense in the villanous dialect. ‘Che so?’ re-

plied the other, lifting his eyebrows towards 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 evi-

dently a novice in the language, and did not take in what

was said. I remained silent, being amused.
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‘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

‘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 rien.’
My reader thinks possibly that the French student was

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