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exception of a gondola slowly gliding up the canal, not a soul was in sight. Zambetto's quick eye saw a shadow behind the projecting blind of the third story of the old palace under which he was standing, and presently out came an arm holding a palette, the whole terminating in a mahl-stick and a fistful of brushes.
"Does it want me-perhaps an errand?" thought Zambetto, as he saw the arm begin to beckon in a violent way; "it is either for me or for the gondola," he reasoned, "and so I shall keep one eye on the barge and the other on the window. Ah! two women in side? Good! Now let us observe what is going on up stairs; there is that arm again." Suddenly he gave a howl of pain; something had fallen in his eye; he clapped his hands to his face, and to his extreme horror (as soon as sight was restored) beheld his hands dyed green. "Oh! I am murdered-cut off in the flower of my age!" he cried; "but strange to say--my blood is remarkably sticky and of an unusual color-perhaps arising from my extreme youth. Come, let me see-am I really dead?" He looked about him, and at his feet on the marble pavement was a large brush with exceedingly stiff bristles, full of paint, and, strange to say, the color exactly matched the hue of his faco and hands. "Ha!" he cried with mingled pain and mirth, "there lies, then, the thunder-bolt hurled by the imperious Jove, as my cousin, who does the choruses at the Fenice, would say. I wonder what it is worth? Let me pick it up;" he stooped and took the brush from the ground, where it had made a very artistic daub. "It must belong up stairs; I shall return it and request damages for the loss of my complexion;" and the next moment Zambetto was pounding at a door in the third story.
"What is it?" cried a voice in a slightly ambiguous Italian.
Forestiero, though not Tedesco," thought Zambetto, "the answer came too quickly for that. Signor-in the furor of your divine art-" "Clear out!" interrupted a voice in English.
Inglese," thought Zambetto, "and consequently crazy. But please your signore, in an inspired moment, your honor's magical brush, full of the color of leaves in spring-time, when nature looks fresh and budding, fell from
your window, and your sublime talent. sure to adorn all it deigns to touch, has converted my head into a landscape. Pray open-see for yourself, and admire." At this poetic appeal, the door was opened; a strong arm caught Zambetto by the ear and lugged him into the room.
"Decidedly an American, from his engaging manners," thought Zambetto.
Was it you, then, you blackguard, that gave the howl under my window just now? What the devil had you to do with star-gazing this time of day?" and the artist dropped his palette and seized his mahl-stick.
"Oh, my prince, it was the purest accident in the world. Pray, look at me; thanks to your skill I might pass for the sign of the green-faced monkey."
Answer me, what were you doing under my window?" "Getting up an appetite, your lordship," answered Zambetto.
No impertinence," cried the artist, as he approached Zambetto with a huge brush, steeped in what Zambetto took to be fresh gore, "or I will leave colors on you that will be lasting."
"It cannot be possible that your signore can find fault with me, for having so profitably employed my time. Why, to be hungry--is a poor fellow's privilege." There was a smile on the artist's face at his ludicrous appearance. Zambetto felt encouraged.
"I have brought back your brush. I saw a piece at the Teatro Apollo the other night, where a great king picked up a paint-brush a greater painter had let fall," and Zambetto, with a peculiar manner, presented the brush, adding"I am the king-you the painter."
"Were there ever such fellows as these Italians, for complimentary speeches? Strange how cleverly the fellow did it. Nice pose-clean limbsneat torse, he might do for a study," and with this the artist turned his back on Zambetto, and commenced working at a picture.
On a table was a vase of elegant proportions, heaped full of fruit. Pomegranates, figs, melons, and grapes were temptingly displayed. Zambetto admired their artistic arrangement, watching the painter, who cleverly copied them; the rich, fresh color just dripping from the brush wonderfully imitating the over-ripeness of the dewy fruit, an effect, alas! so evanescent as to fade
away in a moment's time; as it was, Zambetto smacked his lips. ··
"What, not gone yet?" exclaimed the artist.
"Please, my master," replied Zambetto, in his most dulcet tones of Venetian dialect, eluding every unnecessary consonant, "strange to say, by the most remarkable accident in the world, I have not breakfasted as yet, nor from present appearances am I likely to do so; but, hungry as I am, I must positively declare, I should infinitely prefer plucking a grape from off that purple cluster that so gracefully hangs down in your picture there, to taking a real one; for yours undoubtedly are riper, sweeter fruit." The artist looked pleased. "But," added Zambetto, "it may arise from the green veil which at present disturbs my vision." The painter frowned, and Zambetto prudently ceased. "Take this, jackanapes, and rub your face with it," said the artist, handing a sponge. Zambetto scoured away, and, after a moment, the charming oval, the merry black eyes, the well-formed nose, the sprightly mouth of the pure Venetian type shone forth.
"Now that your eyes are open, tell me what they saw down stairs?"
"Absolutely nothing-only a gondola-"
"Ab-indeed?" asked the artist quite indifferently.
"Nothing particular about the gondola, only two ladies inside."
"Are you sure of that?" inquired the artist, more interested.
ceived, for it was mixed up in a bunch of flowers-' 19
"Go on, go on-❞
"Absent-like, she dropped some leaves into the canal, and then only then-I discovered my mistake."
"Which way did they go?" anxiously inquired the artist.
"Please, sir, at that precise moment I was struck blind. It might have been from the lady's beauty, it might have been from other causes; suffice it to say, when I again saw the light of day, the gondola had disappeared, as if by enchantment."
"It served you right. Do you know what a visitation of Providence is? That is what you got."
"Zambetto is a good Christian, and believes in miracles."
"Well, Zambetto, I am sorry for your face, which is too good a one to be spoiled. Now, what are you good for? Hop up here;" Zambetto jumped on a stand. "Now put one leg under youso-double the other one-right. Stretch out your arms-not so, you awkward booby. There, that is something like it. Now, be good enough to look up at the ceiling, and show the white of your eyes -very good. Recollect you are not to look comical; you will please to imagine yourself some poor devil half starved, and that somebody is holding a bunch of grapes, or a slice of melon, over your head. Here," said the artist, taking a bunch of grapes and hanging it on the easel, within an inch of Zambetto's nose; "there, look at this. First-rateyou have it exactly."
"I can't do it; it's more than human nature can stand. I am too hungry!
You don't say so?" cried the artist enthusiastically; "I am delighted to hear it; you are perfection-admirable -splendid a master-piece!"
No wonder," sighed poor Zambetto, "it is no acting on my part."
"Could anything be more natural," went on the artist, not heeding him, as he took a crayon and dashed some rapid strokes on the paper. "Superb!-that fellow there would make a model for Murillo's beggar-boys. What a pity he is not older, he then might do for a Tantalus-just a moment more, I am putting in the grapes, and now," he added kindly, "that will do, and, Zambetto, help yourself."
By all the stars, my breakfast!"'
artist dividing a loaf, and when you have done, you will find a cup of coffee behind that picture."
"Coffee, your grace? This is not a breakfast, it is," here he choked with a big bit of crust," it-is-a perfect banquet. When I have done, may I kiss the hand of my kind host?"
Clear out!" cried the artist in English; "stop your humbug." He, however, watched, with evident pleasure, Zambetto devouring the bread and grapes, and smiled at the gusto with which he satouréd his coffee.
The repast ended, Zambetto mused a moment, evidently composing some grand complimentary speech. The painter went to the door and locked it. "Zambetto, do not imagine I have done with you. You will hop up there again, and pose exactly as you did before; when I have finished, providing I am pleased with you, this shall be yours," and he drew a small coin from his pocket. Zambetto's eyes glistened. There were dinner and supper for the day, a ticket for the theatre, one onehundredth of a share in the lottery, not counting lots of other minor pleasures in perspective; so, with a bound, he resumed his former position, doubled his legs under him, stretched out his arms, and gazed fixedly at the ceiling.
The painter recommenced the study. "Well it is fair-rather-but pshaw! not like the first sketch. I say, Zambetto, that's not it, you dog-look hungry, just as you did before, I tell you." "I will try, your signore. Will this do? Something like a poodle begging for a lump of sugar?"
"No, no-not at all the expression," exclaimed the disappointed artist.
"Is this better?" and Zambetto, anxious to please, tried exceedingly hard to look miserable, and could not.
No, you imp-you are purposely trying my patience. There is a smirk on your countenance; a suppressed smile that makes the expression hypocritical, I might call it a sort of digestive easethat won't do, I tell you, look starved!" roared the artist, now in a rage.
"I can't," responded Zambetto, in despair. "Your honor found me hungry and miserable, and now, thanks to his bounty, I am happy and contented, and try as hard as I can, were you even
to hang a turkey stuffed with chestnuts (a dish I have heard of, but never seen) within my reach, I shouldn't feel like the character. Might I dare to give to your illustrious genius a word of humble advice? Supposing you wanted to paint some merry fellow, such as I have seen in the opera-ballets, those little spirits with pointed ears, that look so jolly, cram full as they are with wine and good cheer. Oh! I could do that," and instantly Zambetto sprang to his feet, and stood an admirable copy of a dancing faun.
"Bravissimo!" exclaimed the artist, carried away by the change. “You are right-splendid-here you go-do not budge, for your life! Open your mouth, a trifle wider; show those white teeth of yours. You can't make your ears a bit longer, can you? I say, Zambetto, what shall I do with my first sketch? I must positively starve you again in order to finish it."
“Oh, your signore!"
'I must, absolutely. Don't look sad, you rascal, or you will spoil my work. Cheer up, I shall keep you well fed for this picture here, and starve you for the other. Lent one day, carnival the next."
The painter was soon absorbed in his work; as to Zambetto, his mind was so full of the pleasant things he was going to do with the piece of money, that he kept on the broad grin for a full hour.
"That will do now. I have finished," said the artist, at last. Here is the Szwanziger. Come here to-morrow, and, mind you, fasting ;" and he showed Zambetto the door.
"Am I to come when your signore drops something on my head? Might I take the privilege of ducking?"
Enough of that. I should particularly advise you to look straight before you."
"Into the canal?" inquired Zambetto. "This seems like most excellent quarters; true, a trifle of suffering, but then the wages," he thought to himself; “and not to look into gondolas !" added Zambetto aloud, as he neared the window. "I know that gondola among a thousand, and, by the holy Saint Marc, there comes the very same boat; the lady puts out her hand and drops the whole bouquet in the water. Shall I run down and get it, signore ?"
"No," answered the painter hurried
"The villain!" exclaimed the paint
"The scoundrel with the red moustache looks this way; fortunately he can see nothing; he offers his hand again and see how daintily she just takes the tip of his finger, and—”
"The angel!" "Yes-a second Venus-and now they have gone in. The play is over, and let us go home. No-by my mother, I see her at her window; she looks wistfully this way-"
"What, what? Does she draw to the curtains of her chamber?"
"Yes, yes, your honor-but you must be a magician-" The artist no longer heard him; he was striding up and down the room, exclaming in such a barbarous language, that Zambetto set it down for American.
"Please your highness, this beats any of Goldoni's comedies I have seen them all."
"Since you are so well informed," angrily responded the artist, "you must recollect the babblers and listeners are always cudgeled."
"And serve them right-at the same time, the lover always has a servant of this kind, sometimes this servant is the hero of the play," and Zambetto drew himself up with pride.
"You may be right.”
Vandyke Brown (his father was a millionaire in the white-lead business), from his youth, inherited a taste for the fine arts. As an infant, he invariably requested to be taken to the wax-works; as he grew older, his tastes improved, and when of a Saturday, after school, he spent his holiday in the Art Academy of Swopopolis, he got disgusted. The Salvators, Raphaels, Caraccis, "the Spanish schools," and "unknowns," all nicely framed and labeled, failed to inspire him. Though rather an overbearing youth, he did try to humble himself before the tar-colored things, the big and little crackled pictures, so copiously catalogued, and still they bored him. "What," he cried, "after my book of painters are these the works that make men famous? Though I appreciate the spirit that inspired their purchase, I wager these things to be but wooden-nutmeg and pine-ham concerns. When I grow older, I vow I shall see for myself." And so he did.
"This servant is peculiarly shrewd twenty-five, Brown had visited the last and clever-"
picture in the Escurial, had found out the Simon Pures, the Salvator Rosas, the Caraccis, and had bowed before them; no longer a modest youth, he had poohpoohed Ruskin, had dined with Theophile Gautier, and was on the eve of going into the desert after Horace Vernet, when he lingered a day in Vienna. There was one picture that he wished to examine, and his artistic traps wanted replenishing; for Brown had become quite a crack amateur, that is to say, when the fit was on him.
He was selecting his materials at a color-shop, when a hired drosky drove up before the shop door, and a lady entered. Brown saw her hand a medallion to the shopman. "Can this be
oopied?" asked a sweet voice in an Italian-German.
"Certainly, that is to say-for I perceive this to be executed in the first style of art-if you would be willing to pay the price for it;" and the inan mentioned a considerable sum.
"How soon can I have it?" she anxiously inquired.
"You will be obliged to wait some time for it-the person who does this kind of work for us, is out of town."
"I must have it immediately-is there no one who could do this for me in a day, for I must have it to-morrow evening."
In a day? Impossible! To copy that any way faithfully, the artist would be forced to begin now and work incessantly-perhaps then could not finish it. What you ask is impossible;" and, returning the miniature, he paid no more attention to her.
Vandyke saw a tear glisten from under the veil the lady wore, as, convulsively clasping the picture, she lingered yet a moment, then hurried out. Brown's sympathy was excited; he followed her with his eyes, and saw her mount the carriage steps. Some lover whose portrait she must return; to solace her poor little heart she would keep a copy," he mused. Unconsciously he was in the street; the lady was giving a direction to the coachman; as Brown put his head in the carriage window, the lady gave a cry of alarm-when Brown said, "Madame, I am an artist, a poor one, it is true, but most ready to serve you.
Will you give me the medallion ?" Brown had a singularly musical voice. She hesitated a moment, then answered, "Will you undertake it can you sit up all day and night at it-will you labor faithfully-?" probably to see whether the aid came from an honest face, she withdrew the veil, and the loveliest type in Brown's gallery of ideal beauty-the dark-blue eye of the Saxon, combined with the rich skin and raven hair of the Italian-a style that Caracci only attempts for his angels, was disclosed.
"I give you my word, that if it be within the range of possibility, I will make a copy by to-morrow night. Your address, if you please," cried Vandyke, enthusiastically, as he took the portrait from her trembling hand.
"Double what the shopman mentioned as the price-shall be yours," she added falteringly, "and, if my
gratitude were worth anything, you would be repaid a thousand-fold."
"No matter for the remuneration. Your address, if you please?"
"My address?" she seemed to hesitate, I never thought of that. Here to-morrow at seven o'clock, and now, generous Englishman—” "No, American."
American, then." and she looked at
him earnestly with her deep-blue eyes, "I thank you." She gave the word to her coachman-in a moment was gone, and Vandyke was left in the street with the picture in his hand. “I am a fool not to follow her. Heavens what a lovely face!" For a moment he hurried in the direction of the carriage; suddenly he paused. If I follow I may lose five hours of September light, and my honor, which is engaged." To rush home to the Hotel de St. Petersburgh, was the affair of a moment. "Perhaps her portrait," said Brown, as he commenced work, "more likely a man's head-some stupid commonplace affair, with unctuous hair, and a gold chain. Yes, a man's head. Um-a fair head-a splendid head-I must do it justice. Her lover, I suppose the deuce take it, how handsome he is!" he shook his fist at it. "There is energy in it-couragea slight inclination towards the unattainable-but nothing tricky-every line is truth and honor. Can such a face as this have-have-? If it was— I could kill him. Well, to work." With more than one tinge of jealousy, Brown worked away at his task, feeling himself every moment more and more in love with the dark-blue eyes.
"Finished!" he exultingly cried the next day, as, late in the afternoon, he gave the miniature the last delicate touch. "Not bad either-quite decent. What's the clock? an hour to spare? Well done-worked against time, and beat the daguerreotype. Now for a case to it." He found a case which fitted it nicely. "Forty minutes to spare! a mouthful to eat a bottle of wine; for it just strikes me, I have not tasted a morsel since yesterday." At a quarter before seven he had put on his last Paris suit-chosen his neatest gloves-given his hair its most dandified curl-brushed his freshest hat, and, with the pictures in his pocket, hurried to the rendezvous. He was before his time. Five min