“I don’t see that there is anything wrong in painting a picture to order, is there? You paint a portrait to order, why shouldn’t you paint an old house, or a beautiful castle on a cliff, with the sea beyond it? If you wish, I’ll close with you now and call it a bargain.”
Mrs. Carstairs had been standing all this time with an unframed picture in one hand, and a dust brush in the other, and her husband had been sitting on the rolled-up Turkish rug and trying not to look at her.
“I’d like to do it very well,” he said, simply.
“Well, that’s good,” replied the railroad king, heartily. “You’ll need a retaining fee, I suppose, like lawyers do; and you put your best work on the two pictures and remember what they mean to me, and put the spirit of home into them. It’s my home you’re painting, do you understand? I think you do. That’s why I asked you instead of asking any of the others. Now, you know how I feel about it, and you put the feeling into the picture; and as to the price, you ask whatever you please, and you live at my houses and at my expense until the work is done. If I don’t see you again,” he said, as he laid a check down on the table among the brushes and paint tubes and cigars, “I will wish you a merry Christmas.” Then he hurried out and banged the door behind him and escaped their thanks, and left them alone together.
The pictures of Breton life and landscape were exhibited a year later in Paris, and in the winter in New York, and, as they bore the significant numerals of the Salon on the frame, they were immediately appreciated, and many people asked the price. But the attendant said they were already sold to Mr. Cole, the railroad king, who had purchased also the great artistic success of the exhibition—an old farm-house with a wintry landscape, and the word “Home” printed beneath it.
Andy M’Gee was a fireman, and was detailed every evening to theatre duty at the Grand Opera House, where the Ada Howard Burlesque and Comic Opera Company was playing “Pocahontas.” He had nothing to do but to stand in the first entrance and watch the border lights and see that the stand lights in the wings did not set fire to the canvas. He was a quiet, shy young man, very strong-looking and with a handsome boyish face. Miss Agnes Carroll was the third girl from the right in the first semi-circle of amazons, and very beautiful. By rights she should have been on the end, but she was so proud and haughty that she would smile but seldom, and never at the men in front. Brady, the stage manager, who was also the second comedian, said that a girl on the end should at least look as though she were enjoying herself, and though he did not expect her to talk across the footlights, she might at least look over them once in a while, just to show there was no ill feeling. Miss Carroll did not agree with him in this, and so she was relegated to the