For what Mr. Powers became before he left America he cannot be praised too greatly. He carried with him to Europe just that knowledge of Nature and that executive power which prepared him to take advantage of the aid that all great Art was waiting to afford. Had he won “the large truth,” he would have found the scope and purpose of his genius, as in America he had found that of his talent. He would have seen his specialty to be worthy of all reverence, for he would have attained to an appreciation of the high possibilities of portrait-Art. There would have been developed, under the influence of great principles, the power to make statues of great men,—colossal, instead of big,—reposeful, instead of paralyzed,—grand, instead of arrogant,—statues worthy of the hand that wrought the busts of Calhoun, Jackson, and Webster, worthy to rank with the few mighty embodiments of power, the Sophocles, the Aristides, and the Demosthenes. This he might have done; and this he may yet accomplish.
THE AMBER GODS.
Flower o’ the Peach.
We’ve some splendid old point-lace in our family, yellow and fragrant, loose-meshed. It isn’t every one has point at all; and of those who have, it isn’t every one can afford to wear it. I can. Why? Oh, because it’s in character. Besides, I admire point any way,—it’s so becoming; and then, you see, this amber! Now what is in finer unison, this old point-lace, all tags and tangle and fibrous and bewildering, and this amber, to which Heaven knows how many centuries, maybe, with all their changes, brought perpetual particles of increase? I like yellow things, you see.
To begin at the beginning. My name, you’re aware, is Giorgione Willoughby. Queer name for a girl! Yes; but before papa sowed his wild oats, he was one afternoon in Fiesole, looking over Florence nestled below, when some whim took him to go into a church there, a quiet place, full of twilight and one great picture, nobody within but a girl and her little slave,—the one watching her mistress, the other saying dreadfully devout prayers on an amber rosary, and of course she didn’t see him, or didn’t appear to. After he got there, he wondered what on earth he came for, it was so dark and poky, and he began to feel uncomfortably,—when all of a sudden a great ray of sunset dashed through the window, and drowned the place in the splendor of the illumined painting. Papa adores rich colors; and he might have been satiated here, except that such things make you want more. It was a Venus;—no, though, it couldn’t have been a Venus in a church, could it? Well, then, a Magdalen, I guess, or a Madonna, or something. I fancy the man painted for himself, and christened for others. So, when I was born, some years afterward, papa, gratefully remembering this dazzling little vignette of his youth, was absurd enough to christen me Giorgione. That’s how I came by my identity; but the folks all call me Yone,—a baby name.