“When I went to buy it, you know not how I felt, when the artist, notwithstanding all my pleadings, denied my request. His apology was, that he had taken it for some purpose of his own—some great exhibition of paintings—what, I could not fully comprehend. He would not sell it. Day after day I have been to him, but in vain. And now the time of our departure will soon come, and duty demands that I must go with my father, and I must leave my dear Flora, and portrait too.”
She then laid her face upon the grave and wept. Anna’s eyes were filled with tears, and for some moments she did not speak. At last she thought—“I know the artist.” And then touching the mother, who was almost insensible, she said, “Madam, it may be that I can do something for you—describe to me the picture. I think I must have seen it at this same artist’s room.”
The mother then gave the description, and after Anna had gathered from the mother all needful information, her name, and residence, and time of sailing, then giving her own address, and speaking to her words of consolation and hope, she arose and left the stranger at the grave of her child. The next story will tell you how the picture was obtained.
Anna started for her home, and when she had arrived, she slowly ascended to her room, flung herself upon her couch, and buried her face in its cushions.
“Edgar,” (for that was the artist’s name, and Anna knew him,) “Edgar is cold hearted.” She did not meet the family at tea that evening, but when her mother came to inquire if she was ill, she related all the sad story of the childless mother, and asked what could be done. The next morning, Anna and her father went to see the artist. He was not in attendance, but one to whom they were well known brought forward the picture, at Anna’s request, and which she had before seen. While they were looking at it, the artist came in.
“Pardon me, sir,” said Anna’s father, “for examining your beautiful picture during your absence, but my daughter has a very earnest desire to possess it. Is it for sale?”
Edgar replied, “I have painted this picture for the coming artist’s exhibition, and, therefore, I have made no design as to its disposal, but it would be an honor to me to have you and Miss Anna its purchasers. I would wish, however, previously to its being given up, that it might be exhibited, according to my intention, at the rooms, which open on Monday next.”
Mr. H. hesitated—the vessel, which was to carry away the sorrowing mother, was to sail in a little more than two weeks—they must have the picture at that time, if ever; and he said to the artist, “I am aware that this is a beautiful painting, and I will pay you your price, but I must be allowed to take it at the expiration of ten days, if at all.”
Edgar reflected a few moments, and being well aware that, in the mansion of Mr. Hastings, his elegant picture would be seen by persons of the most accomplished manners, and of excellent taste, concluded to sell the picture. The bargain was made and Anna and her father departed, leaving the artist somewhat elated at the thought of having Mr. H. the owner of his picture.