The prosperous mercantile part of Genoa said nothing to her—she wanted always to wander where she could weave romances into the things round. She had never seen any fine pictures before. The Anderton family were not lovers of art and, while in London, Halcyone had been too unhappy to care or even ask to be taken to galleries—and Cheiron had not suggested doing so; he was a good deal occupied himself. But now it was a great pleasure to him to watch and see what impression they would make upon a perfectly fresh eye. The immense cultivation of her mind would guide her taste probably—but it would be an interesting experiment.
She stopped instantly in front of a Van Dyck, but she did not speak. In fact she made no observations at all about the pictures until they were back in their hotel. It was still very hot, although September had come, and they had their dinner upon an open terrace.
And then her thoughts came out.
“I like the Guido Renis, Cheiron,” she said; “his Magdalen in the Reale Palazzo is exquisite—she is pure and good. But I do not like the saints and martyrs in the throes of their agony, they say nothing to me, I have no sympathy for them. I adore the Madonna and the Child; they touch me—here,” and she laid her hand upon her heart. “The Sassoferarto Virgin in the Reale Palazzo is like Miss Lutworth, she is full of kindness and youth. The early masters’ works, which are badly drawn and beautifully colored, I have to take apart—and it is unsatisfying. Because, while I am trying not to see the wrong shape, I have only half my faculties to appreciate the exquisite colors, and so a third influence has to come in—the meaning of the artist who painted them and perhaps put into them his soul. But that is altruistic—I could as well admire something of very bad art for the same reason. For me a picture should satisfy each of these points of view to be perfect and lift me into heights. That is why perhaps I shall prefer sculpture on the whole, when I shall have seen it, to painting.”
And Mr. Carlyon felt that, learned in art and old as he was, Halcyone might give him a new point of view.
Next day they left for Pisa.
When Arabella Clinker and her mother were settled together at Wendover, a strange peace seemed to fall upon the place. John Derringham was conscious of it upstairs as he lay in his Louis XV bed. By the time he was allowed to be carried to a sofa in the sitting-room which had been arranged for him, July had well set in.
He had parted from his Cecilia with suitable things said upon either side. Even in his misery and abasement, John Derringham was too assured a spirit and too much a man of the world to have any hesitation or awkwardness. Mrs. Cricklander had been all that was sympathetic. She looked superbly full of vigor and the joy of life as she came to say farewell.