He slowly climbed the stairs. The great clock on the landing stared at him as he passed and in deep tones tolled the hour—of ten. It was impossible! Livingstone knew it must have been hours since he left his office. To him it seemed months, years;—but his own watch marked the same hour.
As he entered his bedroom, two pictures hanging on the wall caught his eye. They were portraits of a gentleman and a lady. Any one would have known at a glance that they were Livingstone’s father and mother. They had hung there since Livingstone built his house, but he had not thought of them in years. Perhaps, that was why they were still there.
They were early works of one who had since become a master. Livingstone remembered the day his father had given the order to the young artist.
“Why do you do that?” some one had asked. “He perhaps has parts, but he is a young man and wholly unknown.”
“That is the very reason I do it,” had said his father. “Those who are known need no assistance. Help young men, for thereby some have helped angels unawares.”
It had come true. The unknown artist had become famous, and these early portraits were now worth—no, not those figures which suddenly gleamed before Livingstone’s eyes!—
Livingstone remembered the letter that the artist had written his father, tendering him aid when he learned of his father’s reverses—he had said he owed his life to him—and his father’s reply, that he needed no aid, and it was sufficient recompense to know that one he had helped remembered a friend.
Livingstone walked up and scanned the portrait nearest him. He had not really looked at it in years. He had had no idea how fine it was. How well it portrayed him! There was the same calm forehead, noble in its breadth; the same deep, serene, blue eyes;—the artist had caught their kindly expression;—the same gentle mouth with its pleasant humor lurking at the corners;—the artist had almost put upon the canvas the mobile play of the lips;—the same finely cut chin with its well marked cleft. It was the very man.
Livingstone had had no idea how handsome a man his father was. He remembered Henry Trelane saying he wished he were an artist to paint his father, but that only Van Dyck could have made him as distinguished as he was.
He turned to the portrait of his mother. It was a beautiful face and a gracious. He remembered that every one except his father had said it was a fine portrait, but his father had said it was, “only a fine picture; no portrait of her could be fine.”
Moved by the recollection, Livingstone opened a drawer and took from a box the daguerreotype of a boy. He held it in his hand and looked first at it and then at the portraits on the wall. Yes, it was distinctly like both. He remembered it used to be said that he was like his father; but his father had always said he was like his mother. He could now see the resemblance. There were, even in the round, unformed, boyish face, the same wide open eyes; the same expression of the mouth, as though a smile were close at hand; the same smooth, placid brow. His chin was a little bolder than his father’s. Livingstone was pleased to note it.