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Macleod of Dare ebook

William Black
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 492 pages of information about Macleod of Dare.

“Papa, what is the matter with you?  Has anything gone wrong this morning?”

“Oh, my dear child,” said he, “don’t speak of it.  It is my memory—­I fear my memory is going.  But we will not trouble our guest about it.  I think you were saying, Sir Keith, that you had seen the latest additions to the National Gallery—­”

“But what is it, papa?” his daughter insisted.

“My dear, my dear, I know I have the lines somewhere; and Lord ——­ says that the very first jug fired at the new pottery he is helping shall have these lines on it, and be kept for himself.  I know I have both the Spanish original and the English translation somewhere; and all the morning I have been hunting and hunting—­for only one line.  I think I know the other three,—­

’Old wine to drink.  Old wrongs let sink, * * * * Old friends in need.’

It is the third line that has escaped me—­dear, dear me!  I fear my brain is going.”

“But I will hunt for it, papa,” said she; “I will get the lines for you.  Don’t you trouble.”

“No, no, no, child,” said he, with somewhat of a pompous air.  “You have this new character to study.  You must not allow any trouble to disturb the serenity of your mind while you are so engaged.  You must give your heart and soul to it, Gerty; you must forget yourself; you must abandon yourself to it, and let it grow up in your mind until the conception is so perfect that there are no traces of the manner of its production left.”

He certainly was addressing his daughter, but somehow the formal phrases suggested that he was speaking for the benefit of the stranger.  The prim old gentleman continued; “That is the only way.  Art demands absolute self-forgetfulness.  You must give yourself to it in complete surrender.  People may not know the difference; but the true artist seeks only to be true to himself.  You produce the perfect flower; they are not to know of the anxious care—­of the agony of tears, perhaps you have spent on it.  But then your whole mind must be given to it; there must be no distracting cares; I will look for the missing lines myself.”

“I am quite sure, papa,” said Miss Carry, spitefully, “that she was far more anxious about these cutlets than about her new part this morning.  She was half a dozen times to the kitchen.  I didn’t see her reading the book much.”

“The res angustae domi,” said the father, sententiously, “sometimes interfere, where people are not too well off.  But that is necessary.  What is not necessary is that Gerty should take my troubles over to herself, and disturb her formation of this new character, which ought to be growing up in her mind almost insensibly, until she herself will scarcely be aware how real it is.  When she steps on to the stage she ought to be no more Gertrude White than you or I. The artist loses himself.  He transfers his soul to his creation.  His heart beats in another breast; he sees with other

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