“He couldn’t be your twin-brother,” said Amabel, gravely; “he’s not a gentleman.”
“Well, he’s not exactly not a gentleman,” said D’Arcy. “However, I asked him if he sent his pictures to the Academy, and he said no, but his master does, the artist he lives with. And he told me his master’s name, and the number of his pictures; and I’ve brought you a catalogue, and the numbers are 401, 402, and 403. And we are going to the Academy this afternoon, and I’ve asked mamma to ask Lady Louisa to let you come with us. But don’t say any thing about me and the boy, for I don’t want it to be known I have been out early.”
At this moment Mademoiselle, who had been looking into the garden from an upper window, hastened to fetch Amabel indoors.
It was between three and four o’clock in the afternoon, and the Academy was crowded. The crush was so oppressive that Lady Adelaide wanted to go away, but D’Arcy had expressed a wish to see No. 401, and D’Arcy’s wishes were law to his father, so he struggled in search of the picture, and the others followed him. And when a small crowd that was round it had dispersed, they saw it quite clearly.
It was the painter’s picture. As the other spectators passed, they spoke of the coloring and the draughtsmanship; of the mellow glow of sunshine, which, faithful to the richness of southern summers, carried also a poetical hint of the air of glory in which genius lives alone. To some the graceful figure of Cimabue was familiar, but the new group round the picture saw only the shepherd lad. And if, as the spectators said, his eyes haunted them about the room, what ghosts must they not have summoned to haunt Mr. Ford’s client as he gazed?
“Mais c’est Monsieur D’Arcy!” screamed the French governess. And Amabel said, “It’s Bogy; but he’s got no leaves.” Lady Adelaide was quite composed. The likeness was very striking, but her maternal eyes saw a thousand points of difference between the Giotto of the painting and her son. “How very odd!” she said. “I wonder who sat for the Giotto? If he really were the boy Amabel thinks she saw in the wood, I think her Bogy and the model must both be the same as a wonderful child Mr. Ammaby was telling me about, who painted the sign of the inn in his village; but his father was a windmiller called Lake, and” —
“Mamma! mamma!” cried D’Arcy, “papa is ill.”
The sound of his son’s voice recalled Mr. Ford’s client to consciousness; but it was a very partial and confused consciousness. He heard voices speaking of the heat, the crush, etc., as in a dream. He was not sure whether he was being carried or led along. The painting was no longer before him, but it mattered little. The shepherd boy’s eyes were as dark as his own; but that look in their upward gaze, which stirred every heart, pierced his as it had moved it years ago from eyes the color of a summer sky. To others their pathos spoke of yearning genius at war with fortune; but for Mr. Ford’s client they brought back, out of the past, words which rang more clearly in his ears than the condolences of the crowd, —