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though, as before, the sound did not return, I lay awake for many hours in a state of miserable trepidation.
My cousin came home the following day. In face he resembled his father more than any one else in the family; but he was much taller, and had a wider forehead, which gave him a more intellectual appearance. He was grave and quiet, but kind and courteous, nevertheless, and
very tender in his manner to his younger sisters. As soon as Catty was out of the room, he observed that she was looking dull, and I could see that all the evening he was exerting himself to cheer her, speaking about Walter, and the good accounts he had lately heard of him, in a way that showed he set down her low spirits to the same cause that I did.
(To be continued.)
ARTISTS' NOTES FROM CHOICE PICTURES. 'Choosing the Wedding Gown.'
EAUTY, Plato somewhere pro
things, and the rarest.
If by 'beauty' he meant that of Woman (I am afraid, however, he did not exclusively), the reader, whether fair or bearded, will acknowledge the first to be a tolerably safe conclusion; but if we cast our eyes around us, as the orators so often advise us to do, how can we admit the second?
The truth is that the sage was dealing with one of those 'lofty generalizations' for which he had so special an aptitude. He no doubt was as familiar as you and I with female beauty-for the Greeks had pretty women before and after Phryne-but, as philosophers are wont, he was looking beyond, or through, the material shape into 'the soul of things.' So when writers tell us that the true painter is ever striving after an ideal beauty which he never quite attains, though he may haply come very near to it, they are no doubt dealing with abstract impalpable truths, rather than commonplace every-day actualities. But out of the region of cloudland, it has been seriously affirmed by writers on art that, in representing ordinary (or extraordinary) physical, flesh-and-blood,
The creature not too fair or good,
every true painter has an ideal beauty, which he is always striving after, which he nearly reaches once,
but never again approaches-one beautiful face which he only once represents in its perfection. Now if this be so-I do not say it is, but if it be then that we have here must be Mulready's ideal.
For the reader has seen at a glance that it is from Mulready this month's Notes are taken: and has seen, too, that the picture so annotated is that charming little scene from the 'Vicar of Wakefield,' the Choosing the Wedding Gown,' now, thanks to Mr. Sheepshanks, a part of the national treasures stored in the South Kensington Museum. It is twenty years ago that this picture was at the Academy Exhibition a constant source of surprise as well as delight. Mulready had then been for above forty years an exhibitor at the Academy, yet here was a painting by him, as fresh and unanticipated in conception and treatment as though the work of an unknown man. No symptom about it of mental torpor, of failing hand or eye, but full of life and spirit, as effective at a distance as when seen close, in colour of gem-like depth and lustre, and in execution the perfection of unobtrusive finish. And that fair face-truly one such as youthful poets dream of, but very, very rarely even youthful painters transfer to canvas. In the cold overlighted room at South Kensington the picture loses something of its attractiveness among so many larger and more pretentious works; but, like Mrs. Primrose herself, it retains its hold on those who look 'not for