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with this. Master Rembrandt, that picture Rembrandt glanced at the lovely croi. must be mine."
ture with a sarcastic smile; he then callia: “It is impossible ! I have painted it at the old woman who was crouching near tiss the command of the Princess Clara Eugenia, chimney, took her by the hand, and returnand she is to pay me a thousand florins for it.” ing the courtesy of his guest, he said:
“I will give you four thousand. By St. " This woman here is my wife, Master Paul! my gallery were put to shame, if such Rubens; permit me to present her to you." a master-piece, instead of gracing my dwell- In the meanwhile Rubens had begun ing, adorned the palace of the Queen Regent his work, which he continued without enof the Netherlands. Van Dyck, count out tirely interrupting the conversation. four thousand florins to Master Rembrandt." “I was very anxious on your account a
“Van Dyck !" replied Rembrandt, in as- few weeks since," he said ; "the rumor was tonishment; “ who are you, then, that Van prevalent in Antwerp that you were dead, Dyck serves you as a treasurer ?"
and a dealer in paintings even showed a “I am Peter Paul Rubens, and I have letter from your son which confirmed it." come from Antwerp to visit you.”
Rembrandt smiled with an air of satis“Rubens !” exclaimed Rembrandt, gazing faction, and said : at his rival from head to foot. “Well, then, “I needed six thousand florins to comsince you are a brother artist, you know that plete the sum necessary for the payment of time is precious; I will continue my work. my house; the trick was successful ; I sold A man must earn his bread,” he added, my paintings for twice their value. But with a hypocritical sigh. “Ah, me, I have no pardon me, the hour for my dinner has money to buy paintings at the rate of four struck. I will not venture to invite you to thousand florins apiece !"
partake of it. Your train also is too numerThese dissembling words were uttered by ous for so scanty a meal. Ay, ay, all a man who, as was discovered on the day painters cannot be ambassadors and princes. after his death, had three millions of gold I have never received the slightest favor in his cellar,
from the Kings of Spain and England, I beRembrandt took up his brush again, and long to no order of knighthood, and my in less than an hour the picture was com- whole train consists of my ape, my wife, and pleted, while all present stood around, in my son Titus, when he is in Amsterdam. deep silence, and Rubens leaned, scarcely Catherine, bring me my dinner.” breathing, over the artist's chair. He de- Dame Rembrandt, who readily divined voured the palette with his eyes, and endeav- her husband's thoughts, at once joined in ored to penetrate the secret by which the the cynical humility which he seemed reold man produced those admirable effects solved to display before the pompous train of light and shade which distinguished his of his guest. She spread a table that stood pictures.
in the middle of the studio with a coarse When the painting was finished, Rem- white and blue checkered table-cloth, placed brandt rose and said :
two earthen plates upon it, and from a dish " It is not yet noon; I can complete a of the same material she took, with a large new work before evening, therefore accept wooden spoon, a thick soup prepared of this as a mark of the esteem which I feel for vegetables and bread; she completed the you. If I have at times passed a sleepless dinner with a piece of lean beef, pickled night, it has been owing to the success of herrings, cheese and small beer.
Rembrandt dispatched his meal with a "I am not your rival, Master, but your hearty appetite. When he rose from the pupil. To convince you of this, permit me to table, Rubens had finished the head upon to take yonder new canvas, and the brush which he was employed; it was the celewhich you have used. I will attempt to brated Straw Hat, painted under the inspiraimitate your style. Helen, come hither, tion of Rembrandt, a picture in which Ruand sit in that part of the studio where the bens had displayed the vivid colorings, and light falls most directly; place that straw hat the mysterious blending of light and shade, upon your head, and be a good and docile which characterized the works of that old model. Master Rembrandt, I introduce to master, you my dear wife."
Rembrandt gazed at the noble painting
with constrained joy, in which both admira- | bundle that hung at his girdle, and having tion and jealousy were visible.
looked carefully around to satisfy himself “We are now quits, then," he said ; “or that no one, not even his wife, was watching rather I am a gainer by the exchange." him, he opened a door which was construct
“We are not yet quits, Master. But for ed in the wall, and which led to a narrow you, but for the lesson which you gave me stairway. He then lighted a lantern, locked in permitting me to look on while you were the door behind him, cautiously descended painting, I could not have executed this fourteen damp steps, and at last reached a portrait, which is perhaps my best. Permit second door, which he opened like the first. me, therefore, to present you with this cas- He now found himself in a vault, in which ket, containing a set of silver ware, which stood numerous casks filled to the brim with I have had made for you, and marked with gold coin. He stopped before one of these your name,
As often as you use it, remem- casks, suffered the rays of the light to play ber your admirer, your pupil—your friend, upon the pieces of gold, and after he had if you will allow me this title.”
gazed upon them for a while, and thrust his Rembrandt glanced with indifference at fingers to and fro among them, so that the the costly gift, while Dame Catherine, with bright metal rang clear and sharp upon his eager curiosity, examined the various pieces ear, he exclaimed: of richly embossed silver work which the “Rubens, thou art a vain and foolish casket contained.
mortal! Out upon thy pride and extrava" You are a great lord, Master Rubens, gance! The highest of earthly pleasures, and it is the duty of a poor artist like my- after all, is the possession of a treasure.” self to receive the gifts with which his pa- Suddenly a slight noise was heard. Remtron, his Mæcenas honors him,” replied brandt's delicate and mistrustful ear at once Rembrandt, not without a shade of bitter- recognized the creaking of the gate of the
“That is a different thing from our court-yard. With a bound light as that of tin spoons, ha, Catherine! But now dispatch, a youth he hastened up the stairs, rushed into and lay all quickly aside, for the time ap- his studio, drew the tapestry quickly before proaches when I cease to be a painter. the place where the secret door opened, and After the clock strikes two I am a mere man hastened to meet his visitors. of business. The Jews and merchants with “I greet you, Master Solomon Lirch, and whom I have dealings then visit me, and I you, Master Samuel Netscham! You are already see Levi Zacharias, the silk mercer, welcome!" he cried, almost out of breath. below in the court. At what inn do you "Is it aught good that procures me the honor lodge, Master Rubens, that to-morrow morn- of this late visit?" ing, or this evening, I may pay my respects “ I, for my part,” replied the former, “have to you?"
come to propose a loan to you. The mer“I lodge with the Count Penaflor. Fare-chant Lannan needs a thousand florins." well, Master, until this evening.”
“I will lend them to him at twenty “Until this evening," replied Rembrandt, per cent.; but he must place in my hands bowing humbly to the ground.
as a pledge double the amount in wares." At a sign from Rubens, Helen and his "I will inform him of your conditions," train retired. All mounted their horses, and rejoined Master Solomon Lirch. the splendid cavalcade set off at a full gallop. "And I," said the other, after the latter Rembrandt followed it, for a while, with had taken his leave, “wish to purchase a
picture from you for Marshal Isenghien." “ That is a prince !" he muttered;" a king ! “I can content you. Here is the portrait He enjoys his life in splendor! Perhaps he of a rabbi, who was unable to pay for it after is right, perhaps I am a fool to live in pov- it was completed." erty and seclusion. Poverty !-yes, I am “What price do you set upon it ?” poor, in spite of all my wealth. But what “A thousand florins." of that? In yonder vault, locked with a “A thousand florins !" key that never leaves me, I hold sums that “ You have heard me promise them to could content the caprices of a king! Lav- Samuel Netscham. If you will not pay the ish in folly the fruits of thy labor, Rubens ! sum, I must procure them from another, for I have here my happiness and my joy." I have not a stiver in the house."
As he said this, he took a key from the “I will pay you within three months."
"Not so, Master; I must have the money “Well, if you do not wish to buy, do on the spot. How can a poor artist like not criticise,” replied the seller, in a decided myself wait for his daily earnings? He tone. “Thirty shillings !" must live from day to day, and you demand
"Forty !!! that he should tarry for the payment of a
Fifty !" painting for a space of three months! Pay "
Eighty!" down the sum at once, then, Master Solo- "A hundred !" mon, or I shall take the picture to the auc- A deep silence followed this offer. tion of my engravings, which is to commence "A hundred shillings," repeated the sellat seven o'clock."
er, “ a hundred shillings! Does no one offer "A singular idea, to sell objects of art more ?" at auction at such an hour."
The young man who had offered this sum Rembrandt smiled.
had already extended his hand to take the “If you were a man of judgment, my engraving, when a voice from the crowd dear picture-dealer, you would know that exclaimed: the faults of any single copy cannot be re- "A hundred and ten!" marked by lamp-light, and they sell equally The
young man, irritated by this tardy well with the good ones. I tell you of this and unexpected offer, now bid a hundred only because you deal in pictures. But I and twenty. have wasted time enough; I must now see “A hundred and thirty!" cried the voice. how matters are going at the auction. Will "A hundred and forty!" you take that portrait for a thousand florins, “A hundned and fifty!" ready money ?"
“He may take it,” said the young man, Master Lirch made a few further remon- turning away; "to pay more would be to strances, to which Rembrandt refused to give thrice its value." listen, and at last paid down the required The seller laughed. sum. He took the picture with him, and “Master Rembrandt,” he said, "the enleft Rembrandt alone.
graving is yours; you have bid a hundred When the latter had satisfied himself that and fifty shillings.' the door of the vault that held his treasure All eyes were at once turned towards the was well secured, he led one of his large man to whom these words were addressed. dogs from the court-yard into his studio, to But, without manifesting the slightest emprotect it during his absence; he then wrap- barrassment, Rembrandt said : ped himself in his mantle;" covered his head "I esteem myself fortunate in having with a wide slouched hat, and left the cham- come in time to secure this engraving. I ber, after having extinguished the lamp sent it to auction by mistake, and I was which he had lighted during his interview sadly grieved on account of the error. It is with the Jews. He now directed his steps too admirable and excellent for me to think towards the centre of the city, and proceed- of parting with it. The only way by which ed to a building where public auctions were I could obtain it, was to purchase it again, held. With his hat pressed more deeply and I have done so." upon his head, and his face concealed be- “ It is a question," said the young man, neath his mantle, he glided unobserved" whether a painter should be admitted to an through the crowd. A man who was mount- auction of his own works. However, Mased upon a table was offering pictures for sale. ter, I offer you two hundred shillings for After having sold some paintings of Mierics this engraving." and Gerhard Douw, he came to an engraving " It is a sacrifice indeed, but still it is a of Rembrandt's.
just punishment for my stupidity. In God's “The Crowned Juno.”
name, then, take the engraving for two hun“But Master Rembrandt has already sold dred shillings." this engraving," cried a voice.
He then withdrew, not without having “ Yes, but it was then unfinished; now it breathed a heavy sigh, as if he infinitely is all complete. Look, there was no crown regretted having parted with an engraving upon Juno's head in the other; this defect which was far from possessing any extraoris here remedied."
dinary merit. “But the addition seems on the whole “Since they know that I am here," he quite unessential.”
said to himself, “I can remain no longer to
bid Spon my works. I will visit then the I was alone, as he cast himself upon an old great artist who calls himself Peter Paul leathern chair, “ fool that I am to be jealous of Rubens. Good Heaven! what a crowd this man !" throngs the streets ! there go the cannon, and
He then added with a sigh, glancing at the houses are all illuminated! What can his torn mantle, “I am afraid it cannot be be the matter? Ha, worthy Burgomaster! mended; at last I shall have to purchase a wherefore are you arrayed thus in your holi- new one!” day suit? Whence this tumult in the city ?"
Master Anton Van Opsem, the Burgomaster of Amsterdam, took Rembrandt's arm and drew him onward with him.
When Master Nicholas Barruello had re“ I have no time to stand here talking," ceived that unhoped-for aid from the hands he said. “Important tidings have reached of the unknown horseman, he bitterly rethe States-General. Master Rubens's efforts proached himself for having doubted, for to arrange the treaty have been attended an instant, in Providence. He entered his with complete success, and all the corpora- little dwelling with a light heart, and nothing tions, with the Burgomaster and the Alder- short of the sad spectacle which it displayed men at their head, are assembling to do him could have banished the expression of joy honor. Do you not hear the shouts of the which had, for a moment, enlivened his face. crowd, 'Long live Rubens, the pride of On the way thither he had purchased the Netherlands !""
bread, some cooked meat, and a can of beer. Rembrandt drew his arm slowly from He placed the stock of provisions upon the that of the Burgomaster.
chimney-piece, and began to repair the dis" How ! you will not go with me to greet order in his chamber. He restored the litMaster Rubens ?"
tle window to its position, set new panes in “No, it is too late; my wife is waiting for the place of the broken ones, swept the me, and she might be alarmed at my re- snow into the street, rekindled the fire, and maining out so long. Farewell !"
then, not without hesitation, prepared to With these words he turned, and was commence the sad duty which remained to soon lost in the crowd.
him, and which, yielding to a natural feeling “ Long live Rubens, the pride of the of aversion, he had until now deferred, Netherlands !" he repeated in a low voice, as namely, to bury the dead. Fortifying himhe proceeded onward. “ The man plies all self with the sign of the cross, he entered the sorts of trades, then, and reaps honor upon chamber in which lay the lifeless remains of honor. Yes, yes, he is a better negotiator Netcelli's wife and infant. With trembling perhaps than I am. But I am curious to hands he arranged the bodies for interment, know whether posterity will admire his and then returned to the outer chamber. paintings as much as they will mine. Old An unexpected noise now startled him. He Rembrandt has, after all, his worth. But looked around, his brow moistened with away from here, for the crowd increases, the cold sweat; it was Netcelli, who had seized shouts grow louder; this enthusiasm is a the bread which lay upon the mantel, and torment to mo!”
was endeavoring to secrete himself in a corHe quickened his pace, but at the mo- ner, in order to devour his booty in security. ment when he turned to leave the street, the This brutish act was even more revolting to din grew so tumultuous that he retraced his Master Nicholas than the sight of the corpses. steps to inquire the cause. Rubens had “Yesterday," he said to himself, this appeared upon the balcony, and was there man was inspired with the noblest courage; saluting the crowd. Rembrandt rushed in his sole thought was to rescue his family furious haste toward his dwelling.
from destruction. To-day, without conscious“ For Heaven's sake! what is the matter?" ness and without thought, in the presence cried his wife as he entered. “ You are so of these dead bodies, he thinks of nothing pale! Are you sick? What ails you? Why, more than to satisfy the cravings of animal you have torn your mantle, and your clutched hunger. Yesterday he was scarcely lower hand still holds the shreds."
than an angel; to-day he is less than a " It is nothing,'' he answered rudely, “no- beast." thing that concerns you."
His heart would have murmured against “ Fool that I am !he exclaimed when he Providence, but he quickly endeavored to repress these thoughts, so unworthy of a joiner, who did not quite seem to share in Christian, by repeating a suitable prayer; the philosophical views of his neighbor. and when he had satisfied himself that " Yet, if you were richer, the question what Antonio lay sunk in profound slumber, he to do with this little lad would be less hastened to the priest of the nearest parish, embarrassing." to inform him that two corpses were lying “As to that, my mind is long since made in his house, and to beg him to give them a up," answered Barruello; “I will never forChristian burial. The priest was well ac- sake those who are forsaken by the world. quainted with Master Nicholas; he told him so long as I have a morsel of bread, I will to be seated, praised him for his charity, and share it with him; and God be thanked, arranged the expenses of the burial at so Master Eustachius, we have fingers and a reasonable a rate, that three of the gold needle, that, with Heaven's blessing, can pieces remained untouched in the pocket of earn something more than mere bread.” the worthy man. The benevolence of the "By the Holy Virgin ! you are a worthy priest somewhat restored Barruello's courage, man, Master Nicholas, and I will not suffer and he left the good man to repair to a you to perform the good work alone. I neighboring joiner's. This man also was will take Antonio as an apprentice, and unwilling to appear ungenerous ; he at once with God's help I will make a good joiner set to work, and refused to receive payment of him.” for any thing more than the value of the Master Barruello was too deeply moved wood which he had used in constructing a to reply; he reached the worthy man bis last tenement for the dead. In addition to hand in token of assent, and the two passed this, he promised to attend to the burial the evening together by the chimney over of the deceased. - Antonio awaked at the a can of beer. sound of the hammering, and cried after his Before we conclude this chapter, we must mother; the maniac also started up in alarm, explain to the reader why Master Nicholas but it was only to cower again more closely did not receive the money which Rembrandt into his corner.
had destined for him, as well as the reason In the meanwhile Master Nicholas had why Rubens had not kept his promise. put on his best suit, and stepped from time In the first place, Dame Catherine had to time to the window, to see if the generous taken advantage of Rubens's visit, to leave stranger were not approaching; but the her husband's commands unfulfilled, and to time passed, and he did not make his ap- appropriate to herself the money intended for pearance. When the priest had arrived, Master Nicholas. Secondly, the same courier accompanied by a boy bearing a cross, Mas- who had brought the important tidings by ter Nicholas and Antonio alone followed the which the whole city was set in commotion, coffin. The joiner and three other neigh- was the bearer also of an order to the negotiabors had undertaken to commit the dead to tor to repair at once to Brussels, in order to the earth. On retiring from the church- receive the reward of his diplomatic talents, yard, the tailor inquired of a neighbor's and to be intrusted with a mission of still wife who had taken care of his dwelling in greater importance. In the confusion of this his absence, whether any one had called unexpected departure, Rubens had forgotupon him. She had seen no one, however. ten the tailor, and his promise to visit him. Master Nicholas breathed a deep sigh of disappointment.
“That is the way with the rich," he said, bitterly. “One turns away his nearest kins- Ten years after his first visit to Amsterdam, folk when they have fallen into poverty, and Rubens again journeyed to that city. Comeven refuses them a coffin after they are missioned by Philip II. to purchase a collecdead; another forgets the promise that he tion of the most distinguished paintings of the has made, although no one claimed it of Flemish school, for the Escurial, he resolved him. Ah, Master Eustachius," he added, to attend to the selection of the pictures himturning to the joiner who stood near him, self; and for this purpose he visited all the cit" let us thank God that he has kept us ies of the Netherlands, and the studios of the poor."
most renowned artists. First of all, he natu"Perhaps you are right,” replied the rally applied to Rembrandt. As Rubens en