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THE YOUNG ARTIST,
THE YOUNG ARTIST:
A STORY OF
BY THE AUTHOR OF
THE BASKET OF FLOWERS," ETC.
WILLIAM OLIPHANT & COMPANY.
PRINTED BY SCHENCK AND M'IFARLANE,
ST JAMES' SQUARE.
THE CHRISTMAS HYMN,
ANTONY'S STORY,. .
THE FORESTER'S FAMILY,
ANTONY'S GOOD FORTUNE, .
THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT, .
FORTUNE AND MISFORTUNE,
MORE MISFORTUNE, .
A GLAD SURPRISE,
'- -_" i -
. j,. -, .- . . . ''\ -~^ : '-:- _
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
THE CHRISTMAS HYMN.
NE C. I ;l eve, many years ago,
Antony Kroner, a fine lad about eight
years old, was walking across the
country, which was thickly covered with snow.
To protect his flaxen curls, which were drenched
with moisture, the poor lad had nothing but his
thin straw hat, black with the summer's wear;
his teeth chattered, and his cheeks were purple
with cold. His dress had something military
about it, for he wore a smart scarlet hussar coat.
In his left hand he held a thick thorn walking-
stick, and on his back he carried a small parcel
containing all he possessed in the world. But,
8 THE YOUNG ARTIST
notwithstanding his sad situation, he seemed to
be cheerful and in good spirits.
In the meantime, the sun was disappearing
below the horizon.. The plants and the branches
of the trees, covered with hoar-frost, glittered
with a thousand sparkles, and the tops of the
neighboring tall pines were gilt with the rays of
the departing luminary.
Antony thought that he should still be able
easily to reach the village at the other side of
the forest before long, and he resolutely entered
into the thickness of the dark wood. He
reckoned upon enjoying the splendid festivities
of Christmas in the village, for he had heard tell
that the people in it were rich and charitable.
After walking, however, for a quarter of an hour,
he lost his way, and wandered amongst the
ravines in the wildest part of the forest. He
had to walk continually in the midst of thick
snow, and many times he fell into ditches and
quagmires that were hidden by it. Night came
on, and a cold wind arose. Clouds covered the
sky, and veiled the feeble stars that had been
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shining through the dark branches of the pine
trees. The darkness was profound, and the
snow began to fall again heavily.
The poor boy had lost all trace of his way,
and did not know whither to direct his steps.
Fatigued with wandering in vain from side to
side, he found himself unable to proceed any
further. He stopped, trembling with cold, and
began to weep bitterly. He placed his small
parcel on the ground and knelt down. Taking
off his hat, and lifting up towards heaven his
frozen hands, he offered up this prayer, mingled
with tears : Oh Father who art in heaven,
do not leave me to perish in the midst of this
wild forest, on this cold and freezing night. I
am a poor orphan. I have neither father nor
mother. I have nobody but Thee. Do not
allow me to perish of cold. Have pity upon a
child. Remember that this is the night Thy
well-beloved Son was born. Listen to me, for
love of Him. Oh! do not permit that, on this
night, a poor child should perish alone in the
midst of a forest." He rested his weary head
10 THE YOUNG ARTIST
upon the little parcel, and sobbed, and shed
bitter tears. On a sudden, from the height of a
hill proceeded sweet sounds, like the notes of a
harp; and a hymn of sweet melody arose, making
the rocks re-echo. It seemed to the poor boy
as though he .heard the angels of heaven singing.
He stood up and listened, with his hands clasped
together. The wind had gone down, and there
was not the least movement in the air. The
hymn came forth with infinite grace in the midst
of the darkness and the silence of the forest.
Antony distinctly heard the following words :
"Say to the great, Ope wide your door,
To orphans and the homeless poor:
And let your own hearth's gentle heat
Warm their little frozen feet.' "
Then silence succeeded, and nothing was
heard but some light strains, like a feeble echo.
Poor Antony felt his heart comforted. "Ah "
said he, "such must have been the joy of the
shepherds of Bethlehem, when, on this holy
night, they heard the heavenly songs. I will
resume my courage and my cheerfulness. It is
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very certain that there are, in this neighbourhood,
worthy people who will receive me; for I think
that, if they sing like angels, they must be as
good and as kind as angels."
He took up his parcel, and resumed his walk,
following the direction of the song which he had
heard. He had scarcely proceeded a few paces
through the brushwood, when he perceived a
vivid light, that immediately disappeared; then
shone again, after a few minutes to disappear,
and then to appear again. Antony advanced,
with joy in his heart, and at length came to a
house that stood alone in the midst of the forest.
He knocked twice at the door in vain. He
heard joyful voices within the house; but no
one answered him. He then attempted to
open the door, which was only fastened with a
simple latch. He entered, and he felt in the
dark for a long time, in an obscure passage,
trying to find the door of the apartment where
the people were. He found it, at last, and
opened it, and then stood like one stupified.
A multitude of lights dazzled him by their bril-
12 THE YOUNG ARTIST
liancy. It seemed to him as though the heavens
were opened, and he was looking into paradise.
In a corner of the apartment, between the two
windows, he saw a landscape, painted with much
skill. It was a view of a mountainous country,
with lofty rocks covered with moss, green forests
of pine trees, cottages, flocks that the shepherds
were watching in the pastures, and a little city
on the top of the mountain.
In the middle of the landscape was a cavern,
in which were seen the infant Jesus, the Virgin,
Joseph, and the shepherds, all in prayer. Above
them choirs of seraphims, singing the praises of
God. The whole landscape was illuminated
with a magical light. It was spangled with a
multitude of little stars, that shone like the
foliage of trees and the moss on rocks, when
they are covered with abundant dew, on a fine
morning in spring.
The inhabitants of the house were assembled
to see the infant Jesus in His manger. On one
side was seated the father, with a harp upon his
knees on the other side, the mother, with the
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
youngest of her children upon her bosom. Be-
tween them were standing two pretty children, a
boy and a girl. They were contemplating with
devotion the cradle of the Saviour; and they
joined their hands, like the pious shepherds, on
their knees before the manger. The father
began to play again upon the harp; and the
mother sang with the voice of an angel, the
hymn of which Antony had already heard some
words. The two children joined their clear and
sweet voices; and the father accompanied them
with his fine bass voice and the notes of his harp.
These were the words of their hymn :
Holy Child, whom angels praise,
Watch Thou over all our ways.
As those who Thee in heaven attend,
So I to Thee my knees now bend.
Saviour, Thou, of heavenly birth,
To those that are oppressed on earth,
Dost hope of victory impart,
And faith to cheer their drooping heart.
Say to the great, Ope wide your door
To orphans and the homeless poor;
And let your own hearth's gentle heat
Warm their little frozen feet."
14 THE YOUNG ARTIST
Holy Child, whom angels praise,
Watch Thou over all our ways.
As those who Thee in-heaven attend,
So I to Thee my knees now bend.
Antony was still standing on the threshold of
the door, holding the latch in one hand, and in
the other his hat and his stick. His eyes were
fixed upon the manger of the Saviour; and he
listened, with open mouth, to the hymn and the
notes of the harp. No one had noticed him;
but the mother felt the cold that came into the
room and suddenly turned her eyes towards the
Heaven preserve us !" she exclaimed;
"whence comes that poor child, in the midst
of this forest, and on this dark night ? My poor
boy, you must surely have lost your way."
Alas yes," said Antony; "I have lost my
way in the wood."
They all turned their eyes towards him. The
two children felt strongly moved at the sight of
the young lad: but they did not dare to approach
him, because he was a stranger. The mother
went towards him, with the child in her arms,
TIE YOUNG ARTIST.
and asked him, with kindness, "Where did you
come from, poor child? What do they call you;
and what are your parents ?"
"Alas !" replied Antony, with tears in his
eyes, "I have no country. I am called Antony
Kroner. My father was killed in the war; and
my mother died last year, of misery and grief.
I am a stranger in this part of the country; I
am going through the world like a wandering
sheep, picking up food and lodging any way I
He then began to give an account of the dis-
tress that he had suffered in the forest, and how
he had heard their song, and had been enabled
to find the way to their house. He would have
continued, but his speech failed him, he was so
very cold. He trembled, and his teeth chat-
Poor boy," said the mother to him ; "the cold
hinders you from speaking. You must be very
much fatigued and very hungry. Put down your
parcel, and take a seat. I will get you some
good warm soup, and a little supper."
16 THE YOUNG ARTIST
Touched with compassion, the two children,
Christian and Catherine, relieved him of his hat,
his stick, and his parcel. Christian hung up his
hat, and put his stick in a corner. They then
seated their little guest at the table; and the
mother brought him some soup and a large slice
of cake, with some cooked plums. She seated
herself at the other end of the table, and could
not help smiling, when she saw the good appetite
The warm soup came very seasonably for poor
Antony, who was benumbed with cold; and the
genial warmth of the apartment soon completed
his revival. He "recovered all his cheerfulness.
" But what a wonderful thing you have there in
the corner!" he said, after a few moments.
Already, while he was eating, he had not ceased
to cast his eyes upon the manger: It is spring
in the middle of winter," he continued. I have
never seen anything so beautiful. I should like,
however, to look at it closer." Having said
these words, he approached it; and the children
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
"But do you know what all that represents?"
"Certainly," replied Antony; "it is the birth
"But that is not the true child Jesus," said
Catherine. "Jesus is no longer a child. It is
a long time since He ascended to heaven."
" I know that well," said Antony. Do you
take me for a heathen ? It is nearly two thou-
sand years since Jesus was born in a manger.
And that city, above, is Bethlehem, if I am not
mistaken." Catherine made a sign that it was so.
"You see," said Antony, "that I know it all.
My poor dead mother used to tell me often
about Jesus, and what He did while He was on
The children smiled, and then they pointed
out to Antony a number of little particulars, to
which they ascribed the utmost importance.
"See there, Antony," said Catherine, that
beautiful white sheep, with curly wool, and look
at those two little lambs by its side. Look!
the rest of the flock are feeding all around it;
18 THE YOUNG ARTIST
and the shepherd is sitting down below and
playing the flute. It is in that pretty little red
hut upon wheels, that he passes the night.
There below, a shepherdess is descending a
steep flight of steps, and carrying a covered
basket upon her head. It contains apples or
eggs, that she is carrying to the manger."
"And, further on," added Christian, "do you
see that man in the ravine below, who is as-
cending the mountain with a sack upon a wheel-
barrow ? But I cannot imagine what he has in
And so the children chatted on for a time.
Antony was a very intelligent boy for his years;
and, by his artless, but thoughtful remarks, he
soon interested the inmates of the house in his
HE master of the house where Antony
had been received so unexpectedly,
and with so much cordiality, was the
keeper of the forest. While the children were
chattering with each other, he remained seated
in his arm-chair, near the fire-place, and appeared
to be in profound meditation. His wife, with
her youngest child in her arms, sat on a chair
by his side; and, after a pause, she said to him,
"Why are you keeping silence, husband, and
what are you thinking of?"
I was thinking," he said, of the last couplet
of the hymn that we have just been singing. You
have done what is recommended in it. You have
20 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
fed and warmed the poor child; but I think that
we should be able to do more still. This is
Christmas Eve. We celebrate this as the night
on which the Son of God came into the world,
for our salvation, and for that of all men. And
behold this very night God has sent us a child
that we may save him also. Jesus came upon
the earth as a stranger, and He did not know
where to rest His head; as if He were desirous
of making trial of the hospitality of men. The
inhabitants of Bethlehem failed under the trial;
and, from His birth, they banished Him into the
midst of the animals in the stable. Shall we
treat this poor, fatherless boy in the same
manner? Tell me freely, wife, what you think
of it. What ought we to do?"
"Make the child welcome," replied the wife,
immediately, with kindness. That which ye
do to the least of these my brethren, ye do to
Me also.' These are the very words of Him
who was born on this night. Antony appears
to me to be a good and virtuous boy, endowed
with a good character. Piety and innocence
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
are imprinted upon his features; and, although
he is a beggar, he has neither effrontery nor
impudence. No doubt, his parents were worthy
people. He expresses himself in a becoming
manner; and although his red coat is a little
worn, it is, nevertheless, of good cloth. Where
there is food for five, there is food for six. Let
us keep him."
You are a good and charitable woman," said
the forester, pressing her hand. God will re-
compense us for it, and will return to our chil-
dren the good that we will do to a stranger.
But first of all, we should assure ourselves that
the child deserves that we should be interested
"Antony, come here !" said the forester, in a
loud voice. Antony ran, and placed himself
before him, fixed and immovable, like a soldier
in the presence of his superior.
"So, then," said the forester to him, "your
father was a soldier, and died for his country?
That is a misfortune for you, it is true; but it is
an honour and a glory for him. Give us some
22 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
particulars of your parents. Where were you
during the war? How did your father perish?
What was the cause of the death of your mother?
By what chance did you find yourself in the
midst of the forest ? Let us hear all about it."
Antony related the following narrative: "My
father was a quartermaster of hussars. As far
as I am able to recollect, his regiment was in
garrison at Glatz, in Silesia. My mother, who
was a skilful seamstress, was very industrious,
and earned a great deal of money.
"One day, my father came in very hastily,
and exclaimed, War is declared; we set out
to-morrow !' He was brave, and was pleased
with the news; but my mother, on the contrary,
was frightened, and wept bitterly. She was not
willing to let him go alone; for the idea of sepa-
ration threw her into consternation; and, after
much entreaty, my father at length consented to
take us with him. We went a great way, a very
great way; and suddenly we were informed that
the enemy were approaching. The regiment of
my father had to advance. My mother and
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myself remained in the rear. Our terror was
great, when we heard, in the distance, the fright-
ful sound of the firing. Alas !' said my mother
to me, 'every volley pierces me to the heart.
Who knows if a ball may not cross the heart of
"As long as the firing continued, we did not
cease to weep and to pray. My father, how-
ever, came back safe and sound. This scene
was often renewed; but, one day after a skir-
mish, a hussar came galloping into the village,
and leading by the bridle my father's horse. He
informed us that my father was severelywounded;
that he was left upon the field of battle, half a
league from the village; and that there was very
little hope of saving him. We ran thither with
the utmost speed, and found him laid at the foot
of a tree. An old soldier, on his knees near
him, was holding him in his arms, in such a
manner, that my father was able to lean his head
upon the breast of his comrade. There were
also two other soldiers. My poor father had his
breast pierced with a ball; and the paleness of
24 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
death was upon his face. We saw that he had
something to say to us; but not being able to
speak, he sadly cast his dying eyes upon me,
then turned them towards my mother, and at
last towards heaven. Some moments afterwards
he was no more. My mother and myself were
bathed in tears. They interred his remains in
the neighboring cemetery. Some officers and
a great number of soldiers attended the funeral.
I think I still hear the strange and mournful
sound of the trumpets when they paid the last
honours over his grave.
My mother wished to return to her own
country. 'I have no parents, it is true,' said
she; 'but I have a devoted friend. I think that
she will not refuse to receive us; and then,
thanks to my labour, I shall be able to supply
After a few days' journey, however, she fell
sick; and it was with great difficulty that we
reached a little hamlet. Nobody there was will-
ing to receive us, and we were obliged, at last,
to take shelter in a barn, 'It is a hard trial,' said
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my mother : 'but the Virgin Mary was not more
happy. She was not able to find a lodging any-
where, and was obliged to pass the night in a
stable.' In the meantime, her disorder increased
from hour to hour. She had a clergyman called
to her, and prepared herself for death. When
night came on, the farmer to whom the barn
belonged, said to her, 'You are very ill. It is
at least necessary that I should do something for
you.' He went out, and brought back with him
an old stable lantern, in which a smoky lamp was
burning, and which he hung up to a beam.
That was all that he did. He wished us good
evening, and did not trouble himself any more
Left alone with my mother, I seated myself
near her, upon a little straw, and wept bitterly.
Towards midnight, as well as I was able to judge
from the feeble light of the lamp, she grew more
and more pale, and sighed deeply, at intervals.
I was shedding torrents of tears. She held out
her hand to me, and said, Do not weep, dear
Antony. Continue to be prudent and pious.
26 THE YOUNG ARTIST
Attend to prayer. Remember that you are
always in the presence of God, and shun what's
evil. God will give you another father and
another mother.' These were her words; but,
alas!" continued Antony, with his cheeks bathed
with tears, I shall never again find so good a
mother. After that," he proceeded, "she kept
her eyes fixed upon heaven, and prayed in
silence. She blessed me with her dying hands
and expired. I could do nothing but weep.
"The farmer and his wife had promised my
mother that they would take care of me, and
treat me as their son. They took the little money
which my mother had left, but three weeks had
not passed by before they sent me away; telling
me that I had cost them three times as much
money as my mother had left, and that they
could keep me no longer. I set out with the
intention of joining my schoolfellows at Glatz;
but the farmers were unable to point out the
road to me; and now I am going through the
country as a beggar. Alas What else can I
IHE YOUNG ARTIST.
The wife of the keeper was sensibly affected
by this narrative; and, with tears in her eyes,
she said to her children, See my dears, such
might be your condition. You might lose us;
and then what would become of you? Pray,
then, every day, that God will preserve to you
your father and your mother."
"From what I see," said the forester, "you
had virtuous parents, my poor Antony; but
have you no papers ?"
Oh yes, I have," said Antony; and he drew
a portfolio from his parcel. "It was on her
deathbed that my mother gave me these papers.
She recommended me to take great care of them,
and not to give them to any one, whoever it
might be; but for you, I may well allow you to
They were the certificates of the marriage of
his parents, of his own baptism, and of the inter-
ment of his father. The latter had been delivered
by the chaplain of the regiment; and the colonel
had added to it, in his own writing, a certificate,
bearing testimony, in the most honourable man-
28 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
ner, to the bravery and generosity of the quarter-
master, and to the irreproachable conduct of his
It is all right," said the forester; "and now,
tell me, Antony, how do you like being with us ?"
"Very well," replied Antony, with gratitude,
"so well that it seems to me as if I were at home
again with my parents."
"Would you be willing to remain with us?"
inquired the forester.
"Oh! that I gladly would," answered the
child. "Your wife is as good as my mother;
and you are as brave as my father, for you wear
moustaches like him."
The forester smiled, and passed his hand over
his beard. Oh well, my boy; he said; "you
shall remain with us. I will take the place of
your father, and my wife will be a mother to you.
Show yourself a good son. Love your brother
and your sisters, and never give them any pain.
Do you understand me? From this day for-
ward you are my son, Antony."
The child stood in amazement, and stared at
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the forester with his eyes wide open ; for he did
not know whether he was speaking seriously.
Poor Antony was so much accustomed to see
himself the object of ill treatment, that he was
scarcely able to believe that the forester was
willing to adopt him as his son. "Oh! well !"
said the keeper, holding out his hand; will not
that do for you?" Antony burst into tears, and
held out his hand to the forester. He kissed
that of his wife, and showed a thousand kind-
nesses towards the two children, and also to the
youngest, although it was not able to understand
what was going on, as its brother and sister did.
Christian and Catherine exhibited the greatest
delight at keeping Antony with them.
How very amusing it will be," said Christian.
"At least, when we wish to play a game, there
will be three of us."
"See, my child," said the keeper, taking a
serious tone, see how God takes care of you.
The blessing of your good parents rests upon
your head. God has heard the prayer that your
mother offered up on her deathbed. He has
30 THE YOUNG ARTIST
granted the wishes that you addressed to Him
in the forest, when you were on your knees in
the snow, and trembling with cold. He has
guided your steps to us, and has led you under
our roof. If you had not heard our hymn, you
would have gone to sleep upon your parcel.
You then would have perished with cold; and I
should have found you dead in the forest. God
has chosen a propitious moment to save you.
On this holy night, when our hearts were so
profoundly moved by the goodness of God, who
gave us His only Son, the Lord has guided you
to our lonely dwelling in the midst of the forest,
which you could scarcely have discerned even by
daylight. It is to God and His well-beloved
Son that you are indebted for having found an
asylum. Be deeply grateful to the goodness of
the Lord. Take care that you never forget it.
During the course of an active life, always have
God present to your mind, and conduct your-
self as a good Christian."
With tears in his eyes, Antony promised to
do so. Oh! God !" he said, raising his eyes
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up towards heaven, "Thou hast, with faithful-
ness, fulfilled the last wishes of my mother. I
have found a father and a mother. I desire to
observe, also, her last words. I will obey Thy
holy commandments, especially the fifth, to-
wards my new parents."
"That is right, Antony," said the forester.
"Do what you say; and you cannot fail to be
The wife of the keeper showed Antony a
small chamber in which was a comfortable little
bed; and the whole household went to rest with
The next morning, the children hastened to
meet before the picture of Jesus in the manger.
It was their only amusement on Christmas day,
and on the festival days which followed it. But
that innocent pleasure was not without its alloy.
One day a young man, who was very fond of
hunting, and who often came to see the keeper,
entered the apartment. He indulged himself in
all sorts of ironical observations on that method
of representing to children the manger of
32 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
Jesus; and he inquired of what use such cus-
Of what use ?" said the forester. "Look
out at the window, my young sir. Behold a
thick snow covers the ground; and the trees of
the forest groan under its weight. We cannot
see any flowers, except that the flowers formed
by the hoar frost sparkle upon the frozen glass
of the windows. The fruit trees that shade my
dwelling have neither apples nor pears. We
cannot even see a green leaf upon them. All
the branches, all the sprays, are covered with
hoar frost; and long icicles hang from the roof.
The poor children are detained in the apart-
ment, like prisoners; and they dare not venture
a step out of doors. Well and what can there
be wrong in good parents obtaining for their
family, in this rigorous season, a kind of spring
in a well-warmed apartment ? During the whole
of the winter almost the only amusement of
these poor children is derived from that repre-
sentation, in miniature, of nature in the season
of spring, with its green forests, its enamelled
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
meadows, and the flocks feeding under the
guidance of the shepherds.
But that is the least advantage of it. There
is another that is much more important. Dur-
ing the holy days of Christmas, we celebrate
the goodness of God, who, in the person of His
Son, condescended to reveal Himself to us in
the human form; and we wish that our children
should, in like manner, partake of our joy. I
am well aware that painters of the first rank
have made this the subject of pictures that have
for ages excited the admiration of the world.
I myself, when on my travels, have many times
admired them. But the reproach that you cast
upon my imitation-no doubt very defective-
of the manger, would equally apply, after all,
to that magnificent picture, if one considers it
independently of its value as a work of art.
Therefore your objection is without foundation.
Besides, paintings so valuable are only produced
for great noblemen, and would be entirely out
of place in the hands of children. And I engage
that my children would not exchange their
34 THE YOUNG ARTIST
manger for the most celebrated picture that ever
"So, my dear young friend, you must not
object to the inhabitants of this forest, if they
do hold to the ancient customs of their fathers.
I still remember that a manger which my father
painted was one of the greatest pleasures of my
childhood, and that it was to me the source
of much thankfulness to God. May it be to
my children the occasion of joy and blessing."
THE FORESTER'S FAMILY.
HE forester who had adopted the poor
orphan was a sterling honest man.
He was, as he used to say of himself,
a man of the old stamp. Of fervent piety, and of
the greatest benevolence towards everybody, he
was indefatigable in the service of his prince, and
his fidelity had been thoroughly proved. The
worthy man religiously preserved all the manners
of his ancestors, that he was still acquainted
with; and of his parents, who had retained the
sentiments of the latter. In the morning his
first occupation was to give himself up to prayer,
in company with his wife and children; and the
evening was closed with the same exercise.
36 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
"Ought we not," he would say, "to com-
mence and close the day by thinking of Him
who preserves us every day of our existence, and
who gives us our daily bread?"
It must be a very touching spectacle for the
angels themselves, to see a father and mother,
surrounded by their children, on their knees
before God, and all of them, even the youngest,
lifting up their hands to heaven, with prayers of
gratitude. Our heavenly Father cannot but
bestow His blessing upon them.
It was with the same feelings of piety that the
forester prayed with his family, before and after
their meals. One day, he brought back with
him, from the chase, the young man mentioned
in the last chapter, and whose name was De
Schilf; and, as they were about to serve up the
soup, he invited his companion to dinner. The
young man immediately seated himself at the
table, without thinking of offering up a prayer,
but the forester-who had the habit, as he used
to say of himself, of calling things by their right
names-said to him in a very serious tone,
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
"Fie my young sir; the wild boars of the
forest would not do otherwise. They devour
the acorns, without regarding whence they fall."
The young man hazarded some objections,
and pretended that prayer in connection with
meals was of no great importance.
That which is able to make us better," re-
plied the forester, laying a stress upon his words,
"is always of importance. Piety has never
been known to injure any one. Forgetfulness
of God, on the contrary, has never produced, as
far as I know, good fruits. So far from it, it
has often given rise to very bad results. Pray
with us, as it becomes a Christian, and a reason-
able young man; or this will be the last time
that we shall meet together in the chase. I do
not wish to have any business with a Pagan; and
I shall carefully guard myself against eating at
the same table with him. I know, however," he
continued, in a milder tone, that you have
never reflected upon these things. You have
seen, no doubt, the young people of the great
world seat themselves at table without prayer;
38 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
and you have imitated them, without reflecting
any more about it. You have thought that it
would thus give you a distinguished air. Never-
theless, my dear sir, do not resemble the empty
and unsubstantial reed, that is blown about by
the least wind."
M. de Schilf arose, and was willing to take
part in the prayer; but he did so, less from a
feeling of devotion than from a love for the chase.
The greatest happiness of the forester was to
find himself in the midst of his family. "Why
should I seek my pleasure abroad," he would
say, "when I can find it at home, and so much
better into the bargain ?" Thus, after having
finished the labours of the day, he would remain
at home, drinking his mug of beer (on Sundays
it was a glass of wine), and either conversing
with his wife, or relating amusing and instructive
stories to his children. When he found himself
in a particularly good humour, he would take his
"See !" he would say; "this is what stands us
instead of a concert and the opera, during the
THE YOUNG ARTIST
long evenings in winter, in the midst of this wild
forest." His wife was acquainted with a great
number of pretty songs; and her husband
accompanied her. The children, on their part,
had learned some little songs suitable to their
tender age ; and they sang them together, like
the birds of the forest.
The forester sent them to a school in the next
parish; and, after the festivities of Christmas
were over, and when the roads of the forest had
become passable, Christian and Catherine went
there every day. It was with joyful gladness
that Antony accompanied them thither; and he
very soon surpassed his schoolfellows. His
assiduity and his natural inclination for learning
were most remarkable. The forester, on his
return from hunting, would take his place in his
arm-chair, near the grate, in which a good fire
was burning. His children would then tell him
of their progress at school, and show what they
had written. Antony had always the most to
tell. His writing was always the most beauti-
ful; and he was soon able to read with the
40 THE YOUNG ARTIST
greatest facility. After supper the children
would read, but it was Antony that they lis-
tened to with the most pleasure. "He reads
with a readiness that is astonishing," the keeper's
wife would say. If one did not see the book
in his hand, one could never believe that he was
reading a history, but that he well understood
the subject, and that he was relating it to us
The most delightful day for the children was
Sunday. On- that day the forester did not
follow the chase, and his children did not leave
him. "I consecrate," he would say, "without
relaxation, and with a willing heart, six days of
the week to the service of my master, but the
Sunday is reserved for the service of a greater
Master. Besides, it is necessary that I and my
wood-cutters should have one day of rest, after
six days of labour."
On the Sunday morning, with his mind filled
with tranquillity and gratitude, he would go, with
all his family, to the church near the school.
This was, to the children, one of their greatest
THE YOUNG ARTIST
enjoyments, especially in the spring and summer.
The road passed, sometimes over hills covered
with bushes, and sometimes across valleys of
verdure, surrounded by wood-crowned rocks and
How beautiful the forest is 1" Antony would
exclaim. "Truly, on a Sunday, the forest seems
to me to be more beautiful than on other days.
One might say that the verdure is more brilliant.
The birds in the branches sing with greater
gaiety in the midst of the universal silence. One
hears neither the round of the hatchet nor of
carriages, nor the discharge of fowling pieces.
The bells of the church alone are heard in the
distance; and all is as calm and silent as in the
"All nature is as solemn as a temple," the
forester would reply. "The forest itself is the
temple of the Lord. By His almighty power, He
has planted these trees like columns, and has
rounded their branches into arches. Every-
thing, from the immense oak covered with moss,
to the humble lily of the valley that lies hid at
42 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
our feet, proclaims His greatness and His good-
ness. The whole earth, as far as the vault of
heaven extends, is a temple erected to His mag-
nificence. It is on the Sunday especially that
we should adore Him, under this sacred dome,
and contemplate, with gratitude, the wonders of
His power. At this hour of the day, in the
thousands of temples and churches throughout
Christendom, His word is explained,and millions
of men receive it with eagerness. You also, my
children, be attentive to-day to every word from
the Master, and keep it in your hearts."
Such was their conversation on the way to
church. On their return, they would speak of
the service; and they all emulated each other
in relating to their father that which had most
struck them. It was on that day that the forester
always exhibited the greatest cheerfulness at table.
"Rarely," he would say, "have I the pleasure
of dining with you during the week. Most fre-
quently I eat my morsel in haste, in the forest;
and, God be praised! my appetite never fails
me; but on the Sunday, I always eat with a
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
better appetite-not that the dishes are more
savoury, but because I dine in the midst of my
own family, and in my own house.
He delighted to attend to his children him-
self. "Eat, eat," he often said, "and thank
God for His gifts." After dinner he would walk
with them into the forest, and would teach them
to distinguish the different kinds of plants, trees,
and shrubs, of which he praised the beauty and
described the various properties.
"Thus, as you see," he would remark, Provi-
dence has bestowed a most particular care upon
the smallest vegetable, and has destined it for
the use of man. The forest is a book; and
upon every one of its leaves we may read the
wisdom and the goodness of God."
In spring and summer, when the evenings
were fine, the wife of the forester would lay the
cloth at a little distance from the house, under a
large linden tree, where a table and some seats
had been set up. After supper, they would sing
some beautiful and touching songs; the keeper
playing on the harp, and the birds of the forest
44 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
mingling their warblings with their songs and
the notes of the instrument.
Antony found himself very happy in the midst
of these worthy people, amongst whom reigned
piety, love, labour, and contentment.
God has given me many blessings," he would
often say. He could not have led me to live
with better people on the face of the earth."
The honest lad was also full of gratitude and
attention to his adopted parents. In the evening,
when the forester came home from his circuit,
Antony would hasten to bring his slippers, and
his old grey overcoat with green facings, which
served him for a house-dress. When the forester's
wife went to the fire-place, to attend to the
cookery, Antony would bring her some chips of
wood; and very often, in order to save her
trouble, he would himself run into the garden,
and fetch her the herbs and vegetables that she
stood in need of. He would anticipate her in
all her wishes, so far as he could ascertain them.
His adopted father had also to praise him for
his good offices of a particular description. He
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
was accustomed to draw plans of the forests
that were entrusted to his care; and he coloured
them in different colours, in order to give them
a pleasing appearance. At the corner of each
map he would inscribe, in large characters, the
name of the forest; and, according to the de-
scription of the wood, the name was surrounded
with a wreath of pine branches or oak branches.
Antony was soon able to copy with much skill
and exactness the most complicated of these
plans. As for the embellishments that he added,
he designed them himself; and he succeeded so
well, that the forester was astonished. Antony
would, for example, draw the picture of a dog,
upon which he would draw a shield, bearing the
name of the forest; and, by its side, one might
see a wild boar searching for acorns. Sometimes
the name of the forest was inscribed upon a rock
crowned with pine-trees, at the foot of which
reposed a stag with forked antlers.
At length he employed all his leisure moments
in drawing or painting, sometimes landscapes and
sometimes animals. He never found a scrap of
46 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
paper, or the envelope of a letter, without tracing
upon it a bird, a flower, or a branch. The
forester and his wife never saw him unoccu-
pied; they cherished him as their own son; and
his example awakened feelings of emulation in
their children, who, thanks to his behaviour,
became more obliging and more attentive and
industrious both in their studies and in their
ANTONY'S GOOD FORTUNE.
NE day the forester directed Antony to
carry some woodcocks to Felseck, the
castle of the neighboring village, as
the superintendent wished to entertain one of
his friends who had come to see him. While
on his way thither, Antony passed near a cas-
cade, the water of which was precipitated, as
white as snow, from the top of a rock, in the
midst of the dark verdure of the pine trees.
Not far from the spot was a stranger, who was
dressed in a dark blue coat, and who was engaged
in making a sketch of the cascade. Antony
approached him unobserved, and, casting a fur-
tive glance over the shoulders of the stranger, he
48 THE YOUNG ARTIST
could not avoid exclaiming, Oh! how beautiful
it is! what a fine picture!" He asked and
obtained permission to get a nearer view of the
"One would think," he said, "that this can-
vas was nothing but a mirror, in which the
cascade, the rock, and trees were reflected. The
stag there is the picture of life. The stags that
I draw stand so badly on their legs, that I
expect them to fall down every moment. I do
not know how to give life to them."
The painter took pleasure in the artless praises
of the child, and especially in the love of art that
he manifested. "And so, then," he said with a
smile, "you are a little painter !"
"Alas !" replied Antony, "I was always think-
ing myself, not a little painter, but a very great
painter; but now I see that I am only a dauber."
"Nevertheless, I should like to see your draw-
ings. I will come back, one of these days; and
I hope you will show me them. What are your
parents? And where do you come from?"
"I am only a poor orphan. Mr Grunenwald,
7IHE YOUNG ARTIST.
the keeper of the forest, has adopted me, and I
live with him."
"He is, then, one of your relations ; perhaps
the brother of your father, or your mother ? "
"Oh not at all. I entered his house, without
his having ever seen or known me before. He
and his wife have received me into their family,
and have treated me as their own child."
"It is well, very well, but tell me your his-
tory." Antony related to him the particulars;
and the painter, after having listened attentively,
exclaimed, The forester and his wife are indeed
very worthy people. Salute them, on my part;
and tell them that to-morrow, during the day, I
will come to see them, that I may thank them,
and I hope you will soon be able to reward them
for their kindness to you, for all that they have
done for you."
Mr Riedinger-that was the name of the
painter-had come to the castle, a few days
before, to repair some old pictures; he profited
by the opportunity to take sketches of pictur-
esque sites that he had noticed in the forest.
50 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
The very next day, towards evening, he went to
see the keeper; and a friendship very soon
sprang up between the two, who entertained
many sentiments in common. The painter asked
to see Antony's drawings. The forester praised
them extravagantly, and declared them to be
perfect; but Antony, on the contrary, was very
bashful, and kept himself near the door. You
will see," he said, blushing, that my drawings
are very bad, and not to be compared with yours
The painter, however, prevailed upon him to
show them; and Antony allowed him to see
them. Mr Riedinger examined them with atten-
tion, and smiled at many of the touches; but,
notwithstanding numerous criticisms that he
made, he appeared to be, on the whole, very
well satisfied. In truth," he said to the forester,
"this youth promises to become a good painter.
Mr Grunenwald, confide him to me. You will
never have cause to repent of it."
I will take you at your word," replied the
forester. For a long time, I have been racking
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
my brains to contrive something for him. He is
thirteen years old; and the school in the village
cannot any longer be of advantage to him. The
employment of a forester does not at all suit
either his physical strength or his gentle disposi-
tion. He has more of the tender character of
his mother, than of the impetuous courage of his
father. So, then, if you believe that you will be
able to make a good painter of him, take him
under your direction. What will be the charge
for your lessons?"
"Oh as to that," replied the artist, leave it
to me. Have not you shown me, by your gene-
rous example, how we ought to entertain poor
orphans? One good action always brings about
another, as one torch lights another. All that
will be arranged very easily, and is not worth the
trouble of talking about. As soon as I shall
have finished the work which I have undertaken
at the castle, Antony, if he consents to it, shall
accompany me to the city; and I will do all in
my power to make him an artist."
Antony leaped for joy; but, when the time
52 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
for his departure arrived, and the painter, who
had come to fetch him, was standing before the
door, then the poor lad burst into tears.
"Do not weep, Antony," said the forester to
him. "It is but a short distance to the city.
We shall come and see you ct'r -, ; and we shall
expect you to come ?nd ee ii c Sundays and
holidays. Yes, Mr ,.p.ei- -r, I r. impose upon
you the following ccu' lh..:.o. .-\.:.y shall come
to see us, sometimes, and shall pass the Christ-
mas holidays in the bosom of our family. You
will allow it, will you not?"
"Willingly," replied the painter; "and if it
will not be displeasing to you, I will always
They shook hands: and Antony feelingly ex-
pressed his heartfelt gratitude to his adopted
parents; who, on their part, urged him to love
and venerate as a father the benefactor who was
doing so much for him. Followed by the most
sincere wishes for his welfare, Antony entered
the carriage, and set out for the city in company
with the painter.
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
The excellent Mr Riedinger kept his word in
every respect; and it was a true pleasure to him
to give lessons to so intelligent a pupil. They
often went to see the forester; and they some-
times passed several days in the neighbourhood,
that they might draw some of the rural scenes
of that mountainous and woody district. The
master was always bestowing praises upon his
pupil. Between ourselves," he said to the
forester, "Antony will become an artist, whose
colours I shall not be worthy to grind."
Some years afterwards, Mr Riedinger, accom-
panied by his pupil, went again to visit the
forester, and passed the Christmas holidays at
his house. Antony was then in the flower of his
age. After supper, when the children of the
keeper, and Antony, had retired to rest, there
was a long conversation between the painter, the
forester, and his wife. The couple had noticed
that the painter had something important upon
his _mind, and that he was desirous of communi-
cating to them some proposal. Mr Riedinger
at length said to them, "I have done all that I
54 THE YOUNG ARTISTIC
am able to do for Antony, and now he ought to
set out on his travels, and make a tour in Italy.
No doubt it will be a great expense; but I
believe that it is necessary for him. Never could
capital be better invested; and I will guarantee
you good interest. The expenses of the journey
considerably surpass the fortune of a private
individual; but I have well considered my plan.
In the first place it is understood that Antony
will not travel entirely at the expense of others;
and that he must contribute something towards
it, by his own labour. Notwithstanding this, a
tolerably large sum is indispensable, to enable
him to devote some time to the study of his art.
As for myself, I will do all that I am able.
Encouraged by your noble example, I resolved
to make Antony an artist, without requiring any
remuneration for my lessons. The pictures that
he has painted, up to the present time, have
always paid me very well. I have laid aside
that money, and have destined it for the journey;
but the sum is far from being sufficient. I ad-
dress myself to your goodness for the surplus.
THE YOUNG ARTIST
The sacrifice that I ask of you is, no doubt, con-
siderable; but ought you not to finish that which
you have commenced?"
It was with the most lively joy that the honest
forester learned the good conduct and the rapid
progress of Antony. Being in possession of a
small fortune, he asked, with a significant look,
the consent of his wife and, having obtained it,
he pressed the hand of the painter, in token of
"Well !" said he to him, "I will pay the sur-
plus, if my means will allow me to do so."
They made an approximative calculation of
the expenses of the journey; and it was arranged
that Antony should set out in the following spring.
The next morning, Mr Riedinger and his
pupil returned to the city. The forester and
his wife employed themselves during the winter
in making preparations for the journey of their
adopted child. They bought cloth for his outfit.
The keeper looked out for him his own trunk,
and had it covered again with the skin of a roe-
buck. His wife and his two daughters diligently
56 TIHE YOUNG ARTIST
employed themselves with their needles, and
took care to provide for Antony an ample ward-
robe. The young artist passed the first days
of the spring with the forester's family.
The forester did not forget to give him some
friendly counsels, recommending him to be pru-
dent, obedient, and diligent. The worthy man
had taken care to prepare the trunk himself;
and every time the good mother sent Antony
some article to pack up, the youth could not
conceal his emotion.
How very kind you are How much I am
indebted to you I cannot tell 1" he would ex-
claim. "My own parents, if they had been
living, could not have done more for me."
The trunk was sent to the address of a cele-
brated painter, to whom Mr Riedinger had re-
commended Antony; for the latter proposed to
himself to make the whole journey on foot.
Christian, his adopted brother, and his bosom
friend, had the thoughtfulness to buy him a
small knapsack, in which he could carry articles
that he more immediately required.
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
At length, the day of departure arrived. An-
tony manifested a desire to go first and bid fare-
well to Mr Riedinger, and then to set out on his
way immediately. The wife of the forester pre-
pared a farewell dinner, at which all the family
were present. It was a kindly and affecting
entertainment. The keeper cast his eyes round
upon the party, who were sitting in melancholy
"Do not be so sorrowful, my dear children,"
he said, "and you, wife, dry your tears. It is
not as if Antony is never to come back again.
When sons are come to the age of maturity,
they must go out into the world; and you, my
daughters, will also soon have to quit the pater-
nal roof. Besides, though mountains and valleys
separate us, our souls may and will, I hope,
always remain united. Separation is, no doubt,
very sorrowful; but the meeting again, here
below or above, will be so much the more
It was thus that the worthy man sought, by
his consolatory conversation, to restore cheerful-
58 THE YOUNG ARTIST
ness amongst his companions; and he brought in
a bottle of old wine, that had been specially re-
served for great occasions. He filled glasses for
his wife and his two daughters, notwithstanding
"There ought to be wine for the afflicted," he
said, smiling. Antony and Christian did not
need to be entreated, and held out their glasses.
The forester then took his own glass, and said,
"To your health, Antony; a good journey, and
a joyful return !"
"May God grant it!" said the wife, touching
glasses, and moistening her lips. Christian,
Catherine, and Louisa, drank towards the health
of the young man. Every one was in tears; and
Antony was the most distressed of them all.
He could not restrain his regret at parting; and
"Oh! my dear parents, what have you not
done for me ? What should I have done without
you? No I shall never be able to show myself
sufficiently grateful. May God recompense you!
May God put it in my power to prove, some
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
day, to you and to my brother and sisters, all
my gratitude for the benefits that you have
heaped upon me !"
"Yes, my dear Antony," said the forester,
"we are doing a great deal for you, I am forced
to confess, and perhaps it may be too much, if
we cast our eyes upon our own children. As to
myself and my dear wife, our wants are very
limited. Our hair is growing grey; and, as long
as we live, we shall always have our daily'bread.
But, my dear Antony, if it should happen that
our children should fall into distress, do you
then remember them, and assist them, as we
assisted you, when you were in a state of desti-
tution, and we relieved you in your misfortunes.
Promise me, Antony, that you will never abandon
your brother and sisters."
Oh no oh no! my fatlier," exclaimed An-
tony, holding out his hand. I should be the
most ungrateful man that ever walked on the
face of the earth, if I were to forget your kind-
nesses. No never shall they depart from my
memory I My greatest happiness will be to
60 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
prove to you, and to all here, my gratitude and
"I have faith in your words," said the keeper.
"But it is time for us to separate." He then
rose, saying, "Kneel, my dear child, that I may
give you my paternal blessing." Antony threw
himself upon his knees; and the forester raised
his eyes towards heaven. There was something
imposing and solemn in his demeanour and his
countenance. After having blessed the young
man, he said to him, "May God guard your
steps. May He preserve you from sin; and
may He bring you back, pure and untainted, to
my arms." The good mother and his children
stood around the forester, with their hands
joined together, and their eyes full of tears.
They all exclaimed, with voices trembling with
emotion, "Amen !"
The forester raised Antony, and pressed him
to his heart. "Ah! well," he said, "go, and
may God accompany you! Always think of
Him; and do not forget that His eye follows
you everywhere. Refrain from vice: the benefits
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
and the enjoyments of earth are too dearly paid
for, if they are bought at the expense of con-
science. Bear in mind that God has not made
us solely for the few days that we have to pass
here below, and that eternity awaits us. Not
only shun what is evil, but also everything likely
to cause you to fall into it. And now, once more,
my son, farewell; and may God be ever with
The wife of the keeper, her eyes swollen with
weeping, then said to him, "My dear Antony,
look at these eyes that are red with tears, and at
these wet cheeks. In the name of these, I con-
jure you to remain always faithful to God, and
never to wander from the path of virtue. In the
hour of temptation, call to your recollection these
tears. Up to this day, you have always been a
source of happiness to us. You have never
caused us sorrow. I am weeping now, it is true;
but my heart is not devoid of consolation. If I
should some day learn that you have given your-
self up to vice, then my tears would be very
bitter. Do not neglect the affectionate advice
62 THE YOUNG ARTIST
that your father and mother have given you.
Do not forget the last words of your poor mother
on her death-bed. Never forget them. Fare-
All the family accompanied him as far as the
outskirts of the forest, and the young man was
filled with sorrowful emotions. At length the
whole party bade him once more farewell.
Antony left them, and the family of the forester
stood looking after him. He turned round many
times, and took off his hat. The keeper and
his son replied in the same manner; and the
wife and her daughters waved their white hand-
kerchiefs, until, with his stick and his knapsack,
he disappeared behind a woody hill.
7 ; *j. ...'-' ih
I .. ,: _
THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT.
PWARDS of two years elapsed, and
Christmas eve had arrived for the
. third time since the departure of
Antony. The keeper and his son Christian had
returned home at an earlier hour than usual.
The cold was intense. The setting sun was
casting its purple tints upon the windows of the
apartment, and the round panes, covered with
hoar-frost, shone like rubies under the brilliancy of
the flaming horizon. The forester was sitting in
his arm-chair, near the fire-place, which he was
supplying with billets of wood. The flame soon
cast a bright light throughout the whole apart
64 THE YOUNG ARTIST
ment, and was reflected upon the windows, the
brilliancy of which was increased. While he was
thus engaged, his wife came in.
Has there no letter come from Antony ?" he
"There has not, indeed," she replied, sorrow-
That is astonishing," said the forester, shak-
ing his head. He has never failed to write to
us at Christmas. His letters have been always
so interesting, and have caused us the most lively
joy. What can be the cause of his not writing?"
The forester had scarcely uttered these words,
when a messenger came in, with his hair whitened
with hoar-frost. He held a letter in his hand,
and carried on his back a new deal box. It was
flat, but very large and high ; and he was obliged
to stoop in order to enter the apartment with it.
"There is, no doubt, a looking-glass in that
box," exclaimed Catherine. The messenger
gave the letter to the forester, and eased himself
of his load.
"The letter is from Mr Riedinger," said the
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
forester. "It is astonishing. I begin to fear
that some misfortune must have happened to
Antony." He hastened to open the letter, and
eagerly ran his eyes over it by the light that came
from the fire. "Would you believe it ?" he con-
tinued, with delight, "Antony has sent us,
from Rome, a painting for a Christmas present.
He has sent it, rolled up, to Mr Riedinger,
requesting him to have it handsomely framed,
and to have it forwarded to us on this Christmas
eve. According to what Mr Riedinger says, this
picture is a true masterpiece. What a good
young man this Antony is What a pleasure I
should have in clasping him in my arms!
Catherine," he added, "bring the worthy mes-
senger a glass of wine, while he is waiting for
supper. It will do him good; for it is terribly
cold out of doors."
The messenger accepted the wine, but declined
the supper. "I have promised," he said, some
of my relations in Aeschenthal, to pass this
evening and Christmas day at their house."
"It is well," replied the forester. He entreated
66 THE YOUNG ARTIST
him to empty his glass, paid him generously for
the carriage, and dismissed him.
Now," said the forester, "come near, all of
you. See, here is a letter from Mr Riedinger, in
which is inclosed another from Antony. I will
read you the latter."
But I will first fetch you a candle," said
"That is right," said the forester. "I shall
read it more easily; but be quick."
Louisa brought a candle, and all the family,
eager for the news, ranged themselves in a circle.
The forester then read the following letter:
"My good parents, my dear brother and
sisters I send you, as a Christmas present,
a painting upon which I have bestowed my
utmost pains. It represents the Saviour in the
manger. Many artists have assured me that I
have succeeded very well with it. If it should
afford you only half the pleasure that I derived
from seeing your picture of the manger of Jesus,
when I entered your house for the first time,
your joy will be very great. Oh that I could
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set out with the picture, in order that I might
present it to you in person !
The country where I now live is magnificent.
At the moment at which I am writing to you,
winter has been with you this long time,-even
since the month of November. The roof of
your house, and the pines and the oaks in the
neighbourhood, are groaning beneath the weight
of the snow. Here the citrons and the oranges,
with their silver blossoms and their golden fruits,
are still in bloom. Nevertheless, even in the
beautiful scenery of this delightful climate, I sigh
for the rustic hearth where I passed the happiest
moments of my life.
It is owing to your kindness that I now live
under the beautiful sky of Italy, and that I have
been able to become an artist,-if indeed I merit
the name. That simple manner of representing
the manger of Jesus to your children, however
imperfect it may have been, is always awakening
my natural desires, and is continually present to
my eyes. I have seen the masterpieces of the
world; but none of them have excited in me the
68 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
same enthusiasm. Alas Nothing is equal to
the happy hours of childhood Everything then
assumes a magic brilliancy in the golden rays of
the morning. Why have those hours fled away
"Now that you are reading my letter, and
contemplating my picture, I am in spirit in the
midst of you. I carry myself back, with emo-
tion, to the evening when I entered, half dead
with cold, under your rustic roof; when my good
mother restored me to life with good warm food;
when you adopted me as your son; when
Christian and Catherine, and Louisa, shared
joyfully with me some of their playthings. 0
my well-beloved father, I kiss your hands with
respect and gratitude, as well as those of my good
mother. I embrace my brother and my sisters.
I rejoice in the anticipation of being able to tell
you, some years hence, not merely in spirit, and
from a distance, but face to face, how much I
am, from the bottom of my heart,
"Yours devotedly and most affectionately,
THE YOUNG ARTIST
"What an affecting letter !" said the forester,
wiping his eyes. No, truly; we have not done
enough for Antony. I had built great hopes
upon him; but he has surpassed them. I could
never have believed that he would have caused
me so much happiness. I think, however," he
added, with a smile, "that it is time to go to
supper. We will look at the picture afterwards."
No, no !" exclaimed all the children at once;
"let us see it immediately." The supper may
wait," added Louisa; "I will run and fetch another
candle, that we may be able to see it the better."
Christian brought a chisel and mallet, and
opened the box. "What a beautiful painting,"
they exclaimed all together; "what heavenly
forms what admirable colours !"
The forester placed the picture upon the table,
between two lighted candles; and all their eyes
were fixed upon it. The wife of the keeper
piously joined her hands, and said, "In truth
one could not have seen anything more beau-
tiful It seems as though I were actually pre-
sent before the manger of Jesus. With what
70 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
sweetness and kindness, the Divine infant looks
upon us One would say that, at His entrance
into the world, He wishes us all a welcome. How
Mary, on her knees near the manger, contem-
plates Him with tenderness and with love With
one hand she holds her son; with the other she
calms the beating of her maternal heart; and in
her joy, near the amiable Child, she forgets all
the wretchedness of the stable. With what
dignity Joseph stands near her! With what
fervour, joining together his hands, he raises his
looks towards heaven What a patriarchal air
those shepherds have and with what veneration,
with what gratitude, they have bowed themselves
down! And the angels above! What heavenly
beauty How lightly they hover over Him. The
glory that encircles the head of the Child, what
a vivid light it casts upon all the objects around
it, and dims even the splendour of the angels !
In truth, a man must have a heart of stone if he
is not sensibly moved at such a sight of the birth
of the Saviour; and if one does not, with the
angels, celebrate the glory of God !"
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
Hitherto the forester had not withdrawn his
eyes from the picture, and had not uttered a
word. He at length broke silence, as if he had
awakened from a dream.
"Yes, wife," he said, "you are right. That
sacred history, so well painted here, and so well
framed, leaves upon the heart an impression that
is quite new, and altogether familiar. I will
attempt to tell you all that I find in it, and all
that it has made me feel."
He brought forward his arm-chair, and seated
himself at a distance of some paces from the
painting, so that he might be able to see it in a
better light. He then spoke in the following
My dear children, let us turn our eyes to
the Divine Infant in the manger. For some
moments, we will lay aside His divine birth, and
consider Him, first, as a human child. Feeble
and helpless, see Him laid in poor swaddling
clothes, on a little hay and straw! but His mother
smiles tenderly upon Him, and prepares to lavish
upon Him all her cares. His reputed father
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stands near them, attentively looking on. His
vigorous arm will protect the mother and child;
and the labour of his hand will provide them
food. A faithful father, a loving mother, and a
child who will gratefully return the love of His
parents, as soon as He attains a knowledge of
Himself. See the most beautiful spectacle upon
this earth, and one over which angels themselves
rejoice in heaven. God Himself has formed
that lovely trio,-a father, a mother, and their
child. On seeing that infant in His manger,
you say to yourselves: 'I myself have been a
feeble child. I was cast upon the earth, at the
mercy of men; and I should have perished in
wretchedness, if my parents had not welcomed
me with love. But it was with joy and with
thanks to heaven that they received the young
stranger! and everything was already prepared
for its arrival. My mother clothed me in my
first garments,-my swaddling clothes, which she
had spun and washed, and sewn, with her own
hands. Night and day she thought of nothing
else but anticipating my least wants. When I
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was sleeping she would remain near my cradle.
How many nights has she passed without sleep,
solely from love to me 1 Our good father has
partaken of her cares, and has laboured for both
of us.' Repeat these words, my children, and
thank God that He has given you such good
parents; for it is He who, out of affection for
us, has put something of His ineffable goodness
into the heart of your mother. Never forget
your parents. A son, a daughter, who should
forget what their mother has suffered for them,
and what their father has done to feed them, to
clothe them, and to bring them up, would be un-
And now, my children, having contemplated
the holy family, let us raise our eyes to the
angels who are hovering over them. Let us cast
a look, also, upon the animals in the stable; and
let us, in so doing, recognize the dignity and
destiny of man. But let us once more admire
the holy virgin, with her gentle countenance,
stamped with heavenly innocence and ineffable
affection. Consider the noble bearing of the
74 THE YOUNG ARTIST
venerable Joseph;-how, in holy rapture, he
*raises his looks towards heaven. Look at that
beautiful child, whose countenance smiles with
so much sweetness, and whose eyes shine like
Even the place in which we find the child
and His parents-that wretched manger, that
poor stable-is not without importance. Man
has no need of a palace in order to fulfil his
destiny. He may live happily, and die in peace,
in the most humble cottage. In that stable
everything indicates indigence and poverty.
Man, in order to be truly happy-in order to
be worthy of the most deserved honours and the
most real nobility-has he need of silk or of
velvet, of gold or of silver? In the most im-
portant things, God has established no difference
amongst men. A poor stable shelters the most
perfect and the most pure beings that have ever
appeared upon the earth.
"All the promises that were contained in the
manger of Jesus, Christ has realized, notwith-
standing the unheard-of obstacles that the igno-
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rance and prejudice of men opposed to Him;
notwithstanding the great number of evils for
which His birth and His death have been with-
out a remedy, He founded a heavenly kingdom
upon the earth, and His work continues. Many
conquerors have founded empires; but those
empires have not long survived them, and some-
times have crumbled to dust even during their
lives. Christianity alone, the kingdom of Jesus,
still exists, and is always increasing. Whole
peoples have been converted to its faith; and
powerful monarchs ornament their crowns with
His cross. The ancient barbarities of paganism,
human sacrifices, and other atrocities, have dis-
appeared in Christian countries. Christianity
has erected a multitude of temples and of
churches, in which the true God is worshipped,
and in which holy truth is taught. An immense
number of schools, houses of refuge, and hospi-
tals, owe their existence to Christian charity.
But for these pious foundations, how many
children, and poor, and sick would have per-
ished in ignorance, vice, and wretchedness!
76 THE YOUNG ARTIST
Millions of men, oppressed by the weight of
their sins, have recovered peace of conscience,
and have returned to the paths of virtue. And
at the present time, notwithstanding the pro-
gress of infidelity and corruption, how many
hearts there are that beat with this holy faith,
and that derive strength from it in the midst of
the troubles of life, and of the anguish of death!
Even at the present day the Gospel is an-
nounced as good news to idolaters; and hordes
of savages have been converted to the faith;
welcoming the holy truth with joy, and adopting
manners more humane. Thus the day of the
birth of Jesus is the most important epoch in
the history of peoples; and it was with reason
that our fathers, in their wisdom, made a new era
from this day.
"Every Christmas Eve ought, then, to recall
to our minds that the day of the birth of Christ
is that of the birth of light and salvation for
those men who open to Him their eyes and their
hearts; the day on which mankind found their
true happiness, and were restored to light and their
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primeval dignity. Thus, my children, during
this evening and the day that follows it, let us
render homage to the Saviour, and let us mingle
our songs with those of the angels."
Thus spoke the keeper. His wife added with
emotion, "Yes, my children; let us follow the
advice of your father. The precious painting
that Antony has sent us, is the most beautiful
Christmas present that he, or any one else, even
were he a prince, could have sent us. The
attention with which you have listened to the
pious observations of your father, is the best
manner of worthily celebrating this holy vigil.
Let us receive, with gratitude, the salvation that
God has prepared for us, by the birth of His
Son. Then we shall be able to date our re-
demption from the day of the birth of the
FORTUNE AND MISFORTUNE.
FTER the departure of Antony, the
worthy forester had passed, in the
bosom of his family, many years of
peace and happiness. His children had grown
up. Christian was now a strong young man.
Catherine and Louisa were young women, in
the flower of their age. All of them had been
well brought up; and their conduct was irre-
proachable. The good father felt, by little and
little, the inconveniences of approaching old age;
and he resolved to resign the duties of his office
in favour of his son. Towards the autumn of
every year, the Duke visited his castle at Felseck
for some days ; and, in the midst of his numer-
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ous occupations, he found recreation in the
chase. Extremely affable and generous, he
listened with attention to the least of his sub-
jects, and did not disdain to converse with
them. One day, when the Prince was on a
visit at the castle, and the chase had been suc-
cessful, he came up to the keeper, and slapping
him on the shoulder, said to him, with kind-
ness, "Well, my dear old friend, how are your
"Sir," replied the keeper, "the fatigues of
the day begin to press heavily upon my aged
shoulders; and I wish to transfer the load to
"Well!" answered the Duke, "let your son
Christian replace you. He is a good huntsman,
and, what I like better, an excellent forester.
The woods, as I have noticed during the chase,
are in capital condition. Believe me, no one
else shall have the place; and let him discharge
the duty in the meantime. But I desire that
you will, for some time longer, keep the upper
hand, and the title of forester. The best sub-
So THE YOUNG ARTIST
jects easily become negligent and presumptuous,
when the collars of their coats are adorned, at
too early an hour, with borders of gold. It is
to my advantage, and also to yours, that you
should keep your office for some time longer."
The forester thanked the Prince for the pro-
mise that he had just made him, and added, "I
have another favour to ask of you. My son
could make, at the present time, a very suitable
marriage, by espousing the daughter of one of
the friends of my childhood, the forester Bousch,
who has been dead these many years. The
young girl has just lost her mother, and does
not know where to go. She is poor, it is true,
but pious and industrious. She is innocence,
goodness, and modesty itself."
"It is well," said the Prince. "I approve
very much that in the choice of a wife, inno-
cence and virtue are preferred to fortune. It is
with pleasure that I give my consent, and the
reversion of your office. I will take care that the
warrant for his appointment shall be forwarded
TEE YOUNG ARTIJS.I
Christian, who was waiting, with anxiety, at a
distance of some paces, the result of their con-
versation, approached, at a sign that his father
made to him, and thanked the Prince. The mar-
riage took place; and the arrival of the gentle
young woman was a new source of happiness in
that home. Peace and harmony reigned under
the roof of the good forester. The old man soon
had the joy of seeing his grandchildren upon
his knees, and his aged companion grew young
again, in some sort, with the pleasure that she
had in fondling them, and carrying them in her
arms. The daughters treated their young sister-
in-law as a sister; and all the family were happy.
But a great misfortune fell upon the happy
family. It took its rise in an old story, that
the forester had almost forgotten. The young
de Schilf, who formerly had accompanied the
forester in the chase, soon allowed himself to go
alone, without the authority of the keeper, and to
fire, without pity, upon all the game that came
before him. The forester met him, one day, in
the wood, and said to him-
82 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
"Poaching is severely prohibited. If you
wish to enjoy the chase, my dear sir, come with
me, as you have hitherto done. You shall
accompany me; and I will point out to you the
best places, where you may enjoy yourself to
your heart's content. But I cannot allow you
to follow your own fancies in the forest that is
entrusted to my care."
The young man was far from taking notice of
this wise counsel. The keeper met him on
another occasion, and seizing his fowling-piece,
said to him-
"God is my witness, that I do it with regret;
but it is my duty. My orders are strict; and I
cannot do otherwise. If I find you here again, I
shall be obliged to inform against you, and then
it will go ill with you." In addition to this, the
worthy forester went to the elder de Schilf, and
persuaded him to forbid his son following the
chase. The old man had passed over many faults
in his son; but he showed himself severe this
time; for he feared disgrace. He threatened to
disinherit him, if he continued to follow the chase,
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without being accompanied by the keeper; but
the young man was accustomed to take very
little notice of his father's remonstrances.
Soon afterwards, the forester heard the dis-
charge of a fowling-piece, and hastening to
the spot, found de Schilf near a stag that he
had just brought down. The keeper instituted
proceedings against him; and the aged father
hurried to the presence of the Prince, to implore
pardon for his son.
"According to the rigour of the law," said the
Prince to him, your son ought to be condemned
to imprisonment. I will, however, for this once,
grant him my pardon; but, if he should be
taken again, he shall suffer punishment. And
you must be aware, that it is not to a place of
imprisonment that I shall go to seek my coun-
sellors and my other officers."
The affair was thus settled; but the young de
Schilf cherished a mortal hatred towards the
forester; and though years ran by from that
time, he burned with a desire for vengeance.
In the meantime the Prince died. The heir
84 THE YOUNG ARTIST
presumptive was a minor, and was at that time
on his travels. A regency was appointed; a
great change took place in the country. The
young de Schilf, who was in the enjoyment of a
large fortune, and who had relations high in
office, was appointed keeper-general. He estab-
lished himself in great pomp at the castle of
Felseck, a part of which was assigned to him
for his residence. He then became the superior
of the worthy forester, and pleased himself with
tormenting him in a thousand ways. He was
continually heaping reproaches upon him. The
keeper could never do anything right.
The new Prince at length came to take the
reins of government. The keeper-general de
Schilf, very artful and very insinuating, was en-
abled to gain, by his intrigues, the entire favour
of the Grand Master of the waters and forests,
who enjoyed the entire favour of the Prince.
He availed himself of this, to make the poor
forester feel still more all his arrogance and his
"You are no more fit for service," he said to
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him one day. "I will take care to have you
replaced by a man who will know better how to
watch over the management of this fine forest."
I shall resign my functions with pleasure,"
replied the forester. I should have done so
long ago, if the old Prince would have consented
to it. And then my son will succeed me."
"Your son ?" said de Schilf, ironically; "it
seems to me that I ought to have a word or two
to say about that."
The forester mentioned the warrant that the
prince had delivered to Christian, and by reason
of which the latter had married.
"Bah !" exclaimed M. de Schilf. "I know
of your warrant. You interpret it very skilfully;
but unfortunately for you, it is only a single pro-
mise, on condition of good conduct. It was
nothing more than that. Christian is good for
nothing. I know how to make a better choice."
The poor grey-headed old man attempted in
vain to restrain a tear, and said-
"Mr Keeper-general, pardon me, do not be
unjust. At one time you felt yourself offended
86 THE YOUNG ARTIST:
by me; but that should be a reason for your
acting towards me with more circumspection."
"How !" exclaimed de Schilf, his eyes flash-
ing with anger; "is it you that remind me
of your own rudeness ? Is it you that made
me remember that, thanks to your malevolence,
I was deprived of the only pleasure of my youth ?
It was by you that I was slandered at the court.
You are an insolent clown. You have never
had any respect for the nobility; and you have
associated with none but the vulgar. You have
allowed your son to marry a girl that had not a
penny, a very beggar; and the little fortune that
you had, you have thrown away upon that vaga-
bond Antony. You have not known how to
manage your own property. How then will you
be able to manage the property of others, and to
watch over the interests of the prince ? Go, go,
you are good for nothing. I expect that we
shall soon have some great affair with each
other; and then I shall be relieved from your
The forester left him.
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
"Well, well," said he to himself, on retiring;
"the keeper-general is a fine fellow! The woods
are in the finest condition in the world. I do
not fear him, notwithstanding the desire that he
has to injure me. We shall see."
He did not speak to his family of the conver-
sation that he had had with the keeper-general,
in order that he might not distress them without
One day, the forester had returned from his
rounds and had taken his seat in his arm-chair;
when a messenger entered, and handed him a
letter from the director-general of waters and
The letter stated that the forester Grunenwald,
by virtue of an order from his superior, was dis-
charged from his office, on account of his age,
and the incapacity which it occasioned; and
that the service of the forest would be, until the
time when the vacancy should be filled up, con-
fided to the neighboring keeper of Walden-
bruck. As for a pension for the honest forester,
and a place for his son, there was no mention
88 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
made of either. The letter went on to say that,
from the date when it should be received, the
former forester was prohibited from firing a single
shot in the forest, or even of showing himself
there with fire-arms, on pain of forfeiting them.
The old forester opened the letter, and was
struck with consternation. His hand trembled.
He restrained himself, however, and read the
letter to his family who were employed around
him in different household occupations. The
aged mother and her two daughters became pale
with affright. Christian could not conceal his
anger on seeing the spitefulness of the keeper-
general. His young wife kept silence for some
moments, and then burst into tears. His child-
ren, who were playing about the room, began to
cry also, when they saw that their mother was
crying. The whole family were plunged into
sorrow. The aged forester was the only one
amongst them who preserved his calmness. He
said, "Never forget that there is still a good God.
You first, my aged wife, wipe away your tears,
and give to our children and our grandchildren
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
an example of confidence in God. If He is with
us, the wicked will in vain attempt to injure us.
This trial comes to us from Him; and it will,
some day, turn to our advantage. Let us take
courage. The Almighty protects us. If all the
earth casts us off, He, at least, will not repulse
us. He is our Father. His riches are infinite;
and He will never allow us to want bread. Let
us trust in Him. Be fearless ; and let us console
ourselves in our adversity.
I will not, however," he continued, "neglect
anything. To-morrow I will go to see the Prince.
He has all the generosity of his father. He will
hear me notwithstanding the great number of
affairs with which he is pressed at the commence-
ment of his reign. He is just; and he will never
permit an aged forester, who has faithfully served
his masters for more than forty years, to be given
up, without ceremony, with his wife, his children,
and his grandchildren, to misery, and hunger,
and death. Christian, you shall accompany me.
We may now both of us very well absent our-
selves, without the consent of the keeper-general.
90 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
Take care that we get ready to set out early to-
The next morning the forester arose before it
was day, and awoke his son. "I cannot wait
for sunrise," he said ; "it is moonlight, and we
know the way. Let us set out."
Catherine brought their linen, and some pro-
visions for the journey. Christian's wife and
Louisa prepared the breakfast, and carried it into
the apartment. The children were still asleep.
"And when do you think of coming back?"
asked the aged wife of her husband.
I cannot exactly tell," he replied; probably
in about eight days."
"To-morrow fortnight is Christmas eve," said
his wife. By that time, at least, you will have
"In eight days from to-morrow, if God wills
it," said the keeper. "Besides, whatever may
happen, I should wish to celebrate the holy day
of Christmas with you."
"Go," said his wife; "and may God preserve
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"In the meantime," added the forester; "pray
to God, and have confidence in Him. He will
do everything for the best."
The whole family accompanied the two travel-
lers to the threshold of the door. It was still
very dark; and there was nothing to indicate
the approach of the dawn. They set out
courageously in the middle of a cold and dark
night in December. Our two travellers, and
principally the aged father, excited the most
lively solicitude in the whole family. The first
week passed over in a sufficiently quiet manner;
but when their absence was prolonged beyond
that period, and the weather became worse and
worse-the rain falling incessantly-they felt
Alas !" they said, Christian, with his robust
health, will have already been exposed to much
evil; but our aged father, how will he be able to
The two children of Christian were continually
running to the door, to see whether their father
and their grandfather were not returning.
92 THE YOUNG ARTIST.
Thus, after the first week, a second succeeded;
and it was full of sorrow and of anguish. Be-
sides, some days after the departure of the two
foresters, a huntsman of the keeper-general had
brought an official letter. The aged mother did
not venture to take upon herself to open it. She
feared, however, some sorrowful news; for the
huntsman had said, in a tone of irony, "What
folly, on the part of the old forester, to have been
running to the capital, with his blockhead of a
son Monsieur the keeper-general is sure of his
business. They will be put to expense, and will
get nothing but shame and contempt." While
they were thus waiting, the family prayed every
day, that God would vouchsafe to the travellers
favourable access to the Prince, and that He
would bring them back safe and sound. The
children themselves, of their own accord, joined
in that prayer.
I -.- ..- e I
NDER these sorrowful auspices came on
the festival of Christmas. Night closed
in at an early hour, and the sky was
covered with dark clouds. The wind whistled
through the old oaks, and made the pine-trees
of the forest bend before it. So heavy were the
rain and the snow, that the streams in the gut-
ters roared like torrents falling from the tops of
rocks. "Oh, my God !" said the aged dame,
after having for a long time looked.out of the
window, "one does not yet see them. If they
do not come to-day, to celebrate Christmas, most
surely some misfortune will have happened to
them. I am in perfect agony. What weather!
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One would not even turn a dog out of doors;
and the roads must be very puddles. Alas! that
they would arrive. The rest would be of little
She opened the casement, and looked out;
and she then exclaimed, "God be praised, they
are here !" All the family ran to the threshold
of the door, to meet the two travellers; and they
asked them, Well, has the journey been a happy
I hope that everything will be ordered for
the best," replied the aged forester. "Our long
absence must have occasioned you much uneasi-
ness. The journey made me a little indisposed,
and thus deferred my departure. After I
recovered, the rivers and the brooks had been
so much swollen by the continual rains, that
we were not able to set out until some days
later. But, God be praised, we have now re-
He entered, and changed his garments; and
he then seated himself in his arm-chair, near the
stove, in which a good fire was burning. His
THE YOUNG ARTIST
aged wife brought a bottle of wine and two
glasses, with a lighted lamp.
Come, this will restore you !" said she, filling
the glasses. "You must be in need of it."
In truth," said the forester, casting his eyes
around him, by the light of the lamp, "how
pleasant it is to be in your own home, in the
midst of one's family, and to see all around
nothing but cheerful and benevolent counte-
The son of the forester, however, said to his
wife, aside: Matters are going badly. We are
in great risk of losing the place."
This intelligence distressed her; and she com-
municated it secretly to the other members of
the family. On seeing their countenances sud-
denly become darkened, and fear and affright
painted upon all their features, the aged forester
"What! has Christian, then, already been
tattling? There is nothing to conceal. You
shall know all; but do not despair. Remember
that this is the night in which the Saviour was
96 THE YOUNG ARTIST
born. Let us forget, in the presence of so great
a joy, the pitiful cares of this earth. At least, let
them not press too much on our hearts.
"We arrived at the capital at a late hour of
the night; and notwithstanding the lateness of
the hour, I proceeded to the house of Mr Muller,
the councillor of the waters and forests. He is
an honest and virtuous man. He was formerly
my keeper-general, and he has always displayed
great friendship for me. The other councillors
who had known me are either all dead or have
retired. Although he has himself retired from
business, by reason of his age, he was yet able
to give me the best advice. In fact, the worthy
man received me in the most affable manner. I
made him acquainted with that which I had
upon my heart.
"' The keeper-general,' he said to me, 'is a
dangerous enemy to you ; and, unfortunately, he
has powerful friends. He wishes to obtain your
situation for a young man who has been his
domestic, and he makes the most unfavourable
reports respecting you and your son. I very
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
much fear that he will succeed, and cause Chris-
tian to lose his paternal employment.'
Oh !' I answered him, the affair will not
go so, for I intend to address myself directly to
"'I advise you to do so,' said Mr Muller to me,
'and I will accompany you. But you have
chosen a very bad time. The young Duke is
overwhelmed with business, and you will find it
difficult to obtain an audience. Do not forget
also to see the Director-General and the coun-
cillors of the waters and forests. I fear much
that you will meet with a bad reception. M. de
Schilf has gained them all in his favour.'
These words were soon verified. I had
much hardship to endure. The Director-Gene-
ral received me in a very cold manner, and dis-
missed me very quickly. The other councillors
did not treat me much better. I found nothing
but sour looks, and I heard nothing but hard
words. I was not even received by the Prince,
who was at that time with the Director-General.
M. de Schilf had calumniated us with very great
98 THE YOUNG ARTIST
address. I abstain from giving you more ample
particulars. They would be tedious. Besides,
they relate to matters that you could not com-
prehend. All that we can hope for is an inquiry;
and that would probably fall into the hands of
,those who would be very little favourable to us.
But conversation like this makes us sad; and
this is an evening on which all Christians should
rejoice. It is Christmas eve. Let us remember
the birth of our Saviour. That will clear up our
He cast a look at the picture of the manger
that Antony had sent. It was hung in the place
that the looking-glass had formerly occupied;
and it was covered with a veil, that it might be
preserved from all injury. Francis and Clara,
the two grandchildren of the aged keeper, had
been for many weeks rejoicing in the anticipation
of Christmas eve. They rose hastily and wiped
away the tears from their pretty faces, which
were already smiling again.
Grandmother," said little Francis, "take
away the veil from the picture, and light the
THE YOUNG ARTIST.
candles as you did last year, that we may see it
Grandfather," said young Clara, take your
harp. We should like to sing the pretty Christ-
But tell me, first," said the forester, "if
nothing has happened during my absence."
"No," replied the aged female; but an
ominous letter that came from the administration,
immediately after your departure."
She presented to him the sealed letter. The
forester opened it. He grew pale, and lifted his
face towards heaven. Oh! God," he exclaimed,
"Thy will be done !"
All the family, frightened and full of anguish,
turned their eyes towards him.
"Well, what is it ?" asked the aged woman.
"We must leave this house," replied the
forester. "We ought to have gone out of it
already. The keeper-general orders us to
evacuate the forester's home before Christmas,
in order that the new keeper may enter into it in
time for the festival. He threatens, in case of
Ioo THE YOUNG ARTIST.
disobedience, to have us expelled by the officers
of the court. I am astonished that they have not
yet arrived. At any moment they may come
and turn us out of doors."
"Oh heavens," exclaimed the wife of Chris-
tian ; "in this terrible and stormy night! Do
you hear how the wind blows, and the rain is
falling in torrents ? Where shall we find a shelter
from the wind and rain ?"
She sank upon her chair, and pressed her two
children to her bosom.
God of goodness !" she said, groaning, have
pity upon these innocent creatures !"
Christian, without uttering a word, and with
his hands joined together, stood before her,
casting sorrowful looks upon his wife and
"Oh! my God !" exclaimed the aged mother,
sobbing, and wringing her hands, "to be driven
in our old age, with our children and our grand-
children from the house in which I was born,
and where my father and my grandfather lived !
Such a thing was never heard of! Heavenly