FLORA AND HER PORTRAIT.
"And was there never a portrait of your beautiful child," said Anne
Jones, to a lady whom she met at the grave where her child had been
lain a few weeks.
"Oh, yes! but I may never have it," replied the woman as she stood
weeping at the grave.
Anna did not understand the mother's tears, but in a few moments she
became calm, and continued to explain.
"Not many weeks
efore my child's illness, as we were walking together
in the city, an artist observed my daughter and followed us to our
humble home. He praised her countenance to me, and said her beauty was
rare. In all his life he had never seen face to compare with it, nor
an eye so full of soul, and begged to have me consent to his drawing
her portrait. After many urgent entreaties, my dear child consented.
For several mornings I went with Flora to the artist's room, though I
could ill afford the time, for our daily bread was to be earned. When
he was finishing the picture, Flora went alone. One day she returned,
and flinging into my lap her little green purse, she said: 'The
picture does not need me any more, and I am very glad, for my head
aches badly. They say the portrait is very like me, mother.'
"I resolved to go and see it the day following, but when the time came
that I first looked upon it, my dear child began to fade in my arms,
until she died. And here she is buried. Since then I go to the
artist's room to see her portrait, and there, full of life and beauty,
she stands before me, and I have permission to see it every day.
"But I am about to leave this country for our native land. My aged
father has long wished to return to his own country, and we shall soon
sail with our friends for Italy. I must leave the dear child here. But
if I can purchase the picture of the artist, I shall be happy. We are
poor; but by the sale of some little articles, we have raised money
enough to buy the picture, at the price which the artist demands for a
"When I went to buy it, you know not how I felt, when the artist,
notwithstanding all my pleadings, denied my request. His apology was,
that he had taken it for some purpose of his own; some great
exhibition of paintings; what, I could not fully comprehend. He would
not sell it. Day after day I have been to him, but in vain. And now
the time of our departure will soon come, and duty demands that I
must go with my father, and I must leave my dear Flora, and portrait
She then laid her face upon the grave and wept. Anna's eyes were
filled with tears, and for some moments she did not speak. At last she
thought--"I know the artist." And then touching the mother, who was
almost insensible, she said, "Madam, it may be that I can do something
for you; describe to me the picture. I think I must have seen it at
this same artist's room."
The mother then gave the description, and after Anna had gathered from
the mother all needful information, her name, and residence, and time
of sailing, then giving her own address, and speaking to her words of
consolation and hope, she arose and left the stranger at the grave of
her child. The next story will tell you how the picture was obtained.