THE PORTRAIT OF FLORA PURCHASED.
Anna started for her home, and when she had arrived, she slowly
ascended to her room, flung herself upon her couch, and buried her
face among its cushions.
"Edgar," (for that was the artist's name, and Anna knew him,) "Edgar
is cold hearted." She did not meet the family at tea that evening, but
when her mother came to inquire if she was ill, she related all the
sad story of the childless mother, and asked
what could be done. The
next morning, Anna and her father went to see the artist. He was not
in attendance, but one to whom they were well known brought forward
the picture, at Anna's request, and which she had before seen. While
they were looking at it, the artist came in.
"Pardon me, sir," said Anna's father, "for examining your beautiful
picture during your absence, but my daughter has a very earnest desire
to possess it. Is it for sale?"
Edgar replied, "I have painted this picture for the coming artist's
exhibition, and, therefore, I have made no design as to its disposal,
but it would be an honor to me to have you and Miss Anna its
purchasers. I would wish, however, previously to its being given up,
that it might be exhibited, according to my intention, at the rooms,
which open on Monday next."
Mr. H. hesitated: the vessel, which was to carry away the sorrowing
mother, was to sail in a little more than two weeks: they must have
the picture at that time, if ever; and he said to the artist, "I am
aware that this is a beautiful painting, and I will pay you your
price, but I must be allowed to take it at the expiration often days,
if at all."
Edgar reflected a few moments, and being well aware that, in the
mansion of Mr. Hastings, his elegant picture would be seen by persons
of the most accomplished manners, and of excellent taste, concluded to
sell the picture. The bargain was made and Anna and her father
departed, leaving the artist somewhat elated at the thought of having
Mr. H. the owner of his picture.
That night Edgar dreamed that Flora, who had been buried a few weeks,
and of whose image his picture was the exact resemblance, stood before
him, pleading him to have pity on her lonely mother: he dreamed her
hand clasped his, and he awoke trembling.
He raised himself upon his elbow, and pressed to his lips some flowers
which were left on his table, and then rejoiced that the ocean would
soon be between him and the wearisome old woman who had so long
annoyed him about the picture.
The Monday morning came and with it the portrait of Flora, which had
been admired at the exhibition rooms the previous week. A simple frame
had been prepared for it, and for a few moments Anna gazed on the
picture, and with a love for the buried stranger, looked for the last
time into the deep dark eyes which beamed on the canvass.
The ship Viola, bound for the port of Naples, lay at the wharf, the
passengers were all hurrying on board, the flags were flying, and all
wore the joyous aspect of a vessel outward bound. A carriage drawn by
a pair of horses came down to the vessel. Mr. Hastings and Anna
alighted, and were followed by a servant, who took the safely cased
portrait in his arms, and accompanied them on board the ship. They
soon met the mother of Flora, and Anna took the picture and presented
it to her, and promised to care for the rose buds which bloomed at
Flora's grave. Mr. H. received from the gallant captain a promise to
take special charge of the Italian widow, and her aged father, and to
care for the valued picture of Flora. Thanks and farewells closed the
scene, when Anna, with her father, returned home. There she found a
note from Edgar, the artist, requesting permission to call on Anna
that evening. She wrote a reply, saying that a previous engagement
would forbid her complying with his request, at the same time
enclosing a check for $200, saying, "My father requests me to forward
this check to you in payment for the portrait of _Flora Revere_."