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“ Not much of a cloud, Patron ; no bigger than the spread skin of the cowfish there ; but it's in the east, and therefore in the direction of Gran Pará. That means much."
“What difference can it make in what direction it is?”
“ Every difference! If from Gran Pará 't is up the great river. Up the great river means rain, – perhaps thunder, lightning, a storm. A storm is just what we want.”
“O, now I see what you mean. Well ? "
" I must go back to the mouth of the igarapé, and take another look at the sky. Have patience, Patron, and pray for me to return with good news.” So saying, the tapuyo once again slipped down into the water, and swam towards the entrance of the arcade.
For a full half-hour was he absent; but long before his return the news he was to bring back had been told by signs that anticipated him. The moonbeams, hitherto seen striking here and there through the thinner screen of the foliage, had been growing dimmer and dimmer, until they were no longer discernible, and uniform darkness prevailed under the shadow of the trees. So dark had it become, that, when the swimmer returned to the ceiba, they were only warned of his approach by the slight plashing of his arms, and the next moment he was with them.
•“ The time has come,” said he, “for carrying out my scheme. I've not been mistaken in what I saw. The cloud, a little bit ago not bigger than the skin of the juarouá, will soon cover the whole sky. The rags upon its edge are already blinding the moon; and by the time we can get under the scaffolds of the malocca it will be dark enough for our purpose.”
“What! the scaffolds of the malocca! You intend going there ? ”
“ But there is great danger, is there not ?" suggested Trevannion, “in going _"
“In going there is,” interrupted the tapuyo ; “but more in not going. If we succeed, we shall be all safe, and there's an end of it. If we don't, we have to die, and that 's the other end of it, whatever we may do."
“ But why not try our first plan? It's now dark enough outside. Why can't we get off upon the raft ? ”.
“Dark enough, as you say, Patron. But you forget that it is now near morning. We could n't paddle this log more than a mile before the sun would be shining upon us, and then —”
“Dear uncle,” interposed the young Paraense, “ don't interfere with his plans. No doubt he knows what is best to be done. If I am to risk my life, it is nothing more than we 're all doing now. Let Munday have his way. No fear but we shall return safe. Do, dear uncle ! let him have his way.”
As Munday had already informed them, no preparation was needed, — only his knife and a dark night. Both were now upon him, the knife in his waist-strap, and the dark night over his head. One other thing was neces
sary to the accomplishment of his purpose, – the captured canoe, which was already prepared, lying handy alongside the log.
With a parting salute to all, — silent on the part of the tapuyo, but spoken by the young Paraense, a hope of speedy return, an assurance of it whispered in the ear of Rosita, — the canoe was shoved off, and soon glided out into the open lagoa.
TN our last paper we inadvertently omitted to mention the admirable collegiI ate institution located in the New York University building, — thereby giving offence to one or two gentlemen who are justly proud of a college which can boast of so many distinguished names among its professors and its graduates. As we find ourselves again at the portals of this sober edifice, it is appropriate that we should confess and lament our negligence.
In that same unfortunate paper we spoke of sometimes meeting files of spectral little boys, with tattered Latin grammars under their arms, issuing from the University. It was far from our thought to injure the feelings of any of those learned little gentlemen, but it seems that we have done so.
A little boy — we know he must be a spectral little boy, and are sure that he has a tattered Latin grammar under his arm — has written us a dispiriting missive, in which he finds great fault with us because we called the University a “gloomy" building, and wondered how people could live in it, and not grow morbid. Now the tone of our sinister little friend's letter is an evidence of the deteriorating effect which the cheerless architecture of the University exercises on the youthful mind. Figuratively speaking, he has thrown down the tattered Latin grammar, taken off his little jacket, and
dared us to meet him in mortal combat on the threshold of the haunted castle. For our part, we shall avoid that spectral little boy. We would not venture near the place on the present occasion, but, having promised to meet a friend in Mr. Hennessy's studio, what can we do? We must keep our engagement, even if we have to face le petit monstre.
Near the end of a lonely hall in the third story are two doors facing each other. Each door has a small white porcelain slate attached to it, and under the slate the name of the occupant of the premises. With one of these rooms (Mr. Homer's) the reader is already acquainted. The other is the studio of Mr. Hennessy.
The two studios offer a strange contrast. Mr. Homer's workshop is as scantily furnished as a shelter-tent. A crayon sketch of camp-life here and there on the rough walls, a soldier's overcoat dangling from a wooden peg, and suggesting a military execution, a rusty regulation musket in one corner, and a table with pipes and tobacco-pouch in the other, — these are the homely decorations of Mr. Homer's chamber. Mr. Hennessy's apartment, on the contrary, is rather exquisitely arranged, as the reader will observe on turning to the engraving which accompanies this article. The tinted walls are covered with choice paintings, engravings, and photographs. A landscape by Whittredge — showing a ledge of rocks near the sea-shore, – is one of the gems of Mr. Hennessy's snuggery.
There are several canvases with their faces turned to the wall, — studies, hints, embryo figure-pieces, - failures perhaps. These pictures which give us the cold shoulder, as it were, always excite our curiosity. We feel like one who, standing on the boundary of a wonderful garden, is not permitted to enter : we understand why Bluebeard's wife could n't for the life of her keep out of the forbidden chamber.
On a screen back of the easel hangs a small study which seldom fails to attract our attention. It is not, perhaps, one of Mr. Hennessy's best efforts ; but there is a simple pathos about it that wins us in certain moods. A very old lady, with silvery hair and a serene, dreamy face, is sitting alone by the wide fireplace in a dreary-looking kitchen. Through the open lattice you see the village church, and the quiet graveyard lying in the sunshine. We never gaze upon this old lady's meagre face – it seems touched with the light of another world — without remembering the lines of La Motte Fouqué, translated by Thackeray in his book of ballads.
“ And thou wert once a maiden fair,
A blushing virgin, warm and young,
Upon a bridegroom's arm you hung.
"The golden locks are silvered now,
The blushing cheek is pale and wan ;
Sitt'st shivering on.
“A moment - and thou sink'st to rest !
In the bright presence of thy Lord.
But wondrous the reward !”.
If we were compiling one of those gilded “Books of Beauty ” which used to be fashionable, we would put in this old lady, even if we were obliged to leave out a dozen of her blooming granddaughters.
We would like to linger half the day in this pleasant room, where Mr. Hennessy, like a skilful gardener, has turned every inch of his limited ground to good account. From the ivy-vine, which shoots up from the flower-pot on a bracket, and wreathes itself into a graceful drapery for the window, to the few rare volumes on the escritoire, you see something of that sense of refinement which is never wanting in this artist's pictures, however homely or commonplace the subject may be. So much for Mr. Hennessy's studio. A word or two touching the painter himself.
Mr. William J. Hennessy is among the youngest recognized members of his profession. He was born in Ireland in the year 1837. The schools of the county not affording such a course of instruction as was desirable, his father employed a tutor for young Hennessy and the other children of the household. Under the guidance of this teacher, who was a graduate of Tuam College, Hennessy pursued his studies with success, until the deplorable condition of the over-taxed country forced his father to remove with the family to some more friendly land.
They came to the United States and settled in New York. Here young Hennessy, who had early displayed remarkable facility with his pencil, gave every spare hour to roaming through the picture-galleries, though at this period he had no idea of becoming a painter by profession. He was connected for a while, we believe, with the Associated Press. He relinquished his position whatever it was, and entered an English importing house, where he remained two years, discovering, by degrees, that commercial business was not, for him at least, the road to content. During these two years he had not neglected his art, and he now determined to devote himself to it exclusively. As a preliminary step, he secured a place in the office of Mr. Roberts, the wood-engraver, where he was at once employed to draw on the block, - a proof that he was something more than a 'prentice hand.
His connection with Mr. Roberts's establishment lasted several years. On retiring from the business, his skill as a draughtsman enabled him without difficulty to obtain commissions for drawings from a number of influential publishing houses. His three years' experience in this work was of inestimable advantage to Mr. Hennessy, when the time came for him to exchange the pencil for the brush.
The transition from India-ink to oil-colors seems natural enough: it is not always so easy to accomplish. Mr. Hennessy, however, was successful. We do not propose to follow him through his various fortunes. A brief survey of his progress is all that the plan of our sketch will permit. The