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the streets of cities ! Erceldoune's teeth ground together; when they met again it should be for shorter shrive and deadlier work.

You think him deeply guilty, Sirs, for this?-doubtless you do; but then you have not been shot down and left for dead in a ravine of the Principalities; if you were, and were brought face to face with your murderer afterwards, your present easy-chair untried ethics might Aush a darker hue, and you might know as keen a relish for “wild justice” as Fulke Erceldoune, who had found his own right arm do his work best for him in many a hard-fought aristeia.

The Monarch, with his head drooped and the steam reeking from his hot flanks, took his own course over the unknown ground, and, turning out of the thickets, paced down a long winding aisle of cedars; the night was perfectly still, nothing heard but the surging of the Bosphorus waters, nothing stirring save the incessant motion of the fire-flies, that sparkled over all the boughs with starry points of light. Erceldoune had no knowledge where he was, except that the sea was still beside him, and he let his horse take his own way. Suddenly, through the dark masses of the cedars, a light gleamed which came neither from the fire-fies nor from the moon, but from the Turkish lattice-work of a distant casement.

Was that where his foe had found covert? He jerked up the Monarch's drooping head with the curb, and urged him at a canter down the cedar-aisle, the noise of the hoofs muffled in the grass, that grew long and untrimmed, as though the wild luxuriance of the gardens had long been left untouched. Sultan's palace, Queen's serail, sacred Mosque, or Moslem harem, he swore to himself that he would break down its gates with the menace of England, and have his murderer delivered up to him, though he were surrounded by an Emir's eunuchs or harboured in the sanctuary of the Odà itself. For anything that he knew, the light might glitter from the dwelling where his enemy and all his gang had made stronghold, or the place might swarm with Mussulmans, who would think there was no holier service to Allah than to smite down the life of a Frank, or the latticed window might be that of a seraglio, into whose anderûn it was death for a man and a Giaour to enter. But these memories never weighed with Erceldoune ; he was armed, his blood was up, and if his assassin were sheltered there, all the might of Mahmoud, all the yataghans of Islam, should not serve to shield him.

A marble flight of steps ending the cedar-walk stopped the chesnut's passage ; above ran a sort of terrace, and on that terrace looked the few lattice casements allowed to a Turkish dwelling, whose light from within bad caught his eyes. He threw himself out of saddle, passed the bridle over a cedar-bough, and went on foot up the broad fight of terrace stairs. It was all still, and the place seemed too unguarded to argue it a Turk’s possession; it was more probably the present lair of his assassin, whom all indices tended to prove a man above the necessities of life, and most likely accustomed to its luxuries, by whatever means he got them. But Erceldoune's rifle was loaded; he had on him, too, the hunting-knife with which he had grallocked the hill deer with the science of the moors at home, that his man might find them on the morrow; and he went straight on-into the den of his assassins, as he believed. Foolhardy he was not-I never knew a man with real power to his elbow” and boldness in his blood who was—but he had found sinew and coolness serve

him too well in many an avatar, East and West, not to have learned to trust to them, and he had resolved, moreover, to go through with this thing

He hurried on the terrace, laden with the scarlet blossoms of the trumpet-flower and japonica, and heavy with odours from the nyctanthus and musk-roses trailing over the stone ; the door stood open on to it, leading into the large court which forms the customary entrance of an Eastern house ; he paused a moment, and looked through ; there was only a dim light thrown on its marble walls and floor, and there was no sound but of the falling of the water into the central fountain. He passed the threshold, and entered, the clang of his step resounding on the variegated mosaic of the pavement; its own echo was the only sound which answered—for its stillness the place might have been deserted. But the court opened into a vast chamber beyond, flooded with a warm, mellow light, its dome-like ceiling wreathed with carved pomegranates, and another fountain was flinging its silvery shower upward from a white marble basin in the centre, while the fragrance of aloes wood filled the air from where it burned, like incense, in a brazier ;-a rich, soft picture, full of Eastern colouring. With his rifle in his hand, his white burnous flung behind him, and his single thought the passion which possessed him to unearth his foe, and have his hand upon his throat, Erceldoune swept aside the purple draperies, glowing with Tyrian dye, that partially shadowed the portico, and passed within the entrance of the chamber.

A woman rose from her couch in the distance, startled, yet with the proud grace of one who disdains to give its reins to fear—as a sovereign would rise were her solitude desecrated;--and he paused, his steps arrested and his passions silenced, as in ancient days he who came to slay in the deadliness of wrath, uncovered his head, and dropped his unsheathed sword, entering the holy shrine at whose altar his foe had taken sanctuary. His enemy was forgotten ;-he stood before Idalia.


An honourable descent is attributed to the family of one of the greatest artists France ever produced. His father, Jean Poussin, is said to have come of a noble family of Picardy, but whose fortunes had suffered from the troublous reigns of Charles IX. and Henry III. Jean Poussin himself was attached to the fortunes of the King of Navarre, and, with the entry of Henry IV. into Paris, he retired into private life, wedding the widow of a procureur of Andelys, in Normandy.

From this union sprang Nicolas Poussin, to whom the customary scholastic education was given, but who, as usual in cases of talent of a very marked order, devoted more time to sketching in his books and on the

* Le Poussin. Sa Vie et son Euvres. Par H. Bouchitté, Ouvrage Couronné par l'Académie Française.


school walls than to dreary classical studies. Quintin Varin, an artist of some merit, resided at that epoch at Andelys, and he encouraged the youth in his predilection, and initiated him in the elements of art. Varin was, indeed, in after life, the only master whom “ Le Poussin" acknowledged. When eighteen years

age, young

Poussin started for Paris without the knowledge of his parents, and was received in the house of a Poitevin gentleman. His first teacher appears to have been one Ferdinand Elle, a Belgian, and a skilful portrait-painter. A collection of engravings of the works of Raphael and Jules Romain attracted, however, his attention more than portraits, and he was never weary of reproducing the forms, movements, and invention of these masters.

There were at that epoch no real masters of the art in Paris. Jean Cousin died at the end of the sixteenth century. Vouët resided at Rome, where the Caracci had succeeded to Raphael, as Cigoli had at Florence and Passignano at Venice. There was, indeed, only Martin Fréminet of any eminence whatsoever, and he was engaged at Fontainebleau. The engravings of the works of Raphael constituted then Poussin's chief resources. It was, in the words of Bellori, in these productions that “he sucked the milk and life of art.”

The gentleman of Poitevin who had tendered a home to young Poussin took him, after a time, to his paternal domains, with a view to his embellishing the ancestral château with his paintings; but the old lady châtellaine was one of those practical bodies whose senses had not yet been chastened down to the enjoyment of works of art, and she preferred employing the future “Poussin" in menial vocations! It is almost needless to say that the youth withdrew himself from this kind of patronage as quickly as he conveniently could, and, for a while, he earned a precarious subsistence by painting for the provincials. It was thus that he got back to Paris-on foot, it is true—but literally clearing his way with his brush.

The spectacle of genius struggling with poverty—a grisly, sickly, tenacious monster—is always sad and painful, although there is grandeur in the triumph, yet is it constantly repeated in history. For one genius that springs from affluence, it may be truly said that nine have emancipated themselves from an inferior position in life. There is something in the fact that is consoling to humanity. All the good things of the world are not with the affluent only. The trials and sufferings of young Poussin were, however, at a height by the time that he reached Paris. Without a home, and without the means of procuring one, he was obliged to return to Andelys, his parents' abode, and he seems never to have followed the road that led from Poitou to Paris again, his whole ambition being turned towards Rome. He made several journeys there before he ended by finally settling down in the cradle and the catacomb of art.

Poussin remained for a year with his parents. He is said to have first turned his steps towards Rome in 1620, but circumstances at present unknown caused him to retrace his steps when he had got as far as Florence. These circumstances would, however, appear to have been not far removed from pecuniary difficulties, for he seems to have been detained some time at Lyons by a merchant to whom he was indebted. Reaching Paris at length, in 1623, he found a home at the college of


Laon, where at that time also dwelt a brother artist, Philip of Champagne. The Jesuit fathers were about to celebrate the canonisation of Saint Ignatius, their founder, and of Saint Francis Xavier, the most illustrious of their saints; pictures illustrating epochs in the lives of these personages were wanted, and Poussin greatly distinguished himself by producing six, in as many days.

It was at this time, also, that he became associated with Giovanni Baptista Marino, an Italian poet attached to the court of Mary of Médicis, and whose ambition it was to render Art an auxiliary to Poetry. The questions as to the discrepancy of Pagan and Christian art had not arisen in those days ; Lessing had not written his “ Laocoon” to prove the incompatibility of painting and poetry, and Poussin, getting on for thirty years of age, as yet chiefly occupied with religious themes, felt rather pleased than embarrassed at undertaking mythological subjects. He who had been engaged by the Capucins of Blois to paint religious subjects, enlivened, at the same time, the château of the Count of Chiverny with Bacchanalian scenes. M. Bouchitté, the modern biographer of “ Le Poussin,” crowned by the Académie for the elegance of his style and the philosophic bearing of his work, rejoices that mythology is no longer in fashion, and condoles over “anachronisms” that lasted far too long a time. But mythology had its origin in main part in the deitication of the phenomena of Nature, the abstract powers of Humanity, and the outward excellences of both. Art and Poetry became its handmaidens, and so long as the love of Nature, of Poetry, and of Art find a home in cultivated intellects, so long will some kind of mythology be beloved by humanity. “If,” M. Bouchitté himself admits, “ there are no possible reasons for adorning our gardens with Apollos and Venuses, there must always remain to the artist the task of attaining to the ideal of the beauty of form in woman, and the divine types of virility. Mythology was especially the human form deified ; and antique statuary, to the monuments of which we are indebted for 'la Renaissance,' has attached itself by bonds that can never be broken asunder, to the future of Art.”' It seems to be a waste of premature condolence, then, to lament over the fall of that which is indestructible.

The Cavalier Marino opened this “new, rich, and fruitful" field to Poussin. He took him into his house, and initiated him in the loves of Venus and Adonis. The elevation of the friend of his youth, Maffeo Barberini, to the tiara, under the name of Urban VIII., led the courtly poet, whose health was suffering, to return to Rome, and he decided on taking Poussin with him. The latter was engaged at that moment on a painting commemorating the death of the Virgin, which was to adorn a chapel belonging to the corporation of goldsmiths in the church of Notre-Dame. This work, which was in Poussin's best style, having been completed, he started at last once more for Rome, reached it this time, and with the exception of a temporary sojourn in France of a couple of years, remained there for the rest of his life.

Arrived at Rome in the spring of 1624, it happened to Poussin, as it has done to others before and since, that he had to struggle at first against difficulties. His friend Marino left for Naples, where he died shortly, and Cardinal Barberini, to whom he had introduced him as a giovanne che a una furia di Diavolo," had to leave for France and


Spain. Thus circumstanced, Poussin was reduced to sell his pictures at so low a price, that two battle-pieces fetched only seven Roman crowns, and a Prophet eight “ livres tournois." His object was, however, to perfect himself in his art, and it was to this purpose that he mainly devoted his time. His companions in penury and toil were the Dutch sculptor Duquesnoy and Alexandre Algardi, afterwards known as L'Algarde.

Poussin was of an essentially studious disposition. His curriculum comprehended anatomy, geometry, optics, and perspective. It was with Duquesnoy that the measures of the statue of Antinous, that is to say, the determination of the most beautiful proportions of the humau body, were effected. His zeal was all the more commendable, as it was at that epoch by no means common. The Roman youths especially neglected these accessory studies, which are nevertheless indispensable to perfection in drawing and composition. To these were added the incessant pursuit of antique art; nothing appears to have come amiss to him ; statuary, architecture, engravings, casts, models, all were used in turn to perfect himself in this branch of scholastic art; and, the utter reverse of Vernet, who loved and prized nature so much, if Poussin had a leisure hour, he would devote it to depicting the outlines of the monuments within the Eternal City itself, in delineating the statues and groups that adorn them, and elaborating the details of architectural perspective. It was art superadded to art. Poussin, however, by no means neglected the study of nature, but it was after a fashion of his own. As in art he busied himself chiefly with the details, so it was in nature. He would bring home from his rural excursions, whence others would have brought a landscape, a waterfall, or a ruined temple, a kerchief full of stones, flowers, and mosses that he wished to depict correctly, and this love of detail remained with him to the last. Marville, who knew him as a very old man, found him still engaged in the same pursuits, and when he asked him to what he attributed the high position he had attained among Italian painters, his reply was, “I neglected nothing."

The architectural subjects met with in Poussin's pictures were manifestly inspired by this incessant contemplation of the monuments of the Pontifical city, and the careful study he made of their proportions. A narrow pathway, which goes along by the side of the Tiber from the city to the Ponte-Molle, was one of Poussin's favourite walks. Travels in Greece, the Orient, and Egypt were not so common at that epoch as they are now, and the Tiber was reproduced by Poussin in his Niles and Jordans, just as the architecture of Rome was to be detected in supposed Pharaonic, Judaic, Greek, and even Assyrian constructions. This, after all, is not more absurd than the costumes in which we see Biblical subjects treated, sometimes by even the masters of art, up to our own times.

Poussin, with the limited means at his disposal, had to satisfy himself with the accuracy of his details, and the perfection imparted by his own genius to his compositions. The happy disposition of his lines, whether in landscape or in architecture, or, as was most generally the case, in both combined, allied itself so completely with the grouping of the whole, as to have given perfect satisfaction to his contemporaries, and left to him a fame that is as imperishable as his works. Yet a Poussin would be an impossibility in the present day. The insight obtained in recent times of

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