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Full text of "Cola Monti; a tale for boys"

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^^ God helps those who help themselves J* 



COLA MONTI; 

A Tale for Boys. 



BF THE AUTHOR OF '■'JOHN HALIFAX. GSNTLEUAN,' 



HEW EDITION, EEVISED. 



LONDON: DEAN & SON, LUDGATE HILL. 



No one possessmg common sensibility can read the book 
v;itnout a thoughtful brow and glistening eje.— Chambers 
Edinbnrgn Journal. 

An exceedingly well told tale, which will mstnict boys of 
tdl a^cs. — English Churchman, 



^5S 

PREFACE 

TO THE REVISED EDITION. 

In revising, after seventeen years, this, 
the second book she ever wrote, the 
author is fully aware of its faults ; — 
faults of youth, inevitable and irreme- 
diable. Still, she is not ashamed of it. 
And she trusts it may even yet do 
some little good to some few boys — if 
only as illustrating a truth, which she 
believes in now as firmly as she did 
then — that " God helps those who help 
themselves." 



M75G7i8 



CHAPTER I. 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

" Here is a new schoolfellow for you, my 
boys/' said Dr. Birch, as he entered the 
playground, w^here his '' limited number of 
pupils" were assembled, leading by the 
hand the last addition to the flock. 

Now Doctor Birch, in spite of his 
unfortunate name, was the very best of 
pedagogues. He was by no means an old 
man, for his doctor's honours had come very 
early upon him. A tall, awkward frame ; a 
face which could look severe, and ugly too, 
at times, though it was very pleasant when 
he smiled; and an accent from which 
the strong Northumbrian burr never had 
vanished, spite of all his learning, complete 
the description of the good doctor. 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

The boy at his side was about twelve 
years old, at least you would have thought 
so by the face : but the figure was small, 
slight, and delicate. His clear skin, of a 
pale olive, had none of the ruddy glow 
which mantled on the cheeks of the other 
boys ; and his large dark eyes wandered 
restlesly from one to the other of the frolic- 
some group, whose game of leap-frog had 
thus been interrupted. 

" Now, boys, be kind and considerate to 
this little fellow," said Doctor Birch. "He 
has never been to school before, and he is 
a stranger. Never mind, my young friend, 
you'll soon get acquainted vrith them all," 
continued he, as he patted the child's crisp 
black curls, and strode off out of the play 
ground with his careless shambling gait. 

The "little fellow" stood timidly in the 
midst of his new playfellows, who gathered 
round him like a swarm of bees. 

" Well, young one !" said the biggest boy, 
the dux of the school, " noAV to business. 
^' ^Vhat's your name?" 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

** Niccolo Fiorentino del Monti." 

"Eh! Nick what?" cried the inquirer, 
opening his eyes wide. 

" Niccolo Fiorentino del Monti," repeated 
the new comer, drawing himself up with a 
slight gesture of pride ; and dwelling on 
the soft liquid Italian syllables, as if he 
thought the name both honourable and 
beautiful. 

All the boys set up a loud laugh. 

" Why, what a strange fish of a foreigner 
the old doctor has caught !" cried one. 

'* Mv little fellow, we shall have to teach 
you English," said another, taking the 
child by the arm. But Niccolo angrily 
shook off the rough touch ; and the warm 
Italian blood ruslied to his dark cheek, as 
he answ^ered with a foreign accent, but 
distinctly enough to be understood : 

'' Thank you, I can speak your tongue ; 
my mother taught me : she came from your 
country." 

" Oh ! she was an Englishwoman, was 
she?" said Woodhouse, the dux, and in- 

3 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

quisitor-general over all new boys. "And 
I suppose she married some poor Italian 
fiddler?^' 

''Mv father was no fiddler/' answered 
Niccolo, his black eyes flashing fire. " He 
was a Count, and his family were princes 
once. They lived in a beautiful palazzo ; 
my nurse Mona nsed to show me the 
walls. I come of the noble family of the 
Monti." 

" Bravo ! my little prince ! '' cried Morris, 
laughing immoderately. " And, pray, how 
happened it that your small lordship came 
over here ? '' 

*' Because my father died, and — But I 
will not answer any more questions : you 
are very cruel to me, you rude English 
boys, ragazzaacj Inr/lesi',' answered the 
poor little fellow, falling back, in his dis- 
tress, upon his own language. 

"I suppose roff — Avhat's the rest of it? 
— ^means rascal ; and I should like to know 
how any imp of a foreigner dare call me 
'rascal.' Mind what you're about, my 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

young prince/' said Morris, flourishing his 
stick very near little Niccolo's head. The 
other boys looked on, not daring to inter- 
fere with one who, by his cleverness and 
fighting capabilities, had got to be dux in 
the schoolroom, and tyrant in the play- 
ground. At last, one of the latter comers, 
who did not stand so much in fear of him, 
took hold of jMorris's arm. 

" Come, come, Woodhouse, you are 
playing the same game with this young 
fellow that you did with me a month ago ; 
and I must say it's rather cowardly, con- 
sidering he is so small." 

''Don't interfere, my lad," said the big 
boy, with a patronising air. *' I am the 
king of the school, as you well know. You 
have not forgotten the thrashing I gave you, 
Archibald McKaye ? Walk off*, will you ? 
and let me finish off* this frog of a French- 
man." 

'' I am no Frenchman ! I am an Italian ! 
and that is far better than a great ugly 
bad Englishman, like you!" cried Niccolo, 

b3 5 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

boldly ; ending his speech with a torrent of 
angry appellations in his native tongue. 

Morris was now thoroughly getting into 
a passion ; and the uplifted stick would 
have fallen heavily on the child's head, had 
not Archibald caught it, and turned it 
aside. 

'' Won't you hear reason, Morris, and let 
that boy alone?" he said. 

" Hear reason ! hear reason from you ! 
you long, solemn-faced Scotch fellow, with 
a tongue as harsh as a crow ! You preach 
reason to me ! Get away, or I'll thrash 
you again!" 

"Try!" said Archibald, quietly: while a 
faint murmur of '' Shame ! shame I" rose 
up from some of the boys ; and Niccolo 
crept behind his brave defender, and peeped 
over McKaye's shoulder at the king of the 
school. 

"Do you mean to say you'll fight me 
again ? " said the latter, somewhat surprised 
at the boy's resolute attitude. 

" Yes, if you don't treat this lad civilly. 

6 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

I don't see why he should be bullied 
because he happens to be a foreigner, and 
a stranger." 

"A stiiranger indeed!" said Morris, 
mimicing Archibald's accent. " And so 
you intend to fight his battles, because he 
is a sthranffer, like yourself? " 

" Yes," again said Archibald. He was 
always a quiet boy, and one of few words. 
But there was a firmness and detennination 
in his manner, that showed, when once 
roused, he was not soon willing to yield. 
The two lads took off their jackets, and 
prepared for a regular combat, schoolboy 
fashion, to settle the point, vi et armis ; 
which seems the only way in which boys 
can settle their disputes, and will do as 
long as the world lasts. Before they 
commenced, McKaye turned round to 
the others. 

*' Now, fellows, you all see what I am 
fighting for : just doing for this youngster 
what some of you should have done for me 
when I came; instead of which, you all 

7 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

set to work abusing me. Woodhouse beat 
me once ; we'll see if he does this time : 
but either way, I have got the right on my 
side. Now, my lad, set to as soon as you 
like." 

Archibald shook back his fair curling 
hair, threw his spare but active figure 
into a posture of defence ; and looked 
what he Avas — a fine, bold young moun- 
taineer, from the land of Wallace and of 
Bruce. 

The boys formed the circle, and '' Bravo, 
Morris!" ''Try it again, Mac!" showed 
the deep interest they took in the combat. 
It was a trial of right against might ; and 
many of those who had suffered from 
Morris's overbearing character were only 
deterred, by the doubtful issue of the 
battle, from showing how strongly they 
felt with the only one who had dared to 
oppose justice to tyranny. 

Meanwhile the little Italian crept aloof, 
and wondered if all English welcomes were 
like this, and whether English boys always 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

fought in this fashion. The poor little 
fellow's thoughts went back to his own 
sunny garden, where he used to sleep away 
the day under the orange trees, with the 
clear sky of Rome above him, and his 
nurse besides him, with her soft Italian 
ditties, and her stories of the ancient 
glory of the Monti. Then he woke from 
this reverie to find himself in the dull 
playground, with its high walls shutting 
out everything but the cold grey English 
sky. 

The fight terminated as fights do not 
always — the right won. Archibald's skill 
and steadiness were more than a match for 
Morris's weight and size — especially as he 
kept cool, and Morris lost his temper. The 
latter was laid prostrate on the ground. 
Half of the boys raised a cry of triumph and 
congratulation to the victor; the others, 
still too much afraid of their fallen enemy, 
maintained a doubtful silence. McKaye 
picked up his adversary, saw that he was 
not hurt, and then was well content to let 

9 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

him retire with a few obsequious friends 
to wash his face, and remove all traces of 
the battle before meeting the doctor's eye. 

"Your man has won, my little fellow," 
said one of the boys, clapping Niccolo on 
the shoulder. "O be joyful! you're safe 
now from Morris Woodhouse. Mac has 
fought it out for you. Are you not much 
obliged to him?" 

" I am, indeed I am," cried the young 
Italian ; and, warm and impassioned in all 
his impulses, he ran to Archibald, seized 
his hand, kissed it, and poured forth a 
stream of grateful thanks. 

But Archibald, turning very red, drew 
his hand away: he saw the other boys 
beginning to laugh, and a natural shyness 
caused him to dislike being made the sub- 
ject of such passionate gratitude. 

" There, that will do, my boy ; you need 
not say so much; I only fought for you 
because you were too little to fight for 
yourself. Only mind not to vex Morris 
another time." 

10 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

The warm-hearted Italian shrunk back, 
with the tears standing in his eyes. He 
did not speak to McKaye again until the 
dinner-bell had rung, and all the other 
boys had rushed into the house. Archibald 
stayed behind, rubbing the mud from his 
jacket, when Niccolo crept up to him, and 
offered to assist. 

"What, Kttle one, is that you?" said 
McKaye. '' Come, then ; you may as well 
help to set me to rights again." 

" I should have come before, but that I 
thought you were angry with me." 

" Angry ! Oh, no ! Only I did not quite 
like being made a fool of before the boys 
with your kissing my hand. We don't do 
it here : but I suppose it was only your 
Italian fashion." 

*' I cannot do anything right," sighed 
the poor child. " Ah ! England is a strange 
place. I shall never be happy here." 

" Oh, but you will in time, when you 

Tiave got accustomed to us all. I had to 

go through just the same ; for I am a 

11 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

stranger, like you, as, I dare say, you 
heard Morris say. The mean fellow, he is 
always taunting me wdth my country and 
my tongue, as if a Scotsman were not as 
good as an Englishman every inch : ay, 
and better too," said Archibald, compress- 
ing his lips, and clenching his hands, in 
ill-concealed indignation. " But, come, 
little felloAv; this does not much interest 
you, so we'll go in to dinner." 

''I am afraid," murmured Niccolo, 
shrinking back. 

" Pshaw ! What arc you afraid of ? 
Morris won't eat you. Come." 

But the child still hung back, and at 
last burst into tears. 

" Oh, I wish I were in my own dear 
Italy ! I am so miserable," he sobbed. 
*' Oh that I could go home !" 

There Avas something in the boy's 
desolate condition that touched Archibald's 
heart. He thought of his far-off home, 
which he dearly loved, and felt compassion 
for the poor Italian thus alone in a strange 

12 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

land. He laid his hand on Niccolo's 
shoulder, and his tones lost their schoolboy 
roughness, and became as gentle as any 
girl's. 

" Do'nt cry, there's a good fellow, do'nt 
now ! I'll take care of you. We are both 
strangers here; and Ave'U both fight our 
way together. Come, we shall be excellent 
friends, I know." 

Niccolo dried his tears, and looked 
gratefully in the face of the elder boy. 

'' There, now, that's right," said McKaye. 
"And be a man, do! Nobody's good 
for anything that isn't a real man ! Cheer 
up, my wee fellow. And, by the bye, what 
shall I call you ? I'll never remember 
that long, fine sounding name of yours." 

The other smiled. " My nurse used to 
call me Nicoletto, and Nicolettino. Is that 
too long?" 

Archibald shook his head : " I am afraid 
it is. Besides, the boys will laugh at it, 
and call you Nick, and Old Nick ; but you 
don't understand this I see," added he, 

13 



THE NEW PUPIL. 

laughing. '' Well, can't you think of 
another name? You seemed to have 
plenty of names to spare." 

" My father always called me Cola ; and 
I like that name best too.'' 

" Cola, Cola. Aye, that will do very 
well. \nd now, friend Cola, let me give 
you one piece of advice : Say as little 
as you can about your father the count, 
and the princes your ancestors, and all that 
sort of thing ; you will only get laughed 
at for it here. I think I have myself as 
long a pedigree as most people, and am 
rather proud of it too ; but I never talk 
about it ; and you had better do the same. 
That is the first thing for you to re- 
member ; and I'll tell you a few other 
things by and bye. Now let us go in to 
dinner.'* 



14 



CHAPTER II. 



AT SCHOOL. 

It is astonishing what an effect one good 
example has sometimes. AVhen Cola, as 
we shall henceforth call him, was again left 
in the power of his new schoolmates, 
dming the houi* between supper and bed- 
time, no one attempted to ill-treat him, or 
ventured more than a few harmless jokes 
at his queer accent and manners. True, 
these jokes were very annoying to the boy, 
who was alike proud and shy, and had 
been brought up as the only son of a noble 
family, always treated Avith respect. More 
than once he looked appealingly at his 
protector McKaye ; but Archibald seemed 
not disposed to extend his championship 
further than was absolutely required. He 

15 



AT SCHOOL. 

quietly left Cola to make his own way 
with the boys, and find his own level; 
which was indeed the wisest course for 
both the protector and the protected. 

Morris Woodnouse sat sullenly aloof. 
His authority had been shaken for the first 
time, and he felt proportionably humbled. 
The " king of the school" trembled on his 
throne. Some few stings of conscience 
mingled with his vexation ; for Morris was 
not on the whole a bad boy, only he had 
that love of power which seems inherent 
in the nature of boys and men, and often 
degenerates into the most insufferable 
tyranny. Yet there were some few in 
the school who rather liked him than 
otherwise ; for he had in him a careless 
generosity, and, moreover, being a rich 
man's son, had Avherewithal to exercise it. 
The lovers of cake and playthings always 
stood by Morris Woodhouse; and those 
quiet-tempered boys who would give way 
to anybody, declared that he was a tolerably 
good fellow, so long as you did not con- 

16 



AT SCHOOL. 

tradict him. These gathered round their 
fallen master, and made a little conclave, 
while the more sturdy and independent 
sided with McKaye. Thus the school 
bade fair to become divided into two dis- 
tinct factions. So engrossing was this 
warfare that nobody thought of playing 
off on young Cola the usual tricks which 
mark the reception of the "new boy." 
Consequently the Italian crept into his 
bed without finding the blankets sewed 
up, or a furze bush for his bed-fellow, or 
any of those agreeable contrivances for 
making a new-comer as miserable as pos- 
sible, which usually take place on the first 
night at school. 

It was a great and painful change to 
the young foreigner, from the pleasant 
southern home, of which he dared not 
speak, to the restraints of an English 
school. The long hours of study were 
irksome to him beyond expression ; more 
especially as he then felt acutely his own 

ignorance. His class-fellows were the 
c 17 



AT SCHOOL. 



very youngest boys ; and Cola's idle and 
desultory habits seemed to forebode that it 
would be a long time before he got above 
them. Every day he cried over the easiest 
lessons; and then the other boys laughed 
at him, and his hot southern blood boiled 
over, and he got into battles w^ithout end. 

Sometimes, in his distress. Cola would 
go to his old friend Archibald. But 
McKaye had lessons enough of his own ; 
though diligent and hardworking, he was 
not a quick boy, and it annoyed him to be 
disturbed. 

" Get some one else to help you. Cola,'' 
he would say. '' Wliy don't you go to 
Morris ? He always does his Avork quickly, 
and has plenty of time to spare." 

But Cola would rather have endured 
Dr. Birch's cane every day of his life, than 
have been indebted to Morris for anything 
under the sun. All the fierce hatred of 
his Italian nature was concentrated against 
the boy who had first insulted him. Long 
after the feud had been healed, and the 

18 



AT SCHOOL. 

result of Archibald's battle only remained 
in the better behaviour of Woodhouse 
towards his schoolmates, Cola nourished 
wrath in secret, and lost no opportunity of 
showing it. 

And with these bad feelings were united 
others, which might almost be said to take 
their rise in the best emotions of his na- 
ture. The more Cola loved Archibald the 
more he hated Morris. These two boys 
seemed made to be rivals in everything. 
jMcKaye's steady perseverance kept pace 
with Morris's talents ; and while the latter 
was first in the class, Archibald always 
contrived to be second. The same ri- 
valry extended to the playground, where 
Woodhouse for the first time found an 
opponent equal in strength and activity to 
liimself. Strange to say, while the whole 
school was divided by partisanship, the 
two leaders got on very well together ; and 
though rivals, bore no personal dislike to 
each other. The reason of this was pro- 
bably because McKaye was what boys call, 

19 



AT SCHOOL. 

"a quiet sort of a fellow/' who did not 
much care to get the upper hand, pro- 
vided he Avas not trampled upon ; and 
moreover, because Morris's natural good 
temper was not proof against the frank 
open way in which this war of emulation 
was carried on by Archibald. 

But all this did not hinder the others 
from many a " row" on the subject of their 
two companions ; for there is nothing boys 
like so well as fighting. They must fight ; 
for a good cause, a bad cause, and no cause 
at all. And of all these young belligerents. 
Cola Monti was the warmest. Everv tri- 
umpli of Archibald over Morris gave him 
the keenest satisfaction ; every wrong done 
to his friend, he felt like an insult to 
himself. Passionate in all his emotions, 
the Italian would have done anything in 
the world to injure Morris, or to serve 
Archibald. 

McKaye took all this torrent of affection 
with the quietness of his nature. It was 
pleasant to find all his books arranged, his 

20 



AT SCHOOL. 

room in order ; and his garden attended 
to. Now and then he thanked his little 
friend with a good-humoured smile and a 
kindly word. But all the under-currents 
of the young Italian's feelings were quite 
incomprehensible to him : indeed he never 
sought to penetrate them. 

Thus the half-year passed, and the 
midsummer holidays drew near, with the 
examination, which formed the grand 
epoch at Dr. Birch's establishment. So 
important indeed was it, that we must give 
it a new chapter. 



21 



CHAPTER TIL 



COLA MONTI S REVENGE. 

*' At what are you working away so hard, 
Archy?" wbispered Cola to his friend, as 
he came into the schoolroom, in the dusk 
of the evening, and found McKaye in the 
midst of his books, trying to make the 
most of what little light there was. '' Do 
come ; we are having such a capital game 
at prisoners'-base." 

" I can't ! really I can't ! Now do go 
away, there's a good lad, and leave me to 
finish this Greek exercise. You know it 
is for the examination to-morrow.'* 

" I thought you had done all your 
work?" 

"Yes, this is the last page of the 



COLA MONTI S REVENGE. 

book : I must finish it. Here, fetcli me 
that Lexicon, and be off with you to 
play!" 

Cola brought the book: but instead of 
going away, he sat down quietly on a form 
opposite, and watched the anxious coun- 
tenance of Archibald, who was at work so 
hard, that he hardly seemed to notice his 
presence. 

" It's no use, I can see no longer, and 
my head aches badly enough,'' McKaye 
said at last, throwing himself back, de- 
spondingly. 

"How much have you left undone?'* 
said Cola. 

'' Only one line : I can do that to- 
morrow morning." 

'' Then come out and play ? " 

But Archy stretched himself wearily on 
the bench. '' No, no ! I am so tired ; and 
my head is quite stupid with thinking about 
to-morrow. I wonder, Cola, how I shall 
stand at this Greek examination ! There's 
Forster, and Williams, and Campion." 

23 



COLA Monti's uevenge. 



"They are all below you, as every one 
acknowledges." 

'' Yes, all but Morris Woodhouse. Ah ! 
he is sure to get the best : he is so clever. 
And yet, I have worked so hard; and I 
did want to gain the Greek prize : it 
would please my father very much. Well, 
well, it cannot be helped." 

Cola, as he sat in the twilight, clenched 
his small hands, and knitted his brows ; 
the very idea of Morris's gaining such a 
triumph was scarcely endurable. " Archy," 
said he, '' how do you know that ? how can 
you be sure that Morris will get it?" 

"Because the doctor is so particular 
about Greek exercises, pad Woodhouse's 
are always so good: that will be the 
turning point, as all the boys say." 

And just at this moment, the quiet 
schoolroom was entered by a troop of 
merry lads, riotous with the prospect of 
approaching holidays. 

"What, not done yet, McKaye !" cried 
one. 

24 



COLA MONTI S REVENGE. 

'' Tve done all my work !'' '' And I !" 
''' And I V echoed several others. 

" Now for it, let us see which is the 
best, Morris or McKaye!" said another 
boy, pulling about the Greek books. 
" Here's McKaye's exercise. Now, Morris, 
let's have yours." 

" I have a good deal to do at mine yet," 
answered Morris, carelessly. 

" Ah ! that's just like you ! you always 
leave everything to the last." 

''' Because nothing gives me any trouble. 
I can do in five minutes what would take 
McKaye an hour," said Woodhouse, with 
•a smile of conscious superiority, which 
made Archy bite his lips in vexation, and 
brought a throng of violent feelings to the 
bosom of Cola, the more so as it was 
literally true. 

" Well, well ! out with your exercise- 
books, and let us compare them," was the 
universal cry. 

So hard had McKaye worked, that, as 
far as the boys could judge, there was 



COLA MONTI S REVENGE. 

little to choose between the two, especially 
in the point which struck their attention 
most, and about which they knew the 
doctor was very particular — the clearness 
and distinctness of the Greek characters, 
and the neatness of the whole. 

" Well — except that Woodhouse is the 
dux, and has been longest at school, I 
should think the doctor would be puzzled 
to decide," acknowledged Forster, one of 
Morris's own adherents : '' it's ' neck and 
neck,' as the jockeys say." 

'' But Morris's exercise is not done yet,'* 
interposed one on McKaye's side. *' If he 
should fail, you are sure of the prize, 
Archy." 

'' Don't trouble yourselves, my lads," 
said Morris, loftily : I am quite satisfied 
about the matter myself." 

"Well, take your books, fellows, and 
let us leave the affair to the doctor," ob- 
served one of the wisest of the group, 
who saw that the discussion was likely to 
become warm. 

26 



COLA MONTI S REVENGE. 

" I shall leave mine here, and get up 
half an hour earlier than usual to finish 
it/' said Morris, tossing the exercise book 
down carelessly and walking away, the 
very picture of self-satisfaction. He had 
too good an opinion of his own merits to 
feel any anxiety about his success. "Wiiilc 
McKaye spent the evening until bedtime, 
in arrangmg his books, and poring over 
everything with pale and anxious looks, 
his rival laughed and whistled, and betted 
on the different competitors beneath him, 
with the most perfect self-confidence. 

l.liere were many sleepless eyes that 
niglit in the various dormitories where the 
doctor's young flock were ranged. Each 
had a tiny room to himself, so that all 
conversation on the one grand subject 
ceased with the time of retiring to rest ; 
otherwise the important matter of the 
examination might have been talked over 
until davliorht. 

But of all these restless young hearts, 
none beat so violently as that of Cola. 

27 



COLA MONTI S REVENGE. 

Gifted by nature with a quality peculiar to 
his countrymen, — one which in a good 
cause is called acuteness, in a bad one, 
cunning, — the Italian revolved within his 
mind every conceivable plan for effecting 
the downfall of his enemy, and the conse- 
quent triumph of his friend. Accustomed 
from his childhood to hear revenge talked 
of as a virtue, especially when exercised 
on behalf of one both dear and injured, 
Cola never thought for a moment that 
he was doing anything wrong in thus 
scheming. When at last he hit upon a 
plan which seemed likely to serve his pur- 
pose, he leaped out of bed and danced 
about for joy, so that the wakeful Archibald 
called to him from the next room to know 
what was the matter. 

As soon as day began to peep, Cola 
rose, dressed himself, and crept noiselessly 
down to the schoolroom. It cost him a 
world of pains to unfasten the shutters 
without making any sound to disturb the 
family ; but he succeeded. Then he 

28 



COLA MONTI S REVENGE. 

hunted in the dim Hght for the exercise- 
books which had been left the night before ; 
and seizing Morris's, he jumped out of the 
low window, and ran like lightning through 
the garden, to a paddock belonging to the 
house, where there was a small pond. 

The young conspirator had laid his plans 
with a skill and ingenuity worthy of an 
older head. He found a heavy stone, took 
some strong twine out of his pocket, and 
carefully fastened the stone and the book 
together; then he deliberately sank them 
both to the bottom of the pond. 

As Cola saw the book disappear, he clap- 
ped his hands and set up a shout of delight. 
If it had been poor Morris himself, instead 
of his exercise-book, that had sunk be- 
neath the deep waters, the revengeful boy 
•would almost have done the same. 

*' Archibald, caro, carissimo 11110^ he 
murmured in his Italian tongue, which he 
invariably used when excited, " it is for 
you, all for you ! " 

And then a rustling in the bushes, pro 

29 



COLA MONTI S REVENGE. 

bably of some early bird, startled him; 
he fled back to the house, carefully 
fastened every thing just as he had found 
it, and crept into bed again, just as the 
first sunshine of a midsummer morning 
lighted up his room. 

Morris, with his usual heedlessness, did 
not rise until there were but a few minutes 
left of the half-hour which he had allowed 
himself to finish the exercise. Then the 
book, of course could not be found. He 
searched everywhere, he blamed everybody, 
— except himself, — but all to no purpose. 
Some of the most good-natured of the 
boys helped him to look for the missing 
book ; but others only jested with him ; 
and not a few felt inwardly glad that his 
self-assurance was thus brought low. 

Meanwhile, Cola stood silent and aloof, 
his triumphant eye alone showing how 
keen was his delight in the scene. Only 
once he crept quietly up to Archibald, who 
sat finishing the last line of his task, with- 
out taking heed of what was going on. 
so 



COLA MONTI S REVENGE. 

"Arcliy, dear Archy!" whispered lie; 
" dp you hear ? you will win now. Are 
you not glad?" 

"Hushf' said McKaye, when he com- 
prehended the state of affairs. " Don't be 
so ungenerous, Cola." And he went up 
to Morris, and tried to assist in the search ; 
but the other repulsed him angrily. 

'' Don't come here with your sanctified 
face," cried Woodhouse, " I know you are 
glad, heartily glad; as I should be, if I 
were in your place. Be off with you !" 

Archibald's face flushed, and he turned 
back. If Cola had then asked him, "Are 
you glad!" it would have been harder to 
answer, " No." 

The breakfast-bell rang, and all was 
over with poor Morris, for immediately 
afterwards the examination began. There 
was no hope for the unfortunate dux in 
Doctor Birch's angry brow: the school- 
master at once attributed the loss of the 
book to carelessness, Morris's one un- 
conquerable fault. It annoyed him ; for 

31 



COLA MONTI S REVENGE. 

he was proud of his clever pupil, whom 
he had expected to do credit to the school. 
But there could be no doubt that the 
prize was justly McKaye's. 

*' It might have been yours still, even 
had Woodhouse not lost his book,'' said 
the candid master, as he examined the 
carefully written tasks before him. " You 
have done very well, McKaye, and deserve 
your prize, — that is, to a certain extent ; 
but I wish the contest could have been 
quite on fair ground." 

"Are you not happy now?" whispered 
the little Italian to his friend, when 
McKaye went away with his prize. '' Look 
at Morris : see, he is white with rage. Ob 
how glad I am he is beaten at last I Are 
you not glad, Archy ?" 

There was a look on McKaye's face that 
was not like perfect happiness. He was 
alike too honest and too proud to be quite 
contented with a doubtful triumph, a suc- 
cess on suflferance. And when the boys 
gathered round to see his prize, there was 

32 



COLA MONTI S REVENGE. 

a jeering smile in the countenances of 
some of Morris's friends, that vexed 
Archy much. He answered Cola rather 
roughly — 

" Don't teaze me, Cola. I am not glad ; 
and revenge is very dishonourable. I 
don't want to be talked to. Do run away 
and play. You see all the rest are going." 

Cola looked at him with a mixture of 
surprise, anger, and wounded feeling ; 
biit he did not speak until they were both 
alone in the schoolroom. Then he said, — • 

" You are angry, you send me away ; 
and yet you do not know what I have 
done for you." 

"Nonsense, my boy: I think you are 
more pleased at being revenged on Morris, 
than at my getting the prize." 

Cola drew up his slight small figure, 
and a world of passionate feeling flashed 
from his dark, brilliant, Italian eyes. 

" You are right, Archy. I am glad to be 
revenged : every one is — in my country*. 
If I had had Morris in Rome, I a man, 

D 33 



COLA MONTIES REVENGE. 

and he too ; we would have fought, and I 
would have killed him." 

Archibald turned away in disgust. His 
cahn temperament felt only horror at find- 
ing such notions in a boy so young. " I 
tell you what, Cola*, if you do not take 
care, you will come to be hanged." 

" Hanged ! " cried the excited boy. 
" And you, Archy, you talk so, when I did 
it all for your sake ? " 

"AU! What?" 

" I was determined you should have the 
prize, and not Morris ; so I tied a stone 
to the book, and sank it in the pond." 

'' Sank it in the pond ? How dai-ed you 
do such a thing ? Are you not ashamed of 
yourself." 

" Not in the least. I loved you, and I 
hated him ; so I did what was right, and I 
got what I wanted." 

Archibald, utterly confounded by the 
boy's confession, and by the sudden re- 
vulsion it occasioned, sank down on a seat, 
and remained for several minutes without 

34 



COLA MONTI S REVENGE. 

Uttering a word. It was a trying position 
for the poor boy to be placed in. He had 
struggled so hard to win this prize, he 
knew that he deserved it; and yet every 
honourable feeling rebelled against keeping 
that which had been gained by a mean 
trick. Then, on the other hand, if he 
declared the tiTith, it would heap dis- 
grace and punishment upon Cola, who had 
erred chiefly through love of him. While 
Archibald's reason condemned the act, his 
heart v/hispered that it was not so bad 
after all. No one would ever know it ; 
it would please his father so much to 
see the bright silver inkstand, as a token 
of his son's diligence. While McKaye's 
thoughts took this turn, he lifted up his 
eyes to the so-longed-for treasure; they 
rested on the doctor's favourite motto, 
which he had caused to be engraved on 
it — 

'' Ante omnia Veritas :^^ "Truth above 
all things." It went to the boy's heart 
with conviction irresistible. 

35 



COLA Monti's revenge. 

'' It is of no use, I cannot keep it/* 
cried he ; and without another look at his 
prize, he rushed out of the room. Cola 
heard his steps along the hall, his tre- 
mulous knock at the doctor's study door, 
and felt that all was over. The plan of 
revrenge had failed. 



»6 



CHAPTER IV. 



THE DETECTION, 

In the afternoon the boys wei*e startled 
from their holiday sports by a general 
summons to Dr. Birch's study. All went 
with considerable surprise : Cola in fear, 
anger, and mortification. For a long time 
he could not believe that Archibald had 
really betrayed him; and in his ai'dent 
nature, the feeling of wounded affection 
almost overpowered his hatred towards 
Morris. 

" Young gentlemen," said the school- 
master, in his gravest tones, " I have sent 
for you to speak about a story which has 
reached my ears, concerning the Greek 
prize. You all know it was given to 
Archibald McKaye, in consequence of 

3)8 



THE DETECTION. 

Morris Woodhouse's book having been 
lost ; thereby leaving Archibald, as second 
boy, the sole competitor. Now McKaye, 
with an honesty and generosity which I 
am sure you will respect as much as I do, 
tells me that the book was lost intention- 
ally; in fact, taken by another school- 
fellow, who desired to injure Woodhouse. 
The name of this boy McKaye has en- 
treated me not to enquire : nor do I wish 
to know ; not for the sake of the culprit, 
but out of regard to the generous scruples 
of Archibald. Now, young gentlemen, 
what I wish to say is this : that as honesty 
justice, and truth, are above all things, I 
have accepted McKaye's resignation of his 
prize. Although it cannot be given to 
Woodhouse, it will remain in my hands 
for competition at the next half-year. 
And as to the unknown culprit, who 
stands among you, I make no enquiries, 
leaving him to the reproaches of his own 
conscience. But I shall carefully watch 
the conduct of every one of you ; and 

38 



THE DETECTION. 

wherever I find cause, shall visit vnth. the 
severest punishment." 

This speech, the longest that Doctor 
Birch was ever known to make, was list- 
ened to in dead silence : the boys looked 
at one another in wonder and suspicion. 

"I did not do it, sir!" ^^ Nor I!" 
" Nor I !" cried several of them. 

*' Silence!" answered the master's so- 
norous voice. '' I want no confessions, I 
accuse no one; but I wish all of you to 
know, and Woodhouse especially, how 
much I respect McKaye ; and how I con- 
sider such an act as this far more creditable 
to him than winning a Greek prize. Now, 
gentlemen, retire." 

The boys were about to obey, when a 
knock came to the study-door*, it was a 
lad from the village, who said he had 
something to communicate to the Doctor. 

" Very well. Go out, young gentlemen," 
said the schoolmaster. 

''Please, sur," interposed the lad, grin- 
ning, " it's about them I comed to speak. 



THE DETECTION. 

One on'em has lost a book, I reckon ; T-e 
found it." And he laid on the table, still 
fastened to the stone, and thoroughly sa- 
turated with water, the very exercise-book 
- — Morris's — which every one knew weD. 

Cola trembled like an aspen, and could 
have wished to sink through the floor — 
anywhere out of the doctor's piercing eye, 
which, in his excited fancy, seemed to 
single him out as the guilty one. In the 
fervour of his gratitude he had crept up to 
Archibald ; and now, in his alarm, he hid 
himself behind the sturdy frame of his 
friend. 

" Where did you find this, young man ?'' 
was the doctor's inquiry. 

" At the bottom of the pond in your 
field, sur. T Avas there this morning, bird- 
nesting, please your honour, which I hope 
you won't take ill, as I didn't mean any 
mischief." 

" Go on," said the doctor. 

*' And there I seed one of your young 
gentlemen coming with something in his 

40 



THE DETECTION. 

hand ; and he tied it to a stone and flung 
it into the water. Then he talked some 
gibberish, and scampered ofl*. I thought 
somehow he might be mad, so I fished the 
bundle up again, and brought it here." 

The doctor gravely untied the string, 
xind found it to be indeed the lost book. 
*' Are vou sure that it was one of the 
young gentlemen at my house?" 

*' Aye, sur, sure enough ; for there he 
is," cried the lad ; and his finger pointed 
out Cola. 

BoiHng with anger, the Italian rushed 
tit the village-lad, and shook his tiny fist 
in his face. 

"Poor young gentleman!" said the fel- 
low. '* I were sure he were gone mad." 

Nobody else stirred, until Archibald 
went up to the master, and said, in a 
trembling voice : — 

*' Oh, sir, since chance has caused you 
to find out this, pray remember your kind 
promise, and do not punish Cola. He is 
disgraced enough." 

41 



THE DETECTION. 

"He is indeed/' said Doctor Birch, as 
he saw how all the boys had moved away 
from Cola, and " sneak," '' cheat," " pitiful 
fellow," were murmured on every side. 

" It now only remains to decide about 
the prize," added the schoolmaster, as he 
examined, as well as he could, the wet 
leaves of the book. 

" Let Morris have it, sir, of course," said 
Archibald; and the boys, generally, se- 
conded the request. But Morris declined. 

" I'll do as the doctor pleases, but really 
I'd rather not take it. We'll have another 
try next half, Archy. You are a regular 
good fellow, and I'm very much obhged 
to you: shake hands!" And he gave his 
former rival such a hearty gripe that it 
made Archibald's eyes water. 

" Gentlemen," at last said Doctor Birch, 
" the inkstand shall be given to nobody ; 
but shall be placed on the school-room 
mantle-piece, as a memento and a warning 
to you all." 

'^ Bravo, that's quite right; thank you^ 

42 



THE DETECTION. 

sir," cried the boys, hardly restrained 
by the sacred atmosphere of the doctor's 
study, from expressing their feeUngs in a 
downright schoolboy hurrah. 

''Stay a moment, boys," said the pe- 
dagogue, in his sympathy, relaxing for a 
moment from the air of gravity which he 
always thought it necessary to assume in 
his study. Then resuming his severe look, 
he called, '' Niccolo Monti." 

Trembling, crimson and pale by turns, 
the boy moved to his master's chair. His 
anger had sunk into the deepest shame 
and sorrow. 

'' Niccolo Monti," said the doctor, " if 
I Avere to punish you, I should break 
my word, which I never do; and be- 
sides, I should inflict pain upon that good 
honest boy, McKaye. Your only excuse 
is, that you d?vd this partly out of af- 
fection for him. But in any case, deceit 
is a sin, and revenge is one still greater. 
You have escaped punishment; but I 
conunand you to ask pardon of Morris 

43 



THE DETECTION. 

Woodhouse for having so sliamefally in- 
jured him." 

The angry spirit of old shone in Cola's 
eyes, and he stood immoveable. But 
Morris, whose unlooked-for success had 
softened his heart, showed a kindness and 
generosity that astonished every one. 

" Come, Cola," he said, " you need not 
ask my pardon ; I am not at all vexed 
with you now ; you are only a little fellow 
compared with me ; you could not do me 
much harm. I'll treat you better in future ; 
tind then perhaps you won't hate me so 
much. Shake hands, Avill you ?" 

And another of Morris's rough grasps 
was bestowed on his younger adversary. 
It touched Cola's quick feelings more than 
^aiy ])nnishment. 

'' Thank you, Morris," said he, in a low 
Temorseful tone, and then rushed upstairs 
<md shut himself up in his own little 
room. 



u 



CHAPTER Y. 



HOLIDAYS AT SCHOOL. 

It was a fortunate thing for Cola that, 
immediately after the examination which 
had brought him to such shame, his school- 
fellows dispersed for the holidays. The 
only two who were to remain at Doctor 
Birch's, were those whose homes were so 
far distant, Archibald and Cola. To the 
former it was a sore disappointment, when 
he received the news that another year 
must pass before he would again see 
Scotland. He had longed so after it, as 
the summer grew ; and many a time had 
he talked to Cola and his other play-mates, 
of all the sports he expected, mountain 
rambles, shooting, and fishing ; and gallop- 
ing over the free heather on his little 

45 



HOLIDAYS AT SCHOOL. 

Shetland pony. Poor Archibald ! and he 
had to give up all this for a month spent 
in the formality and dullness of Doctor 
Birch's academy, to which he had been 
sent by a rich English uncle. But his 
own father was a poor Highland laird. 
The journey north was an impossible ex- 
pense; and he was well aware that the 
dear mother whose pride he was, and the 
gentle sister, who longed to hear '' English 
news" fi'om brother Archy, would be as 
disappointed as himself. So he tried to 
forget it, and to look quite contented, 
when the rest of the boys were merrily 
going home. 

Every one seemed sorry to leave him, 
and Morris Woodhouse, as he galloped off 
with his father's groom behind him, said 
he would soon come and fetch his fonner 
rival to spend a day or two with him at 
Westwood Park. Archibald thought this 
promise was not likely to be fulfilled ; but 
he thanked Morris, and felt glad that at 
all events there was no enmity between 
them now. And then, when all the boys 

46 



HOLIDAYS AT SCHOOL. 

were gone, McKaye went back to the 
deserted schoolroom. It looked dull and 
dark and miserable. 

'* Four long weeks in this place! whatever 
shall I do with myself?" sighed Archibald. 

His sighs were echoed from the darkest 
corner; and there, crouched down out of 
sight, sat poor Cola. No one had noticed 
or spoken to him. He felt thoroughly 
desolate ; and when he lifted up his head, 
there were the marks of two large tears 
down his cheeks. Archy saw that there 
was one person in the world more 
miserable than himself. With sudden im- 
pulse, he went up to the boy. 

" Come, Cola, my lad ! brighten up ! I 
am not going home neither. But since it 
cannot be helped, we must try to make 
ourselves content. I am sure my mother 
is very sorry not to see me ; and T dare 
say yours is too." 

"No! she is not!" cried Cola, passion- 
ately. '' She does not want me to come 
to her, and I don't wish to go." 

47 



HOLIDAYS AT SCHOOL. 

Archibald looked somewhat surprised. 
"I thought that you were very fond of 
your mother, as all good boys ought to 
be." 

" Yes : but I hate her now, because she 
has gone and married a stranger with a 
horrible Russian name; and she says I 
must not come home. Home ! I have 
none now ! Oh, if I could only meet 
that man she has married ! Do you know 
what Ave do in Italy to those w^hom we 
hate, and who have injured us ?" 

"Give them a horsewhipping!" sug- 
gested Archibald. 

" No !" cried Cola, with his eyes glaring. 
" But we wait quietly, in the night, and 
stab them, and throw them into the river. 
That was what my great grandfather — '" 

" Then your great grandfather was a 
very wicked man : and I will not have 
anything to say to you, if you talk in that 
Avay, you little ruffian !" said Archy, as he 
walked awav. 

Cola was softened in a moment. His 

48 



HOLIDAYS AT SCHOOL. 

angry mood changed. He took Archibald's 
hand, and promised to think no more of 
such things. Then McKaye spoke to him 
quietly and gravely on the wickedness of 
revenge. First, as being a great sin ; and 
also as bringing its own punishment upon 
the head of the avenger himself. 

" Cola," said he, " I'll tell you a story 
which my father once told me, when I had 
been wishing to have my revenge on a 
fellow who spoiled my fishing-rod on pur- 
pose to vex me. There was once a bad 
man, who hated almost every body, except 
an only son, of whom he was very fond. 
Well, he had one enemy, whom he hated 
most of all, for some injury done many 
years ago; and one day he laid wait for 
him behind a hedge, to shoot him; but 
just as he cocked the pistol, it caught in 
the hedge, and went off. And who do 
you think it killed ? Not his enemy ; but 
his own son, who was walking quietly 
along the road. And so, said my father, 
when he had told me this, ' never wish for 

E 49 



HOLIDAYS AT SCHOOL. 

revenge ! for, depend upon it, the punish- 
ment always comes/ " 

Cola turned pale. Archy had not said 
anything about the incident of the book : 
but the Italian knew that it was in his 
mind ; and he felt ashamed at having 
again shown the evil feeling that was so 
deeply rooted in his mind. Archibald 
saw that his words were not thrown away ; 
and, wilHng to change the current of the 
boy's thoughts, he proposed that they 
should stroll down the village: and oif 
they set together. 

It was strange to observe how much 
the calm and equable temper of McKaye 
influenced the impulsive disposition of 
Cola. Though opposite in many things, 
they seemed to agree, as Foster, the wit 
of the school, observed, " like a dove-tailed 
joint.'' The one bond of union was 
probably, as Archibald had at first said, 
in their both being strangers. But now 
being left quite alone, their characters 
blended and harmonized; and their pur- 

50 



HOLIDAYS AT SCHOOL. 

suits necessaiily grew much the same. 
Their characters, also, became mutually 
improved. Cola's warm openheartedness 
tempered Archibald's reserve; and Me 
Kaye's steady good sense guided the wild 
impetuosity of the younger boy. 

The two friends contrived to spend the 
holiday time without half the dullness they 
expected. There were the long rambles 
in the fields, where Archibald, country- 
born and country-bred, showed to Cola 
many wonders, of which the boy never 
dreamed in his stately 2^^^^^^o at Rome ; 
the quiet sunny afternoons spent over 
some pleasant book, which the elder read, 
and explained wherever Cola's imperfect 
English failed ; the garden stroll in the 
twilight, a time for confidential walks and 
talks about many subjects, which had been 
almost forbidden in the school at large, so 
terrible is ridicule to boys. But now Cola 
ventured to talk about his old home, and 
his nurse Mona, and all the wonders of 
beautiful Rome, especially its pictures and 

D 2 51 



HOLIDAYS AT SCHOOL. 

its statues. Upon these the enthusiastic 
boy dwelt with an earnestness which would 
have shown to a more acute observer than 
Archibald the bias of his mind, though 
still so young. 

But though McKaye did not enter into 
all Cola's feelings, he felt a natural curiosity 
to hear about far countries ; and w^as in- 
terested and pleased in listening to his 
young companion. After a while. Cola 
even took courage to talk about the sub- 
ject which had excited the mirth of his 
schoolfellows ; and many a tale did he tell 
Archibald, of the ancient honours of the 
Monti family. The boy was a true Italian 
even in his pride. In this, McKaye felt 
most sympathy with the " little fellow,'' (as 
he still called the small-limbed delicate 
boy,) for he was proud enough himself — 
like most Scotchmen. Many an hour was 
spent over such talk by the two boys ; so 
dijBFerent, and yet alike ; for each — one in 
his Northern, the other in his Southern 
home — had been brought up in equal 

52 



HOLIDAYS AT SCHOOL. 

solitude, with ideas of life and of the world 
more speculative than real. 

Still, in all these conversations, the dif- 
ference of character showed itself. While 
Cola recounted wdth delight the history 
of those great men who had, either as 
soldiers, statesmen, or poets, shed a glory 
on their ancient name, Archibald spoke of 
those sterling honest men, in whom Scot- 
tish records abound, who had fought for 
the right, either with hand or tongue, or 
pen, or perhaps all tliree; and of those 
others, born in lower rank, who had 
worked their way to success solely by their 
own energy and strength of purpose. 

*' After all," Archibald would say, when 
they had held a long discussion on this 
topic, " I don't know but that to set to 
work for oneself, and rise to be something 
great on one's own account, is better than 
having a long string of dead ancestors." 

So spoke Archibald's good common 
sense ; but it was hardly to be expected 
that two such young heads should settle 

53 



HOLIDAYS AT SCHOOL. 

clearly a point which has puzzled many a 
wise and greyhaired one. 

However, with all this talk, Cola and 
Archy passed the holidays without any 
quarrelling, and with very little dulness. 
Once the Italian was left to his own re- 
sources, for Morris actually remembered 
his promise, and came to fetch his old foe 
to visit him. But, somehow, McKaye 
never felt quite comfortable in the large 
splendid house ; perhaps his pride fancied 
that there was a good deal of ostentation 
in his schoolfellow's hospitality, and he 
returned with pleasure to school, and to 
Cola's joyful welcome. 

Thus almost before they thought the 
month had gone by, the holidays were 
over : the Doctor came back from his 
London trip, and by degrees all his young 
flock were gathered around him. School- 
business began again ; there were some 
new faces, and there was much for the old 
pupils to hear and relate ; so that Cola 

and the exercise book were entirely for- 
&4 



HOLIDAYS AT SCHOOL. 

gotten. A great change had come over 
the boy : he had learned to think and to 
reason, whereas before his only guides 
were his feelings. He had acquired a 
measure of self-control, and in every way 
was different from the " new boy," who,. 
six months before, had been by turns 
abused and ridiculed. In short, as Archy 
told him, he was growing to be " a man/" 



66 



CHAPTER VJ. 



SUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS OF COLA AS A 
CARICATURIST. 

When Cola Monti had been a year at Dr. 
Birch's, he had contrived to make for him- 
self a good position in the school. He 
had not fought his way to this, as most 
boys are obliged to do, never being good 
at fighting; but he had gained it by his 
cfuick talents, his readiness to oblige, and 
his frank, cheerful temper. True, all these 
good quahties did not shine forth at once ; 
l)ut brightened by degrees. Wlien his 
laziness was once conquered, the boys, aye, 
and Dr. Birch too, found out that the little 
foreigner bade fair to be quite as clever as 
Morris Woodhouse. And when, no longer 
repressed by ill-usage, his naturally blithe 
temper showed itself, the rest acknow- 

56 



SUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS. 

ledged that there was not a merrier fellow 
in the school than Cola Monti. 

In time he became universally liked, 
even more so than his steady friend 
Archibald. Every one respected the sen- 
sible, persevering, honest Scottish boy ; 
but all chose the merry Cola for a play- 
mate or a confidant. Archibald looked on 
all this, and felt right glad. He liked 
Cola heartily ; and the regard he had 
shown to the poor friendless boy remained 
constant to the pet of the school. And it 
was requited by Cola with the most un- 
bounded affection. General favourite as 
he now was, he never forgot the old times 
when Archy was his only defender; and 
perhaps McKaye too thought, with a little 
justifiable self-complacency, that he had 
himself been the first upholder and coun- 
sellor of the boy who had now so many 
friends. 

One day. Cola's schoolfellows made a 
discovery, which raised the young Italian 
at once to the height of popularity. 

67 



SUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS. 

"What are you about, King Cole?'' 
said Forster, trying to peep over his slate : 
Cola, by a natural school-boy transition^ 
had degenerated into this nickname, which 
was thought most ingenious and applicable 
to such " a merry old soul" as the little 
Italian. " You have not done your sums 
yet?" 

" Oh, yes, I have 1 " answered Cola 
" Tm only amusing myself now.'' 

'' Let me see?" 

" Wait a minute, and you shall," he 
whispered ; *' that is, as soon as the Doctor 
has left the school-room." 

And that very desirable event having 
taken place. Cola turned the slate round, 
and showed Forster a capital caricature of 
himself. Indeed, so like was it as to fea- 
tures, that, but for the iiTcsistibly comical 
expression, it could hardly be called a 
caricature, Forster being i remarkable 
ugly boy, though his good temper and 
wit atoned for his plainness. 

There was a general bui*st of laughter 

53 



SUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS. 

and applause ; for we all like to quiz one 
another, though it is a different matter 
when the joke is directed against one-self. 
However, Forster stood it out as well as 
he could. 

'' Bravo, King Cole ! you're a dangerous 
fellow," cried he. '' Come, try your hand 
again ; give us a specimen of Jacob Lee." 

'' Stand up, Lee, and let him see you," 
was the cry; and Jacob, a shy, stupid 
boy, with a long nose and lanky hair, was 
placed to be sketched, amid shouts of 
laughter. Another and another followed : 
heads of all kinds were added, each 
minute garnishing the long rule-of-three 
sum with curious marginal oddities. At 
last Cola grew more daring. 

" Stand off, boys," he said, " and I'll 
draw the old Doctor for you." 

This was irresitible; and when the 
Doctor stood out in relief from the slate, 
in all his peculiarities, — his stiff collar, his 
upright hair, and his spectacles, the like- 
ness was such that the boys gave a 

59 



SUCCESSFUL A TEMPTS. 

general hurrah. So much noise did they 
make, and so intent were they, that no 
one heard the door open, until the original 
of the portrait looked over Cola's shoulder, 
and beheld — himself ! 

It was a terrible moment in school-bov 
annals. The Doctor looked, frowned, 
glanced round at the young rebels, then 
again at the slate. Whether it was that 
natural vanity made him feel rather pleased 
to see the only likeness of himself which 
had ever been taken, or whether Cola's 
sketch had less of caricature than nature, 
it is impossible to say; but Dr. Birch 
smiled — absolutely smiled! He was a 
good-tempered man, and the boys knew it ; 
they took advantage of it sometimes, the 
naughty fellows ! So the smile gradually 
went round, until it became a laugh, and 
the schoolmaster could not help laughing 
too. 

" So this is the way you amuse 
yourselves, boys," said he at last. The 
culprits knew his ire was not very great, 

60 




Dies young Caricaturist 



SUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS. 

or else he would have said, " gentle- 
men." One and all they begged for- 
giveness. 

*' Please, Sir, we did not mean any 
disrespect ; and isn't it a good likeness?" 

'' Silence ! Let me hear no more of this," 
said Dr. Birch as gravely as he could. 
*'And Cola Monti, another time, make 
game of your schoolfellows, if you choose, 
but not of your master." 

So the Doctor went away ; but from that 
time the popularity of Cola was established 
more than ever. His talents were in 
constant requisition : every quaint head> 
every oddity of expression, was made the 
subject of his pencil, and gradually the 
slate was cast aside for the dignity of 
paper and chalk. All the boys in their 
turn underwent the ordeal of having their 
peculiarities brought to light, all except 
Archibald McKaye. No persuasion could 
induce Cola to make a caricature of hh 
friend; he always found some excuse or 
other to put it off. At last, the boy& 

Gl 



SUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS. 

teamed him, and said Archy's face was 
beyond his skill. 

'' Give me ten minutes, and vou shall 
sec/' answered Cola. 

Archibald looked surprised, and rather 
vexed ; for one of his weaknesses was, 
that he could not bear to be laughed 
at ; however he took his station. Cola 
finished the sketch, but it was no car- 
icature ; it was a capital likeness of Archi- 
bald's thoughtful head, with the curling 
hair, and the calm, serious eyes. 

'' Why, Cola, you ought to be an artist," 
cried the boys, when they saw it. 

Cola smiled, and his eyes kindled. " I 
will try!" he said in his own heart, and 
from that day he drew no more caricatures. 

There was a person who came to the 
school every week, to give lessons to some 
of the boys. He was a poor country 
drawing-master ; poor, in every sense, 
having no idea of art beyond making 
pencil sketches of cottages, that looked 
always tumbling down, children with im- 

G2 



SUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS. 

niense heads, and ladies with hands no 
larger than their noses. But even the 
slight instruction that he could give, it 
was impossible for Cola to obtain. 

" Why don't you learn of Mr. White ?" 
the boys were always asking him. And 
Cola was too proud and too sensitive to 
let them know, that, beyond the payments 
to Doctor Birch, his mother, or rather, her 
avaricious husband, would expend no other 
money on the fatherless boy. But by 
observation, and by casual inquiries of the 
other boys. Cola learnt the manner of 
handling the chalk, and much other useful 
information. Besides, his naturally correct 
eye aided him more than bad teaching 
would have done, so that he probably lost 
nothing from missing the advantages he 
envied so much. 

After a while, there came some further 
help. One of the boys brought the in- 
telligence that a print shop had been set 
up in the village. This was indeed a 
novelty to all: to Cola it was glorious 

63 



SUCCESSFUL ATIEMPTS. 

news. He carried in his memory faint im- 
pressions of the pictm^es which he had seen 
in his childhood, in the great city of Art. 
Many and many a time had he talked to 
Archibald of the marvellous paintings in 
the Vatican, and the Sistine chapel. He 
could not understand them then ; but he 
now knew they were wonderful and beau- 
tiful. He read about them in some stray 
books which had found their way to the 
school, and tried hard to arrange and give 
form to these faint memories of childhood. 
With these exceptions, the boy had no 
guide whatever, for the worthy doctor had 
not a picture or an engraving in his house. 
Therefore the print shop was quite a god- 
send to young Cola. 



Gi 



CHAPTER VIL 



COLA MONTI MEETS A FELLOW- 
COUNTRYMAN. 

As soon as the lialf-holiday came touikI, 
Cola and Archibald set off to look at the 
new attraction in the village. One or 
two of the rest went with them, for Cola's 
drawings had quite "set the fashion/' as 
is not unusual in schools, Avhere, if one 
leads, several others are sure to follow. 
Hence, chalks and sitters had lately been 
at a premium ; and many atrocities in art, 
— round eyes, and crooked noses, had 
been perpetrated by the younger lads, 
who must try to imitate their elders. 
Moreover, the keeper of the printshop 
was quite surprised to see so many school- 
boys stopping at his window daily. 

Cola went with a heart which cxpec- 

E 65 



A FELLOW COUNTRYMAN. 

tation caused to beat faster than usual. 
The day boarders had brought him de- 
scriptions of all the pretty chalk heads 
which had taken their fancy, — those one 
sees in every print window. Cola almost 
knew by heart their accounts of the shep- 
herd-boy with his j)ipc; and the girl 
kissing her parrot ; and the old man with 
a beard, and a long knife which he held 
over a young girl. Opinions were divided 
as to whether the latter was meant for 
Jephthah, or Virginius, or Agamemnon ; 
indeed, there had been three pitched bat- 
tles on the subject already. 

But the print which charmed Cola was 
none of these. It was an engraving of 
Raphael's Holy Family, that exqusitc oval 
which represents the Virgin, Child, and 
St. John, and is called the ''Madonna dclla 
Sediuy' the Madonna of the chair, because 
the great artist painted it from a beautiful 
peasant-woman whom he saw sitting at 
her cottage -door, with her children beside 
her. 

m 



A FELLOW COUNTRYMAN. 

" Ah, I know this — I remember this !'* 
said the young Italian, while his eyes 
glistened with delight. '' One like it used 
to hang at the foot of my bed when I was 
a little child, and nurse Mona always said 
her prayers before it every night.'' 

'' That was very wTong, Cola," observed 
the serious Archibald. 

Cola did not hear him, he was so ab- 
sorbed. " How beautiful — how beautiful 
it is!" he said softly. "Look, Archy, at 
the child's tiny feet and the hands ; I must 
learn how to draw a hand." 

" What an odd striped shawl the Virgin 
wears ! It's just like some of the patterns 
in our mill," cried one of the boys, who 
came from Manchester. 

Cola's lip curled. " He sees only a 
shawl, when there is such a face ! Jacob 
Lee, you will never be a painter." 

" I don't want to be one," said Jacob 
Lee. " I had rather by half manage 
father's cotton-mill." 

The boy-artist — he was an artist in his 

B 2 G7 



A FELLOW COUNTRYMAN. 

soul already — turned away. It grated on 
his mind to hear such words, and he could 
hardly hide his sovereign contempt for 
the speaker. As they walked homeward, 
it took all Archibald's good sense and 
right judgment to argue the point satis- 
factorily, and prove to the enthusiastic 
Cola that a man might be a very excellent 
man in his way, mithout any feeling for 
Art at all ; and that a good master of a 
cotton-mill might make quite as useful a 
member of society as a great painter. 
Archibald was always a long-headed boy ; 
and he thought himself bound to act as 
Mentor to the young Italian. On the 
other side, Cola invariably listened with 
patience and deference, even if his com- 
panion was occasionally rather prosy. 

Cola and Archy had walked together a 
little in the rear of the others, when on 
approaching the school-gates, they saw 
their playmates tanding in a group. 

" Cola, Cola, come here ! We want 
you," was the cry. 

68 



A FELLOW COUNTRYMAN* 

Cola ran forward, and saw that they 
were collected round a poor organ-boy, 
one of those wandering minstrels who are 
so common in London streets, and are 
now and then met with far down in the 
country. The poor fellow lay on the 
ffround, with his eves half closed and his 
head leaning on his organ. He was not 
asleep, but seemed thoroughly exhausted. 
His brown cheek was thin and wasted, 
and his poor meagre hands seemed, as 
the phrase runs, ''nothing but skin and 
bone." 

" We have spoken to him, and he does 
not answer," said one of the boys. " You 
must take him in hand, Cola, for he is 
very likely a countryman of yours." 

Cola's heart throbbed wildly ; he leaned 
over the poor boy, and said some words to 
him in Italian. The little foreigner, half- 
fainting as he was, caught them ; he 
started, looked round as if he were dream- 
mg, and his eyes fell upon Cola, who 
spoke to him again. Never was there such 

E 3 09 



A FELLDW COUNTRYMAN. 

a change as that which came over the poor 
boy's face. It was positively lighted up 
with rapture. He took Cola's hand and 
kissed it. '' lo moro di jame^ was all 
he could say ; and when Cola repeated in 
English, that the lad was dying of hunger^ 
there was a rush for great lumps of holiday 
cake, which the famished Italian devoured 
with avidity. 

"This will never do for a poor fellow 
who is starving," said McKaye. " Run, 
Cola, and beg the cook to give us a good 
slice of bread and a bowl of milk; that 
is much the best for him." 

The restoratives succeeded, and in a 
few minutes the boys had the gratification 
of seeing their protege sit up and look 
around him. 

" Now, Cola, ask him what his name is, 
and where he comes from, and all about 
him," cried they. Dehghted with this ad- 
venture. Cola, excited by the old home 
memories which the picture he had just 

seen had first awakened, spoke again ; his 
7a 



A FELLOW COUNTRYMAN. 

lips trembling over that long-unuttered 
and well-beloved native tongue. He soon 
learnt that the boy's name was Giuseppe 
Montana ; that he had been going through 
the country with his organ, when he fell 
sick of a fever, and had never been well 
since; that he had walked a long way 
that day with his organ at his back : but 
no one would listen to his playing, or give 
him a halfpenny, so that he could get no 
food, and had sat down on the road-side 
utterly exhausted. 

None of the boys doubted the pooi 
Iialian's tale; indeed it was sufficiently 
proved by his appearance, which was worn 
and wretched in the extreme. And when 
he looked up and began to speak, the 
most suspicious observer might have seen 
that there was no deceit or imposition 
in that open child-like face, made pre- 
maturely old by suffering. 

''Ask him if he has got a father, and 
why he does not go back to Italy," said 
one of the boys to Cola. 

71 



A FELLOW COUNTRYMAN. 

" I am an orphan, and have no brothers 
and sisters," answered Giuseppe, mourn- 
fully. " I shall never go back to Rome, 
hella Moma, beautiful Rome, where I was 
born, and where my father died." 

Cola's dark eyes filled with tears. " I 
come from Rome too !" he answered in 
Italian ; '' and my father is dead also. 
You must stay here, and let me help you, 
little Giuseppe, if that is your name. I 
AV'ish I were a man, that I could take you 
to be my little servant ; and we could talk 
of home together, and you should never 
be hungry any more." 

The organ-boy's reply was a torrent of 
grateful thanks, uttered in his own- 
expressive, though quite untranslateable 
speech. But the beloved Italian tongue 
fell like music on Cola's ear, and he re- 
sponded with equal volubility. 

A^bsorbed in the delight of finding a 
countryman, he never noticed that the 
afternoon was closing in ; and that, one 
by one, the boys had gone away to their 

73 



A FELLOW COUNTRYMAN. 

play; doubtless finding this long conver- 
sation in a foreign language not quite so 
interesting as they expected. No one was 
near except Archy, who sat quietly on a 
■stone, fashioning a long ash shoot into a 
walking stick. Suddenly the supper-bell 
rang, and Cola began to wonder what he 
could do with his protege, who was not 
Able to walk two miles to the village, and, 
moreover, had no money to pay for a 
night's lodging when he got there. 

Cola ran to Archibald in distress, and 
asked what he was to do. 

" I thought you would come to this," 
said McKaye, smiling ; " so I waited 
quietly until you had done talking in that 
queer tongue of yours. It is n't half as 
fine as Greek or Gaelic. But come, my 
boy, don't look cross ; we must see what 
we can do for your new friend." 

This was a difficult matter to decide. 
Cola with his wann feelings, thought of 
bringing in the organ-boy, and giving him 
his own supper ; and even requesting 

73 



A I^ELLOW COUNTRYMAN. 

Doctor Birch to let him sleep with him in 
his own room. Archibald shook his head. 

" Just like you, Cola ; but it won't do. 
In the first place, though the boy does 
come from Rome, and you, of course think 
him all that is good, — very natural too, — 
you cannot make every body else think the 
same." 

" Oh, Archy ! how unkind ! I am sure 
he is a good honest boy,'' expostulated 
Cola. 

" 1 dare say he is, but the Doctor may 
not think so ; and any how, his having 
had the fever would frighten every body. 
No, no ! Cola, we must not bring him 
into the house." 

" What ! and let him sleep in the open 
air, these cold autumn nights ? He will 
die!" 

Archy thought for a few minutes. 
"I'll tell you what we'll do, Cola. We 
will make him a bed in the barn at the 
bottom of the field. The coachman will 
give us some straw, and a rug; or if he 

74 



A FELLOW COUNTRYMAN. 

does not like to lend that, the boy is 
welcome to my old plaid. Thus you can 
manage without offending the doctor, or 
getting yourself into trouble." 

" Thank you ! thank you, dear Archy ; 
there is nobody like you !" cried Cola. 

" 'Tis only a bit of common sense," said 
the other. " Now go and tell the lad what 
we are going to do with him." 

Giuseppe was full of thankfulness ; but 
when he rose up to walk, his limbs sank 
under him. 

"Poor fellow!" said McKay e, com- 
passionately, " how weak he must be ! 
Well, never mind : he is but a light 
weight, I'll carry him." Which he did as 
easily as if he were an infant. Indeed, 
Giuseppe seemed little more than a child, 
like many others of his class, whom one 
sees wandering about, doomed to hardship 
at an age when rich men's sons are con- 
sidered scarce out of babyhood. The two 
friends made a comfortable couch for the 
poor little stranger, placed the organ ie- 

75 



A FELLOW C0UNTRY3IAN. 

f5ide him, and left him to sleep. But 
before Cola went to bed, he crept down to 
the barn with a great piece of bread and 
cheese, which he had saved from his own 
supper. The boy was fast asleep. 

"It will do for his breakfast when he 
wakes," said Cola to himself, and went 
back hungry, but happy. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



A PLAN, AND HOW IT SUCCEEDED. 



Next morning, Cola's first thouglit was, 
as might be expected, his young protege. 
He found Giuseppe sitting up witli a 
cheerful face, eating his bread and cheese ; 
and not looking by any means so weak 
and palid as he had done the night before. 
Nothing could equal the deliglit and 
gratitude of the poor organ-boy when he 
beheld bis protector. His brown eyes 
seemed fairly running over with tears 
of joy. 

" I have hardly done anything for you, 
my poor Giuseppe !" said Cola, in answer 
to his fervently-expressed gratitude. 

" Yes, you have, Signorino mio ; except 
for you, I would have died in the road. 

77 



A PLAN, AND HOW IT SUCCEEDED. 

But that was what my mother said to 
me before I went away to England, and 
I never saAV her again. 'Seppi/ — she 
always called me little Seppi, — ' be a good 
boy, and tell the truth, and do not steal, 
though you are ever so hungry ; then God 
will be sure to send some one who will 
be kind to you.' And so He sent il 
Siffnorino to bring me food, and keep me 
from dying.'' 

Struck by the simple but earnest piety 
of the poor orphan. Cola felt determined 
not to lose sight of him, but to help him 
in every way. In his warm-hearted re- 
solutions, the young Italian never thought 
how little a school-boy of fourteen can do. 
Many a plan had floated through his brain 
already, but they were all vague and un- 
satisfactory. In the midst of a brilliant 
scheme to keep Guiseppi in the village, 
and educate and teach him English, Cola 
suddenly remembered that his pocket- 
money amounted to just ten shillings per 
annum, and that, at the present moment, 

78 



A PLAN, AND HOW IT SUCCEEDED. 

his purse contained the large sum of three 
half pence. 

In the midst of these cogitations, while 
his little friend watched his countenance 
with the most intense anxiety, Cola saw 
Archibald coming to the barn. 

'' This is good-natured of you, Archy," 
said Cola. '' You must thank him too," 
he added, in Italian, to the organ-boy, 
'' for he carried you here on his back, and 
has done much for you." 

Giuseppe uttered an outburst of Italian 
thanks ; but it was evident that his warm- 
est feelings were with his own countryman, 
whom he watched unceasingly. 

" Now, Cola, what do you intend to do 
with your new pet? — worse than your 
unlucky rabbits." 

Cola looked puzzled and uncomfortable. 
" I have been thinking, and thinking, 
but I cannot fix upon anything. Do help 
me, Archy !" 

" Well, in the iSrst place, I do not see 
that the lad can stay here much longer, 

79 



A PLAN AND HOW IT SUCCEEDED. 

because he must want food, and I do not 
think it quite fair to levy secret contribu- 
tions on the Doctor's larder/' — here he 
looked at the fragments of the bread and 
cheese. 

" I did not steal that/' murmured Cola, 
blushing. *' It was my own supper." 

''Bravo, my little generous fellow!" 
saidMcKaye, clapping him on the shoulder; 
*' but you yourself will get as thin as a 
maypole, if you go on feeding such a fine 
bird with your own meals after this 
fashion. No ! we must think of something 
else. Ask him what he intends to do." 

Cola held a short conversation with his 
protege, and then explained that Seppi 
wished to travel back to London before 
winter, but that his organ was broken and 
out of tune, so that nobody would listen 
to his playing, and therefore he could only 
get on by begging his way from town to 
town. 

" He says he never begged in his life, 
and he feels ashamed/' added Cola ; and 

80 



A PLAN AND HOW IT SUCCEEDED. 

Archibald was convinced of the truth, 
when he saw large tears on the crimson 
cheeks of the little Italian. 

" Poor fellow !'' he said. '' If we could 
subscribe to get him a new organ. Some 
pf the lads have money to spare, which 
otherwise they would only waste in 
sweetmeats. I thought I heard Morris 
Woodhouse offering you a half-crown for 
this same boy last night." 

" Yes ; but I did not choose to take 
it." 

*' Cola, Cola ! that was a bit of your 
foolish pride," said the young mentor, 
shaking his head. *' Morris meant kindly, 
and you were wrong not to accept it. 
But let us know what a new organ would 
cost." 

"Pive pounds, Seppi says." 

" Ah ! we shall never get that, so we 
must give up the idea. But come, it is 
breakfast-time now. I think your Seppi 
might stay here till afternoon, and mean- 
while some plan may come into our 
a 81 



A PLAN AND HOW IT SUCCEEDED. 

heads. ' When there's a will there's a 
way. 

This was one of Archy's wise saws, 
which he constantly brought out, and, to 
his credit be it said, as constantly acted 
upon. In the present case he was not 
long before he proved the truth of the 
axiom. 

" Cola, I've a thought," said he, when 
the boys were taking their formal noon- 
day stroll, under the Doctor's guidance, 
a sway so easy that it allowed a fine op- 
portunity for conversation, to each couple 
which filed before him. " Cola, Pve a 
thought.'' 

"What about?" 

" Your little Italian, of course. Look 
here ; we'll go to business in a systematic 
manner. AVe want money, which neither 
of us have got ; the question is how to 
get it. I cannot help thinking that those 
little drawings which you are always 
spending your time over, would please the 
farmers' wives about here, and perhaps 

82 



A PLAN AND HOW IT SUCCEEDED. 

some people vrould give a shilling or so 
for two or three of them. Now you 
cannot go up and down the country sell- 
ing them, but Seppi could ; and, perhaps, 
in time, lie miglit get enough money to 
buy another organ." 

"Archy, Archy, how clever you are!" 
cried Cola, in delight. 

" Not at all ', only when a fellow has 
a talent — which I think you have in this 
sketching fancy of yours, I like to find 
out to what use it can be put, and make 
the most of it." 

"Oh! this is charming; I have plenty 
of heads and figures already done. There 
is Quintus Curtius leaping in the gulf, 
and Romulus with the wolf, and King- 
John signing Magna Charta, and your 
own Mary Queen of Scots — " 

" Stop a minute," said McKaye, laugh- 
ing. " We must arrange our plans a 
little more systematically. These sort of 
sketches will hardly do for farmers' wives, 
who never heard of Romulus or Quintus 

a 3 83 



A PLAN AND HOW IT SUCCEEDED. 

Curtius in their lives. No ! I think if 
you did a few pretty heads of babies, and 
coloured them with red cheeks and golden 
hair, or drew an old woman feeeding 
chickens, or the doctor's chesnut horse, 
these would be much more likely to 
attract the kind of purchasers we want to 
please." 

Poor Cola looked rather crestfallen ; 
this was by no means his taste in Art, 
but he saAV the good sense which dictated 
Archibald's advice, and was soon persuaded 
that he was right. 

'* Then there is another thing that we 
must consider," went on McKaye, '' the 
drawings will want frames. We cannot 
buy them, therefore we must make them. 
I can cut all sorts of toys in wood, and 
I don't see why I could not make a pic- 
ture-frame. At all events there is nothing 
like trying, and I'll try to-day." 

" Excellent ! excellent ! How thought- 
ful you are, Archy ! And, I dare say, the 
carpenter at the lane-end would give you 

84. 



A PLAN, AND HOW IT SUCCEEDED. 

a few pieces of wood, because you cured 
his lame dog, you know." 

"Very likely he might. And then, 
Cola, by this plan you would see your 
little countryman every now and then, 
when he came to fetch more drawings, 
and you might have a talk with him 
about Rome, and all that sort of 
thing." 

No one knew what a kind heart lay 
hid under the quiet exterior of the re. 
served Scottish boy; no one but Cola 
Monti. 

The plan was tried, and it succeeded. 
A few sketches, such as Archibald thought 
most likely to please, were soon done by 
Cola in his best style. Mc Kaye's skil- 
ful hand made very respectable wooden 
frames; and little Seppi, being properly 
instructed, set off on his expedition. He 
had another means of getting on too; 
he could sing a few of his native ditties, 
for music seems to come instinctively to 
the Italians. Many an English mother, 

85 H 



A PLAN, AND HOW IT SUCCEEDED. 

who bought one of his pretty pictures 
to hang over the fire-place in the best 
room, gave the little foreigner his din- 
ner or his breakfast, for the sake of his 
merry song. 

Thus for many months this project went 
on successfully. Seppi travelled far and 
wide, and carried on quite a flourishing 
trade with the fruits of Cola's skill. Some- 
times, he even got as much as half a crown 
for one sketch; and as he always brought to 
Cola's keeping every farthing that he did 
not want, there soon mounted up a little 
sum. But Seppi did not now wish to buy 
an organ ; he could not have borne to lose 
sight of his young countryman, for whom 
he had conceived the strongest attachment ; 
so the trade of the little wandering picture- 
dealer still went on. 

Cola, encouraged by success, exerted his 
utmost efforts to improve. His drawings 
became more correct and finished; and, 
from a mere amusement, his pencil grev»^ 
his chief occupation when not engaged 

86 



A PLAN, AND HOW IT SUCCEEDED. 

in lessons. Every book that he could 
light upon, connected with Art, was in- 
deed a treasure ; and by daily study of 
nature, he was gradually fonning himself 
for his future destiny, before he was yet 
out of boyhood. 



CHAPTER IX. 



SCHOOL-DAYS OVER. 

As one half-year passed after another, 
Cola Monti grew to be a tall, clever youth. 
Gradually, the school changed, and new- 
faces were seen, filling the places of the 
old ones. Morris Woodhouse went to 
college, and Doctor Birch talked with great 
pride of his favourite pupil's success. 
Archibald McKaye had steadily worked 
through his schooldays, and had left for a 
merchant's office in London. But, as he 
said to Cola when they parted, ''A man 
must work at something, or other, all his 
life through ; and the sooner he makes up 
his mind to it the better." 

Cola himself began to have many anxious 

88 



SCHOOL-DAYS OVER. 

thoughts about his future ; for there was 
210 hint of his leaving school, and he had 
only seen his mother once, or twice. Often 
^ind often, when Archibald talked of his 
own happy home, did the lonely boy feel 
his heart ready to break, for he had no one 
to love him or care for him, except the 
poor Italian boy, to whom he had been so 
kind. 

He still kept up the practice of hi^ 
beloved Art; and sometimes, during the 
long holidays, which he spent at school 
alone, vague dreams of being a painter one 
day, made him feel happy for the time, and 
less down-hearted as to the future. 

When Cola was seventeen, his mother 
died. Then her husband refused any long- 
er to defray the expenses of his step-son's 
education ; and young Monti was in fact 
turned upon the world, quite destitute. 
Doctor Birch's kindness, however, inter- 
fered ; he proposed that Cola should still 
stay with him, as a sort of usher, to teach. 
It was a life strongly opposed to the youth's 

89 h2 



SCHOOL-DAYS OVER. 

own fancv, for Cola had not the steadiness 
and above all the patience, necessary for a 
teacher. But he fully appreciated the 
kindness of his old master, and bravely set 
to work to do his best. 

His best was by no means wonderful, 
for his heart was not in it ; and moreover 
his daily duties engrossed his time so much, 
that the drawing and painting languished. 
Still Cola persevered, for he remembered 
his fiiend Archibald's saying, "that every 
man must work," and many men, too, at 
duties they did not like. Mc Kaye's boyish 
friendship had not diminished, and when 
his letters came occasionally, telling of a 
close London office, and a room in the attic 
of a London house, looking down upon a 
noisy street. Cola breathed the fresh coun- 
try air, and thought that, after all, his lot 
was not so -hard as Archy's. 

Nevertheless, when Seppi came to see his 
"young master," as he persisted in calling 
Cola, he was grieved to notice how pale and 
melancholy that dear master looked. Seppi 

90 



SCHOOL-DAYS OVER. 

had good news to tell, having sold all the 
pictures, and brought back a handful of 
silver to be put in the treasure-box. Cola's 
heavy eyes hardly brightened even at the 
success. 

" But I have something else to tell to il 
Signer carrissimo^ — the dearest niaster,'*^ 
continued the Italian. " I met one day in 
the fields an odd-looking gentleman, who 
was making drawings, like you ; — only they 
were not half so pretty," said Seppi in an 
affectionate parenthesis, which made Cola 
smile. 

" Well, what of that ? I suppose he was 
an artist." 

"Very likely, Signor ; but he spoke to 
me in Italian, and a noble gentleman I soon 
found him to be, though he was an English- 
man. I showed him the pictures, and he 
praised them very much." 

"Did he, did he ?" cried Cola, his face 
lighting up with pleasure. 

"Yes, indeed, and he asked me who 
painted them ; for whoever it was, he would 

91 



SCHOOL-DAYS OVER. 

become a great artist in time. You see, 
Sighor, I remember his very words to tell 
YOU afterwards. And then seeing him so 
kind, I told him all about you, and how 
good you had been to me ; and he tore off 
a leaf from his book, and wrote this, which 
he desired me to give to you." 

Cola seized the letter, which ran thus — 
" I know nothing of you, sir, except what 
the boy Giuseppe Fontana has told me ; but 
if you are the artist who painted the water- 
colour sketches I have just seen, I would 
advise -you to come to London, if you can, 
and study regularly the noblest profession 
under the sun. T will, if I find you worthy, 
do all in my poor influence to advance you. 
My name and address are — " 

It was the name of a first-rate artist, 
whose fame had reached even to the obscure 
village, which had so long been Cola's only 

home. The vouth's heart beat with the 

•I 

wildest joy. 

•' To go to London ; to be an artist ! oh, 
how happy it would be!" cried he. But 

92 



SCHOOL-DAYS OVER. 

immediately Lis couutenance fell, for La 
remembered tLat Le.Lad.no moiiGy, and it 
was utterly impossible for Lim evcu to get 
to tLe metropolis witLout being dependent 
on cLarity. TLe letter fell from Lis Land^ 
and Le sat down disconsolate. 

TLe Italian boy crept to Lim. " Will 
tLe Signor tell poor Seppi wLat tLere was in 
tLe gentleman's note to make Lim look so 
Lappy for a minute and tLen so sad ? " 

Cola told Lim. 

' And wLy sLould not tLe Signor go to 
London and be a great artist ?" 

"AL, Seppi, you do not understand tLese 
tLings. It would take money, a great deal 
too, and I Lave none at all." Cola covered 
Lis face witL Lis Lands, and felt tLat it 
would Lave been a relief to cry, were Le not 
asLamed to be so little of a man. 

Seppi w^ent to tLe money-box ; it was one 
of ArcLy's Landiwork, witL a little slit at 
tLe top, just large enougL to pusli in sLillings 
and Lalf-crowns. To tLis receptacle, montb 
after montL, Lad been committed tLe small 

93 



SCIIOOL-DAYS OVER. 

savings which Seppi did not want, and 
which Archibald prudently advised should he 
kept for him " against a rainy day." The 
boy seemed now determined to get at his 
property, for he took his knife and cut the 
slit into a large round hole, through which 
the treasure within poured in a silver stream. 
Seppi showed his white glistening teeth in a 
smile the broadest ever known, and his 
black eyes seemed dancing in his head, as 
he filled his cap with the silver coins, and 
laid it beside Cola on the table. "See, 
the Signer has plenty of money, and he can 
go to London as soon as he likes." 

" Oh, Seppi ! but it is not mine. I meant 
it for you." 

Cola was long proof against the earnest 
entreaties of his humble friend, that he 
would take his money, the fruit of his own 
handiwork. At last he saw that Seppi was 
becoming deeply pained by his refusal, and 
Archibald's often-used arofument against 
fiilse pride rose to his memory. On the 
other hand, all the pleasure and success of a 

94 



SCHOOL-DAYS OVER. 

life which liad been his highest ambition 
seemed spread out before him, — while to let 
the kind offer of the artist (whom we shall 
entitle Mr. Crome,) remain unnoticed, ap- 
peared almost folly. Cola could not give 
up all for a mere scruple of pride at 
receiving a favour from an inferior, whose 
greatest pleasure it was to bestow it. He 
took the boy's rough hand in his. 

'* Seppi, my good Seppi, you shall lend 
me the money, since you are so kind, and 
we will go to London together." 

And so they did, as master and man, and 
not so utterly unprovided either, for the 
good Doctor Birch, when he heard the story 
and read the artist's letter, not only advised 
his young usher to go, but was fully im- 
pressed with the idea, which had only lately 
unfolded itself to his mind, that his late 
pupil might become a great man some day. 
Partly out of this fancy, but chiefly from 
real kindness, the doctor actually took a 
number of Cola's sketches, and added to his 

95 



SCHOOL-DAYS OVER 

stock anotlier ten pounds to lielp liim on 
when lie got to London. 

So the two set out on tlieir journey^ 
bravely and hopefully. And they were 
right ; for the grand secret of success is a 
determination to let nothing thwart us in 
striving for it. Cola certainly had not any 
Whittington-like notions of London streets 
being paved with gold, and did not expect 
to find there a fortune ready made ; but he 
argued, sensibly enough, that surely he 
could work in town as he had done in the 
country, only with ten times more advan- 
tages. As for little Seppi, he thought, in 
his simplicity, that if the worst came to the; 
worst, he could take to organ-playing again 
for himself and his dear Signor. 



m 



CHAPTER X. 



BEGINNING THE WOULD* 



It was five years since Cola had been iu a 
large town of any kind. London lie liad 
never seen in his life. He iinconsciousl}'' 
looked forward to it, in that sort of myste- 
rious curiosity with which country people 
always regard the unknown metropolis, as 
a grand place, very delightful, aud rather 
wicked. Something too was added by the 
quick southern imagination of the youth, 
and his faint childish memories of Rome, 
the only city he ever knew. — Rome, with 
her stately palaces and gorgeous churches, 
the queenly capital of the South, seated on 
her seven hills. 

Thoughts like these passed through the 

97 I 



BEGINNING THE WORLD. 

boy's mind, when he found hims^.lf whirled 
through the midland counties in a second- 
class railway-carriage, for that was the very 
unromantic way in w^hich the new asnirant 
for fame went to London to seek his fortune. 
Seppi sat with him, but the little organ-boy 
treated his young master with the most 
deferential respect, and never spoke, unless 
he w^as addressed first. At the commence- 
ment of their journey, Cola had talked to 
him a great deal in their native language, 
much to the astonishment and suspicion of 
a cross-looking old lady opposite, who 
wondered what strange fellow-passengers 
she had got, and how a nice respectable 
young gentleman should be on such friendly 
terms with a shabby little Italian boy. She 
kept glancing angrily at Seppi, and Seppi 
returned the compliment, even though he 
did feel rather shy and uncomfortable in hi^ 
new position. So there was a petty warfare 
maintained between them during great part 
of the journey ; and peace seemed further 
off than ever, when the old ]ady, who sat in 

98 



BEGINNING TEE WORLD. 



the sheltered back-seat, persisted in having 
the window open, though the chilly air of a 
thorough wet day pierced to the very bones 
of the poor little thinly-clad foreigner 
opposite. 

" Change seats with me, Seppi ; I'm older 
and stronger than you," cried his good- 
natured master, after a vain expostulation 
with their cross neighbour. 

But it was not likely that Seppi could 
consent to anything of the sort ; he would 
have sat to be frozen to death, rather than 
even suffer his dear Signor's hands to get 
chilly. So he protested that he did not feel 
at all cold; and meanwhile his poor little 
nose grew bluer and bluer, and the rain beat 
in, and hung in large drops on his thin 
jacket, until his cheerful face began to 
lengthen considerably, and his master grew 
thoroughly miserable. This was rather a 
gloomy commencement of their adventures, 
and it made Cola feel that if independence 
has its pleasures, it has also its lespon-' 
sibilities. 

99 



BEGINNING THE WOULD. 

" Seppi, how I wish we had a cloak or a 
rug of some kind! what a pity we never 
thought of buying one!" was his uncom- 
fortable reflection. 

"We could not buy everything, — that 
is, the Signor could not, with the little 
money he had ; and if he is not cold, why 
Seppi is quite satisfied,'' was the organ-boy's 
answer, as he rolled himself up in a corner, 
and showed his white teeth, with an ap- 
parently contented smile, though, poor 
fellow, they were chattering in his head all 
the while. 

Cola Monti then experienced, for the fir&t 
time since he had begun to think and feel — 
not as a boy, but as a man — how bitter it 
is to be poor. The next minute he learned 
how much bitterer it is to be proud as well. 
Following Seppi's eyes, he saw them rest 
wistfully on a rug that lay beside him, the 
property of a great bluff farmer, who dozed 
awav at the further end of the carriao^e : he 
determined to beg the loan of it, the very 
next time the farmer opened his eyes. But 

100 



BEGINNING THE WORLD. 

ere then pride whispered in the youth's ear, 
"' Do n't, Cola Monti ! It is demeaning 
yourself. Remember how gruffly the fellow 
answered you, when you made a civil remark 
on starting ; think how he muttered some- 
thing about these vagabonds 'o' furriners/ 
Do n't trouble yourself to ask anything of 
him." 

Cola hesitated, looked at his poor shiv- 
ering companion, and then, to use an ex- 
pressive phrase, "put his pride in his pocket." 
He had to button it up close, though, or it 
would have crept out again. At the next 
station the farmer woke up. 

" Sir," said Cola, turning very red, and 
speaking hastily, "if you don't want that 
nice warm railway-rug, would you have any 
objection to lend it?" 

"Take it — choke theeself in it, only 
dunna bother me," grumbled the farmer, 
turning round again for another nap. 

^' Thank you, sir, but I don't want it 
for myself; 'tis for this poor little fellow 
here; — he is so cold !'* 

101 vf 



BEGINNING THE WORLD. 

" Eh, what, him there ? noa, noa , youVe 
welcome to it yerseP, young feller, for you 
looks like a gentleman, though you are a 
furriner, but I canna give it that dirty 
little beggar." 

"He is not dirty, and he's no more a 
beggar than yourself," was the indignant 
reply that rose to Cola's lips. But he 
swallowed his wrath : Archy had taught 
him that lesson. " I beg your pardon, sir, 
but you are mistaken," he said, as quietly 
as he could. " Take the trouble to look at 
him, and you will see that, though his 
clothes are poor, they are quite clean ; and 
he is no beggar, he is my little servant." 

'^And pray, young sir," asked the farmer, 
now thoroughly awakened, and rather 
amused than otherwise at the spirit of the 
boy, "pray what may you be yersel'?" 

"Just what you said— a gentleman," 
was the somewhat lofty answer. 

" Ha, ha, ha ! Ho, ho, ho ! T\Tiat a deal 
of pluck he has!" cried Cola's fellow- 
traveller, bursting into the uproarious laugh 

102 



BEGINNING THE WORLD. 

whicli seems peculiar to Englisli farmers. 
" Dunna be savage, my fine feller/' lie added, 
seeing the youth's brow darken. "No 
offence, no offence ; ye may tak' t' blanket 
and welcome, for that gTand footman o' 
yourn ; only mind he do n't steal it, that's 
all. Ha, ha!" And he very unceremo- 
niously threw the disputed article over the 
carriage to Cola, who felt strongly inclined 
to throw it back again in his face. But 
the impulse was resisted, and next moment 
poor shivering Seppi rejoiced in the warm 
covering. 

The cross old lady wondered how somo 
people could be imposed upon by the braz- 
en faces of some other people ; " but that 
was always the way in which these foreigners 
coaxed John Bull out of everything." 

"I tell'ee what, ma'am," said the farmer^ 
whose generosity was roused by opposition^ 
'' a French chap feels cold just as much as 
an Englisher, 'specially if he be a little 'un. 
If you 've ever a little Jacky or Billy o'yer 
own at whome, (which I dunna think is the 

103 



BEGINNING THE WORLD. 

case, or you'd not be so cross-grained,)" 
this was said in a half-audible aside, "ye 
wunna grumble at my doin' a good turn to 
this here lad. Come, young 'un/' con- 
tinued he, roused still more by the old 
lady's contemptuous toss of the head, " takV 
a drop o'sommat to keep thee warm." 

And he produced a bottle for Seppi's 
benefit, who, faint, tired, and cold, took a 
few sips, and then made drowsy by the dose, 
and also by the motion of the carriage, fell 
comfortably asleep in the corner. His burly 
protector soon did the same, and Cola was 
left to his own meditations. 

He did not feel quite so hopeful as he 
had done a few hours before, when crossing 
fifteen miles of open country, which lay be- 
tween Doctor Birch's house and the nearest 
railway-station, in that worthy pedagogue's 
own chaise. Then it was a lovely fine 
morning; but it had changed, as June 
mornings will do, into a wet cheerless day, 
almost like winter. This, perhaps, had no 
slight effect on Cola's mind, for in common 

104 



BEGINNING THE WORLD. 

witU all sensitive temperaments, he was 
very susceptible to the influence of weather. 
And, besides, as the first excitement of the 
journey passed away, and a weariness crept 
over him, he began to feel the natural 
sensations of one who has for five years, 
night after night, gone to sleep under the 
same roof, and noAV wanders from it, quite 
uncertain where he shall this evening take 
his rest. The vague project — "seeking 
one's fortune in London" — resolved itself 
into small realities, not quite so pleasant, 
and for the moment he almost wished him- 
self back in the Doctor's school-room, hearing 
his class drone over their eternal io sono^ 
tu seiy egli ^, 

But such a brave spirit as Cola's coul(^ 
not long think thus. Soon he drove aw\ay 
all disappointment and determined to be 
happy. Many a man has become mode- 
rately content from this very resolve. Try 
• it, my young friends, when you are inclined 
to despond; set resolutely before you all 
the good fortune that your condition afi'ords, 

105 



BEGINNING THE WORLD. 

and in most cases you will find that if it 
does not outweigh, it at least equals the 
bad. 

Cola did so. If on this miseratle wet 
day he was going to London, a lad only 
seventeen, an orphan, having in that great 
city but two friends, one of whom he had 
never seen — still, on the other hand, he was 
young, healthy, had had a good education, 
and was acknowledged to possess talent in 
his beloved Art : there was his faithful 
little servant to watch over his comforts 
and cheer him in every way; and in his 
pocket lay twenty pounds and the letter of 
Mr. Crome. Things were not looking so 
very black, after all. 

Besides, every mile — no every twenty 
miles, for in the lightning-railway one only 
counts by scores — ^brought him nearer to 
the welcome of Archibald M^'Kaye. Cola 
had not told his friend of this proposed 
journey, intending to surprise him with the 
meeting ; and perhaps withheld partly from 
a slight doubt whether the ultra-prudent. 

106 



BEGINNING THE WORLD. 

Archy would not consider the expedition 
rather a wild-goose chase, and therefore 
expostulate a little. 

" But when I am really there, he will be 
so glad to see me! yes, I Imowhewill!" 
mused Cola; " and then I can talk so much 
better than I can write, and explain all. 
He does not know much about Art, or care 
much for it ; but he is a dear, good, sensible 
fellow, is Archy J\PKaye. How glad I am 
he lives in London!" 

And in anticipating over this meetings 
and the somewhat more formidable one with 
the great unseen artist. Cola found the 
train had reached Harrow, which he knew 
was not far from their journey's end. He 
felt a feverish excitement, and could not 
help peering restlessly out of the carriage 
window. It was close down now, thanks to 
the burly farmer's interference. The drizzly 
misty evening only revealed the straggling 
outskirts which lie between Willesden and 
Euston-square. There could hardly be a 
less imposing entrance into the city: it 

107 



BEGINNINa THE WORLD. 

seems like creeping into London the back 
way. Cola distinguished small lialf-built 
streets, work-slieds, brickfields, here and 
there a garden, until gradually the houses 
became thicker ; and though no city could 
be seen in the distance, there rose up the 
cloud of smoke and fog which perpetually 
overhangs the great metropolis. 

'' Tell me, Seppi, for you have been here 
before, tell me, is that London?'' cried 
Cola to his young companion, who now, 
refreshed by his long sleep, began to rub 
his eyes and look about him. 

"Si, Signor, yes, master, it is indeed," 
answered the little Italian. "Is it like 
what the Signor expected?" — Seppi always 
addressed Cola in the third person, the 
customary Italian form of showing respect 
to a superior. 

"Not quite." 

"I knew it, I knew it: a smoky, dis- 
agreeable, ugly city, is this Londra^ and 
not at all so fine as bella Roma.'" Then 
recollecting himself, Seppi added, "But I 

108 



BEGINNING THE WORLD. 

will not speak ill of it, if il Signorino mio 
makes liis fortune there, as indeed lie is 
sure to do ; and tken, perliaps, wlien lie is a 
great artist, lie will take poor Seppi wdtk 
him to see hella JRoma once more." 

" We will never be parted ; you shall go 
with me wherever I go, my dear little 
friend," cried Seppi's master affectionately ; 
and then the simultaneous rousing of their 
sleepy fellow-passengers, and the call out- 
side for "Tickets ready, gentlemen," be- 
tokened that they had come to their 
journey's end. Soon the train stopped: 
out jumped the burly farmer, having ac- 
knowledged the thankfully restored rug 
with a careless nod, though he made no 
allusion to stealing it now. Out scrambled 
the cross old lady, after hunting under both 
seats for various small packages, and voci- 
ferously accusing Seppi of having sat down 
upon a bandbox, which had been under her 
own feet the whole time. At last Cola and 
his protege alighted also, and found thenv- 
selves on the platform in Euston-squarc. 

109 K 



BEGINNING THE WORLD. 

There was little doubt of their being in 
London now. Such a confusion! — Omni- 
buses rattling, cabmen shouting, porters 
jostling to and fro, clamorous passengers 
hunting for luggage in every possible place 
but the right one, and finding every one's 
property except their own. No wonder the 
scene bewildered our two young foreigners, 
for even Cola knew English manners and 
customs only through the medium of Doctor 
Birch's academy. He and Seppi stood 
together beside their small box, like two 
lost sheep in the crowd. Attacked on every 
side by inquiries concerning omnibuses, 
cabs, and porters. Cola only shook his 
head; he really could not tell where to go 
or what to do. He wished he had WTitten 
for Archy to meet them, but v/ishing was 
useless now. 

At length his shoulder was brushed by 
the stout farmer. 

"What, my young furrineering gentle- 
man, not gone yet? you'll be turned out 

directly to mak' ready for another train, 
no 



BEGINNING THE WORLD. 

No stopping and wondering in a place like 
Lon'on, I reckon." 

Cola looked very disconsolate, and Seppi 
too. 

" Wliat's t' matter ? liast got na money?" 
asked the blunt but good-natured farmer. 

Cola's cheek crimsoned: "Of course I 
have, sir! but it is late, and I do n't know 
where to go for the night; I never was in 
London before. Is there any inn to which 
you can direct me?" asked he, with a 
rather dignified air, for he remembered he 
was seventeen, and it was necessary to put 
off the boy and assume the man. 

^' Direct 'ee lad ? Oh, aye, to some 
hundreds, where they'll fleece thee in a 
pretty fashion. ^Yliat made thy feyther 
send thee to Lon'on all by thyself? I 
would n't ha' done it by my Dick ! " 

Tears started to Cola's eyes. '''Nov 

would my dear father, if he were alive," 

he murmured. 

" What ! that 's it, is it ? Poor lad, I 'm 
111 



BEGINNING THE WORLD, 

sorry for thee ! " said tlie other, with com- 
passionate interest in his great rough face. 
'' Gie us thy hand, I '11 tak' thee where thee 
can stop the night; ay, and that young 
Flibbertigibbet too," he added, seeing Cola 
looked hesitatingly towards his little ser- 
vant. " I 'am not afeard of either o' yees 
stealing anything now. Come along." 

And in a few minutes more, the young 
adventurers were hoisted on the top of an 
omnibus, beside their new acquaintance, 
who took them to an inn near Mark-lane, 
where he invariably put up. Unaccustomed 
to travelling as both boys were, they felt 
heartily glad to eat their bread and cheese 
supper, and then escape from the noisy, 
crowd of farmers to a small attic ; too tired 
to do anything but go to sleep. Cola crept 
into the little bed ; w^hile Seppi, unused to 
more luxurious habits, gathered himself up 
in a ball, something like a young hedgehog, 
and lay down at his master's feet. Both 
were soon asleep — to use a favourite ex- 

112 




At-tT 1 V ai "i n I i o n rlo n . 



BEGINNING THE WORLD. 



pression at Doctor Bircli's — "as sound as 
a top." 

This was Cola Monti's first nigbt in 
London 



11? Ka 



CHAPTEP XL 



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIGHT. 

Cola woke the next morning, dreaming 
that he was at school again, and that some- 
how or other his class was all composed of 
great stout farmers, who w^ould persist in 
repeating their Italian verbs with a strong 
Staffordshire accent. The dream vanished 
under the influence of a bright sunbeam 
that crept through the small uncurtained 
window, and just reached his nose. In 
London, the good-natured sun is more 
partial to attic windows than to any other, 
and it made Cola's tiny room quite cheerful. 
From thence he looked, not at the street, 
which lay many feet below, but skywards, 
where, above the tops of the houses, he 

114 



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIGHT. 

could see the great dome of St. Paul's 
lifting itself up, grand and giant-like, with 
its ball and cross glistening in the clear 
light of early morning. 

This was the first sight that struck Cola 
in London. His artist-eye appreciated it 
to the uttermost. The numberless streets 
below seemed so solemn and quiet, lying in 
the shadow of the scarcely risen sun ; and 
though even now the sounds of life were 
beginning to stir, they were but faint as 
yet, while over the dark and half-awakened 
city watched its gTeat temple, already illu- 
minated with the sunbeams. It was a 
scene that Cola never forgot, and never 
will while he lives. 

He stood several minutes at the window, 
and then crept quietly to bed again, for it 
was too early to rise, and he did not w^ant 
to disturb the heavy slumbers of poor tired 
Seppi. But he himself could not go to 
sleep again ; his heart was too full. He lay 
thinking many deep and serious thoughts, 
such as perhaps would never come into the 

115 



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIGHT. 

head of a youth of seventeen, unless placed 
in Cola's situation. 

My dear boy-readers, you who have a 
father to guide you, a mother to love you, 
and perhaps many other family ties to 
make you a pleasant home, I dare say you 
think it would be a fine thing to find your- 
self in such an independent position, with 
no one to restrain or command you — ready 
for any adventure. Would not you like it 
very much, instead of being under the rule 
of tutors abroad, or when at home obliged 
to submit to " the governor ? " And yet, if 
you once tried the experiment, I doubt if 
you would not soon find out, as Cola did, 
that it is a desolate thing to be one*s own 
master. 

Cola had a vai^ue notion that livinof at 
inns was expensive, and that even twenty 
pounds would not hold out for ever. He 
thought he ought to try to get settled some- 
where that very day, even before he allowed 
himself to go and see Mr. Crome. Perhaps 
he also wished to delay this momentous 

116 



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIGHT 

visit, which, delicious in the distance, grew 
formidable as the time drew near. But 
how, in this wide London, was he to set 
about finding a temporary home ? 

" I wish I knew where to go, or that I 
had somebody to advise me," he sighed. 
And then he thought of sensible, friendly 
Archy M^Kaye. "That's it!'' cried the 
boy, jumping out of bed ; " the best thing I 
can do is to go to Archy." 

He dressed himself with a light heart, 
and then woke Seppi. They both soon 
descended, and after losing tbeir w^ay once 
or twice in the large old rambling inn, sat 
down in the commercial room and break- 
fasted. Then Cola, taking upon himself all 
the responsibilities of his position, called 
for the bill; but the kind-hearted farmer 
had paid it an hour before, — and disap- 
peared — without word or message. 

"I'll never judge people by their outside 
appearance again," thought Cola, repentantly. 
*'And if ever I catch myself indulging in 

117 



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIGHT. 

foolish pride, I'll smother myself — or it^ 
which will perhaps be the best plan." 

So, having begun the day with these two 
excellent resolutions, and left his box at 
the inn, not without a hope that when he 
came to fetch it, he might light upon the 
good farmer, and have an opportunity of 
paying the warm thanks he owed, Cola set 
out for the office w^here Archy spent his 
time from nine till five every day. Seppi, 
who followed his master like his very 
shadow, was not left behind ; and indeed 
young Monti could not have threaded his 
way through the strange, bustling, bewil- 
dering city streets, but for the guidance of 
his little servant. 

" And is this where you used to go about 
playing your organ, Seppi ? I wonder the 
noise did not drive you crazy," said Cola, 
as they passed the Bank, and entered 
Cheapside, which seemed insuff*erably close 
to the country boy. ''Oh! what a disa- 
greeable place London is ! at least this end 

118 



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIGHT. 

of it. How did you manage to breathe 
here, iny poor little fellow ? " 

" It was much worse where I lived," 
answered Seppi, with a shudder. ''The 
Signer has not seen St. Giles's : ah ! the 
horrible place ! And that cruel master, 
who sent us out every morning with our 
organs — we, poor lads ! — and thrashed us 
and starved us at night, if w^e did not bring 
back money enough. What a miserable 
life it was ! But the noble generous Signer 
took me out of it, and I wall bless him every 
day until I die," gratefully murmured the 
little Italian in his own language, which 
indeed he generally spoke ; only we put his 
conversation in English, lest our readers 
might require an interlinear translation. 

So talking, master and man came to 
Bread-street, Cheapside, where ^PKaye's 
address was. 

"M^Bean, M^CuUoch, and M^Gillivray, 
all Macs," said Cola, laughing, as he read 
the name on the door. "We're right, I 

119 



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIGHT. 

tnow; Archy's countrymen always liold 
together." 

He entered a little dark oflBce, on the 
ground-floor of what seemed an immense 
warehouse. There was no one there, hut a 
dry, dusty-looking old man, perched behind 
a high desk. Cola went boldly up to him, 
and asked to see Archibald M'^Kaye. 

*'Is it the new laddie ye 're speering for? 
Ye 're a freend o'his, may be," was the 
answer, in Scotch so broad, that, accustomed 
as he was to Archy's northern speech. Cola 
could hardly make it out. And the cautious 
questioner eyed him over from head to foot, 
apparently thinking such a tall, handsome, 
gentlemanly youth rather a novel customer 
in Bread-street. 

" I want to see Mr. Archibald M'^Kaye,'^ 
persisted Cola ; " can you tell me where 
he is?" 

"I dinna just ken, and I canna waste 
precious time in hunting out our office 
laddies. Ye '11 find him somewhere up 

120 



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIGHT. 

there ; " and the old clerk lifted one thumb 
in the direction of the ceiling, and buried 
his spectacled nose again in his large 
ledger. 

The quick-tempered Italian felt half 
vexed, but he turned to ascend the mouldv 
old staircase ; Seppi still followed. At the 
top of the first flight he saw, in the dim 
light — it never seemed to be clear day-light 
at Bread-street — a figure buried among a 
heap of rolls of carpets. He repeated the 
inquiry for Archy JPKaye. 

The individual addressed, cleared at a 
bound a score of carpets, and stood before 
him. 

" Why, Cola Monti, what in the name of 
fortune brought you here?'' reached the 
boy's ear in the most gleeful tones of 
Archy's very own voice, otherwise Cola 
would never have believed that it was 
really his old friend. 

M^'Kaye certainly looked a queer figure. 
He had grown taller than ever — quite a 
man indeed ; but he was very thin, and his 

121 L 



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIGHT. 

clear fresh complexion liad become pale and 
sodden. He was without his coat, and all 
covered with the dust and dirt of this — a 
wholesale carpet warehouse. At another 
time Cola would have laughod heartily at 
the odd appearance of his old schoolmate, 
but now his affectionate heart could only- 
prompt the warm hand-grasp, and the 
cry— 

" Archy, dear Archy, is it really you? " 

'' Why, I suppose it is, though I do n't 
look much like myself, you mean,'' said 
M^'Kaye, perhaps rather annoyed for the 
moment at being found in such a trim; 
" but you know, my good fellow, I 'm a 
man of business now. Everybody works 
here. I'm not a bit ashamed of myself," 
said he resolutely, as he knocked the dust 
off his clothes. 

"Indeed you need not; I am only too 
glad to see you anyhow, and anywhere," 
Cola joyfully cried. 

"To be sure; so ami. Now, Cola sit 
down here," and he hauled a roll from the 

122 



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIGHT. 

heap, " and tell me what on earth you have 
•come to London for." 

The explanation was given as shortly 
and lucidly as possible. Archy looked 
wondering — doubtful; but except an un- 
conscious "Hem!" once or twice, he said 
nothing to discourage his friend's bright 
hopes; he was too kind-hearted. And 
besides, he felt keenly how pleasant it was 
to look on a familiar face in this wide 
desert of London. But ere Cola's story 
was quite ended, there was a loud call 
above for " M^Kaye." 

"Business before pleasure ! I can't stay 
with you longer, Cola," said he, rising 
hastily. "Come and sec me to-night at 
home — that is, where I lodge; I don't call 
it home. Mind you come ! but I forgot, — 
you ^Ylll never know your way." And he 
proceeded to give minute directions for 
findino' a certain street in Islinoton. 

" Oh, Seppi will make it out," answered 
Cola. 

"What, my old friend Seppi! you hav'n't 

123 



AN OLD FRIEND IN A NEW LIGHT. 

"brought liim with you? Come out, my 
little fellow, and let us have a look at your 
"brown face!" cried Archy, dragging the 
Italian from the dark corner where he had 
submissively kept aloof. 

" Seppi very glad to see English Signer ; 
poor Seppi never forget kind Signer Inglcse^'^ 
stammered the organ-boy, pulling his black 
curly forelock, in acknowledgment of the 
recognition. 

"Thank you, little Seppi; only you make 
•a slight mistake as to the country : I do n't 
think I am any more of an Englishman for 
living in London," said Archy, proudly 
enough to satisfy even the heart of the 
old father at Aberdeen, who had sacrificed 
•so many time-honoured family prejudices, 
before his own good sense and that of his 
'excellent boy triumphed at last, and the 
•descendant of no one knows how many 
great ^PKayes became clerk in a merchant's 
-warehouse. 

They went down the dark creaking stair- 
<5ase: "I dare say you think this a df 

124 



/iN OLD PRTEND IN A NEW LIGHT. 

miserable place, Cola; and yet 'tis a great 
firm, this of ours : every mercliant in London 
knows our three Macs. Their word or boni 
is as good as the Bank of England. But 
you do n't understand commerce." 

"Not quite," was the smiling answer. 
"Well, Archy, I suppose, some of these days, 
you will be a great merchant too.'^ 

" I will try. It is a grand thing to he 
rich ; that is, when one makes a good use of 
it, — our family is so large, and we have 

always been so awfully poor, that Yes ! 

I'll work night and day hut I'll he a great 
merchant some time/' And as ^PKaye 
spoke, there was in his quiet resolute tone 
and firmly set lip an earnest of that strong 
patient energy w^hich, soon or late, always 
carries out its end. 

Yet, as Cola made his way up the close 
dingy street, and thought of the little hack 
office, the ledger, and the carpets, his mind, 
cast in a totally different mould, revolted 
from the idea of a lifetime, a whole precious 
lifetir£e, spent in such scenes. 

125 l3 



AN OLD FRIEND XN A NEW LIGHT. 

*' Archy may be riglit ; lie always is," said 
the young Itakan to himself; "but! would 
rather be an artist, after all/' 



CfFWPTKR. J. 



HELP IN SEASON. 

Monti, — ^we ought to give him his sur- 
name occasionally, as he is growing a man 
now, — had a whole day before him, with 
nothing to do. This w^as very irksome, for 
his morning s reflections had wound him up 
to such a high pitch of enthusiastic energy, — 
and Cola's energy was generally two-thirds 
composed of impulse, which must begin at 
once to expend itself. He found it really 
hard to have to wander idly about London 
for the space of six hours ; more especially 
as mere outward sight-seeing was not his 
element. An inveterate sight-seer is 
generally a man all eyes and no brains. 

Cola bethought himself of a place, which 

127 



HELP IN SEASON. 

to him contained all the riches of London — 
the National Gallery. Thither he went, 
still followed by his ever-faithful attendant. 
And it is but just to say, that while many 
a fine young gentleman would have felt 
considerably annoyed at having to walk 
through London streets, accompanied by 
the poor little Italian, in his clean, but 
shabby suit of velveteen, Cola Monti never 
experienced the slightest mortification on 
this head. He was at once too humble and 
too proud. 

I shall not enlarge upon the feelings of 
the boy-artist, when he beheld for the first 
time this grand collection of paintings. He 
had seen many in his childhood; but the 
memory of them was growing dim. He 
looked on these with the sensations of one 
blind, who re-enters a long-forgotten world 
with his eyes opened. He began to un- 
derstand and to feel what Art really was. 
This new sense dazzled and overwhelmed 
him; his heart beat wildly, he trembled, 

and, fairly subdued with emotion, he sat 
us 



HELP IN SEASON. 

down in the darkest corner lie could find, 
turned his face away into the shadow, while 
the tears rose, large and silently, to the 
long lashes, and dropped on the arm which 
he raised to hide them. 

^NTow, my dear readers, I dare say nine 
out of ten of you think Cola Monti a very 
foolish fellow — a girl, a ''cry-haby," &c. &c. 
The reason is, you do n't understand him 
you nine excellent fellows, who will, I 
trust, grow up respectable members of 
society. But the tenth of you may be 
what Cola was — a genius. The boy's feeling 
was perfectly sincere and true to nature; 
that is, to the nature of genius. But fully 
to comprehend the workings of a mind like 
his, requires one of similar character and 
power. If you are disposed to laugh at 
him, or any one like him, think that 
possibly the fault may be with your own. 
selves. And even taking the contrary argu- 
ment, remember that the wise man, while 
condemning, pities ; ii is the fool only who 
scoffs. 

120 



HELP IN SEASON. 

Cola was roused by a whisper from 
Seppi. — 

" Signor mio carissimo, look there, at 
that little old gentleman! it is the very 
artist whom I saw, who wrote the letter. 
Speak to him ; he has not seen me, but he 
has been looking at the Signor for a long 
time." 

And indeed he had. Cola felt that this 
very minute the keen but kindly gray eyes 
were reading him through and through. 
He grew hot and cold; he could hardly 
breathe. At last, with a desperate courage 
he went up to the artist, and spoke as he 
never would have spoken but for the excite- 
ment of the last ten minutes. 

" Sir," Mr. Crome, forgive me if I am too 
bold, but you are a great artist, and I would 
give everything in this world to become 
one. Did you really mean what you told 
ine in this letter ? " 

The old painter looked at the paper, 
recognised it with a smile, but with no 
•outward manifestation of surprise, for he 

130 



HELP IN SEASON. 

was a gentleman of sedate, polished man- 
ners ; a court artist. Then he glanced ct 
the youth, noticed the quivering lip, the 
kindling eye, put his hand out cordially, 
but still composedly, and said, 

"Yes, my young friend, I really did. 
Are you come to London to prove the truth 
of both my offer and my prophecy ? "^ 

Cola could scarcely murmur a few in- 
articulate thanks. 

" Well, young gentleman," said the con- 
siderate painter, "wait here half-an-hour^ 
and I will come and have some talk with 
you." And he moved away with a footstep 
as silken soft as his voice and smile. It 
really gave him pleasure to find the youth 
whose beautiful features and intellectual 
head had attracted his artist-eye, was the 
same unknown draughtsman whose pro- 
ductions had struck him during his country 
tour. 

Mr. Crome was no enthusiastic philan- 
thropist, only a kind-hearted sensible man. 
He had not the slightest intention of per- 

131 



HELP IN SEASON. 

fonning any grand feat of generosity towards 
Cola, such as adopting or instructing him. 
He had almost forgotten the letter, written 
under an impulse of good-natured appre- 
ciation ; but when it was again brought to 
his memory, he determined to keep his 
promise, and give the young artist all the 
encouragement he could. Perhaps this 
determination would have been less warm, 
had not Colas personal appearance and 
manners interested him, for Mr. Crome was 
a gentleman of refined taste. Even his Art 
was with him less an enthusiasm than a 
genteel profession, which brought him under 
the gracious notice of royalty and nobility. 

In half-an-hour the same bland smile 
and low voice came to charm Cola's inmost 
heart. " We cannot talk here, my young 
friend; will you accompany me to my 
house ? " 

The boy joyfully assented; Seppi, ever 
thoughtful and respectful, whispering that 
he would wait for his dear Signer in the 
gallery'. Ere Cola could believe in the 

132 



HELP IN SEASON. 

reality of his good fortune, lie stood in that 
paradise of his dreams, an artist's studio. 

The room was hardly such as he could 
have pictured the sacred spot where Michael 
Angelo or Raffaelle worked. It was a 
luxurious, elegant apartment, adorned to 
please the taste of wealthy sitters. It 
contained many portraits, a few historical 
piotures, and casts of celebrated statues. 
The former Cola did not notice much, but 
over the two latter his eyes lingered with 
unspeakable delight. Gazing on them, he 
felt his soul expand; his countenance 
brightened, his tread grew firmer, and his 
timidity passed away. The boy of genius 
had found his true element at last. 

Mr. Crome watched his new acquaintance 
with curiosity and interest. By degrees he 
drew out all Cola's little history, and the 
interest deepened more and more. 

" I am glad you are an Italian," said he. 
" I love Italy : I spent many years there in 
my youth, and painted many pictures too. 
Look here!" and he showed Cola one or 

133 M 



HELP IN SEASON. 

two Neapolitan and Roman scenes, so vividly 
pourtrayed that the youth almost wept at 
the childish' memories they brought. The 
artist was flattered, nay, touched. He 
laid is hand on Cola's shoulder, and said 
warmly, — 

'' My dear boy, you are of the right sort. 
You will make a painter. Now sit down, 
and let us see how we are to set about 
it. To what branch of Art would your 
taste lead you ? " 

*^To the highest: I want to paint 
gTeat historical pictures," cried the boy, 
enthusiastically. 

Mr. Crome shook his head. ''It will 
not do in these days : your high Art 
painters are always in poverty. Try a 
little lower: begin, as I did, by portrait- 
painting." 

Cola's countenance fell. " I do not like 
that half so well. It is hard to waste time 
in reproducing ugly faces, when one longs 
to paint ideal beauty." And then Cola 
stopped, confused, for he remembered the 

134 



HELP IN SEASON. 

portraits around the room, and one even 
on the easel. 

The court-artist looked nettled. "It 
must be done, though, unless you prefer to 
starve. You talk, my good sir, like all 
young artists ; but you will lower your 
tone by and by, and think it no disgrace 
to tread in the footsteps of Sir Joshua 
Reynolds and Sir Thomas Lawrence." 

" Indeed I do not, now," answered Cola, 
humbly. And then he had tact enough to 
make no more apologies, but let the con- 
versation change of itself. 

Mr. Crome spoke of various ways in 
which he could assist the fortunes of the 
young 'artist, promised to give him intro- 
ductions to several friends, among Avhom 
were names so high in Art, that Cola was 
ready to dance with joy. He also threw 
out a few good-natured hints as to the 
proper course of study, advised him to go 
to the British Museum, and draw from the 
antique; and promised to give him the 
necessary recommendation, when he should 

135 



HELP IN SEASON. 

be competent enough to enter as a pro- 
bationer at the Royal Academy. 

"And, remember, I shall always be liappy 
to see you here, Signor del Monti; you 
must allow me to refresh my tongue by the 
long-disused Italian," said the artist, with 
a courtly but pleasant smile. " Still, on 
the whole, I would recommend you to 
waive that sweet-sounding name, and be 
plain Mr. Monti." 

"I will do all you tell me, kind, generous 
friend,'' cried Cola, in a wild impulse of 
gratitude. And when Mr. Crome's aristo- 
cratic-looking footman closed the door after 
him, the boy walked down Berners-street, 
his heart beating almost deliriously with 
hope and joy. Oh! how bright, how 
glorious the future looked I — To be an 
artist, to lead a life among all beautiful 
things, perhaps to rise to fame ! He would 
not have exchanged destinies with the rich- 
est young noble in the kingdom. 

If those who are celebrated in Art or 
Literature, who, like Mr. Crome, have 

136 



HELP IN SEASON. 

readied " tlie top of the tree," would only 
think how little it costs them to stretch 
out a helping hand to those young strug- 
glers who are trying to climb after them ! — 
Even by a few kind words, what a great 
deal of happiness they have in their power 
to bestow ! 



CHAPTER XIII. 



THE FIRST STICK IN THE NEST. 

It was like passing out of light into dark- 
ness, when, a few hours after leaving Mr. 
Crome, Cola found himself in the little back- 
parlour of street, Islington, where 

Archibald had directed him. In his anxiety, 
he was a little before the appointed hour, 
and was not much surprised, when informed 
by a dirty slipshod servant, that " Misther 
M'^Kaye was not come in." So he and the 
ever-attendant Seppi sat down to wait, very 
unceremoniously as the maid evidently 
thought. 

The time was that dullest and most me- 
lancholy hour in London, about sunset, and 
the room faced the east. To Cola it ap- 

138 



THE FIRST STICK IN THE NEST. 

peared the gloomiest he had ever seen in 
his life, the dirtiest it certainly was. He 
thought Bread-street quite delightful in 
comparison, for that was merely a house of 
business, while this was the pretence of a 
home. A very bare and dreary home it 
looked ; just the walls, carpets, chairs, and 
table, without books, prints, newspapers, or 
work. The only sign of its being inhabited 
was a solitary ink- stand, with both bottles 
empty, two stumps of pens, and an inch of 
red sealing-wax. 

There were a few knocks at the door, and 
several young men came in successively, 
stared at Cola and Seppi, and then disposed 
of themselves in various ways. Some took 
out books and tried to read by the dim light ; 
others lounged about, talking, or drum- 
med on chair backs. All seemed alike dull, 
weary, and dispirited. At length ^PKaye's 
voice was heard in the hall, and the hearty 
welcome and warm greeting between the 
youths brought back to both their old school- 
days at Doctor Birch's. 

139 



THE FIRST STICK IN THE NEST. 

" You must stay for tea : I can ask any 
visitor I like : not that I trouble Mrs. Jones 
mucli in that way, though," said Archy, 
lauofhinof. ''She's the mistress of the 
house," he added in an explanatory aside. 
" All these are young fellows who board 
here, like myself, clerks, medical students, 
and such like. A queer set though ; I do n't 
see much of them, which is a comfort. But 
here 's Mrs. Jones." 

And at the same time as tea and candles, 
(or more properly speaking, the candle,) 
there entered the cross old lady of the rail- 
way-carriage, looking as cross as ever. Cola 
glanced at Seppi, who had as usual crept 
into the darkest corner he could find, so 
that he escaped even the sharp eye of Mrs. 
Jones. She recognised Cola, however, which 
did not make her tone the milder, when in 
reply to Archy's polite introduction, she 
observed : — 

"Very happy to see any friend of any 
gentleman here; on the usual terms, of 
course, Mr. M'^Kaye." 

140 



THE FIRST STICK IN THE NEST. 

" Of course/' repeated Arcliy, somewhat 
hastily : he did not want his friend to know 
that this hospitality cost him half-a-crown. 
Cola s only impediment to accepting it was 
Seppi's being with him. 

'* What, that little fellow here ? Really, 
Cola, do you always intend to carry him 
about with you in this way ? " w^as ^PKaye's 
amused remonstrance. 

And hereupon Mrs. Jones having dis- 
covered her old enemy, insisted upon it that 
he should quit the parlour for the kitchen. 
Cola's indignation was fast rising, and a 
w^irfare threatened to break forth, when Seppi 
put an end to it, by creeping out at the 
hall-door, having just darted the fiercest 
lightnings of his black eyes at Mrs. Jones, 
and whispered that he would wait for his 
" dear Signor" in the street, 

"Let him go," said Archy, mildly, as 
Monti wanted to follow. " The lad will be 
much happier there. And, Cola, I think 
you are hardly wise in taking Seppi out 
of his proper sphere. He is a good little 

141 



THE FIRST STICK IN THE NEST. 

fellow, and you owe him mucli; but one 
should always take care to pay even debts 
of gratitude in suitable coin. I must read 
you a lecture upon this subject, just as I 
used to do at school. You'll not be vexed, 
Cola ? " And the frank pleasant smile of 
old, lit up Archibald's face, driving thence 
all the care-wrinkles and the dust of Bread- 
street, and showing him, as he was, a fine, 
stalwart young Scotsman, clear-eyed, clear- 
headed, and clear-hearted. 

Cola acquiesced cheerfully, for his friend 
had still the same unfailing influence over 
him. When tea was over, M^'Kaye took 
him up to his own bed-chamber, where they 
could converse unreservedly and in quiet. 
There, by the light of a beautiful full moon, 
for candles were never plentiful at Mrs. 
Jones's, the two youths talked together ovej 
all their plans, hopes, and fears. 

Archibald listened to the relation of the 
day's adventure, and his cautious dispo- 
sition tempered Cola's rather too sanguine 
anticipations. 

142 



THE FIRST STICK IN THE NEST. 

"Mr. Crome seems good and kind, and 
you ought to be very mucli obliged to him. 
I dare say he will help you a great deal : 
still, Cola, you must trust chiefly to your- 
self. I don't know much about Art, but 
it strikes me that you will have years of 
hard work and close study before attaining 
eminence." 

" I know I shall," answered Cola ; " ne- 
vertheless I . am not afraid. I '11 begin 
courageously." 

Here Archy put in the all-important 
question, " How ! " 

" I do n't exactly see, but Mr. Crome will 
show me the way ; perhaps find me a sitter 
for a portrait — anything to make a begin- 
ning. He told me to go to him again 
next week." 

" My dear Col?i, suppose you begin your 
plans a little sooner than next week. 
"Where are you going to-night ? " persisted 
his matter-of-fact adviser. 

Cola did not know. He had never 
thought about that. Poor boy! He had 

143 



THE FIRST STICK IN THE NEST. 

leen all day in a bright liapi)y dream ; it 
seemed almost cruel of Archy to wake liim. 
" You must live somewhere," said 
M'^Kaye ; " suppose you were to come and 
live here. Mother Jones is not so bad as 
she looks ; she does not cheat, though she 
is rather stingy. And it would be pleasant 
for us to be together; wouldn't it, old 
friend ? " 

But there were two great impediments 
to this — the weekly sum that Archibald 
paid, looked serious to one whose whole 
stock in life consisted of twenty pounds. 
And then, what was to be done with Seppi ? 

" It won't do, Archy ; they would not 
take the poor lad in here, and I cannot part 
with him. Nothing shall make me do it," 
cried Cola, resolutely, as if expecting some 
opposition. 

But iPKaye was too right-minded to 
attempt anything of the kind. He saw 
clearly that Cola's reason was a just and 
true one. " No, no ; you must not give up 
that noble-hearted faithful little fellow, and 

144 



THE FIRST STICK IN THE NEST. 

SO you and Seppi must set up together on 
your own account. Let me think how to 
manage it." 

Archy did think ; and his thoughts were 
as sensible as ever, and as regularly resolved 
themselves into deeds. The consequence 
was, that before ten o'clock that night, the 
two young adventurers were installed in a 
comfortable room over the way — half 
parlour, half bed-chamber. 

'' It is best to begin with little," observed 
the prudent Archy, as he looked round. 
" You have all here you want, including a 
window to the north, which you always 
told me w^as indispensable for an artist : I 
thought of that, you see." 

"You think of everything, good, kind 
Archy ! What a comfort you are to me ! " 

"Am I? Well, I can return the com- 
pliment. Cola. The sight of that brown 
face of yours has really done me good. One 
gets so weary, and dull, and cross, in this 
hard-working London life, far away from 
home ! I'm glad you are come, little King 

145 H 



THE FIRST STICK IN THE NEST. 

Cole, as that queer fellow Forster used to 
call you. Do you remember the day you 
took his likeness and mine? " 

" Yes, indeed," and Cola laughed merrily. 

" They Ve got that sketch of me at 
Aberdeen now, and think so much of it! 
Won't it be a valuable production some of 
these days, when people talk of the cele- 
brated artist, Niccolo Monti ? " 

"And of Sir Archibald JPKaye, the 
greatest merchant in England." 

" In Scotland, you mean : I 'm not going 
to stay here longer than I can help. We 
Scotsmen never do. We make our money 
anywhere we can — and then we go and 
spend it at home. Well, good night, Cola." 

"And good night, Archy." The two 
friends shook hands laughingly; but the 
eyes of both were moist, and there was a 
trembling seriousness in both hearts. They 
felt that they were no longer boys, but had 
entered together the responsible duties of 
manhood. 



146 



CHAPTER XIYe 



THE STORY OF SIX MONTHS. 

— Which, my dear reader, seems a little 
time to look back upon, especially counting 
it, as you probably do, from holidays to 
holidays, — from Midsummer to Christmas. 
But it seemed very different to the solitary 
youth, struggling for daily bread amidst the 
whirl of London ; always finding that same 
daily bread very hard to get^ and sometimes 
not getting it at all. If you could have 
seen Cola three months after the evening 
described in our last chapter, you would 
hardly have recognized the boy. He seemed 
to have grown ten years older. Poor fellow ! 
if any one now speaks to him of that sad 

147 



THE STORY OF SIX MONTHS. 

time, lie shakes his head with a serious 
look, and ejaculates, 

"Thank God, it is all over!" 

But we must not pass by this period 
quite so quickly, though we shall not dilate 
upon it — it is too full of pain. Still, one 
may draw from Cola's experience the moral 
which he himself also drew ; viz. that there 
is no fortune so hard but that it can be 
overcome in time, and with patience and 
perseverance. 

Let it not be thought that Mr. Crome 
failed in his kindliness. He did all he 
promised; gave Cola introductions, — now 
and then a little employment, and advice 
continually. But he was a man of the 
world; a court-painter. His time and 
thoughts were too fully occupied to allow 
of more than those passing kindnesses, 
which great people can so easily show to 
little ones. Perhaps, too, he had known 
no struggles in his own youth, or if he had 
they Avere forgotten. Whenever Cola came 
to Berners-street, Mr. Crome was always 

148 



THE STORY OF SIX MONTHS, 

glad to see him : many times he even 
thought of him spontaneously, and invited 
him to his house, to meet other guests 
likely to be of use to a struggling artist. 
And when he saw the graceful, gentle- 
manlike youth moving in his well-thronged 
drawing room, making acquaintances among 
the rich and celebrated — that is, evening 
party acquaintances — Mr. Crome never 
thought of the poor, one-roomed lodging 
at Islington, the long dinnerless days, 
occupied in study which brought little 
pleasure, because no money, or spent in 
vain search after work that would procure 
the bare necessaries of life. 

Cola Monti thus learned the indispensable 
lesson — that every young man who wishes 
to make his way in the world must trust 
to himself alone. Friends he may have ; 
the more the better, and they may help him 
a great deal, provided he will help himself 
at the same time. Cola depended too much 
on the influence and aid of Mr. Crome, and 
other celebrated artists, to whom the former 

149 n3 



THE STORY OF SIX MONTHS. 

liad introduced him. These gentlemen 
praised his numerous designs, which were 
indeed remarkable for fertility and poetic 
fancy. They spoke well also of his sketches 
for oil-paintings. One or two of the most 
candid gently hinted that he wanted free- 
dom of hand, and correctness in drawing, 
and advised long study from the antique 
before he attempted to paint pictures. But 
still these were all " words, words, words ; '' 
the young artist found no work, and con- 
sequently earned no money. And every 
day the twenty pounds was dwindling into 
shillings, and still there were two growing 
youths to be clothed, lodged, and fed ; him- 
self and his faithful Seppi. 

What Cola would have done without the 
latter during this period, it is impossible to 
say. The little Italian was as good a house- 
keeper as a girl : it was he who looked after 
all the minor details, which his master 
would have entirely disregarded. Many a 
time, in his dejection, Cola never noticed 
the empty cupboard, and regarded as little 

150 



THE STORY OF SIX MONTHS, 

the sudden manner in which it was filled. 
Perhaps the mystery would have been ex- 
plained, if in his evening strolls by lamp- 
light, the usual resource of all poor weary- 
hearted London dwellers, he had chanced to 
meet a little Italian boy, who went singing 
-from street to street, through frost, and fog, 
and rain, gaining many stray| pence, and 
-even silver, through his sweet voice and 
simple manners. 

But Seppi never told his young master of 
these night adventures, for he knew it 
would have wounded deeply Cola's proud 
and generous spirit, to think that even yet 
he was under obligation to the little organ- 
boy whom he had rescued from misery. 
How much fruit had that one kind deed 
brought forth ! What a mere trifle seemed 
to have influenced the young artist's destiny ! 
But so it often is, when we look back upon 
the mysteries of life. Only one thing we 
know, that " as we sow so shall we reap" 
in the end, whether the seed be good or 
evil. _ 

151 



THE STORY OF SIX MONTHS. 

And what had become of Archy IPKaye 
all this while ? He knew not the extent of 
Cola's troubles, for the Italian was too 
proud to unfold them to a friend, who was 
himself struggling so hord. Perhaps he 
thought, likewise, that Archibald's character 
was too different from his own to enable 
him fully to sympathize with the keen 
suflferings of a sensitive and disappointed 
heart. But in this he somewhat misjudged 
Archibald M^Kaye. 

The friends did not see much of each 
other, for Archy was at business all day, 
and every day too ; there being no holidays 
known at Bread-street, except Christmas- 
day and Good-Friday. And week after 
week found Cola plying his crayons at the 
British Museum ; drawing every day, from 
an early hour until the light faded. In the 
evenings he tried to make little sketches 
to sell at small print-shops ; but they were 
rarely taken; and when he had a whole 
heap of them on his hands, undisposed of, 
it made him too dispirited to go on working. 

152 



THE STORY OF SIX MONTHS. 

Still te mechanically continued drawing at 
the Museum ; now and then painting some 
small portrait; but he began to smile 
bitterly at all his day-dreams of being a 
great artist. He found it much easier to 
starve. And this was the history of Cola's 
first six months in London. 



153 



CHAPTER XT. 



HOW A BRIGHT MORNING WALK PRODUCED A 
BRIGHT THOUGHT. 

"What, Cola, in bed still, this sunny 
Christmas morning ! " said Archibald, as he 
entered his friend's lodging. 

/' I do n't see why I should get up," was ' 
the answer. "The Museum is shut, so I 
can't go there as usual. I like staying in 
bed, it is so still and quiet, one can doze and 
forget the world and its cares." 

The disconsolate, weary tone revealed to 
Archy much that he had before only sus- 
pected. Besides, the dreary aspect of the 
fireless room, and the melancholy look of 
the pale sallow face that lay on the pillow, 
confirmed the tale. 

" Seppi, why do n't you make haste and 

164 



A BRIGHT MORNING WALK. 

light the fire?" said Cola, rather sharply. 
Then, recollecting himself: "Oh, I forgot; 
the lad is gone out for breakfast, if he can 
get it. You'll excuse this, M'^Kaye ; all the 
world knows a poor artist is no Croesus," he 
added with a bitter lauoh. 

Archy would not notice it. " Come, Cola,'^ 
he said cheerfully, " try and get up without 
a fire : you know the old rhyme — 

* Early to bed and early to rise, 

Is the way to grow healthy, wealthy, and wise.' " 

" I shall nev^er attain to the two latter ; 
so I care little about the first. The longer 
one lives, the more trouble one has ; and 
perhaps it is best to cut the matter short at 
once," replied the poor youth, whose state 
of mind was really pitiable. IPKaye pene- 
trated it at once, and like a true friend 
went silently to work, in order to remedy 
it. This time he abstained from reading 
Cola a lecture ; he knew it would not do. 
The boy needed to be roused and cheered, 
not argued wath ; and the only way was to 
draw him out of himself and his miseries. 

155 



A BRIGHT MORNING WALK. 

^'Cola, my dear fellow, this will never 
do ; I can't be left to spend a dull Christ- 
mas-day all by myself, at Mother Jones's. 
Here is as bright a winter-day as ever 
shone out of the sky, and I want to enjoy 
it with you. Let us both take a run out 
into the country, up to Highgate or Hamp- 
stead. ni give you a Christmas dinner, in 
some nice quiet roadside inn, and we'll 
wallc home by star-light. There's a first- 
rate plan, eh ! my boy ? " 

" You are very good, but I should only 
bore you. Let me stay here, Archy, and 
rest." 

" Well I call that rather too bad, after I 
have planned the excursion all this week! 
Why, it would have been delicious, just like 
our holidays together at the old doctor's! 
However, if you will spoil my pleasure, 
you must. Only, I'll not be driven out 
alone. I'll not stir an inch all day," said 
Archy, settling himself very composedly 
on one chair, with his feet on the other. 
"Now, you ill-natured fellow, go to sleep 

166 



A BRIGHT MORNING WALK. 

again, if you like ; TU call you at dinner- 
time." 

Cola, miserable as lie was, could not help 
laughing. "Don't abuse me so, Archy; 
but indeed I am very dull and unhappy." 
The laugh ended in a heavy sigh, and he 
put both his hands over his face, 

M^'Kaye rose up and took them away 
gently. " Why did you not tell your friend 
Archy this, long before now ? Is n't he as 
good as an elder brother to you, scoldings 
included ? Come, now, be a good fellow and 
get up ; and we'll talk over the misery ; it 
will not look so black out in the open 
country as here. And we'll find some way 
to get out of it, may be," said Archibald 
affectionately. 

Cola obeyed him like a child. They 
stayed until Seppi came in and prepared 
breakfast, of which APKaye pretended to 
partake heartily, though he was not in the 
least hungry. And indeed the frugal, 
almost nauseous meal, was enough to drive 
hunger away, In another hour he and 

157 o 



A BRIGHT MORNING WALK. 

Cola were strolling arm-in-arm up tlie 
Highgate-road. 

There is hardly a more beautiful walk 
anywere near London than this same road. 
It looked so cheerful in the clear frosty 
morning, with its hawthorn and rose-hedges 
all besprinkled with crimson-berries, the 
ground crisp and pleasant underfoot, and 
overhead the bluest of winter skies. And 
then, at every turn of the winding and hilly 
road, came small beautiful " bits," as Cola, 
in artist-phrase entitled them ; — tiny frag- 
ments, of landscape, not grand indeed, but 
very charming and refreshing, especially to 
one who for months had looked on nothing 
but bricks and mortar. 

Cola s spirit rose. He leaned against the 
stile that leads from the hill nearest to 
Highgate, down a green meadow slope, to 
the Cemetery. He breathed the fresh 
morning air, and drank in with a painter's 
eye and soul the view before him. The full, 
bounding heart of youth beat once more in 
his bosom, and his eyes almost overflowed. 

158 



A BRIGHT MOBJ^ING WALK. 

Arcliy stood still beside liim, watching in 
glad silence the change that had come over 
the careworn face. 

" How pleasant this is ! " cried Monti at 
last. " I begin to think the world is not so 
wretched after all ; I have a great mind to 
give it another trial. Don't smile, Archy," 
continued he ; " but if you knew what 
miserable wicked thoughts I have had of 
late"— 

"Why so?" 

"Because I am disappointed in all I 
attempt. It is very hard to wait day after 
day, and have no chance of anything but 
starvation ; and sometimes Seppi and I have 
not been so far off that already." 

"My poor Cola, and I never knew it !" 

" Of course not, and you would not have 
known it now, only I am so down-hearted 
and foolish, and you are so kind . " 

" This will never do, my dear lad ; I 
can't stand by and see you breaking your 
heart and pining away in this quiet composed 
fashion, until you give me the satisfaction 

159 



A BRIGHT MORNING WALK. 

of finding you a comfortable home out 
there," answered M'^Kaye, pointing to the 
Highgate cemetery before them, and making 
a desperate attempt at comicality, which he 
generally did when much affected. "Just 
throw some light on the subject, will you? 
let me into your matters a little. We can 
hold a cabinet-council very conveniently on 
this stile. Begin, my boy ! " 

And partly with seriousness, partly by a 
little harmless jesting, Archibald succeeded 
in arriving at the true state of affairs. He 
walked on thoughtfully for a little, and 
then said, — 

"Cola, it strikes me you are on the 
wrong tack. Instead of waiting until people 
find you employment, (I beg your pardon 
for applying the term to such a grand thing 
as Art,) you ought to look for it yourself. 
Don't trust any longer to these great folk; 
stand up boldly on your own account. You 
are a very clever fellow, and I '11 never 
believe but that such talent as yours will 
make its way." 

ICO 



A BRIGHT MORNING WALK. 

" Much obliged to you, Arcliy, for your 
good opinion ; but how am I to convert 
talent into money ? I am not yet skilful in 
painting ; nobody would buy my daubs, 
and it torments me even to have to disgrace 
myself by selling such rubbish, when, with 
a little experience, I might do something 
creditable. What am I to turn to, in order 
to find bread, while I work out the powers 
which 1 feel I have within me ?" 

"That is just what I have been con- 
sidering. Now, here is my plan. You know 
all the world is mad for illustrated books, 
and I am sure I have seen designs of yours 
enough to paper a room. (Don't look so 
vexed, dear Cola, you know my ways.) 
With your fertile in^pgination and ready 
hand, why not turn wood-draughtsman ? " 

" Wood-draughtsman ! " echoed the young 
artist, rather surprised, and perhaps a little 
humiliated. 

" Yes ; it is an excellent profession, and 
will serve until better times come. Besides, 
you might keep on with the painting still." 

161 o3 



A BRIGHT MORNING WALK. 

"But I know no Art-puWisliers ; and 
have no introductions." 

" Who cares for introductions ? My dear 
fellow, stand on your own feet; trust to 
your own talents. Never fear but they will 
find their proper level. Go from one 
publisher to another, as a youth like you 
may do without lowering the dignity of Art. 
Take your portfolio under your arm, and 
your own genius will be your best intro- 
duction. For you have genius. Cola, and I 
know and feel it, though I do laugh at you 
sometimes. You'll get work, never fear. 
Take my word for it, that a clever fellow 
like you need never starve, if to his talent 
he only adds a little common sense, so as 
to show him how to use it. People will 
find out his value, and treat him kindly 
too; for the world, like a certain other 
individual of whom I do n't think it proper 
to speak, is by no means as black as it 's 
painted." 

Cola laughed merrily, " You are a wise 
fellow, Archy, though your wisdom comes 

162 



A BRIGHT MORNING WALK. 

out chiefly in a joke. I '11 think over what 
you say." 

" And act upon it, Cola ? " 

"I will; there's my hand as a pledge. 
I feel brave already — could face all the 
Art-publishers in London. Let me see; 
to-morrow is Saturday ; and these English 
people eat and drink so much on Christmas- 
day, that they are never thoroughly awake 
the day after. But on Monday I will set 
about your scheme. Dear Archy, how much 
lighter you have made my heart ! " 

They took the homeward walk by star- 
light, as APKaye had planned, and the quiet 
beautiful night drew their hearts nearer 
together. Their talk comprehended the 
deepest feelings of both ; Cola s hopes of the 
future, with all his artist-dreams ; — and the 
far-off cottage near Aberdeen, whither all 
the strong home-affections of the young 
Scotsman ever turned. 

" You shall go there some time. Cola," 
said Archy. "I long to show you my father 
and mother, and the five boys — and my little 

63 



A BRIGHT MORNING WALK. 

sister Jessie. She's grown a woman now 
tliougL. You shall take all their likenesses 
in a fiimily group. But by then you will 
have got far above portrait-painting, and be 
Avorking at grand historical pictures, with 
figures ten feet high — cl la Michel Angelo." 
Cola s cheerful laugh again rang through 
the clear frosty air. He had recovered that 
lost talisman, without which youth — es- 
pecially youth allied with genius — cannot 
long exist. He could once more walk 
through the world erect, for he had hope in 
his bosom. 



CHAPTER X, 



THE ARTIST AND THE PUBUSHER. 

In spite of all his brave resolutions, Cola 
felt somewhat out of his element, and 
decidedly uncomfortable, when he found 
himself trudorino: alone: on the wettest of 
Tvet December mornings, prepared for the 
first time to make of his beloved and re- 
vered Art a marketable commodity. This 
circumstance was not quite pleasant to him; 
it seemed to the enthusiastic young artist 
rather degrading to have to go and ask 
for work, like a bricklayer's labourer. For 
though conscious of his own personal hu- 
mility. Cola had a strong sense of the 
dignity of his Art ; and in those days our 
great painters had not yet lent their hands — 

1G5 



THE ARTIST AND THE PUBLISHER. 

and worthily too — to elevate public taste, 
proving by their own example that real 
genius ennobles whatever it touches. 

" I wonder what Mr. Crome, Mr. , 

or Mr. would say, if they saw me 

now, and knew the business I was about ! " 
thought Cola, feeling half ashamed. "And 
yet one must have bread, and it is really 
no disgrace for an artist to be a wood- 
draughtsman." 

Nevertheless, when the youth found him- 
self within the precincts of one of those 
great publishing houses, which were then 
beginning to set the fashion of illustrated 
works, he was oppressed by that curious 
mixture of pride and timidity which marked 
his character. During the half-hour that 
he had to wait the important interview, his 
courage was gradually oozing out at his 
finger ends. He clutched his portfolio with 
a nervous grasp ; his shyness, as is not un- 
frequently the case with persons of similar 
temperament, taking the form and outward 
manifestations of extreme vanity, he fancied 

166 



THE ARTIST AND THE PUBLISHER. 

that all the eyes of all the publisher's clerks 
were directed upon him, in curious and con- 
temptuous inquiry. And then his pride 
sinking through various gradations to the 
most perfect self-distrust, he began to think 
himself quite incompetent for even the 
branch of Art he had a few hours before 
felt disposed to contemn, and but for the 
shame of flying from those six pair of 
optics, he would certainly have made a 
precipitate retreat. 

" Mr. will see you now," was the 

dread summons, and Cola stood in the 
presence-chamber, his portfolio under his 
arm. The youth of genius was now brought 
for the first time into an atmosphere of 
business. It positively froze him; he 
quailed beneath the questionings of the 
piercing little eyes, which silently awaited 
his explanation. It came with a trembling 
hesitation and a total and pitiable want 
of self-confidence, that apparently did not 
argue much in the young artist's favour 
with the lofty personage he addressed. 

167 



THE ARTIST AND THE PUBLISHER. 

" Have you drawn miicli on wood ? and 
what houses have employed you?'' were the 
first questions most natural, and most cour- 
teously asked, but which struck poor Cola 
with dismay. His negative replies brought 
back merely an impressive " hem ! " but 
no other observation of any kind. 

Monti opened his portfolio; and the 
publisher turned over, with a hand of 
jnost business-like carelessness, the fruits of 
many a long evening of artist dreaming. 
♦"Patient Griseldis," "Undine," "Hyperion," 
were scanned with glances whose calm indif- 
ference was almost more disagreeable than 
the critical eye of a connoisseur. Not a 
word either of praise or blame escaped 
this polite individual; he shut the book 
and returned it. 

" I am sorry, sir, but our arrangements 
for the season, w^ith regard to illustration, 
are already completed ; good morning ! " 

It was well for Cola that his energy and 
determination, though not easily roused, 
when once fairly wound up, sustained him 

168 



THE ARTIST AND THE PUBLISHER. 

for a long time. Still, he was in a frame 
of mind very much akin to desperation, 
when, after two or three disappointments, 
he entered the door of the last Art-publisher 
on the list which the far-seeing Archibald 
had enumerated. 

" Well, young man, what do you want?" 
was the straightforward question of this 
personage, an ugly, blunt-spoken man. But 
there was a touch of good-nature in his 
roughness that made it infinitely more 
promising than the terrible politeness of 
the first one. 

Cola w^ent through the form of expla- 
nation, now become stereotyped in his 
memory with painful vividness. 

" Humph ! a young artist ; can 't find 
bread by oil-painting, so condescends to 
wood — isn t that it ? " 

Cola did not approve of this form of 
phrase, and, colouring deeply, said so. 

"Well, never mind mere words. Don't 
iose your temper. Show me your drawings." 

He examined the treasure-laden portfolio 

169 p 



THE ARTIST AND THE PUBLISHER. 

for a long time, and, as Cola fancied, with 
the air of a man who knew something about 
it. The youth felt his heart warm to the 
ugly face — over which an unmistakeahle 
expression of interest, if not satisfaction — 
seemed gradually to creep. But the charm 
was well-nigh dispelled, when the publisher 
turned suddenly round, saying, — 

" Young man, I dare say you think your- 
self a genius ! " 

Cola, much confused, drew back. 

" Well, well, never mind, for I happen to 
think so too. Give me your hand." 

The young artist responded to the grasp, 
his cheek varying from red to pale and 
his lip almost quivering at this unexpected 
kindness. 

" I like this, and this ; only there's a leg 
out of drawing, and here's a rather awkward 
pose. You see I know something about 
the matter, though I am no painter myself," 
said this w^orthy individual, who came to 
prove to the almost despairing Cola, that 
even the world of publishers owned a few 

170 



THE ARTIST AND THE PUBLISHER. 

men with shrewd common sense and kindly 
hearts. " How long have you practised 
wood-drawing?" 

" I have never yet tried it, sir." 

A grimace passed over the ugly face, not 
improving its beauty. "I see you don't 
know much of the world, young man. In 
our business, and I suppose in nearly every 
other, the usual way of trying to get on, 
is by never acknowledging that you are 
ignorant of anything. Excuse me, but, 
though I like you all the better for your 
candour, it is rather comical that you should 
come and ask me for employment here, when 
you have never touched a block in your life. 
Do you know what wood-drawing is ? '' 

" I suppose, like any other kind of 
drawing." 

"Not at all; it is a craft of itself, re- 
quiring regular learning and plenty of prac- 
tice, before you can get the knack of it. 
Look here," — and he touched one of Cola's 
designs, — " you have a free hand; you sketch 
boldly ; but such a bit as this fine cross hatch- 
ing would drive an engraver crazy .'^ 

171 



THE ARTIST AND THE PUBLISHER. 

And tlien, with a patience and clearness 
that did equal credit to his good nature and 
his acquaintance with the subject, he ex- 
plained to Monti the peculiarities of wood- 
drawing; the necessity for firm, sharp 
outline, simple forms, and careful, not too 
elaborate work, with other technicalities 
which are indispensable in making pencil 
and graver unite together to produce a per- 
fect whole. 

" That's the reason the drawings of some 
of our cleverest artists look atrocious when 
engraved," said he, "because these big 
fellows will not have the patience to acquire 
w^hat they consider a lower style. They stand 
up for their crotchets, and the engravers for 
theirs, till it comes to a regular battle. I 
wonder how the world would get on, if people 
did not try to accommodate one another now 
and then ! There 's a maxim for you, young 
gentleman, if you are not above following 
it; and so you have a lesson in wood- 
drawing and ethics at once." 

" Thank you very much for both, sir," 
answered Cola ; but his tone, though grateful, 

172 



THE ARTIST AND THE PUBLISHER. 

was desponding ; and he began to refasten 
his eternal portfolio with a heavy sigh. 

The good-natured publisher noticed it. 
" What ! faint hearted at your age ? really, 
my young friend, why do you pull such a 
long face on the matter? I hope I have 
said nothing to discourage you." 

" You have said everything kind, I am 
sure ; but there seems little chance for me, 
as of course I cannot ask you to employ 
me, when I am quite incompetent to the 
work." 

" But that is no reason why you should 
remain incompetent, and I am not aware that 
I have dismissed you yet ; so put down your 
hat, and re-seat yourself." Cola obeyed. 

"In plain English,'' pursued he of the 
nice, good, ugly face, leaning that ill- 
favoured visage on his hands, and bringing 
it to a level with Cola's beautiful and now 
pale countenance. "In plain English, I 
have such droves of small artists tormenting 
me — young, self-conceited cubs, would-be 
geniuses — that a quiet simple-mannered 

173 p 3 



THE ARTIST AND THE PUBLISHER. 

jouth, who seems to have the real thing in 
him, and no sham, is quite a relief. I like 
jon. I would help you if I could; only 
you must first learn how to help yourself. 
Will you take some blocks, and practice, 
until you can draw on wood well enough to 
suit me? It will take time and patience, 
but it would be worth your while, for the 
profession is profitable, and growing more 
so every day." 

Cola joyfully assented, his grateful heart 
beaming in his eyes. 

"And now, just as a matter of form, or 
Tather because I should like to know a little 
more about you, tell me your name, and 
whether you are a stranger here, or have 
acquaintances among London artists ? 

The youth mentioned Mr. Crome, and 
one or two others of his friends— men of 
sufficient celebrity to astonish the publisher. 

'' Why did you not mention this before ? 
it might have been of use to you. Any 
other young man would have had these 
great names perpetually on his tongue, and 

174 



THE ARTIST AND THE PUBHSHEB. 

have introduced himself everywhere by 
means of them." 

The young Italian drew up his slight 
figure with a just pride in himself and in 
his Art. "If I am worth nothing in myself, 
I doubt if I should be made of more value 
by hanging on the skirts of other people." 

" Bravo, Mr. Monti ! You are quite right 
in the main," was the involuntary excla- 
mation of the worthy publisher, as he rose 
to end the interview. "And that sort of 
feeling is the right feeling ; which I wish 
your fellow-artists were sharp enough to 
see. Talent always finds its level, when it 
is balanced by hard work and common 
sense besides. Only you must not get too 
high and haughty, until you are strong 
enough to stand alone. i\nd now, take 
your blocks, go and try your best, and suc- 
cess to you ! Good morning." 

"Well," thought Cola, as with a light- 
ened heart he turned homeward, " if this is 
what Archy calls ' working one's way,' and 
* standing on one's own feet,' I think I have 

176 



THE ARTIST AND THE PUBLISHER. 

made a good beginning. It seems to me 
that getting on in the world is like tramping 
through a bed of nettles ; put your feet out 
boldly, and you'll not get much stung." 

This fine poetical and moral sentiment 
brought Cola's walk, — as it does our 
chapter, — to a very appropriate termina- 
tion. 



CHAPTER XVII. 



HIGH ART STUDIES. 

It required every grain of patience Cola 
could muster — and unfortunately, like many 
another genius, he possessed this necessary 
commodity in homoeopathic quantities — 
before he could succeed in becoming a 
tolerable good wood-draughtsman. He had 
wonderful fertility in design, and an imagi- 
nation that almost carried him away ; but 
these required to be tamed down before they 
could be of much use to him in the new 
handicraft, to which he had devoted his 
pencil for a season. 

Besides, the whole tendency of his mind 
was for what Archibald gaily entitled, '^ the 
grand style and Michel Angelo." He could 

177 



Hian ART STUDIES. 

not bear to descend from the sublime of 
a gigantic drawing — the Theseus or the 
Gladiator, for instance — to the ridiculous of 
some small tail-piece in a child's book. He 
liked to dash away with charcoal or crayon, 
"not sketching, but building a man," as 
the Academy pupils said of Fuseli ; and the 
pencil refinements of wood-drawing were to 
Cola at first not only disagreeable but 
almost impracticable. It would perhaps 
reflect but little credit on the young artist's 
evenness of temper, were I to relate how 
many spoiled blocks he sometimes sent 
whirling across the room, vowing that he 
would starve sooner than torment himself 
with such contemptible work. 

But if he caught sight of Seppi's thin 
face, as the lad quietly picked up these 
missiles, Cola was always mollified and 
calmed at once. Sometimes in his fits of 
anger or despondency, he began to talk and 
think, as most other young and sensitive 
minds do, that life is a weary burden, and 
he did not care how soon he died. But 

178 



HIGH ART STUDIES. 

then the gentle loving face of his little 
countryman was a silent monitor, pro- 
claiming the truth, — which these despairing 
misery-mongers sometimes forget, — that no 
one can go out of the world without leaving 
some one to mourn ; and if we would fain 
die to please ourselves, we have no right, 
by such a summary exit, to inflict pain on 
other people. 

This doctrine was preached over and over 
again by Archy M'^Kaye, in his own dry, 
half-serious, half-comical manner, which 
often touched Cola sensibly, when a grave 
discourse would have been utterly thrown 
away. And since that Christmas-day ramble 
the sympathy between the two friends seemed 
to have increased more and more, not only 
in kind feeling, — for there it never failed, — 
but even in taste. Cola's little room,- which 
now began to look a great deal more cheer- 
ful under the influence of his improved 
fortunes, was perpetually visited by Archi- 
bald ; and the young artist had no longer 
any reluctance in showing all he did, and in 

179 



HIGH ART STUDIES. 

talking over all he thought. Indeed, as he 
often said jestingly, he was educating Archi- 
bald into a future picture-buyer and con- 
noisseur. 

As for the young painter himself, he 
pursued his noble and beautiful Art with an 
energy and enthusiasm worthy of it and of 
himself. He suffered nothing to allure him 
from it — no idleness, no youthful pleasures ; 
and in his Art-studies he was daunted by 
no dfficulties. Archibald often laughed 
w^hen he found the poetical and imaginative 
Cola plunged in the mysteries of some dry 
work on painting, or making careful anato- 
mical drawings, as if the human skeleton 
were as interesting a subject for the pencil 
as the Apollo Belvidere. It was indeed a 
beautiful and touching thing to see how 
every energy of his young and ardent mind 
was directed to the one pursuit, which 
engrossed all its powers. But such is 
always the case with true geuius — for genius 
is work. 

It was curious sometimes to notice the 

180 



HIGH ART STUDIES, 

amusing expedients to which Monti was 
obliged to resort, in the furtherance of his 
artistic studies. M^'Kaye walked in one 
evening, and found him working away at 
the home-manufactured easel; the work- 
manship of the same friendly hand whose 
mechanical ingenuity had fabricated many a 
picture-frame in the old school-days. Seppi, 
wrapped in a comical sort of blanket-drapery, 
reclined in a grand attitude on the table, 
holding the candle above his head, and thus 
serving at once as a model and chandelier. 
Archibald could not help smiling at the 
artist and his sitter ; but the former was so 
absorbed that he merely nodded his head, 
with a " Well, Archy ! '* Seppi looked as 
solemn as a judge, lest he should, by any 
change of limb or feature, annoy his dear 
Signor, whom he verily believed to be the 
greatest painter that ever lived. 

Archibald looked over his friend's 
shoulder, at the studies which Cola was 
making for a picture which he had con- 
tinually in his mind. Seppi figured there 

181 Q 



HIGH ART STUDIES. 

under all characters, and in every variety of 
drapery. He was a useful individual, and 
truly his place was no sinecure. 

" I 'm getting on, you see," said Monti. 
" I shall begin the picture soon, — when the 
days are longer, and the Academy is closed. 
It would not do to give up studying there, 

you know. That good old soul, E , was 

quite right when he advised me to draw 
well before I tried to paint. Stand out of 
the light, please, Archy ! for I must finish 
this. I might never get such a grand bit of 
drapery again. Keep still, Seppi ! " 

And on dashed the charcoal, while 
M'^Kaye sat watching the wonderfully free 
hand of the young artist. 
•. '* How goes on the wood-drawing, Cola ! " 
inquired he, after a little. 

" Oh, do n't talk about it, there's a good 
fellow !" answered the other, with an uneasy 
shrug. "I've been working away every 
night this week : I will have a little rest, 
now, I hope.'* 

But that very minute came a knock at 

182 



HIGH ART STUDIES. 

the door, and a parcel from Mr. ; the 

same good, ugiy-looking publisher, who now 
gave Cola regular employment. It con- 
tained half-a-dozen small blocks, which 
were immediately wanted for an illustrated 
edition of Goody Two-Shoes. 

Michel Angelo himself could not have 
cast them down with an air of more sublime 
indignation than did Cola Monti ! 

" Now that is too bad ! is it not, Archy ? 
When my mind is full of the picture, and I 
want a little leisure to work it out, to have 
^to do these contemptible things ! 1*11 write 

to Mr. , and give them up altogether. 

I wonder what he means by sending me 
such nonsense to illustrate ! This is the 
third baby-book I have had: it is a dis- 
grace to an artist!" 

Archibald had at first felt strongly in- 
clined to laugh; but when he saw how 
seriously annoyed his friend appeared, he 
changed his mind. 

" My dear fellow," said the gTave young 
Scotsman, " I don't consider it any disgrace 

183 



HIGH ART STUDIES. 

at all. The grand thing is not what a man 
does, but how he does it. I would advise 
you to take this commission, and execute it 
to the best of your power." 

"Nonsense! anything is good enough 
for such a mean task." 

" I don^t agree with you there. Never 
sink your genius down to the level of your 
work, but elevate the work by your genius. 
Put as much talent as ever you can into 
these ugly little wood-blocks. Why, Cola," 
and Archy's face relaxed into its pleasant 
irresistible smile, "your very particular 
friend, Michel Angelo, would have made, 
with a burnt stick and the side of a wall, a 
grander work than some modern artists 
could accomplish with yards of canvas and 
oceans of paint. See if you cannot do the 
same in your small way. Try and be the 
Michel Angelo of wood-designers." 

Cola laughed, in spite of himself. 
*' Bravo, Archy! your Aphorisms on Art 
would rival Hazlitt's : where did you learn 
it all — at Bread -street ? " 

184 



HIGH ART STUDIES, 

ftPKaye did not look in the least offended, 
lie knew Cola too well. "I was not born 
at Bread-street, remember ! " said he, quite 
glad to see that his words had calmed the 
storm a little. " That is only the work-a- 
day half of me which is kept among the 
carpets ; the other half, and the best, 
belongs to the Highland hills. I gathered 
up all my wisdom there. And besides," 
added he more seriously, " I think I am all 
the better, dear Cola, for having you near 
me, to keep me from sinking into a regular 
money-getting city fellow, and to put me in 
mind of the higher and more beautiful 
things of life. My dull plodding existence 
would be duller still, if I had not an artist 
for my friend, even though he is a wild 
young genius, like Cola Monti." 
— "Who storms and rages, and will not 
listen to reason on any account whatever, 
for which he is heartily ashamed of himself, 
Archy," cried the other, with a hearty 
hand-clasp that atoned for all. 

" But, who is yet the best fellow in the 

185 q3 



HIGH ART STUDIES. 

world ; which fact is ready to be main- 
tained in single-combat against any indi- 
vidual who denies the fact, by his old friend, 
quiet, steady-going Archibald M'^Eaye. But 
come," added the young Scotsman, "here 
we are keeping poor Seppi in his grand 
attitude, and one can t lie long as a wounded 
warrior without getting the cramp ; besides^ 
a small piece of blanket-drapery is not quite 
so warm as coat and trousers. Make haste, 
Cola ! finish your study, and then see how 
much of your beloved High Art you can 
put into Goody Two-Shoes." 



CHAPTER XVIIL 



SHOWING THAT PROSPERITY HAS ITS DANGERS. 

Cola's fortunes improved slowly, but 
surely. He migrated from the shabby 
lodging at Islington two miles further north, 
whereiis favourite Hampstead breezes could 
blow in at the rose-scented window of his 
little painting-room; — for he had arrived 
at the dignity of two rooms, with a closet 
for Seppi. This same faithful attendant 
had risen in the world along with his master. 
Seppi's velveteen jacket had given place to 
good plain attire, and his clear boy's voice 
was no longer heard singing in the dark 
wintry streets. He was acquiring an edu- 
cation too, commenced at the Italian school, 

187 



PROSPERITY HAS ITS DANGERS 

which that good man, Joseph Mazzini, first 
established for his poor wandering country- 
men ; Cola, in his few leisure hours, com- 
pleting the work thus began, and making 
quite a clever well-informed youth of his 
little servant. 

During this long weary probation of deep 
poverty, the young artist had never known 
what it was to have a^ shilling to spend, 
on any intellectual amusement : books, 
picture-galleries, theatres, all those harm- 
less recreations, which to a mind of his 
stamp are almost indispensable, were wholly 
unattainable. Now he began to enjoy a few 
of them, with that intense appreciation and 
•delight, which, in a nature highly sensitive 
and finely moulded, is much keener than in 
ordinary characters. But all his pleasures 
were taken in moderation ; and even sober 
Archy M'^Kaye, who cared little about such 
things himself, merely shook his head once 
or twice at first, and then acknowledged there 
was no harm in a little amusement now 
and then. 

188 



PROSPERITY HAS ITS DANGERS. 

" Only remember, work before play ! " was 
his gentle admonition, repeated perhaps a 
degree oftener, as the spring of Cola s second 
year in London advanced, and the young 
artist was busily engaged on that important 
work — his first Academy Picture. It was 
?ndeed the grand crisis of his life, as he and 
Archibald well knew ; and when the painting 
advanced, its progress formed the chief topic 
of conversation with them both. Archy 
was almost as anxious as his friend, and 
Cola often laughingly told him he was 
getting quite a critic and connoisseur in Art. 
Indeed, the two schoolmates were assimi- 
lating more and more, and as neither made- 
any other warm friendship, theirs grew into 
an almost brotherly affection. 

At last, to alter the even current of their 
lives, came chance, in the shape of a third 
old school-mate. 

Cola and Archy were riding from the city 
together, in that very unromantic con- 
veyance, an omnibus. It was after the 
hour when city-people throng in such num- 

189 



PROSPERITY HAS ITS DANGERS. 

bers from their little dens of offices to the 
welcome air even of Islington and Camden 
Town, consequently our two friends were 
. the only passengers. However, a third 
soon came in ; — a youth who was evidently 
trying his utmost to seem a man, by 
means of the most stylish dress possible, a 
small apology for a moustache, apparently 
zealously cultivated, a cane, and an eye- 
glass. This latter he used to scan his 
fellow-passengers with an air of careless 
indifference, which soon changed to un- 
disguised surprise. 

" Ton my life, that 's odd ! Shake hands, 
old fellow ! for I'll bet anything you are the 
very identical Archy M'^Kaye.'^ 

''And you're Morris Woodhouse! who 
would have thought of meeting you here ? '* 
was the cordial answer, " Why, here are 
three of us, old school-fellows : do n't you 
remember Cola Monti ? " 

"What! is that my old enemy, little 
King Cole ? Give us your paw, my boy ! 
How you are altered I " 

190 



PROSPERITY HAS ITS DANGERS. 

And a hearty greeting passed between 
the youths; for at all times one is glad 
to meet old school-mates, and revive old 
associations. Then they began to talk; 
Morris rattling away, with a curious mixture 
of his former boyish frankness, and his 
newly- acquired college affectations. 

" Came up from Cambridge to see the old 
governor, who took it in his head to be near 
going off, like this," and Woodhouse snapped 
his fingers. " But he changed his mind — 
got better ; so I left him, and ran up here, 
to see a little of town-life before the va- 
cation's out. It do n't signify much to the 
governor; he's quite childish now." 

Archy looked surprised and rather dis- 
gusted ; but the hopeful " only son and heir'* 
went on describing, with great gusto, the 
pleasures of a college-life, as it presents 
itself to young gentlemen of large expecta- 
tions. Still there was a ready wit and 
talent about Morris Woodhouse, that made 
him a most amusing companion: Cola, 
especially, was attracted by his dashing and 

191 



PROSPERITY HAS ITS DANGERS. 

clever chat, for it could hardly be called 
conversation. 

"And now, my lads, how goes the world 
with you ? " said Morris, pausing for the 
first time to think ahout some one beside 
himself. " You have turned merchant, as 
I hear, M'^Kaye ; given up Latin and Greek 
for ledger and counting-house. Pleasant, 
is n't it ? " And the young collegian made 
a half-contemptuous grimace. 

"I don't like it, but it must be done,'* 
answered Archibald, steadily and unmoved. 
" I work very hard at Bread-street, and I'm 
not ashamed of it either." 

" Oh, no ! of course not,'' said Morris, a 
little confounded. " And King Cole, what 
have you turned to ? Made any nice little 
arrangements with the counts, your cousins, 
and the princes, your ancestors, eh ? " 

*'I am an artist," replied Cola, some- 
what proudly, and with a heightened 
colour. 

" Well, I never ! So that was the end of 
your sketching and caricaturing! Who'd 

192 



PROSPERITY HAS ITS DANGERS. 

have thouglit that Dr. Bircli would have 
turned out a genius from among his lads. 
And you have really joined the tribe of 
seedy-looking fellows ; with long hair and 
turned-down collars, as I hear all artists 
described ? " 

"I trust I do not come under the 
category," said Cola ; and though somewhat 
vexed, could not help smiling. 

"No; I do n't see that you do, exactly," 
cried Woodhouse, elevating his eye-glass. 
" Good-looking young man, dark hair, close 
and curly, black neckerchief; but what a 
one it is I Why, Monti, you'd be hunted 
out of college for sporting such a rag! 
De — cidedly ungentlemanly ! " and the 
fashionable youth returned to his affected 
drawl, which, to Cola's quick sense of the 
ludicrous, was really amusing. 

"I hope I shall never make a fool of 
myself by dressing either like a would-be 
artist or a dandy ; being too poor for the 
latter, and having a hearty contempt for 
the former," observed he. " One does not 

193 s 



PROSPERITY HAS ITS DANGERS. 

measure a fellow's genius by the length of 
his hair; and when a man takes extra- 
ordinary care of the outside of his head, it 
is generally a sign that he has little or 
nothing in the inside of it. That is not 
my remark, however; 'tis one of Archy's 
wise saws," continued Monti, with a glance 
at his friend, who was preparing to alight 
at the end of his own street. 

But Woodhouse put in a cordial objection 
to their parting thus, and invited both of 
his old acquaintances to dine with him. 

" We '11 do it in style. I 've capital 
claret at my lodgings, and cigars, real 
Havannas, and Meerschaums too : which do 
you smoke, King Cole ? " said the youth, 
with the careless, independent air of one 
who thought himself quite a man, and a 
man of fashion too. 

"I don't smoke at all; I should not 
like it, I fancy," answered the simple- 
minded Cola. At which Morris cast up 
his eyes, and rubbed his incipient moustache 

194 



PROSPERITY HAS ITS DANGERS. 

with his cane, in a silent expression of 
compassionate wonder. 

" Well, you '11 both come ; we '11 manage 
to make a night of it, somehow or other : 
perhaps drop in at the Opera, which opens 
to-night. I 've got tickets." 

" That will he delicious," cried the en- 
thusiastic Italian, to whom a pleasure so 
rare conveyed delight inexpressible. " You 
will come, Archy ; only this once ! '' 

But Archy had to be at Bread-street by 
nine: his quiet regular habits were not 
easily broken in upon; — also, he was not 
very much fascinated with the society of 
Morris Woodhouse, and never cared to visit 
the Opera. A friendly discussion ended in 
his bidding adieu to both the others, and 
taking his way to the dull abode of Mrs. 
Jones. Only, as he jumped out of the 
omnibus, he managed to whisper to his 
friend — 

"I say. Cola, take care of yourself: 
do n't forget the picture ! " 



195 



r'HAPTER XIX, 



A TIME OP DABKNESS. 



The picture did indeed stand a chance 
of being forgotten, or at least neglected. 
Cola tried to set to work again on the next 
day, but it was in vain ; he was too tired to 
paint. He had come home at three in the 
morning; not indeed after any excesses, 
for Cola's nature was too refined and pure 
to allow him ever to become either a glutton 
or a wine-bibber. But he had supped with 
Morris after the Opera, and then had to 
walk home three miles, through a bleak 
March night. He reached his lodgings, his 
brains still dizzied by the fumes of cigars, 
and his frame thoroughly chilled and ex- 
hausted with bodily fatigue, after mental 

196 



A TIME OF DAKKNESS. 

excitement. He scolded poor Seppi for 
having gone to sleep and let the fire out, 
and then went wearily to bed. He rose, 
not as was his custom, with the lark, that 
sang merrily over the Highgate fields, but 
with the baker's cart, that never came 
untU twelve, a.m. The picture had httle 
attractions this morning. 

He sat before it ; the palette, which 
Seppi regularly set, getting dryer and 
dryer. His head ached, his hand was un- 
steady ; he found fault with what he had 
already done, and yet felt too stupid to 
improve it. At last he began to think it 
was no use working that day, and would 
turn out for "a walk. But before he had 
summoned the resolution necessary to take 
hat and gloves, a visitor came in : it was 
Morris Woodhouse. 

"Eeally, old fellow, how knocked up 
you look ! How d'ye feel, eh ? As if you 
had eaten an apple-dumpling, and it had 
got into your head? '' 

Cola laughed, though he experienced a 

197 R 3 



A TIME OF DARKNESS. 

slight sensation of shame. But this was 
less on account of .his last night's exploit, 
than of its effects. He felt annoyed that 
he could not stand dissipation as well as 
the other could. 

" Come, do 'nt be a girl ; you 'II get used 
to this sort of work in time," said Morris, 
with a patronizing air. "On with your 
hat, and we '11 take a run down the river, 
to Richmond, just to freshen you up." 

The proposal sounded most welcome to 
the poor jaded boy. It was a lovely spring 
morning ; the banks of the river would look 
beautiful. Besides, argued Cola to himself, 
an artist must study nature in the open air 
as well as paint at home ; so it would not be 
throwing away a day. 

But he did contrive to throw away the 
day, nevertheless, and the next day too ; for 
the repetition of late hours entailed the 
sacrifice of that precious morning freshness 
in body and mind, without which intellectual 
labour is but vain, or else pursued with a 
struggle and eflfbrt that risks both health 

198 



A TIIVIE OF DARKNESS. 

and peace. Then Sunday came, with 
Archibald to dinner, as usual ; but that 
true and steady friend looked gravely at the 
small progress made in the picture, and 
Cola resolved that on Monday morning he 
would " turn over a new leaf.'' 

This metaphorical performance is one 
more easily talked of than done, especially 
to a youth of Cola's temperament — ener- 
getic in great things, but feeble and vacil- 
lating in the smaller affairs of life. He 
found the "leaf" to stick very much; and 
at last he determined not to try to turn 
it over at all, until Woodhouse was gone. 
Every day the young collegian talked of 
being off to Cambridge, and it was not 
worth while vexing him by refusing the 
continual amusements which his somewhat 
reckless generosity provided for his school- 
mate. 

Seven days passed — fourteen : — it was 
the last week in March, that week of all 
weeks to the artist brotherhood. Our poor 
Cola sat before his unfinished picture in 

199 



A TIME OF DARKNESS. 

perfect despair. Morris had at last gone, 
and, the whirl of amusement over, the 
young painter had time to think what it 
had cost him. 

A year's prospects, perhaps the good 
fortune of a life -time, thrown away for 
one short season of pleasure! He hated, 
despised himself; he would have wrung his 
hands, and wept like a child, only he was 
not alone ; Archibald stood behind, with an . 
expression of deep regret on his calm, 
serious face. 

" It is no use lamenting. Cola," he said, 
kindly; "you must try again next year. 
The picture could not be finished now, if 
you were to work ever so hard." 

" But it shall be finished ! " cried Cola, 
almost frantically. " I will do it, if I die 
over it ! '* 

M'^Kaye shook his head. " My dear Cola, 
judging by the rate at which you used to 
paint, it would take two or three weeks* 
work, and you have only ten days before the 
day of sending in to the Academy." 

200 



A TIME OF DARKNESS. 

"I can make them twenty, by adding 
the nights. Don 't thwart me, Archibald ; 
don't, if you ever cared for me in your 
life ! " he added, pleading with a touching 
emphasis. " I have been a fool, an idiot ! 
I know I have, but I will make up for it. 
The picture must be finished, or it will drive 
me mad I ** 

And it was finished. Night and day 
Cola worked; allowing himself only an 
hour or two for sleep, and scarcely taking 
any food. His wild and desperate energy 
sustained him to a degree almost miracu- 
lous. Under the influence of this terrible 
excitement, his powers seemed redoubled; 
he painted as he had never painted before. 
Archibald, evening after evening, walked up 
from Islington, not to talk or reason, — he 
dared not do that in Cola's present state, — 
but to sit quietly in the painting-room, 
watching his labours, and at times en- 
couraging them with a few subdued words 
of praise, which Cola sometimes scarcely 

201 



A TIME OF DARKNESS. 

heard. Even M^'Kaye was astounded by 
the almost marvellous way in which, day 
after day, the picture advanced to completion 
beneath the young artist's hand ; and as he 
looked he could not but acknowledge that 
there is nothing in this world so strong, so 
daring, so all-powerful as genius. 

The first Monday in April came — there 
were but four- and- twenty hours left; 
Tuesday — there were but twelve! Seppi 
stood by with the untasted dinner, his 
bright black eyes continually filling with 
tears. He dared not even speak to his 
young master, who with wild and haggard 
looks, was painting still. 

The clock struck six, as Colas now 
trembling hand put the last stroke to his 
picture, and sank on a chair. 

"It will do now, I think; it will not 
disgrace me at least." 

" No, indeed it will not, dear Cola ! It 
is a beautiful picture," whispered the gentle, 
encouraging voice of Archy, who had come 

202 




M'c Kaye was astounded by the almost marvellous mamier in which 
the picture advanced to completion. 

p. 202. 



A TIME OF DARKNESS. 

direct from Bread-street, hither. " And 
now, do have some dinner, or, what will be 
better for you, some tea." 

" No, no, I can't eat ; we shall lose the 
time; the Academy will be shut. Seppi ! I 
must have a cab, and go there at once." 

Archibald saw resistance would have been 
vain and cruel, so he quietly suffered his 
friend to step into the cab, and followed him. 
All the long ride to Trafalgar-square, Cola 
did not utter a single word, but sat mo- 
tionless, with his picture in his arms. 
IPKaye offered to hold it; but the other 
rejected his aid with a slight motion of the 
head. At last Cola relinquished the darling 
first-fruits of his genius, with a look some- 
thing like that of a mother parting from a 
beloved child, and then sank fainting into 
his friend's arms. 

That night Cola Monti was in a brain- 
fever. 



CHAPTER XX. 



JOY AT LAST. 

The poor young artist lay ill for several 
weeks. Indeed, during the whole of April, 
he never awoke to a clear consciousness of 
what was passing around him. His over- 
tasked brain seemed to settle into a dull 
torpor; he made no inquiries about his 
picture, and appeared to have forgotten all 
concerning it. Perhaps, in some respects, 
this state of oblivion was fortunate, as it 
saved him from that racking suspense which 
would at any time have been torture to his 
sensitive mind. 

Cola was well-cared for during his ill- 
ness ; how could it be otherwise, with Seppi 

204 



JOY AT LAST, 

for nurse and servant, and Arcliy for a 
friend ? They both watched over him with 
unceasing affection, the former hardly taking 
rest either night or day. At length the 
poor invalid was able to be carried down 
stairs in IPKaye's strong arms, Seppi 
following after, bearing half-a-dozen un- 
necessary pillows, and almost weeping with 

joy. 

It was a lovely evening, at the close of 
April, and the little room, half-parlour half- 
studio, looked very pleasant, China-roses 
peeping in at the window, and between the 
casts which adorned the mantelpiece, Seppi 
had placed glasses full of spring flowers. 
He had taken care, too, to arrange the 
various legs, and arms, and torsi of plaster, 
in what he considered excellent order, and 
the long-disused easel was placed in one 
corner. 

Cola looked at it, then round the room, 
and again at his beloved easel. He laid his 
head, feeble as a child's, on Archy's shoulder, 
and burst into tears. 

205 8 



JOY AT LAST. 

After this evening, his strength returned 
rapidljo He was very gentle and patient ; 
did not express niuch anxiety about his 
picture; indeed, he seldom spoke of it, 
until the opening of the Exhibition. Then 
he grew less calm, and asked Archibald, 
not restlessly, but with a sort of child-like 
longing, when he would let him try to get 
as far as the Academy. 

" I know you cannot go, Archy, now that 
you stay so late at Bread-street. And, 
indeed, I hardly hope or expect that the 
picture will be in ; it would be more hap- 
piness than I deserve ; I who made myself 
ill so wickedly, and have given you and 
poor Seppi so much care and trouble. But 
still I should like to know." 

" You shall know, dear Cola ; you shall 
go as soon as ever you are well enough. 
Be content till then." And with a gen- 
tleness beautiful to see, Archy soothed his 
friend, who looked up to him in everything 
with patient dependence. 

Two or three days after, M^Kaye entered, 

206 



JOY AT LAST. 

Ms bright countenance looking brighter tlian 
ever. 

" I shall take yon a drive this morning, 
Cola," he said, cheerfully. "Those ex- 
cellent old souls at Bread-street have given 
me a holiday, and we'll spend it in style. 
I have a cab at the door, so make haste and 
get ready. And Seppi need not muffle you 
up quite so much as he does for those lazy 
noon-day daunderings up the road; you 
are getting stronger now, you know.'* 

" How kind of you, Archy ; and to bring 
a carriage too ! " 

" Not quite so grand a one as Sir Archi- 
bald M^'Kaye is to drive you in some of 
these days. But we'll have a foretaste of 
the pleasure now, so jump in.'' 

They drove round the parks, the fresh 
May breeze bringing a faint colour to the 
young artist's cheek. But when they en- 
tered London streets and stopped at the 
Academy, Cola grew pale, and trembled. 
Archy, kind, considerate Archy, strange 

207 



JOY AT LAST. 

to say, did not seem to mind liis agitation 
in the least. 

''Be a brave fellow, Cola, and hope for 
the best ! " he whispered, with a cheerful 
countenance, as he drew the feeble arm 
through his, and led his friend on. 

" Tell me, Archy, do you know " 

murmured poor Cola. 

" I won't tell you anything at all ; you 
shall find it out for yourself," was the 
smiling answer. 

They entered one of the smaller rooms, 
and there, hung in a very good light, — ^his 
precious picture looked down upon the 
bewildered Cola. 

" You cut quite a dash among the minia- 
tures ; and be very thankful that you are 
kept out of the octagon-room — the Black 
Hole that you used to talk so much about. 
Well, are you not ready to get up and dance 
a Highland reel ? — a tarantella, I mean. I 
could, I assure you," cried Archy, trying in 
his usual fashion to hide with a joke the 

208 



JOY AT LAST. 

strong emotion under wliich Cola laboured, 
and from which he himself was not free. 

They found a seat, for the poor fellow 
could neither stand nor speak. Thither, a 
few minutes after, came the gliding step and 
low voice of Mr. Crome, who was full of 
praises and congratulations. 

" I have some news also, perhaps better 
than these empty encomiums," said the rich 
court artist. " Allow me to introduce you 
to a gentleman who will purchase your 
picture, and commission a companion to it. 
And though you are still a youth, let me 
once more have the pleasure of prophesying, 
that I know no artist more likely to rise to 
eminence than my friend Nicolo Monti." 

" What do you say to this, Cola ? " cried 
Archibald, as they were again alone, driving 
homewards. 

Cola folded his hands together. " Thank 
God ! thank God ! " was all he said. 

The words consecrated — and will conse- 
crate — his whole life. 

209 8 8 



CHAPTER XXL 



THE STORY S END, BUT THE REAL LIFE S 
BEGINNING. 

I HAVE few words more to say, for Cola 
Monti is still young, and it takes many 
years of patient and laborious study of Art, 
before the most talented youth can become 
a great painter. But he is steadily fol- 
lowing in the track which so many noble 
men, perhaps the noblest on earth, have 
trod before him. 

He neglects no study that may perfect 
his powers and render him truly great, 
remembering that the culture of genius 
should end but with life. You may still 
see, drawing at the Museum, a slender, 

210 



THE STORY ENDS, 

graceful young man, with a beautiful Italian 
countenance. Look on his drawing-board, 
and you will find his name — a name already 
known in art, though he does not disdain to 
let it rank among the humblest students, — 
"Mcolo Monti." He has wisely dropped 
the long word " Fiorcntiuo,'* as well as the 
aristocratic del, thiuidng it nobler to be a 
great artist than to count his descent from 
Italian princes. But perhaps he may com- 
promise the matter a little when he goes 
to Rome next year, with the ever-faithful 
Seppi. 

If you were to fellow the young artist 
home, you would find him in the same 
pretty cottage, somewhere near Highgate. 
It is all his own now, though ; for he is 
prosperous in his circumstances, and proves, 
rather to Mr. Crome's annoyance, that a 
man may paint great historical pictures, 
and not starve. Almost within sight of the 
artists's pleasant home is that of the young 
merchant, Archibald M^Kaye is rising fast 
in the world, as he was sure to do; and 

211 



THE STORY ENDS. 

amidst all his well-earned prosperity, he 
carries in his bosom the same true Scottish 
heart, beating calmly, silently, — but how 
warmly, those whom he loves and who love 
can tell ! — none better than Cola Monti. 

The two friends did take the projected 
Highland journey, — though not until last 
year, — and the grand family group was then 
really painted. Every one considered it a 
great work; all but the artist, who was 
never satisfied that he had done justice to 
any of the heads, especially to sweet Jessie's. 
It is a valuable and dear-loved picture now, 
for the revered old father has been since 
gathered to his fore-fathers. Archibald is 
going to fetch his mother and sisters to live 
with him at Highgate. But it is just 
possible that this excellent domestic ar- 
rangement may not hold out longer than 
Cola's return from Rome. 

And now let us leave them both — Archi- 
bald and Cola, — leave them to work out the 
bright future which is before each. They 
will tread diverse paths, one walking calmly, 

212 



THE STORY ENDS, 

nobly, and perseveringly, along the beaten 
track of life ; the other pressing on toward 
that high destiny which will make hina 
famous in his day, and remembered after 
death with that renown which so many 
men are willing even to die for. Let them 
go on their way, for each is greatly to be 
honoured. One is the man of Industry; 
the other the man of Genius. 



THE END, 



218 



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