A Rogue's Life (Chapter 6, page 1 of 20)


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Chapter 6

ON the next day, I was introduced to the Jew's workshop, and to the
eminent gentlemen occupying it. My model Rembrandt was put before me;
the simple elementary rules were explained; and my materials were all
placed under my hands.

Regard for the lovers of the Old Masters, and for the moral well-being
of society, forbids me to be particular about the nature of my labors,
or to go into dangerous detail on the subject of my first failures
and my subsequent success. I may, however, harmlessly admit that my
Rembrandt was to be of the small or cabinet size, and that, as there was
a run on Burgomasters just then, my subject was naturally to be of
the Burgomaster sort. Three parts of my picture consisted entirely of
different shades of dirty brown and black; the fourth being composed
of a ray of yellow light falling upon the wrinkled face of a
treacle-colored old man. A dim glimpse of a hand, and a faint suggestion
of something like a brass washhand basin, completed the job, which
gave great satisfaction to Mr. Pickup, and which was described in the
catalogue as-"A Burgomaster at Breakfast. Originally in the collection of Mynheer
Van Grubb. Amsterdam. A rare example of the master. Not engraved. The
chiar'oscuro in this extraordinary work is of a truly sublime character.
Price, Two Hundred Guineas."

I got five pounds for it. I suppose Mr. Pickup got one-ninety-five.

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