The Marble Faun Volume 1 (Chapter 7)

Previous Page
Text Size:
Next Page

Chapter 7 : Page 1 of 8

Miriam was glad to find the Dove in her turret-home; for being endowed
with an infinite activity, and taking exquisite delight in the sweet
labor of which her life was full, it was Hilda's practice to flee abroad
betimes, and haunt the galleries till dusk. Happy were those (but they
were very few) whom she ever chose to be the companions of her day; they
saw the art treasures of Rome, under her guidance, as they had never
seen them before. Not that Hilda could dissertate, or talk learnedly
about pictures; she would probably have been puzzled by the technical
terms of her own art. Not that she had much to say about what she most
profoundly admired; but even her silent sympathy was so powerful that
it drew your own along with it, endowing you with a second-sight that
enabled you to see excellences with almost the depth and delicacy of her
own perceptions.

All the Anglo-Saxon denizens of Rome, by this time, knew Hilda by sight.
Unconsciously, the poor child had become one of the spectacles of the
Eternal City, and was often pointed out to strangers, sitting at her
easel among the wild-bearded young men, the white-haired old ones, and
the shabbily dressed, painfully plain women, who make up the throng of
copyists. The old custodes knew her well, and watched over her as their
own child. Sometimes a young artist, instead of going on with a copy
of the picture before which he had placed his easel, would enrich
his canvas with an original portrait of Hilda at her work. A lovelier
subject could not have been selected, nor one which required nicer skill
and insight in doing it anything like justice. She was pretty at all
times, in our native New England style, with her light-brown ringlets,
her delicately tinged, but healthful cheek, her sensitive, intelligent,
yet most feminine and kindly face. But, every few moments, this pretty
and girlish face grew beautiful and striking, as some inward thought and
feeling brightened, rose to the surface, and then, as it were, passed
out of sight again; so that, taking into view this constantly recurring
change, it really seemed as if Hilda were only visible by the sunshine
of her soul.


Previous Page
Text Size:
Next Page

Rate This Book

Current Rating: 2.5/5 (183 votes cast)



Review This Book or Post a Comment