Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/108

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
74
AUDUBON

and his pleasant smile was so cordial that all the villagers and work-people far and near, knew and liked him. He painted a little after his return from the Yellowstone River, but as he looked at his son John's animals, he said: 'Ah, Johnny, no need for the old man to paint any more when you can do work like that.' He was most affectionate in his disposition, very fond of his grandchildren, and it was a pleasant sight to see him sit with one on his knee, and others about him, singing French songs in his lively way. It was sweet too, to see him with his wife; he was always her lover, and invariably used the pronouns 'thee' and 'thou' in his speech to her. Often have I heard him say, 'Well, sweetheart! always busy; come sit thee down a few minutes and rest.'"

My mother has told me that when the picture of the Cougars came from Texas, where my father had painted it, my grandfather's delight knew no bounds. He was beside himself with joy that "his boy Johnny" could paint a picture he considered so fine; he looked at it from every point, and could not keep quiet, but walked up and down filled with delight.

Of these years much might be said, but much has already been written of them, so I will not repeat.[1] Many characteristics Audubon kept to the last; his enthusiasm, freshness, and keenness of enjoyment and pain were never blunted. His ease and grace of speech and movement were as noticeable in the aged man as they had been in the happy youth of Mill Grove. His courteous manners to all, high and low, were always the same; his chivalry, generosity, and honor were never dimmed, and his great personal beauty never failed to attract attention; always he was handsome. His stepmother writes from Nantes to her husband in Virginia: "He is the handsomest boy in Nantes, but perhaps not the most studious." At Mill

  1. Reminiscences of Audubon, Scribner's Monthly, July, 1876, p. 333; Turf, Field, and Farm, Nov. 18, 1881.