Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/250

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206
AUDUBON

the Scottish Artists. I answered, "Yes." I have promised to paint a picture of Black Cock for their exhibition, and with that view went to market, where for fifteen shillings I purchased two superb males and one female. I have been painting pretty much all day and every day. Among my visitors I have had the son of Smollett, the great writer, a handsome young gentleman. Several noblemen came to see my Pheasants, and all promised me a white one. Professor Russell called and read me a letter from Lord——, giving me leave to see the pictures at his hall, but I, poor Audubon, go nowhere without an invitation.

January 22, Monday. I was painting diligently when Captain Hall came in, and said: "Put on your coat, and come with me to Sir Walter Scott; he wishes to see you now." In a moment I was ready, for I really believe my coat and hat came to me instead of my going to them. My heart trembled; I longed for the meeting, yet wished it over. Had not his wondrous pen penetrated my soul with the consciousness that here was a genius from God's hand? I felt overwhelmed at the thought of meeting Sir Walter, the Great Unknown. We reached the house, and a powdered waiter was asked if Sir Walter were in.[1] We were shown forward at once, and entering a very small room Captain Hall said: "Sir Walter, I have brought Mr. Audubon." Sir Walter came forward, pressed my hand warmly, and said he was "glad to have the honor of meeting me." His long, loose, silvery locks struck me; he looked like Franklin at his best. He also reminded me of

  1. "Jan. 22, 1827. A visit from Basil Hall with Mr. Audubon the ornithologist, who has followed that pursuit by many a long wandering in the American forests. He is an American by naturalization, a Frenchman by birth, but less of a Frenchman than I have ever seen,—no dash, no glimmer or shine about him, but great simplicity of manners and behaviour; slight in person and plainly dressed; wears long hair which time has not yet tinged; his countenance acute, handsome, and interesting, but still simplicity is the predominant characteristic." (Journal of Sir Walter Scott, vol. i., p. 343.)