Page:"A modern Hercules", the tale of a sculptress (IA amodernherculest00wins).pdf/93

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"I don't know, but I have had a very poor opinion of him ever since I knew that his father paid Doane $5,000 for a flattering critique of his 'Goddess of Progress,' a thing of no real merit. But what did he want of you?"

"To create, model, carve, and in his name."

"I had no idea," said Connors, "that there was such corruption in art circles. It is needless for us to ask your answer."

"We have sunk," said Nugent, "to what you behold, but Ouida and I will cut our throats, ere she shall thus prostitute her divine genius."

"May we not help you in some way?" said Olivia.

"Not with ostentation," quickly spoke up Connors. "Not even for yourselves, if you will have it so, but for the world, that should not be deprived of Ouida's masterly creations."

At this, Ouida wept, nor was she ashamed of her tears.

"I have not heretofore, through all my misery, shed a single tear," said Ouida, "till this delicate offer of your sweet sympathy, and yet I cannot allow you to interfere with fate."

"I have withstood the bitter hate of men," said Nugent, "nor trembled once, but your kindness makes me weak, like a child. Do not be offended, but I must leave you. You will excuse me?"

"Yes," said Connors, "if you so desire."

"Kind friends," said Ouida, "take your leave now. Your visit has left a ray of sunshine, which Horatio and I will bask in long after you wend your way from this place, out into the busy world. Leave us alone, to work out our own salvation."