Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/426

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The "Pilot" Editorial Rooms,

Boston, November 19, 1889.

Dear Old Bess:

At last I am out of the wood of hard work that has shut me in for two months. The first pleasure I take is to write to my dear brown hen and my dear blue pigeon. I have never been so busy in all my life as I have been since Mammie and I came from the mountains. I have literally not had a leisure hour for fifty days. I long to go to Elmhurst and see you— I wish you and I could go away in my canoe, down a long, sunny, beautiful river, and camp on the banks for weeks and weeks, till we were rested, rested, and had forgotten the busy, noisy cities and all the work and trouble that are "out in the world." Last night a little boy, ten years old, came to play the violin for mamma and me. He has been playing in public for two years; but he plays rudely and carelessly, though I think he has talent, and would be a good musician if carefully trained—like a dear old fiddler that I want to kiss this moment. I suppose Mollie has sent you the poem I read at the University. It was well received by the Cardinals and Bishops; and they were a very grand audience, filling the whole large room with their crimson and purple robes.

But Mamsey and I were glad to get back, and we have rested well since Sunday night. We shall soon go to Providence to see our dear girls. Mrs. Weller particularly asked for you; they were very kind to us in Washington. We saw some great and wonderful things in many cities while away; but we saw one little work by a great man that made us forget everything else—buildings, monuments, bridges, and cities. It was a picture—a little oil painting, eighteen inches square—"L' Angelus," by Millet, which is on exhibition in New York. It is in a great gallery where there are hundreds of other famous pictures—some of them world-famous. And, besides, there are in the lower rooms five hundred bronzes by the greatest genius in sculpture that has lived for two hundred years,—Barye, the animal sculptor. We thought, as we looked at his splendid grim lions and tigers and horses and elephants, that painting never could interest us any more. " Oh, painting is inferior to these glorious creatures," said Mamsey? as she stood before a great lion that held down a snake with his paws and roared at him. And then we went upstairs to the pictures.

At the head of the stairs was Millet's famous picture "The Sower," a tall, powerful young French peasant sowing seed in the dusk of the evening. It is a wonderful picture (Mr. Quincy Shaw of Boston owns it; he paid $30,000 for it, years ago). This made Mammie stop and look long. Then came a river and a young wood by Corot, and a fairy-like landscape with golden clouds by Diaz; and then we forgot the bronzes, as canvas after canvas, of indescribable beauty and enor-