Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/189

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The Sinner's Comedy.
173
 

"Is the light good?" he began.

"Excellent," said Anna. Neither of them knew what they were saying. "There," she said, placing the picture on the easel. "The subject is 'The Flight of Pompilia.'" She quoted Browning's lines very softly—half-unconsciously:—


"Between midnight and morn



Began a whiteness in the distance, waxed

Whiter and whiter, near grew and more near,

Till it was she; there did Pompilia come;

The white I saw shine through her was her soul's,

Certainly, for the body was one black,

Black from head down to foot."

"You were right to work," he said, at last.

"Shall I go on—working?"

"By all means."

"That is all I want to know," said Anna.

"There are many things I should like to say," said Sacheverell, "You have great power. . . . You know what I think—what I must think."

She blushed and smiled.

"I have worked very hard," she said. "If you could see the yards of canvas I have burnt! I have been painting and burning ever since I was six. . . . So you like it? Of course, it is not quite finished. I work very slowly. Lately I have accomplished so little—so very little. The illustrations take all my time, and when they are done I am too tired to paint."

"Then why don't you give up the illustrating?"

She smiled at him sadly. "I must keep body and soul together, and—I have some one dependent on