Stories by Foreign Authors

Stories by Foreign Authors Pierre Loti

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Worn down with poverty and discouragement, and dismayed at this moment by his own pre sumption, the young neophyte might not have dared to enter the presence of the master to whom we owe our admirable portrait of Henry IV., if chance had not thrown an unexpected assistance in his way. An old man mounted the spiral stairway. The oddity of his dress, the magnificence of his lace ruffles, the solid assur ance of his deliberate step, led the youth to as sume that this remarkable personage must be the patron, or at least the intimate friend, of the painter. He drew back into a corner of the landing and made room for the new-comer; look ing at him attentively and hoping to find either the frank good-nature of the artistic tempera ment, or the serviceable disposition of those who promote the arts. But on the contrary he fancied he saw something diabolical in the expression of the old man's face, — something, I know not what, which has the quality of alluring the artistic mind. Imagine a bald head, the brow full and promi nent and falling with deep projection over a little flattened nose turned up at the end like the noses of Rabelais and Socrates; a laughing, wrinkled mouth; a short chin boldly chiselled and garnished with a gray beard cut into a point.
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