Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

6 Oh! some of each,” replied the lady.

Mr. Gummage had so many pupils—both boys and girls and so many classes, and gave lessons besides, at so many boarding-schools, that he had no leisure time for receiving applications, and as he kept his domicile incog., he saw all his visiters at his school-room. Foreseeing a long examination of the prints, he took from a hanging shelf several of his numerous port-folios, and having placed them on a table before Mrs. Atmore and her daughter, he proceeded to go round and direct his present class of young ladies, who were all sitting at the drawing-desks in their bonnets and shawls, because the apartment afforded no accommodation for these habiliments if laid aside. Each young lady was leaning over a straining-frame, on which was pasted a sheet of drawing paper, and each seemed engaged in attempting to copy one of the coloured engravings that were fastened by a slip of cleft cane to the cord of twine that ran along the wall. The benches were dusty, the floor dirty and slopped with spilt water; and the windows, for want of washing, looked more like horn than glass. The schoolroom and teacher were all in keeping. Yet for many years Mr. Gummage was so much in fashion that no other drawing-masters, not even Beck and Smith, had the least chance of success. Those who recollect the original, will not think his portrait overcharged.

We left Mr. Gummage going round his class for the purpose of giving a glance, and saying a few words to each.

“ Miss Jones, lay down the lid of your paint-box. No rulers shall be used in my school, as I have often told you."

“But, Mr. Gummage, only look at the walls of my castle; they are all leaning to one side; both the turrets

stand crooked, and the doors and windows slant every way."

“ No matter, it's my rule that no body shall use a rule. Miss Miller, have you rubbed the blue and bistre I told you?"

“ Yes sir; I've been at it all the afternoon; here it is." 66 Why, that's not half enough.”

“ Mr. Gummage, I've rubbed, and rubbed till my arm aches to the shoulder, and my face is all in a glow.”

6 Then take off your bonnet, and cool yourself. I tell you there's not half enough. Why, my boys rub blue and bistre till their faces run of a stream. I make them take off their coats to it.”

“ Mr. Gummage,” said one young lady, “you promised to put in my sky to-day.”

“ Mr. Gummage,” said another, “ I've been waiting for my distances these two weeks. How can I go any farther till you have done them for me?"

6 Finish the fore-ground to-day. It is time enough for the distances: I'll put them in on Friday.”

“ Mr. Gummage,” said another, “my river has been expecting you since last Wednesday.”

"Why, you have not put in the boat yet. Do the boat to-day, and the fisherman on the shore. But look at your bridge! Every arch is of a different size-some big, and some little.”

« Well, Mr. Gummage, it is your own fault-you should let me use compasses. I have a pair in my box -do, pray, let me use them.”

“No, I won't. My plan is that you shall all draw entirely by the eye.”

6. That is the reason we make every thing so crooked.”

“I see nothing more crooked than yourselves," replied the polite drawing-master.

“Mr. Gummage,” said another young lady, raising her eyes from a novel that she had brought with her, “ I have done nothing at my piece for at least a fortnight. I have been all the time waiting for you to put in my large tree.”

“ Hush this moment with your babbling, every soul of you,” said the teacher, in an under tone: “don't you see there are strangers here? What an unreasonable pack of fools you are! Can I do every body's piece at once? Learn to have patience, one and all of you, and wait till your turn comes."

Some of the girls tossed their heads and pouted, and some laughed, and some quitted their desks and amused themselves by looking out at the windows. But the instructor turned his back on them, and walked off towards the table at which Mrs. Atmore and her daughter were seated with the port folios, both making incessant exclamations of “ How beautiful!-how elegant!-how sweet!" ś Oh! here are Romeo and Juliet in the tomb scene!” cried Marianne.“ Look, mamma, is it not lovely?-the very play in which we saw Cooper and Mrs. Merry. Oh! do let me paint Romeo and Juliet for the dinner set! But stop—here's the Shepherdess of the Alps! how magnificent! I think I would rather do that for the china. And here's Mary Queen of Scots; I remember her ever since I read history. And here are Telemachus and Minerva, just as I translated about them in my Telemaque exercises. Oh! let me do them for the dinner set-shan't I, Mr. Gummage?”

“ I don't see any figure-pieces in which the colours are bright enough,” remarked Mrs. Atmore.

“ As to that,” observed Gummage-who knew that the burthen of the drawing would eventually fall on him,

and who never liked to do figures_“ I don't believe that any of these figure pieces would look well if reduced so small as to go on china plates.”

“ Well-here are some very fine landscapes,” pursued Mrs. Atmore; 66 Here's the Cascade of Tivoli—and here's a view in Jamaica—and here's Glastonbury Abbey."

“Oh! I dote on abbeys,” cried Marianne, “ for the sake of Amanda Fitzalan.”

“ Your papa will not approve of your doing this,” observed Mrs. Atmore: “you know, he says that abbeys are nothing but old tumble-down churches."

“If I may not do an abbey, let me do a castle,” said Marianne: “ there's Conway Castle by moonlight-how natural the moon looks!”

“ As to castles," replied Mrs. Atmore, “ you know your papa says they are no better than old jails. He hates both abbeys and castles.”

6 Well, here is a noble country seat,” said Marianne _-6. Chiswick House," "

“ Your papa has no patience with country seats,” rejoined Mrs. Atmore. “ He says that when people have made their money, they had better stay in town to enjoy it; where they can be convenient to the market, and the stores, and the post office, and the coffee house. He likes a good comfortable three story brick mansion, in a central part of the city, with marble steps, iron railings, and green Venetian shutters.”

“ To cut the matter short," said Mr. Gummage, “ the best thing for the china is a flower piece—a basket, or a wreath, or something of that sort. You can have a good cypher in the centre, and the colours may be as bright as you please. India ware is generally painted with one colour only; but the Chinese are submissive animals, and will do just as they are bid. It may cost something more to have a variety of colours; but I suppose you will not mind that.”

« Oh! no—no," exclaimed Mrs. Atmore. “ I shall not care for the price; I have set my mind on having this china the wonder of all Philadelphia.”

Our readers will understand, that at this period nearly all the porcelain used in America was of Chinese manufacture; very little of that elegant article having been, as yet, imported from France.

A wreath was selected from the port folio that contained the engravings and drawings of flowers. It was decided that Marianne should first execute it the full size of the model (which was as large as nature), that she might immediately have a piece to frame; and that she was afterwards to make a smaller copy of it, as a border for all the articles of the china set; the middle to be ornamented with the letter A, in gold, surrounded by the rays of a golden star. Sprigs and tendrils of the flowers were to branch down from the border, so as nearly to reach the gilding in the middle. The large wreath that was intended to frame, was to bear in its centre the initials of Marianne Atmore, being the letters M. A., painted in shell gold.

“ And so," said Mr. Gummage, “ having a piece to frame, and a pattern for your china, you'll kill two birds with one stone."

On the following Monday, the young lady came to take her first lesson, followed by a mulatto boy, carrying a little black morocco trunk, that contained a four row box of Reeves's colours, with an assortment of camel's hair pencils, half a dozen white saucers, a water cup, a lead pencil, and a piece of India rubber. Mr. Gummage immediately supplied her with two bristle brushes, and sundry little shallow earthen cups, each con

« AnteriorContinuar »