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here are the pump, and the stone sink and the
pail, and the broom propped against the wall.
Here is the invariable wooden partition dividing
the yard from the red-brick and tiled dwelling-
house, and with a door (open) through which
the little prim garden peeps deliciously. A
scullion plumped down on her knees is cleaning
a fat turbot in the middle of the yard; a housewife
with her back to the spectator looks on,
and takes care that all is done as it should
be; the proprietor of the establishment is seen
in the distance, advancing along the path
which borders the little prim garden beyond
the partition. He is coming home to smoke
his pipe, and wait calmly until the turbot is
ready, when he will sit down and make a
comfortable meal. This is all; there is nothing
of dramatic incident, no splendour of gorgeous
tints, no display of beautiful scenery. The
colouring is sober and sedate in the extreme.
The house-mistress is habited in a black sort of
jacket, trimmed with swans'-down, and wears a
grey dress; the servant is clad in grey likewise;
the distant figure of the bourgeois in black. The
background tints are warm and mellow, but
chiefly negative, with delicate greys, and glowing
but subdued red bricks and tiles, backed by
a cool fresh sky, such as we know well in the
damp climates of England and Flanders, with
tender haze of thinly veiled blue, seen through
a medium of atmosphere thick enough to be
distinctly visible in all weathers.

Not interesting materials these, it will be
said, of which to make up a picture. And
yet the fact remains that the picture is
delightful in a most uncommon degree, and that,
strange to say, not by any means from a
purely technical point of view. True, that
from that point of view it is perfect beyond
all description; true, that the manipulation
is so delicate that no thought or remembrance
of paint is suggested as one examines the
delicious surface; true, that the tone of colour
which pervades the whole is so inexpressibly
harmonious, that the substitution of any shade
that is not here, for any shade that is here,
would offend the eye, as a false note in music
does the ear; true, that the balance of the
composition is accurate to a hair, and the
arrangement of light and shade a very triumph
of that hidden art which is too proud to show
itselfgranted all this, granted that the
picture, as a piece of technical achievement,
leaves positively nothing to be desired, and still,
though you have said much, you have not said
all. For wonderful as it may seem, it is yet
certainly the case that, in pictures as in some
other matters, it is not the bringing together
of the grandest and most elevated materials
that will insure the production of a noble
result. This may be done indeed, and nothing
come of it whatsoever: just as you will sometimes
see in nature, a face, all the parts of
which are grand and symmetrical, but which
will fail to move you in any way: while
another, of which the features are comparatively
homely, will have about it something of
sentiment which shall be inexpressibly touching
and attractive. So it is with this
picture of De Hooge in the National Gallery.
It is a question of a scullion, and a turbot,
and a pump, and a slop-pail, and yet out of
these materials a picture is got which has about
it more of something, which is almost poetry,
than many an ambitious representation of
mountain passes, and pine-clad hills with
figures in the foreground placed in all sorts of
romantic situations, or doing nothing in the
most approved classical style. In this Flemish
courtyard, and in the prim garden, and round
about the comfortable homestead seen beyond,
there lingers a sense of tranquil home existence,
of harmless enjoyment, of a decorous and well-
ordered life, which conveys what it is the
highest achievement of any work of art to convey:
the suggestion of a sentiment, intensely
felt, though it cannot be logically defined.

In conclusion, it may be remarked of all three
pictures that, as additions to a collection in
which the achieving of a certain fulness and
completeness is quite as distinctly an object as
the affording of pleasure and gratification to the
lovers of beautiful works of art, their purchase,
even though, in the case of the alleged
Rembrandt, at an enormous expense, has been
upon the whole, a justifiable proceeding.


THERE is a singing in the summer air,
The blue and brown moths flutter o'er the grass,
The stubble bird is creaking in the wheat,
And perch'd upon the honeysuckle-hedge
Pipes the green linnet. O the golden world!
The stir of life on every blade of grass,
The motion and the joy on every bough,
The glad feast everywhere, for things that love
The sunshine, and for things that love the shade!

Aimlessly wandering with weary feet,
Watching the woolly clouds that wander by,
I come upon a lovely place of shade,
A still green pool where with soft sound and stir
The shadows of o'er-hanging branches sleep,
Save where they leave one dreamy space of blue,
O'er whose soft stillness ever and anon
The feathery cirrus blows. Here unaware
I pause, and leaning on my staff I add
A shadow to the shadows; and behold!
Dim dreams steal down upon me, with a hum
Of little wings, a murmuring of boughs,
The dusky stir and motion dwelling here
Within this small green world. O'er shadowed
By dusky greenery, tho' all around
The sunshine throbs on fields of wheat and bean,
Downward I gaze into the dreamy blue,
And pass into a waking sleep, wherein
The green boughs rustle, feathery wreaths of cloud
Pass softly piloted by golden airs,
The air is still, no bird sings any more,
And, helpless as a tiny flying thing,
I am alone in all the world with God.

The wind diesnot a leaf stirsin the pool
The fly scarce moves;—earth seems to hold her breath
Until her heart stops, listening silently
For the far footsteps of the coming Rain!

While thus I pause, it seems that I have gained
New eyes to see; my brain grows sensitive
To trivial things that, at another hour,
Had passed unheeded. Suddenly the air
Shivers, the shadows in whose midst I stand