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hurried many to their graves. The mother and aunt of Rialti had fallen before it, and Laura Methender was now left alone! And when she uncovered her eyes, after the shock that came over her frame when the first shovel full of earth had fallen upon her mother, a letter was given her by one of the by-standers. She knew at a glance that it was from Rialti—and she had thought hiin lost. Ah! with what vividness did her whole life stand out before her in that little moment—with what vividness did the sad reality of her mother's death, of her own bitter loneliness, burst upon her! Her head swam--she could not stand ! A person near by saw she would fall, and led her away.

A week wrought a woful change in the life of Laura Methender. All was happiness and glee before--all was misery and gloom now. den had become the desert. A mother had died-a lover was also dead to her! She did little but weep, and repeat Rialti's letter for many weeks after !

“ And he tells me to love another,” she would say to herself, " and that he is unworthy of me. He should have known me better. How gladly would I be with him. But he is in a far-off land, and the ocean rolls between us. I must stay, and die here !"

Lise became a weary thing from that time forth. The village people would pity and console her, in her lonely dwelling. At last her tears dried up; but it was no longer the artist's bride, gay, and cheerful and beautiful, that was known in the person of Laura Methender. Her eye had grown dull and dead, her complexion had faded, and there was something wild and strange in her manner. She would often ask if Rialti had come, and why they did not let her sex him. “I know," she would say, “that he is blind but he is Rialti still." And then she would sigh, and look down upon her self, as though she were conscious that she had altered more than he. Every morning, at the rising of the sun, she went with a small nosegay of flowers to her mother's grave. There she would arrange them with all her skill and taste on the turf and on the stone. Many still remember having often seen a pale, fragile woman tripping over the frosty hills, or through the dewy grass, towards the churchyard, before the village was astir. In winter or in summer, in sunshine or in storm, she was still seen going there, always carrying in her hand a bunch of flowers or a few green leaves.


Rialti recovered slowly. A year flew by before he walked out into the streets. The old Count usually attended him, and described every object as they passed. But his closest attendant was a litile dog-one of Lavani's which had conceived a strong attachment to Kialti, and would not be separated from him. Sometimes it was shut up; but it would whine and cry until let loose again, and then it would search busily about, until it found the feet of the Blind Artist.

One morning Rialti went to the studio of Pisano. He should not have gone, for it could only make him sad. Every object that he felt was the grave-stone of a buried memory. His old master was there, painting on the same easel something which he chose to call the Fall of Lucifer. When the blind pupil entered, he left his work, and said he was copying one of Rialti's conceptions. “ It was overheard, and taken down from the mutterin is of your dreams. I am now the copyist.”

And it was an effort which severely tasked his power. It needed a most


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daring energy to grasp the great and startling proportions, and limn them forth. The head was one of the wildest terror, mingled with the fiercest hatred. One could almost hear the mutterings of despair and revenge, which the baleful lips were breathing out, something between a shriek and a groan. And the whole was shrouded in the thickest blackness, lighted up only to appear the more terrible, by pale and lurid streaks of fire, which shot up

from the bottomless depths !

The artist would have seen his creation, and sighed, as the recollections of other days came up before him. “I was once full of proud hopes and glad thoughts," he said. I once aspired to a seat beneath the shadow of the mighty Angelo. And what am I now? My heart is broken beneath the scourge of bitter memories, and my hand hangs powerless by my side. Alas, Rialti ! the star of thy youthful years is forever paled and lost among dark clouds of gloom !"

A stranger entered the studio as the last words were upon his lips. He slowly approached the Blind Artist. If your name be Rialti,” he said, “and you are an artist in Rome, perhaps I bring tidings to you.” It was a person who had once lived near the home of Rialti. And he told him the desolation which had come over his village—that his mother and his aunt were dead—that Laura Methender was left alone, and a maniac! Rialti moaned aloud; and Pisano sorrowfully led him to his dwelling.

Five years passed, and with Rialti life had become still more a joyless thing. He could not withdraw his attention from himself, by fixing it on other objects. The least word would sometimes arouse a train of associations which would linger by him for hours.

A long forgotten promise he once made his mother to surely return, if he lived, and solace her old age, came to him in the midst of his reflections, and haunted him ever after. She had asked him to be buried by her side ; for her husband had died in his distant native land, and she did not like to sleep there forever alone, without her son.

“ Thou liest now by the side of my grandfather,” sighed Rialti ; "I have often sat by his grave. I would to heaven my own were made by my mother's."

Sometimes he tried to sketch the little church, with its quaintly decorated spire, with its tomb-stones and willows about it. But he could not see it, and it did him little good. The lines, with much of grace and freedom, would often cross and blot out each other.

The old Count died, and his estates fell to a distant nephew. The Blind Artist still lived there, though he felt he was not so welcome an inmate to the new comer as to Lavani. The Count intended a portion of his wealth for him, but he had died suddenly without leaving any direction. When he was gone, Rialti had his dog Sylvio, who served for his companion in his walks. Sometimes Pisano would go with him ; but the pupil would tell the master that he should work at his art—that he could tie a string to his dog's neck, and feel his way with his staff.

Rialti even grew more sad and moody. His thoughts were imprisoned in himself with chains which he could not unloosen. Every one was a torturing spirit. "I can think of nothing but what gives me pain," he said; “it may be because I am shut up here in Rome. The young Count does not care for me to stay. I will travel abroad orer the earth. Sylvio can

I shall at least be out of idleness." So one morning early, Rialti tied up a little bundle of clothing, fastened the cord to his dog's neck, and sallied forth into the wide world-he and his dog alone. Much inquiry was made in the Count's family about his absence. Noon came, but Rialti did not return. Servants were sent over Rome, to see if there might anywhere be found a blind man with a little dog. But

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every corner, and ruin, and dwelling were searched in vain. “He must have fallen into the Tiber,” said the young patron; "he should not have gone forth alone." And so the search ended.

When Pisano heard of his pupil's departure, he was close at work in his studio. “ Alas! is he gone ?” he asked; " then he has left Rome. I knew he was tired and weary of living here—and to

morrow I was to have laid down my brush, and have kept daily by him as long as lise lasted. _ I have neglected him of late in my longing to finish the Fall of Lucifer. To-morrow I should have taken it from the easel, and have given my studio to another. It was to be put in the Vatican, as the last work of Pisano and Rialti too. Alas! his haste! my neglect !”—and Pisano cried as if he had murdered his child!

The next day Pisano was gone—no one knew whither! There stood the easel with the Fall of Lucifer resting upon it, nearly ready for the world. All the artists about Rome had been long watching its progress with intensest admiration ; for it was the sublimest reach of art. The idea was one of the most daring and stupendous that Italy had seen since the frescoes of Angelo. It was a vision almost beyond human might to fully master; one which could have been conceived only in a moment of unearthly terror. The whole canvass seemed to palpitate with life. The very body thought. And it needed but a few more clouds of smoke to be wreathed around over the burning marl, before it would be ready to begin its life of ages. The brush was still damp-the paints were lying ready by it! But no Pisano was

— there-no Pisano was ever seen there after !


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It was late in autumn, and Rialti had been journeying two whole months. The dog always chose his own course.

He had led his blind master over mountains and hills, going with great slowness and care wherever there was danger. At last he stopped, and refused to go farther.

Go on, Sylvio,” said Rialti encouragingly, “we must not stop here-go on a little farther, and we can rest then.” But the dog whined, and pulled at his master's clothes.

“Hold! stop!” cried a voice behind ; " hold! the dog is right-one step more and you will fall into the sea.” And where may I be,” said the blind man, halting.

I “On a pier of Marseilles," answered the stranger; a moment more and you would have plunged into the water ! Where do you go? perhaps I may

I guide you."

Alas ! I know not-I care not—I thought to travel away from myself, and have wandered many miles, but am still the same. I would follow my dog. He seems to have led me to the sea. I would embark, were it only to please him.”

It was the master of a vessel who had spoken so kindly to Rialti, and the week after he set sail; the Blind Artist choosing to go with him. But no one could find out his story—no one could learn the history of his sorrow. Day after day he sat in a small seat on the deck, with his hands playing with his cane, or patting his dog. He was almost always silent. Bui his face spoke when he was stillest. His wrinkled and wasted features would shadow forth his inmost thoughts. Sometimes they would warm into smiles and laughter ; his lips would mutter quickly some glad tones, and he would pat his dog with increasing tenderness. Then again he would sadden; all his features would be pale and rigid, and he would turn his large sightless eyes up pityingly when any one approached him. There was something


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that worked powerfully within-something which turned his life into sorrow, such as only the blind may feel, intense and lasting. The rude hearts about him noticed it; and when near him spoke low, for fear of disturbing his thoughts. Their voices acquired a softness and a tenderness which would even astonish themselves.

One fine clear morning, as Rialti sat in his old place, he was told that one of their number had died during the night, and was now to be buried in the waves. At his wish, he was led to the other part of the vessel, that he might hear the Burial Service.

A rude coffin was brought up and laid by the companion-way, and the rough sailors all gathered round with their faces sad and thoughtful. It is the most solemn scene that falls to the lot of man to witness-a Burial at Sea.

The Blind Artist wished to be led to the place where the dead man was that he might lay his hand upon his face. Some one said hurriedly," he had better not go-hold him back!” But ere it was done, the blind man had reached the coffin, and had laid his hand on the face. Ah! that shriek ! It was as if one had wrung his heart !—The dead man was Pisano !-He had followed his pupil, and would have disclosed himself, but that he was ill, and could only tax the sympathy of Rialti. His last request was, that the Blind Artist might not know who he was when he was dead. could guess his purpose, but all remembered that many times there seemed to be some mysterious connection between them.

When the soul is suffering beneath the world's severest scourges, and the frame that holds it here is worn-out and dying,-how does a new calamity run over the waters of bitterness! How does the tired spirit long to unloose its grasp from weak humanity, and flee away to the blessedness of its upper home.

As this dim twilight-existence grew dimmer, and mournful thoughts and stinging memories were plunging the soul of Rialti into madness, -how welcome were the symptoms of decay, which showed the overtaking footstep of death to be nigh. “I can at last,” he would say, " disentangle myself from this dark world; and though I go down through the chill shadows of Death, rise to the bright and unclouded Life.”

Yet there were moments when the Blind Artist seemed still in love with life. When the storm and the tempest were alive-when the wares were leaping in terrible mountains, and the thunders were shattering the clouds then did the soul of Rialti revel as though it were in a new world. The terrible in nature fired his soul with the wildest frenzy. Perhaps it was that its softer tones and its sunwarm scenes came not within the reach of his heart-perhaps it was that his soul had always delighted most in awful grandeur and terror! One night, when all things were wrapped up in thickest darkness, and a hurricane was abroad—when eachi wave seemed only to terrify the longer, Rialti was missed from his bed. No one thought to look for him-no one dared to think of his fate! But when the elements had done their warring, he was found sitting in his old place, with a small piece of rope tied around his body, and fastened to a ring in the floor. The dog stood whining by, and was licking his hand. He had felt the restlessness, the madness, the strong quick heaving of the sullen waters, and was up to feast on the awe and sublimity of the storm.


When Rialti left the vessel, his dog chose again the course for his wanderings. It was a weary life; but the artist would not pause, only to beg for food and bed. He pressed on, as if chased by some fearful phantom that would strike him dead if it once overtook him.

“I must walk fast,” he would say, " for I am growing weak and sick, and I shall never get beyond my cares. I once came nigh outstripping them.” And he journeyed on, weeks and months. Summer passed-autumn came on.

Through city and solitude he was equally alone. There was a wilderness always about him! His dog was the only being that seemed to care for him; and people wondered what made it guide him so faithfully. It would never leave its master night or day.

One afternoon in October, the walk had been a long and weary one. The Blind Artist grew faint and sad. “I feel,” he muttered, as though my life would soon pass out of me! Sylvio, what will become of you when I am gone! what will become you!" and he jerked the string gently to show that he would sit down and rest. The dog took him a little on one side, and stopped by a stone.

"Ah! I am in a church-yard,” he said, " and this is a grave-stone beneath me.” Something almost forgotten seemed to come up to his mind, for he did not hear the old sexton who was turfing a grave near by.

The sexton spoke again—and this time Rialti heard.

“You ask me whence I have come !" he answered: “I cannot tell you if I would. I have been on the ocean—and I was once in Rome. But now my pilgrimage is fast getting to its close! Here, around us, rest the dead -I am tired of life; why should I not too, rest with them ?" and he wiped bitter tears from his wasted face,

At length he somewhat disburdened his grief, and asked whose grave it might be that the sexton was at work upon. The old man paused, looked roughly at the new-comer—" and you know not whose grave it is,” said he, “when not a child in the village but can tell ?" But when he saw that the stranger was blind, he lowered his tone; "it is the grave of the Artist's Love-the grave of Laura Methender.”

“ And this stone I am sitting on is my mother's-ah! my mother's ! shrieked the artist, in a wild and startled tone! He sprung on his feet, and seemed frenzied like one in the last agonies of delirium, and earnestly looked about him!—“Ah! my home," he cried, “ bah-hab-hah-and I have come back to lay myself HERE!” and he pointed with his skinny fingers down by the side of his mother's grave." “And you are heaping the cold sods upon


young and the beautiful! Ilah-hah–I can see now—where is she?-tell her I can see !"

His frenzy passed off. Something like the snapping of a cord sounded within him; and he fell headlong-speechless—lifeless! The sexton tottered up to his side, placed his hand upon his heart, but it was still! The soul of the artist had gone! had forever gone?

Many still think that after so many years of darkness, his sight at last came to him. It may have been so.

His dog bent over him, and licked his face—then went to the end of his string, and wistfully looked back at his dead master, as though it were time to move on again.

When Rialti was dead and gone, there was but little thought or said. Those who would have remembered him had mostly passed away. A few would speak of the youth so full of promise and hope, that once lived among them—but they could scarcely persuade themselves that it was he who had so strangely returned. What had he not suffered during that long time! There alone was he shut up within himself-his soul chained in a dungeon of perpetual darkness-no cheery sunlight, no green fields, no deep blue sky to look upon! It is not so now. It has got out of this prison-lise, and can



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