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a pleasing dream. He rose at the dawn of day, and took the box into the garret, where he spread a canvass, prepared a pallet, and immediately began to copy one of the pictures with which his kind friend had supplied him. So busily engaged was he with his new pursuit, that he forgot the 'school-hours, and joined the family at dinner without mentioning the employment in which he had been engaged. In the afternoon he again retired to his study in the garret; and, for several days successively, he thus withdrew and devoted himself to painting. The schoolmaster, observing his absence, sent to ask the cause of it. Mrs. West, without taking any particular notice of the message, recollected that she had seen Benjamin going up stairs after breakfast every morning, and suspecting that the box occasioned his negleet of the school and his accustomed lessons, went gently to the garret, and found him employed on the picture. Her displeasure was appeased

by the sight of his performance, and changed to a very different feeling. She saw not a mere copy, but a composition from two of the engravings.

Henry. Then she did not punish him for having staid from school without leave.

Mamma. No: she kissed him, and assured him that she would not only intercede with his father to pardon him for having absented himself from school, but would go herself to the master, and beg that he might not be punished. The encouragement which this well-judged kindness afforded to the young painter, may be easily imagined; but I am sorry to tell you, that the mother's over-anxious admiration would not suffer her darling to finish the picture, lest he should spoil what was already, in her opinion, perfect, even with half the canvass bare. · Henry. What a pity? However, I suppose she preserved it very carefully.

· Mamma. She did, indeed, my love; and sixty-seven years afterwards it was exhibited in London, as the earliest performance of this self-taught artist, in the same room with his sublime painting of “ Christ rejected:" on which occasion he was himself heard to say, that there were inventive touches of art in his first and juvenile essay, which, with all his subsequent knowledge and experience, he had not been able to surpass. But I think I have now told you almost enough about little Benjamin. · Henry. Oh, no, no, dear mamma! Do try to think of something more. This history is so very entertaining, and I want to know what progress he made in his painting, and a great deal more about him.

Mamma. If you will restrain your curiosity till to-morrow evening, I will endeavour to gratify you, my dear boy; but your papa has just come home, and I wish to talk to him now.

Henry. Thank you, mamma: Louisa and I can amuse ourselves with the historical charts while you are engaged; and we will not forget to remind you of your promise, at a suitable time.

116

CHAP. X.

BENJAMIN WEST, CONTINUED.

When you

Henry.
We are come to put you in mind of

your engagement, dear mamma. left us last evening, Benjamin had just finished his first picture, as far as his mother would allow him to finish it, however. What did he do next?

Mamma. In the course of a few days after that affair, the kind friend who had so generously furnished Benjamin with the paint-box and engravings, paid another visit to Mr. West, and was so highly pleased with the effect of his present, and the promising talents of his young relation, that he entreated his father to allow him to accompany him for a few days to

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