and we wonder by what strange wizard craft was accomplished the marvellous pattern on the black curtain that drops past the engraving on the wall. We muse on the extraordinary beauty of that grey wall, on the black silhouette sitting so tranquilly, on the large feet on a foot-stool, on the hands crossed, on the long black dress that fills the picture with such solemn harmony. Then mark the transition from grey to white, and how le ton local is carried through the entire picture, from the highest light to the deepest shadow. Note the tenderness of that white cap, the white lace cuffs, the certainty, the choice, and think of anything if you can, even in the best Japanese work, more beautiful, more delicate, subtle, illusive, certain in its handicraft; and if the lace cuffs are marvellous, the delicate hands of a beautiful old age lying in a small lace handkerchief are little short of miraculous. They are not drawn out in anatomical diagram, but appear and disappear, seen here on the black dress, lost there in the small white handkerchief. And when we study the faint, subtle outline of the mother's face, we seem to feel that there the painter has told the story of his soul more fully than elsewhere. That soul, strangely alive to all that is delicate and illusive in Nature, found perhaps its fullest expression in that grave old Puritan lady looking through the quiet refinement of her grey room, sitting in solemn profile in all the quiet habit of her long life.
Compared with later work, the execution is "tighter", if I may be permitted an expression which will be understood in studios; we are very far indeed from the admirable looseness of handling which is the charm of the portrait of Miss Rose Corder. There every object is born unconsciously beneath the passing of the brush. If not less certain, the touch in the portrait of the mother is less prompt; but the painter's vision is more sincere and more intense. And to those who object to the artificiality of the arrangement, I reply that if the old lady is