I couldn't get the honours, to say nothing of
the emoluments, of a great painter of portraits out of my head. My
"illustrations" were my pot-boilers; I looked to a different branch
of art (far and away the most interesting it had always seemed to
me), to perpetuate my fame. There was no shame in looking to it also
to make my fortune; but that fortune was by so much further from
being made from the moment my visitors wished to be "done" for
nothing. I was disappointed; for in the pictorial sense I had
immediately SEEN them. I had seized their type--I had already
settled what I would do with it. Something that wouldn't absolutely
have pleased them, I afterwards reflected.
"Ah, you're--you're--a--?" I began, as soon as I had mastered my
surprise. I couldn't bring out the dingy word "models"; it seemed to
fit the case so little.
"We haven't had much practice," said the lady.
"We've got to DO something, and we've thought that an artist in your
line might perhaps make something of us," her husband t