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"With this sincere a.s.sertion, I close, remaining yours, humbly, BRAND BAREILLI."
Before we bid our friends good-by, let us cast a farewell glance on each whose fortunes yet do hang in the balance.
Do you wish your picture taken?
Step into this magnificent establishment in Picadilly, London, whose excellencies appeal to you from placards on every wall within three miles of London Bridge.
You will enter an apartment carpeted with a web of Turkish loom, and strewn with ottomans of Oriental gorgeousness, and blazing with the splendid framings of fine paintings.
Ladies of rank and fashion throng here, gentlemen of taste and purse, artists of cynical aspect, diletantes of enthusiasm, and all the world wags its tongue about the prodigies of art to be viewed in that salon.
You will presently be conducted by a deferential man in elegant livery up two flights of marble steps into a studio, where you will meet the great French artist, Ludovic, the Chevalier de Calembours.
His bright eyes beam pleasantly, his handsome face glows with welcome, his white, shapely hand waves you gracefully into a velvet chair.
You look at the little man in the black velvet Hungarian dolman, embellished with those glittering badges, which catch the eye so much; you mark the glossy beard and mustache, trimmed to the last degree of Parisian taste, and as retentive memory suggests to you the once wretched little tailor, toiling over his small clothes on the banks of the Theiss, you feel that you are in the presence of a great man.
And when he has, with that charming smile of _naivete_ and indifference, shown you his cases of photographs, and his paintings colored and executed by ten of the first living artists in the world--all of whom are in his employ--you follow him into the crystal dome, and are photographed at eight guineas a dozen, with much the feeling you might experience were you one of those honored old women who have their feet washed once a year by the Empress of the French.
"The world likes to be gulled, then let us gull it."
In due time Madame Hesslein, of happy memory, married Vice-Admiral Oldright, who, as she had shrewdly calculated upon, soon got the post of admiral, and she was able to take precedence of all haughty ladies of her set, let them be ever so bitterly proud--she the blacksmith's daughter, a little tailor's wife.
I do not know whether she has yet quite forgotten that dying boy in the wretched shed, or those simple happy days by the river Theiss, but I hear that it is still her favorite waltz:
"Have no heart and a good digestion!"
Knowing the simple soul of my heroine; having a vague conception of the possible grandeur of my hero, feebly, but earnestly portrayed, need I a.s.sure you that happiness shed its golden light upon their future path, and that, hand clasped in hand, they paced through each small grief or joy, fanning in each other that bright and Heaven-born spark which leads us at last to Heaven?
Thus, gentle companions of these tortuous wanderings. I release you from your patient chaperonage. I think we part friends, and gratefully I press your hands, and say _au revoir_!