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two hundred and fifty-four years ago—though railroads there were none, and the Italian highways were infested with robbers-strangers flocked through the gates of Florence, eager to see her treasures, if not ambitious to add to their store.

So came among many others the traveller of whom we began to speak—a little boy of twelve years old, whose clothes were poor and threadbare, and his shoes covered with dust; whose eyes had a weary look, and yet seemed to brighten as the towers of the fair city met his gaze. Soldiers passed him in gay uniforms, but they did not notice the ragged little boy ; they did not know that under that mean clothing there beat a heart as brave, perhaps braver, than any of theirs. Ladies and gentlemen went by in fine carriages to take their evening drive, little thinking that the child whose wondering eyes for an instant met their own, would be remembered in the great world when they were forgotten. And still little Pietro stood in the shadow of the old arch. way, heedless of everything except the glad thought that his journey was ended—that he was indeed in Florence!

And a long journey it had been for those little feet to travel, and tired enough they were before it came to an end; but the brave little heart never lost courage--never wished to turn back: and so, like all purposes honestly and faithfully pursued, Pietro's purpose had been accomplished.

Twelve years before Pietro Berretini had been born in the town of Cortona, fifty or sixty miles from Florence. His parents were poor people, who had little time and less money to bestow on their son's education, and never dreamt of his requiring any in their humble position in life. But Pietro, in his rambles among the hills, was learning (as we often do unconsciously) many a lesson most valuable to him in after years. As he looked on that lovely plain glowing in the sunshine, or watched the cloud shadows chase each other on a windy day over the bosom of the Lake Perugia, a great longing would come upon him, child as he was. Not the longing to be a rich man, the owner of those fields and vineyards ; nor yet to be a soldier, like those whom Hannibal had led to victory on the shores of that peaceful lake in the days when it was called Thrasymene. Neither of these destinies would have satisfied Pietro's ambition. The wish of his heart was to be a painter, and not a painter only, but a "great painter," one whose works should be known and admired long, long after he was dead. But how could he ever hope for the fulfilment of this daring wish, with no friend to help him and scarcely money enough to buy food, much less anything else? Pietro said this to himself over and over again ; and often when his father, frowning half proudly, half angrily over his childish sketches, bade him learn some useful trade instead, the tears would come into the boy's dark eyes, and he would try to forget his darl

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ing project, which only seemed more fascinating from its seeming impossibility.

“And why should it be so impossible ?” thought poor little Pietro one day, as he lay on the hill-side looking up into the blue sky. “Why should I not be a painter as well as others ? Giotto was only a shepherd-boy when Cimabue found him drawing a lamb on a stone, and he became very famous; but then he had a painter for his friend, and there are no painters here,” he continued half aloud, in a disconsolate tone. Suddenly he started to his feet, disturbing thereby some sheep who had been partaking with him the shade of an old wall. What could it be that made the boy's cheek flush and his whole appearance so different from what it was a few minutes before ? A new thought had struck him: if there were no painters in Cortona, there were plenty in Florence, and to Florence he would go! It must be a long way off, that he knew; but he was strong and could walk well, and even if he did get tired, what did that matter-what did anything matter so that he became a painter? The thought grew, and grew, till at last Pietro could contain it no longer, and he told his intentions to his parents. At first they laughed, thinking it was a boyish fancy that would soon pass off; but finding, as time went on, that Pietro's restlessness only increased, and that he showed no inclination for any other employment, they gave a reluctant consent to the Florentine expedition.

Thus it was that, a few days after, Pietro found himself standing under the Porto San Giorgio, as has been elsewhere described. The boy was in a perfect maze of delight; forgetting both fatigue and hunger, he wandered from street to street, not knowing the names of the palaces, but admiring their grandeur, and longing to sketch some of the quaint old cornices which were beginning to cast curiously-shaped shadows over the walls below. One palace took his fancy particularly from its size and magnificence. He peeped into the courtyard, and saw statues and fountains such as he had never seen before, excepting perhaps in his dreams; but he was not allowed to gaze very long. A sentinel appeared, who drove away the little intruder, telling him that this was the Pitti Palace, and that it belonged to the Grand Duke. Years afterwards, when Pietro was employed to decorate this very palace with frescoes, and the sentinels made their salutes as he went out and in, no doubt the thought of those days often came back to him, and gave him a double interest in. his work. But hunger and fatigue, though they may be forgotten for a while, will make themselves felt at last, and Pietro began to wish for some supper and the sight of a friendly face. In all the rich city of Florence there was but one person who knew anything about him, and he was only a poor boy like himself who had left Cortona some months before to become a scullion in Cardinal Sachetti's kitchen. Still Pietro felt as if the very living in Florence must make his friend richer and wiser than he was. So on he went with the same unflinching perseverance that had brought him all the way from home, walking through street after street, and now and then asking his road to Cardinal Sachetti's house. People wondered for a moment what such a poor boy could want with the Cardinal, but most of them thought he must be one of the numerous beggars who every day thronged the rich men's gates. At last the house was reached, and, in answer to Pietro's inquiries, out came little Andrea, radiant with joy at the unexpected meeting. There was much to be asked and answered on both sides, and long and earnestly the friends consulted together as to how Pietro should maintain himself until he became a great painter, for neither seemed to doubt that he would become so in time.

Andrea's wages were very sinall; but he was as generous as Pietro was brave, and all that he had he was willing to share with his little fellorcountryman.

"And then at night, Pietro," he continued, "you can have half my bed, and there is always plenty of broken meat in the kitchen. I will ask the cook to give you some every day."

Pietro warmly expressed his thanks, and promised in return that the very

choicest of his drawings should adorn the walls of Andrea's little garret.

From that time the two friends lived together; but they saw little of one another excepting at night. Andrea had his duties to perform in the kitchen, and Pietro was up with the dawn, exploring the neighbourhood for subjects for his drawings. Sometimes he would wander away to a great distance from Florence, sketching anything that struck him as he went, until the morning had brightened into noon, and noon again had faded away into evening. Then the beautiful lights and shadows which fell over the land would tempt him to go on with his sketches till the dark veil of night hid everything from his eager eyes; and with a crust of bread for his supper, and a tree for his tent, the little painter would lie down to sleep. As soon as the morning mists had cleared away, he was at work again, earnestly and lovingly study. ing the landscape before him, sometimes hopeful, sometimes disheartened, but never satisfied until he felt he had at all events done his very best. Poor as he was, hardly able to procure drawing materials with the little money he could earn, many a rich idler might have envied Pietro in those days; for he was improving to the utmost the talent which God had given him. No one shared in his joy when his efforts were successful—when some spreading bough or distant mountain on his paper looked indeed something like the beautiful reality; no one knew how many tears he shed over that same little

INTERVIEW WITH THE CARDINAL.

519

portfolio on other days when his utmost endeavours could only produce a stiff caricature of what he saw; when his mountain outlines would look harsh and dark, and nearer objects vague and confused ; and

poor Pietro felt almost ready to throw down his pencil, and become a scullion like Andrea.

Andrea meanwhile, though he knew nothing of painting, and could not understand why Pietro took his failures so much to heart, or why a good day's work always sent him home with such a beaming countenance, did his best to enter into his friend's joys and sorrows. He admired and wondered, and repeated over and over again, “Pietro, you will one day be a great painter," until Pietro would smile and say, “If I do, Andrea, you shall not be a scullion any more.” And then the boys would set to work to arrange

and re-arrange

Pietro's performances on the walls of their little room, which began to look like a humble picture gallery. So things went on for two years—Pietro patiently working, still waiting for some one to teach him, but, as it seemed, waiting in vain. One day he had gone out on rather a longer excursion than usual, and it was late when he reached Cardinal Sachetti's door. Andrea met him with a face that wore an expression

of anxiety.

“Oh, Pietro ! why did you leave those drawings of yours so carelessly in the hall ?” he said. His eminence found them, and inquired whose they were ; and he says you are to go up to his library directly. How angry he will be with us both !”

“Never mind, Andren," said his stout-hearted little friend. "I won't stay here any longer if the cardinal does not like it, and he cannot be so cruel as to turn you away for giving me half your bed, I am sure !”

Nevertheless Pietro felt his heart beat quickly, and the colour mount into his cheeks, as he went to obey the cardinal's summons. There was no occasion, however, for all this fear. Cardinal Sachetti received him very kindly, admired his drawings, and still more his industry and perseverance, heard the story of his toils and struggles, , and finally offered to send him to Rome, with a pension for his support, and a recommendation to the best painters of the day. What could Pietro say in reply? He stammered out a few words of thanks, but his head was too busy with surprise and delight to express

At last the time had come when all his efforts were to be rewarded, and his struggles to end! And he would work ! Oh, how he would work when once he got to Rome, and there was somebody to teach him!

What news this was to carry back to Andrea in his garret; poor Andrea who sat there quaking lest his kindness might have cost him his place. Pietro was so intent on his own happiness, so eloquent

all he felt.

about his future plans, that he did not perceive the tears in Andrea's eyes. He was thinking how lonely the little garret would seem now, and how likely it was that his friend would forget him among all the great people at Rome. But Andrea was too unselfish to dwell long on such thoughts, and very soon he was entering heart and soul into Pietro's preparations. Some of the sketches had to be taken down that Pietro might show them to his new master, others were left in their old places, much to Andrea's delight. There was something sad in bidding adieu to the room where he had lived so long, and even in the midst of his happiness Pietro could not help sighing deeply as he glanced round it for the last time. Then came a tearfal parting with Andrea-a pleasant journey-and Rome !

Pietro kept his resolution, and worked diligently under his master, Baccio Ciarpi. He had a great deal to learn, and when he compared his best sketches with the works of Raffaele and Carravaggio, he felt how much it was. Still this did not depress him; it only made him say with more earnestness, as one said before him, “And I too will be a painter!” His talents soon began to attract attention, and two pictures which he painted for his patron, the cardinal, were thought wonderful for such a mere boy. The subjects were—the Rape of the Sabines, and one of Alexander's Battles; and doubtless Pietro did his very best in memory of the old days. Pope Urban VIII. heard of this young painter, and honoured him with a commission to paint a chapel in the Church of St. Bibiena. Ciampelli, a Florentine artist of great talents and experience was employed in the same way, and great was his indignation when he saw Pietro enter the chapel. “Is his Holiness mad," he thought, "to entrust such an undertaking to this youth?”

But Pietro went on with his work, discouraged as little by lower. ing and jealous looks as he had been by hunger and poverty; and so well did he succeed that Ciampelli ceased to frown, and admitted that the youth he had despised was well worthy of his Holiness's patronage. He was soon after again employed to adorn the ceiling of the grand saloon in the Palazzo Barberini with frescoes. This is Pietro's greatest work, and

to see and admire it; but of the many there are some who do not know his early history, nor how sore were his struggles before he attained that proficiency in his art. It is pleasant to watch him rising step by step on the ladder of fame ; now som. moned by the Grand Duke Ferdinand to enrich the Pitti Palace with his frescoes; now by Pope Alexander VII. to receive the order of the Golden Spur ;—pleasant to feel that his childhood's trials were not all in vain, and that he did become, what he so longed to be a great painter ; but pleasanter still to know that amidst all this prosperity, his humble countryman was not forgotten, that the golden

many

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