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- A Word Only A Word, Volume 3. - 2/13 -
find her sisters with her in Madrid, but the old Cavaliere had taken them away with him to Italy. His "trust in God" was rewarded, for he had inherited a large fortune. What should he do longer in Madrid! To entertain the stiff, grave Spaniards and move them to laughter, was a far less pleasing occupation than to make merry with gay companions and be entertained himself at home.
Sophonisba was provided for, and the beautiful, gay, famous maid of honor would have no lack of suitors. Against his daughter's wish, he had given to the richest and most aristocratic among them, the Sicilian baron Don Fabrizio di Moncada, the hope of gaining her hand. "Conquer the fortress! When it yields--you can hold it," were his last words; but the citadel remained impregnable, though the besieger could bring into the field as allies a knightly, aristocratic bearing, an unsullied character, a handsome, manly figure, winning manners, and great wealth.
Ulrich felt a little disappointed not to find the five young girls, of whom he had dreamed, in Madrid; it would have been pleasant to have some pretty companions in the work now to begin.
Adjoining the studio was a smaller apartment, separated from the former room by a corridor, that could be closed, and by a heavy curtain. Here a table, at which the five girls might easily have found room, was placed in a favorable light for Ulrich. He was to draw from plastic models, and there was no lack of these in the Alcazar, for here rose a high, three- story wing, to which when wearied by the intrigues of statecraft and the restraints of court etiquette, King Philip gladly retired, yielding himself to the only genial impulse of his gloomy soul, and enjoyed the noble forms of art.
In the round hall on the lower floor countless plans, sketches, drawings and works of art were kept in walnut chests of excellent workmanship. Above this beautifully ornamented apartment--was the library, and in the third story the large hall containing the masterpieces of Titian.
The restless statesman, Philip, was no less eager to collect and obtain new and beautiful works by the great Venetian, than to defend and increase his own power and that of the Church. But these treasures were kept jealously guarded, accessible to no human being except himself and his artists.
Philip was all and all to himself; caring nothing for others, he did not deem it necessary, that they should share his pleasures. If anything outside the Church occupied a place in his regard, it was the artist, and therefore he did not grudge him what he denied to others.
Not only in the upper story, but in the lower ones also antique and modern busts and statues were arranged in appropriate places, and Moor was at liberty to choose from among them, for the king permitted him to do what was granted to no one else.
He often summoned him to the Titian Hall, and still more frequently rang the bell and entered the connecting corridor, accessible to himself alone, which led from the rooms devoted to art and science to the treasury and studio, where he spent hours with Moor. Ulrich eagerly devoted himself to the work, and his master watched his labor like an attentive, strict, and faithful teacher; meantime he carefully guarded against overtaxing the boy, allowed him to accompany him on many a ride, and advised him to look about the city. At first the lad liked to stroll through the streets and watch the long, brilliant processions, or timidly shrink back when closely-muffled men, their figures wholly invisible except the eyes and feet, bore a corpse along, or glided on mysterious missions through the streets. The bull-fights might have bewitched him, but be loved horses, and it grieved him to see the noble animal, wounded and killed.
He soon wearied of the civil and religious ceremonies, that might be witnessed nearly every day, and which always exerted the same power of attraction to the inhabitants of Madrid. Priests swarmed in the Alcazar, and soldiers belonging to every branch of military service, daily guarded or marched by the palace.
On the journey he had met plenty of mules with gay plumes and tassels, oddly-dressed peasants and citizens. Gentlemen in brilliant court uniforms, princes and princesses he saw daily in the court-yards, on the stairs, and in the park of the palace.
At Toulouse and in other cities, through which he had passed, life had been far more busy, active, and gay than in quiet Madrid, where everything went on as if people were on their way to church, where a cheerful face was rarely seen, and men and women knew of no sight more beautiful and attractive, than seeing poor Jews and heretics burned.
Ulrich did not need the city; the Alcazar was a world in itself, and offered him everything he desired.
He liked to linger in the stables, for there he could distinguish himself; but it was also delightful to work, for Moor chose models and designs that pleased the lad, and Sophonisba Anguisciola, who often painted for hours in the studio by the master's side, came to Ulrich in the intervals, looked at what he had finished, helped, praised, or scolded him, and never left him without a jest on her lips.
True, he was often left to himself; for the king sometimes summoned the artist and then quitted the palace with him for several days, to visit secluded country houses, and there--the old Hollander had told the lad-- painted under Moor's instructions.
On the whole, there were new, strange, and surprising things enough, to keep the sensation of "Fortune," alive in Ulrich's heart. Only it was vexatious that he found it so hard to make himself intelligible to people, but this too was soon to be remedied, for the pupil obtained two companions.
Alonzo Sanchez Coello, a very distinguished Spanish artist, had his studio in the upper story of the treasury. The king was very friendly to him, and often took him also on his excursions. The gay, lively artist clung without envy, and with ardent reverence, to Moor, whose fellow- pupil he had been in Florence and Venice. During the Netherlander's first visit to Madrid, he had not disdained to seek counsel and instruction from his senior, and even now frequently visited his studio, bringing with him his children Sanchez and Isabella as pupils, and watched the Master closely while he painted.
At first Ulrich was not specially pleased with his new companions, for in the strangely visionary life he led, he had depended solely upon himself and "Fortune," and the figures living in his imagination were the most enjoyable society to him.
Formerly he had drawn eagerly in the morning, joyously anticipated Sophonisba's visit, and then gazed out over his paper and dreamed. How delightful it had been to let his thoughts wander to his heart's content. This could now be done no longer.
So it happened, that at first he could feel no real confidence in Sanchez, who was three years his senior, for the latter's thin limbs and close-cut dark hair made him look exactly like dark-browed Xaver. Therefore his relations with Isabella were all the more friendly.
She was scarcely fourteen, a dear little creature, with awkward limbs, and a face so wonderfully changeful in expression, that it could not fail to be by turns pretty and repellent. She always had beautiful eyes; all her other features were unformed, and might grow charming or exactly the reverse. When her work engrossed her attention, she bit her protruded tongue, and her raven-black hair, usually remarkably smooth, often became so oddly dishevelled, that she looked like a kobold; when, on the other hand, she talked pleasantly or jested, no one could help being pleased.
The child was rarely gifted, and her method of working was an exact contrast to that of the German lad. She progressed slowly, but finally accomplished something admirable; what Ulrich impetuously began had a showy, promising aspect, but in the execution the great idea shrivelled, and the work diminished in merit instead of increasing.
Sanchez Coello remained far behind the other two, but to make amends, he knew many things of which Ulrich's uncorrupted soul had no suspicion.
Little Isabella had been given by her mother, for a duenna, a watchful, ill-tempered widow, Senora Catalina, who never left the girl while she remained with Moor's pupils.
Receiving instruction with others urged Ulrich to rivalry, and also improved his knowledge of Spanish. But he soon became familiar with the language in another way, for one day, as he came out of the stables, a thin man in black, priestly robes, advanced towards him, looked searchingly into his face, then greeted him as a countryman, declaring that it made him happy to speak his dear native tongue again. Finally, he invited the "artist" to visit him. His name was Magister Kochel and he lodged with the king's almoner, for whom he was acting as clerk.
The pallid man with the withered face, deep-set eyes and peculiar grin, which always showed the bluish-red gums above the teeth, did not please the boy, but the thought of being able to talk in his native language attracted him, and he went to the German's.
He soon thought that by so doing he was accomplishing something good and useful, for the former offered to teach him to write and speak Spanish. Ulrich was glad to have escaped from school, and declined this proposal; but when the German suggested that he should content himself with speaking the language, assuring him that it could be accomplished without any difficulty, Ulrich consented and went daily at twilight to the Magister.
Instruction began at once and was pleasant enough, for Kochel let him translate merry tales and love stories from French and Italian books, which he read aloud in German, never scolded him, and after the first half-hour always laid the volume aside to talk with him.
Moor thought it commendable and right, for Ulrich to take upon himself the labor and constraint of studying a language, and promised, when the lessons were over, to give a fitting payment to the Magister, who seemed to have scanty means of livelihood.
The master ought to have been well disposed towards worthy Kochel, for the latter was an enthusiastic admirer of his works. He ranked the Netherlander above Titian and the other great Italian artists, called him the worthy friend of gods and kings, and encouraged his pupil to imitate him.
"Industry, industry!" cried the Magister. "Only by industry is the summit of wealth and fame gained. To be sure, such success demands sacrifices. How rarely is the good man permitted to enjoy the blessing of mass. When did he go to church last?"
Ulrich answered these and similar questions frankly and truthfully,
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