L'Esplendente [part 9]

I observe replied Mehemed & I adore - Hours after Hours could I pass [45] without regret in the contemplation of these interesting pictures - I could shut myself up with them in this Magasine & desire no other Company. & my Happiness would be compleat - if my Father consented to my taking up my pencil & attempting to imitate them. - What said Jacoup - does any remains of Moorish superstition influence him to deny you so innocent an amusement. These are ridiculous prejudices - & I would have you dispise them - As often as you please during my residence amongst these Hills - you shall repair to this Spot - & divert yourself with my Books - I can furnish you with pencils - There are colours in that chest - on which I have placed the Casket - you may open it - its Contents are at yr devotion. - This was very different Language from what Abdoulrahman had held & Mehmed was so rejoiced by it - that he embraced the old Man [46] & told him that he should ever regard him as an Angel of Consolation. - It was now Midday - & the Israelite thought of taking some refreshment. But unwilling to quit the sight of Treasures - which had afforded so luxurious a repast to his eyes he begged Mehmed to order some Food to be brought them in the Magasine. - This request was shortly complied with - & a mat spread with provisions - When they were consumed - some more iced Sherbet was produced & after Jacoup had drank it off - he commanded all the coffers to be locked except that which contained the manuscripts & fell asleep. - Meanwhile Mehmed was not inactive - his curiosity was inflamed - he pored over the paintings for some time then taking the Colours & pencils from the [47] Chest under the Casket began to pursue his designs. - Many lively figures were sketched out before Jacoup awoke - Surveying them he could scarcely credit his eyes or persuade himself that any person could have advanced so far in an Art of whose principles they were totally ignorant - How such expressive attitudes could proceed from an untaught hand - passed his Comprehension. & he was bewildered in trying to solve the difficulty. - You must have been instructed said he or else to form such shapes & intelligent outlines would have been impossible. - Indeed I know nothing - I scarcely ever drew before - my Father always opposing it - but I am never so happy as when thus employed & inclination violent as mine - goes a fast way. - [48] At this rate truly replied Jacoup it makes prodigious strides. - Well - I am charmed & astonished at the facility of your execution - In my younger days the study of design; engaged a good deal of my attention & I have experienced its pleasures - perhaps I may assist your progress; - but I am certain - that with these resources your Solitude can never tire. - Pardon me - inanimate Objects soon lose their charms & their [sic] are living ones in the plains - most inexpressibly attractive - & which I had rather copy. - To gaze one instant on those lovely Creatures you describe as hurrying about Seville in their gay equipages - would give me more delight than all the peregrinations of Moses shadowed forth in the paintings I admire. - How should I enjoy rambling about the great City with my pencil & [49] walking of an Evening in the Alameda which my Uncle has often mentioned. - There upon I should see fair Beings moving about amongst the Trees - easy & graceful in all their gestures - I should hear their Voices - I should seem transported to another World - What animation such scenes would give to my ideas & I flatter myself the designs these charming objects would inspire - might merit yr approbation. - Where is your fancy roving now - said Jacoup. - Born away by a youthful & extravagant desire of Novelty - you deceive & contradict yourself - an instant ago when the paintings were first discovered you was for immuring yourself with them in a Cave - now they are become old & familiar - your rambling inclination is returned & you breathe nothing but a desire of casting yourself headlong into the midst of the World - Be moderate & contented. - Chase these idle thoughts from yr Bosom - let them give way to serious employments - You have I perceive a Talent for Languages [50] - you speak the Spanish & Arabic with equal fluency - suppose you were to aquire the Hebrew - the poesies of our sublime Soliman would fill your imagination & your active mind would find no small gratification in sounding the debths [sic] of prophesy. - When you are tired of the pencil - have recourse to this improving Study - it will absorb yr Ideas & leave no room for meaner thoughts - Be persuaded & accept my offer of instructing you. I shall have many leisure moments in this rural Habitation & they shall if you are willing be dedicated to your Service. - The quiet of this meadow which yr Father has yielded to me for a certain sum is uniterrupted - my own domestics guard the Avenues - & I intend for the future - sleeping in one of the Tents by the Magasines - that I may be more at hand to inspect my Stores - Come to me then whenever you are disposed & what little Knowledge I possess shall be communicated. -

[Continued in Part 10]


Introduction to L'Esplendente
Part 1 ::: Part 2 ::: Part 3 ::: Part 4 ::: Part 5 ::: Part 6
Part 7 ::: Part 8 ::: Part 9 ::: Part 10 ::: Part 11 ::: Part 12
Part 13 ::: Part 14 ::: Part 15 ::: Part 16 ::: Part 17 ::: Part 18