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the world, at least they should do so.' However, after he got to know Hughie better, he liked him quite as much for his bright buoyant spirits and his generous reckless nature, and had given him the permanent entrée to his studio.
When Hughie came in he found Trevor putting the finishing touches to a wonderful life-size picture of a beggar-man. The beggar himself was standing on a raised platform in a corner of the studio. He was a wizened old man, with a face like wrinkled parchment, and a most piteous expression. Over his shoulders was flung a coarse brown cloak, all tears and tatters; his thick boots were patched and cobbled, and with one hand he leant on a rough stick, while with the other he held out his battered hat for alms.
'What an amazing model!' whispered Hughie, as he shook hands with his friend.
'An amazing model?' shouted Trevor at the top of his voice; 'I should think so! Such beggars as he are not to be met with every day. A trouvaille, mon cher; a living Velasquez ! My stars! what an etching Rembrandt would have made of him!'
'Poor old chap!' said Hughie, 'how miserable he looks! But I suppose, to you painters, his face is his fortune?'
Certainly,' replied Trevor, 'you don't want a beggar to look happy, do you?'
'How much does a model get for sitting?' asked Hughie, as he found himself a comfortable seat on a divan.
'A shilling an hour.'
'And how much do you get for your picture, Alan?'
"Oh, for this I get two thousand!'
'Guineas. Painters, poets, and physicians always get guineas.'
'Well, I think the model should have a percentage,' cried Hughie, laughing; 'they work quite as hard as you do.'
'Nonsense, nonsense! Why, look at the trouble of laying on the paint alone, and standing all day long at one's easel! It's all very well, Hughie, for you to talk, but I assure you that there are moments when Art almost attains to the dignity of manual labour. But you mustn't chatter; I'm very busy. Smoke a cigarette, and keep quiet.'
After some time the servant came in, and told Trevor that the frame-maker wanted to speak to him.
'Don't run away, Hughie,' he said, as he went out, I will be back in a moment.'
The old beggar-man took advantage of Trevor's absence to rest for a moment on a wooden bench that was behind him. He looked so forlorn and wretched that Hughie could not help pitying him, and felt in his pockets to see what money he had. All he could find was a sovereign and some coppers. 'Poor old fellow,' he thought to himself, 'he wants it more than I do, but it means no hansoms for a fortnight;' and he walked across the studio and slipped the sovereign into the beggar's hand.
The old man started, and a faint smile flitted across his withered lips. 'Thank you,
sir,' he said, 'thank you.'
Then Trevor arrived, and Hughie took his leave, blushing a little at what he had done. He spent the day with Laura, got a charming scolding for his extravagance, and had to walk home.
That night he strolled into the Palette
Club about eleven o'clock, and found Trevor sitting by himself in the smoking-room drinking hock and seltzer.
'Well, Alan, did you get the picture finished all right?' he said, as he lit his cigarette. 'Finished and framed, my boy!' answered Trevor; and, by-the-bye, you have made a conquest. That old model you saw is quite devoted to you. I had to tell him all about you—who you are, where you live, what your income is, what prospects you have
'My dear Alan,' cried Hughie, 'I shall probably find him waiting for me when I go home. But of course you are only joking. Poor old wretch ! I wish I could do something for him. I think it is dreadful that any one should be so miserable.
heaps of old clothes at home-do
he would care for any of them?
rags were falling to bits.'
I have got
'But he looks splendid in them,' said Trevor. 'I wouldn't paint him in a frockcoat for anything. What you call rags I call romance. What seems poverty to you is picturesqueness to me. However, I'll tell him of your offer.'
'Alan,' said Hughie seriously, 'you painters are a heartless lot.'
'An artist's heart is his head,' replied Trevor; and besides, our business is to realise the world as we see it, not to reform it as we know it. A chacun son métier. And now tell me how Laura is. The old model was quite interested in her.'
'You don't mean to say you talked to him about her?' said Hughie.
'Certainly I did. He knows all about the relentless colonel, the lovely Laura, and the £10,000.'
'You told that old beggar all my private affairs?' cried Hughie, looking very red and angry.
'My dear boy,' said Trevor, smiling, 'that old beggar, as you call him, is one of the richest men in Europe. He could buy all London to-morrow without overdrawing his account. He has a house in every capital, dines off gold plate, and can prevent Russia going to war when he chooses.'
'What on earth do you mean?' exclaimed Hughie.
'What I say,' said Trevor.
'The old man