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The Ways of Life: Two Stories

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Downloads: 7

Pages: 217

Published: 3 months ago

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Excerpt: "He was a man approaching sixty, but in perfect health, and with no painful physical reminders that he had already accomplished the greater part of life’s journey. He was a successful man, who had attained at a comparatively early age the heights of his profession, and gained a name for himself. No painter in England was better or more favourably known. He had never been emphatically the fashion, or made one of those great “hits” which are far from being invariably any test of genius; but his pictures had always been looked for with pleasure, and attracted a large and very even share of popular approbation. From year to year, for what was really a very long time, though in his good health and cheerful occupation the progress of time had never forced itself upon him unduly, he had gone on doing{22} very well, getting both praise and pudding—good prices, constant commissions, and a great deal of agreeable applause. A course of gentle uninterrupted success of this description has a curiously tranquillising effect upon the mind. It did not seem to Mr. Sandford, or his wife, or any of his belongings, that it could ever fail. His income was more like an official income, coming in at slightly irregular intervals, and with variations of amount, but wonderfully equal at the year’s end, than the precarious revenues of an artist. And this fact lulled him into security in respect to his pecuniary means. He had a very pleasant, ample, agreeable life—a pretty and comfortable house, full of desirable things; a pleasant, gay, not very profitable, but pleasant family; and the agreeable atmosphere of applause and public interest which gave a touch of perfection to all the other good things. He had the consciousness of being pointed out in every assembly as somebody worth looking at: “That’s Sandford, you know, the painter.” He did not dislike it himself, and Mrs. Sandford liked it very much. Altogether it would have been difficult to find a more pleasant and delightful career."

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