Marzios Crucifix and Zoroaster

F. Marion Crawford
Marzio's Crucifix and Zoroaster

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Title: Marzio's Crucifix and Zoroaster
Author: F. Marion Crawford

Release Date: September 18, 2005 [eBook #16720]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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The Novels of F. Marion Crawford In Twenty-five Volumes,
Authorized Edition
With Frontispiece
P.F. Collier & Son New York

DAY. --Zoroaster.]


"The whole of this modern fabric of existence is a living lie!" cried

Marzio Pandolfi, striking his little hammer upon the heavy table with
an impatient rap. Then he dropped it and turning on his stool rested one
elbow upon the board while he clasped his long, nervous fingers
together and stared hard at his handsome apprentice. Gianbattista
Bordogni looked up from his work without relinquishing his tools,
nodded gravely, stared up at the high window, and then went on
hammering gently upon his little chisel, guiding the point carefully
among the delicate arabesques traced upon the silver.
"Yes," he said quietly, after a few seconds, "it is all a lie. But what do
you expect, Maestro Marzio? You might as well talk to a stone wall as
preach liberty to these cowards."
"Nevertheless, there are some--there are half a dozen--" muttered
Marzio, relapsing into sullen discontent and slowly turning the body of
the chalice beneath the cord stretched by the pedal on which he pressed
his foot. Having brought under his hand a round boss which was to
become the head of a cherub under his chisel, he rubbed his fingers
over the smooth silver, mechanically, while he contemplated the red
wax model before him. Then there was silence for a space, broken only
by the quick, irregular striking of the two little hammers upon the heads
of the chisels.
Maestro Marzio Pandolfi was a skilled workman and an artist. He was
one of the last of those workers in metals who once sent their
masterpieces from Rome to the great cathedrals of the world; one of the
last of the artistic descendants of Caradosso, of Benvenuto Cellini, of
Claude Ballin, and of all their successors; one of those men of rare
talent who unite the imagination of the artist with the executive skill of
the practised workman. They are hard to find nowadays. Of all the
twenty chisellers of various ages who hammered from morning till
night in the rooms outside, one only--Gianbattista Bordogni--had been
thought worthy by his master to share the privacy of the inner studio.
The lad had talent, said Maestro Marzio, and, what was more, the lad
had ideas--ideas about life, about the future of Italy, about the future of
the world's society. Marzio found in him a pupil, an artist and a
follower of his own political creed.

It was a small room in which they worked together. Plain wooden
shelves lined two of the walls from the floor to the ceiling. The third
was occupied by tables and a door, and in the fourth high grated
windows were situated, from which the clear light fell upon the long
bench before which the two men sat upon high stools. Upon the shelves
were numerous models in red wax, of chalices, monstrances,
marvellous ewers and embossed basins for the ablution of the priests'
hands, crucifixes, crowns, palm and olive branches--in a word, models
of all those things which pertain to the service and decoration of the
church, and upon which it has been the privilege of the silversmith to
expend his art and labour from time immemorial until the present day.
There were some few casts in plaster, but almost all were of that deep
red, strong-smelling wax which is the most fit medium for the
temporary expression and study of very fine and intricate designs.
There is something in the very colour which, to one acquainted with the
art, suggests beautiful fancies. It is the red of the Pompeian walls, and
the rich tint seems to call up the matchless traceries of the ancients. Old
chisellers say that no one can model anything wholly bad in red wax,
and there is
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