The Story of a Picture

Douglass Sherley
The Story of a Picture, by
Douglass Sherley

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Title: The Story of a Picture
Author: Douglass Sherley
Release Date: February 18, 2005 [EBook #15095]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Kentuckiana Digital Library, David Garcia and the PG
Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

A Dainty Trifle for my Lady Love

By Douglass Sherley
* * * * *
John P. Morton & Co., Louisville,
Copyrighted 1884, By Douglass Sherley.
* * * * *
"Near my bed, there, hangs a Picture jewels could not buy from me."
* * * * *

There was a colored crayon in a crowded shop-window. Other people
passed it by, but a Youth of the Town, with Hope in his heart, leaned
over the guard-rail and looked upon the beauty of that pictured face
long and earnestly.
It was the head of a pretty girl with dark hair and dark eyes. She was
clad in a dainty white gown, loose-flowing and beautiful. In her left
hand, slender and uplifted, a letter; in her right a pen, and beneath it a
spotless page.
She was seated within the shadow of a white marble chimney-piece
richly carved with Cupids, fluttering, kneeling, supplicating; with
arrows new, broken, and mended; with quivers full, depleted, and
empty. The great, broad shelf above her pretty head was laden with rare
and artistic treasures. A vase from India; a costly fan from China; a
dark and mottled bit of color in an ancient frame of tarnished gold,
done by some Flemish master of the long-ago. Beyond all this, a
ground of shadowy green, pale, cool, and delicious. On the table, near
the spotless page and the dear pen-clasping hand, a bunch of flowers;
not a mass of ugly blooms, opulent and oppressive, but a few garden
roses, old-fashioned and exceeding sweet, blushing to their utmost red,

having found themselves so unexpectedly brought into the presence of
this pretty girl.
This, in outline, was the picture. The dealer had written on a slip of
paper, in large, rude letters,
Her answer: Yes, or No.
It was a frameless crayon, thrust aside and somewhat overshadowed by
a huge and garish thing in gaudy-flowered gilt, which easily caught and
held the eye of the busy throng.
The Youth passed on to his duty of the day with Hope in his heart.
Light grew his heavy task, and the drudgery of his work was
forgotten--he was haunted by the sight of that face in the Picture. The
softness of the eye, the sweetness of the mouth, or something, made the
Youth of the noisy Town believe her answer would surely be--Yes.
Now the Youth and the Afternoon Shadows together came and feasted
on the beauty of that Maiden's face. The Shadows, without booty, fled
away into the night. But not so with the Youth. In triumph he brought it
to the favored room of his own dear home; and always thereafter this
Picture gleamed in beauty from out its chimney-piece setting of ebony
and old cherry.
She was always pretty, sometimes beautiful, but not always the same,
this my Lady of the Picture. She was indeed a changeful Lady, as the
story will tell. Those who saw her face when first she was given the
place of honor in the home of this Youth, with Hope in his heart, all
said, and with one accord, "There is but one answer for her to make,
and that one answer is, Yes."
The Easter-tide growing old, and the Summer time new and beautiful,
brought no change. The last light of each day fell on the clear-cut and
delicate face, gilded the dark hair with a deep russet brown, played
about the sweet mouth--and was gone, leaving her with answer yet

The first fire of the Autumn crackled and glowed on the tiled hearth,
and threw a Shadow on the face of the pretty girl in the Picture; and
from that moment there was a change. "But it is only a Shadow from
the fire-light glow," said the Youth of the Town. But something within
whispered, "You are wrong; she is going to say, No."
Again and again the words repeated themselves, clearly and distinctly,
"You are wrong! you are wrong! you are wrong!" Then vaguely and
almost inaudibly, "She is going to say, No;" with his own voice
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