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If to a painter, however, he is no poet, no
admirer of music, no gallant devoted to gay
clothes, or delighting to serenade noble dames;
for through the length and breadth of the
studio I can catch no glimpse of lute, or
plumed hat, or velvet mantle trailing on a
chairof sprucely bound volume of Ariosto
or Boccaccio, of soiled glove, or crushed rose-
bud, or crumpled ribbon. The painter, if he
be one, must be a grave, sedate cavalier, and
so, of a truth, he is. No one yet accused
Messire Nicolas Poussin, to whom this studio
belongs, of gallantry, or verse-making, or lute-
twanging, or flower-seeking. He is a tall,
well-made, personable gentleman, prematurely
grey, and of a grave presence. He wears a
justaucorps of black velvet, not quite innocent
of paint-stains, and a well-worn cap of red silk
sits on his crisp and curled locks. He has
palette on thumb and pencil in hand, with
which he is busily calling up, on the canvas
before him, a jovial, riotous, wine-bibbing,
dishevelled crew of fauns and satyrs,
Bacchanals and Hamadryads, dancing, shouting,
and leaping round a most disreputable-looking
old Silenus, bestriding a leopard and very far
gone in liquor.

Anon, the fair-haired boy quits the room,
and, returning, announces that there is one
below would speak with his master. The
words are scarcely out of his mouth, when
the stranger of whom it is question enters.
With much creaking of shoes, and cracking of
joints, and rustling of his brave garments, he
advances to Poussin, and presents him with
a packet of letters, which the painter receives
with a grave reverence. This is Peter de
Laar: here is his shadow.

Take Sancho Panza's head; blend in the
expression of the countenance the shrewd
impudence of Gil Bias, the sententious yet
saucy wit of Figaro, and the stolid humour of
Molière's Sganarelle, yet leave the close-
cropped bullet skull, the swarthy tint, the
grinning ivories, the penthouse ears and
twinkling little eyes of the immortal governor
of Barataria; mount this head on a trunk
combining the strength and muscular development
of Buonarotti's torso with the exuberant
rotundity of Falstaff; plant this trunk on the
legs of Edward Longshanks, of the celebrated
Mr. Cams Wilson, or of that member of the
Daddy Longlegs family, whose inability or
disinclination to perform his orisons led to
his being precipitated down an indefinite
number of stairs. Add to all this, arms
always placed at distressing and eccentric
angles to the body; feet, the toes of which are
always turned in the contrary direction to
that which they ought to be; hands, with
joints for ever cracking, with palms for ever
smiting each other, with thumbs and fingers
and wrists for ever combining themselves
into strange gestures, into concentric balls of
eccentric humour; a nose which, when blown,
resounds like a Chaldean trumpet in the new
moon; moustaches fierce as those of the
Copper Captain, long as those of a Circassian
chieftain, twisted upwards like those of
Mephistopheles in the outlines of Moritz
Retsch. Cover this strange, joyous, bizarre,
humorously awkward, quaint and goguenarde
frame with habiliments so strangely cut, so
queerly fashioned, of such staring colours,
bespattered with such fantastic embroidery,
that you know not whether to call them
vulgar or picturesque, ridiculous or pleasing.
Balance me this notable figure in any position
out of his proper centre of gravity; make
him sit on tables, or on easels, or on wainscot
ledges, till Master Poussin hath courteously
designated an easy chair to him; and even
then let him sit on the back, the legs, the
arms thereof, rather than sit as Christians do.
Let him do nothing as other men do; let him
have a voice whose faintest vibration, before
ever he utters a word, shall make you hold
your sides with laughter; let him be born a
low comedian, a mountebank, a merry-andrew,
a jack-pudding, a paillasse, a live marionette,
even as some men are born scoundrels, and
some women queens. Let him have wit,
talent, impudence (and monstrous impudence!),
good-humour and versatility; let him be a
joyous companion, a firm friend, indifferently
moral, questionably sober, and passing honest;
let him have all those, and you have the
shadow of Peter de Laar, the Dutch painter,
better known in this age by the pseudonym
given him by the Italians, with reference to
his witty buffoonery, of Il Bamboccio.

Peter has come straight from dear old
Amsterdam; from the sluggish canals, the
square-cut trees, the washing-tub-like luggers
and galliots, the parti-coloured houses, the
clean flagstones, tulip-beds, pictorial tiles, pickled
gherkins, linsey-woolsey petticoats, and fat,
honest, stupid, kind Dutch faces of the City of
the Dykes and the Dams, to Rome. He has
come as straight, moreover, as the governor of
the Low Countries, as the police of M. de
Richelieu in France, as a slender purse, and
an inveterate propensity to turn out of the beaten
track wherever there were pretty faces, good
wine, or good company to be found, would
allow him to come. He is come to study
landscape painting in Italy, and has brought
letters of introduction to Poussin, from persons
of consideration both in Holland and France.
The great French painter receives him with
cordiality. Wine and meats are brought in.
Presently enter two friends of Poussin, both
painters: Monsieur Sandrat, who has left
but an unsubstantial shadow to us, and
M. Gelée, whose real appellation has also
been forgotten, but who will live, I trust, as long
as painting lives, under the title of Claude
Lorraine. Peter de Laar is introduced to
them. They talk of things literary, of things
pictorial, of the last scandal in the sacred
college, of the last bon mot on the Corso,
of the success of the Cavaliere Vandyck in
England, of the probable jealousy thereat
of the Cavaliere Rubens; of Gaspar Poussin