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    The Late Mr. Stanfield

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    Chapter 9
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    Every Artist, be he writer, painter, musician, or actor, must bear
    his private sorrows as he best can, and must separate them from the
    exercise of his public pursuit. But it sometimes happens, in
    compensation, that his private loss of a dear friend represents a
    loss on the part of the whole community. Then he may, without
    obtrusion of his individuality, step forth to lay his little wreath
    upon that dear friend's grave.

    On Saturday, the eighteenth of this present month, Clarkson
    Stanfield died. On the afternoon of that day, England lost the
    great marine painter of whom she will be boastful ages hence; the
    National Historian of her speciality, the Sea; the man famous in all
    countries for his marvellous rendering of the waves that break upon
    her shores, of her ships and seamen, of her coasts and skies, of her
    storms and sunshine, of the many marvels of the deep. He who holds
    the oceans in the hollow of His hand had given, associated with
    them, wonderful gifts into his keeping; he had used them well
    through threescore and fourteen years; and, on the afternoon of that
    spring day, relinquished them for ever.

    It is superfluous to record that the painter of "The Battle of
    Trafalgar", of the "Victory being towed into Gibraltar with the body
    of Nelson on Board", of "The Morning after the Wreck", of "The
    Abandoned", of fifty more such works, died in his seventy-fourth
    year, "Mr." Stanfield.--He was an Englishman.

    Those grand pictures will proclaim his powers while paint and canvas
    last. But the writer of these words had been his friend for thirty
    years; and when, a short week or two before his death, he laid that
    once so skilful hand upon the writer's breast and told him they
    would meet again, "but not here", the thoughts of the latter turned,
    for the time, so little to his noble genius, and so much to his
    noble nature!

    He was the soul of frankness, generosity, and simplicity. The most
    genial, the most affectionate, the most loving, and the most lovable
    of men. Success had never for an instant spoiled him. His interest
    in the Theatre as an Institution--the best picturesqueness of which
    may be said to be wholly due to him--was faithful to the last. His
    belief in a Play, his delight in one, the ease with which it moved
    him to tears or to laughter, were most remarkable evidences of the
    heart he must have put into his old theatrical work, and of the
    thorough purpose and sincerity with which it must have been done.
    The writer was very intimately associated with him in some amateur
    plays; and day after day, and night after night, there were the same
    unquenchable freshness, enthusiasm, and impressibility in him,
    though broken in health, even then.

    No Artist can ever have stood by his art with a quieter dignity than
    he always did. Nothing would have induced him to lay it at the feet
    of any human creature. To fawn, or to toady, or to do undeserved
    homage to any one, was an absolute impossibility with him. And yet
    his character was so nicely balanced that he was the last man in the
    world to be suspected of self-assertion, and his modesty was one of
    his most special qualities.

    He was a charitable, religious, gentle, truly good man. A genuine
    man, incapable of pretence or of concealment. He had been a sailor
    once; and all the best characteristics that are popularly attributed
    to sailors, being his, and being in him refined by the influences of
    his Art, formed a whole not likely to be often seen. There is no
    smile that the writer can recall, like his; no manner so naturally
    confiding and so cheerfully engaging. When the writer saw him for
    the last time on earth, the smile and the manner shone out once
    through the weakness, still: the bright unchanging Soul within the
    altered face and form.

    No man was ever held in higher respect by his friends, and yet his
    intimate friends invariably addressed him and spoke of him by a pet
    name. It may need, perhaps, the writer's memory and associations to
    find in this a touching expression of his winning character, his
    playful smile, and pleasant ways. "You know Mrs. Inchbald's story,
    Nature and Art?" wrote Thomas Hood, once, in a letter: "What a fine
    Edition of Nature and Art is Stanfield!"

    Gone! And many and many a dear old day gone with him! But their
    memories remain. And his memory will not soon fade out, for he has
    set his mark upon the restless waters, and his fame will long be
    sounded in the roar of the sea.
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