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Newspaper Page Text
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the situation at a glance, for he came
up to Rennie and held out both his
"Won't you come into my studio?"
he inquired, and, dismissing his
guests for the moment with his court
ly manner, he led the way into the el
evator, which ran swiftly to the top
of the house, where it stopped before
an open door.
""Now, sir?" inquired St Clair
blandly, yet looking keenly upon his
"Mr. St Clair," the young man
burst out impetuously, 'you were kind
enough to praise my picture, 'Lan
tern Light,' at the Amateurs' club yes
terday." "Indeed, I remember it very well,
Mr. Mr. Rennie," said the old man.
Then Rennie was amazed at the
torrent of words that flowed from his
lips. He told him everything, about
his desperate struggle, even about
Muriel,- and ended by saying how a
few words of praise from him would
make his fortune. And I've brought
you my masterpiece," he ended
"St Clair was much moved. He laid
his hands in a fatherly manner on
"I won't offer an opinion now," he
said, "because I am under the influ
ence of the story you have told me.
I want to get the dispassionate view
of a critic. Will you Intrust your
picture with me until tomorrow?"
Stammering out his gratitude, Ren
nie withdrew. His last memory was
of the old man's kindly smile and the
warm sliake of the hand. All that
afternoon he trod upon air.
He hardly slept that night and the
next morning waited feverishly for
the postman. St Clair had promised
to write him a note as soon as he bad
examined the picture. Of course the
letter could not by any possibility ar
rive till afternoon, but Rennie was in
that state of elation when the impos
sible seems certainty.
He paced the streets after the post
man had gone, waiting for the next
delivery. At the news stand he picked
up his morning paper. On the front
page he read the news of St Clair's"
death. The old man had had a stroke
of apoplexy the evening before.
Rennie let the paper fall from his
hands and tears of mortification
streamed down his face. His last hops
gone! St Clair dead, on whom all had
It was three days before he recov
ered sufficiently to go for his picture.
To his amazement he was refused ad
mission. The butler referred him to
St Clair's lawyer, who listened to his
story with a quiet smile.
"You must realize, Mr. Rennie,
that unless you can bring some proof
that the picture is yours . . . have
you any proof? You did not sign it,
"But it was not finished," cried
The lawyer shrugged his should
ers. "All Mr. St Clair's paintings are
to be sold," he said. "You will have
to take legal action in the matter.
And, frankly, young man, no jury will
believe you unless you have some
evidence to bring forward. More
than that you will run the risk of a
prosecution for perjury."
Rennie went out in a daze. He
saw the truth of the lawyer's words.
There was nothing that he could do.
A week later the auction came.
Critics were enthusiastic over the
large number of paintings that was
to be put on the market But of them
all none excited greater-enthusiasm
than the unfinished work to which
the critics gave the name "The Wild
Rennie attended the auction. The
bidding quickly passed the average of
five thousand dollars, at which the
other pictures had gone. A dealer
from the west offered seven thou
sand. Finally, after a spirited com
ptition between him and Rennle's
own dealer, the picture fell to the
latter for twelve thousand.
And MacDrew had paid Rennie an
average of fifteen dollars apiece.
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