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estimating his own right of expenditure and powers of improvement. Rash, impetuous, and enthusiastic -yet generous, affectionate, and ingenuous, he was perpetually led into the commission of follies which he repented and despised, but whose recurrence he adopted no stable means of preventing Attributing his faults to weakness immediately connected with that superiority in himself, of which he felt too proud to examine minutely its claims to his partiality, or even his right to the distinction thus arrogated ; and as it served as an apology for idleness at some times, extravagance at others, and eccentricity in all, -as it had been ceded to him by his father, allowed him by his companions, and was the attribute most dear to him in others,-he indulged himself in believing that he was influenced in all he did by possessing genius.
This supposititious power did not, however, prevent the young man from knowing that it was by common application and regular study he had become master of all that which was indeed estimable in his attainments : and so long as the period lasted in which he placed himself under the direction of others, his progress was striking ; for his application was truly that of vigorous intellect, and a noble contempt of surrounding difficulties : but, when to the cares of his profession were added those of his worldly affairs, and the possibility of turning his knowledge to profit, he manifested a carelessness amounting to folly, and an ignorance at which a schoolboy might blush; and, from his scorn of trifles and neglect of petty cares, was continually subject to serious inconveniences, and, in time, to alarming calamities.
At the time of his marriage, Mr. Lewis was about four-and-twenty, and, considering his youth, was in possession of a considerable degree of public favour : but as he had embraced landscape painting (a branch of the art slow in the fame it bestows, and by no means lucrative until that fame is established), it was necessary to husband his little patrimony with prudence, unless he increased it by the ordinary method—that of teaching : but there was, according to his apprehension, a degradation in this mode of employing his abilities, unworthy of a man of genius; he therefore applied himself exclusively to painting ; and, professing himself devoted to his art, conceived with all the ardour natural to his years and character. that success must naturally crown bis labours, more especially as he had made considerable progress in his father's studies, possessed a fine taste for poetry, and had spent much of his time in the composition of an epic poem, from which he promised himself the highest honours.
But, alas! between the pen and the pencil, each applied to by turns, but neither with effect, month after month glided on, and Agnes never perceived that the labours of her husband actually produced any money. For some time she forbore to make any remarks, or express any wishes on the subject, since all her modest wants were more liberally supplied than she desired; but, as she found that all their expenditure arose from a principal which was, by the confession of her husband, fast waning to a close, she became extremely anxious to see those talents, on which she had so often meditated with delight, produce something like the harvest so long promised, especially as she was become the mother of a boy, whom his father beheld with great delight and affection, and whom, from his partiality to the painter of that name, he christened Ludovico Caracci.
They now removed from the northern counties, where they had hitherto resided, to Manchester, as a place of great importance for its wealth, and where the talents of a respectable artist were likely to meet with that enco
couragement not to be expected in a more secluded situation. Mr. Lewis regarded his long residence among the mountains as a period of study in Nature's best academy, and considered this the outset of his professional career. He had obtained many valuable introductions to various wealthy inhabitants, and his hopes were so sanguine, that even the consciousness that he had not more than fifty pounds in the world left, to provide for daily increasing expenditure, failed to affect his spirits, or cast a cloud on his brow.
He was well received at Manchester by those to whom he looked as future patrons ; the specimens of his talents exhibited in his rooms were much admired; some were bought, others ordered and Agnes partook the happiness she had hoped for, though she lamented the expense incurred from residing in a place where the means of living were so much more difficult than she had ever known them; she, however, applied herself with double diligence to the management of their concerns, and endeavoured to supply by frugality the difference in their expenditure.
But now came the time of trial : hitherto Mr. Lewis had followed the bent of his inclination, as it directed his studies, or made those studies his amusement: he was now called upon (as every man is, more or less) to obey the will of others, and submit to certain privations, for certain rewards. But the desultory life he had so long led, his habit of placing Genius at the helm of his thoughts, and indulging in the belief of its all-controlling power, without examining how far caprice, idleness, and folly, assumed its name, either in his own mind or that of others, precluded him from every solid advantage offered to him. Pursuing the dictates of this supposititious impulse, he scorned every other : the pictures ordered were frequently never touched, or if painted, were not according to the wishes of their owners ; they never were finished to any given time ; and it frequently happened that a picture, on which all his hopes of
subsistence depended, was abandoned entirely, whilst he composed couplets intended to garnish the corner of a newspaper, wasted his time in the perusal of a new novel, or, with more apparent wisdom, but to equal loss, pursued some mechanical speculation or learned hypothesis. If any person, who either felt for him that friendship his manners seldom failed to inspire, or was really interested in the speedy conclusion of the work then on his easel, presumed to remonstrate with him on this unfortunate misapplication of his time, he never failed to insist upon “ the utter impossibility of binding minds of a superior class to common rules :" gave a thousand instances in which men of genius had acted in the same eccentric manner ; declared that the moment of inspiration must be employed, but cannot be pressed into the service of art; and that the independence of his mind should never yield to the shackles which the restraints of prudence threw over souls of a more vulgar mould and meaner destination.
The total negligence of the wishes of his patrons was particularly disgusting to the wealthy merchants and manufacturers of Manchester, who, used to regularity in all their proceedings, and seldom educated in a manner that could make them comprehend the nature of that mental labour which is, in fact, the life of the art, viewed his errors with too much austerity, and aggravated the fault, which appeared the greater, because, in opposition to their own mode of action.