There was once a sculptor, named Alfred, who having won the large gold
medal and obtained a travelling scholarship, went to Italy, and then
came back to his native land. He was young at that time---indeed, he
is young still, although he is ten years older than he was then. On
his return, he went to visit one of the little towns in the island of
Zealand. The whole town knew who the stranger was; and one of the
richest men in the place gave a party in his honor, and all who were
of any consequence, or who possessed some property, were invited. It
was quite an event, and all the town knew of it, so that it was not
necessary to announce it by beat of drum. Apprentice-boys, children of
the poor, and even the poor people themselves, stood before the house,
watching the lighted windows; and the watchman might easily fancy he
was giving a party also, there were so many people in the streets.
There was quite an air of festivity about it, and the house was full
of it; for Mr. Alfred, the sculptor, was there. He talked and told
anecdotes, and every one listened to him with pleasure, not unmingled
with awe; but none felt so much respect for him as did the elderly
widow of a naval officer. She seemed, so far as Mr. Alfred was
concerned, to be like a piece of fresh blotting-paper that absorbed
all he said and asked for more. She was very appreciative, and
incredibly ignoranta kind of female Gaspar Hauser.

``I should like to see Rome,'' she said; ``it must be a lovely city,
or so many foreigners would not be constantly arriving there. Now, do
give me a description of Rome. How does the city look when you enter
in at the gate?''

``I cannot very well describe it,'' said the sculptor; ``but you enter
on a large open space, in the centre of which stands an obelisk, which
is a thousand years old.''

``An organist!'' exclaimed the lady, who had never heard the word
`obelisk.' Several of the guests could scarcely forbear laughing, and
the sculptor would have had some difficulty in keeping his
countenance, but the smile on his lips faded away; for he caught sight
of a pair of dark-blue eyes close by the side of the inquisitive lady.
They belonged to her daughter; and surely no one who had such a
daughter could be silly. The mother was like a fountain of questions;
and the daughter, who listened but never spoke, might have passed for
the beautiful maid of the fountain. How charming she was! She was a
study for the sculptor to contemplate, but not to converse with; for
she did not speak, or, at least, very seldom.

``Has the pope a great family?'' inquired the lady.

The young man answered considerately, as if the question had been a
different one, ``No; he does not come from a great family.''

``That is not what I asked,'' persisted the widow; ``I mean, has he a
wife and children?''

``The pope is not allowed to marry,'' replied the gentleman.

``I don't like that,'' was the lady's remark.

She certainly might have asked more sensible questions; but if she had
not been allowed to say just what she liked, would her daughter have
been there, leaning so gracefully on her shoulder, and looking
straight before her, with a smile that was almost mournful on her

Mr. Alfred again spoke of Italy, and of the glorious colors in Italian
scenery; the purple hills, the deep blue of the Mediterranean, the
azure of southern skies, whose brightness and glory could only be
surpassed in the north by the deep-blue eyes of a maiden; and he said
this with a peculiar intonation; but she who should have understood
his meaning looked quite unconscious of it, which also was charming.

``Beautiful Italy!'' sighed some of the guests.

``Oh, to travel there!'' exclaimed others.

``Charming! Charming!'' echoed from every voice.

``I may perhaps win a hundred thousand dollars in the lottery,'' said
the naval officer's widow; ``and if I do, we will travel---I and my
daughter; and you, Mr. Alfred, must be our guide. We can all three
travel together, with one or two more of our good friends.'' And she
nodded in such a friendly way at the company, that each imagined
himself to be the favored person who was to accompany them to Italy.
``Yes, we must go,'' she continued; ``but not to those parts where
there are robbers. We will keep to Rome. In the public roads one is
always safe.''

The daughter sighed very gently; and how much there may be in a sigh,
or attributed to it! The young man attributed a great deal of meaning
to this sigh. Those deep-blue eyes, which had been lit up this evening
in honor of him, must conceal treasures, treasures of heart and mind,
richer than all the glories of Rome; and so when he left the party
that night, he had lost it completely to the young lady. The house of
the naval officer's widow was the one most constantly visited by Mr.
Alfred, the sculptor. It was soon understood that his visits were not
intended for that lady, though they were the persons who kept up the
conversation. He came for the sake of the daughter. They called her
Kaela. Her name was really Karen Malena, and these two names had been
contracted into the one name Kaela. She was really beautiful; but some
said she was rather dull, and slept late of a morning.

``She has been accustomed to that,'' her mother said. ``She is a
beauty, and they are always easily tired. She does sleep rather late;
but that makes her eyes so clear.''

What power seemed to lie in the depths of those dark eyes! The young
man felt the truth of the proverb, ``Still waters run deep:'' and his
heart had sunk into their depths. He often talked of his adventures,
and the mamma was as simple and eager in her questions as on the first
evening they met. It was a pleasure to hear Alfred describe anything.
He showed them colored plates of Naples, and spoke of excursions to
Mount Vesuvius, and the eruptions of fire from it. The naval officer's
widow had never heard of them before.

``Good heavens!'' she exclaimed. ``So that is a burning mountain; but
is it not very dangerous to the people who live near it?''

``Whole cities have been destroyed,'' he replied; ``for instance,
Herculaneum and Pompeii.''

``Oh, the poor people! And you saw all that with your own eyes?''

``No; I did not see any of the eruptions which are represented in
those pictures; but I will show you a sketch of my own, which
represents an eruption I once saw.''

He placed a pencil sketch on the table; and mamma, who had been
over-powered with the appearance of the colored plates, threw a glance
at the pale drawing and cried in astonishment, ``What, did you see it
throw up white fire?''

For a moment, Alfred's respect for Kaela's mamma underwent a sudden
shock, and lessened considerably; but, dazzled by the light which
surrounded Kaela, he soon found it quite natural that the old lady
should have no eye for color. After all, it was of very little
consequence; for Kaela's mamma had the best of all possessions;
namely, Kaela herself.

Alfred and Kaela were betrothed, which was a very natural result; and
the betrothal was announced in the newspaper of the little town. Mama
purchased thirty copies of the paper, that she might cut out the
paragraph and send it to friends and acquaintances. The betrothed pair
were very happy, and the mother was happy too. She said it seemed like
connecting herself with Thorwalsden.

``You are a true successor of Thorwalsden,'' she said to Alfred; and
it seemed to him as if, in this instance, mamma had said a clever
thing. Kaela was silent; but her eyes shone, her lips smiled, every
movement was graceful,---in fact, she was beautiful; that cannot be
repeated too often. Alfred decided to take a bust of Kaela as well as
of her mother. They sat to him accordingly, and saw how he moulded and
formed the soft clay with his fingers.

``I suppose it is only on our account that you perform this
common-place work yourself, instead of leaving it to your servant to
do all that sticking together.''

``It is really necessary that I should mould the clay myself,'' he
replied. ``Ah, yes, you are always so polite,'' said mamma, with a
smile; and Kaela silently pressed his hand, all soiled as it was with
the clay.

Then he unfolded to them both the beauties of Nature, in all her
works; he pointed out to them how, in the scale of creation, inanimate
matter was inferior to animate nature; the plant above the mineral,
the animal above the plant, and man above them all. He strove to show
them how the beauty of the mind could be displayed in the outward
form, and that it was the sculptor's task to seize upon that beauty of
expression, and produce it in his works. Kaela stood silent, but
nodded in approbation of what he said, while mamma-in-law made the
following confession:

``It is difficult to follow you; but I go hobbling along after you
with my thoughts, though what you say makes my head whirl round and
round. Still I contrive to lay hold on some of it.''

Kaela's beauty had a firm hold on Alfred; it filled his soul, and held
a mastery over him. Beauty beamed from Kaela's every feature,
glittered in her eyes, lurked in the corners of her mouth, and
pervaded every movement of her agile fingers. Alfred, the sculptor,
saw this. He spoke only to her, thought only of her, and the two
became one; and so it may be said she spoke much, for he was always
talking to her; and he and she were one. Such was the betrothal, and
then came the wedding, with bride's-maids and wedding presents, all
duly mentioned in the wedding speech. Mamma-in-law had set up
Thorwalsden's bust at the end of the table, attired in a
dressing-gown; it was her fancy that he should be a guest. Songs were
sung, and cheers given; for it was a gay wedding, and they were a
handsome pair. ``Pygmalion loved his Galatea,'' said one of the songs.

``Ah, that is some of your mythologies,'' said mamma-in-law.

Next day the youthful pair started for Copenhagen, where they were to
live; mamma-in-law accompanied them, to attend to the ``coarse work,''
as she always called the domestic arrangements. Kaela looked like a
doll in a doll's house, for everything was bright and new, and so
fine. There they sat, all three; and as for Alfred, a proverb may
describe his position---he looked like a swan amongst the geese. The
magic of form had enchanted him; he had looked at the casket without
caring to inquire what it contained, and that omission often brings
the greatest unhappiness into married life. The casket may be injured,
the gilding may fall off, and then the purchaser regrets his bargain.
In a large party it is very disagreeable to find a button giving way,
with no studs at hand to fall back upon; but it is worse still in a
large company to be conscious that your wife and mother-in-law are
talking nonsense, and that you cannot depend upon yourself to produce
a little ready wit to carry off the stupidity of the whole affair.

The young married pair often sat together hand in hand; he would talk,
but she could only now and then let fall a word in the same melodious
voice, the same bell-like tones. It was a mental relief when Sophy,
one of her friends, came to pay them a visit. Sophy was not, pretty.
She was, however, quite free from any physical deformity, although
Kaela used to say she was a little crooked; but no eye, save an
intimate acquaintance, would have noticed it. She was a very sensible
girl, yet it never occurred to her that she might be a dangerous
person in such a house. Her appearance created a new atmosphere in the
doll's house, and air was really required, they all owned that. They
felt the want of a change of air, and consequently the young couple
and their mother travelled to Italy.

``Thank heaven we are at home again within our own four walls,'' said
mamma-in-law and daughter both, on their return after a year's

``There is no real pleasure in travelling,'' said mamma; ``to tell the
truth, it's very wearisome; I beg pardon for saying so. I was soon
very tired of it, although I had my children with me; and, besides,
it's very expensive work travelling, very expensive. And all those
galleries one is expected to see, and the quantity of things you are
obliged to run after! It must be done, for very shame; you are sure to
be asked when you come back if you have seen everything, and will most
likely be told that you've omitted to see what was best worth seeing
of all. I got tired at last of those endless Madonnas; I began to
think I was turning into a Madonna myself.''

``And then the living, mamma,'' said Kaela.

``Yes, indeed,'' she replied, ``no such a thing as a respectable meat
soup---their cookery is miserable stuff.''

The journey had also tired Kaela; but she was always fatigued, that
was the worst of it. So they sent for Sophy, and she was taken into
the house to reside with them, and her presence there was a great
advantage. Mamma-in-law acknowledged that Sophy was not only a clever
housewife, but well-informed and accomplished, though that could
hardly be expected in a person of her limited means. She was also a
generous-hearted, faithful girl; she showed that thoroughly while
Kaela lay sick, fading away. When the casket is everything, the casket
should be strong, or else all is over. And all was over with the
casket, for Kaela died.

``She was beautiful,'' said her mother; ``she was quite different from
the beauties they call `antiques,' for they are so damaged. A beauty
ought to be perfect, and Kaela was a perfect beauty.''

Alfred wept, and mamma wept, and they both wore mourning. The black
dress suited mamma very well, and she wore mourning the longest. She
had also to experience another grief in seeing Alfred marry again,
marry Sophy, who was nothing at all to look at. ``He's gone to the
very extreme,'' said mamma-in-law; ``he has gone from the most
beautiful to the ugliest, and he has forgotten his first wife. Men
have no constancy. My husband was a very different man,---but then he
died before me.''

``\,`Pygmalion loved his Galatea,' was in the song they sung at my
first wedding,'' said Alfred; ``I once fell in love with a beautiful
statue, which awoke to life in my arms; but the kindred soul, which is
a gift from heaven, the angel who can feel and sympathize with and
elevate us, I have not found and won till now. You came, Sophy, not in
the glory of outward beauty, though you are even fairer than is
necessary. The chief thing still remains. You came to teach the
sculptor that his work is but dust and clay only, an outward form made
of a material that decays, and that what we should seek to obtain is
the ethereal essence of mind and spirit. Poor Kaela! our life was but
as a meeting by the way-side; in yonder world, where we shall know
each other from a union of mind, we shall be but mere acquaintances.''

``That was not a loving speech,'' said Sophy, ``nor spoken like a
Christian. In a future state, where there is neither marrying nor
giving in marriage, but where, as you say, souls are attracted to each
other by sympathy; there everything beautiful develops itself, and is
raised to a higher state of existence: her soul will acquire such
completeness that it may harmonize with yours, even more than mine,
and you will then once more utter your first rapturous exclamation of
your love, `Beautiful, most beautiful!'