OUR LANDLORD ENTERTAINS
being built into the masonry of the altar, a position it had occupied, no doubt, since the days of Michael Angelo.
“For half an hour I stood before it—worshipping it, really. The longer I looked the more I wanted something to take away with me that would keep it alive in my memory. I drew a little, of course, and had my sketch-book filled, student-like, with bits of architecture, peasants, horses, and things I came across every day; but I knew I could never reproduce the angelic smile on the Madonna’s face, and that was the one thing that made it greater than all the bas-reliefs I had seen in all my wanderings. Then it suddenly occurred to me—there being no photographs in those days: none you could buy of a thing like this—that perhaps I could get some one in the village to make a, the Italians being experts at this work. While I was leaning over the rose-marble rail drinking it in, a door opened somewhere behind the altar and an old priest came slowly toward me.
“‘It is very lovely, holy father,’ I said, in an effort to open up a conversation which might lead somewhere.
“‘Yes!’ he replied curtly; ‘but love it on your knees.’