BOOK II. OLD AND YOUNG.
22. CHAPTER XXII.
Since things were going on so pleasantly, Mr. Casaubon's statement
that his labors in the Library would be suspended for a couple of days,
and that after a brief renewal he should have no further reason
for staying in Rome, encouraged Will to urge that Mrs. Casaubon
should not go away without seeing a studio or two. Would not
Mr. Casaubon take her? That sort of thing ought not to be missed:
it was quite special: it was a form of life that grew like a small
fresh vegetation with its population of insects on huge fossils.
Will would be happy to conduct them--not to anything wearisome,
only to a few examples.
Mr. Casaubon, seeing Dorothea look earnestly towards him,
could not but ask her if she would be interested in such visits:
he was now at her service during the whole day; and it was agreed
that Will should come on the morrow and drive with them.
Will could not omit Thorwaldsen, a living celebrity about whom
even Mr. Casaubon inquired, but before the day was far advanced
he led the way to the studio of his friend Adolf Naumann,
whom he mentioned as one of the chief renovators of Christian art,
one of those who had not only revived but expanded that grand
conception of supreme events as mysteries at which the successive
ages were spectators, and in relation to which the great souls
of all periods became as it were contemporaries. Will added
that he had made himself Naumann's pupil for the nonce.
"I have been making some oil-sketches under him," said Will.
"I hate copying. I must put something of my own in. Naumann has
been painting the Saints drawing the Car of the Church, and I have
been making a sketch of Marlowe's Tamburlaine Driving the Conquered
Kings in his Chariot. I am not so ecclesiastical as Naumann,
and I sometimes twit him with his excess of meaning. But this time
I mean to outdo him in breadth of intention. I take Tamburlaine
in his chariot for the tremendous course of the world's physical
history lashing on the harnessed dynasties. In my opinion, that is
a good mythical interpretation." Will here looked at Mr. Casaubon,
who received this offhand treatment of symbolism very uneasily,
and bowed with a neutral air.