She sat with great intensity, giving the whole of her mind toit, and was capable of remaining for an hour almost as motionlessas if she were before a photographer’s lens. I couldsee she had been photographed often, but somehow the very habitthat made her good for that purpose unfitted her for mine. At first I was extremely pleased with her lady-like air, and itwas a satisfaction, on coming to follow her lines, to see howgood they were and how far they could lead the pencil. Butafter a few times I began to find her too insurmountably stiff;do what I would with it my drawing looked like a photograph or acopy of a photograph. Her figure had no variety ofexpression—she herself had no sense of variety. Youmay say that this was my business, was only a question of placingher. I placed her in every conceivable position, but shemanaged to obliterate their differences. She was always alady certainly, and into the bargain was always the samelady. She was the real thing, but always the samething. There were moments when I was oppressed by theserenity of her confidence that she was the realthing.
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Alsager, more and more his good genius and, as herepeatedly assured her, his ministering angel, confirmed him inthis superior policy and urged him on to every form of artisticdevotion. She had, naturally, never been more interestedthan now in his work; she wanted to hear everything abouteverything. She treated him as heroically fatigued, pliedhim with luxurious restoratives, made him stretch himself oncushions and rose-leaves. They gossipped more than ever, byher fire, about the artistic life; he confided to her, forinstance, all his hopes and fears, all his experiments andanxieties, on the subject of the representative of Nona. She was immensely interested in this young lady and showed it bytaking a box again and again (she had seen her half-a-dozen timesalready), to study her capacity through the veil of her presentpart. Like Allan Wayworth she found her encouraging only byfits, for she had fine flashes of badness. She wasintelligent, but she cried aloud for training, and the trainingwas so absent that the intelligence had only a fraction of itseffect. She was like a knife without an edge—goodsteel that had never been sharpened; she hacked away at her harddramatic loaf, she couldn’t cut it smooth.