How transparent is the water!
What life breathes in the animals that quench their thirst at that spring!
How that steeple shines! How beautiful are those clustering trees!"
This was the last expiring throb of an artist's vanity.
The ominous silence continued, and Samuel, sick at heart, buried his face in his hands.
"Twenty-one thalers!" murmured a faint voice, just as the auctioneer was about to knock down the picture.
The stupefied painter gave a start of joy.
He raised his head and looked to see from whose lips those blessed words had come.
It was the picture dealer, to whom he had first thought of applying.
"Fifty thalers," cried a sonorous voice.
This time a tall man in black was the speaker.
There was a silence of hushed expectation.
"One hundred thalers," at length thundered the picture dealer.
"Three hundred!" "Five hundred!" "One thousand!"
Another profound silence, and the crowd pressed around the two opponents, who stood opposite each other with eager and angry looks.
"Two thousand thalers!" cried the picture dealer, and glanced around him triumphantly, when he saw his adversary hesitate.