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Wood however did not much mind being shut up in his steeple, because it commanded more extensive views of the surrounding country; but as he could not live forever upon landscape, and as the sheriff resolutely persisted in dispensing him nothing but duke Humphrey's fare, it became necessary at these times, to open a negociation in which it was always stipulated that he should give up his black lead pencil, mind his work, and forever abandon the wicked custom of lounging on the banks of the lake which lay at some little distance among the mountains. These truces did not last in general longer than those of the English and Scotish borderers, and very shortly after the ratification of the last agreement of this kind, the young offender was detected in the very act of sketching the outlines of one of those fine mountains, that threw its dark shadows into the middle of the forbidden lake. Such an open breach of the peace produced further hostilities, and Wood finally at the age of fifteen put himself under the care of the destinies, and trugged away to New York, with his lcad pencil, and six dollars in his pocket, to seek his fortune. His object was to find some situation in which he might improve himself in drawing.
Those who have had the happiness of being set adrift in the world in early life, to stem the tide of fortune, or yield to its force, as fate ordains, will be able to conceive the difficulties that lay in the way of our raw adventurer. Wherever he directed his applications, they met with disappointment, and often with insult. One recommended him to go home and improve himself in the noble art of sowing turnips, another to bind himself apprentice to some distinguished sign painter, while a third advised him by all means to go and hang himself. In short, every where his hopes were disappointed, his feelings insulted, and his perseverance was exercised in vain; for at the end of two years, during which time he supported himself by working in summer, and playing the violin in winter, he still remained without a friend to take him by the hand, or a hope to beckon hiin on to continue his pursuit. Walking one day along Broadway, indulging in some of those precious contemplations that spring from oft baffled expectations, and perseverance long exercised in vain, Wood was attracted by some miniature pictures in the
window of a silver-suriith's shop. Ile went in and after some ncgociation, the master, who had some little knowledge of him, received him as an apprentice, and graciously allowed him to look at the pictures in the window when he had nothing else to do. While herc, he accidentally hurt his left hand, and being incapable for a time of assisting in the business of the shop, was permitted to attempt a copy of one of the minitures, which however were none of the best. This was the dawning of better days, for he succeeded, in this aitcmpt so as not only to encourage his own hopes, but to escite weil grounded expectations in others.
In this situation he continued semie time longer occasionally stealing a few hours to devoti iu paiming; when he had the good fortune to attract the notice of the late Mr. Vallone', an artist who not only excelled others in his ars, but also in those excellent qualities that give a man a lastias piace in the recollections of his friends. This gentleman was at that time considered as unquestionably the best miniature painter in this country; and as it is when a man ferils himself above the danger of rivalry, that he is most apt to encourage merit in his own profession, he generously gave his assistance to a friendless adventurer, who possessed a claim to his regard in a congeniality of taste and genius. While he lived he was Wood's best friend, and when he died he left him an exampie in his life and a pattern in his works. By thus discipiining his genius in the school of so finc a master, and by unwearieri csiluity in his profession, Wood became what he now is, the rightfui successor of his excellent friend, and the first artist in his line, in the United States.
It is with great pleasure ve aul, that after having by the vifour and perseverance of his indul, overcame every obstacle that opposed his pursuit, Wood lud the picasure of seeing his aged father live to witness lis success and to lear hiin retract his rash prophecy “that the boy would be ruineel.” Ile is now exercising his talents in Newyork without a rival, and with a clear prospect of that reputation and independence which ought ever to be the reward of genuis and industry, and which in the opinion of those who know him best, he merits by excellence in his art as well as hy his iinassuming manners and genuine worth.
THE FALSE PRINCE OF MODENA.
An Anecdote of the 18th Century.
Translated for the Port Folio.
Of all the imposters who under false names have shone more or less on the theatre of the world, one of the most remarkable, by the singularity of the circumstances which favoured his imposture, is a youth who made his appearance about the middle of the last century in the island of Martinique, under the title of Hereditary Prince of Modena. The following is a statement of the facts such as they have been reported by an eye-witness, who without pretending to explain them, simply relates what passed under his own observation. He deserves the more confidence, because never having shared in the credulity of those who were seduced by so singular an imposture, he cannot be suspected of exaggerating the inconceivable circumstances which might in some measure seem as an excuse for this credulity.
In the beginning of the year 1743, France being yet at war with Great Britain, a small merchant vessel bound from Rochelle to the Cul-de-sac Marin, a port of Martinique, was so closely pursued by the English cruisers which blockaded that island, that the captain seeing the impossibility of saving his vessel and cargo, determined on trying at least to escape captivity, by throwing himself and all his crew into his long-boat; they succeeded in reaching the shore in safety, but with the loss of all their effects.
Besides the crew, which was not numerous, this captain had on board with him a young man, of eighteen or nineteen years of age, whose fcatures, without being beautiful or regular, were agreeable, his figure elegant although small, but who was especially remarkable by the fairness and extreme delicacy of his skin, which seemed to indicate an elevated rank in life. He called himself the Count of Tarnaud, son of a major-general, and the respect of the crew appeared to announce a still more distinguished situation. He had however sailed without any attendants; the only person who was particularly attached to his person was one Rhodez, a young sailor of about 24 years of age, the captain's mate, with whom he had become acquainted during the passage.
This young man scened to enjoy his intimate confidence; but on the part of Rhodez the intimacy did not annount to familiarity, and the most unequivocal marks of respect betrayed his consideration for the stranger.
Tne latter, when they reached the shore, had inquired for some reputable inhabitant of the island, at whose house he might find an asylum and assistance. The residence of an officer, named Duval Ferrol, who lived near the spot where they had landed, was pointed out to him. He went there, without any other recommendation than the misfortune he had lately undergone. He was received as is usuai in America, and in all countries where the difficulty of communication between the inhabitants supports the exercise of hospitality, and established himselfthere with Rhodez.
All sorts of attentions were shown hins; these he accepted, as if he rather conferred than received a fuvour. Ile eluded by vague answers the .mcrous questions addressed to him; and the mysterious couduct of Rhodez supported and even increased a curiosity which was directed towards the young stranger with greater vivacity in consequence of the captain's refusing to answer all inquiries respecting him. He mcrciy said in confidence to the commandant of the Cul-de-suc Marin, that this youth had been brought to him by a merchant, who had recommended to him in private, but without giving any farther instructions, to treat him with great respect, because he was a person of importance.*
Every thing about the young man appeared indeed mysterious and extraordinary. He had arrived at Rochelle, as has been since learnt, some time before his embarkation. He was at that time accompanied by an elderly man who appeared to be his mentor. Nobody knew by what conveyance they had come. They were both dressed with the greatest simplicity. On arriving at Rochelle, instead of stopping at an inn, they had hired a small apartment in a private house, and had immediately caused it to
*This captain's name was Mendavid; he was a very ignorant and stupid individual.
be furnished at their expense, at no great cost indeed, but comfortably. During their residence in that city, the young man had lived very retired, never going out, seeing nobody, living principally on shell-fish and especially fresh-water cray-fish, which are scarce and dear at Rochelle.
The old man, on the contrary, was a great deal from home; his chief business seemed to consist in finding an opportunity to embark his pupil, which was not an easy matter in consequence of the war.
At last one had presented itself: when the youth set out to go on board, the woman at whose house he lodged having asked him what she should do with his furniture; “keep it,” answered he, “ to remember me.' His conductor who witnessed this act of generosity, had scarcely appeared to notice it. The present might be estimated at ałout five hundred livres; but the most singular circin.st:ince was that he who made it did not take with him, in money and effects, much more than the value of that sum; and from the manner of his dr but in the colony, it was not to be presumed that lie had secured for himself any very certain rescources there. However nothing scemed to give him uneasiness during the passage. His manners had constantly been dignified, without prodigality. When they found themselves obliged to betake themselves to their boat and coast along the island in order to escape the English, they had not had time to put any provisions on board, the crew were starving; he purchased of a planter, whom they met in his pirogue, the provisions he was carrying to splantation, and distributed them among the sailors, who, as will easily be believed, were filled with new respect for the young passenger, whose iinportance was already made known to them by the mysterious recommendation given to the captain.
Some of these details were soon spread about the island; it was known from the sailors that their passenger had been sick on board; that all kinds of attention were paid him; that he had received them with great aftability and goodness, mingled however with a little hauteur. During his indisposition, Rhodez, by the captain's orilers, never left the sick gentleman; and from this time dated the intercourse of confidence on one part, and of