Himalaya: Listen. Learn. Grow.
" Maisoui; did you not know?"
"Howshould I know? It is true I had never heard of this work; but I thought perhapsit had fallen into the hands of a private owner. Even now there is no certainlist of Strickland's paintings. "
"When hegrew blind he would sit hour after hour in those two rooms that he had painted,looking at his works with sightless eyes, and seeing, perhaps, more than he hadever seen in his life before. Ata told me that he never complained of his fate,he never lost courage. To the end his mind remained serene and undisturbed. Buthe made her promise that when she had buried him -- did I tell you that I dughis grave with my own hands, for none of the natives would approach theinfected house, and we buried him, she and I, sewn up in three pareos joinedtogether, under the mango-tree -- he made her promise that she would set fireto the house and not leave it till it was burned to the ground and not a stickremained. "
I did not speakfor a while, for I was thinking. Then I said:
"Heremained the same to the end, then. "
"Do youunderstand? I must tell you that I thought it my duty to dissuade her. "
"Evenafter what you have just said?"
"Yes; forI knew that here was a work of genius, and I did not think we had the right todeprive the world of it. But Ata would not listen to me. She had promised. Iwould not stay to witness the barbarous deed, and it was only afterwards that Iheard what she had done. She poured paraffin on the dry floors and on thepandanus-mats, and then she set fire. In a little while nothing remained butsmouldering embers, and a great masterpiece existed no longer.