The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 05

The big art room was shrouded in the silence of deep concentration. Life Drawing, with tutor Mr Peregrine Scoular on patrol, meant that for all the pupils, even garrulous Josh Glen, this was no place for making conversation.A model in Grecian draperies sat on a plinth, one graceful hand extended towards an urn, the other resting on her knee. Her head was bent. The students busied themselves at their easels, the silence broken now and then by a sigh or a snort of exasperation. Constance met Adam’s gaze across the room.“I hate life drawing!” she mouthed.“Look out!” he mouthed back with a grin. Mr Scoular was standing right behind her.“Is that meant to be a hand, Constance?” he asked with exaggerated politeness.Constance blushed scarlet.“I haven’t finished,” she replied, defensive.“Don’t finish. Start again.”The voice was kindly. According to Josh, “Old Birdie”, as he called him, kept the bawling for his second tour of the room!“I’ll be back in ten minutes,” the tutor announced. “And I shall expect a marked improvement. Be warned.”The students kept their heads down, being used to this routine. First inspection, out for a smoke at his pipe, then back for lively discussion and help where it was needed. It never varied.“What’s wrong with you today, Josh? You keep sighing, and . . .” Constance glanced at his easel “. . . and you’ve scarcely started your drawing.”Josh was staring at the model.“Aphrodite . . . a vision of loveliness,” he breathed.Constance studied his face for a moment.“You’re smitten again, Josh Glen! For goodness’ sake!” She smothered a giggle, but Josh was serious.“I will seek her out after class and speak to her.”“You’d better finish that drawing, or you won’t survive till after class!” Constance warned. “Besides, you’ll have to help me. I’m not very good at life drawing. Give me watercolours every time!”“I thought you had entered for the Year Prize, Constance. That’s a life-drawing effort, isn’t it?”“Not exactly. The Four Seasons. Watercolour panels for a screen. They could be printed on silk, or, well, it’s a sort of design thing, really.” Her voice was enthusiastic.“Sounds as if you’re playing to win.”“I am,” was the crisp reply.With Peregrine Scoular out of the room, the students moved about, inspecting one another’s work, giving a helping hand where needed. As usual, a little group gathered round Adam, whose life drawing was always the most admired. As Constance tried again to remove Josh from his rosy daydream of Aphrodite, the teacher returned.“This time,” he announced, “I mean business!”The class laughed, because his pretence of sounding severe was nothing more than that.Peregrine Scoular was large and stooped, with threadbare clothes and flamboyant cravats, and reeked permanently of pipe smoke. He was a forbidding figure, with an enormous talent and a heart of gold where the students were concerned. Best of all, he was known for his skill in nurturing talent in others.“Now, I have no complaint with that,” he said, studying Adam’s drawing. “Tell me, have you entered for the Year Prize, young man?”Adam shook his head.“Why not?” Peregrine demanded. “Constance is submitting an entry. But, as far as I know, there’s no entry in life drawing. Now, that will not do, will it?”Adam grinned. For most of his fellow students, life drawing was proving a struggle.Peregrine lowered his voice.“Seriously, Adam, I think you should enter. Your work is certainly good enough. Choice of the right subject is important, too. Take care over that.”


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