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In due course of time she built up a paying business, bought the house in which they lived, and laid by a goodly dot for her son and two daughters. And all the time Corot pere wore the white cravat, a precise smile for customers and an austere look for his family. He held his old position as floorwalker and gave respectability to his good-wife’s Millinery and Dressmaking Establishment.

The father’s ambition for Camille was that he should become a model floorwalker, treading in the father’s footsteps; and so, while yet a child, the boy was put to work in a drygoods-store, with the idea of discipline strong in mind.

And for this discipline, in after-years Corot was grateful. It gave him the habit of putting things away, keeping accurate accounts, systematizing his work; and throughout his forty years or more of artistic life, it was his proud boast that he reached his studio every morning at three minutes before eight.

Young Corot’s mother had quite a little skill as a draftsman. In her business she drew designs for patterns, and if the prospective customer lacked imagination, she could draw a sketch of the garment as it would look when completed.

Savage tribes make pictures long before they acquire an alphabet; so do all children make pictures before they learn to read. The evolution of the child mirrors the evolution of the race. Camille made pictures just as all boys do, and his mother encouraged him in this, and supplied him copies.

When he was set to work in the drygoods-store he made sketches under the counter and often ornamented bundles with needless hieroglyphics. But these things did not necessarily mean that he was to be a great artist–thousands of drygoods-clerks have sketched and been drygoods- clerks to the end of their days. But good drygoods-clerks should not sketch too much or too well, else they will not rise in their career and some day have charge of a Department.

Camille Corot did not get along at haberdashery–his heart was not in it. He was not quite so bad as a certain budding, artistic genius I once knew, who clerked in a grocery-store, and when a woman came in and ordered a dozen eggs and a half-bushel of potatoes, the genius counted out a dozen potatoes, and sent the customer a half- bushel of eggs.

Then there was that absent-minded young drug-clerk who, when a stranger entered and inquired for the proprietor, answered, “He’s out just at present, but we have something that is just as good.”

Corot hadn’t the ability to make folks think they needed something they did not want–they only got what they wanted, after much careful diplomacy and insistence. These things were a great cross to Corot pere, and the dulness of the boy made the good father grow old before his time–so the father alleged. Were the woes of parents written in books, the world would not be big enough to contain the books. Camille Corot was a failure–he was big, fat, lazy, and tantalizingly good-natured. He haunted the Louvre, and stood open- mouthed before the pictures of Claude Lorraine until the attendants requested him to move on. His mother knew something of art, and they used to discuss all the new pictures together. The father protested: he declared that the mother was encouraging the boy in his vacillation and dreaminess.

Camille lost his position. His father got him another place, and after a month they laid him off for two weeks, and then sent him a note not to come back. He hung around home, played the violin, and sang for his mother’s sewing-girls while they worked. The girls all loved him–if the mother went out and left him in charge of the shop, he gave all hands a play-spell until it was time for Madame to return. His good nature was invincible. He laughed at the bonnets in the windows, slyly sketched the customers who came to try on the frivolities, and even made irrelevant remarks to his mother about the petite fortune she was deriving from catering to dead-serious nabobs who discussed flounces, bows, stays, and beribboned gewgaws as though they were Eternal Verities.