Chapter V.

“Anch’ io son pittore!” CORREGGIO.

{“Anch’ io son pittore” = “I too, am a painter!” (Italian). Antonio Allegri da Correggio (Italian painter, 1494-1534), exclamation on viewing Raphael’s “St. Cecilia” at Bologna (1525)}

THERE was one subject, in which the family at Wyllys-Roof felt particularly interested just then, and that was, Charlie Hubbard’s picture. This piece was to decide finally the question, whether Charlie should be an artist, or a merchant’s clerk; a question which he himself considered all important, and which caused much anxiety to his friends.

The house in which the Hubbards lived was a grey, wooden cottage, of the smallest size; curious gossips had, indeed, often wondered how it had ever been made to contain a large family; but some houses, like certain purses, possess capabilities of expansion, quite independent of their apparent size, and connected by mysterious sympathies with the heads and hearts of their owners. This cottage belonged to the most ancient and primitive style of American architecture; what may be called the comfortable, common sense order — far superior, one might suppose to either Corinthian or Composite, for a farm-house. The roof was low, and unequally divided, stretching, on one side, with a long, curving slope, over the southern front; which was scarce seven feet high: towards the road the building was a little more elevated, for a dormer-window gave it the dignity of a story and a half. Not only the roof, but the walls — we have classical authority for wooden walls — were covered with rounded shingles, long since grey, and in spots, moss-grown. Twice the cottage had escaped a more brilliant exterior; upon one occasion it had been inhabited by an ambitious family, who talked of a coat of red paint; fortunately, they moved away, before concluding a bargain with the painter. Again, when the Hubbards took possession of the ‘old grey house,’ a committee of ladies actually drove over from Longbridge, with the intention of having it whitewashed; but, the experienced old negro engaged to clean generally, gave it as his opinion, that the shingles were not worth the compliment. The windows were very small; more than half the glass was of the old, blue bull’s-eye pattern, no longer to be found at modern glaziers, and each heavy window-shutter had a half-moon cut in its upper panel, to let in the daylight. When we add, that there was a low porch before the door, with a sweet-briar on one side, and a snowball on the other, the reader will have a correct idea of the house inhabited by our friends, the Hubbards.

{“Corinthian or Composite” = two of the classical orders of architecture, based on the style of column used. The “Composite order,” however, was something of a Cooper family joke, first used by James Fenimore Cooper in The Pioneers (1823) to describe a pretentious building of no particular style at all. The Coopers, father and daughter, were contemptuous of buildings that pretended to be Greek temples}

The cottage stood within a little door-yard, near the gate which opened on the lawn of Wyllys-Roof; and, immediately opposite the place recently purchased by Mr. Taylor. Here the family had lived for the last twelve years; and, from that time, Miss Patsey had been obliged to struggle against poverty, with a large family of younger brothers and sisters, dependent, in a great measure, upon her prudence and exertions.

Mr. Hubbard, the father, a respectable Presbyterian minister, had been, for half his life, in charge of a congregation in Connecticut, where, by-the-bye, Mr. Pompey Taylor, at that time a poor clerk, had been an unsuccessful suitor for Patsey’s hand. After a while, the family had removed to Longbridge, where they had lived very comfortably and usefully, until, at length, the minister died, leaving his widow and seven children entirely unprovided for. Happily, they possessed warm friends and kind relatives. The old grey house, with a garden and a little meadow adjoining, was purchased for his brother’s family by Mr. Joseph Hubbard, known to the young people as Uncle Josie: he was a merchant, in easy circumstances, and cheerfully gave the thousand dollars required. The cottage was furnished by the minister’s congregation. Many useful presents were made, and many small debts forgiven by kind neighbours. With this humble outfit the family commenced their new career. Mrs. Hubbard, the second wife, and mother of the three younger children, had lost the use of one hand, by an attack of paralysis. She had always been a woman of very feeble character; and although treated with unvarying kindness and respect by her step-children, could do little towards the government or assistance of the family. It was Patsey who toiled, and managed, and thought for them all. With the aid of two younger sisters, mere children, at first, and an old black woman, who came once a week to wash, all the work was done by herself, including baking, ironing, cooking, cleaning, &c.; and yet Patsey found time to give up four hours a day to teaching a class of some dozen children, belonging to several neighbouring families. This school furnished the only money that passed through her hands, and contributed the only regular means of support to the family. They received, however, much kind assistance, in many different ways; indeed, otherwise, it would have been scarcely possible to keep a fireside of their own. There had been, in all, nine children; but the eldest son, a missionary, died before his father; the second had already gone to Kentucky, to seek his fortunes as a physician; he had married young, and, with children of his own to support, it seemed but little he could do for his step-mother; he sent for a younger brother, however, engaging to provide for him entirely. Another son was educated by his rich Longbridge relative, kind Uncle Josie; another uncle, a poor old bachelor, known to the neighbourhood as Uncle Dozie, from a constant habit of napping, did his utmost, in paying the school-bills of his niece Catherine. In the course of a few years, Uncle Josie’s protege became an assistant in the school where he had been educated; Kate Hubbard, Uncle Dozie’s favourite, married a quick-witted, but poor, young lawyer, already introduced to the reader, by the name of Clapp.

Still, there remained in the family two younger daughters, and Charlie, besides Miss Patsey and Mrs. Hubbard. By the exertions and guidance of Patsey, the assistance of friends, and their own good conduct, the young people, in due time, were all growing up, endowed with good principles, good educations, and with respectable prospects opening before them. At the period of our narrative, the third daughter hoped shortly to become an under-governess in the school where she had been educated; and Mary, the youngest of the family, had such a decided taste for music, that it was thought she would have no difficulty in supporting herself, by giving lessons, in the course of two or three years. Of all the family, Charlie was the one that caused his friends the most anxiety. He was a fine, spirited, intelligent boy; and Uncle Josie had promised to procure a situation for him, with his son- in-law, a commission-merchant and auctioneer, in New York. This plan was very pleasing to Mrs. Hubbard and Miss Patsey; but, unfortunately, Charlie seemed to have no taste for making money, and a fondness for pictures and pencils, that amounted almost to a passion. Here was an unexpected obstacle; Charlie was the pet and spoiled child of the family. All the rest of the young people had been quite satisfied with the different means of support that had offered for each; and they had followed their respective careers with so much quiet good sense, that Charlie’s remonstrances against the counting- house, and his strong fancy for an artist’s life, was something quite new, and which Miss Patsey scarcely knew how to answer. There was nothing in the least poetical or romantic about Patsey Hubbard, who was all honest kindness and straight-forward common sense. She had no feeling whatever for the fine arts; never read a work of imagination; scarcely knew one tune from another; and had never looked with pleasure at any picture, but one, a portrait of her own respected father, which still occupied the place of honour in their little parlour, nearly covering one side of the wall. This painting, to speak frankly, was anything but a valuable work of art, or a good likeness of the worthy minister. The face was flat and unmeaning, entirely devoid of expression or relief; the body was stiff and hard, like sheet-iron, having, also, much the color of that material, so far as it was covered by the black ministerial coat. One arm was stretched across a table, conspicuous from a carrot-coloured cloth, and the hand was extended over a pile of folios; but it looked quite unequal to the task of opening them. The other arm was disposed of in some manner satisfactory to the artist, no doubt, but by no means easy for the spectator to discover, since the brick-coloured drapery which formed the back- ground to the whole, certainly encroached on the side where nature had placed it. Such as it was, however, Miss Patsey admired this painting more than any she had ever seen, and its gilt frame was always carefully covered with green gauze, no longer necessary to preserve the gilding, but rather to conceal its blackened lustre; but Charlie’s sister belonged to that class of amateurs who consider the frame as an integral part of the work of art. It was, perhaps, the most promising fact regarding any future hopes of young Hubbard’s, as an artist, that this same portrait was far from satisfying his taste, uncultivated as it was. Charlie was, for a long time, so much ashamed of his passion for drawing, that he carefully concealed the little bits of paper on which he made his sketches, as well as the few old, coarse engravings he had picked up to copy. But, one day, Miss Patsey accidentally discovered these treasures between the leaves of a number of the Longbridge Freeman, carefully stowed away in an old chest of drawers in the little garret-room where Charlie slept. She found there a head of Washington; one of Dr. Blair; a view of Boston; and an old French print called L’Eté, representing a shepherdess making hay in high-heeled shoes and a hoop; there were copies of these on bits of paper of all sizes, done with the pen or lead-pencil; and lastly, a number of odd-looking sketches of Charlie’s own invention. The sight of these labours of art, was far from giving Miss Patsey pleasure, although it accounted for the surprising disappearance of her writing-paper, and the extraordinary clipping, she had remarked, of late, on all notes and letters that were left lying about, from which every scrap of white paper was sure to be cut off. She spoke to Charlie on the subject, and, of course, he had to confess. But he did not reform; on the contrary, matters soon grew worse, for he began to neglect his studies. It happened that he passed the whole summer at home, as the school where his brother had been assistant, and he himself a pupil, was broken up. At last, Miss Patsey talked to him so seriously, about wasting time on trifles, that Charlie, who was a sensible, warm-hearted boy, and well aware of the exertions his sister had made for him, promised amendment, and actually burnt all his own sketches, though the precious engravings were still preserved. This improvement only lasted a while, however, when he again took to drawing. This time he resolutely respected Miss Patsey’s paper, but that only made matters worse, for he became more ambitious; he began to sketch from nature; and, having a special fancy for landscape, he used to carry his slate and arithmetic into the fields; and, instead of becoming more expert in compound interest, he would sit for hours composing pictures, and attempting every possible variety in the views of the same little mill-pond, within a short distance of the house. He soon became quite expert in the management of his slate and pencil, and showed a good deal of ingenuity in rubbing in and out the white shading on the black ground, something in the manner of a stump-drawing; but, of course, these sketches all disappeared before Charlie went to take his regular lesson in book-keeping, from the neighbour who had promised to keep him in practice until the winter, when he was to enter the counting-house.

{“Dr. Blair” = possibly Robert Blair (Scottish poet, 1699-1747), author of “The Grave”; or James Blair (1656-1743), founder of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. ” L’Eté“ = summertime (French); “stump drawing” = probably from “stump”, a pencil-like drawing implement of rolled paper or of rubber, used to smooth or rub in dark lines}

At last, however, Charlie determined to have an explanation with his mother and sister; he made a clean breast as to the misdoings on the slate, and boldly coming to the point, suggested the possibility of his being able to support himself, one day, as an artist, instead of a commission merchant. Poor Miss Patsey, this was a sad blow to her! It had been her cherished ambition to see Charlie an upright, prosperous merchant; and now that his prospects were brightening, and a situation was provided for him, that he should be only a painter! She had a very low opinion of artists, as a class, and she would almost as soon have expected Charlie to become a play-actor, or a circus-rider. When the boy found that both Uncle Josie and Uncle Dozie thought his idea a very foolish one, that Miss Patsey was very much distressed, and Mrs. Hubbard could not be made to comprehend the difference between an artist and a house-painter, he again abandoned his own cherished plans, and resumed his commercial studies. Unfortunately, one day, Elinor was choosing a book as a present for her old play- fellow, at a bookstore in Philadelphia, when she laid her hand on the Lives of the Painters. These volumes finally upset Charlie’s philosophy; he immediately set to work to convince Miss Patsey and Uncle Josie, by extracts from the different lives, that it was very possible to be a good and respectable man, and not only support himself, but make a fortune, as an artist. Of course, he took care to skip over all unpleasant points, and bad examples; but when he came to anything creditable, he made a note of it — and, one day, pursued Miss Patsey into the cellar, to read to her the fact that Reubens had been an ambassador.

{“Reubens” = Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), famous Flemish painter, who served as a diplomat in Spain from 1626-30}

Miss Patsey confided her anxieties to Mr. Wyllys, who was already aware of Charlie’s propensities, and, indeed, thought them promising. He advised Mrs. Hubbard and Patsey, not to oppose the boy’s wishes so strongly, but to give him an opportunity of trying what he really could do; and as the expense was a very important consideration with the Hubbards, he made Charlie a present of a palette and colours, and kindly took him, one day, to Philadelphia, to see Mr. S — , who gave him some advice as to the way in which he should go to work. This assistance Charlie received, upon condition that he should also, at the same time, continue his other studies; and in case any two artists that his friend might consult, should declare, on seeing his work, that he did not show talent enough to promise reasonable success, he was, from that time, to devote himself to business. For a while, Charlie was a great deal happier than a king. He immediately began a view of his beloved little mill-pond, and then attempted one of a small sheet of water in the neighbourhood, called Chewattan Lake. These, after having been touched and re-touched, he carried, with a portfolio of drawings, to New York, and with a fluttering heart and trembling hands laid them before two distinguished artists, Mr. C — and Mr. I -, to whom Mr. Wyllys had given him letters. The decision of these gentlemen was not discouraging, upon the whole; but they found that he had set out wrong in the arrangement of his colours, and having corrected the mistake, they proposed his painting another piece in oils, to determine whether the faults in the first were the result of ignorance, or of a false eye for colour; for on this point his judges disagreed. It must be confessed that Charlie’s clouds might give some idea of such vapours as they may exist in the moon; but certainly the tints the youth had given them were very remarkable for an earthly atmosphere.

It was upon this last picture — another view of Chewattan Lake — that Charles was engaged, heart and soul, when the Wyllyses returned home. One afternoon, Mr. Wyllys proposed to Miss Agnes and Elinor, to walk over and call upon Miss Patsey, and see what their young friend had done.

“Here we are, Charlie, my lad; you promised us a look at your work this week, you know;” said Mr. Wyllys, as he walked into the neat little door-yard before the Hubbards’ house, accompanied by the ladies.

Charlie was at work in the vegetable garden adjoining the door-yard, weeding the radishes.

“Everything looks in very good order here, Charles,” observed Miss Wyllys. “You have not given up the garden, I see, although you have so much to do now.”

“Your beds and your flowers look as neat as possible,” said Elinor; “just as usual. You don’t seem to have gone far enough in your career to have learned that, un beau désordreis the effect of art,” she added, smiling.

{“un beau désordre” = a pleasing lack of order (French)}

“No, indeed; it is to be hoped I never shall, for that would throw my mother and sister into despair, at once!”

Miss Patsey, who had heard the voices of the party, now came from the little kitchen, where she had been baking, to receive her friends.

“Elinor has just remarked that things do not look as if you had an artist in the house; everything is neat as wax,” said Mr. Wyllys, stepping into the little parlour.

Miss Patsey was beginning to resign herself to hearing Charlie called an artist, although the word had still an unpleasant sound to her ear.

“Charles is very good,” she replied, “about keeping his things in their place; he does not make much litter.”

After some inquiries about Mrs. Hubbard — who, it seems, was taking her afternoon nap — Mr. Wyllys asked to see Charlie’s work

“You must let us look at it, Charles,” said Miss Agnes; “we have been waiting, you know, quite impatiently for the last week.”

“If we must go up to your studiofor it, we’ll rest awhile first,” said Mr. Wyllys taking a seat.

“You mortify me, sir,” said Charlie, “by using such great words about my little doings, even in pleasantry. I am half afraid to show my work; but I will bring it down.”

“I hope we shall find some improvement — that is all we can expect at present, my boy. We don’t look for a Claude yet.”

{“Claude” = Claude Lorrain (1600-1662), French painter famous for his landscapes, who was an important influence on the American Hudson River School}

Charlie blushed, in the excess of his modesty.

“Pray, bring all your sketches, too,” said Elinor. “Mary wrote me you were drawing all winter; you must have a great deal that we have not seen.”

“They are certainly not worth looking at; but such as they are, you shall see them.”

“And don’t forget the Arithmetic, too,” said Mr. Wyllys, smiling; “we had better look a little into Compound Interest, of course.”

Charlie looked as if that were rather a sore subject, as he left the room.

While he was gone, a carriage stopped at the little gate. It proved to be the Taylors; and Mr. Taylor, with his wife, and a couple of children, walked in. After a general salutation had been exchanged, and two additional chairs had been brought from a bed-room, to accommodate such an unusual number of visiters, Mr. Taylor turned to Miss Patsey, and observed, in a jocular way:

“It is not etiquette, I believe, to call twice in the same day; but I hope you will excuse us; for on this occasion, Mrs. Taylor has come to transact a little business.”

“As you seem to be engaged, Miss Hubbard, we will put it off until another time,” said Mrs. Taylor.

“Just as you please,” replied Miss Patsey. “I am always glad to see my friends.”

Mr. Taylor, however, liked quick measures, and never postponed business if he could help it.

“We came to see you, this afternoon, about our two youngest children; if you can conveniently take them into your school, it would suit us very well.”

Charlie, at that moment, returned with his picture in one hand, and a portfolio in the other. He was rather sorry to find the Taylors there, for he was far from admiring the gentleman. Mr. Wyllys was really anxious to see the piece, and asked to look at it at once. The canvass was placed near a window, in the proper light, and the covering removed. The Wyllyses were immediately struck with Charlie’s rapid improvement; there was indeed, no comparison between the young man’s first attempts at the art, and this last piece. His friends all congratulated him on his success, and Charlie was delighted.

“This settles the question, I think, Miss Patsey,” said Mr. Wyllys.

“I suppose so,” said Miss Patsey, with a shake of the head, and a smile. “I think I can see myself that this picture looks more natural than the first.”

“Quite a tasty painting,” said Mr. Taylor, stepping up with a decided air towards the canvass. “I should conclude, however, that you would find port ratesa more advantageous business.”

“I like landscapes best, sir,” replied the youth; and turning to Mr. Wyllys, he added: “Mr. S — advised me to please myself as to the subjects I worked upon.”

“Certainly,” answered Mr. Wyllys; “and you seem to prefer my mill- pond, Charlie, to the human face divine.”

“But, here are sketches of faces,” said Elinor, looking over the portfolio; “very good, too; — this is excellent — grandpapa, do you know yourself? And Miss Patsey — very good — Aunt Agnes, too! Why, Charles, you must have drawn all these from memory.”

The sketches Elinor was looking at, were roughly done in ink or lead- pencil; but were generally good likenesses. Mr. Wyllys took up one, that had not yet been observed by the rest of the party; he smiled, and passed it to his granddaughter. Elinor coloured, and her heart beat as she looked at it, for it was a sketch of Harry. Mr. Taylor was standing behind her, and recognised it immediately.

“That is Mr. Hazlehurst, if I am not mistaken; and a very good likeness, Miss Wyllys.”

“I suppose, your son and Harry have met, in Paris, Mr. Taylor,” said Miss Agnes, by way of turning his attention from Elinor.

“Yes, madam, Thomas mentions having had some intercourse with Mr. Hazlehurst, and observes, that he sees him, almost every day, in the Tullyrees;which, Thomas says, is the rendy-vussof the fashionable world, in Paris.”

“Will your son return home soon?”

“Why, no; I think not. He went for six months; but he calculates, now, to stay some time longer. I am told, Mr. Hazlehurst will not return until next year; — they might make the Eur ópean towertogether. But Thomas seems to like the caffiesand the bully-vardsof Paris, too much to move from that city.”

Elinor was going to take another sketch from the table, when Charlie quickly passed his hand between Mr. Taylor and herself, and drew the paper away.

“I beg your pardon — but it is a wretched thing; I did not know it was there,” said the youth, hastily.

“Pray, let me look at it,” said Elinor, “for, I thought, I recognised a friend.”

“You must not see it, indeed, Miss Elinor; I dare say, you took it for anybody but the right person;” said Charlie, a good deal embarrassed, and hurriedly handing Elinor something else to look at.

She was surprised at his nervous manner, but said nothing more.

“I honestly think, Charlie,” said Mr. Wyllys, who had been examining the landscape, that Mr. C — , and Mr. I — , will tell you to persevere, after this. There is something about the water, in your picture, that strikes me as unusually good.”

“I am very glad to hear you say so; for there is nothing I like to paint so much as water. I took great pains with that part of my piece; but it does not satisfy me yet.”

“Do you intend to make use of water-colours altogether, in your paintings?” asked Mr. Taylor.

Charlie looked puzzled, and the merchant repeated his question.

“I should think, you would find water-colours cheaper; but oils must be more durable. Which are most generally in use among painters?”

Charlie, understanding the point, at last, explained that water-colours, and oils, were two entirely distinct branches of the art.

“Which is your picture, there, done in?”

“I am learning to paint in oils, sir.”

“And that por trate, overhead, which is your father, I presume; is that in oils, too?”

“Yes, sir. — There are very few pictures, of that size, in water-colours, I believe. Here is a miniature, in water-colours, which Mrs. Van Horne lent me; I am taking a large picture, in oils, from it.”

Mr. Taylor examined the miniature. “It has puzzled me considerably,” he observed, “to know how painters could change the size of an object, and be correct, without measuring it off in feet and inches; but, I suppose, that is what you term perspective.”

One is sometimes surprised by the excessive ignorance, on all matters concerning the fine arts, betrayed in this country, by men of some education; very clever, in their way, and quite equal to making a speech or a fortune, any day. In Europe, just notions, on such matters, are much more widely spread. But, after all, such a state of things is perfectly natural; we have hitherto had no means of cultivating the general taste, in America, having few galleries or even single works of art, open to the public. With the means, it is probable, that as we grow older, we shall improve, in this respect. That there is talent, ay, genius, in the country, sufficient to produce noble works of art, has been already proved. Nor can it be doubted, that there is latent feeling, and taste enough, among the people, to appreciate them, if it were called forth by cultivation. It is only a brutal and sluggish nation, who cannot be made to feel, as well as think. The cultivation necessary, however, is not that which consists in forcing the whole body of the people to become conceited smatterers; but that which provides a full supply of models for mediocrity to copy, and for talent to rival. It is evident, that common sense requires us to pursue one of two courses; either to give true talent, in every field — in literature, in music, painting, sculpture, architecture — some share of the honourable encouragement which is its due, or else honestly to resign all claim to national merit, in these branches of civilization; leaving the honour to the individual. As neither the government, nor men singly, can do much toward encouraging the arts, this would seem to be the very field in which societies might hope to produce great results. Would it not be a good innovation, if those who often unite to present some public testimonial of respect to an individual, should select, instead of the piece of plate, usual on such occasions, a picture or work of sculpture? Either, it is to be supposed, if respectable in its way, would be a more agreeable offering, to a person of education, than gold or silver in the shape most modern workmen give them. Under such circumstances, who would not prefer a picture by Cole or Wier {sic}, a statue like Greenough’s Medora, Power’s Eve, or Crawford’s Orpheus, to all the silver salvers in New York? Who would not prefer even a copy from some fine bust or head of antiquity, from some celebrated cabinet picture, to the best medal that has yet been struck in this country?

{“Cole” = Thomas Cole (1801-1848), American painter and founder of the so-called Hudson River School of landscape painting; “Wier” = Robert Weir (1803-1889), another American landscape painter; “Greenough” = Horatio Greenough (1805-1852), American sculptor, and a close friend of Susan Fenimore Cooper’s father; “Power” = Hiram Powers (1805-1873), another famous American sculptor; “Crawford” = Thomas Crawford (1813-1857), another American sculptor, whose statue of Orpheus was purchased by the Boston Athenaeum; “cabinet picture” = picture exhibited in a gallery or museum}

Thoughts like these were passing through Mr. Wyllys’s mind, as he sat looking at Charlie’s picture. Mrs. Taylor had, in the mean time, been making arrangements for her younger children to enter Miss Patsey’s school for the summer. Mr. Taylor having joined the ladies, something was heard about ‘terms,’ and the affair appeared settled. Miss Agnes having mentioned to Mrs. Taylor that she had intended calling on her, but would now postpone it until another day, she was so strongly urged to accompany them home, that she consented to do so, aware that the visit should have been paid some time before. Accordingly, they all left the Hubbards together.

It was not often that Miss Patsey’s little parlour was so full, and so much littered, as it had been that afternoon; it generally looked crowded, if it contained two or three persons besides the minister’s portrait, and was thought out of order, if the large rocking-chair, or the clumsy, old-fashioned tea-table did not stand in the very positions they had occupied for the last twelve years.

Very different was the aspect of things at Mr. Taylor’s. Not that the rooms were imposing, in size, but the elegance of the furniture was so very striking. Of course, there were two drawing-rooms, with folding-doors and Brussels carpets; while everything corresponded to a fashionable model. Mrs. Taylor, good soul, cared very little for these vanities of life. The window-blinds, in her two drawing-rooms, were never opened, except for some occasional morning visiter or evening tea-party; she herself used what she called the ‘living room,’ where she could have her younger children about her, and darn as many stockings as she chose. The drawing-rooms were opened, however, for the Wyllyses, who were urged to stay to tea. Miss Agnes declined the invitation, though Mr. Wyllys and herself remained long enough to look at the plan of a new house, which Mr. Taylor was to build shortly; it was to be something quite grand, far surpassing anything of the kind in the neighbourhood, for Mr. Taylor had made a mint of money during the past winter.