Another Interpretation

— In the very interesting and appreciative criticism on Vedder’s pictures which appeared in the June Atlantic, the writer, Mr. Downes, gives an interpretation of the drawing called The Soul between Doubt and Faith, so different from the impression made on me by the same work that I cannot forbear sending my interpretation also.

Mr. Downes speaks of “a woman’s face darkened by the shadow of a great sorrow,” etc., as representing the Soul, “ the serene and radiant head, surrounded by a golden nimbus ” as Faith, and “ the shrewd, wrinkled visage ” of a graybeard as Doubt.

To me this " wrinkled visage ” was, on the contrary, a most perfect and very original expression of human faith ; and faith must be human, because when we rise above humanity faith is no longer needed, — it becomes sight. This old man’s face expressed, to my thinking, the most serene and restful trust, and a peace so deep and sure that he could look quietly out and around him, instead of gazing upwards in an agonized struggle, according to the conventional representations of faith.

Doubt, for me, was the dark, bitter, introverted face in the front of the picture, and the Soul could be none but the radiant young head, with startled eyes, crowned with the rainbow colors, which are but the untwisted strands of a ray of that Light ineffable from which all souls proceed.