Cradle Song

Berthe Morisot. Summer's Day. National Gallery, London

Sometimes Madame goes with me to the Bois to paint. Monsieur Eugène carries her easel and canvas and paintbox. He kisses her on the forehead sweetly, and they clasp hands a moment before he leaves. He comes back to carry her things home late in the afternoon. Once she brings two hired models with us, Marie and Aimée who are about my age. They are very pretty, with straw hats perched on their curls. One of them has a blue ruffled parasol which must have cost dearly. They are working women too. I want to ask how much Madame gives them, but I do not have a chance.

They sit in a little boat tied to a dock where she sets up her easel. The scene looks lovely from where I sit on the grass, but when I come up close to the painting, the geese in the water turn out to be only white smudges with dabs of orange for beaks.