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Chapter 97 Part 2 - The Mysterious Art Museum

A street artist's life changed when he ended up at a mysterious art museum. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translation,Art,Artist,Slice of life,Poor to Rich,Mystery

Artists of this era considered sponsorship from businessmen as natural. Sometimes, wealthy individuals were seen as parasites for supporting artists, and there were times when artists thought of themselves as parasites, living off their money. But how grateful a thing it is, whether you want to admit it or not, art is born from capital. I wasn't born into a family like Henri's, so receiving support from a capitalist is only natural.

Henri looked at me in silence and asked, "So, in all those moments, was your friend by your side even when you climbed out of the abyss and pursued the path of success?"

I smiled and shrugged.

"Successfully, I hired that friend under me. It's more of a vertical relationship than a horizontal one, to be honest."


Henri fell into thought.

I hoped earnestly for him to turn his thoughts around, waiting for his idealism to end.

Henri, shaking his eyebrows, biting his lips, pondered for a few minutes before extending his hand.

"Do you have a pen?"


“There are no pens in the hospital.”

Ah, right, this is the era when sharp-nibbed fountain pens were used. It makes sense that pens, which could be used for self-harm, aren't allowed here.

Henri misunderstood my hesitation as I fumbled in my pocket for a pen and chuckled.

“Don’t worry. I won’t do anything like self-harm. My body is too frail for a small pen to do any harm, but I just want to get out of here soon. I have no desire to die.”

It's not because of hesitation, Henri.

Fortunately, there’s a pen in my pocket. I hope it's not a ballpoint pen.

Relieved to find a 4B pencil instead, I handed it to him.


Henri, puzzled by the pencil I offered, asked,

“Is this a charcoal pencil?”

“No, it’s a black lead pencil.”

“A black lead pencil made like this? It looks of very high quality.”

“Yes, it’s a product of Joseon. It will be exported to Europe someday.”

Sorry, it's actually the other way around. You'll be the ones exporting. But I don't have enough time to explain that now.

Henri sat down at the desk after getting off the bed, wrote a short letter on a piece of paper, sealed it in an envelope, and handed it to me.

“There’s a friend of mine, Maurice Jouayang, who lives in Vincennes. He lives in the biggest house around there. Anyone you ask on the street can point you to his house. Could you deliver my letter to him?”

That’s the one. The man who managed Henri's estate in history and even painted his portrait a year before Henri died.

“That’s a good decision, Henri. I’ll make sure it gets delivered.”

“I hope you’re right.”

“I assure you. You won’t have to endure this winter here. You’ll see the light again soon.”

“Ha, are you a fortune-teller?”


Almost revealed too much. But if it’s 1899 now, my words will be true. Henri will leave this place with his friend’s help within the year. Although his inherent frailty might not allow him a long life.

Henri climbed back onto his bed, looked out the window, and said,

“My health has deteriorated even more.”

“But you’ll create even better works.”

“Ha, at 25, everyone has talent. The challenge is still having it at 50.”

“After all, aren’t you painting not to earn money but to justify your life?”


Henri pauses.

“To justify life?”

“That’s the impression I got from a conversation with you seven years ago.”

Henri looks at me quietly and smiles slightly.

“Did you feel that way?”


Henri returns his gaze to the window, smiling contentedly.

“A friend who shared my soul, Van Gogh, once said something that comes to mind.”

Van Gogh, wow.

Every time Henri mentions Van Gogh, I’m always surprised.

Henri opens his mouth as he looks at the darkening night sky.

“The darkest night will end, and the sun will rise.”

Such an obvious statement it almost feels empty, but knowing the life of the one who said it, I think of the word 'hope' he clung to until the end and nod.

“To protect one’s dreams is a duty in life. The sun will rise in your sky too.”

I firmly hold Henri’s small hand.

“What matters is to live feeling moved, loving, hoping, and being stirred, Henri. Become a person before becoming an artist. To be a person, you need to be among people. Trust, be betrayed, be disappointed, and regain hope again - that’s life.”

Henri looks at me quietly and asks,

“Can I do it?”

I smile broadly and nod.

“Just like all great artists were amateurs at first, you're just an amateur in relationships. But with patience and effort, you’ll become a pro, right?”

Finally, Henri clasps my hand back, smiling.

“Nature, art, and my friend Ban. I’m very happy to have met all three. Yes, like you are here for me, I hope someone will reach out. Thank you, thank you.”

Henri, whom I might never meet again.

During the remaining visiting time, we shared a very long conversation.

I left without being able to promise another meeting, but that’s okay. I delivered his letter to his friend's house, and seeing his friend rush out after reading it, hurriedly running somewhere, reassured me.

He must be busy trying to find a way to get Henri out.

And eventually, by all means necessary, they will manage to get Henri out. That's history.

With a light heart, I look up at the cloud-covered sky of Paris in 1899 and smile, delighted that even a trivial person like me could offer a slight help to a master in history.

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