Old Behrman was a painter who lived on the ground floor below them. He was past sixty and had been a painter for forty years, but he hadn't achieved anything in art. However, he wasn't disappointed, and hoped he would some day paint a masterpiece. Meantime he earned his living by doing various jobs, often serving as a model to those young painters who could not pay the price of a professional. He sincerely thought it his duty to protect the two girls upstairs.
Sue found Behrman in his poorly-lighted room and told him of Johnsy's fancy, and that she didn't know how to handle the situation.
"I can't keep her from looking at those leaves! I just can't!" she cried out. "And I can't draw the curtains in the daytime. I need the light for my work!"
"What!" the old man shouted. "Why do you allow such silly ideas to come into her head? No, I won't pose for you! Oh, that poor little Miss Johnsy!"
"Very well, Mr Behrman," Sue said. "If you don't want to pose for me, you needn't. I wish I hadn't asked you. But I think you're a nasty old - old -" And she walked towards the door with her chin in the air.
"Who said I wouldn't pose?" shouted Behrman. "I'm coming with you. This isn't a place for Miss Johnsy to be ill in! Some day I'll paint a masterpiece, and we'll all go away!"