Looking into a mirror that reflects looking into a mirror that reflects""--thus these prismatic pieces about Nancy Hale's artist-parents. They take place not only in her own New England Girlhood (1958) but have been serendipitously reconstructed and revised since her mother's death (""It was less like losing someone than discovering someone""). Her father was an older, gentle, somewhat unrequited man, a teacher and a critic who had never achieved prominence as a painter in spite of his earlier beginnings--with the Impressionists and Monet in particular. Her mother--a very successful portraitist in her time--protected, naive, misinformed, is seen here and there painting with abstract intensity (or cooking and gardening with determination)--a woman of flawless, aristocratic beauty which she never recognized herself. And occasionally, a lesser muse, Aunt Nelly, the sacrificial spinster who darted in and out of their lives ""as blithe as a bird but the bird was Job's turkey."" The life in the studio was then a special world which Mr. Hale constructed to shelter his wife's talent, where the dictum ""Art first, life afterward"" prevailed, and which Mrs. Hale did not extend until thirty years after his death, when in her eighties, she went to Italy for the first time. . . . Via The New Yorker, a thoroughly charming commemorative, accomplished with finedrawn insight and an affection one cannot help but reciprocate.