Saturday, 14 May 2011

Surprise! 1

The artist steadfastly refused to allow the Duke to look at his portrait.

Day after endless day, the Duke had balanced precariously on a stuffed horse, wearing an elaborate periwig, burnished breast plate over a white topcoat with gold lace facings, a scarlet sash, knee boots, and belt with pistols. He’d refused to maintain his heavy cavalryman’s sword in the charge position so the artist had to make do with him pointing commandingly at the enemy forces, somewhere out of the studio window. His plumed hat bore down more heavily on him with every sitting. He was damned hot and damned uncomfortable.

The painting commemorated a pivotal moment in his and nation’s history. And the Duke was naturally anxious to check on its progress. He hoped the dauber hadn’t made him look fat. His mistress had described his tendency to resemble a prizewinning pig when confronted with something contrary to his will. He’d permitted the observation because of the rapacity of her appetites and the depravity of her services. But if this artist fellow had captured that side of him, he was going to feel some Ducal steel through his kidney.

With a martial snort, he slid off his mount and stomped over to the artist, snatching from him the cloth he always threw over his easel should anyone approach.

“I insist on seeing my likeness,” he bellowed as the painter blanched.

The Duke stared directly at his portrait and lost the power of speech.

“I preferred you without clothes,” the artist tried to explain. “In the Classic mode.”

The Duke, crimson with fury, could only point and splutter at the image that so offended him.

“But look, your Grace,” the artist made one last effort to deflect the Ducal anger. “I have given you an impressive pair of testicles.”


Patricia said...

A real surprise, but the painter had a point as pigs don't usually wear clothes...

No One In Particular said...

"...the rapacity of her appetites and the depravity of her services..." Love it.

Chips in no more than 300 words said...

Thanks Noone. I didn't have room for the phrase "and the audacity of her demands for recompense".(it was in my De Maupassant phase.)

Now I think about it, I might add an addendum of much loved phrases that had to go for reasons of space. So many babies slain.

pandave said...

An impressive pair of testicles, preferably made of brass, makes everything okay!