Tag Archives: artist’s model

What They Saw at the Paris Morgue: 1896


She was tall and slender and American from the nodding plumes of her big black hat to the tips of her small, shining shoes. The man with her was an American too, though his carriage no less than his clothes betrayed a longer residence in Paris. He was big and blonde, and he looked about him into the dark recesses of the aisles and chapels of Notre Dame as if he were always on the alert for subjects for his brush, or as if he expected to see the unexpected.

They had known each other in New York, but that was two years ago, and it was not until Mrs. Morton and Edith came to Paris six months before that they had become attached to one another. They were engaged, but that did not prevent them from quarrelling earnestly, though in subdued tones, as they looked up at the huge rose window in the transept.

“I admit that I lost the locket yesterday, Edith, and I say that I’ll try to get it again; or, if I don’t succeed, I’ll do you another. Your likeness never pleased me, anyway.”

“But yours suited me perfectly, Arthur. I wish I hadn’t let you take it. It really didn’t need retouching at all.”

“Well, why go into it any more? The thing is done, and that‘s all there is about it,” exclaimed Abernathy, with a petulance so unsuited to a man of his physical proportions that one could but wonder, and then be led by wonder to notice the tiny lines traced by weakness on his still youthful face, and the full lips of vacillation.

“You needn’t be so cross. I suppose it’s useless to talk about it any more, and we might as well go on to the Morgue,” said Edith, shrugging her shoulders ever so little.

“The Morgue? You’re not going there! Why, it’s horrible, dear!” and Arthur looked the picture of horror and dismay.

“Certainly I’m going. Where’s mamma? Oh, over there, buying a candle. She won’t want to go,” she continued, with the calm finality of the daughter who understands her mother, “but I’ve heard of the Paris Morgue all my life, and I’m going to see it.”

She swept down the center aisle of the vast old building like a young princess, the broad shaft of sunlight from the open door making a golden path for her feet, and illuming every curve of her lithe figure.

“Mrs. Morton, you won’t allow Edith to go to the Morgue?” gasped Abernathy. And “Mamma, I’m going to the Morgue. Wait here for me, please,” announced Edith, simultaneously, with decision.

Mrs. Morton desisted from her candle buying, and looked helplessly from one to the other.

“Very well,” she murmured, vaguely, gazing after their retreating forms as Edith briskly walked away, followed by Arthur, still expostulating.

Sometimes it gives one an appearance of dignity to sanction what one can not help.

Abernathy exhausted his eloquence as they walked down the street beside the cathedral, unmindful of the long, gray mass of stone, with its weather-worn carving and grisly gargoyles. It was a shock to his artistic temperament that Edith, whom he loved and mentally held apart from all unhappiness and squalor, should be faced with the horrid presentments of death from misadventure or from the misery which makes man a God unto himself, even to the taking of his own life. It was hideous to him that Edith should even want to go. Yet, as she insisted, of course he must go too. Then what was the use of seeing more unpleasant things than one has to, in this world?

The usual stream of morbid humanity was passing behind the screen which conceals the bodies exposed in the Morgue from the street, and Arthur and Edith fell into line and passed under the roof. Behind the glass windows which faced them lay four bodies, three men and one woman. The latter was but a girl, small of feature, with her brown hair wet with the river’s slime clinging to her cheeks, whence the color had fled. Over her head was a placard bearing a number and telling where she had been found. Near by were her clothes and the contents of her pocket, placed conspicuously, in the hope that some one might identify her.

Abernathy glanced indifferently at the men—he cared more for the effect of the scene upon Edith. His gaze traveled on to the last figure in the row.

“My God, it is Felicité!”


“My model.”

“And that,” said Edith, “is my locket. ”

Abernathy saw his own face smiling up at him, the work of his hands, as the lifelessness of the still form before him was the work of his selfishness.

But the portrait of Edith on the left side of the locket was broken into many pieces, and the gold case was dented as if it had been bitten in agony or in rage.

Mabell Shippie Clarke.

Arden, N.C.

The New Bohemian: A Modern Monthly  Vol. III No. 1 July 1896: pp. 49-50

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil has long wondered why the French authorities did not put an embargo on American artists. They had an appalling record, at least in fiction, of wantonly discarding models after they had tired of them and driving the young women to drugs, drink, and desperation.

The Paris Morgue, was, shocking as it may seem to our modern sensibilities, a popular tourist attraction. You may read about Death as Entertainment at the Paris Morgue here.


Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdote

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.


The Model Millionaire

The Model Millionaire

Unless one is wealthy, there is no good in being a charming fellow. Romance is the privilege of the rich, not the profession of the unemployed. The poor should be practical and prosaic. It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating. These are the great truths of modern life which Hughie Erskine never realized. Poor Hughie! Intellectually, we must admit, he was not of much importance. He never said either a brilliant or an ill-natured thing in his life. But, then, he was wonderfully good-looking, with his crisp, brown hair, his clear-cut profile, and his gray eyes. He was as popular with men as he was with women, and he had every accomplishment except that of making money. His father had bequeathed him his cavalry sword, and a “History of the Peninsular War,” in fifteen volumes. Hughie hung the first over his looking-glass, put the second on a shelf between Ruff’s Guide [to the Turf] and Bailey‘s Magazine [of Sports and Pastimes], and lived on two hundred a year that an old aunt allowed him.

He had tried everything.  He had gone on the Stock Exchange for six months; but what was a butterfly to do among bulls and bears? He had been a tea merchant for a little longer, but had soon tired of pekoe and souchong. Then he had tried selling dry sherry. That did not answer. Ultimately he became nothing, a delightful, ineffectual young man with a perfect profile and no profession.

To make matters worse, he was in love. The girl he loved was Laura Merton, the daughter of a retired colonel, who had lost his temper and his digestion in India, and had never found either of them again. Laura adored him, and he was ready to kiss her shoestrings. They were the handsomest couple in London, and had not a pennypiece between them. The colonel was very fond of Hughie, but not hear of any engagement.

“Come to me, my boy, when you have got ten thousand pounds of your own, and we will see about it,” he used to say; and Hughie looked very glum on those days, and had to go to Laura for consolation.

One morning, as he was on his way to Holland Park, where the Mertons lived, he dropped in to see a great friend of his, Alan Trevor. Trevor was a painter. Indeed, few people escape that nowadays. But he was also an artist, and artists are rather rare. Personally, he was a strange, rough fellow, with a freckled face and red hair.

However, when he took up the brush he was a real master, and his pictures were eagerly sought after. He had been very much attracted by Hughie at first, it must be acknowledged, entirely on account of his good looks. “The only people a painter should know,” he used to say, “ are people who are bête and beautiful, people who are an artistic pleasure to look at and an intellectual repose to talk to. Dandies and darlings rule the world.” However, after he got to know Hughie better, he liked him quite as much for his bright, buoyant spirits and his generous, reckless nature, and had given him the permanent entrée to his studio.

When Hughie came in he found Trevor putting the finishing touches to a wonderful life-size picture of a beggar-man. The beggar himself was standing on a raised platform in a corner of the studio. He was a wizened old man, with a face like wrinkled parchment, and a most piteous expression. Over his shoulders was flung a coarse brown cloak, all tears and tatters; his thick boots were patched and cobbled, and with one hand he leant on a rough stick, while with the other he held out his battered hat for alms.

“ What an amazing model!” whispered Hughie, as he shook hands with his friend.

“An amazing model?” shouted Trevor, at the top of his voice ; “I should think so ! Such beggars as he are not to be met with every day. A trouvaille, mon cher; a living Velasquez! My stars! what an etching Rembrandt would have made of him !”

“ Poor old chap!” said Hughie; “how miserable he looks! But I suppose, to you painters, his face is his fortune.”

“Certainly,” replied Trevor; “you don’t want a beggar to look happy, do you?”

“How much does a model get for sitting?” asked Hughie, as he found himself a comfortable seat on the divan.

“A shilling an hour.”

“And how much do you get for your picture, Alan?”

“Oh, for this I get a thousand.”


“Guineas. Painters, poets and physicians always get guineas.”

“Well, I think the model should have a percentage,” said Hughie, laughing; “they work quite as hard as you do.”

“Nonsense, nonsense! Why, look at the trouble of laying on the paint alone, and standing all day long at one’s easel! It’s all very well, Hughie, for you to talk, but I assure you that there are moments when Art approaches the dignity of manual labor. But you mustn‘t chatter; I’m very busy. Smoke a cigarette and keep quiet.”

After some time the servant came in, and told Trevor that the framemaker wanted to speak to him.

“Don‘t run away, Hughie,” he said, as he went out, “I will be back in a moment.”

The old beggar-man took advantage of Trevor‘s absence to rest for a moment on a wooden bench that was behind him. He looked so forlorn and wretched that Hughie could not help pitying him, and he felt in his pockets to see what money he had. All he could find was a sovereign and some coppers.

“Poor old fellow,” he thought to’ himself, “he wants it more than I do, but it means no hansoms for a fortnight;” and he walked across the studio and slipped the sovereign into the beggar’s hand.

The old man started, and a faint smile flitted across his withered lips.

“Thank you, sir,” he said, in a foreign accent.

Then Trevor arrived, and Hughie took his leave, blushing a little at what he had done. He spent the day with Laura, got a charming scolding for his extravagance, and had to walk home.

That night he strolled into the Palette Club about eleven o’clock, and found Trevor sitting by himself in the smoking-room drinking hock and seltzer.

“Well, Alan, did you get the picture finished all right?’ he said, as he lit his cigarette.

“Finished and framed, my boy!” answered Trevor; “and, by-the-by, you have made a conquest. That old model you saw is quite devoted to you. I had to tell him all about you—who you are, where you live, what your income is, what prospects you have——”

“My dear Alan,” cried Hughie, “I shall probably find him waiting for me when I go home. But of course you are only joking. Poor old beggar! I wish I could do something for him. I think it is dreadful that any one should be so miserable. I have got heaps of old clothes at home-do you think he would care for any of them ? Why, his rags were falling to bits.”

“But he looks splendid in them,” said Trevor. “I wouldn’t paint him in a frock coat for anything. What you call rags I call romance. What seems poverty to you is picturesqueness to me. However, I’ll tell him of your offer.”

“Alan,” said Hughie, seriously, “you painters are a heartless lot.”

“An artist’s heart is his head,” replied Trevor ; “ and, besides, our business is to realize the world as we see it, I not to reform it as we know it. A chacun son metier. And now tell me how Laura is. The old model was quite interested in her.”

“You don’t mean to say you talked to him about her?” said Hughie.

“Certainly I did. He knows all about the relentless colonel, the lovely damsel and the ten thousand pounds.”

“You told that old beggar all my private affairs?” cried Hughie, looking very red and angry.

“My dear boy,” said Trevor, smiling, “that old beggar, as you call him, is one of the richest men in Europe. He could buy all London to-morrow without overdrawing his account. He has a house in every capital, dines off gold plate, and can prevent Russia going to war when he chooses.”

“What on earth do you mean?” exclaimed Hughie.

“What I say,” said Trevor. “The old man you saw to-day was Baron Hausberg. He is a great friend of mine, buys all my pictures and that sort of thing, and gave me a commission a month ago to paint him as a beggar. Que voulez-vous? La fantaisie d’un millionnaire.’ And I must say he made a magnificent figure in his rags, or, perhaps, I should say in my rags; they are an old suit I got in Spain.”

“Baron Hausberg!” cried Hughie. “Good heavens! I gave him a sovereign!” and he sank into an armchair the picture of dismay.

“Gave him a sovereign !” shouted Trevor, and he burst into a roar of laughter. “My dear boy, you’ll never see it again. Son affaire c’est l’argent des autress.

“I think you might have told me, Alan,” said Hughie, sulkily, “and not let me make such a fool of myself.”

“Well, to begin with, Hughie,” said Trevor, “it never entered my mind that you went about distributing alms in that reckless way. I can understand your kissing a pretty model, but your giving a sovereign to an ugly one —by Jove, no! Besides, the fact is that I really was not at home to-day to any one and when you came in I did not know whether Hausberg would like his name mentioned. You know he wasn’t in full dress.”

“What a duffer he must think me!” said Hughie.

“Not at all. He was in the highest spirits after you left; kept chuckling to himself and rubbing his old wrinkled hands together. I couldn’t make out why he was so interested to know all about you; but I see it all now. He’ll invest your sovereign for you, Hughie, pay you the interest every six months, and have a capital story to tell after dinner.”

“I am an unlucky devil,” growled Hughie. “The best thing I can do is to go to bed; and, my dear Alan, you mustn’t tell any one. I shouldn’t dare show my face in the row.”

“Nonsense! It reflects the highest credit on your philanthropic spirit, Hughie and—don’t run away. Have another cigarette, and you can talk about Laura as much as you like.”

However, Hughie wouldn’t stop, but walked home, feeling very unhappy, and leaving Alan Trevor in fits of laughter.

The next morning, as he was at breakfast, the servant brought him up a card, on which was written, “Monsieur Gustave Naudin, de la part de M. le Baron Hausberg.” “I suppose he has come for an apology,” said Hughie to himself; and he told the servant to show the visitor up.

An old gentleman with gold spectacles and gray hair came into the room, and said, in a slight French accent, “Have I the honor of addressing Monsieur Hugh Erskine?”

Hughie bowed.

“I have come from Baron Hausberg,” he continued. “The Baron-——”

“I beg, sir, that you will offer him my sincere apologies,” said Hughie.

“The Baron,” said the old gentleman, with a smile, “has commissioned me to bring you this letter;” and he handed Hughie a sealed envelope.

On the outside was written, “A wedding-present to Hugh Erskine and Laura Merton, from an old beggar,” and inside was a check for ten thousand pounds.

When they were married Alan Trevor was the best man, and the Baron made a speech at the wedding breakfast.

“Millionaire models,” said Alan, “are rare enough; but, by Jove, model millionaires are rarer still!”

Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories, Oscar Wilde, 1891

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Ah, we all love a happy ending, particularly when it involves immense cheques bestowed upon the Deserving, who find themselves not only the Handsomest, but the Luckiest Couple in London. The Baron was perceptive enough not to offer young Hughie a job, recognising in him the spirit of Bertie Wooster and the Drones Club.

Mrs Daffodil first read this slight fiction in Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly for 1887, where it was >ahem< published anonymously, not credited to Mr Wilde. Such “borrowings” seem to have been a fact of life in the management of a nineteenth-century newspaper or journal.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.


The Experiences of a Model: 1905

The Artist's Model

Bargue, Charles; The Artist’s Model; Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/the-artists-model-160095

No apology, we hope, is necessary for the publication of the following article. “The Experiences of a Model.” written for the Argonaut by Sarah Francis Montague, a California girl in New York. The few “damns” scattered through the story are, we think, more than excused by its absolute sincerity and its utter candor. Nothing could be left out without spoiling the fidelity of the portrait she draws of her unconscious, and therefore natural, portraitors.

Although there are models galore in New York (writes our correspondent) probably none have ever thought to relate their impressions of the famous men they have met. Probably they have been debarred by the thought that if anything uncomplimentary were to be said, a future means of livelihood might be affected. By merest chance I had the opportunity to serve in the capacity of a model for three of the best-known artists in New York. Knowing their drawings to be so popular with the general public, it occurred to me that a study of the men themselves, from the model’s point of view, should prove interesting. Early in the spring I had come East, never doubting that my theatrical experiences in California would procure me an immediate engagement with the managers of the great metropolis. Oh! the dauntless, sanguine Western girl! How many of them have left home with that same dream of fame and spirit of independence, only to spend months of waiting in the proverbial hall bedroom. disillusioned, but still undaunted. My experiences differed little from others’, though in some ways I was more fortunate. My finances were in such a condition that I could lodge nearer the parlor floor and afford to wait a few months. Still, il ennui à qui attend. In spite of my efforts to convince the managers that they could not get along without me. it was some time before I was placed. Being almost a stranger here, time began to hang heavily upon my hands, so when a friend suggested that I pose to while away the hours, I welcomed the suggestion gladly. Then the novelty of the idea impressed me, for I would see a phase of life of which I knew nothing. My friend volunteered to introduce me to the popular Life artist [Charles Dana Gibson?], whom she was sure would rave over my long lines and ask me to pose without any suggestion upon my part. Accordingly, one afternoon, as I returned from my managerial rounds, we called at the illustrator’s studio. He had just returned from luncheon, where he had evidently partaken freely of liquid refreshment. “Experience — that shroud of illusions!” In imagination. I had expected to see a living representation of those famous creations. What a disenchantment! Instead, here was a man. utterly blasé, carelessly groomed, and entirely lacking in dignity and spirituality — evidently a bohemian and man of the world.

We were greeted very jovially, and my “lines” did impress him, for I was asked to pose the following week. He examined the photographs I had with me, so as to select the costumes which he desired to sketch. This called forth the remark: “By Jove! you are tall, but you’ve got a damn fine shape. Where did you come from? Are there any more at home like you?” A little more good-natured chaff, and then we left.

The next Monday, when I entered the studio at the appointed time, his mood had changed. He gave me a grunt of recognition, and told me to sit down until he was ready. Evidently his affairs had gone wrong. Several men called upon business. He growled with them for a few minutes, and then slowly made preparations to work, giving me a curt. “Change your dress.” I retired to the dressing-room, which was just a corner curtained off. The studio itself was a large room, very restful to the eye. So extremely simple were its furnishings, containing only what was absolutely necessary for comfort. A fireplace, several large chairs and davenports, chests of drawers for his materials, an easel and drawing table, and a few tapestries on the walls were all. There were no pictures or drawings of any kind, except in one corner, near the door, where a few canvases were tucked away. A caller, picking up one of the latter—the study of a very beautiful woman—asked if it were finished. “No!” he answered, “she is too damned self conscious.”

As I fastened my gown, I glanced out at the artist himself. He sat before the easel, a picture of boredom: a tall and rather well built man, but not otherwise prepossessing. His head was nearly bald, and a protruding lower lip and heavy jaw gave him a rather sensuous countenance. As I came out. he glanced up critically from under his knitted brows. “Got good arms, haven’t you? There’s not one tall woman in a hundred who has.” Now that he had vouchsafed me at least one pleasant remark, I was a little more at ease.. After several attempts he finally settled upon a pose that suited him. I was astonished at the ease and rapidity with which he drew. Except for a nervous tattoo, which he constantly kept up with his shoes on the floor, he worked in. silence. Soon, however, he commenced to sigh and ejaculate: “God! God! but I’m tired! Work, work, from morning until night. I have so much to do. I don’t know where to commence!” I ventured to remind him that this was the penalty of fame. But even fame seems to have palled upon him. He has already exhausted life of all its treasures.

Not being accustomed to posing, in a few minutes I became so stiff I tried to shift my position a little. He at once exclaimed: “Don’t you move!” And I didn’t move again until the drawing was nearly completed, for he kept up a continual mumbling of “Don’t you move — don’t you move.” Finally I was relieved by a knock at the door. In response to his call. “Come in.” an old lady entered. The artist nodded to her, and told her to wait outside. Turning to me, he said: “Throw something about your shoulders. I have to talk to that old slob for a few minutes. Do you want a book to read?” He handed me one. Evidently he indulged in choice literature, for it was a collection of risque French cartoons and jokes. When the “old slob” had gone, and while he put the finishing touches on his sketch, he became garrulous, and began showering compliments upon me. Then he turned to the theme of love. His remarks becoming too broad, I changed the subject, and interested him in the details of my stage career. This brought to his mind how he had struggled to gain a foothold. With a few drawings under his arm, he had trudged from one newspaper office to another, only to meet rebuffs. Finally his opportunity came, and he seized it. It was all he needed. Then —”nothing succeeds like success.”

My second pose began. The instructions I was given were forcible if not elegant: “Sit behind that table over there. Put your hands in your lap. Turn your eyes this way, and look mad, as if the fellow opposite had said something improper. Now, scowl like hell!” I scowled in earnest. He gave a low chuckle, and. glancing at me, said: “That’s it. But do you mean that for me or the fellow?” I did not answer, but continued to scowl. As he worked, he gradually became good-humored, and joshed about gay and festive city life. I could not but help being amused by his remarks, and unconsciously my face relaxed its severe expression. I was soon recalled to my pose by an angry, “Now, you’re too damn pretty again.” As I left the studio, I could not help wondering how the wonderful drawings, so full of sentiment and beauty, could have originated in the brain of this seemingly common-place man. I say “seemingly,” for after all great men are but poseurs — and finally the pose becomes a habit.

In most decided contrast was my second experience with the celebrated poster-artist. [James Montgomery Flagg?] I looked forward to this appointment, for in a monthly magazine I had just read an interesting article by him on “The Poster.”

I expected to meet an interesting personality, and I was not disappointed. Entirely in accord with his personality was his appearance.

He was tall and muscular, with well-shaped hands and feet. The lofty brow, earnest, thoughtful eves, and sensitive mouth and chin denoted the artist and student. His manner was easy, well-bred, and courteous. When I arrived. I found him hard at work. He gave me a quiet “good-morning.” and showed me into the dressing-room. He called to me that he was going out for a hurried lunch, and would return shortly. This gave me the opportunity to inspect the studio. I knew that I could learn much of the man from his environment. The room was simply overflowing with curios of every description: armor, tapestries, costumes, and books galore.

The walls were thickly covered with pictures and posters — chiefly the results of his own efforts. In one corner was a large couch, littered with inviting cushions, and almost concealed by hanging draperies. Just opposite were a large easel and stool, standing in front of a broad mirror that extended from floor to ceiling. Nearby was the immense tray of pastels and crayons. I glanced at the books. They were typical of the man. All of the standard works were there, books of travel, essays, the higher class of fiction, and the best magazines. Indicative of a sentimental vein was a volume of love-letters, with the most beautiful passages heavily lined. Numerous art journals and studies in the nude were piled on a stand. I sat on the couch to await the artist’s return. As he he gave me an approving glance, and then went to work in a quiet, business-like way, making a rough sketch to show me the pose he desired. I took my position, and before I had time to get tired, he had suggested a rest. Between poses, he talked of his work, of his studies abroad, and the struggle necessary for success. To my surprise, he said he had as many as twenty applications in a morning from models to pose.

When I first saw him he had hardly given me a glance. I asked why I had been selected. He replied that one glance sufficed to show him what he wanted. I remained an hour or so longer, and then my pose for that day was ended.

Acting upon the suggestion of the poster-artist, the next day I called upon the illustrator of “The Castaway.” [Howard Chandler Christy] He was entertaining a couple of his bohemian friends, and I was somewhat disconcerted when I was forced to undergo a trying ordeal of inspection. First he commented upon my unusual height, and I had to stand to let him take a general survey of my figure. Then my hair and features were inspected, and finally I was asked to remove my waist so he could pass judgment on my neck and shoulders. I suggested that he take their merits for granted, as they had pleased other artists quite as critical as he. He did not insist, and told me to come the following Thursday to pose. On that day as I entered the studio, an old man, who looked as if he might belong to the G. A. R., was receiving his morning’s wages. They were evidently satisfactory, for as he left he called out a cheery good-by, and questioned. “To-morrow at the same time?” I was greeted with, “Well, you haven’t grown any shorter, have you?” He having forgotten to grow himself, my inches seemed to impress him. There was nothing bashful about him. While I was in the dressing-room he thrust his head between the curtains several times, proffering his services in helping me dress. After declining his offer once or twice, I managed to convince him that I needed no assistance. But just as the last hook was fastened, he called to me, “That is a stunning gown you have on.” I was surprised, and asked how he knew when he could not see it. He laughed, and then I saw that he had been watching my reflection in a mirror through the opening in the curtains. During the pose he kept up a constant chatter, in a good-humored way, about the books he had illustrated and the news of the day. I noticed he was left-handed, and enjoyed watching him work, he did it with such ease. His personal appearance was quite ordinary, but he was apparently an all-around good fellow, thoroughly alert, and lacking all conventional restraint. His studio was his work-shop. There were no attempts at decoration, but everywhere were evidences of his ingenuity and industry.

When an artist paints a portrait he paints two — himself and the poser. In all of this artist’s work there was that spirit of independence and energy which characterized his nature.

In a few days from this I joined a company, so my experiences as a model were ended. I often wondered how nearly correct were my impressions, and then I recalled the words of Balzac: “Before you judge a man. you must know the secret of his thoughts, of his sorrows, of his feelings; not to be willing to know more of his life than its material events is to make it a chronology — the history of fools.”

The Argonaut [San Francisco, CA] 23 January 1905: p. 64

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil really cannot approve of a fellow who peeps at a young lady when she believes herself unobserved in the dressing room. Or of one who hands his model a book of risqué French cartoons and jokes. Bounder. Cad.

One does wish that Miss Montague had been a bit more forthcoming while naming and shaming the swine. The poster-artist, on the other hand, seems to have comported himself like a gentleman. One out of three, one fears, knowing the artistic temperament, is not bad.

Mrs Daffodil once had a Ducal mistress who was enamoured of a caddish artist. When he came to an unfortunate end, helped, Mrs Daffodil freely admits, by a liberal application of gilt paint for a fancy-dress ball, there were so many floral offerings from titled ladies at the funeral (despite Her Grace having believed his protestations that he was hers alone) that one wonders where he found time to paint.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.







Middleton’s Model: 1895

Carmen, Valentine Cameron Prinsep, 1885, Southwark Art Collection

Carmen, Valentine Cameron Prinsep, 1885, Southwark Art Collection

Middleton was doing very well; everybody admitted that—some patronizingly, others enviously. And yet Middleton aimed high. He eschewed pot-boilers, and devoted himself to important subject pictures, often of an allegorical description. Nevertheless, his works sold, and that so well that Middleton thought himself justified in taking a wife. Here, again, good fortune attended him. Miss Angela Dove was fair to see, possessed of a nice little income, and, finally, a lady of taste, for she accepted Middleton’s addresses. Decidedly a lucky fellow all round was Middleton. But, in spite of all his luck, his face was clouded with care as he sat in his studio one summer evening. Three months before he had been the recipient of a most flattering commission from that wealthy and esteemed connoisseur the Earl of Moneyton. The earl desired two panels for his hall. “I want,” he wrote, “two full-length female figures — the one representing Heavenly Love, the other Earthly Love. Not a very new subject, you will say; but I have a fancy for it, and I can rely on your talent to impart freshness even to a well-worn theme.”

Of course there was no difficulty about Heavenly Love. Angela filled the bill (the expression was Middleton’s own) to a nicety. Her pretty golden hair, her sweet smile, her candid blue eyes, were exactly what was wanted. Middleton clapped on a pair of wings, and felt that he had done his duty. But when he came to Earthly Love the path was not so smooth. The earl demanded the acme of physical beauty, and that was rather hard to find. Middleton tried all the models in vain; he frequented the theaters and music halls to no purpose; he tried to combine all the beauties of his acquaintance in one harmonious whole, but they did not make what tea-dealers call a “nice blend.” Then he tried to evolve Earthly Love out of his own consciousness, but he could get nothing there but Angela again; and although he did violence to his feelings by giving her black hair and an evil cast in her eye, he knew that, even thus transformed, she would not satisfy the earl. Middleton was in despair; his reputation was at stake. The thought of Angela could not console him.

”I’d give my soul for a model!” cried he, flinging aside his pencil in despair.

At this moment he heard a knock at the door. He existed on the charwoman system, and after six o’clock in the evening had to open his own door. A lady stood outside, and a neat brougham was vanishing round the corner. Even in the darkness Middleton was struck by the grace and dignity of his visitor’s figure.

“Mr. Middleton’s, is it not?” she asked, in a very sweet voice.

Middleton bowed. It was late for a call, but if the lady ignored that fact, he could not remind her of it. Fortunately there was no chance of Angela coming at such an hour. He led the way to his studio.

“May I ask,” he began, “to what I am indebted for this honor?”

“I see you like coming to business directly,” she answered, her neatly gloved hands busy unpinning her veil. She seemed to find the task a little difficult.

“You see, it’s rather late,” said Middleton.

“Not at all. I am only just up. Well, then, to business. I hear you want a model for an Earthly Love.”

“Exactly. May I ask if you…”

“If I am a model? Oh, now and then—not habitually.”

“You know my requirements are somewhat hard to fulfill?”

“I can fulfill them,” and she raised her veil. She certainly could. She realized his wildest dreams—the wildest dream of poets and painters since the world began. Middleton stood half-stupefied before her.

“Well, shall I do?” she asked, turning her smile on him.

Middleton felt as if it were a battery of guns, as he answered that he would be the happiest painter in the world if she would honor him.

“Head only, of course,” she continued.

“Of course,” said he hastily; “unless, that is, you will give me hands and arms too.”

“I think not. My hands are not so good.” And she glanced at her kid gauntlets with a smile.

“And—er—as to terms?” he stammered.

“Oh, the usual terms,” she answered briskly.

Middleton hinted at pre-payment.

“I’m not allowed to take that,” she said. “Come, I will ask for what I want when the time comes. You won’t refuse me?”

“It’s a little vague,” he said, with an uneasy laugh.

“Oh, I can go away.” And she turned toward the door.

“Whatever you like,” he cried hastily.

“Ah, that’s better. I shall not take anything of great value.”

She gave him her hand. He ventured on a slight pressure. The lady did not seem to notice it, and her hand lay quite motionless in his.

“To-morrow, then?” he said.

“Yes. I won’t trouble you to call a cab. I shall walk.”

“Have you far to go?”

“Oh, some little way; but it’s an easy road.”

“Can’t I escort you?”

“Not to-night. Some day, I hope”—and she stepped into the street and disappeared round the corner.

Punctually the next day she reappeared. Apart from her incomparable beauty—and every time she came, Middleton was more convinced that it was incomparable—she was a charming companion. She was very well read, and her knowledge of the world was wonderful.

“I wish it wasn’t rude to ask your age!” he exclaimed one day.

“Ah, I am older than I look. My work keeps me young.”

“Are you very busy, then?”

“I am always busy. But I don’t grudge the time I give to you. No, don’t thank me. I am to be paid, you know.” And she laughed merrily. If there were a flaw in her, it was her laugh. Middleton thought it rather a cruel laugh.

“Do you know,” he resumed, “you have never told me your name yet.”

“I am here incognita.”

“You will tell me some day?”

“Yes, you shall know some day.”

“Before we part forever?”

“Perhaps we shall not part— forever.”

Middleton said he hoped not; but what would Angela say?

“My name is not so pretty a one as your fiancee’s,” the lady continued.

“How do you know I am engaged?”

“I always know that sort of thing. It’s so useful. Angela Dove, isn’t it?”

“Yes; I hope you like it?”

“To be candid, not very much. It happens to have unpleasant associations.”

It was fortunate that Angela was staying out of town. Middleton felt that the two ladies would not have got on well together; and he checked himself in shame; for his thought had been that not even for Angela could he send the stranger away. Middleton struggled against the treacherous passion that grew upon him; but he struggled in vain. He was guilty of postponing the finishing of his panel as long as he could. At last the lady grew impatient.

“I shall not come after to-day,” she announced. “You can finish it to-day.”

“Oh, hardly!” he protested. “I’ll stay late; but I can’t come again.”

Middleton worked hard, and by evening the panel was finished.

“A thousand thanks,” he said. “And now you’ll have something to eat, won’t you?”

She agreed, and they sat down to a merry meal. The lady surpassed herself in brilliancy, and her mad gayety infected Middleton. Forgetful of his honor and allegiance, he leaned over to toast his guest, with a passionate gaze in his eyes. Insensibly the evening sped away; suddenly the clock struck twelve.

“I am going now,” she said.

“Ah, you won’t leave me!” cried Middleton.

“For the moment.”

“But when shall I see you again?”

“As soon as you like, but not later than you must.”

“You are charmingly mysterious. Tell me where you are going?”

“To my home.”

“If you won’t come to me, I shall come to you,” he insisted.

“Yes, you will come to me,” she answered, smiling.

“And we shall be together?”


“As long as ever I like?”


“Impossible! Eternity would not be too long.”

“Nous verrons,” said she, with a laugh.

“At least you will write? You’ll send me your picture?”

“I never write, and you have my picture.”

“And another in my heart,” he cried hotly.

“I have tried to put it there.”

“But give me some token—anything—a ribbon—a glove—anything.”

“Well, let it be a glove. As I go I will give you a glove.”

She rose from her chair and rested her right hand on the table.

“Till we meet again!” she said.

“I am yours for ever!” he cried, seizing her hand.

“True! true!” she answered triumphantly. “You are mine forever!” and with a sudden movement she drew her arm away from him and left on the table—her glove, was it, or her hand? It seemed her very hand! and as Middleton looked up he had a vision of a blood-red claw shaken in his face, and devilish laughter rattled in his ears. The lady was gone, and Middleton fell full length on his studio floor.

Middleton is a very devoted husband to Angela Dove. When he is well and cheerful, he blames himself for having made love to a model, and laughs at himself for having been fool enough to fancy —well, all sorts of rubbish. But when he is out of sorts he does not like to be complimented on his figure of Earthly Love, and he gives a shudder if he happens to come across an article which lies hidden in his cupboard—a perfect model of the human hand covered with black kid; the model is hollow, and there is a curious black mark inside it.

And the earl? The earl was delighted with the panel.

“Was she a professional model?” he asked.

“She made it a matter of business with me,” said Middleton uneasily. It was one of his bad days.

I must know that girl,” continued the earl, with a cunning look in his eye.

“I expect you will some day.”

“What’s her name?”

“I don’t know. She didn’t tell me.”

“Didn’t she sign anything when you paid her?”

“I haven’t paid her yet.”

“But you’re going to?”

“I—I suppose so,” answered Middleton.

“Well, you’ll find out who she is then. And, I say, Middleton, just let me know.”

“I will if I can—unless you’ve found it out before.”

The earl took up his hat with a sigh.

“A glorious creature!” he said. “I hope I shall see her sometime.”

“I think it’s very likely, my lord,” said Middleton.

“Have you any notion where she comes from?”

Middleton compromised. He said he understood that the lady was from Monte Carlo. 

Sport Royal: And Other Stories, Anthony Hope, 1895

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Anthony Hope was the author of The Prisoner of Zenda and many another Ruritanian ripping yarn.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.