Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Pretty Picture (The Three Hostages)

     They made a pretty picture – “The Prodigal’s Return” or “The Old Folks Home”,  by Simpkins, R.A., Royal Academy, 1887.  No, by Heaven, there was no suggestion of that.  It was a marvellous and tragic scene I regarded.  The fitful light of the fire showed figures of an antique beauty and dignity.  The regal profile of the woman, her superb pose, and the soft eerie music of her voice were a world removed from vulgarity, and so was the lithe vigour and proud face of the man.  They were more like a king and queen in exile, decreeing the sea of blood which was to wash them back again.  I realized for the first time that Medina might be damnable, but was also great.   Yes, the man who had spat on me like a stable-boy had also something of the prince. I realized another thing.  The woman’s touch had flattened down the hair above his forehead, which he brushed square, and his head, outlined in the firelight against the white cushion, was as round as a football.  I had suspected this when I first saw him, and now I was certain.  What did a head like that portend?  I had a vague remembrance that I had heard somewhere that it meant madness – at any rate degeneracy.

No comments:

Post a Comment