Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Sketch


There’s a sketch of Jasfoup in the museum. He’s in human form, and sporting a moustache and stiff-collared shirt and looks more like a servant to the two ladies on the balcony that a rather powerful demon but it’s him all right.

It’s something about the eyes. Even though the figure is not the form Harold recognizes – he’s Caucasian in the sketch, for a start, rather than the ink-black, soft-as-buttered-chocolate skin of his present form – Harold knows the figure has been caught by a master painter’s quick hand.

“Who are the ladies?” he asks and Jasfoup appears almost embarrassed that Harold has unearthed the yellowed parchment. He takes it and a slow smile softens his features.

“That’s Lady Waters, your great grandma,” he said. “We stopped in Paris on the way home from the orient. The other lady is Kunimasu Souki, who accompanied her and translated. We saw the gentleman in the opposite window but paid him no mind. It was a pleasant surprise for her to find the sketch left with the hotel concierge the following week.”

“He changed the faces in the painting, though.” Harold took it back and placed it carefully back between tissue paper pages. “Why was that?”

“A hundred francs and a blind eye to his mistress.” Jasfoup grinned. He’d never have sold the painting anyway. It was better that he painted in nobility instead.”

“Manet should have kept is as Lady Waters,” said Harold. “She’d have given him more than your hundred for the painting.”

“Perhaps,” said Jasfoup, “but he was flattering Berthe Morisot.”

3 comments:

aims said...

You lost me on Harold's last line.

Could you explain for this dummy?

Leatherdykeuk said...

Manet wasn't to know that lady Waters was very,very rich. If he'd painter her instead of replacing the sketched lady Waters with the painted Berthe Morisot he'd have made a lot more money.

As it was, the painting is now of Berthe, his pupil and later lover.

aims said...

Ahhh! And so a lightbulb (the green kind) goes on!