Archive for January 29th, 2007

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Don’t Make Fun of the Naked Lady — The DuckBox virtual tour pt 1.

January 29, 2007

Recently had a guest over to the Duck’s new digs. A young lady who — for reasons that shall be made plain — will not be invited back into the DuckBox.

I’m not one to ban people from entering my home willy-nilly, but this unfortunate guest broke the only cardinal rule of life in the Box: Do not cast aspersions at the Naked Lady.

naked-lady.jpg

The Naked Lady hangs above my bed. She is Blameless and Frameless and she Basks in the Sunshine. She was painted by a now-deceased and still-beloved cousin and if the Naked Lady were wrong, I would not want to be right.

“Oh,” my guest said when she saw the Naked Lady, “you have a naked lady above your bed.”

“I do,” I said. “See how she Basks in the Sunshine? Is she not beautiful?”

“Her head,” said she, “is too small for the rest of her.”

Parts of you, too, lack proportion, I thought.

“And I’m not sure about her hands.”

“And I’m not sure about your hands.”

My guest regarded me with a quizzical eye that caused me to suspect I’d actually said that last part out loud.

“It is a beautiful painting,” I said.

“Depends on what the artist was going after.”

I stood erect, placing my my teacup delicately on its tray, beside the scones for which I suddenly had no appetite. To think, I had brought out the good china tea set and the silver service for her. “Nigel,” I called, “fetch this woman’s wrap!”

“Who’s Nigel?” she asked.

“My manservant of course. I’m afraid I must attend to pressing matters in my study. You will have to see yourself out. ” Retreating into my sanctuary, I breathed deep the rich mahogany panelling and settled myself sufficiently to speak again. “Good day, madam,” I bowed, pulling the oaken door shut behind me.

“That,” she said, “is your closet.”

“I said good day, madam!” I called over my shoulder. I stood looking out the window into the courtyard, absently tracing with my finger the grooved spine of a volume of Chrysippus I’d left open on the arm of the settee, until I heard her carriage rattle angrily across the yard.

The day had turned gray and chill and soon it would rain. She would face a long and fitful ride through the moors that evening. The kind of ride that, in old English novels, invariably resulted in prolonged illness. Perhaps even the ague.

She would be bedridden until spring.

“Very well,” I said, aloud and to no one. “The moors can have her if they want her. If she returns in March, she will find me disinclined to receive her.”

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