Friday, November 8, 2013

Beauty's inventory

It pleases me to relate for my dear readers the following conversation piece from a recent gathering of my MeetUp society, known as the Amateur Shakespeare Society, of which I am both the Supreme Leader and Founder.

Upon this evening, a number of us had been assembled in my house, and some of us were either playing backgammon, or reading the New York Times, skimming over penetrating journalistic accounts of the world’s damnation,. Happily, in the pages of the Art Section my attention was captured by a photograph of some movie actress, “I say, if this isn’t most lovely pair of lips on a woman, then I’m a rotten villain. See for yourself, ladies and gentlemen, if these lips be not some miracle of nature. Oh to have such a deep red too. Such heavenly shade as was never seen before. ” Following my panaegeric upon the lady’s lips, everyone had turned to the said photograph to confirm for themselves the truth of my discovery.

“Aye, no doubt these be the loveliest lips,”---said Mr. Slepovitch.---“They are delicious,”---said Mr. Byrd.---“Marvelous lips. Marvelous. Spectacular. Large but not vulgar,”---said Mr. Brockden.---“Forsooth, they are charming and deserve to be respected by all human creatures,”—said Miss Farquhar.

While my friends were thus admiring the lady’s lips, I had come across another photograph in the newspaper, upon which I was compelled to make the following observation, “Egad, are these eyes not but the orbs of heaven?” I could hardly believe my own luck in having made such splendid discoveries twice in a row. “Aye, and with such lids to them. Do they not flutter like the wings of a cherub? Now, I say, ladies and gentlemen, let us worship these heavenly eyes that belong to this sublunary creature in the photograph.”

“Indeed, I adore her eye,”---said Mr. Slepovitch.—“I love her eyes,”—said Mr.Chatterjee.---“I worship her eyes,”---said Mr. Byrd.---“More beautiful than my own wife’s,”---said Mr. Lishmago.---“Their expression so highly articulated,”---declared Miss Carrington.---“They ought to be set up as models for nature to bestow upon all honest members the fair sex,”---said Miss Farquhar.---“The nonpareil of eyes,”---said Mr. Brockden.

Mr. Lismahago, being highly desirous to satisfy the people in like manner, turned to his newspaper and found one photograph that particularly struck his fancy, for he thus spoke forth, “I’faith, look at this fine chin. I would be a damnable friend indeed if I didn’t show you this chin as you see here in this photograph. How graceful a line is here, what think you? And look how proudly she carries her chin. Have you seen a chin this gorgeous before?” And he identified the photograph where such a chin may be found, to which we had all turned to marvel at its beauty.

“I’ll grant you, a fine, strong chin,”---said Slepovitch.---“No, ’tis only an average chin,”---said Miss Shanka.---“My chin is no doubt superior to this chin here,”---said Miss Farquhar.---“There may be grace, but, alas, little intelligence to it,”---said Mr. Chatterjee.---“A little too much pride in that chin, I’m afraid,”---said Mr. Hutchenson.

It appeared to us that Lismahago was rather vexed by the mixed reception he received, and troubled by his inability to identify real beauty, as I evidently could. So my attention returned to the newspaper, whereupon I endeavored to read several articles about the sorry state of our society. Yet another picture of a lady had suddenly caught my attention, “I beseech you all to have a look at her beautiful nose. Come look, admire its charm, and those delicate nostrils. Upon my word, a woman with a lovelier proboscis lives not among us.” Everyone turned to the place in the newspaper where this nose could be found and, if my words held true, to be properly commended.

“A most handsome nose. Very gentle too,”---said Mr. Slepovitch---“I would give my chin for her nose,”---said Miss Farquahar.---“Splendid. Splendid nose,”---said Mr. Brockden.---“Such nose can not be worth less than four hundred ducats. It may fetch a fine sum of money indeed on the market,”---said Mr. Rosenthall.---“Zounds man, it may fetch five hundred ducats any day,”---said Mr. Lismahago---“What blasphemy. Six hundred ducats for that nose, and not a pfennig less,”---said Slepovitch---“Nay, six hundred and fifty,”---said Brockden.

“Please, gentlemen, cease your knockabouts. We are here to praise beauty, not to appraise her. Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, let us raise our goblets high to Lady Beauty.” And so we swallowed our glasses empty---and shortly thereafter the ladies burst forth into much coquettish laughter, while the gentlemen did fraternally start to pat each other on the back, and then proceeded to shake each other’s hands for several merry rounds.

“Gentlemen, let us not forget the marvels of earthly beauty we have here in the flesh,” declared I, indicating all the ladies in the room, with a swarth of my arm, for we were indeed blessed to have upon attendance such beautiful female creatures as Miss Ursula Farquhar, Miss Constantina Carrington, and Miss Betsey Shanka.

“Were lovelier cheekbones ever seen than Miss Farquhar’s? “proclaimed I. “What say you my friends to a drink to Miss Farquhar and her superior cheekbones.” So we all took another hearty gulp of wine to honor Miss Farquhar’s cheekbones.

“And let us not forget Miss Constantina’s hair,” said Lismahago, “and give her hair the proper worship it deserves. Would that you join me in drinking to Miss Constantina’s hair. I confess to being a life-long admirer of that lovely fleece,” finished Mr. Lismahago, and we all took in a thimbleful of wine in honor of Miss Constantina’s beautiful hide.

“Upon my word, if anyone has seen a lovelier pair of elbows than those of Miss Shanka’s, I would surely like to see them.” declared Mr. Rosenthall. “By Gad, I’d wager any man seven hundred ducats a more handsome pair of elbows cannot be found in all Christendom. So let the canakins clink, my friends, in tribute to Miss Shanka’s elbows,” said Mr Rosenthall. We refilled our bumpers with sack, and took in another bibulous round. O'er flowing with the sanguine press, Slepovitch performed a Russian jig to our utmost satisfaction.     

And in such manner did we spend another meeting of our society, in a worshipful inventorying of Lady Beauty’s virtues.