Monday 8 December 2008

Prude, not nude

“Oh Donna, I do wish you would learn to behave,” said Mr. Gaysbreath. “How do you ever intend to get married if you keep being so rude in company?”
“Father!” cried Donna, “are you implying I should get married to old Mr. Rochester?”
“Well, no,” her father replied. He blushed. “The man has a spouse already.”
“Then what good would it do me, letting him insult me by publicly comparing me to a chubby nude, portrayed by some dirty minded Italian?”
“Oh darling,” sighed Mr. Gaysbreath.
“No, father, let me finish. That lady was probably a prostitute, being paid to let men have a good look at her private parts.”
“I do wish you had a more sophisticated taste. We tried so hard to educate you, so that you would appreciate art.”
“I do appreciate art!” Donna exclaimed. “For example, I adore the impressionists.”
“You do?”
“Now don't mock me! I would be more than happy to be compared to one of Manet's paintings.”
Mr. Gaysbreath lifted one eyebrow in surprise. “You think a naked lady having lunch in a park with three fully dressed gentlemen is decent?”
“Two, father, she's having lunch with two gentlemen. The one in the back is a woman. And it's full of symbolism, there's meaning to her lack of garments. But I meant, of course, the portrait of the aloof looking lady with the umbrella. Don't you think she looks like an exact image of me?”
“I'm not sure I know which one you mean, dear,” said Mr. Rochester.
“She's in a park in Paris, I think, and it's summer. You can tell by the colour of the light, and the fabric of her dress. Cream white, very lovely with green herbs and tiny flowers embroidered on it. I actually think she's wearing the umbrella against the sun, so that her skin will stay nice and pale. Just like mine.”
“I don't think I've seen it.” Mr. Gaysbreath shook his head.

“I'm sure you have, father, it was one of the top pieces at the impressionist exhibition we visited last spring.” Donna searched her mind for a clue that would trigger her father's memory. “Do you remember my golden mousquetaires? After that exhibition I've searched every shop in town for those gloves, because I wanted the exact same as in the painting. Father, you must remember!”
“Oh, yes, dear, I think I do now, you've got the same bonnet too, don't you, with primroses?”
“Exactly,” said Donna. A satisfied smile adorned her soft face. “Now that's the type of art I can identify with, nice and prude. Not nude!”

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