Jean-Pierre sat alone in the tavern and watched Marie, the barmaid, as she steadied six pitchers of ale against her stomach and chest. She squeezed them tight before filling her fingers with six mugs to deliver to war-weary soldiers who milled around the room.
Relieved to have reached his destination after a two-day ride from Paris, Jean-Pierre relaxed. He reached deep into his pocket and retrieved the letter from his father which had brought him here. He re-read it, placed it face down on the table, picked up his pencil and began to draw.
He started with Marie’s head: back for balance, chin held high with pride. He caught the luxuriant waves of her golden hair, her classic nose, rosebud mouth, the straight-forward stare of her eyes as she distributed the drinks to the drunks. He filled in her breasts, the closely-wrapped dress fabric which followed the curves of her body, the flare of her apron strings.
Then he tore the paper into bits. It wasn’t a very good drawing, just as his father’s letter had not carried very good news. Five words said it all: the girl or your inheritance.
Jean-Pierre had decided. He loved Marie. He would eschew the money, and somehow, he would survive as an artist.
One could always be a closet artist and soak up the bucks until becoming noteworthy. Then again a closet is kinda small as a studio. No sunlight either.
Unfortunately, it’s Marie and nothing, or the bucks and no Marie. I suspect he’ll be glad to have a closet after a few days off of Daddy’s life support.
he didn’t sell his soul – well written VB
Thanks, Bill. He may have to sell everything else, though, if he can’t sell some paintings..
Good for him! Hopefully he’ll be able to find some “real” work to help support him until he’s able to support them as an artist. My uncle taught high school art for many years before he became famous, but eventually he had to quite because he needed the time for his art.
Now we know where the artistic talent in your family comes from–your photos, Janet, and the work your daughter is doing at PAFA. As for the accomplished poetry and fiction you and Bill write–is that home grown?