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Lord George
& Jenny

I first saw Jenny by a stream in the gardens
(Kensington). A multitude of birds sang
& a family of rabbits played nearby.

She had on a blue
see-through dress, & a portly unpleasant
bandylegged dandy - George - pretending to gaze
at the birds & the rabbits constantly very
thoroughly
examined her.

His expression was fixed & his face
was a mask. I afterwards heard the mask was
constructed by a Mr Aeneas
(theatrical maskmaker)
& was used by Tobias’ assistant, the angel (you
remember) Gabriel . . . (Perhaps it was Raphael .)

Anyway, this damned cheat George, who previously

thought every woman a whore, very delicately
approached & polite words astonishingly dribbled
between his teeth through the fixed aperture
which stood - apparently since yesterday –
for his mouth.

Jenny was a dancer, devoted to her art, but she
had no experience - I could plainly see - of
pimps or archangels.

***

Max says they got married & went off together
to a fairytale hut in the wood (quickly bought
by George for the purpose) & lived there for
6 months ‘inexpressibly happy’ he says.
You remember that at this point one of his much-
prized - one of his earlier whores - tore the
mask from his face.
which in the hot sun melted in minutes at
their feet, leaving his underface as
angelic as the other.

***

An unlikely bloodily
Incredible tale, don’t you think?

Note

The villain, George, in Max Beerbohm’s Happy Hypocrite, is (like a criminal in a fairy story) undoubtedly a scoundrel, but it's possible to like him & admire him.

One can even believe that he's managed to change himself fundamentally & will presently be capable of an unselfish & perfectly genuine love affair.

The statement that with the mask gone his inner face resembles his outer is not necessarily unlikely or ‘bloodily incredible’ (we hope).