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
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?


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).