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[Documents in "T?TM" file box, entrusted by Simon G. Cotton (professor emeritus, English literature, Columbia) to Karen Michaelis (associate lecturer, art history/women's studies, Goldsmiths), during the editing process of the James Mortmain: A Centennial Consideration collection. Transcribed here for KM individual research purposes, with the permission of SGC. All spelling errors are according to the original text.]

 

[Typescript Diary: yellowing A4 typed on a near-antique typewriter, with month/day noted only; years are notional]

…saw the notice in The Times of Aubrey Fox-Cotton’s funeral and decided I must attend. Aubrey was, for a few months—that time when Mortmain always seemed to be facing away from me—important, so elegant and easthetic, also so very adoring, and in any case I am always in funereal mood now and one might as well be at an actual funeral in that case.

Had rather expected there would be a new young widow as chief mourner, but it seems they never saw the point of divorcing? and Leda presided in a delicious little black dress, terribly composed, looking like no one’s idea of a widow except at the very end when her mouth quivered suddenly. I know that quiver. That was when she understood that the funeral did not end his being dead but only began it.

She looked somewhat shocked when I passed by in the condolance line; thought she might not speak at all, but quite suddenly she gave me the only smile I saw that day and said “So kind of you to come. We must meet soon,” as if we were in the habit of lunching together on a regular basis.

…couldn’t fathom who had sent the invitation until I saw the little swan embossed at the top. Dark green pen, handwriting full of swirls and loops. Can’t now remember what Madam Mathilde the grafologist (graphalogist? graffalogist?) would have said. Accepted out of curiosity, I suppose, not just what she wanted but who she is; Aubrey used rather to write her off as too absorbed in her own career (and perks thereof in the form of the beautiful men on the other side of the lens) to support his as he felt he needed. C. detested her because of that passage of arms over poor Stephen (can hardly blame either one, call it a miracle that Stephen had a heart as pure as his bone structure and declined, at least conciously, to play them off against each other).

We met at L’Ammandier (Amandier? Amondiere?) in Marylebone, late enough that the other tables were mostly empty; maitre d’ and waiters obviously knew Leda well and waited on her with great attention and little gifts of olives and bread. Realized she must be closer to Mortmain’s age than mine, probably seventy or nearly now, but aged quite well (women not beautiful have an edge at this age; C. could never hold a candle to R. in their teens but will beat her into a cocked hat once they’ve both crossed the bridge of sixty). Skin still sallow and oily but (therefore?) hardly lined, black hair only licked with grey around ears and temples.

Soup plates only just removed when Leda abandoned small talk and came out idly with “Did you and Aubrey ever actually go to bed together?” Couldn’t tell if she was expecting me to be shocked; in fact wouldn’t have been so even at the time (hardly expected her to assume we spent all that time together discussing the higher reaches of archetecture and art alone) and thirty years gone felt no more than gentle nostalgia.

Told her truthfully I don’t believe we ever did. “We hadn’t any place to go, of course, short of a hotel—“

Leda laughed. “Yes, that would have been his sticking place, wouldn’t it! He would never have taken his mistress to one of the nice places—he liked to assume his face was known all around London, at least the U parts, and who knows, it might have been. And yours certainly was—is—memorable enough,” with a measuring glance that took me back to artist-model days: not sex or envy, mind/eyes on underpainting and palette.

Agreed, “He was a bit too class-conscious for the down-at-heels rooming houses where they wouldn’t have known or cared. I’d seen my share of them before I married Mortmain, but they didn’t seem what Aubrey would want.”

“Oh, his aesthetic sense would never, never have permitted an affair in some grotty little B and B. Really you were quite fortunate then. I wish I’d slept less often with Aubrey and more with other men.”

I'm glad for Mortmain's sake I stopped where I did, but hadn't any intent of talking about Mortmain to Leda. Instead I got my own back a bit (and simple curiosity!) with "Did you ever sleep with our Stephen?".

Leda winked. “Wouldn’t that be telling…? No, I missed my chance there. When I had him in the studio he was still too much taken with that girl of yours, Helen…? Cassandra, yes—for anything but a kiss and a cuddle, and after that, of course, he had his hands full on all sides. The one that got away,” plangently, making me laugh. “You were never tempted? Tucked away in that crumbling old castle with a beautiful boy right there at hand…”

“Tempted by Stephen? Of course he was adorable, but…with Mortmain there…?”

“You were faithful, weren’t you? Positively Ruth-and-Naomi class. Things must have been bad for you even to consider Aubrey, then.”

"Oh, I thought Aubrey was really rather attractive," I elided. "You must have done once too? You married him, after all."

Very amused look from Leda. "I married the Fox-Cotton name—my dear, a double-barrel!—and the artistic milieu. Much easier to get where I meant to go—and afford the good cameras—that way than striking out on my own as Liddy Eames the clerk’s daughter from Leytonstone. –Oh, all right, I'll admit the grey eyes and the lovely hands didn't hurt."

"He did have lovely hands," I agreed, and we enjoyed a moment of satisfied memory.

Our main dishes were cleared away and the dessert trolley appeared.

Leda was very quiet over her baked custard; left her to it and devoted myself to trifle, until she set down her spoon with a clink and looked up. Quite without preamble, "I'd like to photograph you."

Aubrey didn't like Leda's photographs, I recall. Probably did not say so to her but I'm sure she knew. Naturally, at the time, I didn't care for them either.

But the model need not trouble about that; her art is to be the still point that makes the painting (or photograph). I missed that a bit, truthfully. And I was curious.

"I'll come to your studio," I said. "But you ought to know my modeling rates are a bit higher than Stephen Colly's were."

Leda snorted. "Five guineas won't go far these days, certainly. And he didn't ask much else of me. Don't concern yourself on that account. I'm prepared to give of what I have."

I wonder whether she will photograph my head or my body or both, and what she will think of while she does it.

 

 

Beyond aging gracefully: Topaz Unjaded, a photographic exhibition by Leda Eames Fox-Cotton

Catalog of the exhibition: Susan Britten (Lecturer, College of St. Martins, photography)

Topaz Mortmain is known to literary connaisseurs (at least, those who have read the excellent Cotton biography) as the second wife and eventually widow of the great Modernist author James Mortmain; her generous work toward creating the ideal writing environment is generally considered to be a significant factor in Mortmain's renaissance, and while Mortmain named his biographer, S. G. Cotton, and his daughter Cassandra as co-literary executors, he left his copyrights to Topaz in perpetuity, suggesting that he appreciated her contribution as well.

A few readers whose interests overlap with modern art may have recognized Topaz, with her strikingly original beauty, as the model for Macmorris' Topaz in Jade and H. J. Allardy’s Composition, as well as Geoffrey Dunant's After Ophelia and several other well-known pre-war paintings. At the time she was a top-ranked artist's model known as Topaz Thorpe; after marrying Mortmain, she sat for only one or two more paintings and seems to have been entirely content to dedicate herself to the task of being his wife and helping raise his children, apart from occasional work on her own paintings.

Her appearance here is the first time she has been the subject of art photography rather than painting. Leda Eames Fox-Cotton is, of course, a major name in photography, beginning in the 1920s when very few women were successful in the field, with a career that has spanned some four decades. While her prewar work focused almost entirely on images of men and male force, including several now considered ground-breaking works of "female gaze," from the 1950s on her photographs gradually came to include more purely female images, notably her series of photographs taken in collaboration with Sadler's Wells and the Royal Ballet. Asked if she regrets not having the chance to photograph Topaz in her youth, Leda responds very firmly in the negative. "Beautiful young women are nothing special. My ballet photographs would have been bloody boring if I'd focused on the faces alone; their lines are what makes the image. Beautiful old women are much harder to come by."

 

 

[Canvas Diary (handwritten at irregular intervals, mostly undated, on the back of used or discarded pieces of canvas, from full portrait size to trim lengths)]

…Oh well, it's because Mortmain is a great man, a complex artist, while Carlo and Everard were nothing of the sort. I must, must! learn to live up to him, to discern what he needs from me―and how gladly I'd give it!―whether he puts it into words or not; I must allow him to keep his words for his literary creation. Note to self: ask C. about wives of great authors, expect she will know. Pity no library nearby.

(Aphrodiseacs? We can hardly afford rhinocerous horn. Natural? Must not poison us both out of ignorance. Stephen or Miss Marcy might have the country knowledge, but can hardly be asked. Poor Stephen, imagine his blush, and dear little Miss Marcy would never have thought of the matter, I'm sure she is a virgin. (Ivy Stebbings? Better not to give her ideas. Poor Stephen!) And no, the idea is a failure on my part from the first, I must trust Mortmain more, must give of myself to him more. I must be able to put my soul in his hands, whether he takes my body or not.)

 

…I must say I wish Mortmain were more interested in discussing this sort of thing: C. and R. and their delightful Jane Austin dance with the Cotton young men, not to mention Stephen. I suppose Simon Cotton and I must be about of an age, but how different a world he comes from. R. feeling her power and no mistake, as I said to C., but C. herself perhaps even more with her deeper imagination. Perhaps I should advise S. just to find a quiet moment in the barn, kiss her, stroke her breasts and leave the rest to nature? Poor shy devoted S., sublamating his feelings into poetry and the occasional kiss and cuddle with busty Ivy. Shan't waste too much sympathy on him―he'll have all the girls he cares about with that face and body, even if C. never comes to take him seriously―but it seems a waste for both of them. When I think that at C's age I was already living in the caravan with Carlo--! Would I still have let him ravish me if I'd known then what I know now? Yes, why not? He was good at it, after all; he taught me that along with cooking and sewing, if nothing else. C. with her china-doll seriousness over the "facts of life," R….well, who can say with Rose, but I don't know that Simon Cotton's gentlemanly and gentle advances are what she actually needs. One expects a more direct aproach from Americans, honestly.

Then again, perhaps he'll make Rose feel treasured and that will be enough for her after all. To do R. credit, she doesn't seem to be swayed by pretty faces alone (she's never looked twice at S., after all), which will work in her favor; I didn't learn that until Everard. The trick is to see the whole man (or, for Simon and Stephen and even that merry, easy-going Neil, I suppose, the whole woman). Oh dear, they are all so very young!

 

 

[From the Catalog]

The Topaz Unjaded series begins by engaging the two best known portraits of Topaz. Wearing a dress modeled on the one she wears in Topaz in Jade, Topaz sits in a similar pose, hair loose down her back. Her necklace is not the original jade, which is now in the collection of the Duchess of Devonshire, but eponymous topaz, designed by Leda for the photograph and created by the artist jeweller Fiona Herne. The photograph is, of course, titled Topaz in Topaz. It is followed by Leda’s riff on Allardy’s Composition, in which, as in the original painting, Topaz lies nude on a black couch; the photograph comments, naturally, on the changes in a woman’s body between twenty-five and sixty, while its title, Position, suggests the various roles of the model in the male artist’s life.

 

The next section contains six photographs instantly identifiable as the classic “Leda” style: blown up larger than lifesize, black and white, with the model deliberately “posed” and either nude or in carefully selected costume: standing before a mirror in a candlelit room; costumed as Artemis and then as Aphrodite, and then, unexpectedly, as Apollo; lying across a double bed, dappled with sunlight and the shadows of leaves; dressed in a dazzlingly cut black dress and diamonds in a blaze of hard light. Topaz’s coloring is remarkably suited to the dramatic Leda idiom, and the photographs rival Leda's famous “Narcissus Before the Mirror” series, featuring the young Stephen Collier (then an unknown amateur model), in impact and beauty.

 

[Foolscap Diary (handwritten on the back of discarded sheets of foolscap in James Mortmain's handwriting, the front side painstakingly dated in TM's hand, the back side undated)]

Letter from C. in London―oh so very casual about seeing Simon Cotton (a rendezvus at the British Museum, no less!) during his visit. "Tell father Simon sends his best and hopes to publish another article soon―" dearest Cassandra, she might as well have written his name in letters of fire. Have not made up my mind about whether he would be good for her; at least he might see a real woman and not the lovely fantasy he saw when he looked at Rose, bless her. C. and R. both have so much of Mortmain in them, neither will ever really give herself wholly to a man, however much they adore him.

Neil Cotton is the right match for R., though; Simon saw all the good he wanted in a woman, magically evoked by her beauty, and never knew what was real and what only the veil he had condjured for her. Neil sees the worst of her and forces her to meet him on the far side of it. (Could I paint that? Alegorically, of course. I shall think about it this afternoon while I dig. Must remember to ask C. to send a parcel from Cornelissen’s for me when I reply to her letter.)

 

…The kitchen is awash in milk because Mortmain threw the (full!) milk jug at me, bellowing "Do you think I have time for anything so bloody silly? Go down there and I'll be delighted to imprison you for a few days myself if you want the full experience!" I ducked before I thought, sadly, and the jug shattered against the wall under the angel with a great splash of milk throughout. Lucrezia got the worst of it and looked horribly afronted at first, then gradually delighted, visably warring with her dignity over whether she might revel in the unexpected bounty or ought to stalk out in disgust now that she is not quite a kitten any more. Mortmain roared with laughter, scooped her up and thrust her under the tap to furious squalls (luckily he was in shirtsleeves, one of his oldest shirts; I must soak it to avoid any lingering smell of sour milk). He took her back to the gatehouse with him after rubbing her dry with the kitchen towel (likewise), but I'm sure she will have found her way back to the kitchen and drunk her fill by now. I must mop it up before tea.

Perhaps he's quite right that, if I mean to paint him as he wrote, imprisoned in the tower on that fateful night, I ought to experience a day and night imprisoned there myself. But what if he needed me and I was unable to go to him?

 

…Mortmain nearly missed his train to London this morning—I woke at first light and started to awaken him in good time, and found myself in his arms. I can hardly put into words what a joy it is to bring him pleasure and receive it in turn, his life force running through me as it must through his writing, a privilege and more than that a delight.

We both fell asleep again, afterward, of course, and I had to wake him again in a great flurry when the late morning sun reached our window. He leapt out of bed naked, swearing roundly at the top of his lungs, and flung himself into a suit as fast as I could hand him the pieces, snatched up his old leather case (fortunately I had made him put it ready the night before), kissed me nearly off my feet, then snatched the piece of cold toast Thomas had left in the rack and, with it still in his mouth like Lucrezia with a mouse, bicycled frantically off toward the station, lurching madly from side to side and swearing through the toast once again. I (still naked myself) sat down on the window seat and laughed until I wept.

 

[From the Catalog]

The "candid" photographs (with quotation marks used advisedly, since most if not all are posed to some extent) make up the largest section of the exhibition, offering a richly textured and varied canvas which seems to be illuminated by the recurrent figure of Topaz herself.

This section begins with Topaz asleep or seeming to be, commenting dryly on the two earlier sections: curled up like a child on the black couch of "Composition", wearing a black dressing gown, one hand tucked under her cheek while the other unconsciously cups a breast; then sprawled over the sun-splashed bed which features in the "Leda" style photographs, in an Edwardian nightgown, hair dangling over the edge of the bed in a heavy silver-gilt braid.

An extended shoot took place at Godsend Castle, the Sussex house where Topaz lived with James Mortmain until his death (its current residents, relatives of the owner of nearby Scoatney Hall, are thanked for providing the location in Leda's notes for the exhibition); the neighboring tower makes a dramatic accompaniment to a nude Topaz at dawn in a cloak of her glittering hair, appearing in the guise of a pagan sun goddess. The photograph immediately following shows us Topaz clad in a jumper clearly knitted for a large-framed man and much worn since, hair twisted up behind her head in a bun held tenuously in place with a paintbrush, frying eggs in the cluttered kitchen. Looking over her shoulder from far above, a glimmer of plaster in the dimness shows a modeled head (a saint? a demon?) observing.

Next we see a rough stone expanse with a tiny gentian blooming from a crack, taken lightly between two pale slender fingers so that it seems the stone in a ring; the sequel shows us the larger picture, Topaz lying nude on the crumbling stone roof of the castle turret, her body minimally concealed by a lightweight shawl in the same colors as the gentian, which seems still to billow as it settles over her. The third photo in this row zooms out as far as the camera permits to show Topaz as small as the gentian in the first picture, a flash of silver-blond hair and a diamond of blue, against the greater blue of the sky and the trailing hair of an airplane's contrail.

Returning to the human scale, we find Topaz, in a much-patched smock and oilskin trousers liberally smeared with glistening black mud, squatting in a bed of vegetables with a trowel and seeming to commune with the dirt, in company with a heap of misshapen potatoes and a rain-battered blooming thistle. Next the scene shifts suddenly once again from the "Godsend" series to Oxford Street, lined with elegant women's figures at the height of the shopping season; the figure of Topaz can be found among them after a moment's searching, dressed in a simple black sheath and with hair in a chignon.

The "Oxford Street" series zooms in to show Topaz considering a window in which a single mannequin wears a dress in jewel-bright splashes of color; the smoothly molded face, Topaz's face in profile, and her reflection in the window layer and converse. Next to this is a play on the meaning of the word, the interior of one of the few shops on the street which still uses human mannequins; the exaggerated contrast with which the interior is developed emphasizes the outlines of each figure, both the slender and rigidly held mannequins and the more full-figured, less upright shoppers, and the black-and-white figure of Topaz seeming to float between the two.

The final images of this section were shot in the National Portrait Gallery, with special permission from David Piper, a friend of Leda's late husband (the architect Aubrey Fox-Cotton). Topaz, in a long Grecian dress of opalescent color, drifts through the galleries in soft focus, while over her shoulder various painted and photographed faces appear with sharp clarity, depicting a peculiar conversation: Angelica Kauffmann, Mary Moser, Carrington, Madame Yevonde, Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh, Mary Wollstonecraft…

 

[Diary of Cassandra Mortmain, April 18th, 1965]

Well, I don't know that I will ever be able to look at Leda Fox-Cotton without seeing Stephen's face over her shoulder, but I must say she did Topaz proud. (Topaz said she'd invited Stephen, but he sent regrets from overseas, along with a huge bunch of yellow roses for her and white ones for Leda. With any other film star it would be a bit of tiresome self-advertising, but one knows Stephen means it.)

Rose and Neil sent an even huger bouquet, of course, with a card saying "Our best love and congratulations―The Cotton Family." Simon shook his head and smiled at the American-ness of it.

After the reception we stayed behind in the gallery, just he and I and Thomas (Peggy was at home with the children) and Topaz and Leda (there were quite a few, quite young men who seemed to be hanging about on the make, all sent briskly on their way by Leda with a stream of kisses. I can't say "merry widow" really, she's always been like that, and when I think about it now I don't expect Aubrey Fox-Cotton was the easiest man to be married to either.)

We talked a little about Stephen and Rose and Neil, and eventually I couldn't help saying "I do wish father could be here."

"It's a waste," Leda agreed with me, though I'm not very sure we had the same thing in mind. "He ought to have had the chance to see you this way―" to Topaz.

Topaz herself had been rather quiet all evening, even with people buzzing constantly around her. She was wearing a staggeringly beautiful dress of pale luminous green, shimmering with layers of chiffon fine enough to draw through a ring, and what looked like a diamond necklace―I think the jeweller who worked on the "Topaz in Topaz" necklace made it for her, a devastatingly simple design as if she were wearing a necklace of light―and her hair loose and glowing all around her, with her exquisite face as the centerpiece. I was never that good-looking even at twenty, never mind what I shall look like at sixty.

Now she took a sip of wine and said firmly "I would never have done this if Mortmain were still here. I never wanted to draw attention to myself, only to him."

"The face and body of all the Greek goddesses in one, and the soul of a suburban housewife," Leda mourned, and then surprised me, and possibly herself, by saying "No, that's not fair nor true, is it."

"More like one of those Indian ladies who throws herself on the pyre after her husband's death," Thomas said drily. "If they actually exist, which I must say I doubt―that strikes me as a legend of the British Raj if anything. Anyway, Topaz, I think you're underestimating father. He knew you were in the National Gallery already when he married you, for one thing."

"But I always wanted to live for his art, not mine," Topaz said tragically, in her deepest baritone.

"Don't be so sentimental," Leda told her ruthlessly. "You are art, and I should know. I'm the only artist here."

Simon cleared his throat gently.

"What? Oh, really, Simon, don't be foolish and fond. Cassandra's an author, like her father I suppose, and she may be superbly equipped to judge words on paper but that's got nothing to do with the visual arts. Really, Topaz, you've no more right to speak up about this than Mortmain's, what was his other famous one, Enigmatism could demand to be hidden away in a trunk."

"Well, for ten years and more it was," Thomas pointed out logically. "In the trunk of his brain, anyway. Until Cassandra and I took a hand."

"And that's what I've done. Mortmain could hardly complain."

I was remembering the way Topaz had made herself as plain as she could be for that first dinner party at Scoatney Hall, and how father had shouted at her. "Father might have felt that you at your most exquisite were a part of who he was as an artist…" I began, and Leda cut me off with a snort.

"Yes, and when we were first married Aubrey used to say that my photographs inspired his architecture. Men have a terrible habit of conflating their art with their sex drives."

"Or in other words, male artists have traditionally drawn on female muses for inspiration," Simon reflected, at his driest and most academic. "Very occasionally the reverse occurs, of course. Your photos of Stephen Colly, for instance."

Leda sent a slantwise look at me as her gaze moved from Topaz to Simon. "Women know what they're doing when they do it, Simon dearest. Wouldn't you agree, Cassandra? Your Evanescent Morning, for instance."

I found nothing to say for the moment, taken aback that Leda had not only read but remembered my second novel; and not only that, but seen rather more accurately than I might have wished where two of its characters came from.

"Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not putting it down," she went on. "I liked what you did with that book."

"Well, it's no book for little girls," I managed finally, recalling our first encounter, and Thomas―who couldn't have known what I meant―snickered like a schoolboy.

"But the work must enhance the muse as well as the other way around," Leda continued, suddenly deadly serious. "I never forget that when I'm shooting. Mortmain never did that for you, Topaz."

"He did," Topaz protested, ardent, her face coming to life for the first time that evening. "Mortmain's art was a part of what I am, as well as the other way around. Not what he wrote, but that he wrote, that he was who he was to write."

Simon and I exchanged glances. Thomas, who is very fond of Topaz and looks with unbounded scepticism on all her Topazisms, folded his arms. “Naturally he would never have managed without you cooking for him and keeping the house and taking care of him—“

Topaz made an impatient gesture. “No, no! He made me a muse, his muse—the still point.”

I remembered sitting still in the gatehouse while father wrote, counting the minutes until I might move, time stretching and smoothing around me. “Your mother used to do that,” he had said.

“Sitting still is harder than it seems,” I said finally.

Leda laughed. “Any artist knows that.” To Topaz, “We photographers, painters, sculptors even, keep you models in amber for posterity, but you make the amber yourself.”

“Topaz in amber,” Simon murmured.

 

 

[From the Catalog]

After the "portrait" photographs, the "Leda" photographs, and the "candid" section, the exhibition concludes with a set of photographs deliberately modelled after Topaz's own paintings. The elaborate backgrounds and costumes, including the use of other photo models hired for the occasion, set these sharply aside from the rest of the exhibit, but not as much as the shift in mood and tone which accompanies them. The other photographs show us Leda looking at Topaz, or in the case of the "portrait" section, Leda looking at men looking at Topaz; these five "painting" photographs, paired with the original works, show us Topaz looking at herself.

 

[Crossroads painting: greasepaint and eyeliner in various gaudy colors, on several sheets and empty envelopes from an old-fashioned letter set pieced together. The velvety, green-laced dark of a summer night, with a shaft of moonlight illuminating a girl in the baggy white blouse and wide-draped dark skirt of her day. Her hair, coming out of a bun and trailing down her back, turns silver in the moonlight and makes the white of her blouse look dingy. In the extreme foreground at right, red and gold lights eradicate the darkness.]

 

[Crossroads painting: expensive oil paints, an elaborate, luxurious hotel dining room rendered with painstaking care, the ceiling murals visible, everything light and bright and brilliant, except for the dark showing outside the windows. In the left foreground, a very well-dressed, slim, handsome youngish man and a uniformed waiter, similar in appearance, are squaring off; at the same table is a young woman in a pale gold dress, with fashionably dressed silver-blond hair, one hand to her face half-concealing a bruise on her cheek. The colors of her dress and hair echo those of the scene, but she is painted in water-colorlike soft focus compared to the precise detailing of the rest of the painting.]

 

[Crossroads painting: pale watercolors, an artist’s canvas and the artist’s model, the artist himself visible only as a hand holding a brush. The women on the canvas and on the couch are both fair-haired beauties, wearing the same exquisite jade necklace. The woman on the canvas stares into space with an ethereal expression; the woman on the couch looks away from the artist and down at a leather-bound book, on the spine of which the word Jacob… can be seen.]

 

[Crossroads painting: colored pens on paper. A dark room lit by a single candle-flame. The wavering light reveals a suitcase open on a bed, its contents soft greys and blues with a hint of lace. Revealed half-in and half-out of the light, both in profile, are a fair-haired woman, her long loose hair swaying over the suitcase, and a brown-haired girl whose features are younger and blunter. Her face, reflected in the dark window, is a man’s, older, with brighter hair; another, dimmer man’s face seems to hang behind his like a double reflection. The fair woman’s face is also reflected in the window, seeming to watch the scene.]

 

 [Crossroads painting: charcoal sketch on plain white paper; two women in half profile, dark and fair, not young. The hint of a picture frame behind them makes it appear as if one might be a reflection of the other. In the background is the outline of a windowed building, too scant of detail to show its age, and near the edge of the paper is a hand holding a pen.]