A Photographer's Day Out
I AM shaken, and sore, and stiff, and bruised. As I have told you many times already, I haven't the least idea how it happened and there is no use in plaguing me with any more questions about it. Of course, if you wish it I can read you an extract from my diary, giving a full account of the events of yesterday, but if you expect to find any clue to the mystery in that, I fear you are doomed to be disappointed.
August 23, Tuesday. They say that we Photographers are a blind race at best; that we learn to look at even the prettiest faces as so much light and shade; that we seldom admire, and never love. This is a delusion I long to break through--if I could only find a young lady to photograph, realizing my ideal of beauty--above all, if her name should be--(why is it, I wonder, that I dote on the name Amelia more than any other word in the English language?)--I feel sure that I could shake off this cold, philosophic lethargy.
The time has come at last. Only this evening I fell in with young Harry Glover in the Haymarket--`Tubbs!' he shouted, slapping me familiarly on the back, `my Uncle wants you down to-morrow at his Villa, camera and all!'
`But I don't know your uncle,' I replied, with my characteristic caution. (N. B. If I have a virtue, it is quiet, gentlemanly caution.)
`Never mind, old boy, he knows all about you. You be off by the early train, and take your whole kit of bottles, for you'll find lots of faces to uglify, and--'
`Ca'n't go,' I said rather gruffly, for the extent of the job alarmed me, and I wished to cut him short, having a decided objection to talking slang in the public streets.
`Well, they'll be precious cut up about it, that's all,' said Harry, with rather a blank face, `and my cousin Amelia--'
`Don't say another word!' I cried enthusiastically, `I'll go!' And as my omnibus came by at the moment, I jumped in and rattled off before he had recovered his astonishment at my change of manner. So it is settled, and to-morrow I am to see an Amelia, and--Oh Destiny, what hast thou in store for me?
August 24, Wednesday. A glorious morning. Packed in a great hurry, luckily breaking only two bottles and three glasses in doing so. Arrived at Rosemary Villa as the party were sitting down to breakfast. Father, mother, two sons from school, a host of children from the nursery and the inevitable BABY.
But how shall I describe the daughter? Words are powerless; nothing but a Tablotype could do it. Her nose was in beautiful perspective--her mouth wanting perhaps the last possible foreshortening--but the exquisite half-tints on the cheek could have blinded one to any defects, and as to the high light on her chin, it was (photographically speaking) perfection. Oh! what a picture she would have made if fate had not--but I am anticipating.
There was a Captain Flanaghan present--
I am aware that the preceding paragraph is slightly abrupt, but when I reached that point, I remembered that the idiot actually believed himself engaged to Amelia (my Amelia!). I choked, and could get no further. His figure, I am willing to admit, was good: some might have admired his face; but what is face or figure without brains?
My own figure is perhaps a little inclined to the robust; in stature I am none of your military giraffes--but why should I describe myself? My photograph (done by myself) will be sufficient evidence to the world.
The breakfast, no doubt, was good, but I knew not what I ate or drank; I lived for Amelia only, and as I gazed on that peerless brow, those chiselled features, I clenched my fist in an involuntary transport
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