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Monday, 2 September 2013


Act 4, Scene 2


The narrative began with Act 1, scene 1 on April 10, 2013.
To access all scenes, scroll to blog archive at the bottom of the page.


The late afternoon sun bursts in watery flashes across Venice's Canal Grande and beyond. Newkirk finds himself strolling along the Riva degli Schiavoni with the young dancer, Marie van Goethem. Never having ventured much beyond Paris, she is fascinated by everything Venetian. She chatters enthusiastically while tearing away chunks of a pastry, oblivious as flakes fall onto her blouse and scatter on the pavement each time she takes a bite. To the south and west, the shadows of Santa Maria della Salute lengthen. 


Gondole and assorted other boats bob quietly at their moorings; a seagull pecks at a discarded and unopened bag of pasta that floats along beside the frustrated bird.


Marie, speaking rapidly
M. Degas is a bit difficult to work for, but he pays me well and on time, as he should! Some days I must hold a pose for him for hours. This is difficult even for a strong young, dancer. It took some time to get accustomed to posing without clothes (shrugs nonchalantly), but now, how do you say it? It is no big deal. My friends who also know artists have seen how these men, and even women painters – you have heard of Mlles. Morisot and Cassatt? – they lose themselves when they work. I sometimes think that M. Degas does not know or care that I am naked. He does get grumpy though. Oh, mon dieu, it's a wonder any of his friends still have anything to do with him. He argues all the time. But I like the pictures he makes of me; they are different from the pictures made by others, non? And then there are the bronzes (smiles broadly). I like these very much. The strange one with clothes on it is like looking at myself, and I will always be a proud little ballerina in that sculpture.