Tuesday, 26 February 2008

The Rival Painters (part 1)

The elegant room beckoned invitingly; beautiful landscape pictures adorned the walls, cosy divans lay scattered throughout the room, and the sun peeped out from behind the rich velvet curtains to bid its occupant good-day. But all was lost upon him. With bent head and clenched hands he paced, careless of time and hour, or of the alluring air of sumptuous luxury around him. So far lost was he in contemplation that a gentle knock on the door went unheeded. A second more insistent knock brought him back, however, and jerked his head up to reveal his countenance which had hitherto been hidden. A most singular face it was. It contained the power for good and bad, but the cruel look was strongest just now, for a bitter despair had fallen over the handsome face. The deep set eyes burned with a fiery hatred; the beautifully moulded forehead knitted in a dark frown; and the firm mouth set in a scowl. Upon the opening of the door, the face underwent an instant transformation. Not a trace of the bitter hatred and resentment remained. Indeed, he was all smiles and good humour, and the waiter who handed him the letter thought Monsieur Thylatte the “charmingest” man alive. The waiter would have been astounded however, if he could have seen the reappearance of the look after he left. It died away as he read the letter, only to be replaced by a grim smile with a grimmer significance to the offender.

“Well, Angelo, we will see who triumphs in the end- you or me.”

He laughed sardonically. Striding over to the mahogany desk littered with letters of critique, commendations and overtures of friendliness, he pushed them all impatiently aside and prepared the materials for a letter. He fingered the edge of the paper before him, his mind racing to form the needed words. He began to write.

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