#235 A Flight of Fancy

by Amara Royce, Guest Writer

They had laughed, actually laughed, at her. Ridley, Spencer, and the lot of them. So smug and dismissive. “What rubbish, Isabella,” declared her own traitorous brother, Lawrence. “Yesterday’s handkerchief would show more finesse than that mess. You must give up this ridiculous fancy of yours.” God, but Lawrence was an ass sometimes.

The letter, crumpled in her lap, seemed to agree, though.

“Amateurish,” the Royal Academy had declared. “Chaotic,” they said, “and undisciplined.” Unacceptable, they’d decided.

And yet, none of those supercilious Academy students had been accepted either. Lawrence let that slip accidentally at breakfast, his own bitter disappointment dripping from his words, before he left for morning classes. None of their minutely detailed, painstakingly realistic, drearily proper portraits had been selected for the exhibition.

None of them had the passion.

She stood and examined the painting on the mantle yet again. She could see the chaos of her work. Of course, she could see it. That was the point—the eruption of that which would not be contained. Undisciplined. Yes. She would be undisciplined.

A fresh canvas already sat on the easel by the window. A blank slate full of promise and freedom.

She flipped to a new page in her sketchbook, and her hands flew as they translated the strong, stark, bold lines from her mind onto the sheet. She would show them how extraordinarily undisciplined a woman could be, women could be. And they would outrival the wildness of Rubens in their modern Bacchanalia.

Honoria Duchamp is well aware that men often consider widows easy prey for the role of mistress. What else could explain the attentions of handsome Lord Devin, and his visits to her bookshop? The much younger Viscount has even shown interest in the printing press with which she creates pamphlets on London’s basest injustices. Yet his chief interest appears to be in her.

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Unknown said...

Rare to see a historical done so well in so few words - this is a very nice piece.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I love this. Undisciplined, chaotic and overall creative as hell. Oh yeah. We women rock!

Heidi Willis said...

This is tightly crafted and yet still beautiful in language. Very well written!

Unknown said...

Shona--Thanks! That was basically the challenge I set for myself...to do a historical piece in 250 words.

Sarah--Thanks! Yes. We. Do.

Heidi--Thanks so much!