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A Phantom Lover by Vernon Lee
page 2 of 67 (02%)
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have possessed to the way in which we had been working ourselves up,
that firelight evening, with all manner of fantastic stuff--if, as I
fear, the story of Mrs. Oke of Okehurst will strike you as stale and
unprofitable--the sight of this little book will serve at least to remind
you, in the middle of your Russian summer, that there is such a season
as winter, such a place as Florence, and such a person as your friend,

VERNON LEE

Kensington, _July_ 1886.




1


That sketch up there with the boy's cap? Yes; that's the same woman. I
wonder whether you could guess who she was. A singular being, is she not?
The most marvellous creature, quite, that I have ever met: a wonderful
elegance, exotic, far-fetched, poignant; an artificial perverse sort of
grace and research in every outline and movement and arrangement of head
and neck, and hands and fingers. Here are a lot of pencil sketches I made
while I was preparing to paint her portrait. Yes; there's nothing but her
in the whole sketchbook. Mere scratches, but they may give some idea of her
marvellous, fantastic kind of grace. Here she is leaning over the
staircase, and here sitting in the swing. Here she is walking quickly out
of the room. That's her head. You see she isn't really handsome; her
forehead is too big, and her nose too short. This gives no idea of her. It
was altogether a question of movement. Look at the strange cheeks, hollow