Friday, April 22, 2011

Hybrid Flirtation

This rather charming full page illustration in an 1890s edition of the Pall Mall Magazine accompanies one of the strangest, yet most charming, stories I've ever come across in a Victorian publication. In essence, the narrator simply observes a young serving woman in an Italian courtyard garden coming face to face with the marble faun that forms a fountain from which she has been sent to draw water.

"With perfect ease and grace of posture, his body well posed on his caprid legs, he held a dilated gourd in his arms, and this he pressed so naturally to his chest... He seemed extremely youthful; his downy beard was rare and short, and the hairs scarce upon his body. His mouth was rather broad to be sure; but then I noticed that it did not quite reach to his small peaked goat's ears, as would have been correct in one of his kind..."

The two spend a moment looking into each other's eyes and then the maid returns to her duties, the whole story cannot be more than 400 words. The story 'Hybrid Flirtation' is by Marchesa Theodoli, who appears to have written one book and left no other mark upon the Internet at least.

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