Monday, 6 June 2016

Portrait of a Stingy Squire

Portrait of a Stingy Squire

There was once a wealthy landowner named Daner, who acquired his wealth through illicit means, such as manipulation, extortion and loans with unreasonable interest rates advanced to fallen gentry.

As he amassed incredible riches, he then set himself up in a lofty mansion in the country and proceeded to surrounded himself with all the trappings of the rich.

As all his former opulent lineage had done he wished to have his portrait painted and hung over the fireplace in his great reception hall, so as to invoke awe from every invited guest. 

A renowned Artist was subsequently approached and a portrait was commissioned. As rich as he was however, Daner plied the artist with wine then argued the price relentlessly in the end forcing the artist to accept a paltry sum for the portrait.

The Artist returned home with a severe hangover and fell into a troubled sleep. Upon waking the following morning and recalling the last night’s events he was infuriated beyond measure. Unfortunately he could not invalidate or revoke the iron clad agreement. Looking at the paltry sum he ground his teeth and then burst into laughter.

On the subsequent day the artist showed up as arranged to paint the portrait of the miserly landowner. His assistant carried all the supplies and set it up for him. Squire Daner took up his lofty pose standing by an impressive fireplace with an impressive wall library.

These were the books Daner had acquired over time through many auctions of the gentry he’d ruined; rare books he’d not read a single page of. The artist made the necessary sketches and returned to his studio to complete the work. 

Squire Daner was called to the artist studio several days later, to take possession of the completed work.

Grinning from ear to ear, Daner sized up the covered huge canvas then, in eager anticipation, asked the artist to uncover the masterpiece.

The artist did as he was asked.

But what’s this?

There, standing before Daner, in uncanny detail, was a life-size rendition of his back facing an open window with light streaming into his impressive library.

“What’s the meaning of this?” He barked at the artist. “A portrait should show a person’s countenance. Why have you drawn the back of my figure? This will not do, no sir, it won’t do: I want my money back!”

“Here’s your paltry sum. “ The artist plumped the few coins into palm of Daner. “My advice to a person as stingy as you, sir, is not to show your face to others. Now I shall ask you to leave these premises as I have other pressing appointments elsewhere.”

He’d expected the miserly landowner to storm out of there with a huff and with curses on his lips, but he did neither. Instead with a grim face he pondered on the few coins in his palm then on the portrait weighing out the bargain.

In the end he said, “No sir, a deal has been struck. I shall take the painting.” as he pompously dropped the coins onto the table.

His servant carried the canvas out and it is said it hung in Squire Daner's private sturdy where only a few were privy to view. 

The end.

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