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EMERGING, the other day, into the open street
from an exhibition of pictures at the West
End of London, I was much impressed by the
contrast between the polite bearing of the
Fine Arts, and the rudeness of real life.
Inside the gallery, all the people in the
pictures had pointedly referred to me in every
cock of their highly feathered hats, in every
wrinkle of their highly slashed doublets, in
every stride and straddle of their highly
muscular legs. Outside, I did not observe that
I exercised any influence on the crowd who
were pursuing their business or their pleasure ;
or that those insensible persons at all
altered the expression of their countenances
for my sake. Inside, nothing could be done
without me. Were a pair of eyes in question,
they must smirk at me : were a pair of spurs
in question, they must glint at me ; were a
pair of boots in question, they must stretch
themselves out on forms and benches to
captivate me.  Whereas, it appeared to me, that
the eyes and the spurs and the boots that
were outside, all had more or less of their
own to do, and did it ; thereby reducing me
to the station of quite an unimportant
personage. I had occasion to make the same
remark in reference to the Passions. Nothing
could exceed the good-breeding with which,
inside the gallery, they had entreated me not
to disturb myself on their account, and had
begged me to observe that they were what
the children call, "only in fun."  Outside,
on the other hand, they were quite
obstreperous, and no more cared to preserve
a good understanding with me than if I had
been one of the sparrows in the gutter. A
similar barbarous tendency to reality, to
change and movement, and to the knowledge
of the Present as a something of interest
sprung out of the Past and melting into the
Future, was to be noted on every external
object : insomuch that the passing from the
inside of the gallery to the outside was like
the transition from Madame Tussaud's
waxwork, or a tawdry fancy ball in the Sleeping
Beauty's palace during the hundred years of
enchantment, to a windy mountain or the
rolling sea. I understood now, what I had
never understood before, why there were two
sentries at the exhibition-door. These are
not to be regarded as mere privates in the
Foot Guards, but as allegorical personages,
stationed there with gun and bayonet to keep
out Purpose, and to mount guard over the
lassitude of the Fine Arts, laid up in the
lavender of other ages.

I was so charmed by these discoveries, and
particularly the last, that I stepped into my
club (the Associated Bores), with the idea of
writing an essay, to be entitled The Praise of
Painting. But, as I am of a discriminatory
turn, even in my admiration, I meditated
in its stead a little project of reform, which I
proceed to submit to the Royal Academy of
Artsof whose co-operation I have no doubt
and to the public.

Devoted as I am to the pictures which it
is the pride and privilege of the present age
to produce in this land of the free and refuge
of the slave, I cannot disguise from myself
the fact that I know all the Models. I cannot
shut my eyes to the gloomy truth, that my
fellow-countrymen and countrywomen are
but too well acquainted by sight with every
member of that limited profession which sits
to painters at so much an hour. I cannot be
deaf to the whisper of my conscience that we
have had enough of them. I am unable to
silence the still small voice which tells me
that I am tired to death of that young man
with the large chest, and that I would thankfully
accept a less symmetrical young man
with a smaller chest, or even with a chest in
which the stethescope might detect a weakness.
Immaculate as that other young man's
legs are, I am sick of his legs. A novelty,
even though it were bandy, would be a sweet
and soothing relief to me.

My feelings are, I say, the feelings of
thousands who suffer with me under the
oppression of this nightmare of Models, and
I therefore reckon with certainty on the
general support in my project for curing the
evil. My project is as follows :

1. That the young man with the large
chest be promptly taken into custody, and
confined in the Tower.

2. That the young man with the immaculate
legs be promptly taken into custody, and
confined in Greenwich Hospital ; and that
his legs be there immediately amputated
(under chloroform), and decently buried
within the precincts of the building.

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