“The Portrait” / Memorable Fancies #153

January 1, first year: I have commissioned a miraculous portrait of myself from the artist who painted Dorian Gray. I asked him to do the same for me, that it would age while I did not. He is finishing the mouth now, asks me not to speak while he perfects it.

January 1, second year: Yes, the portrait is aging. I can see a few wrinkles, a slight paunch. Everyone tells me I still look young.

January 1, third year: The portrait continues to age, but to my disappointment I find that am aging too. Not as rapidly as the portrait, perhaps? I may not have been entirely cheated by the artist.

January 1, fourth year: The man in the portrait develops a nose-wart. One week later, I develop a wart in the same place. I ask the artist to come back and paint over the wart. He does. One week later, my own wart disappears.

January 1, fifth year: The man in the portrait has dry, wrinkled skin, hesitant hands. He seems to have suffered a broken arm. In spite of all precautions, one week later I fall at home and break an arm.

January 1, sixth year: The man in the portrait died last night.


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