The Misses Vickers--Sargent (1884)
We are different people at different times, even the dullest of us. This week, or maybe just today, or maybe just this morning, hours before I was able to get at a computer, I did not merely desire that life should be like this for me, but even believed that it was. A few hours after I first wake up is my most vivacious time of the day. I often think that I recognize other people, women included, and that I am not so terribly different from them, indeed am quite like them. By the evening everyone is a stranger with whom one realizes he has nothing in common and is completely ignorant of the real nature of, as they are likewise of him. Everybody--one's family, co-workers, authors, artists and their characters, one's teachers. Thoughts about the images of film stars and anonymous naked bodies and ranks of numbers acquire more of reality than any idea of individual soul or intellect one could attempt to conceive of, including one's own. This is why it takes a very great amount of mental refinement to be able to converse,and seduce, and read and appreciate any fine beauty or work for what it is,the product of an elevated mind and spirit. This is not how most people ever experience life.
None of which is to take away from the dream of feminine beauty, however unreal or insubstantial it may be determined to be, captured, or asserted, in this painting of the Misses Vickers. I imagine my old female schoolmates, or more likely some airy substitutes for them, to be have been arrayed in some such manner in their rooms during off hours when we could not see them (those were the days before webcams). The details are not important, only the ability to imagine them. All of the three here look like liberal arts majors, and worthy and significant ones, that a properly educated man ought to be able to talk to, and hopefully command the interest and respect of one of the three, for each is of a distinct type, and while there is disagreement on how many types of beautiful and interesting women there are, most experts place the upper limit at somewhere between fifty and three hundred...