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Before we push on, a note on the illustrations. So far, they have been functional (if very, very, very dull and static), but the line drawing for Chapter 3 of the "exotic" Mistress Salome either betrays the century's unimaginative view of what exoticism actually is or that the author and the artist were working against each other. I lean towards the second possibility.

(Click for a larger version)

Yes, that's exotic, inscrutable, scandalously unseemly Salome, instantly recognizable by her look of boredom and her nondescript appearance. The complete absence of any distinguishing characteristics from the text gives it away, really.

But hark, let's see how the flower flirting from the last chapter was represented:

(Click for a larger version)
Well, neither one of them seems to be having much fun. You'd think she'd be more into it, at least. Content is indeed holding out the fragrant spray of flowers, albeit more out of duty than anything--after all, that's what the caption says, so that's what we do. Archer, on the other hand, seems to be transfixed by something just past and above her left shoulder. Is it a sign from the Great Beyond? A bear? A giant gleaming metallic robot from the future with machine guns for arms and a speaker in its chest blasting "Who Let The Dogs Out?" Alack-a-day, we shall never know...

Before you get the idea that it's all stiff posing and immobile faces...well, it's mostly true, but check out this detail from the "Freudian" candle-lighting scene.

(click for full picture)
"I'm sorry, I've never missed the wick before." "Oh, hold still and let me do it."

And that deep sense of shame from typing the above is one of the many, many reasons I'm not yet Internet Famous. The secret is out.


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