A Dinner Table at Night, 1884, by John Singer Sargent, via Magpie Tales
Good night, madam.
What? No, no (smile).
The pleasure was mine, I assure you. I say with certainty that a most delightful evening I've not had in a year of fortnights.
What's that? Sorry, my hearing is not quite the same since the War. No, I'll pass on another glass of that port most fine. A fine example, if a tad sweet for my palate. (laugh) I've no doubt a honeyed tongue such as yours will find it to be as nectar to bees.
Please, enjoy. I'm sure it will settle the beef and oysters quite well. Good for the digestion, or so the Duchess' physicians have told me. I continue to drink under their advice.
But you do not? Strictly for pleasure, do you? (smile)
I have the memory of pleasure, madam. I do. No, please, no sympathy is needed.
(sigh) Forgive me, madam. I am no longer the youth I once was. Time and carbines have dulled the edge of my steel, you see (laugh). Ah, again, do not pity me.
(stands) Well...Judith, is that right? Yes, Judith (warm smile), if you will please forgive me. I am fatigued, and I must go. (kisses hand). No, it is not due to lack of charm, you excel in that. And, beauty? Well, Aphrodite is surely grinding her teeth (laugh).
No, the fault, my dear, is that I cannot be certain I must leave because of the spirits in my eyes, or the laudanum in yours. Good night.