Paris, December 12, 1884


From the bespectacled and top-hated elfin-looking man seated on the capital “D” of Dear, to the distinguished looking flamingo wearing a top hat, high collar and waistcoat, Parrish applied his active imagination to the decorative elements adorning this letter to Henry Bancroft. To the left of the flamingo Parrish added a new scene, a pair of bald-headed smokers puffing on a hookah. A spider descends into the smoke rising from the pipe.


The two figures seated atop a building mounted sign bracket have their ankles chained to the wooden bar on which they sit. Beneath them a caricature of a dunce-like figure wearing short pants, sabots, and a pointed cap sits on a wooden barrel. From the right a ram can be seen heading for the barrel. The following page reveals what happens when the ram rams the barrel.


On the final page of this letter, another version of Parrish’s top-hated elephant wearing the full version of a morning coat with a diamond stud in his boiled shirt front and spats over his shoes sits at a Parisian café table laden with a bottle of spirits, aperitif glass, and an ashtray from which smoke rises. In his mouth a cigar causes lines of smoke to rise through the letter’s text.

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