Forlorn Abandon


Un Matin de Pluie (A Rainy Morning), Henri Rousseau, 1896

Forlorn Abandon

Henri could be so demanding at times. Once he had a particular vision, there was no turning his mind from his task. Marie had posed for him many times, but these conditions had to be the worst. They had come to this location on two other occasions, only to have him cancel the proceedings and fold up his easel; once because it had stopped raining and the other because it wasn’t raining hard enough.

As she stood in the road facing the local mill, wearing a black dress and with her black umbrella doing little more than to keep the raindrops off her face, she presented the forlorn aspect he desired. As he walked away from her, up the hillside to his easel, he kept repeating, “Abandon! Abandon! I must capture that feeling!”

Well, here she stood for several hours, soaked to the skin. Yet there sat Henri, under a shelter on a nearby hillside, peering around his canvas to capture the scene before him. Any time that Marie turned her head to glance in his direction, he waved frantically for her to face forward.

She would show him abandon. This would be the last time she posed for him.

Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction challenge #12: Abandon presents a painting by Henri Rousseau,
Un Matin de Pluie (A Rainy Morning), and the theme Abandon. Staring at the scene repeatedly and getting nothing, I finally decided to write about the circumstances of the actual painting. The word count here is 200.  As always, I welcome Jane’s critique.

Image source: Wikipedia

13 thoughts on “Forlorn Abandon

  1. It seems like a piffling objection, but I can’t help thinking that if the painter was on a ‘nearby hillside’ he wouldn’t be able to see the model’s face and its expression, nor, for this particular painting would he need to see her face. It’s a neat idea though, and I like the suggestion of tyranny.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean. I tried”embankment” – as being closer – but thought the the word was too cumbersome (my poet’s mind).

      Also, I was thinking primarily of the atmosphere of the scene, without referring to her facial expression while economizing the word count. If he could actually see her face, he would know that she was “pissed as hell.”

      A totally different view of the scene would be to say that it displays Determination. Why else would someone be there under those circumstances? Some of the responses convey that very well.


      • I get the atmosphere you’re creating, and the image, but at a secondary level. It’s just an editing point that anything that brings the reader up short, like those how come? moments is dragging him/her out of the story and should be avoided. I know what you mean, but it isn’t what you say, and that’s what hits the reader first. As I say, it’s more an editorial point than a stylistic point. Unless you’re tying to sell somebody the story, it’s usually fine to go with the ‘but I know what you mean’ line.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Microfiction challenge Abandon: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

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