My caricatures [Max always emphasized the last syllable in pronouncing this word, and the "t" sounded very precise and pure] of him were cruel, I am afraid. . . ." Max reflected for a moment, in wonderment, on this cruelty. "As a writer, I was kindly, I think — Jekyll — but as a caricaturist I was Hyde. I always preferred the society of painters to that of writers: Walter Sickert, William Nicholson, Wilson Steer. Writers, including myself, don't you know, like to make an effect, put their best foot forward. But painters are another story. Steer, for example, had no interest whatever in the impression he made; he was just interested in painting. One day, Sickert said to me, 'Your caricatures of dear Will [Rothenstein] and of Oscar Wilde were so deadly. I know how Oscar feels about them — he can't bear them — but doesn't Will resent them? Isn't he angry?' 'More frightened,' I said to Walter, 'than angry.' But I loved Will; he was so kind. No one took such trouble over young artists, to help them; there was nothing he wouldn't do. But Oscar — "

References

Behrman, S. N. Portrait of Max: An Intimate Memoir of Sir Max Beerbohm. New York: Random House, 1960.


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