THE PRINCESS PRATTLES TO HER PARROT
To us Eleonora looks like this. In the story, she catches the eye of the American painter James E. Freeman when fleeing from the public execution of her innocent lover. Over the course of many years, Freeman completes the painting of the admirable woman who inspired it.
James E. Freeman - The Princess Prattles to Her Parrot, 1871, Oil on canvas. Private collection.
Courtesy of John and Mary McGuigan
...“As you may know, this painting is entitled “The Princess Prattles to her Parrot.” I personally like the parrot more. We know the painting was inspired by Read’s poem about a poet in an oppressed land. But if, as you say, Freeman knows Garibaldi—.”
“Even Mama knows him.”
...“I do,” said Margaret. “The red ribbon in her hair, the green parrot, the white nightgown slipping down one shoulder. The colors of the Italian flag.”
Frances Carter Wilder blinked in surprise. “Yes,” she admitted, stepping closer to the frame, as suddenly behind her, the girl’s mother—Garibaldi’s supposed friend and correspondent—said, “I am that princess.”
Frances Carter Wilder straightened up.
So that’s it, she thought.
“Mama still….Mama still rather looks like her, doesn’t she?” said Margaret, embarrassed.