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'Of a Quite Sinister Beauty
Original Author: A. W. Betts
Created: 1900
Medium: Book illustration

‘Of a Quite Sinister Beauty

An illustration by A. W. Betts in Mary Johnston's novel To Have and to Hold (1900) depicts the scene in which the hero, Captain Ralph Percy, is offered wine by his nemesis, Lord Carnal. The host provides a special glass for Percy—a "green and gold and twisted bauble" that the hero admires. "The tint is wonderful," he says, "as lucent a green as the top of the comber that is to break and overwhelm you … I find it of a quite sinister beauty, my lord."

Johnston's best-selling novel is set in colonial Virginia in 1621 and 1622.

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