Reader Fitzmaurice Trenery has been studying very carefully number one in our series of Notable Authors Sitting On Swans, and has reached a startling conclusion:
“Mr Key : Contrary to the description of the photograph, it seems to me that it depicts the wondrous accidental meeting of two benighted creatures, the swan-headed child and the child-headed swan. See how they embrace, each chimera recognising in the other his own misery. The chin of the newly-confident child-headed swan seems to jut in new-found defiance of the world! I’m not sure if a beak can jut, so I shall reserve judgement on the swan-headed child – in any case it seems to me an altogether more ambiguous character. Such a firm grip on the child-headed swan’s neck; I infer here the crafty sense in the swan-headed child’s tiny bonce that it is the benefactor of this symbiotic relationship. After all, the swan-headed child may be dextrous and bipedal, but it is led around by a pea-sized brain. The child-headed swan, for its part, has a fey, ethereal beauty… but when the head matures into adulthood the neck will be powerless to support it, and what then? What then?”
Though I would swear by the crumpled cloth of Anaxagrotax’s winding-sheet that the snap does indeed show Raymond Roussel as a tiny, so forceful and convincing is Mr Trenery’s argument that I am putting the series on hold pending further investigations. I have it in mind to employ for the purpose Agence Goron, the detective agency commissioned by Roussel to find and negotiate with an illustrator to provide the drawings for New Impressions Of Africa (1932).