The Beautiful Lady
"The Beautiful Lady", is another of the short novels from Booth Tarkington's early career. It was originally published in two parts, December of 1904 and January of 1905, in "Harper's Magazine", and then as Tarkington's fifth book in May of 1905. As with many of Tarkington's other works, it is a bit too predictable, though in this case that doesn't detract too much from the story. The story appears to sets up a love triangle (or in this case it may be a love square), but it does deviate from that a bit. The story is told from the point of the Italian, Ansolini from Naples, living in Paris who due to being down on his luck is forced into a most embarrassing position of acting as a billboard by shaving his head and having an advertisement for a show placed on the back of his bald head. It is while performing this job, that he nearly meets the "beautiful lady", though he keeps his head down and sees only her feet and the hem of her skirt and hears her lovely voice as it has sympathy for his plight. In fact, Ansolini's feelings are appreciative of her beautiful soul, and not that of romance.