A cat peers through the banister-barred window and with the deadsureness that can’t afford a mistake turns to check the other direction. Bessie replaces a blue ceramic sugar bowl on the table and begins to examine another item. Though the owner has tired of watching her Bessie has been trained to touch with care, with respect, even when she has contempt for the work itself. She is courteous but admires nothing. In the Museum of Modern Art many of these items would have impressed her but Mexico is not the handicraft Meccashe was led to expect. She leaves, nodding to the proprietor, guiding her cloth shoulder-purse so that it doesn’t come in contact with the door. It is the last of the artisan-retail stores in town. It is her last day in Mexico.
Twenty yards in front of her something vaguely unpleasant is dumped from an upper window. Bessie is something of/rather an artist. She does not actually sketch any more because her mother is an artist too and their relationship is tense as it is. Besides, everybody wants to be a great artist and it is hopeless to try. She does, however, retain strong likes and dislikes about the art of other people and, indeed, these preferences grow powerful as the likelihood she herself will create or express something grows remote. “Gobs and globules of glass,” she said once about a candlestick, “contradict the essential value of the medium.” Drinking glasses she has seen made by simple artisans outside Guadalajara, in Tlaquepaque, the kind with hundreds of tiny bubbles and imperfections and that cost six times as much in elegant San Francisco stores, delight her. “The bubbles make you see what’s so special and wonderful about glass,” she has said. She admires the slightly unconventional, the painting of Robert Natkin for example.