— I thought Arte packed several dresses when she left her mother’s home, but I never see her in anything but the same green dress over and over.
— Anyways, there’s more nonsense concerning her young girl crush on Leo. Hoo boy, here we go again.
— She freaks out if his touch ever grazes her. She can barely concentrate when he draws near. She spends her time wondering how to get him to smile. Good lord, can you focus on becoming an artist first before falling in love? Funny I should ask that, because just when I was about to throw in the towel, we meet a prostitute. Wait, that didn’t come out right…
— Veronica wants to commission another portrait, so Leo takes his apprentice along to visit the courtesan. When Arte sees all of the books in Veronica’s study, she’s blown away. Y’see, you gotta be well read if you wanna impress these upper class men who nevertheless visit prostitutes. As a result, Arte can appreciate Veronica’s hustle… or at least she thinks she does.
— In any case, Arte gets her very first job. Not only that, she now gets lots of one-on-one time with Veronica. Our heroine doesn’t exactly have an older woman figure in her life right now, so maybe this is why she starts confiding in her client. Prostitutes aren’t usually who people go to for life lessons, but it’s not like beggars can be choosers.
— Arte starts telling Veronica all about how she feels nervous lately around Leo. Being rather experienced herself, the courtesan knows exactly what has been afflicting Arte’s heart: love. Veronica, however, decides to give our girl a very harsh lesson in life, so she takes Arte to see a rather sad and pitiful woman. We are told that this lady used to be a high-class prostitute much like Veronica, but because she fell in love, she lost sight of her job. Hmm, I dunno. Sure, I want to discourage Arte from chasing after someone old enough to be her father, but this seems a bit extreme.
— Still, if Arte learns anything from this little field trip, it’s hopefully that she needs to be able to stand on her own two feet before she starts getting tripped up by matters of the heart. Unfortunately, Veronica isn’t exactly the sort of person that one can look up to.
— The next time Arte visits Veronica, she sees a man desperate to see Veronica. Unfortunately, he keeps being rejected at every turn. The courtesan reveals that this is just part of her hustle. She plays hard to get because some men just become more devoted to you that way. Arte is disgusted with this, but eh…
— Like I’ve said over and over on this blog, we are ultimately responsible for our own actions. Out of the kindness of her own heart, Veronica could relieve the man’s suffering. But he’s the one who has decided to sit outside her study day after day. He’s the one who has put himself in this position. He’s the one who has decided to drive himself mad over her laughing with other men — yeah, just “laughing.” My point is, she doesn’t have to see him. There’s no moral obligation to give your attention to a man simply because he is in love with you. If someone is crazy over you but you don’t love them back, are you supposed to see them just to lessen their self-inflicted suffering? Of course not. She doesn’t owe him anything, and I cannot blame her for manipulating his heart when he can always walk away. He’s not an abused child.
— Anyways, Arte now finds it difficult to complete the portrait. When she visits the baker, however, she learns that the guy will smile no matter what. Even when a customer insults him to his face, the baker keeps on smiling. Why? ‘Cause he has to do his job. So just like that, Arte finds her resolve. She even learns to control her emotions around Leo… well, kinda.
— In the end, she fulfills her end of the bargain, but the young girl still finds the need to confront Veronica one last time. Well, that’s her prerogative, but I think she’s being slightly naive (once again). Telling a prostitute to be nicer when the world hasn’t exactly been nice to women in general is kinda silly.