Rarely would the day following correction offer fresh signs of misbehavior. There were none upon this one, but as strict as ever in the article of permission to shit in the morning, Messieurs granted this favor to no one but Hercule, Michette, Sophie, and Desgranges, and Curval came perilously near to discharging while watching the storyteller at work. Not overmuch was accomplished at coffee, the friends were content to fondle buttocks and to suck one or two assholes; the hour sounded, everyone went promptly to establish himself in the amphitheater. Duclos faced her audience once again and addressed the company in this wise:
There had lately come to Fournier's a little girl of twelve or thirteen, the age preferred by that singular gentleman I mentioned to you; but I truly doubt whether in a very long time he had debauched anything so cunning, so innocent, or so pretty. She had fair hair, was tall for her years and fit to be painted, her physiognomy was tender and voluptuous, her eyes the loveliest one could hope to see, and in all her charming person there was something sweet and intriguing which turned her into a very enchantress. But what was the degradation to which the such a host of attractions was about to be subjected! and how shameful was the debut being prepared for them! She was the daughter of a tradesman in lingerie, purveyor to the Palace and a man of comfortable means, and his daughter surely had been destined for a happier fate than this of playing the whore; but the more the man of whom it is a question was able, by means of his perfidious seductions, to beguile his victims to their ruin, and the more thorough the depravation into which he guided them, the greater his pleasure, the fiercer his ecstasy. Little Lucile, directly after her arrival, was scheduled to satisfy the disgusting and unclean caprices of a man who, not merely content to have the most crapulous tastes, wished, still better, to inflict them upon a maid.
He arrives at the house; he proves to be an old notary stuffed with gold and who, together with his wealth, has all the brutality that avarice and luxury excite when combined in a seasoned spirit. The child is exhibited to him; pretty as she may be, his first reaction is disdain; he grumbles, he grits his teeth, mutters and swears, and says that it damned well seems as if one can no longer find a pretty girl in Paris; he demands, at last, whether there is proof positive she is a virgin, he is assured that, yes, the article is mint, Fournier offers to show it to him.
"What? look at a cunt, I? Madame Fournier! I, look at a cunt! I certainly hope you propose the thing in jest; have you noticed me spending much time considering those objects since I have been coming to you? I use them, to be sure, but in a manner which, I believe, attests no great fondness for them."
"Very well, Monsieur," Fournier said, "you will have to take the house's word for it: I declare that she is as much a maid as a child born five minutes ago."
They go upstairs together and, as you may well conceive, curious about the forthcoming tête-à-tête, I go and establish myself at the hole. Poor little Lucile was overcome by a shame only to be described by superlative expressions, hence not to be described at all, for those expressions are needed to represent the impudence, the brutality, and the ill-humor of her sixty-year-old lover.
"Well, what the devil are you doing there, are you a stone?" says he in a harsh voice. "Do I have to tell you to get your skirts up? I should have been looking at your ass two hours ago. . . . Don't stand there like an idiot, move."
"But, Monsieur, what am I to do?"
"Why, Jesus Christ, are such questions still asked? What are you to do? Pick up your skirts and show me that damned ass I'm paying to see."
Lucile obeys, trembling like a leaf, and discloses a little white ass just as darling and sweet as would be that of Venus herself.
"Hum . . . looks all right," mutters the brute, "bring it nearer. . . ."
Then, getting a firm grip upon the two buttocks and separating them forcefully:
"You're damned certain no one's ever done anything to you here?"
"Oh, Monsieur, no one has ever touched me. . . ."
"Very well. Now fart."
"But, Monsieur, I can't."
"Well, try, for Christ's sake, make yourself fart."
She struggles, frowns, squints, a little breath of aromatic wind does escape and produces a little echo upon entering the infected mouth of the old libertine, who seems delighted.
"Do you want to shit?" he asks.
"Well, I do, I've something copious to get rid of, if you're interested in the pertinent facts; so prepare yourself to satisfy this particular need of mine . . . take off your skirts."
They are removed.
"Lie down upon that sofa. Raise your thighs."
Lucile settles herself, the old notary arranges and poses her so that her wide--flung legs display her cunt to the fullest advantage, in which open and prominent position it may be readily employed as a chamber pot. So to use it was his heavenly intention; in order that the container respond more perfectly to what is to be demanded of it, he begins by widening it as much as possible, devoting both hands and all his strength to the task. He takes his place, pushes, a turd lands in the sanctuary Cupid himself would not have disdained having for a temple. He turns around, eyes his work, and with his fingers presses and thrusts the filthy excrement into the vagina and largely out of sight; he establishes himself astride Lucile once again, and ejects a second, then a third stool, and each is succeeded by the same ceremony of burial. Finally, having deposited his last turd, he inserts and tamps it down with such brutal zeal that the little one utters a cry, and by means of this disagreeable operation perhaps loses the precious flower, Nature's ornament, offered the child as a gift to Hymen. This was the moment at which our libertine's pleasure attained its crisis: to have filled the young and pretty cunt to overflowing with shit, to crowd it with shit and stuff it with yet more, that was his supreme delight: all the while in action, he opens his fly and draws out a species of prick, very flaccid it is, and he shakes it, and as he toils away in his disgusting manner, he manages to spatter upon the floor a few drops of thin, discolored sperm, whose loss may be credited solely to the infamies he has been performing. Having concluded his business, he takes himself off, Lucile washes, and that is that.
Some time later, I found myself with another individual whose mania struck me as no less unpleasant: he was an elderly magistrate at the high court. One was obliged not only to watch him shit, no, there was more to it than that: I had to help him, with my fingers, facilitate the matter's emergence by pressing, opening, agitating, compressing his anus, and when once he had been freed of his burden, I had with utmost care to clean the soiled area with my tongue.
"Well, by God! there's a bit of taxing drudgery, I own," said the Bishop. "The four ladies you see here, and they are our wives, or our daughters, or our nieces, these ladies nevertheless have to perform that same chore every day, you know. And what the devil, I ask you, what the devil is a woman's tongue good for if not to wipe assholes? I frankly cannot think of any other use to put it to. Constance," the Bishop pursued, turning to the Duc's lovely wife, who happened to be upon his couch, "give Duclos a little demonstration of your proficiency in the thing; here you are, I'll offer you a very untidy ass, it hasn't been cleaned since this morning, I've been keeping it this way for you. Off you go, display your abilities."
And the poor creature, only too well accustomed to these horrors, executed them as a dutiful, a thoughtful wife should; ah, great God! what will not dread and thralldom produce!
"Oh, by Jesus," said Curval, presenting his ugly, beslimed asshole to the charming Aline, "she'll not be the only one to give examples of excellence. Get to work, little whore," said he to that beautiful and virtuous girl, "outdo your companion."
And the thing was accomplished.
"Why, Duclos," said the Bishop, "I think we might proceed now; we only wished to point out that your man's request had nothing of the unusual about it, and that a woman's tongue is fit to nothing if to wipe an ass."
The amiable Duclos fell to laughing and continued:
You will permit me, Messieurs, said she, to interrupt the catalogue of passions for an instant that I may apprise you of an event which has no bearing upon them; it has only to do with me, but as you have ordered me to recount the interesting episodes in my life, even when they are not related to the anthology of tastes we are compiling, I think that the following ought not be passed by in silence.
I had been a great while at Madame Fournier's, had long since become the first ranked according to seniority, and in her entire entourage was the girl in whom she had the greatest confidence. It was I who most often arranged the parties and received the funds. Fournier had gradually taken the place of the mother I had lost, she had aided me in time of trouble, watched over my welfare, had written faithfully to me when I had been abroad in England, upon my return had as a friend opened her house to me when, in difficult circumstances, I desired to take asylum with her once again. Twenty times over she had lent me money, and often had never asked for it back. The opportunity arrived to show my gratitude and to respond to her limitless faith in me, and you shall judge, Messieurs, with what eagerness my soul opened itself to virtue's entrance and what an easy access it had thereinto: Fournier fell ill, and her first thought was to call me to her bedside.
"Duclos, my child, I love you," said she, "well you know it, and I am going to prove it by the absolute trust I am about to place in you. Despite your mind, which is not a good one, I believe in you incapable of wronging a friend; I am very ill, I am old, I do not know what is to become of me. But I may die soon; I have relatives who will of course be my heirs. I can at least leave them something, and want to: I have a hundred thousand francs in gold in this little coffer; take it, my child," said she, "here, I give it to you, but upon condition you dispose of this money in keeping with my instructions."
"Oh, my dear mother," said I, stretching forth my arms to her, "I beseech you, these precautions distress me; they shall surely prove needless, but if unhappily they were to prove necessary, I take oath and swear exactly to carry out your intentions."
"I believe you, my child," said she, "and that is why my eyes have settled upon you; that little coffer, then, contains one hundred thousand francs in gold; I have scruples, a few scruples, my dear friend, I feel remorseful for the life I have led, the quantity of girls I have cast into crime and snatched away from God. And so I wish to do two things by means of which it is my hope the divinity will be led to deal less severely with me: I think of charity now, and of prayer. You shall take fifteen thousand francs of this money, and you shall give it to the Capuchins on the rue Saint-Honoré, so that those good fathers will say a perpetual mass for the salvation of my soul; another sum, also of fifteen thousand francs, shall be set aside, and when I have closed my eyes, you shall surrender it to the curé of the parish and beg him to distribute it amongst the poor dwelling in this quarter of the city. Charity is a very excellent thing, my child; nothing better repairs in the eyes of God the sins we have committed in this world. The poor are His children, and beloved of Him is he who gives them succor and comfort; never is God more to be pleased than by alms distributed to the needy. There lies the true way of gaining Heaven, my child! As for the remainder, immediately I am dead you shall take sixty thousand francs to one Petignon, a shoemaker's apprentice in the rue du Bouloir: this poor lad is my son, he knows nothing of his origins: he is the bastard issue of adultery. Upon dying, I want the unhappy orphan to benefit from those marks of tenderness I have never shown him while alive. Ten thousand francs are left; I beg you to keep them, my dear Duclos, keep them as a feeble token of my fondness for you, may they be some kind of recompense for the trouble you shall have to take in seeing to the distribution of the rest of my fortune. And may this little sum aid you to resolve to abandon the dreadful trade we follow, a calling wherein there is no salvation, nor any hope. For one is not a whore forever."
Innerly delighted to be entrusted with such a handsome sum, and thoroughly determined, for fear of becoming confused by Fournier's intricate instructions upon sharing it, to keep her fortune intact and for myself alone, I produced a flood of very artificial tears and cast myself into the old matron's arms, reiterated many oaths of fidelity, and turned all my thoughts thenceforth to devising means to prevent the cruel disappointments certain to occur were a return to sound health to bring about a change in her resolutions. The means presented itself the very next day: the doctor prescribed and emetic, and as I was in charge of nursing her, it was to me he handed the medicine, drawing my attention to the fact the package contained two doses, and warning me to be sure to administer only one at a time because, were both given her, death would be the result; were the first to have no effect, or an insufficient one, the second could be employed later, if need be. I promised the doctor to take the greatest possible care, and immediately he had turned his back, banishing from my heart all those futile sentiments which would have stopped a timorous spirit, putting to rout all remorse and all frailty, and thinking exclusively of my gold, of the sweet charm of making it mine, and of the delicious titillation one experiences every time one concerts an evil deed, the certain prognostic of the pleasure it will give, dwelling, I say, upon all that and upon nothing else, I straightway dropped both doses into a glass of water and offered the brew to my dear friend's lips; she swallowed it down without a moment's delay and thereby, just as rapidly, found the death I had sought to procure her.
I cannot describe to you what feelings possessed me when I saw my scheme had succeeded; each of the retchings wherewith she exhaled her life produced a truly delicious sensation throughout my entire being; thrilled, I listened to her, I watched her, I was perfectly intoxicated with joy. She stretched her arms toward me, addressed me a last farewell, I was overwhelmed with pleasurable sensations, I was already forming a thousand plans for spending the gold. I had not long to wait; Fournier expired that same afternoon; the prize belonged to me.
"Duclos," said the Duc, "be truthful: did you frig yourself? did crime's piercingly voluptuous sensation attain your organs of pleasure?"
"Yes, my Lord, I confess it did; thanks to my prank I discharged five times before nightfall."
"It is then true," the Duc intoned in a loud and authoritative voice, "it is then true that crime has of itself such a compelling attractiveness that, unattended by any accessory activity, it may be itself suffice to inflame every passion and to hurl one into the same delirium occasioned by lubricious acts. Well, what say you?"
"Why, my Lord," Duclos answered, "I say I had my employer honorably buried, appropriated the bastard Petignon's inheritance, wasted not a penny on perpetual masses, nor did I bother to make a single charitable distribution, for, as a matter of fact, I have always beheld charity with the most authentic horror, regardless of the speeches, such as Fournier's, that I have heard pronounced in its favor. I maintain that there must be poor in this world, that Nature wishes that such there be, that she requires it, and that it is to fly in the face of her decrees to pretend to restore equilibrium, if it is disorder she wants."
"What's this!" said Durcet. "Do you then have principles, Duclos? I am very pleased to observe this in you; for, as you appear to realize, any relief given to misfortune, any gesture that lightens the load of the distressed, is a real crime against the natural order. The inequality she has created in our persons proves that this discordance pleases Nature, since 'twas she established it, and since she wishes that it exists in fortunes as well as in bodies. And as the weak may always redress matters by means of theft, the strong are equally allowed to restore inequality, or protect it, by refusing to give aid to the wretched. The universe would cease on the spot to subsist were there to be an exact similarity amongst all beings; 'tis of this disparity there is born the order which preserves, contains, directs everything. One must therefore take great care not to disturb it; moreover, in believing that it is a good thing I do for this miserable class of men, I do much ill to another, for indigence is the nursery to which the wealthy and powerful repair in quest of the objects their lust or cruelty needs; I deprive the rich man of that branch of pleasure when, by raising up the downtrodden, I inhibit this class from yielding to him. And thus my charities have done nothing but put one part of humankind very modestly in my debt and done prodigious harm to the other. Hence, I regard charity not only as something evil in itself, but, what is more, I consider it a crime against Nature who, having first made differences apparent to our eyes, has certainly never intended ideas of eliminating them to occupy our heads. And so, far from giving alms to the poor, consoling the widow, succoring the orphan, if it is according to Nature's true intentions I wish to act, not only do I leave these wretches in the state Nature put them into, but I even lend Nature a strong right arm and aid her by prolonging this state and vigorously opposing any efforts they make to change it, and to this end I believe any means may be allowed."
"What!" cried the Duc, "even stealing from and ruining them?"
"Oh my, yes," the financier replied, "even augmenting their number, since this class serves another, and since, by increasing the size of the one, though I may do it a modicum of harm, I shall perform a great service for the other."
"That, my friends, is a very harsh system indeed," said Curval. "Haven't you heard tell of the sweet pleasures of doing good unto others?"
"Abusive pleasures!" Durcet answered at once. "That delight you allude to is nothing like the one I recommend; the first is illusory, a fiction; the second is authentic, real; the first is founded upon vile prejudices, the second upon reason; the first, through the agency of pride, the most false of all our sensations, may provide the heart with a brief instant's titillation; the other is a veritable mental pleasure-taking, and it inflames every other passion by the very fact it runs counter to common opinions. In a word, one of them gets this prick of mine stiff," Durcet concluded, "and I feel practically nothing from the other."
"But must the one criterion for judging everything be our feelings?" asked the Bishop.
"The only one, my friend," said Durcet; "our senses, nothing else, must guide all our actions in life, because only their voice is truly imperious."
"But God knows how many thousand crimes may be the result of such a doctrine," the Bishop observed.
"God knows, yes, and do you suppose that matters?" Durcet demanded; "for it is enjoyable, isn't it? Crime is a natural mode, a manner whereby Nature stirs man, makes him to move. Why would you not have me let myself be moved by Nature in this direction as well as in the direction of virtue? Nature needs virtuous acts, and vicious ones too; I serve Nature as well by performing the one as when I commit the other. But we have entered into a discussion which could lead us far; suppertime is approaching, and Duclos has still ground to cover before completing her task. Go on, charming girl, pursue your way, and believe me when I say you have just acknowledged an act and a doctrine which make you deserving of our eternal esteem and of that of every philosopher."
My first idea when once my good patron had been inhumed was to assume the direction of her house and to maintain it on the same footing she had found so profitable. I announced this project to my colleagues, and they all, Eugénie above the rest, for she was my best beloved, I say, promised to regard me as their new mother. I was not too young to pretend to the title, being then nearly thirty and possessed of all the intelligence and good sense one must have to govern a convent. And so it is, Messieurs, that I shall conclude the story of my adventures not as a public whore, but as an abbess, pretty enough and still youthful enough sometimes, indeed often, to treat directly with our clients; and treat with them I did: I shall in the sequel take care to notify you each time I took personal charge of the problem at hand. All Fournier's customers remained to me, I knew the secret of acquiring additional ones: my apartments were kept very neat and clean, and an excessive submissiveness inculcated in my girls, whom I selected with discrimination, hugely flattered my libertines' caprices.
The first purchaser to arrive was an old treasurer of the Exchequer, a former friend of the departed Fournier; I gave him little Lucile, over whom he waxed very enhusiastic. His habitual mania, quite as filthy as disagreeable for his partner, consisted in shitting upon his Dulcinea's face, of smearing his excrement over all her features, and then of kissing her in this state, and of sucking her. Out of friendship for me, Lucile allowed the old satyr to have his way very completely with her, and he discharged upon her belly as he lay kissing and licking his disgusting performance.
Not long afterward, we had another; Eugénie was also assigned to cope with him. He had a barrel full of shit trundled in, plunged the naked girl into it, and licked every inch of her body, swallowing what he removed, and not finishing until he had rendered her as clean as she had been prior to her immersion. That one was a celebrated lawyer, a rich man and a very well-known one; he possessed, for the enjoyment of women, none but the most modest qualities, which lack he remedied by this species of libertinage he had lovingly cultivated all his life.
The Marquis de R***, one of Fournier's oldest clients, came shortly after her death to express his sorrow upon learning that she was no more; he also assured me he would patronize the house just as faithfully as before and, to convince me of his devotion, wanted to see Eugénie that same evening. This old rake's passion consisted in first bestowing prodigious kisses upon the girl's mouth; he swallowed all the saliva it were possible to drain from her, then kissed her buttocks for a quarter of an hour, called for farts, and finally demanded the major thing. After it had been done, he kept the turd in his mouth and, making the girl bend down over him, he had her embrace him with one hand and frig him with the other; and while he was tasting the pleasure of this masturbation and tickling her beshitted asshole, the girl had to eat the turd she had deposited in his mouth. Although he was prepared to pay very well, he used to find exceedingly few girls who were willing to cooperate in this little abomination, and that is why the Marquis would come regularly to me: he was as eager to remain one of my clients as I was to have him make frequent visits to my establishment. . . .
At this point the Duc, very hot indeed, said that as the supper hour was hard upon them, he would like, before going to table, to execute the last-cited fantasy. And this is how he went about it: he had Sophie come to him, received her turd in his mouth, then obliged Zélamir to run up and eat Sophie's creation. This idiosyncrasy might perhaps have been a delight for anyone else but a child like Zélamir; as yet insufficiently mature, hence unable to appreciate the delicious, he manifested disgust only, and seemed about to misbehave. But the Duc threatened him with everything his anger might produce were the boy to hesitate another instant; the boy obeyed. The stunt struck the others as so engaging that each of them imitated it, more or less, for Durcet held that favors had to be parceled out fairly; was it just, he asked, for the little boys to eat the girls' shit while the girls went hungry? no, surely not, and consequently he had Zéphyr shit in his mouth and ordered up Augustine to eat the marmalade, which that lovely and interesting girl promptly did, her repast being as promptly succeeded by the racking vomitings.
Curval imitated this variation and received his dear Adonis' turd, which Michette consumed, not without a duplication of Augustine's histrionics; as for the Bishop, he was content to emulate his brother, and had the delicate Zelmire excrete a confiture Céladon was induced to gobble up. Accompanying all this were certain unmistakable signs of repugnance which, of course, were of the greatest interest to libertines in whose view the torments they inflict are unexcelled for inspiring satisfaction. The Bishop and the Duc discharged, the two others either could not, or would not, and all four went in to supper, where Duclos' action was the object of the loftiest encomiums.
"A very intelligent creature," observed the Duc, whose regard for the storyteller could not have been more profound. "Intelligent, I say, to have sensed that gratitude is nonsense, an hallucination, and that ties of fondness or of any other sort ought never either to make us pause or even to suspend the effects of crime, because the object which has served us can claim no right to our heart's generosity; that object employs itself only in our behalf, its mere presence humiliates a stout soul, and one must either hate of be rid of it."
"Very true," said Durcet, "so true that you'll never see a man of any wit seek to make others grateful to him. Fully certain that benevolence creates nothing but enemies, he practices only the arts his wisdom approves for his safety."
"One moment," interrupted the Bishop. "It is not at giving you pleasure he who serves you is laboring, but he is rather striving simply to gain an ascendancy over you by putting you in his debt. Well, I ask, what does such a scheme deserve? He does not say, as he serves you: I serve you because I wish to do good for you. No, he simply says: I put you under obligation in order to lower you and to raise myself above you."
"These reflections seem to me," said Durcet, "abundantly to prove how abusive are the services usually rendered, and how absurd is the practice of good. But, they will tell you, one does good for its own sake and for one's own; 'tis all very well for them whose weakness of spirit permits them to enjoy such little delights, but they who are revolted by them, as are we, great God! would be great fools to bother over such tepid stuff."
This doctrine having fired their imaginations, Messieurs drank a great deal, and the orgies were celebrated with vivacity and brio. Our like-thinking libertines sent the children off to bed, chose to spend a part of the night tippling with no one but the four elders and the four storytellers, and in their company to vie with one another in infamies and atrocities. As amongst these twelve individuals there was not one who was not worthy of the noose, the rack, and probably the wheel, I leave it to the reader to picture what was said and done. For from words they passed to deeds, the Duc got hot again, and I don't know just why it happened or how, but they say Thérèse bore the marks of his affection for weeks. However all that may be, let us allow our actors to move from these bacchanals to the chaste bed of the wife that had been prepared for each of the four, and let us see what transpired at the castle on the morrow.