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Teleny, or, The reverse of the medal : a physiological romance of to-day [volume 2] 1893

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Edition : 200 Copies
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OR
THE REVERSE OF THE MEDAL
A  PHYSIOLOGICAL ROMANCE OF TO-DAY
IN  TWO  VOLUMES
VOLUME  II
11
COSMOPOLI
1893 n
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CHAPTER  VI
44' I AHIS shocking suicide of our maid absorbed
-*■ all my thoughts for a few days, and gave
me no slight amount of trouble and worry for
some time afterwards.
44 Besides, as I was no casuist, I asked myself whether I had not had some share in prompting
her to commit such a rash act; I therefore tried
to make amends to the coachman, at least, by
helping him as much as I could out of his
trouble. Moreover, if I had not been fond of the
girl, I had really tried to love her, so that I was
greatly upset by her death.
44 My manager, who was far more my master
than I was his, seeing the shattered state of my
nerves, persuaded me to undertake a short business
& 8
journey, which otherwise he would have had to
make himself.     &M
44 All these circumstances obliged me to keep
my thoughts away from Teleny, who had lately
engrossed them so entirely. I therefore tried to
come to the conclusion that I had quite forgotten
him; and I was already congratulating myself on
having mastered a passion that had rendered me
contemptible in my own eyes.
44 On my return home I not only shunned
him, but I even avoided reading his name in the
papers—nay, whenever I saw it on the bills in
the street, I turned my head away from it, notwithstanding all the attraction it had for me ; such
was the fear I had of falling under his magic
spell. And yet, was it possible for me to continue
avoiding him ? Would not the slightest accident
bring us together again ?    And then—?
441 tried to believe that the power he had
over me had vanished, and that it was not possible for him to acquire it again. Then, to make
assurance doubly sure, I resolved to cut him dead
the first time we met. Moreover I was in hopes
he would leave the town—for some time at least,
mm if not for ever.
44 Not long after my return, I was with my
mother in a box at the theatre, when all at once
the door opened and Teleny appeared in the
doorway.
44 On seeing him I felt myself grow pale and
then red, my knees seemed to be giving way, my
heart began to beat with such mighty thumps
that my breast was ready to burst. For a
moment, I felt all my good resolutions give way;
then, loathing myself for being so weak, I snatched
up my hat, and — scarcely bowing to the young
man—I rushed out of the box like a madman,
leaving my mother to apologize for my strange
behaviour. No sooner was I out than I felt
drawn back, and I almost returned to beg his
forgiveness. Shame alone prevented me from
doing so.
44 When I re-entered the box, my mother,
vexed and astonished, asked me what had made
me act in such a boorish way to the musician,
whom everybody welcomed and made much of.
44 4 Two months ago, if I remember rightly,'
said she, 4 there was  hardly another pianist like
:1
I
rt«%M    \J^14< if
him; and now, because the press has turned
against him, he is even below being bowed to.'
444The press is against him?' quoth I, with
uplifted eyebrows,
44 4 What! have you not read how bitterly he
has been criticized of laste ?'
44 4 No. I have had other matters to think
about than pianists.'
44 4 Well, of late he seems to have been out
of sorts. His name has appeared on the bills
several times, and then he has not played ; whilst
at the last concerts he went through his pieces in
a most humdrum, lifeless way, so very different
from his former brilliant execution.'
441 felt as if a hand was griping at my
heart within my breast, still I tried to keep my
features as indifferent as possible.
4441 am sorry for him,' said I, listlessly; 4but
then, I daresay the ladies will console him for the
taunts of the press, and thus blunt the points
of their arrows.'
44 My mother shrugged her shoulders and
drew down the corners of her lips disdainfully.
She  little guessed  either   my thoughts,  or  how II
bitterly 1 regretted the way in which I had acted
towards the young man whom—well, it was useless
to mince matters any longer, or to give myself the
lie—I still loved. Yes, loved more than ever—
loved to distraction.
44 On the morrow, I looked for all the papers
in which his name was mentioned, and I found—
it may perhaps be vanity on my part to think
so—that from the very day I had ceased to attend
his concerts, he had been playing wretchedly,
until at last his critics, once so lenient, had
all joined against him, endeavouring to bring him
to a better sense of the duty he owed to his art,
to the public, and to himself.
44 About a week afterwards, I again went to
hear him play.
44 As he came in, I was surprised to see the
change wrought in him in that short space of
time; he was not only careworn and dejected,
but pale, thin, and sickly-looking. He seemed,
in fact, to have grown ten years older in those
few days. There was in him that alteration which
my mother had noticed in me on her return from
Italy ; but she, of course, had attributed it to the
-zm& EW
shock my nerves had just received.
44 As he came on, some few persons tried to
cheer him by clapping their hands, but a low
murmur of disapproval, followed by a slight
hissing sound, stopped these feeble attempts at
once. He seemed scornfully indifferent to both
sounds. He sat listlessly down, like a person
worn out by fever, but, as one of the musical
reporters stated, the fire of art began all at
once to glow within his eyes. He cast a sidelong glance on the audience, a searching look
full of love and of thankfulness.
44 Then he began to play, not as if his task
were a weary one, but as if he were pouring out
his heavily-laden soul; and the music sounded
like the warbling of a bird which, in its attempt
to captivate its mate, pants forth its floods of
rapture, resolved either to conquer or to die in
profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
44 It is needless to say that I was thoroughly
overcome, whilst the whole crowd was thrilled
by the sweet sadness of his song.
44 The piece finished, I hurried out—frankly, in
the hope of meeting him.   Whilst he had been play- 13
ing, a mighty struggle had been going on within
myself—between my heart and my brain; and
the glowing senses asked cold reason, what was
the use of fighting against an ungovernable
passion ? I was, indeed, ready to forgive him for
all I had suffered, for after all, had I any right
to be angry with him ?
"As I entered the room he was the first—
nay, the only person I saw. A feeling of indes-
scribable delight filled my whole being, and my
heart seemed to bound forth towards him. All
at once, however, all my rapture passed away,
my blood froze in my veins, and love gave way
to anger and hatred. He was arm-in-arm with
Briancourt, who, openly congratulating him on
his success, was evidently clinging to him
like the ivy to the oak. Briancourt's eyes and
mine met; in his there was a look of exultation;
in mine, of withering scorn.
"As soon as Teleny saw me, he at once
broke loose from Briancourt's clutches, and came
up to me. Jealousy maddened me, I gave him
the stiffest and most distant of bows and passed
on, utterly disregarding his out-stretched hands.
m :***>
m
H
441 heard a sHght murmur amongst the bystanders, and as I walked away I saw with the
corner of my eye his hurt look, his blushes that
came and went, and his expression of wounded
pride Though hot-tempered, he bowed resignedly,
as if to say: 4 Be it as you will,' and he went
back to Briancourt, whose face was beaming with
satisfaction.
44 Briancourt said,—4 He has always been a
cad, a tradesman, a proud parvenu!' just loud
enough for the words to reach my ear. 4 Do not
mind him.'
44 4 No,' added Teleny, musingly, * it is I who
am to blame, not he.'
44 Little did he understand with what a
bleeding heart I walked out of the room, yearning
at every step to turn back, and to throw my
arms around his neck before everybody, and beg
his forgiveness.
" I wavered for a moment, whether to go and
offer him my hand or not. Alas ! do we often
yield to the warm impulse of the heart ? Are
we not, instead, always guided by the advice of the
calculating, conscience-muddled, clay-cold brain ? 15
" It was early, yet I waited for some time
in the street, watching for Teleny to come put.
I had made up my mind that if he was alone,
I would go and beg his pardon for my rudeness.
44 After a short time, I saw him appear at the
door with Briancourt.
44 My jealousy was at once rekindled,
I turned on my heels and walked off. I did not
want to see him again. On the morrow I
would take the first train and go—anywhere,
out of the world if I could.
44 This state of feeling did not last long; and
my rage being somewhat subdued, love and
curiosity prompted me tagain to stop. I did so.
I looked round; they were nowhere to be seen;
still I had wended my steps towards Teleny's
house.
441 walked back. I glanced down the neighbouring streets;  they had quite disappeared.
44 Now that he was lost to sight, my eagerness
to find him increased. They had, perhaps,
gone to Briancourt's. I hurried on in the direction of his house.
■ 11 i J
•4 i6
44 All at once, I thought I saw two figures like
them at a distance. I hastened on like a madman.
I lifted up the collar of my coat, I pulled my soft
felt hat over my ears, so as not to be recognized,
and followed them on the opposite side-walk.
441 was not mistaken. Then they branched
off; I after them. Whither were they going in
these lonely parts ?
44 So as not to attract their attention I stopped
where I saw an advertisement. I slackened, and
then quickened my pace. Several times I saw
their heads come in close contact, and then
Briancourt's arm encircled Teleny's waist.
44 All this was far worse than gall and wormwood to me. Still, in my misery, I had one
consolation; this was to see that, apparently,
Teleny was yielding to Briancourt's attentions
instead of seeking them.
44 At last they reached the Quai de  , so
busy in the daytime, so lonely at night. There
they seemed to be looking for somebody, for they
either turned round, scanned the persons they
met, or stared at men seated on the benches that
are along the quay.    I continued following them. 17
44 As my thoughts were entirely absorbed, it
was some time before I noticed that a man, who
had sprung up from somewhere, was walking by
my side. I grew nervous; for I fancied that he
not only tried to keep pace with me but also to
catch my attention, for he hummed and whistled
snatches of songs, coughed, cleared his throat, and
scraped his feet.
44 All these sounds fell upon my dreamy ears,
but failed to arouse my attention. All my senses
were fixed on the two figures in front of me.
He therefore walked on, then turned round on
his heels, and stared at me. My eyes saw all
this without heeding him in the least.
44 He lingered once more, let me pass, walked
on at a brisker pace, and was again beside me.
Finally, I looked at him. Though it was cold,
he was but slightly dressed. He wore a short,
black velvet jacket and a pair of light grey,
closely-fitting trousers marking the shape of the
thighs and buttocks like tights.
44 As I looked at him he stared at me again,
then smiled with that vacant, vapid, idiotic, facial
contraction of a raccrocheuse.   Then, always looking
2
J*
L If?
18
at me with an inviting leer, he directed his steps
towards a neighbouring Vespasienne.
44 4 What is there so peculiar about me ?' I
mused, 4that the fellow is ogling me in that
way ?'
44 Without turning round, however, or noticing
him any further, I walked on, my eyes fixed on
Teleny.
44 As I passed by another bench, some one again
scraped his feet and cleared his throat, evidently
bent on making me turn my head. I did so. There
was nothing more remarkable about him than there
is in the first man you meet. Seeing me look
at him, he either unbuttoned or buttoned up his
trousers.
44 After a while I again heard steps coming
from behind; the person was close up to me.
I smelt a strong scent—if the noxious odour of
musk or of patchouli can be called a scent.
44 The person touched me slightly as he
passed by. He begged my pardon ; it was the
man of the velvet jacket, or his Dromio. I looked
at him as he again stared at me and grinned.
His eyes were painted with khol, his cheeks were
2—2 19
dabbed with rouge. He was quite beardless. For
a moment, I doubted whether he was a man or a
woman; but when he stopped again before the
column I was fully persuaded of his sex.
44 Some one else came with mincing steps,
and shaking his buttocks, from behind one of
these pissoirs. He was an old, wiry, simpering man,
as shrivelled as a frost-bitten pippin. His cheeks
were very hollow, and his projecting cheek bones
very red; his face was shaven and shorn, and he
wore a wig with long, fair, flaxen locks.
44 He walked in the posture of the Venus de
Medici; that is, with one hand on his middle
parts, and the other on his breast. His looks
were not only very demure, but there was an
almost maidenly coyness about the old man that
gave him the appearance of a virgin-pimp.
44 He did not stare, but cast a side-long glance
at me as he went by. He was met by a workman
—a strong and sturdy fellow, either a butcher or a
smith by trade. The old man would evidently have
slunk by unperceived, but the workman stopped
him. I could not hear what they said, for though
they were but a few steps away, they spoke in that
!
TWT 20
hushed tone peculiar to lovers ; but I seemed to be
the object of their talk, for the workman turned
and stared at me as I passed.    They parted.
44 The workman walked on for twenty steps,
then he turned on his heel and walked back
exactly on a fine with me, seemingly bent on meeting me face to face.
441 looked at him. He was a brawny man,
with massive features; clearly, a fine specimen of
a male. As he passed by me he clenched his
powerful fist, doubled his muscular arm at the
elbow, and then moved it vertically hither and
thither for a few times, like a piston-rod in
action, as it slipped in and out of the cylinder.
44 Some signs are so evidently clear and full
of meaning that no initiation is needed to understand them. This workman's sign was one of
them.
" Now I knew who all these night-walkers
were. Why they so persistently stared at me, and
the meaning of all their little tricks to catch my
attention. Was I dreaming ? I looked around.
The workman had stopped, and he repeated his request in a different way.   He shut his left fist, then 21
thrust the forefinger of his right hand in the hole
made by the palm and fingers, and moved it in
and out. He was bluntly explicit. I was not
mistaken. I hastened on, musing whether the
cities of the plain had been destroyed by fire and
brimstone.
44 As I learnt later in life, every large city has
its particular haunts—its square, its garden for
such recreation. And the police ? Well, it
winks at it, until some crying offence is committed ; for it is not safe to stop the mouths
of craters. Brothels of men-whores not being
allowed, such trysting-places must be tolerated,
or the whole is a modern Sodom or Gomorrah."
44 What! there are such cities now-a-days ? "
44 Aye! for Jehovah has acquired experience
with age; so He has got to understand His
children a little better than He did of yore, for
He has either come to a righter sense of toleration, or, like Pilate, He has washed His hands,
and has quite discarded them.
44 At first I felt a deep sense of disgust at
seeing the old catamite pass by me again, and
lift,   with   utmost   modesty,   his   arm   from   his F:l
22
breast, thrust his bony finger between his lips, and
move it in the same fashion as the workman had
done his arm, but trying to give all his movements
a maidenly coyness. He was—as I learnt later—
a pompeur de dard, or as I might call him, a 4 sperm-
sucker '; this was his speciality. He did the work
for the love of the thing, and an experience
of many years had made him a master of his
trade. He, it appears, lived in every other
respect like a hermit, and only indulged himself
in one thing—fine lawn handkerchiefs, either
with lace or embroidery, to wipe the amateur's
instrument when he had done with it.
44 The old man went down towards the river's
edge, apparently inviting me for a midnight stroll
in the mist, under the arches of the bridge, or
in some out-of-the-way nook or other corner.
44 Another man came up from there; this one
was adjusting his dress, and scratching his hind
part like an ape. Notwithstanding the creepy feeling these men gave me, the scene was so entirely
new that I must say it rather interested me."
44 And Teleny ? "
441 had been so taken up with all these mid-
W 23
night wanderers that I lost sight both of him
and of Briancourt, when all at once I saw them
re-appear.
44 With them there was a young Zouave
sub-lieutenant and a dapper and dashing fellow,
and a slim and swarthy youth, apparently an
Arab.
44 The meeting did not seem to have been a
carnal one. Anyhow, the soldier was entertaining
his friends with his lively talk, and by the few
words which my ear caught I understood that the
topic was an interesting one. Moreover, as they
passed by each bench, the couples seated thereon
nudged each other as if they were acquainted with
them.
44 As I passed them I shrugged up my
shoulders, and buried my head in my collar.
I even put up my handkerchief to my face. Still,
notwithstanding all my precautions, Teleny seemed
to have recognized me, although I had walked on
without taking the slightest notice of him.
441 heard their merry laugh as I passed ; an
echo of loathsome words was still ringing in my
ears ;   sickening   faces of  effete,  womanish men
ill
1 if*
a
24
traversed the street, trying to beguile me by all
that is nauseous.
441 hurried on, sick at heart, disappointed,
hating myself and my fellow-creatures, musing
whether I was any better than all these worshippers of Priapus who were inured to vice.
I was pining for the love of one man who did
not care more for me than for any of these
sodomites.
44 It was late at night, and I walked on without exactly knowing where my steps were taking
me to. I had not to cross the water on my way
home, what then made me do so ? Anyhow, all
at once I found myself standing in the very middle
of the bridge, staring vacantly at the open space
in front of me.
44 The river, like a silvery thoroughfare, parted
the town in two. On either side huge shadowy
houses rose out of the mist; blurred domes, dim
towers, vaporous and gigantic spires soared,
quivering, up to the clouds, and faded away in
the fog.
44 Underneath I could perceive the sheen of
the cold, bleak, and bickering river, flowing faster 25
and faster, as if fretful at not being able to outdo
itself in its own speed, chafing against the arches
that stopped it, curling in tiny breakers, and whirling away in angry eddies, whilst the dark pillars
shed patches of ink-black shade on the glittering
and shivering stream.
44 As I looked upon these dancing, restless
shadows, I saw a myriad of fiery, snake-like
elves gliding to and fro through them, winking
and beckoning to me as they twirled and they
rolled, luring me down to rest in those Lethean
waters.
44 They were right. Rest must be found
below those dark arches, on the soft, slushy
sand of that swirling river.
44 How deep and fathomless those waters
seemed ! Veiled as they were by the mist, they
had all the attraction of the abyss. Why should
I not seek there that balm of forgetfulness which
alone could ease my aching head, could calm my
burning breast ?
44 Why ?
44 Was it because the Almighty had fixed His
canon against self-slaughter ? 0*
■a
26
44 How, when, and where ?
44 With His fiery finger, when He made
that coup de theatre on Mount Sinai ?
44 If so, why was He tempting me beyond
my strength ?
44 Would any father induce a beloved child
to disobey him, simply to have the pleasure of
chastising him afterwards ? Would any man
deflower his own daughter, not out of lust,
but only to taunt her with her incontinence ?
Surely, if such a man ever lived, he was after
Jehovah's own image.
44 No, life is only worth living as long as it
is pleasant. To me, just then, it was a burden.
The passion I had tried to stifle, and which
was merely smouldering, had burst out with
renewed strength, entirely mastering me. That
crime could therefore only be overcome by
another. In my case suicide was not only
allowable, but laudable—nay, heroic.
44What did the Gospel say? 4If thine
eye . . . . ' and so forth.
44 All these thoughts whirled through my
mind like little fiery snakes.     Before me in the ftzil
27
mist, Teleny—like a vaporous angel of light—
seemed to be quietly gazing at me with his
deep, sad, and thoughtful eyes; below, the rushing
waters had for me a syren's sweet, enticing
voice.
441 felt my brain reeling. I was losing
my senses. I cursed this beautiful world of ours
—this paradise, that man has turned into a hell.
I cursed this narrow-minded society of ours, that
only thrives upon hypocrisy. I cursed our blighting religion, that lays its veto upon all the
pleasures of the senses.
441 was already climbing on the parapet,
decided to seek forgetfulness in those Stygian
waters, when two strong arms clasped me tightly
and held me fast."
44 It was Teleny ? "
44 It was.
444 Camille, my love, my soul, are you mad ?'
said he, in a stifled, panting voice.
44 Was I dreaming — was it he ? Teleny ?
Was he my guardian angel or a tempting demon ?
Had I gone quite mad ?
44 All these thoughts chased one another, and 28
left me bewildered. Still, after a moment, I understood that I was neither mad nor dreaming. It
was Teleny in flesh and blood, for I felt him
against me as we were closely clasped in each
other's arms. I had wakened to life from a horrible
nightmare.
44 The strain my nerves had undergone, and
the utter faintness that followed, together with his
powerful embrace, made me feel as if our two
bodies clinging closely together had amalgamated
or melted into a single one.
44 A most peculiar sensation came over me at
this moment. As my hands wandered over his
head, his neck, his shoulders, his arms, I could
not feel him at all; in fact, it seemed to me as
if I were touching my own body. Our burning
foreheads were pressed against each other, and his
swollen and throbbing veins seemed my own
fluttering pulses.
44 Instinctively, and without seeking each other,
our mouths united by a common consent. We did
not kiss, but our breath gave life to our two
beings.   '
441 remained vaguely unconscious for   some 29
time, feeling my strength ebb slowly away, leaving
but vitality enough to know that I was yet
alive.
44 All at once I felt a mighty shock from head
to foot; there was a reflux from the heart to the
brain. Every nerve in my body was tingling ;
all my skin seemed pricked with the points of
sharp needles. Our mouths which had withdrawn
now clung again to each other with newly-
awakened lust. Our lips—clearly seeking to engraft themselves together—pressed and rubbed
with such passionate strength that the blood
began to ooze from them—nay, it seemed as if
this fluid, rushing up from our two hearts, was
bent upon mingling together to celebrate in that
auspicious moment the old hymeneal rites of
nations—the marriage of two bodies, not by the
communion of emblematic wine but of blood
itself.
44 We thus remained for some time in a state
of overpowering delirium, feeling, every instant,
a more rapturous, maddening pleasure in each
other's kisses, which kept goading us on to
madness by increasing that heat which they could
I   4,
f 3°
not allay, and  by stimulating that hunger they
could not appease.
44 The very quintessence of love was in these
kisses. All that was excellent in us—the essential
part of our beings—kept rising and evaporating
from our lips like the fumes of an ethereal, intoxicating, ambrosial fluid.
44 Nature, hushed and silent, seemed to hold
her breath to look upon us, for such ecstacy of
bliss had seldom, if ever, been felt here below.
I was subdued, prostrated, shattered. The
earth was spinning round me, sinking under my
feet. I had no longer strength enough to stand.
I felt sick and faint. Was I dying ? If so,
death must be the happiest moment of our life,
for such rapturous joy could never be felt
again.
44 How long did I remain senseless ? I cannot tell. All I know is that I awoke in the
midst of a whirlwind, hearing the rushing of
waters around me. Little by little I came back
to consciousness. I tried to free myself from his
grasp.
44 4 Leave me !   Leave me alone !    Why did 31
you not let me die ? This world is hateful to
me, why should I drag on a life I loathe ?'
444Why? For my sake.' Thereupon he whispered softly, in that unknown tongue of his, some
magic words which seemed to sink into my soul.
Then he added, 4 Nature has formed us for each
other; why withstand her ? I can only find
happiness in your love, and in your's alone; it is
not only my heart but my soul that panteth for
your's.'
44 With an effort of my whole being I pushed
him away from me, and staggered back.
44 4 No, no !' I cried, 4 do not tempt me beyond
my strength; let me rather die.'
44 4 Thy will be done, but we shall die together,
so that at least in death we may not be parted.
There is an after-life, we may then, at least, cleave
to one another like Dante's Francesca and her
lover Paulo. Here,' said he, unwinding a silken
scarf that he wore round his waist, 4 let us
bind ourselves closely together, and leap into
the  flood.'
441 looked at him, and shuddered. So young,
so beautiful,  and   I  was   thus   to   murder him!
*W 32
The vision of Antinous as I had seen it the
first time he played appeared before me.
44 He had tied the scarf tightly round his
waist, and he was about to pass it around me.
44 4 Come.'
44 The die was cast. I had not the right to
accept such a sacrifice from him. t
444 No," quoth I, 4let us live.'
44 4 Live,' added he, 4 and then ?'
44 He did not speak for some moments, as
if waiting for a reply to that question which had
not been framed in words. In answer to his mute
appeal I stretched out my hands towards him.
He—as if frightened that I should escape him—
hugged me tightly with all the strength of irrepressible desire.
44 4 I love you !' he whispered, 41 love you
madly!    I cannot live without you any longer.'
44 4 Nor can I,' said I, faintly; 4 I have
struggled against my passion in vain, and now
I yield to it, not tamely, but eagerly, gladly. I am
your's, Teleny! Happy to be your's, your's for
ever and your's alone !'
44 For all answer there was a stifled hoarse cry 33
from his innermost breast; his eyes were lighted
up with a flash of fire ; his craving amounted to
rage; it was that of the wild beast seizing his
prey; that of the lonely male finding at last a
mate. Still his intense eagerness was more than
that; it was also a soul issuing forth to meet
another soul. It was a longing of the senses, and
a mad intoxication of the brain.
44 Could this burning, unquenchable fire that
consumed our bodies be called lust ? We clung
as hungrily to one another as the famished animal
does when it fastens, on the food it devours ; and
as we kissed each other with ever-increasing greed,
my fingers were feeling his curly hair, or paddling
the soft skin of his neck. Our legs being clasped
together, his phallus, in strong erection, was
rubbing against mine no less stiff and stark.
We were, however, always shifting our position,
so as to get every part of our bodies in as close
a contact as possible; and thus feeling, clasping,
hugging, kissing, and biting each other, we must
have looked, on that bridge amidst the thickening
fog, like two damned souls suffering eternal
torment.
3
III
If
*T 34
44 The hand of Time had stopped; and I think
we should have continued goading each other in
our mad desire until we had quite lost our senses
—for we were both on the verge of madness—had
we not been stopped by a trifling incident.
44 A belated cab — wearied with the day's
toil — was slowly trudging its way homeward.
The driver was sleeping on his box; the poor,
broken-down jade, with its head drooping almost
between its knees, was likewise slumbering—
dreaming, perhaps, of unbroken rest, of new-
mown hay, of the fresh and flowery pastures of
its youth; even the slow rumbling of the wheels
had a sleepy, purring, snoring sound in its irksome
sameness.
44 4 Come home with me,' said Teleny, in a
low, nervous, and trembling voice; 4 come and
sleep with me,' added he, in the soft, hushed,
and pleading tone of the lover who would fain be
understood without words.
441 pressed his hands for all answer.
44 4 Will you come ?'
44 4 Yes,' I whispered, almost inaudibly.
" This low, hardly-articulate sound was the
3—2 35
hot breath of vehement desire ; this lisped monosyllable was the willing consent to his eagerest
wish.
44 Then he hailed the passing cab, but it was
some moments before the driver could be awakened
and made to understand what we wanted of him.
44 As I stepped in the vehicle, my first thought
was that in a few minutes Teleny would belong to
me. This thought acted upon my nerves as an
electric current, making me shiver from head to
foot.
44 My lips had to articulate the words,
4 Teleny will be mine,' for me to believe it. He
seemed to hear the noiseless movement of my
lips, for he clasped my head between his hands,
and kissed me again and again.
44 Then, as if feeling a pang of remorse,—4 You
do not repent, do you ? ' he asked.
44 4 How can I ? '
44 4 And you will be mine—mine alone ?'
44 41 never was any other man's, nor ever
shall be.'
44 4 You will love me for ever ? '
44 4 And ever.' y
■
Hi
36
44 4 This will be our oath and our act of
possession,' added he.
44 Thereupon he put his arms around me
and clasped me to his breast. I entwined my
arms round him. By the glimmering, dim light
of the cab-lamps I saw his eyes kindle with the fire
of madness. His lips—parched with the thirst of
long-suppressed desire, with the pent-up craving
of possession—pouted towards mine with a painful
expression of dull suffering. We were again
sucking up each other's being in a kiss—a kiss
more intense, if possible, than the former one.
What a kiss that was !
44 The flesh, the blood, the brain, and that
undefined subtler part of our being seemed all to
melt together in an ineffable embrace.
44 A kiss is something more than the first
sensual contact of two bodies; it is the breathing
forth of two enamoured souls.
44 But a  criminal   kiss   long   withstood   and
fought against, and therefore long yearned  after,'
is beyond this;   it   is  as   luscious   as  forbidden
fruit;  it  is  a  glowing   coal   set  upon the lips;
a fiery brand that burns deep, and changes the 37
blood into molten lead or scalding quicksilver.
44 Teleny's kiss was really galvanic, for I could
taste its sapidity upon my palate. Was an oath
needed, when we had given ourselves to one
another with such a kiss ? An oath is a lip-
promise which can be, and is, often forgotten.
Such a kiss follows you to the grave.
44 Whilst our lips clung together, his hand
slowly, imperceptibly, unbuttoned my trousers,
and stealthily slipped within the aperture, turning
every obstacle in its way instinctively aside, then
it lay hold of my hard, stiff, and aching phallus
which was glowing like a burning coal.
44 This grasp was as soft as a child's, as
expert as a whore's, as strong as a fencer's.
He had hardly touched me than I remembered
the countess's words.
"Some people, as we all know, are more
magnetic than others. Moreover, whilst some
attract, others repel us. Teleny had—for me,
at least—a supple, mesmeric, pleasure-giving
fluid in his fingers. Nay, the simple contact of
his skin thrilled me with delight.
" My   own   hand   hesitatingly   followed   the
m 38
lead his had given, and I must confess the
pleasure I felt in paddling him was really
delightful.
44 Our fingers hardly moved the skin of the
penis; but our nerves were so strained, our
excitement had reached such a pitch, and the
seminal ducts were so full, that we felt them overflowing. There was, for a moment, an intense
pain, somewhere about the root of the penis—or
rather, within the very core and centre of the
reins, after which the sap of life began to move
slowly, slowly, from within the seminal glands ;
it mounted up the bulb of the urethra, and up
the narrow column, somewhat like mercury within
the tube of a thermometer — or rather, like the
scalding and scathing lava within the crater of a
volcano.
44 It finally reached the apex; then the slit
gaped, the tiny lips parted, and the pearly, creamy
viscous fluid oozed out—not all at once in a gushing jet, but at intervals, and in huge, burning tears.
44 At every drop that escaped out of the
body, a creepy almost unbearable feeling started
from the tips of the fingers, from the ends of the
& 39
toes, especially from the innermost cells of the
brain; the marrow in the spine and within all
the bones seemed to melt; and when the different
currents — either coursing with the blood or
running rapidly up the nervous fibres — met
within the phallus (that small instrument made
out of muscles and blood-vessels) a tremendous
shock took place; a convulsion which annihilated
both mind and matter, a quivering delight which
everyone has felt, to a greater or less degree—
often a thrill almost too intense to be pleasurable.
44 Pressed against each other, all we could do
was to try and smother our groans as the fiery
drops slowly followed one another.
44 The prostration which followed the excessive
strain of the nerves had set in, when the carriage
stopped before the door of Teleny's house—that
door at which I had madly struck with my fist a
short time before.
44 We dragged ourselves wearily out of the
carriage, but hardly had the portal shut itself
upon us than we were again kissing and fondling
each other with renewed energy.
44 After some moments, feeling that our desire
I n 40
was too powerful to be withstood any longer,—
4 Come,' said he, 4 why should we linger any longer,
and waste precious time here in the darkness and
in the cold ?'
j "4 Is it dark and is it cold ?' was my reply.
44 He kissed me fondly.
44 4 In the gloom you are my light; in the cold
you are my fire; the frozen wastes of the Pole
would be a Garden of Eden for me, if you were
there,' I continued.
44 We then groped our way upstairs in the
dark, for I would not allow him to light a wax
match. I therefore went along, stumbling against
him ; not that I could not see, but because I was
intoxicated with mad desire as a drunken man is
with wine.
44 Soon we were in his apartment. When we
found ourselves in the small, dimly-lighted antechamber, he opened his arms and stretched them
out towards me.
44 4 Welcome !' said he. 4 May this home be
ever thine.' Then he added, in a low tone, in
that unknown, musical tongue, 4 My body hun-
gereth for thee, soul of my soul, life of my life!' 4i
44 He had barely finished these words before
we were lovingly caressing each other.
44 After thus fondling each other for a few
moments,—4 Do you know,' said he, 4 that I have
been expecting you to-day ? '
44 4 Expecting me ?'
44 4 Yes, I knew that sooner or later you
would be mine. Moreover, I felt that you would
be coming to-day.'
44 4 How so ? '
"4 I had a presentiment.'
44 4 And had I not come ?'
44 4 I should have done what you were going
to do when I met you, for life without you would
have been unbearable.'
44 4 What! drowned yourself ?'
44 4 No, not exactly: the river is too cold
and bleak, I am too much of a Sybarite for that.
No, I should simply have put myself to sleep—
the eternal slumber of death, dreaming of you,
in this room prepared to receive you, and where
no man has ever set his foot.'
44 Saying these words he opened the door
of a small   chamber,  and   ushered me   into  it. Wi '■•
^W^W
[ft     t
42
A strong, overpowering smell of white heliotrope
first greeted my nostrils.
44 It was a most peculiar room, the walls of
which were covered over with some warm, white,
soft, quilted stuff, studded all over with frosted
silver buttons; the floor was covered with the
curly white fleece of young lambs ; in the middle
of the apartment stood a capacious couch, on
which was thrown the skin of a huge polar
bear. Over this single piece of furniture, an old
silver lamp — evidently from some Byzantine
church or some Eastern synagogue—shed a pale
glimmering light, sufficient, however, to light up
the dazzling whiteness of this temple of Priapus
whose votaries we were.
44 41 know,' said he, as he dragged me in,
41 know that white is your favourite colour,
that it suits your dark complexion, so it has
been fitted up for you and you alone. No
other mortal shall ever set his foot in it.'
44 Uttering these words, he in a trice stripped
me deftly of all my clothes—for I was in his
hands like a slumbering child, or a man in a
trance. 43
44 In an instant I was not only stark naked,
but stretched on the bear-skin, whilst he, standing in front of me, was gloating upon me with
famished eyes.
44 I felt his glances greedily fall everywhere ;
they sank in my brain, and my head began to
swim ; they pierced through my heart, whipping
my blood up, making it flow quicker and hotter
through all the arteries ; they darted within my
veins, and Priapus unhooded itself and lifted up
its head violently so that all the tangled web
of veins in its body seemed ready to burst.
44 Then he felt me with his hands everywhere, after which he began to press his lips on
every part of my body, showering kisses on my
breast, my arms, my legs, my thighs, and then,
when he had reached my middle parts, he pressed
his face rapturously on the thick and curly hair
that grows there so plentifully.
44 He shivered with delight as he felt the
crisp locks upon his cheek and neck ; then, taking
hold of my phallus, he pressed his lips upon it. .
That seemed to electrify him ; and then the tip
and afterwards the whole glans disappeared within
his mouth. 44
44 As it did so, I could hardly keep quiet.
I clasped within my hands his curly and scented
head; a shiver ran through my whole body;
all my nerves were on edge; the sensation was
so keen that it almost maddened me.
44 Then the whole column was in his mouth,
the tip was touching his palate; his tongue,
flattened or thickened, tickling me everywhere.
Now I was sucked greedily, then nibbled or
bitten. I screamed, I called on him to stop.
I could not bear such intensity any longer; it was
killing me. If it had lasted but a trice longer I
should have lost my senses. He was deaf and
ruthless to my entreaties. Flashes of lightning
seemed to be passing before my eyes ; a torrent
of fire was coursing through my body.
44 4 Enough—stop, enough !'  I groaned.
44 My nerves were extended; a thrill came
over me; the soles of my feet seemed to have
been drilled through. I writhed; I was convulsed.
44 One of his hands which had been caressing
my testicles slipped under my bum—a finger was
slipped in the hole.     1 seemed to be  a  man  in 45
front,  a  woman  behind,  for the  pleasure  I  felt
either way.
44 My trepidation had reached its climax. My
brain reeled; my body melted; the burning milk
of life was again mounting up, like a sap of fire;
my bubbling blood mounted up to my brain,
maddening me. I was exhausted ; I fainted with
pleasure:   I fell upon him—a lifeless mass !
44 In a few minutes I was myself again—eager
to take his place, and to return him the caresses I
had just received.
441 tore the clothes from his body, so that
he was speedily as naked as I was. What a
pleasure it was to feel his skin against mine from
head to foot! Moreover, the delight I had just
felt had only increased my eagerness, so that,
after clasping each other and wrestling together
for a few moments, we both rolled on the floor,
twisting, and rubbing, and crawling, and writhing,
like two heated cats exciting each other into a
paroxysm of rage.
44 But my lips were eager to taste his phallus—
an organ which might have served as a model for
the huge idol in the temple of Priapus, or over
If '/I
46
the doors of the Pompeian brothels, only that at
the sight of this wingless god most men would
have—as many did—discarded women for the love
of their fellow-men. It was big without having
the proportion of an ass's; it was thick and
rounded, though slightly tapering; the glans—a
fruit of flesh and blood, like a small apricot —
looked pulpy,  round and appetizing.
441 feasted my hungry eyes upon it; I handled
it; I kissed it; I felt its soft glossy skin upon my
lip; it moved with an inward motion of its own,
as I did so. My tongue then deftly tickled the
tip, trying to dart itself between those tiny rosy
lips that, bulged out with love, opened and
spattered a tiny drop of sparkling dew. I licked
the foreskin, then sucked the whole of it, pumping
it greedily. He moved it vertically wmilst I tried
to clasp it tightly with my lips; he thrust it
further every time, and touched my palate; it
almost reached my throat, and I felt it quivering
with a life of its own; I moved quicker, quicker,
quicker. He clasped my head furiously; all
his nerves were throbbing.
44 4 Your  mouth is burning—you are sucking
v
Mi^
- 47
out my very brain ! Stop, stop ! my whole body
is aglow ! I can't—any more ! I can't—it is too
much ! j
44 He grasped my head tightly to make me
stop, but I pressed his phallus tightly with my
lips, my cheeks, my tongue; my movements
were more and more rapid, so that after a few
strokes I felt him shudder from head to foot,
as if seized by a fit of giddiness. He sighed, he
groaned, he screamed. A jet of warm, soapy,
acrid liquid filled my mouth. His head reeled;
the pleasure he felt was so sharp that it verged
upon pain.
44 4 Stop, stop!' he moaned faintly, shutting
his eyes and panting.
441, however, was maddened by the idea
that he was now truly mine ; that I was drinking
down the fiery foaming sap of his body, the
real elixir of life.
44 His arms for a moment clasped me convulsively. A rigidity then came over him; he
was shattered by such an excess of wantonness.
441  myself felt  almost  as  much as   he did,
•
I
i
i if
til
ii f i
i  1 j
Bit  f 1
HrJH
1
Di
*MilU »W*3
48
for in my fury I sucked him eagerly, greedily,
and thus provoked an abundant ejaculation; and
at the same time small drops of the same fluid
which I was receiving in me, coursed slowly, painfully out of my body. As this happened, our
nerves relaxed and we fell exhausted upon one
another.
44 A short space of rest—I cannot tell how
long, intensity not being measured by Time's
sedate pace—and then I felt his nerveless penis
re-awaken from its sleep, and press against my
face; it was evidently trying to find my mouth,
just like a greedy but glutted baby even in
its sleep holds firm the nipple of its mother's
breast simply for the pleasure of having it in
its mouth.
441 pressed my mouth upon it, and, like a
young cock awakened at early dawn stretches
forth its neck and crows lustily, it thrust its
head towards my warm, pouted lips.
44 As soon as I had it in my mouth Teleny
wheeled himself round, and placed himself in the
same position that I was to him ; that is, his
mouth was at the height of my middle part, only ^*a
49
with the difference that I was on my back and
he was over me.
44 He began to kiss my rod; he played with
the bushy hair that grew around it; he patted my
buttocks, and, especially, he caressed my testicles
with a knack all his own that filled me with
unutterable delight.
44 His hands so increased the pleasure his
mouth and his own phallus were giving me that
I was soon beyond myself with excitement.
44 Our two bodies were one mass of quivering
sensuality; and although we were both increasing
the rapidity of our movements, still we were so
maddened with lust that in that tension of the
nerves the seminal glands refused to do their
work.
44 We laboured on in vain. My reason all at
once left me; the parched blood within me vainly
tried to ooze out, and it seemed to swirl in my
injected eyes; it tingled in my ears. I was in a
paroxysm of erotic rage—in a paroxysm of mad
delirium.
44 My brain seemed trepanned, my spine sawn
in two.    Nevertheless I sucked his phallus quicker
4 and quicker; I drew it like a teat; I tried to drain
it; and I felt him palpitate, quiver, shudder. All
at once the gates of the sperm were opened, and
from hellish fires we were uplifted, amidst a
shower of burning sparks, into a delightfully-calm
and ambrosial Olympus.
44 After a few moments' rest I uplifted myself
on my elbow, and delighted my eyes with my
lover's fascinating beauty. He was a very model
of carnal comeliness; his chest was broad and
strong, his arms rounded; in fact, I have never
seen such a vigorous and at the same time
agile frame; for not only was there not the
slightest fat but not even the least superfluous
flesh about him. He was all nerve, muscle, and
sinew. It was his well-knit and supple joints
that gave him the free, easy, and graceful
motion so characteristic of the Felidae, of which
he had also the flexibility, for when he clasped
himself to you he seemed to entwine himself
around you like a snake. Moreover, his skin was
of a pearly almost iridiscent whiteness, whilst
the hair on the different parts of his body
except the head was quite black.
4—2 5i
44 Teleny opened his eyes, stretched his arms
towards me, took hold of my hand, kissed, and
then bit me on the nape of my neck; then he
showered a number of kisses all along my back,
which, following one another in quick succession,
seemed like a rain of rose-leaves falling from
some full-blown flower.
44 Then he reached the two fleshy lobes
which he pressed open with his hands, and
darted his tongue in that hole where a little
while before he had thrust his finger. This likewise was for me a new and thrilling sensation.
44 This done, he rose and stretched forth
his hand to lift me up.
44 4 Now,' said he, 4 let us go in the next
room, and see if we can find something to eat;
for I think we really require some food, though,
perhaps, a bath would not be amiss before we sit
down to supper.    Should you like to have one ? '
44 4 It might put you to inconvenience.'
44 For all answer he ushered me into a kind
of cell, all filled with ferns and feathery palms,
that—as he shewed me—received during the day
the rays of the sun from a skylight overhead.
tiji
■
M
3 52
44 4 This is a kind of make-shift for a hot-house
and a bath-room, which every habitable dwelling
ought to have. I am too poor to have either, still
this hole is big enough for my ablutions, and my
plants seem to thrive pretty well in this warm
and damp atmosphere.'
44 4 But it's a princely bath-room !'
44 4 No, no !' said he, smiling ; 4 it's an artist's
bath-room.'
44 We at once plunged into the warm water,
scented with essence of heliotrope; and it was so
pleasant to rest there locked in each other's arms
after our last excesses.
44 41 could stay here all night,' he mused;
4 it is so delightful to handle you in this warm
water. But you must be famished, so we had
better go and get something to satisfy the inward
cravings.'
44 We got out, and wrapped ourselves up for
a moment with hot peignoirs of Turkish towelling.
44' Come,' said he, 4 let me lead you to the
dining-room.'
" I stood* hesitating, looking first at my nakedness, then upon his.    He smiled, and kissed me.
\\  I,
I
n 53
44 4 You don't feel cold, do you ?'
44 4 No, but '
44 4 Well, then, don't be afraid; there is no
one in the house. Everyone is asleep on the other
flats, and, besides, every window is tightly shut,
and all the curtains are down.'
44 He dragged me with him into a neighbouring room all covered with thick, soft, and
silky carpets, the prevailing tone of which was
dull Turkish red.
44 In the centre of this apartment hung a
curiously-wrought, star-shaped lamp, which the
faithful—even now-a-days—light on Friday eve.
44 We sat down on a soft-cushioned divan,
in front of one of those ebony Arab tables all
inlaid with coloured ivory and iridiscent mother-
of-pearl.
44 41 cannot give you a banquet, although I
expected you; still, there is enough to satisfy your
hunger, I hope.'
44 There were some luscious Cancale oysters
—few, but of an immense size ; a dusty bottle
of Sauterne, then a pate de foie gras highly
scented with Perigord truffles ;   a partridge, with 54
paprika or Hungarian curry, and a salad made out
of a  huge  Piedmont  truffle,  as thinly sliced   as
shavings, and a bottle of exquisite dry sherry.
44 All these delicacies were served in dainty
blue old Delft and Savona ware, for he had
already heard of my hobby for old majolica.
44 Then came a dish of Seville oranges,
bananas, and pineapples, flavoured with Maraschino and covered with sifted sugar. It was a
savoury, tasty, tart and sweet medley, combining
together the flavour [and perfume of all these
delicious fruits.
44 After having washed it down with a bottle
of sparkling champagne, we then sipped some
tiny cups of fragrant and scalding Mocha coffee;
then he lighted a narghile, or Turkish water pipe,
and we puffed at intervals the odorous Latakiah,
inhaling it with our ever-hungry kisses from each
other's mouths.
44 The fumes of the smoke and those of the
wine rose up to our heads, and in our re-awakened
sensuality we soon had between our lips a far
more fleshy mouth-piece :,than the amber one of
the Turkish pipe. 55
44 Our heads were again soon lost between
each other's thighs. We had once more but one
body between us, juggling with one another, ever
seeking new caresses, new sensations, a sharper
and more inebriating kind of lewdness, in our
anxiety not only to enjoy ourselves but to
make the other one feel. We were, therefore,
very soon the prey of a blasting lust, and only
some inarticulate sounds expressed the climax of
our voluptuous state, until, more dead than alive,
we fell upon each other—a mingled mass of
shivering flesh.
44 After half an hour's rest and a bowl of
arrak, cura9oa and whisky punch, flavoured with
many hot, invigorating spices, our mouths were
again pressed together.
44 His moist lips grazed mine so very slightly
that I hardly felt their touch; they thus only
awakened in me the eager desire to feel their contact more closely, whilst the tip of his tongue kept
tantalizing mine, darting in my mouth for a second
and rapidly slipping out again. His hands in the
meanwhile passed over the most delicate parts of
my body as   lightly  as  a  soft   summer   breeze
t !■ '<
56
passes over the smooth surface of the waters,
and I felt my skin shiver with delight.
441 happened to be lying on some cushions
on the couch, which thus elevated me to Teleny's
height; he swiftly put my legs on his shoulders,
then, bending down his head, he began first to
kiss, and then to dart his pointed tongue in the
hole of my bum, thrilling me with an ineffable
pleasure. Then rising when he had deftly
prepared the hole by lubricating it well all
round, he tried to press the tip of his phallus
into it, but though he pressed hard, still he could
not succeed in getting it in.
44 4 Let me moisten it a little, and then it
will slip in more easily.'
441 took it again in my mouth. My tongue
rolled deftly all around it. I sucked it down
almost to its very root, feeling it up to any little
trick, for it was stiff, hard, and frisky.
44 4 Now,' said I, 4 let us enjoy together that
pleasure which the gods themselves did not disdain
to teach us.'
44 Thereupon the tips of my fingers stretched
the   edges   of  my unexplored   little  pit   to  their
(V
:
Mi
IVW 57
very utmost.    It was gaping to receive the huge
instrument that presented itself at the orifice.
44 He once more pressed the glans upon it; the
tiny little lips protruded themselves within the
gap; the tip worked its way inside, but the pulpy
flesh bulged out all around, and the rod was thus
arrested in its career.
44 41 am afraid I am hurting you ? ' he asked,
4 had we not better leave it for some other
time ?'
44 4 Oh, no! it is such a happiness to feel
your body entering into mine.'
44 He thrust gently but firmly; the strong
muscles of the anus relaxed; the glans was fairly
lodged; the skin extended to such a degree that
tiny, ruby beads of blood tickled from all around
the splitting orifice; still, notwithstanding the
way I was torn, the pleasure I felt was much
greater than the pain.
44 He himself was so tightly clasped that he
could neither pull his instrument out nor push it in,
for when he tried to press it down he felt as if
he was being circumcised. He stopped for a
moment, and then, after having asked whether he
i £*£35*
ffi
58
was not hurting me too much, and having received
a negative reply, he thrust it in with all his might.
44 The Rubicon was crossed; the column
began to slide softly in; he could begin
his pleasurable work. Soon the whole penis
slipped in; the pain that tortured me was
deadened; the delight was ever so much increased.
I felt the little god moving within me ; it seemed
to be tickling the very core of my being; he had
shoved the whole of it into me, down to its very
root; I felt his hair crushed against mine, his
testicles gently rubbing against me.
44 1 then saw his beautiful eyes gazing deep
into mine. What unfathomable eyes they were !
Like the sky or the main, they seemed to reflect
the infinite. Never again shall I see eyes so full
of burning love, of such smouldering langour. His
glances had a mesmeric spell over me; they
bereft me of my reason ; they did even more—they
changed' sharp pain into delight.
44 I was in a state of ecstatic joy; all my
nerves contracted and twitched. As he felt
himself thus clasped and gripped, he shivered, he
ground his teeth ; he was unable to bear such a 59
strong shock; his outstretched arms held fast on
my shoulders; he dug his nails into my flesh; he
tried to move, but he was so tightly wedged and
grasped that it was impossible to push himself
any further in. Moreover, his strength was beginning to fail him, and he could then hardly stand
upon his feet.
44 As he tried to give another jerk, I myself,
that very moment squeezed the whole rod with
all the strength of my muscles, and a most violent
jet, like a hot geyser, escaped from him, and
coursed within me like some scorching, corroding
poison ; it seemed to set my blood on fire, and
transmuted it into some kind of hot, intoxicating
alcohol. His breath was thick and convulsive ;
his sobs choked him ;   he was utterly done up.
44 41 am dying!' he gasped out, his chest
heaving with emotion; 4 it is too much.' And
he fell senseless in my arms.
44 After half an hour's rest he woke up, and
began at once to kiss me with rapture, whilst his
loving eyes beamed with thankfulness.
44 4 You have made me feel what I never felt
before.'
I iil
i u
iRS!>n*TP w 6o
44 4 Nor I either,' quoth I, smiling.
44 41 really did not know whether I was in
heaven or in hell.    I had quite lost my senses.'
44 He stopped for a moment to look at me,
and then,—4 How I love you, my Camille !' he
went on, showering kisses on me; 41 have loved
you to distraction from the very moment I saw
you.'
44 Then I began to tell him how I had suffered
in trying to overcome my love for him ; how I was
haunted by his presence day and night; how
happy I was at last.
44 4 And now you must take my place. You
must make me feel what you felt. You will now
be active and I passive; but we must try another
position, for it is really tiresome to stand after all
the fatigue we have undergone.'
44 4 And what am I to do, for you know I am
quite a novice ?'
44 4 Sit down there,' he replied, pointing to a
stool constructed for the purpose, 4 I'll ride on
you whilst you impale me as if I were a woman.
It is a mode of locomotion of which the ladies
are so fond that they put it into practice whenever 6i
imir
they get the slightest chance. My mother actually
rode a gentleman under my very eyes. I was
in the parlour when a friend happened to call,
and had I been sent out suspicions might have
been aroused, so I was made to believe that I was
a very naughty little boy, and I was put in a
corner with my face to the i wall. Moreover,
she told me that if I cried or turned round she'd
put me to bed; but if I were good she'd give me
a cake. I obeyed for one or two minutes, but after
that, hearing an unusual rustle, and a loud breathing
and panting, I saw what I could not understand at
the time, but what was clear to me many years
afterwards.'
44 He sighed, shrugged his shoulders, then
smiled and added,—4 Well, sit down there.'
441 did as I was bidden. He first knelt down to
say his prayers to Priapus—which was, after all, a
more dainty bit to kiss than the old Pope's gouty
toe—and having bathed and tickled the little god
with his tongue, he got a-straddle over me. As he
had already lost his maidenhood long ago, my rod
entered far more easily in him than his had done
in me, nor did I give him the pain that  I had
m 62
felt, although my tool is of no mean size.
44 He stretched his hole open, the tip entered,
he moved a little, half the phallus was plunged
in ; he pressed down, lifted himself up, then came
down again ; after one or two strokes the whole
turgid column was lodged within his body.
When he was well impaled he put his arms
round my neck, and hugged and kissed me.
44 4 Do you regret having given yourself to
me ?' he asked, pressing me convulsively as if
afraid to lose me.
44 My penis, which seemed to wish to give
its own answer, wriggled within his body.
I looked deep into his eyes.
44? Do you think it would have been pleasanter
to be now lying in the slush of the river ?'
44 He shuddered and kissed me, then eagerly,—
\ How can you think of such horrible things just
now; it is real blasphemy to the Mysian god.'
44 Thereupon he began to ride a Priapean race
with masterly skill; from an amble he went on to
a trot, then to a gallop, lifting himself on the tips
of his toes, and coming down again quicker and
ever quicker.    At every movement he writhed and 63
wriggled, so that I felt myself pulled, gripped,
pumped, and sucked at the same time.
44 A rigid tension of the nerves took place.
My heart was beating in such a way that I could
hardly breathe. All the arteries seemed ready to
burst. My skin was parched with a glowing heat;
a subtle fire coursed through my veins instead of
blood.
44 Still he went on quicker and quicker. I
writhed in a delightful torture. I was melting
away, but he never stopped till he had quite
drained me of the last drop of life-giving fluid
there was in me. My eyes were swimming in
their sockets. I felt my heavy lids half close
themselves ; an unbearable voluptuousness of
mingled pain and pleasure, shattered my body
and blasted my very soul; then everything waned
in me. He clasped me in his arms, and I swooned
away whilst he was kissing my cold and languid
lips.
X*4 Iff
ft
5 CHAPTER VII
/^N   the morrow the events   of  the   night
^-^    before seemed like a rapturous dream."
44 Still you must have felt rather seedy, after
the many "
44 Seedy? No, not at all. Nay, I felt the
4 clear keen joyance' of the lark that loves, but
4 ne'er knew love's sad satiety.' Hitherto, the
pleasure that women had given me had always
jarred upon my nerves. It was, in fact, 4 a thing
wherein we feel there is a hidden want.' Lust
was now the overflowing of the heart and of the
mind—the pleasurable harmony of all the senses.
44 The world that had hitherto seemed to me
so bleak, so cold, so desolate, was now a perfect
paradise;   the   air,  although the barometer  had
5 66
fallen considerably, was crisp, light, and balmy;
the sun—a round, furbished, copper disc, and
more like a red Indian's backside than fair Apollo's
effulgent face—was shining gloriously for me; the
murky fog itself, that brought on dark night at
three o'clock in the afternoon, was only a hazy
mist that veiled all that was ungainly, and rendered
Nature fantastic, and home so snug and cosy.
Such is the power of imagination.
" You laugh ! Alas ! Don Quixote was not
the only man who took windmills for giants, or
barmaids for princesses. If your sluggish-brained,
thick-pated costermonger never falls into such a
trance as to mistake apples for potatoes; if your
grocer never turns hell into heaven, or heaven
into hell—well, they are sane people who weigh
everything in the well-poised scale of reason.
Try and shut them up in nutshells, and you will
see if they would deem themselves monarchs of
the world. They, unlike Hamlet, always see
things as they really are. I never did. But then,
you know, my father died mad.
" Anyhow, that overpowering weariness, that
loathsomeness of life, had now quite passed away.
5—2 67
I   was   blithe,   merry,  happy.     Teleny  was  my
lover;   I was his.
44 Far from being ashamed of my crime, I
felt that I should like to proclaim it to the world.
For the first time in my life I understood that
lovers could be so foolish as to entwine their
initials together. I felt like carving his name
on the bark of trees, that the birds seeing it
might twitter it from morn till eventide; that the
breeze might lisp it to the rustling leaves of
the forest. I wished to write it on the
shingle of the beach, that the ocean itself
might know of my love for him, and murmur
it everlastingly."
44 Still I had thought that on the morrow—
the intoxication passed—you would have shuddered at the thought of having a man for a
lover ? "
44 Why ? Had I committed a crime against
nature when my own nature found peace and
happiness thereby ? If I was thus, surely it was
the fault of my blood, not myself. Who had
planted nettles in my garden ? Not I. They had
grown there unawares, from my very childhood.
M «"*
I
^1
68
I began to feel their carnal stings long before
I could understand what conclusion they imported. When I had tried to bridle my lust,
was it my fault if the scale of reason was far too
light to balance that of sensuality ? Was I to
blame if I could not argue down my raging
motion ? Fate, Iago-like, had clearly shewed
me that if I would damn myself, I could do so in
a more delicate way than drowning. I yielded to
my destiny, and encompassed my joy.
44 Withal, I never said with Iago,—4 Virtue,
a fig!' No, virtue is the sweet flavour of the
peach : vice, the tiny droplet of prussic-acid—its
delicious savour. Life, without either, would be
sapidless."
44 Still, not having, like most of us, been
inured to sodomy from your school-days, I should
have thought that you would have been loath
to have yielded your body to another man's
pleasure."
44 Loath ? Ask the virgin if she regrets having
given up her maidenhood to the lover she dotes on,
and who fully returns her love ? She has lost a
treasure that all the wealth of Golconda cannot jm*
69
buy again; she is no longer what the world
calls a pure, spotless, immaculate lily, and not
having had the serpent's guile in her, society—
the lilies — will brand her with an infamous
name; profligates will leer at her, the pure
will turn away in scorn. Still, does the girl
regret having yielded her body for love — the
only thing worth living for ? No. Well, no
more did I. Let 4 clay-cold heads and lukewarm
hearts' scourge me with their wrath if they will.
44 On the morrow, when we met again, all
traces of fatigue had passed away. We rushed
into each other's arms and smothered ourselves
with kisses, for nothing is more an incentive to love
than a short separation. What is it that renders
married ties unbearable ? The too-great intimacy,
the sordid cares, the triviality of every-day life.
The young bride must love indeed if she feels no
disappointment when she sees her mate just
awakened from a fit of tough snoring, seedy,
unshaven, with braces and slippers, and hears him
clear his throat and spit:—for men actually spit,
even if they do not indulge in other rumbling
noises. m
7°
44 The husband, likewise, must love indeed,
not to feel an inward sinking when a few days
after the wedding he finds his bride's middle
parts tightly tied up in foul and bloody rags.
Why did not nature create us like birds—or
rather, like midges—to live but one summer
day—a  long   day of  love ?
44 On the night of this next day Teleny
surpassed himself at the piano; and when the
ladies had finished waving their tiny handkerchiefs, and throwing flowers at him, he
stole away from a host of congratulating
admirers, and came to meet me in my carriage,
waiting for him at the door of the theatre; then
we drove away to his house. I passed that
night with him, a night not of unbroken slumbers,
but of inebriating bliss.
44 As true notaries of the Grecian god, we
poured out seven copious libations to Priapus—for
seven is a mystic, cabalistic, propitious number—
and in the morning we tore ourselves from each
other's arms, vowing everlasting love and fidelity;
but, alas! what is there immutable in the ever-
changing world, except, perhaps, the sleep eternal
mE&m& 7i
in the eternal night."
44 And your mother ? "
44 She perceived that a great change had
been wrought in me. Now, far from being crabbed
and waspish, like an old maid that cannot find
rest anywhere, I was even-tempered and good-
humoured. She, however, attributed the change
to the tonics I was taking, little guessing the
real nature of these tonics. Later, she thought
I must have some kind of liaison or other, but
she did not interfere with my private affairs;.
she knew that the time for sowing my wild oats
had come, and she left me complete freedom of
action."
44 Well, you were a lucky fellow."
44 Yes, but perfect happiness cannot last
long. Hell 'gapes on the threshold of heaven, and
one step plunges us from ethereal light into
erebian darkness. So it has ever been with me
in this chequered life of mine. A fortnight after
that memorable night of unbearable anguish and
of thrilling delight, I awoke in the midst of
felicity to find myself in thorough wretchedness.
.44 One  morning,  as I  went in  to  breakfast,
m 72
r
I found on the table a note which the postman had brought the evening before. I never
received letters at home, having hardly any
correspondence, save a business one, which was
always transacted at the office. The handwriting
was unknown to me. It must be some tradesman,
thought I, leisurely buttering my bread. At last
I tore the envelope open. It was a card of two
fines without any address or signature."
"And ?"
44 Have you ever by accident placed your
hand on a strong galvanic battery, and got
through your fingers a shock that for a moment bereaves you of your very reason ? If so,
you can have but a faint impression of what
that bit of paper produced on my nerves. I was
stunned by it. Having read those few words
I saw nothing more, for the room began to spin
round me."
44 Well, but what was tjiere to terrify you in
such a way ? "
44 Only these few harsh, grating words that
have remained indelibly engraved on my mind.
44 4 If you do not give up your lover T . . . . ■■jmjw*
73
you shall branded as an encule'
44 This horrible, infamous, anonymous threat,
in all its crude harshness came so unexpectedly
that it was, as the Italians express it, like a
clap of thunder on a bright sunshiny day.
44 Little dreaming of its contents, I had
opened it carelessly in my mother's presence; but
hardly had I perused it than a state of utter
prostration came over me, so that I had not even
strength enough to hold up that tiny bit of
paper.
44 My hands were trembling like aspen
leaves—nay, my whole body was quivering; so
thoroughly was I cowed down with fear and
appalled with shame.
44 All the blood fled from my cheeks, my
lips were cold and clammy ; an icy perspiration
was on my brow; I felt myself growing pale, and
I knew that my cheeks must have been of an
ashen, livid hue.
44 Nevertheless, I tried to master my emotion.
I lifted up a spoonful of coffee to my mouth ;
but, ere it had reached my lips, I gagged,
and was ready to throw up.    The pitching and
j /* 74
tossing of a boat on the heaviest sea could not
have brought about such a state of sinking
sickness as that with which my body was then
convulsed. Nor could Macbeth, upon seeing
Banquo's murdered ghost, have been more terrified
than I was.
44 What was I to do ? To be proclaimed a
sodomite in the face of the world, or to give up
the man who was dearer to me than my life itself ?
No, death was preferable to either."
44 And still, you said just now that you
would have liked the whole world to know your
love for the pianist."
441 admit that I did, and I do not deny it;
but have you ever understood the contradictions
of the human heart ? "
44 Moreover, you did not consider sodomy a
crime ? "
44 No; had I done society any harm by it ?"
44 Then why were you so terrified ? "
44 Once a lady on her reception day asked
her little boy—a lisping child of three—where his
papa was ?
44 4 In his room,' said he. 75
44 4 What is he doing ?' quoth the imprudent
mother.
444 He is making proots,' replied the urchin,
innocently, in a high treble, loud enough to be
heard by everyone in the room.
44 Can you imagine the feelings of the mother,
or those of the wife, when, a few moments
afterwards, her husband came into the room ?
Well, the poor man told me that he almost
regarded himself as a branded man, when his
blushing wife told him of his child's indiscretion.
Still, had he committed a crime ?
44 Who is the man that, at least once in his
lifetime, has not felt a perfect satisfaction in
breaking wind, or, as the child onomatopoetically
expressed it, making a 4 proot ?' What was there,
then, to be ashamed of; that surely was no crime
against nature ?
44 The fact is that now-a-days we have got to
be so mealy-mouthed, so over-nice, that Madame
Eglantine, who 4 raught full semely after her
meat' would be looked upon, in spite of her
stately manners, as something worse than a
scullery-maid.      We   have   become   so demurely
m
*m 76
prim that every member of parliament will soon
have to provide himself with a certificate of
morality from the clergyman, or the Sabbath-
school teacher, before he is allowed to take
possession of his seat. At any cost, appearances
must be saved; for ranting editors are jealous
gods, and their wrath is implacable, for it pays
well, as good people like to know what naughty
folks do."
44 And who was the person who had written
those lines to you ? "
44 Who ? I cudgelled my brain, and it evoked
a number of spectres, all of which were as impalpable and as frightful as Milton's death; all
threatened to hurl at me a deadly dart. I even
fancied, for an instant, that it was Teleny, just to
see the extent of my love for him."
44 It was the Countess, was it not ?"
441 thought so, too. Teleny was not a man
to be loved by halves, and a woman madly in love
is capable of everything. Still, it seemed hardly
probable that a lady would use such a weapon;
and moreover, she was away. No, it was not, it
could not be, the  Countess.     But who was it ? jam*]
77
Everybody and nobody.
44 For a few days I was tortured so incessantly
that at times I felt as if I were growing mad. My
nervousness increased to such a pitch that I was
actually afraid to leave the house for fear of
meeting the writer of that loathsome note.
44 Like Cain, it seemed as if I carried my
crime written upon my brow. I saw a sneer upon
the face of every man that looked at me. A finger
was for ever pointing at me; a voice, loud enough
for all to hear, was whispering, 4 The sodomite!'
44 Going to my office, I heard a man walking
behind me. I went on quickly; he hastened his
step. I almost began to run. All at once a hand
was laid on my shoulder. I was about to faint with
terror. At that moment I almost expected to hear
the awful words,—4 In the name of the law I arrest
you, sodomite! '
44 The creaking of a door made me shiver; the
sight of a letter appalled me.
44 Was I conscience-stricken ? No, it was
simply fear—abject fear, not remorse. Moreover,
is not a sodomite liable to be condemned to perpetual imprisonment ?
\M iff
A
\\
■H
w I
|V\V ^MUte
78
44 You must think me a coward, but after all
even the bravest man can only face an open foe.
The thought that the occult hand of an unknown
enemy is always uplifted against you, and ready to
deal you a mortal blow, is unbearable. To-day you
are a man of a spotless reputation ; to-morrow, a
single word uttered against you in the street by
a hired ruffian, a paragraph in a ranting paper
by one of the modern bravi of the press, and your
fair name is blasted for evermore."
44 And your mother ? "
44 Her attention had been drawn elsewhere
when I opened my letter. She only remarked my
paleness a few moments afterwards. I therefore
told her that I was not feeling well, and seeing
me retching she believed me; in fact, she was
afraid I had caught some illness."
44 And Teleny—what did he say ? "
441 did not go to him that day, I only sent
him word that I would see him on the morrow.
44 What a night I passed ! First I kept up as
long as I could, for I dreaded going to bed. At
last, weary and worn out, I undressed and laid
down; but my bed seemed electrified, for all my
M 79
nerves began to twitch, and a feeling of creepiness
came over me.
441 felt distracted. I tossed about for some
time; then, frightened lest I should grow mad, I
got up, went stealthily to the dining-room and got
a bottle of cognac, and returned to my bedchamber. I drank down about half a tumbler,
and then went again to bed.
44 Unaccustomed to such strong drinks I went
off to sleep ;  but was it sleep ?
441 awoke in the middle of the night, dreaming that Catherine, our maid, had accused me of
having murdered her, and that I was about to be
tried.
441 got up, poured myself another glass of
spirits, and again found oblivion if not rest.
44 On the morrow I again sent word to Teleny
that I could not see him, although I longed to do
so; but the day after that, seeing that I did not
come to him as usual, he called upon me.
44 Surprised at the physical and moral change
which had come over me, he began to think that
some mutual friend had been slandering him, so to
reassure him, I—after much pressing and many 8o
questions—took out that loathsome letter which
I as much dreaded to touch as if it had been
a viper, and gave it to him.
44 Although more than myself inured to such
matters, his brow grew cloudy and thoughtful,
and he even went pale. Still, after pondering over
over it for a moment, he began to examine the
paper on which those horrible words were
written; then he lifted up both card and envelope
to his nose, and smelt them both. A merry
expression came all at once over his face.
41 have it—I have it—you need not be afraid!
They smell of attar of roses,' cried he; 4 I know
who it is.'
44 4 Who ? '
44 4 Why!  can't you guess ? '
44 4 The Countess ?'
44 Teleny frowned.
44 4 How is it you know about her ?'
441 told him all. When I had finished, he
clasped me in his arms and kissed me again and
again.
44 41 tried in every way to forget you, Camille,
you see  if  I   succeeded.    The  Countess is now
u 8i
miles away   and   we   shall   not   see each   other
again.'
44 As he said these words my eyes fell on
a very fine yellow diamond ring—a moonstone—
which he wore on his little finger.
44 4 That is a woman's ring,' said I, 4 she
gave it you ?'
44 He made no answer.
44 4 Will you wear this one in its stead ?'
44 The ring I gave him was an antique cameo
of exquisite workmanship, surrounded with brilliants, but its chief merit was that it represented
the head of Antinous.
44 4 But,' said he, 4 this is a priceless jewel;'
and he looked at it closer. Then taking my head
between his hands, and covering my face with
kisses,—4 Priceless indeed to me, for it looks
like you.'
441 burst out laughing.
44 4 Why do you laugh ? ' said he, astonished.
44 4 Because,' was my reply, 4 the features are
quite yours.'
44 4 Perhaps then,' quoth he, 4 we are alike in
looks as well as in tastes.    Who knows—you are,
6
1
jife* .*£§ 82
perhaps, my doppcl-ganger ? Then, woe to one
of us!'
44 4 Why ? j
44 4 In our country they say that a man must
never meet his alter ego, it brings misfortune to one
or to both;' and he shivered as he said this. Then,
with a smile, 41 am superstitious, you know.'
44 4 Anyhow,' added I, 4 should any misfortune
part us, let this ring, like that of the virgin queen,
be your messenger. Send it to me and I swear
that nothing shall keep me away from you.'
44 The ring was on his finger and he was in
my arms.    Our pledge was sealed with a kiss.
44 He then began to whisper words of love in
a low, sweet, hushed, and cadenced tone that
seemed like a distant echo of sounds heard in a
half-remembered ecstatic dream. They mounted
up to my brain like the bubbles of some effervescent, intoxicating love-philtre. I can even now
hear them ringing in my ear. Nay, as I remember
them again, I feel a shiver of sensuality creep all
over my body, and that insatiable desire he always
excited in me kindles my blood.
" He was sitting by my side, as close to me
6—2 83
El
as I am now to you; his shoulder was leaning
on my shoulder, exactly as yours is.
44 First he passed his hand on mine, but so
gently that I could hardly feel it; then slowly
his fingers began to lock themselves within mine,
just like this; for he seemed to delight in taking
possession of me inch by inch.
44 After that, one of his arms encircled my
waist, then he put the other round my neck, and
the tips of his fingers twiddled and fondled my
throat, thrilling me with delight.
44 As he did so, our cheeks slightly grazed
each other; and that touch—perhaps because it
was so imperceptible—vibrated through all my
body, giving all the nerves around the reins a not
unpleasant twinge. Our mouths were now in
close contact, and still he did not kiss me; his
lips were simply tantalizing mine, as if to make
me more keenly conscious of our nature's affinity.
44 The nervous state in which I had been these
last days rendered me ever so much the more
excitable. I therefore longed to feel that pleasure
which cools the blood and calms the brain, but he
seemed disposed to prolong my eagerness, and to
1 •
r.
i
84
make me reach that pitch of inebriating sensuality
that verges upon madness.
44 At last, when neither of us could bear our
excitement any longer, we tore off our clothes, and
then naked we rolled, the one on the other, like
two snakes, trying to feel as much of each other
as we could. To me it seemed that all the pores
of my skin were tiny mouths that pouted out to
kiss him.
444 Clasp me—grip me—hug me!—tighter—
tighter still!—that I may enjoy your body!'
44 My rod, as tough as a piece of iron, slipped
between his legs; and, feeling itself tweaked,
began to water, and a few tiny, viscid drops oozed
out.
44 Seeing the way in which I was tortured, he
at last took pity upon me. He bent down his
head upon my phallus, and began to kiss it.
| I, however, did not wish to taste this
delightful pleasure by halves, or to enjoy this
thrilling rapture alone. We therefore shifted our
position, and in a twinkling I had in my mouth
the thing at which he was tweaking so delightfully. -*fi"PyJ*|j\
85
" Soon that acrid milk, like the sap of the fig
tree or the euphorbia, which seems to flow from
the brain and the marrow, spouted out, and in
its stead a jet of caustic fire was coursing through
every vein and artery, and all my nerves were
vibrating as if set in motion by some strong
electric current.
44 Finally, when the very last drop of spermatic fluid had been sucked out, then the
paroxysm of pleasure which is the delirium of
sensuality began to abate, and I was left crushed
and annihilated; then a pleasant state of torpor
followed, and my eyes closed for a few seconds
in happy oblivion.
44 Having recovered my senses, my eyes again
fell on the repulsive, anonymous note; and I shuddered and nestled myself against Teleny as if for
protection, so loathsome was truth, even then,
to me.
44 4 But you have not told me yet who wrote
those horrible words.'
44 4 Who ? Why, the general's son, of
course.'
44 4 What! Briancourt ?'
IHV w
r
II
86
44 4 Who else can it be. No one except him
can have an inkling of our love; Briancourt,
I am sure, has been watching us. Besides,
look here,' added he, picking up the bit of
paper, 4 not wanting to write on paper with his
crest or initials, and probably not having any
other, he has written on a card deftly cut out
of a piece of drawing paper. Who else but a
painter could have done such a thing ? By
taking too many precautions, we sometimes compromise ourselves. Moreover, smell it. He is
so saturated with attar of roses that everything he touches is impregnated with it.'
44 4 Yes, you are right,' said I, musingly.
44 4 Over and above all this, it is just a
thing for him to do, not that he is bad at
heart '
44 4 You love him! ' said I, with a pang of
jealousy, grasping his arm.
44 4 No, I do not; but I am simply just
towards him ; besides you have known him from
his childhood, and you must admit that he is not
so bad, is he ?' |^
44 4 No, he is simply mad.' 87
44 4 Mad ? Well, perhaps a little more so
than other men,' said my friend, smiling.
"' What! you tfiink all men crazy ?'  *
44 41 only know one sane man—my shoemaker.
He is only mad once a week—on Monday, when
he gets jolly drunk.'
44 4 Well, don't let us talk of madness any
more. My father died mad, and I suppose that,
sooner or later '
44 4 You must know,' said Teleny, interrupting
me, 4 that Briancourt has been in love with you
for a long time.'
44 4 With me ? '
44 4 Yes, but he thinks you dislike him.'
44 41 never was remarkably fond of him.'
444 Now that I think it over, I believe that he
would like to have us both together, so that we
might form a kind of trinity of love and bliss.'
44 4 And you think he tried to bring it about
in that way.'
44 4 In love and in war, every stratagem is
good; and perhaps with him, as with the Jesuits,
"the end justifies the means." Anyhow, forget
this note completely, let it be like a mid-winter
II W6
^;>-
f:>
IjP
'     i
'm J 1
11
PPJP"
fKMP
nil
88
night's dream.'
44 Then, taking the obnoxious bit of paper, he
placed it on the glowing embers ; first it writhed
and crackled, then a sudden flame burst forth
and consumed it. An instant afterwards, it was
nothing but a little, black, crumpled thing, on
which tiny, fiery snakes were hastily chasing
and then swallowing each other as they met.
44 Then came a puff from the crackling logs,
and it mounted and disappeared up the chimney
like a little black devil.
44 Naked as we were on the low couch in
front of the fireplace, we clasped and hugged each
other fondly.
44 4 It seemed to threaten us before it disappeared, did it not ? I hope Briancourt will
never come between us.'
44 4 We'll defy him,' said my friend, smiling;
and taking hold of my phallus and of his own, he
brandled them both. 4 This,' said he,4 is the most
efficient exorcism in Italy against the evil eye.
Moreover he has doubtless forgotten both you and
me by this time — nay, even the very idea of
having written this note.' 89
44 4 Why ? '
"' Because he has found out a new lover.'
|' Who, the Spahi officer ? '
44 4 No, a young Arab. Anyhow we'll know
who it is by the subject of the picture he is
going to paint. Some time ago he was only
dreaming of a pendant to the three Graces,
which to him represented the mystic trinity of
tribadism.'
44 A few days afterwards we met Briancourt
in the green room of the Opera. When he saw
us, he looked away and tried to shun us.
I would have done the same.
44 4 No,' said Teleny, 4 let us go and speak
to him and have matters out. In such things
never shew the slightest fear. If you face the
enemy boldly, you have already half vanquished
him.' Then, going up to him and dragging me
with him, —4 Well,' said he, stretching out his
hand, 4 what has become of you ? It is some
days since we have seen each other.'
44 4 Of course,' replied he, 4 new friends make
us forget old ones.'
44 4 Like new pictures old ones.    By the bye,
IIL go
what sketch have you begun ? ■
444 Oh, something glorious!—a picture that
will make a mark, if any does.'
44 4 But what is it ? '
44 4 Jesus Christ.'
44 4 Jesus Christ ?'
44 4 Yes, since I knew Achmet, I have been
able to understand the Saviour. You would love
Him, too,' added he, 4 if you could see those dark,
mesmeric eyes, with their long and jetty fringe.'
44 4 Love whom," said Teleny, 4 Achmet or
Christ?'
44 4 Christ, of course!' quoth Briancourt,
shrugging his shoulders. 4 You would be able to
fathom the influence He must have had over the
crowd. My Syrian need not speak to you, he lifts
his eyes upon you and you grasp the meaning
of his thoughts. Christ, likewise, never wasted
His breath spouting cant to the multitude. He
wrote on the sand, and could thereby 44 look the
world to law." As I was saying, I shall paint
Achmet as the Saviour, and you,' added he to
Teleny, 4 as John, the disciple He loved; for the
Bible clearly says and continually repeats that He yW^if
91
loved this favourite disciple.'
444And how will you paint Him?'
44 4 Christ erect, clasping John, who hugs Him,
and who leans his head on his friend's bosom. Of
course there must be something lovably soft and
womanly in the disciple's look and attitude; he
must have your visionary violet eyes and your
voluptuous mouth. Crouched at their feet there will
be one of the many adulterous Marys, but Christ
and the other—as John modestly terms himself, as
if he were his Master's mistress—look down at
her with a dreamy, half-scornful, half-pitiful
expression.'
44 4 And will the people understand your
meaning ?'
44 4 Anybody who has any sense will. Besides,
to render my idea clearer, I'll paint a pendant to
it: 44 Socrates—the Greek Christ, with Alcibiades,
his favourite disciple." The woman will be
Xantippe.' Then turning to me, he added,
4 But you must promise to come and sit for
Alcibiades.'
44 4 Yes,' said Teleny, 4 but on one condition.'
44 4 Name it.' 92
Why did you write Camille that note ?'
" ' What note ? *
44 4 Come—no gammon!'
44 4 How did you know I wrote it ?'
44 4 Like Zadig, I saw the traces of the dog's
lit
I
444 Well, as you know it's me, I'll tell you
frankly, it was because I was jealous.'
44 4 Of whom ?'
44 4 Of you both. Yes, you may smile, but it's
true.'
44 Then turning towards me,—4 I've known
you since we both were but little more than
toddling babies, and I've never had that from you,'
— and he cracked his thumb-nail on his upper
teeth—4 whilst he,' pointing to Teleny, 4 comes,
sees, and conquers. Anyhow, it'll be for some
future time. Meanwhile, I bear you no grudge;
nor do you for that stupid threat of mine, I'm
sure.'
44 4 You don't know what miserable days and
sleepless nights you made me pass.'
" ' Did I ? I'm sorry; forgive me. You know
I'm mad—everyone says so,' he exclaimed, grasp- 93
ing both our hands; 4 and now that we are friends
you must come to my next symposium.'
44 4 When is it to be ? '  asked Teleny.
44 4 On Tuesday week.'
44 Then turning to me,—4 I'll introduce you
to a lot of pleasant fellows who'll be delighted to
make your acquaintance, and many of whom have
long been astonished that you are not one of us.'
44 The week passed quickly. Joy soon made
me forget the dreadful anxiety caused by Brian-
court's card.
44 A few days before the night fixed for the
feast,—4 How shall we dress for the symposium ? '
asked Teleny ?
44 4 How ?     Is it to be a masquerade ? '
44 4 We all have our little hobbies. Some men
like soldiers, others sailors ; some are fond of tightrope dancers, others of dandies. There are men
who, though in love with their own sex, only care
for them in women's clothes. L'habit ne fait pas
le moine is not always a truthful proverb, for you
see that even in birds the males display their
gayest plumage to captivate their mates.'
44' And what clothes should  you like me to .mh^
k     '   ■ •"   c
Vm.
if
m\
94
wear, for you are the only being I care to please ?'
said I.
"4 None.'
44 4 Oh ! but '
44 4 You'll feel shy, to be seen naked ?'
44 4 Of course.'
44 4 Well, then, a tight-fitting cycling suit; it
shews off the figure best.'
44 4 Very well;  and you ?'
" ' I'll always dress exactly as you do.'
44 On the evening in question we drove to the
painter's studio, the outside of which was, if not
quite dark, at least very dimly lighted. Teleny
tapped three times, and after a little while Brian-
court himself came to open.
44 Whatever faults the general's son had, his
manners were those of the French nobility, therefore perfect; his stately gait might even have
graced the court of the grand Monarque; his politeness was unrivalled—in fact, he possessed all
those 4 small, sweet courtesies of life,' which, as
Sterne says, 4 beget inclinations to love at first
sight.' He was about to usher us in, when
Teleny stopped him. 95
44 4 Wait a moment,' said he, 4 could not
Camille have a peep at your harem first ? You
know he is but a neophyte in the Priapean creed.
I am his first lover.'
44 4 Yes, I know,' interrupted Briancourt,
sighing, 4 and I cannot say sincerely, may you
long be the last.'
44 4 And not being inured to the sight of such
revelry he will be induced to run away like
Joseph from Mrs. Potiphar.'
44 4 Very well, do you mind giving yourself
the trouble to come this way ?'
44 And with these words he led us through a
. dimly-lighted passage, and up a winding staircase
into a kind of balcony made out of old Arab
moucharabie, brought to him by his father from
Tunis or Algiers.
44 4 From here you can see everything without
being seen, so ta-ta for a while, but not for long,
as supper will soon be served.'
44 As I stepped in this kind of loggia and
looked down into the room, I was, for a moment,
if not dazzled, at least perfectly bewildered. It
seemed as if from this every-day world of ours
§Hi!J
I. Ill
twill
I
m Mmm
11 /•
i,;
96
I had been transported into the magic realms of
fairy-land. A thousand lamps of varied form filled
the room with a strong yet hazy light. There
were wax tapers upheld by Japanese cranes, or
glowing in massive bronze or silver candlesticks,
the plunder of Spanish altars; star-shaped or
octagonal lamps from Moorish mosques or Eastern
synagogues; curiously-wrought iron cressets of
tortured and fantastic designs; chandeliers of
murous, iridiscent glass work reflected in Dutch
gilt, or Castel-Durante majolica sconces.
44 Though the room was very large, the walls
were all covered with pictures of the most lascivious nature; for the general's son, who was
very rich, painted mostly for his own delight.
Many were only half-finished sketches, for his
ardent yet fickle imagination could not dwell long
on the same subject, nor could his talent for
invention be long satisfied with the same way of
painting.
44 In some of his imitations of the libidinous
Pompeian encaustics he had tried to fathom the
secrets of a bygone art. Some pictures were
executed with the minute care and the  corrosive 97
paints of Leonardo da Vinci; whilst others looked
more like Greuze's pastels, or wrought in Wat-
teau's delicate hues. Some flesh tints had the
golden haze of the Venetian school, whilst ■"
44 Please finish this digression on Briancourt's
paintings, and tell me something of the more
realistic scene."
44 Well, on faded old damask couches, on
huge pillows made out of priests' stoles, worked
by devout fingers in silver and in gold, on soft
Persian and Syrian divans, on lion and panther
rugs, on mattresses covered over with electric
cats' skins, men, young and good-looking, almost
all naked, were lounging there by twos and
threes, grouped in attitudes of the most consummate lewdness such as the imagination can never
picture to itself, and such as are only seen in the
brothels of men in lecherous Spain, or in those
of the wanton East."
44 It must indeed have been a rare sight, seen
from the cage in which you were cooped; and I
suppose your cocks were crowing so lustily that
the naked fellows below must have been in great
danger of receiving a shower of your holy water,
7
ft:
I
M
tin 98
for you must have brandled each other's sprinklers
rapturously up there."
44 The frame was well worth the picture, for,
as I was saying before, the studio was a museum
of lewd art worthy of Sodom or of Babylon.
Paintings, statues, bronzes, plaster casts—either
masterpieces of Paphian art or of Priapean designs, emerged from amidst deep-tinted silks of
velvety softness, amidst sparkling crystals, gemlike enamel, golden china or opaline majolica,
varied with yataghans and Turkish sabres, with
hilts and scabbards of gold and silver filigree
mark, all studded with coral and turquoise, or
other more sparkling precious stones.
44 From huge Chinese bowls rose costly ferns,
dainty Indian palms, creeping plants and parasites,
with wicked-looking flowers from American forests,
and feathery grasses from the Nile in Sevres
vases; whilst from above, ever and anon, a
shower of full-blown red and pink roses came
pouring down, mingling their intoxicating scent
with that of the attar which ascended in white
cloudlets from censers and silver chafing-dishes.
"The perfume of that over-heated atmo-
7—2
lv 99
sphere, the sound of smothered sighs, the groans
of pleasure, the smack of eager kisses expressing
the never-satiated lust of youth, made my brain
reel, whilst my blood was parched by the sight of
those ever-changing lascivious attitudes, expressing the most maddening paroxysm of debauchery,
which tried to soothe itself or to invent a more
thrilling and intenser sensuality, or sickening
and fainting away under their excess of feeling,
whilst milky sperm and ruby drops of blood
dappled their naked thighs."
44 It must have been a rapturous sight."
44 Yes, but just then it seemed to me as if
I were in some rank jungle, where everything
that is-beautiful brings about instant death ; where
gorgeous, venomous snakes cluster together and
look like bunches of variegated flowers, where
sweet blossoms are ever dropping wells of fiery
poison.
44 Here, likewise, everything pleased the eye
and galled the blood; here the silvery streaks on
the dark-green satin, and there the argentine
tracery on the smooth, prasinous leaves of the
water-lilies  were  only  the  slimy trail—here   of
i
m
1
H /St55
n
IOO
man's creative power, there of some loathsome
reptile.
44 4 But look there,' said I to Teleny ; 4 there
are also women,'
44 4 No,' replied he, 4 women are never admitted
to our revels.'
44 4 But look at that couple there. See that
naked man with his hand under the skirts of
the girl clasped against him.'
44 4 Both are men.'
44 4 What! also that one with the reddish-
auburn hair and brilliant complexion ? Why, is
it not Viscount de Pontgrimaud's mistress ?'
44 4 Yes, the Venus d'llle, as she is generally
called; and the Viscount is down there in a corner,
but the Venus d'llle is a man !'
441 stared astonished. What I had taken for
a woman looked, indeed, like a beautiful bronze
figure, as smooth and polished as a Japanese cast
h cire perdue, with an enamelled Parisian cocotte's
head.
" Whatever the sex of this strange being
was, he or she had on a tight-fitting dress of a
changing   colour — gold in the   light, dark   green IOI
in the shade — silk gloves and stockings of the
same tint as the satin of the dress, fitting so
tightly on the rounded arms and most beautifully-
shaped legs that these limbs looked as even and
as hard as those of a bronze statue.
444 And that other one there, with black
ringlets, acwoche-cceurs, in a dark blue velvet tea-
gown, with bare arms and shoulders, is that lovely
woman a man, too ?'
44 4 Yes, he is an Italian and a Marquis, as
you can see by the crest on his fan. He belongs,
moreover, to one of the oldest families of Rome.
But look there. Briancourt has been repeatedly
making signs to us to go down.     Let us go.'
444No, no!' said I, clinging to Teleny; 4let
us rather go away.'
" Still, that sight had so heated my blood
that, like Lot's wife, I stood there, gloating upon
it.
14 I'll do whatever you like, but I think that
if we go away now you'll be sorry for it afterwards. Besides, what do you fear ? Am I not
with you ? No one can part us. We shall remain
all the evening together, for here it is not the same 102
as in the usual balls, where men bring their wives
in order that they may be clasped and hugged by
the first comer who likes to waltz with them.
Moreover, the sight of all those excesses will only
give a zest to our own pleasure.'
44 4 Well, let us go,' said I, rising; 4 but stop.
That man in a pearly-grey Eastern robe must be
the Syrian;  he has lovely almond-shaped eyes.'
44 4 Yes, that is Achmet effendi.'
444Whom is he talking with? Is it not
Briancourt's father?'
44 4 Yes, the general is sometimes a passive
guest at his son's little parties.   Come, shall we go ?'
44 4 One moment more. Do tell me who is
that man with eyes on fire ? He seems, indeed,
lust incarnate, and is evidently past-master in
lewdness. His face is familiar, and still I cannot
remember where I have seen him.'
"4 He is a young man who having spent his
fortune in the most unbridled debauchery without
any damage to his constitution, has enlisted in the
Spahis to see what new pleasures Algiers could
afford him. That man is indeed a volcano. But
here is Briancourt.'
ul
m >*prv
103
" 4 Well,' said he, 4 are you going to stay up
here in the dark all the evening?'
44 4 Camille is abashed,' said Teleny, smiling.
44 4 Then come in masked,' said the painter,
dragging us down, and giving us each a black
velvet half-mask before ushering us in.
44 The announcement that supper was waiting
in the next room had almost brought the revel
to a stand-still.
44 As we entered the studio, the sight of our
dark suits and masks seemed to throw a dampness
on everyone. We were, however, soon surrounded
by a number of young men who came to welcome
and to fondle us, some of whom were old acquaintances.
44 After a few questions Teleny was known,
and his mask was at once snatched off; but no
one for a long, time could make out who
I was. I, in the meanwhile, kept ogling the
middle parts of the naked men around me, the
thick and curly hair of which sometimes covered
the stomach and the thighs. Nay, that unusual
sight excited me in such a way that I could
hardly forbear  handling those tempting organs;
rfi
l y 11
HI
1
II
104
and had it not been for the love I bore Teleny,
I should have done something more than finger
them.
" One phallus, especially — that of the Viscount— caused my intense admiration. It was
of such a size that had a Roman lady possessed
it she would never have asked for an ass. In
fact, every whore was frightened at it; and it
was said that once, abroad, a woman had been
ripped up by it, for he had thrust his tremendous
instrument up into her womb, and slit the partition between the front and the back hole, so that
the poor wretch had died in consequence of the
wound received.
44 His lover, however, throve upon it, for he
was not only artificially but also naturally of
a most florid complexion. As this young man
saw that I seemed to doubt what sex he belonged
to, he pulled up the skirts he wore and shewed
me a dainty, pink-and-white penis, all surrounded
by a mass of dark golden hair.
44 Just when everybody was begging me to
take off my mask, and I. was about to comply,
Dr.  Charles—usually called Charlemagne—who
* ***** m
had been rubbing himself against me like an
over-heated cat, all at once clasped me in his
arms and kissed me lustily.
444 Well, Briancourt,' said he, 41 congratulate
you upon your new acquisition. Nobody's presence could have given me more pleasure than
Des Grieux's.'
44 Hardly had these words been uttered than
a nimble hand snatched off my mask.
44 Ten mouths at least were ready to kiss me,
a score of hands were fondling me ; but Brian-
court put himself between them and me.
44 4 For this evening,' said he, 4 Camille is like
a sugar-plum on a cake, something to be looked
at and not touched. Rene and he are on their
honey-moon yet, and this fete is given in their
honour, and in that of my new lover Achmet
effendi.' And, turning round, he introduced us to
the young man whom he was to pourtray as Jesus
Christ. 4And now,' said he, 4 let us go in to
supper.'
44 The room, or hall, into which we were led
was furnished something like a triclinium, with
beds or couches instead of chairs.
Hi io6
Li I
jS/tj
*w]
44 4 My friends,' said the general's son, 4 the
supper is a scanty one, the courses are neither
many nor abundant, the meal is rather to invigorate than to satiate. I hope, however, that the
generous wines and stimulating drinks will enable
us all to return to our pleasures with renewed
eagerness.'"
44 Still, I suppose it was a supper worthy of
Lucullus ?"
441 hardly remember it now. I only recollect
that it was the first time I tasted bouillabaisse, and
some sweet spiced rice made after the Indian
receipt, and that I found both delicious.
441 had Teleny on my couch beside me, and
Dr. Charles was my next neighbour. He was a
fine, tall, well-built, broad-shouldered man, with a
fair-flowing beard, for which-—as Well as for his
name and size—he had been nicknamed Charlemagne. I was surprised to see him wear round
his neck a fine Venetian gold chain, to which
was hanging—as I first thought—a locket, but
which, on closer examination, proved to be a gold
laurel wreath studded with brilliants. I asked
him if it were a talisman or a relic ? 107
44 He, thereupon, standing up,—4 My friends,
Des Grieux here—whose lover I fain would be—
asks me what this jewel is; and as most of you
have already put me the same question, I'll
satisfy you all now, and hold my peace for evermore about it.
44 4 This laurel wreath,' said he, holding it up
between his fingers, 4 is the reward of merit—or
rather, I should say, of chastity : it is my couronne
' de rosiere. Having finished my medical studies and
walked the hospitals, I found myself a doctor;
but what I could never find was a single patient
who would give me not twenty, but a single
franc piece for all the physic I administered him.
When, one day, Dr.  N n seeing my brawny
arms'—and in fact he had arms like a Hercules—
4 recommended me to an old lady, whose name I'll
not mention, for massage. In fact I went to this
old dame, whose name is not Potiphar, and
who, as I took off my coat and tucked up my
sleeves, cast a longing glance upon my muscles
and then seemed lost in meditation ; afterwards
I concluded that she was calculating the rule of
proportions.
i if
mm
1.   m
Ml
m
108
44 4 Dr. N n had told me that the weakness of the nerves in her lower limbs was from
the knees downwards. She, however, seemed to
think that it was from the knees upwards.
I was ingenuously puzzled, and—not to make a
mistake—I rubbed from the foot upwards; but
soon I remarked that the higher I went the more
softly she purred.
44 4 After about ten minutes,—" I am afraid
I am tiring you," said I; " perhaps it is enough
for the first time."
44 4 44 Oh," replied she, with the languishing
eyes of an old fish, " I could be rubbed by you
the whole day. I already feel such a benefit. You
have a man's hand for strength, a woman's for
softness. But you must be tired, poor fellow!
Now, what will you take — Madeira, or dry
sherry ? "
"' " Nothing, thank you."
44 4 " A glass of champagne and a biscuit ? "
"4 " No, thanks."
ii i u you must take something. Oh, I know 1
—a tiny glass of Alkermes from the Certosa of
Florence.    Yes, I think I'll   sip one with   you 109
myself. I already feel so much better for the
rubbing." And thereupon she pressed my hand
tenderly. " Will you have the kindness to
ring ?" .   !
44 41 did so. We both sipped a glass of
Alkermes, which a servant-man brought in soon
afterwards, and then I took my leave. She, however, only allowed me to go, after full assurance
that I'd not fail to call the following day.'
444 On the morrow I was there at the appointed hour. She first made me sit down by
the bedside, to rest awhile. She pressed my hand
and tenderly patted it — that hand, she said,
which had done her so much good, and which was
to operate marvellous cures ere long. " Only,
doctor," added she, simpering, " the pain has gone
higher up."
44 41 could hardly keep from smiling, and I
began to ask myself of what nature this pain
was.
44 41 set myself to rub. From the broad ankle
my hand went up to the knee, then higher, and
always higher, to her evident satisfaction. When
at last it had   reached   the top of  her   legs,— 44 There, there, doctor! you have hit it," she said,
in a soft, purring voice ; 44 how clever you are to
find the right spot. Rub gently all round there.
Yes, like that; neither higher up nor lower down
— a little more broadwise, perhaps — just a leetle
more in the middle, doctor! Oh, what good it
does me to be rubbed like that! I feel quite
another person; ever so much younger—quite
frisky, in fact. Rub, doctor, rub! " And she
rolled in the bed rapturously, after the fashion of
an old tabby.
44 4 Then, all at once,—" But I think you are
mesmerizing me, doctor ! Oh, what fine blue eyes
you have! I can see myself in your luminous
pupils as in a mirror." Thereupon, putting an arm
round my neck, she began to pull me down on her,
and to kiss me eagerly—or I ought rather to say, to
suck me with two thick lips that felt against mine
like huge horse-leeches.
44 4 Seeing that I could not go on with my
massage, and getting to understand at last what
kind of friction she required, I pushed aside the
tufts of coarse, crisp, and thick hair, I introduced
the tip of my finger between the bulgy lips, and Ill
tickled, rubbed, and chafed the full-sized and
frisky clitoris in such a way that I soon made it
piss copiously: that, however—far from soothing
and satisfying her—only titillated and excited her;
so that after this there was no escaping from her
clutches. ! She was, moreover, holding me by the
right sort of handle, and I could not afford—like
Joseph—to run away and leave it in her hand.
44 4 To calm her, therefore, nothing else was
left to me but to get on top of her and administer
another kind of massage, which I did with as good
a grace as I could, although, as you are all aware,
I never cared for women, and above all, for stale
ones. Still—for a woman and an old one—she
was not so bad, after all. Her lips were thick,
fleshy, and bulgy; the sphincter had not got
relaxed with age, the erectile tissue had lost none
of its muscular strength, her grip was powerful,
and the pleasure she gave was not to be despised.
I therefore poured two libations into her before I got
from over her, during which time she from purring
began to mew, and then actually to shriek like a
screech-owl, so great was the pleasure she was
deriving.
Ill M y
m   1
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112
44 4 Whether true or not, she said that she had
never felt such pleasure all her life. Anyhow,
the cure I effected was a wonderful one, for she
shortly afterwards quite recovered the use of her
legs.     Even N n was proud of me.     It is to
her and to my arms that I owe my position as a
masseur.'
44 4 Well, and that jewel ? ' said I.
44 4 Yes, I was quite forgetting it. The summer
came, so she had to leave town and go to a
watering-place, where I had no wish to follow
her; she consequently made me swear that I'd
not have a single woman during her absence.
I, of course, did so with an easy conscience and
a light heart.
44 4 When she came back, she made me take
my oath again, after which she unbuttoned my
trousers, dragged out Sir Priapus, and in due form
crowned him as a Rosiere,
44 41 may say, however, that he was not at
all stiff-necked and uppish; nay, he seemed so
overcome—perhaps he thought he did not deserve
this honour—that he bowed down his head quite
meekly.    I used to wear that jewel on my chain, H3
but everyone kept asking me what it was. I told
her of it, and she presented me with this chain
and made me wear it round my neck.'
44 The agape had come to an end, the spiced
aphrodisiac dishes, the strong drinks, the merry
conversation, stirred up again our sluggish lust.
Little by little the position on every couch
became more provoking, the jokes more obscene,
the songs more lascivious; the mirth was more
uproarious, the brains were all aglow, the
flesh was tingling with newly-awakened desire.
Almost every man was naked, every phallus was
stiff and stark; it seemed quite a pandemonium
of lewdness.
44 One of the guests shewed us how to
make a Priapean fountain, or the proper way of
sipping liqueurs. He got a young Ganymede to
pour a continuous thread of Chartreuse out of a
long-beaked silver ewer down on Briancourt's
chest. The liquid trickled down the stomach and
through the tiny curls of the jet-black, rose-scented
hair, all along the phallus, and into the mouth
of the man kneeling in front of him.    The three
I ii4
men were so handsome, the group so classic, that
a photograph was taken of it by lime-light.
44 4 It's very pretty," said the Spahi, " but
I think I can shew you something better still.'
44 4 And what is that ?' asked Briancourt.  1
44 4 The way they eat preserved dates stuffed
with pistachioes in Algiers; and as you happen to
have some on the table, we can try it.'
44 The old general chuckled, evidently enjoying
the fun.
44 The Spahi then made his bed-fellow go on
all fours, with his head down and his backside
up; then he slipped the dates into the hole of
the anus, where he nibbled them as his friend
pressed them out, after which he licked carefully
all the syrup that oozed out and trickled on the
buttocks.
44 Everybody applauded and the two men
evidently were excited, for their battering-rams
were jerking up their heads, and nodding significantly.
44 4 Wait, don't get up yet,' said the Spahi,
41 haven't yet quite finished ; let me just put the
fruit of the tree of knowledge into it.' There-
8—a
sM U5
upon he got on him, and taking his instrument
in his hand, he pressed it into the hole in which
the dates had been ; and slippery as the gap was,
it disappeared entirely after a thrust or two. The
officer then did not pull it out at all, but only
kept rubbing himself against the other man's
buttocks. Meanwhile the cock of the sodomized
man was so restless that it commenced beating
a tattoo against its owner's stomach.
44 4 Now for the passive pleasures that are left
for age and experience,' said the general. And he
began to teaze the glans with his tongue, to suck
it, and to twiddle the column with his fingers in
the deftest way.
44 The delight expressed by the sodomized man
seemed indescribable. He panted, he shivered, his
eyelids drooped, his lips were languid, the nerves of
his face twitched; he seemed, every moment, ready
to faint with too much feeling. Still he appeared to
be resisting the paroxysm with might and main,
knowing that the Spahi had acquired abroad the
art of remaining in action for any length of time.
Every now and then his head fell as if all his
strength was gone, but then he lifted it up again,
if r^l
I
iff   V &
i
116
and—opening his lips—4 Someone—in my mouth,'
said he.
44 The Italian Marquis, who had doffed his
gown, and who had nothing on but a diamond
necklace and a pair of black silk stockings, got
astride on two stools over the old general, and
went to satisfy riim.
44 At the sight of this tableau vivant of hellish
concupiscence, all our blood rose bubbling to our
heads. Everyone seemed eager to enjoy what
those four men were feeling. Every unhooded
phallus was not only full of blood, but as stiff as
I a rod of iron, and painful in its erection.    Every
one was writhing as if tormented by an inward
convulsion. I myself, not inured to such sights,
was groaning with pleasure, maddened by Teleny's
exciting kisses, and by the doctor, who was press-,
ing his lips on the soles of my feet.
44 Finally, by the lusty thrusts the Spahi was
now giving, by the eager way the general was
sucking and the Marquis was being sucked, we
understood that the last moment had come. It
was like an electric shock amongst us all.
44 4 They enjoy, they enjoy!'   was   the cry,
fZil M
117
uttered from every lip.
44 All the couples were cleaving together, kissing each other, rubbing their naked bodies the one
against the other, trying what new excess their
lechery could devise.
44 When at last the Spahi pulled his limp
organ out of his friend's posterior, the sodomized
man fell senseless on the couch, all covered with
perspiration, date syrup, sperm, and spittle.
44 4 Ah !' said the Spahi, quietly lighting a
cigarette, 4 what pleasures can be compared with
those of the Cities of the Plain ? The Arabs are
right. They are our masters in this art; for there,
if every man is not passive in his manhood, he is
always so in early youth and in old age, when he
cannot be active any longer. They—unlike ourselves—know by long practice how to prolong this
pleasure for an everlasting time. Their instruments are not huge, but they swell out to goodly
proportions. They are skilled in enhancing their
own pleasure by the satisfaction they afford to
others. They do not flood you with watery
sperm, they squirt on you a few thick drops that
burn you like fire.    How smooth and glossy their fiF^M
_ ^_
118
skin is ! What a lava is bubbling in their veins !
They are not men, they are lions ; and they roar
to lusty purpose.'
44 4 You   must   have   tried  a   good   many,   I
suppose
?'
44 4 Scores of them; I enlisted for that, and
I must say I did enjoy myself. Why, Viscount,
your implement would only tickle me agreeably,
if you could only keep it stiff long enough.'
44 Then pointing to a broad flask that stood
on the table,—4 Why, that bottle there could, I
think, be easily thrust in me, and only give me
pleasure/
44 4 Will you try ? ' said many voices.
| 4 Why not ? '
44 4 No, you had better not,' quoth Dr.
Charles, who had crept by my side.
44 4 Why, what is there to be afraid of ?'
44 4 It is a crime against nature,' said the
physician shilling.
44 4 In fact, it would be worse than buggery,
it would be bottlery,' quoth Briancourt.
44 For all answer the Spahi , threw himself
face   upwards   on   the   ledge   of the  couch, with
\Y ■mj^m^:
JI9
his bum uplifted towards us. Then two men
went and sat on either side, so that he might
rest his legs on their shoulders, after which he
took hold of his buttocks, which were as voluminous as those of a fat old harlot's, and opened
them with his two hands. As he did so, we not
only had a full view of the dark parting line, of
the brown halo and the hair, but also of the
thousand wrinkles, crests—or gill-like appendages
—and swellings all around the hole, and judging
by them and by the excessive dilatation of the
anus, and the laxity of the sphincter, we could
understand that what he had said was no boast.
44 4 Who will have the goodness to moisten
and lubricate the edges a little ?'
44 Many seemed anxious to give themselves
that pleasure, but it was allotted to one who
had modestly introduced himself as a maitre de
langues, 4 although with my proficiency'—he added
—41 might well call myself professor in the noble
art.' He was indeed a man who bore the weight
of a great name, not only of old lineage —
never sullied by any plebeian blood—but also
famous in war, statemanship, in literature and in
I ii I
Hi J
science. He went on his knees before that mass
of flesh, usually called an arse, pointed his tongue
like a lance-head, and darted it in the hole as
far as it could go, then, flattening it out like a
spatula, he began spreading the spittle all around
most dexterously.
44 4 Now,' said he, with the pride of an artist
who has just finished his work, 4 my task is done.'
44 Another person had taken the bottle, and
had rubbed it over with the grease of a pate de foie
gras, then he began to press it in. At first it did
not seem to be able to enter; but the Spahi,
stretching the edges with his fingers, and the
operator turning and manipulating the bottle, and
pressing it slowly and steadily, it at last began to
slide in.
44 4 Aie, aie ! ' said the Spahi, biting his lips ;
4 it is a tight fit, but it's in at last.'
44 4 Am I hurting you ? '
44 4 It did pain a little, but now it's all over;'
and he began to groan with pleasure.
44 All the wrinkles and swellings had disappeared, and the flesh of the edges was now
clasping the bottle tightly. 121
44 The Spahi's face expressed a mixture of
acute pain and intense lechery; all the rier,ves
of his body seemed stretched and quivering, as if
under jthe action of a strong battery; his eyes
were half closed, and the pupils had almost
disappeared, his clenched teeth were gnashed,
as the bottle was, every now and then, thrust
a little further in. His phallus, which had
been limp and lifeless when he had felt nothing
but pain, was again acquiring its full proportions;
then all the veins in it began to swell, the nerves
to stiffen themselves to their utmost.
44 4 Do you want to be kissed ?' asked someone, seeing how the rod was shaking.
44 4 Thanks,' said he, 41 feel enough as it is.'
44 4 What is it li^e ? '
44 4 A sharp and yet an agreeable irritation
from my bum up to my brain.'
44 In fact his whole body was convulsed, as
the bottle went slowly in and out, ripping and
almost quartering him. All at once the penis was
mightily shaken, then it became turgidly rigid,
the tiny lips opened themselves, a sparkling drop
of colourless liquid appeared on their edges.
fl
m
I
If
f /■/. ?
I IIh
M
;     >
\
r   i .£;'■. #5
f
Oft. 5
M
122
44 4 Quicker—further in—let me feel—let me
feel!'
Thereupon he began to cry, to laugh hysterically ; then to neigh like a stallion at the
sight of a mare. The phallus squirted out a few
drops of thick, white, viscid sperm.
44 4 Thrust it in—thrust it in!' he groaned,
with a dying voice.
44 The hand of the manipulator was convulsed.
He gave the bottle a strong shake.
44 We were all breathless with excitement,
seeing the intense pleasure the Spahi was feeling,
when all at once, amidst the perfect silence that
followed each of the soldier's groans, a slight
shivering sound was heard, which was at once
succeeded by a loud scream of pain and terror
from the prostrate man, of horror from the other.
The bottle had broken ; the handle and part of
it came out, cutting all the edges that pressed
against it, the other part remained engulfed
within the anus. CHAPTER  VIII
T
I ME passed-
44 Of course, time never stops, so it is
useless to say that it passed. Tell me, rather,
what became of the poor Spahi ? "
44 He died, poor fellow! At first there was
a general same qui peut from Briancourt's. Dr.
Charles sent for his instruments and extracted the
pieces of glass, and I was told that the poor young
man suffered the most excruciating pains like a
Stoic without uttering a cry or a groan; his
courage was indeed worthy of a better cause.
The operation finished, Dr. Charles told the
sufferer that he ought to be transported to the
hospital, for he was afraid that an inflammation
might take place in the pierced parts of the
intestines. !
124 '^S's
44 4 What!' said he ; 4 go to the hospital, and
expose myself to the sneers of all the nurses and
doctors—never !'
44 4 But,' said his friend, 4 should inflammation
set in '
44 4 It would be all up with me ?'
44 41 am afraid so.'
44 4 And is it likely that the inflammation
will take place ?'
44 4 Alas ! more than likely.'
44 4 And if it does ?'
44 Dr. Charles looked serious, but gave no
answer.
44 4 It might be fatal ?'
44 4Yes.'
44 4 Well, I'll think it over. Anyhow, I must
go home—that is, to my lodgings, to put some
things to rights.'
44 In fact, he was accompanied home, and
there he begged to be left alone for half an hour.
44 As soon as he was by himself, he locked
the door of the room, took a revolver and shot
himself. The cause of the suicide remained a
mystery to everybody except ourselves.
L 125
44 This and another case which happened
shortly afterwards, cast a dampness on us all,
and for some time put an end to Briancourt's
symposiums."
44 And what was this other case?"
44 One you have most likely read about, for
it was in all the papers at the time it occurred.
An elderly gentleman, whose name I have quite
forgotten, was silly enough to be caught in the
very act of sodomizing a soldier—a lusty young
recruit lately arrived from the country. The case
made a great ado, for the gentleman occupied a
foremost position in society, and was, moreover,
not only a person of unblemished reputation, but
a most religious man besides."
44 What! do you think it possible for a truly
religious man to be addicted to such a vice ? "
44 Of course it is. Vice renders us superstitious ; and what is superstition save an obsolete
and discarded form of worship. It is the sinner
and not the saint that needs a Saviour, an intercessor, and a priest; if you have nothing to atone
for, what is the use of religion to you ? Religion
is no bridle to a passion, which—though termed
i TIM
1
against nature—is so deeply engrafted in our
nature that reason can neither cool nor mask it.
The Jesuits are, therefore, the only real priests.
Far from damning you, like ranting Dissenters
do, they have at least a thousand palliations for
all the diseases which they cannot cure—a balm
for every heavy-laden conscience.
44 But to return to our story. When the
young soldier was asked by the judge how he
could thus degrade himself, and sully the uniform
he wore,—4 M. le Juge,' quoth he, ingenuously,
4 the gentleman was very kind to me. Moreover,
being a very influential person, he promised me
un avancement dans le corps' (an advancement in the
body) !
44 Time passed, and I lived happily witfrTeleny
—for who would not have been happy with him,
handsome, good, and clever as he was ? His playing now was so genial, so exuberant with lusty
life, so beaming with sensual happiness, that he
was daily becoming a greater favourite, and all
the ladies were more than ever in love with him;
but what did I care, was he not wholly mine ? "
44 What !   you were not jealous ? " -'■'*5tfsj#^;*
127
44 How could I be jealous, when he never
gave me the slightest cause. I had the key of his
house, and could go there at any moment of the
day or of the night. If he ever left town
I invariably accompanied him. No, I was sure of
his love, and therefore of his fidelity, as he
likewise had also perfect faith in me.
44 He had, however, one great defect—he was
an artist, and had an artist's lavishness in the
composition of his character. Although he now
gained enough to live comfortably, his concerts
did not yet afford him the means to live in the
princely way he did. I often lectured him on that
score; he invariably promised me not to throw
away his money, but, alas! there was in the web
of his nature some of the yarn of which my namesake's mistress—Manon Lescaut—was made.
44 Knowing that he had debts, and that he
was often worried with duns, I begged him
several times to give me his accounts, that I
might settle all his bills, and allow him to begin
life afresh. He would not have me even speak
of such a thing.
44 41 know myself,' he said, 4 better than yo R
£
II,
128
do; if I accept once, I'll do so again, and what
will be the upshot ? I'll end by being kept by
you.'
44 4 And where is the great harm ?' was my
reply.    4 Do you think I'd love you less for it ?'
44 4 Oh! no ; you perhaps might love me even
more on account of the money I cost you—for we
are often fond of a friend according to what we do
for him—but I might be induced to love you less;
gratitude is such an unbearable burden to human
nature. I am your lover, it is true, but do not
let me sink lower than that, Camille,' said he,
with a wistful eagerness.
44 4 See ! since I knew you, have I not^tried
to make ends meet ? Some day or other I might
even manage to pay off old debts; so do not
tempt me any more.'
44 Thereupon, taking me in his arms, he
covered me with kisses.
44 How handsome he was just then! I think
I can see him leaning on a dark-blue satin cushion,
with his arms under his head, as you are leaning
now, for you have many of his feline, graceful
ways.
fe 129
44 We had now become inseparable, for our
love seemed to wax stronger every day, and with
us 4 fire never drove out fire,' but, on the
contrary, it grew on what it fed ; so I lived far
more with him than at home.
44 My office did not take up much of my time,
and I only remained there just long enough to
attend to my business, and also to leave him
some moments to practise. The remainder of
the day we were together.
44 At the theatre we occupied the same box,
alone, or with my mother. Neither of us
accepted, as was soon known, any invitation
to whatsoever entertainment where the other
was not also a guest. At the public promenades
we either walked, rode or drove together. In fact,
had our union been blessed by the Church, it
could not have been a closer one. Let the moralist
after that explain to me the harm we did, or the
law-giver that would apply to us the penalty
inflicted to the worst of criminals, the wrong we
did to society.
44 Although we did not dress alike, still—
being   almost  of the   same   build,  of about the
9
i iW'iil'P'
W
same age, as well as of identical tastes—the
people, who saw us always arm-in-arm, ended by
not being able to think of the one apart from the
other.
44 Our friendship had almost become proverbial, and 4 No Rene without Camille' had
become a kind of by-word."
44 But you, that had been so terrorized by the
anonymous note, did you not fear that people
might begin to suspect the real nature of your
attachment ? "
44 That fear had quite passed away. Does the
shame of a divorce-court keep the adultress from
meeting her lover ? Do the impending terrors of
the law keep the thief from stealing ? My
conscience had been lulled by happiness into a
calm* repose; moreover, the knowledge I had
acquired at Briancourt's gatherings, that I was
not the only member of our cankered society
who loved in the Socratic fashion, and that men
of the highest intelligence, of the kindest heart,
and of the purest aesthetic feelings, were — like
myself — sodomists, quieted me. It is not the
pains of hell we dread, but rather the low society
9—2 131
we might meet there below.
44 The ladies now had, I believe, begun to
suspect that our excessive friendship was of too
loving a nature; and as I have heard since, we
had been nicknamed the angels of Sodom —
hinting, thereby, that these heavenly messengers
had not escaped their doom. But what did
I care if some tribades suspected us of sharing
their own frailties."
44 And your mother ? "
44 She was actually suspected of being Rene's
mistress. I was amused by it; the idea was so
very absurd."
44 But had she not any inkling of your love
for your friend ? "
44 You know the husband is always the last
to suspect his wife's infidelity. She was surprised
to see the change wrought in me. She even asked
me how it was that I had learnt to like the man
I had snubbed and treated with such disdain; and
then she added,—
44 4 You see you must never be prejudiced, and
judge people without knowing them.'
44 A circumstance, however, which happened ir*
a"
II
to?
$
M;
132
at that time forcibly diverted my mother's attention away from Teleny.
44 A young ballet-girl, whose attention I had
apparently attracted at a masked ball, either feeling a certain liking for me, or else thinking me an
easy prey, wrote a most loving epistle to me, and
invited me to call upon her.
44 Not knowing how to refuse the honour she
was conferring upon me, and at the same time
never liking to treat any woman scornfully, I sent
her a huge basket of flowers and a book explaining their meaning.
44 She understood that my love was bestowed
elsewhere; still, in return for my present, I
received a fine large photograph of her. I then
called on her to thank her, and thus we soon got
to be very good friends, but only friends and
nothing more.
44 As I had left the letter and the portrait in
my room, my mother, who certainly saw the one,
must likewise have seen the other, too. That is
why she never gave my liaison with the musician
a single thought.
44 In her conversation there were, every now
11 ^HHWlrj
133
and then, either slight innuendoes or broad hints
about the folly of men who ruin themselves for
the corps de ballet, or about the bad taste of those
who marry their own and other people's mistresses, but that was all.
44 She knew that I was my own master, therefore she did not meddle with my own private life,
but left me to do exactly what I liked. If I had
a faux menage somewhere or other, so much the
better or so much the worse for me. She was
glad that I had the good taste to respect les con-
venances, and not to make a public affair of it.
Only a man of forty-five who has made up his
mind not to marry can brave public opinion, and
keep a mistress ostentatiously.
44 Moreover, it has occurred to me that, as she
did not wish me to look too closely into the aim of
her frequent little journeys, she left me full liberty
to act at my own discretion."
44 She was still a young woman at that time,
was she not ? "
44 That entirely depends upon what you call
a young woman. She was about thirty-seven or
thirty-eight,  and  was   exceedingly young-looking
11 ri i
13?
for her age. She has always been spoken of as a
most beautiful and desirable woman.
44 She was very handsome. Tall, with splendid arms and shoulders, a well-poised and erect
head, you could not have helped remarking her
whithersoever she went. Her eyes were large and
of an invariable and impassable calmness that
nothing ever seemed to ruffle; her eyebrows,
which almost met, were level and thick; her
hair, dark, naturally wavy, and in massy clusters ;
her forehead, low and broad; her nose, straight
and small. All this combined to give something
classically grave* and statuesque to her whole
countenance.
44 Her mouth, however, was her best feature;
not only Was it perfect in its outline, but her
almost pouting lips were so cherry-like, sappy, and
luscious, that you longed to taste them. Such a
mouth must have played the deuce with the men
of strong desires who looked upon it—nay, it
must have acted like a love-philtre, awakening
the eager fire of lust even in the most sluggish
hearts. In fact, few were the trousers that did
not swell out in my mother's presence, notwith-
1 135
standing all their owner's efforts not to shew the
tattoo which was being beaten within them ; and
this, I should think, is the finest compliment that
can be paid to a woman's beauty, for it is a
natural not a maudlin one.
44 Her manners, however, had that repose, and
her gait that calmness, which not only stamp the
caste of Vere de Vere but which characterize an
Italian peasant and a French grande dame, though
never met with in the German aristocracy. She
seemed born to reign as a queen of drawing-rooms,
and therefore accepted as her due, and without
the slightest show of pleasure, not only all the
flattering articles of the fashionable papers, but
also the respectful homage of a host of distant
admirers, not one of whom would have dared to
attempt a flirtation with her. To everybody she
was like Juno, an irreproachable woman who might
have been either a volcano or an iceberg."
44 And may I ask what she was ? "
44 A lady who received and paid innumerable
visits, and who seemed always to preside everywhere—at the dinner-parties she gave, and also at
those she accepted,—therefore the paragon of a lady
1 Aw
It!
i i
*36
patroness. A shopkeeper once observed, 4 It is
a red-letter day when Madame Des Grieux stops
before our windows, for she not only attracts the
gentlemen's attention, but also that of the ladies,
who often buy what has caught her artistic
eye.'
44 She   had,  besides,  that  excellent  thing  in
woman :—
I Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle and low;'
for I think I could get accustomed to a plain-
featured wife, but not to one whose voice is
shrill, harsh, and piercing."
44 They say that you looked very much like
her."
44 Do they ? Anyhow, I hope that you do
not wish me to praise my mother like Lamartine
did, and then to add modestly, 4 I am after her
own image.'"
44 But how is it that having become a
widow so young, she did not marry again ?
Rich and handsome as she was, she must have
had as many suitors as Penelope herself."
44 Some day or other  I will tell you her life,
^^v i37
and then you will understand why she preferred
her liberty to the ties of matrimony."
44 She was fond of you, was she not ?"
44 Yes, very; and so was I of her. Moreover—had I not been given to those propensities
which I dared not avow to her, and which only
tribades can understand; had I, like other men of
my age, been living a merry life of fornication with
whores, mistresses, and lively grisettes — I should
often have made her the confidante of my erotic
exploits, for in the moment of bliss our prodigal
feelings are often blunted by the too great excess,
whilst the remembrance doled out at our will is
a real twofold pleasure of the senses and of the
mind.
44 Teleny, however, had of late become a kind
of bar between us, and I think she had got to be
rather jealous of him, for his name seemed to
have become as objectionable to her as it
formerly had been to me."
44 Did she begin to suspect your liaison P "
441 did not know whether  she suspected it,
or if   she was   beginning to  be   jealous   of  the
affection I bore him.
lltVV t
I
rA
138
44 Matters, however, were coming to a crisis,
and were shaping towards the dreadful way in
which they ended.
44 One day a grand concert was to be given
at , and L  who was to play having been
taken ill, Teleny was asked to take his place.
It was an honour he could not refuse.
44 41 am loath to leave you,' said he, 4 even
for a day or two, for I know that just now you
are so busy that you cannot possibly get away,
especially as your manager is ill.'
44 4 Yes,' said I, 4 it is rather awkward, still
I might '
44 4 No, no, it would be foolish ; I'll not allow
you.'
44 4 But you know it is so long since you
played at a concert where I was not present.'
44 You'll be present in mind if not in body.
I shall see you sitting in your usual place, and I
shall play for you and you alone. Besides, we
have never been parted for any length of time—
no, not for a single day since Briancourt's letter.
Let us try and see if we can live apart for two
days. Who knows ? Perhaps, some time or
other ' 139
44 4 What do you mean ?'
44 4 Nothing, only you might get tired of this
life. You might, like other men, marry just to
have a family.' |§^4
44 4 A family! ' I burst out laughing. 4 Is that
encumbrance so very necessary to a man's happiness ?'
44 4 My love might surfeit you.'
44 4 Rene, don't speak in that way ! Could
I live without you ?'
44 He smiled incredulously.
44 4 What!   do you doubt my love ? '
44 4 Can I doubt that the stars are fire ? but,'
continued he, slowly, and looking at me, 4 do you
doubt mine ? '
44 It seemed to me as if he had grown pale
when he put that question to me.
44 4 No. Have you ever given me the slightest
cause to doubt it ? '
44 4 And if I were unfaithful ?'
44 4 Teleny,' said I, feeling faint, 4 you have
another lover.' And I saw him in the arms of
someone else, tasting that bliss which was mine
and mine alone.
»MI 1 * *
ti\
140
44 4 No,' said he, 41 have not; but if I had ?'
44 4 You would love him—or her, and then my
life would be blasted for ever.'
44 4 No, not for ever ; only for a time, perhaps.
But could you not forgive me ? '
44 4 Yes, if you still loved me.'
44 The idea of losing him sent a sharp pang
through my heart, which seemed to act like a
sound flagellation, my eyes were filled with
tears, and my blood was on fire. I therefore
clasped him in my arms and hugged him,
straining all my muscles in my embrace; my lips
eagerly sought his, my tongue was in his mouth.
The more I kissed him the sadder I grew, and the
more eager was my desire. I stopped a moment
to look at him. How handsome he was that
day!    His beauty was almost ethereal.
441 can see him now with that aureole of
hair so soft and silky, the colour of a golden ray
of sunshine playing through a crystal goblet of
topaz-coloured wine, with his moist half-opened
mouth, Oriental in its voluptuousness, with his
blood-red lips which no illness had withered like
those   of  the   painted,   musk-scented   courtezans
M:
W I4I
who sell a few moments of carrion bliss for gold,
nor  discoloured like those of pale, wasp-waisted,
anaemic virgins, whose monthly menses  have left
in   their   veins   nothing    but   a   colourless   fluid
instead of ruby blood.
44 And  those   luminous   eyes,   in   which   an
innate,   sullen  fire  seemed  to  temper the lust of
the   carnal   mouth, just   as   his   cheeks,   almost
child-like   in   their   innocent,   peachy   roundness,
contrasted   with  the   massive   throat   so   full   of
manly vigour,—
' and a form indeed.
Where every god did seem to set his seal
To give the world assurance of a man.'
Let the listless, orris-scented aesthete in love with
a shadow, scourge me after this for the burning,
maddening passion which his virile beauty excited
in  my breast.    Well—yes, I am like the men of
fervent blood born on the volcanic soil. of Naples,
or under the glowing sun of the East ; and, after
all, I would rather be like Brunette Latun—a man
who loved his fellow-men,—than like Dante, who
sent them all to hell, whilst he  himself went to
that  effete   place   called  heaven,  with a  languid
vision of his own creation.
Mm
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Mr
142
44 Teleny returned me my kisses with the
passionate eagerness of despair. His lips were
on fire, his love seemed to have changed into a
raging fever. I don't know what had come over
me, but I felt that pleasure could kill, but not
calm me.    My head was all aglow !
44 There are two kinds of lascivious feelings,
both equally strong and overpowering: the one
is the fervent, carnal lust of the senses, enkindled
in the genital organs and mounting to the brain,
making human beings
• Swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel
Divinity within them breeding wings
Wherewith to scorn the earth.'
The other is the cold libidinousness of fancy, the
keen and gall-like irradiation of the brain which
parches the healthy blood.
44 The first, the strong concupiscence of lusty
youth—
'as with new wine intoxicated,'
natural to the flesh, is satisfied as soon as men
take largely
' their fill of love and love's disport,' |§f
and the heavily-laden anther has sturdily shaken
forth the seed that clogged it; and then they feel
as our first parents did, when dewy sleep
4 Oppressed them, wearied with their amorous play.'
The body .then so delightfully light seems to rest
on 4 earth's freshest, softest lap,' and the slothful
yet half-awakened mind broods over its slumbering shell.
44 The second, kindled in the head,
' bred of unkindly fumes,'
is the lechery of senility—a morbid craving, like
the hunger of surfeited gluttony. The senses,
like Messalina,
' lassata sed non satiata,'
ever tingling, keep hankering after the impossible. The spermatic ejaculations, far from
calming the body, only irritate it, for the
exciting influence of a salacious fancy continues
after the anther has yielded all its seed. Even if
acrid blood comes instead of the balmy, creamlike fluid, it brings with it nothing but a painful
irritation. If, unlike as in styriasis, an erection
does not take place, and the phallus remains limp
1 r
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144
and lifeless, still the nervous system is no less
convulsed by impotent desire and lechery — a
mirage of the over-heated brain, no less shattering because it is effete.
44 These two feelings combined together are
something akin to what I underwent as, holding
Teleny clasped against my throbbing, heaving
breast, I felt within me the contagion of his eager
longing and of his overpowering sadness.
441 had taken off my friend's shirt collar and
cravat to see and to feel his beautiful bare neck,
then little by little I stripped him of all his
clothes, till at last he remained naked in my
embrace.
44 What a model of voluptuous comeliness he
was, with hip^strong and muscular shoulders, his
broad and swelling chest, his skin of a pearly
whiteness, as soft and as fresh as the petals of
a waterlily, his limbs rounded like those of
Leotard, with whom every woman was in love.
His thighs, his legs and feet in their exquisite
grace, were perfect models.
" The more I looked upon him the more
enamoured I was of him.   But the sight was not J H5
enough. I had to heighten the visual delight by
the sense of touch, I had to feel the tough and
yet elastic muscles of the arm in the palm of my
hand, to fondle his massive and sinewy breast, to
paddle his back. From there my hands descended
down to /the round lobes of the rump, and
I clasped him against me by the buttocks.
Thereupon, tearing off my clothes, I pressed all
his body on mine, and rubbed myself against him,
wriggling like a worm. Lying over him as I was,
my tongue was in his mouth, searching for his,
that receded, and was darted out when mine
retired, for they seemed to play a wanton, bickering game of hide-and-seek together—a game which
ma4e all the body quiver with delight.
44 Then our fingers twisted the crisp and curly
hair that grew all around the middle parts, or
handled the testicles, so softly and so gently that
they were hardly sentient of the touch, and still
they shivered in a way that almost made the
fluid in them flow out before its time.
44 The most skilled of prostitutes could never
give such thrilling sensations as those which I felt
with my lover, for the tweake is, after all, only
io 146
I'M™
\w
acquainted with the pleasures she herself has felt;
whilst the keener emotions, not being those of her
sex, are unknown to and cannot be imagined by
her.
44 Likewise, no man is ever able to madden a
woman with such overpowering lust as another
tribade can, for she alone knows how to tickle
her on the right spot just in the nick of time.
The quintessence of bliss can, therefore, only be
enjoyed by beings of the same sex.
44 Our two bodies were now in as close a
contact as the glove is to the hand it sheathes,
our feet were tickling each other wantonly, our
knees were pressed together, the skin of our thighs
seemed to cleave and to form one flesh.
44 Though I was loath to rise, still, feeling
his stiff and swollen phallus throbbing against my
body, I was just going to tear myself off from him,
and to take his fluttering implement of pleasure in
my mouth and drain it, when he—feeling that
mine was now not only turgid, but moist and
brimful £gr overflowing—clasped me with his arms
and kept me down.
44 Opening his thighs, he thereupon took my
10—2 H7
legs between his own, and entwined them in such
a way that his heels pressed against the sides of
my calves.     For a moment I was gripped as in
a vice, and I could hardly move.
44 Then loosening his arms, he uplifted himself, placed a pillow under his buttocks, which
were tfnis well apart—his legs being all the time
widely open.
44 Having done this, he took hold of my rod
and pressed it against his gaping anus. The tip
of the frisky phallus soon found its entrance in
the hospitable hole that endeavoured to give it
admission. I pressed a little ; the whole of the
glans was engulfed. The sphincter soon gripped
it in such a way that it could not come out without
an effort. I thrust it slowly to prolong as much as
possible the ineffable sensation that ran through
every limb, to calm the quivering nerves, and to
allay the heat of the blood. Another push, and
half the phallus was in his body. I pulled it
out half an inch, though it seemed to me a yard
by the prolonged pleasure I felt. I pressed forward again, and the whole of it, down to its very
root, was all swallowed up.   Thus wedged, I vainly
I
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148
endeavoured to drive it higher up—an impossible
feat, and, clasped as I was, I felt it wriggling in
its sheath like a baby in its mother's womb,
giving myself and him an unutterable and
delightful titillation.
44 So keen was the bliss that overcame me,
that I asked myself if some ethereal, life-giving
fluid were not being poured on my head, and
trickling down slowly over my quivering flesh ?
44 Surely the rain-awakened flowers must be
conscious of such a sensation during a shower,
after they have been parched by the scorching
rays of an estival sun.
44 Teleny again put his arm round me and
held me tight. I gazed at myself within his eyes,
he saw himself in mine. During this voluptuous,
lambent feeling, we patted each other's bodies
softly, our lips cleaved together and my tongue
was again in his mouth. We remained in this
copulation almost without stirring, for I felt that
the slightest movement would provoke a copious
ejaculation, and this feeling was too exquisite to
be allowed to pass away so quickly. Still we
could not help writhing, and we almost swooned
W    I 1 149
away with delight. We were both shivering
with lust, from the roots of our hair to the tips of
our toes ; all the flesh of our bodies kept bickering
luxuriously, just as^ placid waters of the mere do
at noontide when kissed by the sweet-scented,
wanton breeze that has just deflowered the
virgin rose.
44 Such intensity of delight could not, however,
last very long; a few almost unwilling contractions of the sphincter brandle the phallus, and
then the first brunt was over ; I thrust in with
might and main, I wallowed on him ; my breath
came thickly; I panted, I sighed, I groaned. The
thick burning fluid was spouted out slowly and
at long intervals.
44 As I rubbed myself against him, he underwent all the sensations I was feeling ; for I was
hardly drained of the last drop before I was likewise bathed with his own seething sperm. We
did not kiss each other any further; our languid,
half-open, lifeless lips only aspired each other's
breath. Our sightless eyes saw each other, no
more, for we fell into that divine prostration
which follows shattering ecstacy. m
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150
44 Oblivion, however, did not follow, but we
remained in a benumbed state of torpor, speechless, forgetting everything except the love we bore
each other, unconscious of everything save the
pleasure of feeling each other's bodies, which, however, seemed to have lost their own individuality,
mingled and confounded as they were together.
Apparently we had but one head and one heart,
for they beat in such unison, and the same vague
thoughts flitted through both our brains.
44 Why did not Jehovah strike us dead that
moment ? Had we not provoked Him enough ?
How was it that the jealous God was not envious
of our bliss ? Why did He not hurl one of His
avenging thunderbolts at us, and annihilate
us ? "
44 What! and have pitched you both headlong
into hell ? "
44 Well, what then ? Hell, of course, is no
excelsior—no place of false aspirations after an
unreachable ideal of fallacious hopes and bitter
disappointments. Never pretending to be what
we are not, we shall find there true contentedness
of mind, and our bodies  will be able to develop i5i
those faculties  with which  nature   has   endowed
them.    Not being either hypocrites or dissemblers,
the dread of being seen such as we really are can
never torment us. ^
44 If we are grossly bad, we shall at least be
truthfully so. There will be amongst us that
honesty which here on earth exists only amongst
thieves ; and moreover, 'we shall have that genial
companionship of fellow-beings after our own
heart.
44 Is hell, then, such a place to be dreaded ?
Thus, even admitting of an after-life in the bottomless pit, which I do not, hell would only be the
paradise of those whom nature has created fit
for it. Do animals repine for not having been
created men ? No, I think not. Why should we,
then, make ourselves unhappy for not having been
born angels ?
44 At that moment it seemed as if we were
floating somewhere between heaven and earth, npt
thinking that everything that has a beginning
has likewise an end.
44 The senses were blunted, so that the downy
couch  upon which  we  were   resting was  like  a
iM 152
bed of clouds. A death-like silence was reigning around us. The very noise and hum of the
great city seemed to have stopped—or, at least,
we did not hear it. Could the world have
stopped in its rotation, and the hand of Time
have arrested itself in its dismal march ?
441 remernber languidly wishing that my life
could pass away in that placidly dull and dreamy
state, so like a mesmeric trance, when the benumbed body is thrown into a death-like torpor,
and the mind,
'Like an ember among fallen ashes,'
is just wakeful enough to feel the consciousness of
ease and of peaceful rest.
44 All at once we were roused from our
pleasant somnolence by the jarring sound of an
electric bell.
44 Teleny jumped up, hastened to wrap himself in a dressing-gown, and to attend to the
summons. A few moments afterwards he came
back with a telegram in his hand.
44 4 What is it ?'  I asked.
44 4 A message from ,' he replied, looking
m
v 153
at me wistfully, and with a certain trepidation in
his voice.
44 4 And you have to go ?'
44 41 suppose I must,' said he, with a mournful
sadness in his eyes.
44 4 Is it so distasteful to you ? '
44 4 Distasteful is not the word; it is unbearable.     This is the first parting, and '
44 4 Yes, but only for a day or two.'
44 4 A day or two,' added Jae, gloomily, 4 is the
space that divides life from death:—
"It is the little rift within the lute,
That by-and-by will make the music mute,
And ever widening slowly silence all.'"
44 4 Teleny, you have had for some days a
weight on your mind—something that I cannot
fathom. Will you not tell your friend what it
is?'
44 He opened his eyes widely, as if he were
looking into the depths of limitless space, whilst
a painful expression was seen upon his lips; and
then he added slowly,—
"J My  fate.     Have  you forgotten  the  pro-
| i Mm
154
phetic vision you had that evening of the charity
concert ?'
44 4 What! Adrian mourning over dead
Antinous ?'
44 4 Yes.'
44 4 A fancy bred in my over-heated brain by
the conflicting qualities of your Hungarian music,
so stirringly sensuous and at the same time so
gorgeously mournful.'
44 He shook his head sadly.
44 4 No, it was something more than idle
fancy.'
44 4 A change has been taking place in you,
Teleny. Perhaps it is the religious or spiritual
element of your nature that is predominating
just now over the sensual, but you are not what
you were.'
44 4 I feel that I have been too happy, but
that our happiness is built on sand—a bond like
ours '
44 4 Not blessed by the Church, repugnant to
the nice feelings of most men.'
44 4 Well—yes, in such a love there is always
\y '^^fVfMu\'
i55
I A little pitted speck in garnered fruit
That, rotting inward, slowly moulders all."
Why did we meet—or, rather, why was not one
of us born a woman ? Had you only been some
poor girl '
44 4 Come, leave aside your morbid fancies,
and tell me candidly if you would have loved me
more than you do.'
44 He looked at me sadly, but could not bring
himself to utter an untruth. Still, after awhile
he added, sighing:—
Egg There is a love that is to last,
When the hot days of youth are past."
Tell me, Camille, is such love ours ?'
44 4 Why not ? Can you not always be as fond
of me as I am of you, or do I only care for
you on account of the sensual pleasures you
afford me ? You know that my heart yearns for
you when the senses are satiated and the desire
is blunted.'
44 4 Still, had it not been for me, you might
have loved  some woman  whom you  could  have
married '
44 4 And have   found   out,  but  too  late,  that 156
I was born with other cravings. No, sooner or
later I should have followed my destiny.'
44 4 Now it might be quite different; satiated
with my love, you might, perhaps, marry and
forget me.'
44 4 Never. But come, have you been confessing yourself ? Are you going to turn Calvinist ?
or, like the 44 Dame aux Camellias," or Antinous,
do you think it necessary to sacrifice yourself on
the altar of love for my sake ?'
44 4 Please, don't joke.'
44 4 No, I'll tell you what we'll do. Let us
leave France. Let us go to Spain, to Southern
Italy—nay, let us leave Europe, and go to the
East, where I must surely have lived during some
former life, and which I have a hankering to see,
just as if the land
;Mi    I'j
m
"Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine,"
had been the home of my youth; there, unknown
to everyone, forgotten by the world.'
44 4 Yes, but can I leave this town ? ' said he,
musingly, more to himself than to me.
441   knew   that   of  late   Teleny   had   been fc**»
x57
dunned a good deal, and that  his life  had  often
been rendered unpleasant by usurers.
44 Caring, therefore, but little what people
might think of me—besides, who has not a good
opinion of the man that pays ?—I had called all
his creditors together, and, unknown to him, I
had settled all his debts. I was about to tell
him so, and relieve him from the weight that was
oppressing him, when Fate — blind, inexorable,
crushing Fate—sealed my mouth.
44 There was again a loud ring at the door.
Had that bell been rung a few seconds later, how
different his life and mine would have been ! But
it was Kismet, as the Turks say.
44 It was the carriage that had come to take
him to the station. Whilst he was getting ready,
I helped him to pack up his dress suit and some
other little things he might require. I took up,
by chance, a small match-box containing French
letters, and smiling, said,—
44 4 Here, I'll put them in your trunk; they
might be useful.'
44 He shuddered, and grew deathly pale.
44 4 Who   knows ?'   said   I;  4 some   beautiful n
.58
lady patroness——'
44 4 Please, don't joke,' he retorted, almost
angrily.
44 4 Oh ! now I can afford to do so, but once—
do you know that I was even jealous of my
mother ?'
44 Teleny at that moment dropped the mirror
he was holding, which, as it fell, was shivered to
pieces.
44 For a moment we both looked aghast.
Was it not a dreadful omen ?
44 Just then the clock on the mantelpiece
struck the hour.    Teleny shrugged his shoulders.
44 4 Come,' said he, 4 there is no time to lose.'
44 He snatched up his portmanteau, and we
hurried downstairs.
441 accompanied him to the terminus, and before
leaving him when he alighted from the carriage,
my arms were clasped round him, and our lips
met in a last and lingering kiss. They clung
fondly to one another, not with the fever of lust,
but with a love all fraught with tenderness, and
with a sorrow that gripped the muscles of the
heart. IP
44 His kiss was like the last emanation of a
withering flower, or like the sweet scent shed at
evening tide by one of those delicate white cactus
blossoms that open their petals at dawn, follow
the sun in its diurnal march, then droop and
fade away with the planet's last rays.
44 At parting from him I felt as if I had been
bereft of my soul itself. My love was like a
Nessus shirt, the severing of which was as painful
as having my flesh torn from me piecemeal. It
was as if the joy of my life had been snatched
away from me.
44 I watched him as he hurried away with
his springy step and feline grace. When he had
reached the portal he turned round. He was
deathly pale, and in his despair he looked like a
man about to commit suicide. He waved a last
farewell, and quickly disappeared.
44 The sun had set for me.    Night had come
over the worldr    I felt
* like a soul belated ;
In hell and heaven unmated;'
and,   shuddering,    I    asked   myself,   what   morn
would come out of all this darkness ?
m
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160
44 The agony visible on his face struck a deep
terror within me; then I thought how foolish we
both were in giving each other such unnecessary
pain, and I rushed out of the carriage after him.
44 All at once a heavy country lout ran up
against me, and clasped me in his arms.
44 4 Oh, !' I did  not  catch  the name  he
said—4 what an unexpected pleasure ! How long
have you been here ?'
44 4 Let me go — let me go ! You are mistaken !'   I screamed out, but he held me fast.
44 As I wrestled with the man, I heard the
signal bell ring. With a strong jerk I pushed
him away, and ran into the station. I reached
the platform a few seconds too late, the train
was in motion, Teleny had disappeared.
44 Nothing was then left for me to do but
to post a letter to this friend of mine, begging him
to forgive me for having done what he had often
forbidden me to do; that is, to have given an
order to my attorney to collect all his outstanding
accounts, and pay all those debts that had
so long been weighing upon him. That letter,
however, he never got.
&4
&l i6i
441 jumped back into the cab, and was
whirled away to my office through the crowded
thoroughfares of the town.
44 What a jarring bustle there was everywhere ! How sordid and meaningless this world
appeared!
44 A garishly-dressed, smirking female was
casting lewd glances at a lad, and tempting him
to follow her. A one-eyed satyr was ogling a
very young girl—a mere child. I thought I knew
him. Yes, it was that loathsome school-fellow
of mine, Bion, only he looked even more of
a pimp than his father used to look. A fat,
sleek-headed man was carrying a cantaloup melon,
and his mouth seemed to be watering at the
prospect of the pleasure he would have in eating
it after the soup, with his wife and children.
I asked myself if ever man or woman could have
kissed that slobbering mouth without feeling
sick ?
441 had during these last three days quite
neglected my office, and my manager was ill.
I therefore felt it a duty to set to work and do
what had to be done.    Notwithstanding the sorrow '-T     -
1
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162
gnawing in my heart, I began answering letters
and telegrams, or giving the necessary directions
as to how they were to be answered. I worked
feverishly, rather like a machine than a man.
For a few hours I was quite absorbed in complicated commercial transactions, and although
I worked and reckoned clearly, still my friend's
face, with his mournful eyes, his voluptuous
mouth with its bitter smile, was ever before me,
whilst an after-taste of his kiss still lingered on
my lips.
44 The hour for shutting up the office came,
and yet not half of my task was done. I saw, as
in a dream, the rueful faces of my clerks kept back
from their dinners or from their pleasures. They
had all somewhere to go to. I was alone, even
my mother was away. I therefore bade them go,
saying I should remain with the head book-keeper.
They did not wait to be told twice ; in a twinkling
the offices were empty.
44 As for the accountant, he was a commercial
fossil, a kind of living calculating machine ; grown
so old in the office that all his limbs creaked like
rusty hinges  every  time  he  moved,  so  that  he
11—2
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r.s*m
163
hardly ever did move. Nobody had ever seen
him anywhere else but on his high stool; he was
always at his place before any of the junior clerks
came in, he was still there when they went. off.
Life for him had only one aim—that of making
endless additions.
44 Feeling rather sick, I sent the office boy for
a bottle of dry sherry and a box of vanilla-wafers.
When the lad returned I told him he  could go.
44 I poured out a glass of wine for the bookkeeper, and handed him the box of biscuits.
The old man took up the glass with his parchment-coloured hand, and held it up to the light
as if he were calculating its chemical properties
or its specific weight. Then he sipped it slowly
with evident gusto.
44 As for the wafer he looked at it carefully,
just as if it had been a draft he was going to
register.
44 Then we both set to work again, and at
about ten, all the letters and dispatches having
been answered, I heaved a deep sigh of relief.
44 4 If my manager comes to-morrow, as he
said he would, he'll be satisfied with me.'
WJ
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34C4IUP 164
441 smiled as this thought flitted through my
brain. What was I working for ? Lucre, to
please my clerk, or for the work itself? I am
sure I hardly knew. I think I laboured for the
feverish excitement the work gave me, just as
men play at chess to keep their brains active
with other thoughts than those that oppress
them; or, perhaps, because I was born with
working propensities like bees or ants.
44 Not wanting to keep the poor book-keeper
on his stool any longer, I admitted the fact to him
that it was time to shut up the office. He got up
slowly, with a crepitating sound, took off his spectacles like an automaton, wiped them leisurely, put
them in their case, quietly took out another pair—
for he had glasses for every occasion—put them
on his nose, then looked at me.
44 4 You have gone through a vast amount of
work. If your grandfather and your father could
have seen you, they surely would have been
pleased with you.'
441 again poured out two glasses of wine,
one of which I handed to him. He quaffed the
wine, pleased, not with the wine itself,  but for
Ikg^L
mm i65
my kindness in offering it to him.    Then I shook
hands with him, and we parted.
44 Where was I to go now—home ?
441 wished my mother had come back. I had
got a letter from her that very afternoon; in it
she said that, instead of returning in a day or two,
as she had intended doing, she might, perhaps,
go off to Italy for a short time. She was suffering
from a slight attack of bronchitis, and she dreaded
the fogs and dampness of our town.
44 Poor mother ! I now thought that, since
my intimacy with Teleny, there had been a slight
estrangement between us; not that I loved her
less, but because Teleny engrossed all my mental
and bodily faculties. Still, just now that he was
away, I almost felt mother-sick, and I decided to
write a long and affectionate letter to her as soon
as I got home.
44 Meanwhile I walked on at hap-hazard.
After wandering about for an hour, I found myself
unexpectedly before Teleny's house. I had
wended my steps thitherwards, without knowing
where I went. I looked up at Teleny's windows
with longing   eyes.     How   I  loved  that   house. 166
IW
ifl,]t::
I could have kissed the very stones on which
he had stepped.
44 The night was dark but clear, the street—
a very quiet one—was not of the best lighted, and
for some reason or other the nearest gas-lamp
had gone out.
44 As I kept staring up at the windows, it
seemed as if I saw a faint light glimmering
through the crevices of the shut-np blinds. 4Of
course,' thought I, 4it is only my imagination.'
441 strained my eyes. 4 No, surely, I am not
mistaken,' said I, audibly to myself, 4 surely there
is a light.'
44 4 Had Teleny come back ?'
44 Perhaps he had been seized with the same
state of dejection which had come over me when
we parted. The anguish visible on my ghastly
face must have paralyzed him, and in the state
in which he was he could not play, so he had
come back. Perhaps, also, the concert had been
postponed.
44 Perhaps it was thieves ?
44 But if Teleny ?
44 No,   the   very   idea   was    absurd.      How
v
t .OStil.
167
could I suspect the man I loved of infidelity.
I shrank from such a supposition as from something heinous—from a kind of moral pollution.
No, it must be anything else but that. The key
of the door downstairs was in my hand, I was
already in the house.
441 crept stealthily upstairs, in the dark,
thinking of the first night I had accompanied my
friend there, thinking how we had stopped to kiss
and hug each other at every step.
44 But now, without my friend, the darkness
was weighing upon me, overpowering, crushing
me. I was at last on the landing of the entresol
where my friend lived; the whole house was
perfectly quiet.
44 Before putting in the key, I looked through
the hole. Had Teleny, or his servant, left the
gas lighted in the antechamber and in one
of the rooms ?
44 Then the remembrance of the broken mirror
came into my mind; all kinds of horrible thoughts
flitted through my brain. Then, again, in spite
of myself, the awful apprehension of having been 168
supplanted in Teleny's affection by someone
else forced itself upon me.
44 4 No, it was too ridiculous. Who could this
rival be ?'
44 Like a thief I introduced the key in the
lock; the hinges were well oiled, the door yielded
noiselessly, and opened. I shut it carefully, without its emitting the slightest sound. I stole in on
tiptoe.
44 There were thick carpets everywhere that
muffled my steps. I went to the room where, a
few hours before, I had known such rapturous
bliss.
44 It was lighted.
44 I heard stifled sounds within.
441 knew but too well what those sounds
meant. For the first time I felt the shattering
pangs of jealousy. It seemed as if a poisoned
dagger had all at once been thrust into my heart;
as if an enormous hydra had caught my body
between its jaws, and had driven its huge fangs
through the flesh of my chest.
44 Why had I come here ? What was I to
do now ?    Where was I to go ? 169
44 I felt as if I were collapsing.
44 My hand was already on the door, but
before opening it I did what I suppose most
people would have done. Trembling from head
to foot, sick at heart, I bent down and looked
through the key-hole.
44 Was I dreaming — was this a dreadful
nightmare ?
441 stuck my nails deep into my flesh to
convince myself of my self-consciousness.
44 And yet I could not feel sure that I was
alive and awake.
44 Life at times loses its sense of reality ; it
appears to us like a weird, optical illusion—a
phantasmagoric bubble that will disappear at the
slightest breath.
441 held my breath, and looked.
44 This was, then, no illusion—no vision of
my over-heated fancy. Hfl|
44 There, on that chair—warm yet with our
embraces—two beings were seated.
44 But who were they ?
44 Perhaps Teleny had ceded his apartment
to some friend for that night.     Perhaps he had II
170
forgotten to mention the fact to me, or else he
had not thought it necessary to do so.
44 Yes, surely, it must be so. Teleny could
not deceive me.
441 looked again. The light within the room
being much brighter than that of the hall, I was
able to perceive everything clearly.
44 A man whose form I could not see was
seated on that chair contrived by Teleny's ingenious mind to enhance sensual bliss. A woman
with dark, dishevelled hair, robed in a white satin
gown, was sitting astride upon him. Her back
was thus turned to the door.
441 strained my eyes to catch every detail,
and I saw that she was not really seated but
standing on tiptoe, so that, though rather stout,
she skipped lightly upon the man's knees.
44 Though 1 could not see, I understood that
every time she fell she received within her hole
the good-sized pivot on which she seemed so
tightly wedged. Moreover, that the pleasure she
received thereby was so thrilling that it caused
her to rebound like an elastic ball, but only to fall
again, and thus engulf within her pulpy, spongy,
-
\ £Sfc7.
171
well-moistened lips, the whole of that quivering
rod of pleasure down to its hairy root. Whoever
she was—grand lady or whore—she was no tyro,
but a woman of great experience, to be able to
ride that Cytherean; race with such consummate
skill.
44 As I gazed on, I saw that her enjoyment
kept getting stronger and ever stronger: it was
reaching its paroxysm. From an amble she had
gone on quietly to a trot, then to a canter; then,
as she rode along, she clasped, with ever-
increasing passion, the head of the man on whose
knees she was astride. It was clear that the contact of her lover's lips, and the swelling and
wriggling of his tool within her, thrilled her to
an   erotic   rage,   so   she   went   off  in   a   gallop,
thus—
4 Leaping higher, higher, higher,
I With a desperate desire'
to reach the delightful aim of her journey.
44 In the meanwhile, the male, whoever he was,
after having passed his hands on the massy lobes
of her hind-parts, began to pat and press and
knead her breasts, adding thus to her pleasure a
m!   !J V
172
thousand little caresses which almost maddened
her.
441 remember now a most curious fact, shewing the way in which our brains work, and how
our mind is attracted by slight extraneous objects,
even when engrossed by the saddest thoughts.
I remember feeling a certain artistic pleasure at
the ever-changing effect of light and shadow
thrown in different parts of the lady's rich satin
gown, as it kept shimmering under the rays of the
lamp hanging overhead. I recollect admiring its
pearly, silky, metallic tints, now glistening, then
glimmering, or fading into a dull lustre.
44 Just then, however, the train of her gown
had got entangled somewhere round the leg of the
chair, so, as this incident impeded her rhythmical
and ever quicker movements, enclasping her lover's
neck, she managed deftly to cast off her gown,
and thus remained stark naked in the man's
embrace.
44 What a splendid body she had! Juno's
in all its majesty could not have been more perfect. I had, however, hardly time to admire her
luxuriant   beauty,  her   grace,   her   strength,  the 173
splendid symmetry of her outlines, her agility,
or her skill, for the race was now reaching its
end.
44 They were both trembling under the spell
of that rapturous titillation which just precedes
the overflowing of the spermatic ducts. Evidently
the tip of the man's tool was being sucked by the
mouth of the vagina, a contraction of all the
nerves had ensued ; the sheath in which the whole
column was enclosed had tightened, and both
their bodies were writhing convulsively.
44 Surely after such overpowering spasms, prolapsus and inflammation of the womb must ensue,
but then what rapture she must give.
44 Then I heard mingled sighs and panting,
low cooings, gurgling sounds of lust, dying in
stifled kisses given by lips that still cleaved languidly to each other; then, as they quivered with
the last pangs of pleasure, I quivered in agony,
for I was almost sure that that man must be my
lover.
44 4 But who can that hateful woman be ? '
I asked myself.
44 Still the  sight  of those two naked  bodies
m
'
I mm
I
1
I *W3
K '
174
clasped in such a thrilling embrace, those two
massy lobes of flesh, as white as newly-fallen
snow; the smothered sound of their ecstatic bliss,
overcame for a moment my excruciating jealousy,
and I got to be excited to such an ungovernable
pitch that I could hardly forbear from rushing into
that room. My fluttering bird—my nightingale,
as they call it in Italy—like Sterne's starling—was
trying to escape from its cage; and not only that,
but it also lifted up its head in such a way that it
seemed to wish to reach the key-hole.
44 My fingers were already on the handle of the
door. Why should I not burst it and have my
share in the feast, though in a humbler way, and
like a beggar go in by the back entrance ?
44 Why not, indeed !
44 Just then, the lady whose arms were still
tightly clasped round the man's neck, said,—
44 4 Bon Dieu! how good it is! I have not
felt such intensity of rapture for a long time.'
44 For an instant I was stunned. My fingers
relinquished the handle of the door, my arm fell,
even my bird drooped down lifeless.
44 What a voice ! 175
44 4 But I know that voice,' I said to myself.
4 Its sound is most familar to me. Only the blood
which is reaching up to my head and tingling in
my ears prevents me from understanding whose
voice it is.'
44 Whilst in my amazement I had lifted up
my head, she had got up and turned round.
Standing as she was now, and nearer the door,
my eyes could not reach her face, still I could see
her naked body—from the shoulders downwards.
It was a marvellous figure, the finest one I had
ever seen. A woman's torso in the height of its
beauty.
44 Her skin was of a dazzling whiteness, and
could vie in smoothness as well as in pearly lustre
with the satin of the gown she had cast off.
Her breasts — perhaps a. little too big to be
aesthetically beautiful—seemed to belong to one
of those voluptuous Venetian courtezans painted
by Titian; they stood out plump and hard as if
swollen with milk; the protruding nipples, like
two dainty pink buds, were surrounded by a
brownish halo which looked like the silky fringe
of the passion flower. *&*
176
44 The powerful line of the hips shewed to
advantage the beauty of the legs. Her stomach—
so perfectly round and smooth—was half covered
with a magnificent fur, as black and as glossy as
a beaver's, and yet I could see that she had been
a mother, for it was moire like watered silk.
From the yawning, humid lips pearly drops were
slowly trickling down.
44 Though not exactly in early youth, she
was no less desirable for all that. Her beauty
had all the gorgeousness of the full-blown rose,
and the pleasure she evidently could give was
that of the incarnadined flower in its fragrant
bloom; that bliss which makes the bee which
sucks its honey swoon in its bosom with delight.
That aphrodisiacal body, as I could see, was
made for, and surely had afforded pleasure to,
more than one man, inasmuch as she had
evidently been formed by nature to be one of
Venus' Votaresses.
44 After thus exhibiting her wonderful beauty
to my dazed eyes, she stepped aside and I could
see the partner of her dalliance. Though his
face was covered with his hands, it was Teleny. 177
There was no mistake about it.
44 First his god-like figure, then his phallus,
which I knew so well, then—I almost fainted as
my eyes fell upon it—on his fingers glittered the
ring I had given him.
44 She spoke again.
44 He drew his hands from off his face.
44 It was he ! It was Teleny—my friend—
my lover—my life !
44 How can I describe what I felt ? It seemed
to me as if I was breathing fire; as if a rain of
glowing ashes was being poured down upon me.
44 The door was locked. I caught its handle,
and shook it as a mighty whirlwind shakes the
sails of some large frigate, and then tears them
to shreds.    I burst it open.
44 I staggered on the sill. The floor seemed
to be giving way under my feet; everything was
spinning around me; I was in the very midst of
a mighty whirlpool. I caught myself by the doorposts not to fall, for there, to my inexpressible
horror, I found myself face to face with—my own
mother!
44 There   was  a threefold   cry of  shame,  of
12
M
igm^mgrnmnimm fefljr
i78
terror, of despair—a piercing, shrill cry that rang
through the still night air, awakening all the
inmates of that quiet house from their peaceful
slumbers."
44 And you—what did you do ? "
44 What did I do ? I really don't know.
I must have said something—I must have done
something, but I have not the slightest recollection of what it was. Then I stumbled downstairs
in the dark. It was like going down, down into
a deep well. I only remember running through
the gloomy streets — running like a madman,
whither I knew not.
441 felt cursed like Cain, or like the Eternal
Wanderer, so I ran on at random.
441 had fled from them, would that I had
been able to flee from myself likewise.
44 All at once, at the corner of the street, I
ran against someone. We both recoiled from each
other. I, aghast and terror-stricken; he, simply
astonished."
44 And whom did you meet ?"
44 My own image. A man exactly like
myself—my Doppelgdnger, in fact.    He stared at me
I2-*-2 179
for an instant, and then passed on. I, instead,
ran with whatever strength was left in me.
44 My head was reeling, my strength was
breaking down, I stumbled several times, still
I ran on.
44 Was I mad?
44 All at once, panting, breathless, bruised in
body and in mind, I found myself standing on
the bridge—nay, on the very same spot on which
I had stood some months before.
44 I uttered a harsh, jarring laugh that
frightened me. So it had come to this, after
all.
44 I cast a hurried glance around me. A dark
shadow loomed in the distance. Was it my other
self?
44 Trembling, shuddering, maddened, without
a moment's thought, I climbed on the parapet
and plunged head foremost into the foaming
flood beneath.
441 was again in the very midst of a
whirlpool, I heard the noise of rushing waters in
my ears; darkness was pressing closely round
me, a world of thoughts flitted through my brain --y
180
with astonishing rapidity, and then, for some time,
nothing more.
44 Only I vaguely remember opening my
eyes, and seeing as in a looking-glass my own
ghastly face staring at me.
44 A blank came over me again. When at
last I recovered my senses I found myself in the
Morgue—that dreadful charnel-house, the Morgue !
They had believed me dead, and had carried me
thither.
441 looked around me, I saw nothing but
unknown faces. My other self was nowhere to
be seen."
44 But did he really exist ? "
" He did."
44 And who was he ? "
44 A man of my own age, and so exactly like
myself that we might have been taken for twin
brothers."
44 And he had saved your life ? "
44 Yes; it appears that on meeting me, he
was not only struck with the strong likeness that
existed between us, but also by the wildness of
my appearance,   therefore   he   was prompted to 181
follow me. Having seen me throw myself into
the water, he ran after me and managed to get
me out."
44 And did you see him again ? "
441 did, poor fellow! But that is another
strange incident of my too-eventful life. Perhaps
I'll tell it you some other time."
44 Then from the Morgue P "
441 begged to be transported to some neighbouring hospital, where I could have a private
room all to myself, where I should see nobody,
where nobody would see me; for I felt ill—very
ill.
44 As I was about to enter the carriage and
go off from the charnel-house, a shrouded corpse
was borne thither. They said it was a young man
who had just committed suicide.
441 shuddered with fear, a terrible suspicion
came into my mind. I begged the doctor who
was with me to bid the coachman stop. I must
see that corpse. It must be Teleny. The
physician did not heed me, and the cab drove
on.
44 On   reaching   the   hospital,   my  attendant
W
IkHs
RKWW
?H»~ r*1
182
seeing my state of mind sent to enquire who the
dead man was. The name they mentioned was
unknown to me.
44 Three days passed. When I say three
days, I mean a»weary, endless space of time.
The opiates the doctor had given me had put
me to sleep, and had even stopped the horrible
quivering of my nerves. But what opiate can
cure a crushed heart ?
44 At the end of those three days my manager
had found me out, and came to see me. He
seemed terrified with my appearance.
44 Poor fellow! he was at a loss what to say.
He avoided anything that might jar upon my
nerves, so he spoke about business. I listened
for a while, though his words had no meaning
for me, then I managed to find out from him that
mjr mother had left town, and that she had
already written to him from Geneva, where she
was at present staying. He did not mention
Teleny's name and I myself durst not utter it.
44 He offered me a room in his house, but
I refused, and drove home with him. Now that
my mother had gone I was obliged to go there—
k'Wij p
at least for a few days.
44 No one had called during my absence;
there was no letter or message left for me, so
that I too could say,—
44 4 My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar
friends have forgotten me.'
44 4 They that dwell in mine house, and my
maids, count me for a stranger : I am an alien in
their sight.'
44 Like Job I felt now that—
44 4 All my inward friends abhorred me: and
they whom I loved are turned against me.'
44 4 Yea, young children despised me.'
44 Still I was anxious to know something
about Teleny, for terrors made me afraid on every
side. Had he gone off with my mother, and
not left the slightest message for me ?
44 Still, what was he to write?
44 If he had remained in town, had I not
told him that, whatever his fault might be, I
should always forgive him if he sent me back
the ring."
44 And had he sent it back, could you have
pardoned him ?"
ll'5/w
ri 4
184
441 loved him.
441 could not hear this state of things any
longer. Truth, however painful, was preferable
to this dreadful suspense.
441 called on Briancourt. I found his studio
shut. I went to his house. He had not been at
home for two days. The servants did not
know where he was. They thought that he had,
perhaps, gone to his father's in Italy.
44 Disconsolate, I roamed about the streets,
and soon I found myself again before Teleny's
house. The door downstairs was still open.
I stole by the porter's lodge, frightened lest
I might be stopped and told that my friend was
not at home. No one, however, noticed me.
I crept upstairs, shivering, nerveless, sick.
I put the key in the lock, the door yielded
noiselessly as it had done a few nights before.
I went in.
44 Then I asked myself what I was to do
next, and I almost turned on my heels and
ran off.
44 As I stood there wavering, I thought I heard
a faint moan. aawwyf
185
%mk: 11 listened.    All was quiet.
44 No, there was a groan—a low, dying wail.
44 It seemed to proceed from the white room.
441 shuddered with horror.
441 rushed in.
44 The recollection of what I saw freezes the
very marrow in my bones.
44 4 Even when I remember I am afraid, and
trembling taketh hold of my flesh.'
441 saw a pool of coagulated blood on the
dazzling-white, fur carpet, and Teleny, half-
stretched, half-fallen, on the bearskin-covered
couch. A small dagger was plunged in his
breast, and the blood continued to trickle out of
the wound.
441 threw myself upon him; he was not quite
dead ; he groaned ; he opened his eyes.
44 Overwhelmed by grief, distracted by terror,
I lost all presence of mind. I let go his head,
and clasped my throbbing temples between my
palms, trying to collect my thoughts and to
dominate myself so as to help my friend.
44 Should I pluck the knife from the wound ?
No, it might be fatal.
Si
Lu^—1
^s^^^^m^^md.mM^mmm^'^mM 186
44 Oh, if I had a slight knowledge of surgery ! But having none, the only thing I could
do was to call for help.
441 ran on the landing ; I screamed out with
all my might,—
44 4 Help, help !    Fire, fire!    Help !'
44 On the stairs my voice sounded like thunder.
44 The porter was out of his lodge in an
instant.
441 heard doors and windows opening. I again
screamed out, 4 Help!' and then, snatching up
a bottle of cognac from the dining-room sideboard, I hurried back to my friend.
441 moistened his lips; I poured a few
spoonfuls of brandy, drop by drop, down his
mouth.
44 Teleny opened his eyes again. They were
veiled and almost dead; only that mournful look
he always had, had increased to such an intensity
that his pupils were as gloomy as a yawning
grave ; they thrilled me with an unutterable
anguish. I could hardly stand that pitiful, stony
look; I felt my nerves stiffen; my breath
stopped; I burst out into a convulsive sobbing. :.&*OMI-  .
m-amm.
187
44 4 Oh, Teleny! why did you kill yourself?'
I moaned. 4 Could you have doubted my forgiveness, my love ? '
44 He evidently heard me, and tried to speak,
but I could not catch the slightest sound.
44 4 No, you must not die, I cannot part with
you, you are my very life.'
441 felt my fingers pressed slightly, imperceptibly.
44 The porter now made his appearance, but
he stopped on the threshold frightened, terrified.
44 4 A doctor — for mercy's sake, a doctor!
Take a carriage — run !'    I said, imploringly.
44 Other people began to come in. I waved
them back.
44 4 Shut the door. Let no one else enter, but
for God's sake fetch a doctor before it is too
late!'
44 The people, aghast, stood at a distance,
staring at the dreadful sight.
44 Teleny again moved his lips.
44 4 Hush ! silence !' I whispered, sternly. 4 He
speaks! '
441 felt racked at not being able to understand
i a single word of what he wanted to say. After
several fruitless attempts I managed to make
out,—
44 4 Forgive!',
44 4 If I forgive you, my angel ? But I not
only forgive you, I'd give my life for you !'
44 The dreary expression of his eyes had
deepened, still, grievous as they were, a happier
look was to be seen in them. Little by little the
heartfelt sadness teemed with ineffable sweetness.
I could hardly bear his glances any longer; they
were torturing me. Their burning fire sank far
into my soul.
44 Then he again uttered a whole phrase, the
only two words of which I guessed rather than
heard were—
44 4 Briancourt—letter.'
44 After that his waning strength began to
forsake him quite.
44 As I looked at him I saw that his eyes were
getting clouded, a faint film came over them, he
did not seem to see me any more. Yes, they were
getting ever more glazed and glassy.
44 He did not attempt to speak, his lips were
	 o-.wv *&jmm
fm;
189
tightly shut. Still, after a few moments, he
opened his mouth spasmodically; he gasped. He
uttered a low, choking, raucous sound.
44 It was his last breath. Death's awful
rattle.
44 The room was hushed.
441 saw the people cross themselves. Some
women knelt, and began to mumble prayers.
44 A horrible light dawned upon me.
44 What!     He is dead, then ?
44 His head fell lifeless on my chest.
441 uttered a shrill cry.     I called for help.
44 A doctor had come at last.
44 4 He is beyond help,' the doctor said ; 4 he
is dead.' tM$
44 What!     My Teleny dead ?
441 looked around at the people. Aghast,
they seemed to shrink from me. The room began
to spin round. I knew nothing more. I had
fainted.
441 only came back to my senses after some
weeks. A certain dulness had come over me, and
the
4 Earth seemed a desert I was bound to traverse.'
~; . - 190
Still the idea of self-murder never returned to
my mind.    Death did not seem to want me.
44 In the meanwhile, my story, in veiled words,
had appeared in every newspaper. It was too
dainty a bit of gossip not to spread about at once
like wild fire.
44 Even the letter Teleny had written to me
before his suicide—stating that his debts, which
had been paid by my mother, had been the cause
of his infidelity—had got to be public property.
44 Then, Heaven having revealed my iniquity,
the earth rose against me ; for if Society does not
ask you to be intrinsically good, it asks you to
make a goodly show of morality, and, above all,
to avoid scandals. Therefore a famous clergyman
—a saintly man—preached at that time an edifying sermon, which began with the following
text :—
44 4 His remembrance shall perish from the
the earth, and he shall have no name in the
street.'
44 And he ended it, saying,-—
44 4 He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world.'
few
Q/
N i
191
44 Whereupon all Teleny's friends, the Zophars,
the  Eliphazes,   and  the   Bildads  uttered  a  loud
Amen!"
44 And Briancourt and your mother ? "
44 Oh, I promised to tell you her adventures!
I may do so some other  time.     They are well
worth hearing."
End of Volume II II
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