“Devil In Paris”, Chapter Three

Devil Overlooking Paris

This short story was first published in “A Seasoning of Lust”.  This is a ‘tamer’ version for public reading.  It’s one of my first and favorite attempts to write a short story. The character Madame Gormosy comes from my novel “Devil’s Revenge”, which has only recently been finished.  Madame is a character to love.

Lady Nyo

CHAPTER THREE

A week later, John Garrett was shown into Madame’s apartment by an old servant. He glanced at the dark, wizened man and smelled brimstone.  Madame was known to choose her servants carefully. Life could be a subterranean maze in Paris. He knew other demons in the city and all were not friendly devils.

“Ah, John!  Bonjour!”  Madame was drinking tea with a young woman, one Garrett did not immediately recognize.

“You do remember Mlle. Luciern?  What changes we have wrought! Such an elegant young woman!  What man in his right mind could resist her! Could you, John?”

Ah, thought Garrett.  Madame is up to her old tricks.  She insists in making me part of her plans.

Madame’s eyes glittered as she turned to look at the young woman sitting across the tea table. Garrett bowed over the hand of Louise, and then stood back to look at Mlle. Luciern.

Madame had indeed worked her magic.  Mlle. was coifed and gowned like a young, elegant Parisian matron. He admired her hair, piled high on her head, with many curls and loops and one long curled tendril- like, a thick sausage over her shoulder. At least Madame’s hairdresser had forgone the powder and her natural color was preserved. Mlle’s complexion was good but now she had some bloom in her cheeks.  He knew all this was  art, for Louise was an expert with faces and makeup.  He saw Mlle. had only two black satin patches on her face, one near the left eye, and one near the mouth, to draw attention to her painted lips. They did look alluring to him. They looked like they were stung by an amorous bee.

Garrett cocked his head to the side and let his gaze travel down her figure.  Her morning dress was light blue silk.  Ruffles framed her breast.  Garrett let his eyes linger only a second, but Mlle. did present a lovely bosom to onlookers.  He knew this was due to more of Madame’s magic – this time with pads in the corset.  Round, delicate mounds above and the merest of rouged nipples appeared like little mouse noses peeking over the tops of the corset.  Such was the fashion for seduction.  He wondered how far Madame had corrupted her student.

“No, Madame Gormosy, no man could resist such a beautiful young woman.”

Garrett was surprised to see Margot blush so deeply.  At least Madame’s instructions had not destroyed this vestige of virtue in the girl.

“Mlle. is a good student, John.  She learns fast and takes an interest in her future.  Her mother will be proud of her.  We will get her matched up with the proper husband soon enough.  But as I have told Mlle. Margot, there is plenty time for an engagement.  Now is to be given to sharpening her feminine skills. That way she will attract the best prospect for her future happiness. Mais bon Dieu!   She is still so young and innocent.  We must hone her wit and deportment.  Nothing like the polish upon an apple to attract the proper bites.”

Garrett stared at Madame Gormosy.  He could easily see through her designs, but of course, the young woman was too naïve to understand what was happening right under her nose. She was a pretty morsel, and it was hard to take his eyes from parts of her.  The swell of her breast, how gently they rose with an almost imperceptible movement. He could feast his eyes on those two tender pieces of flesh all morning. How much more alluring they would be if she were panting, he thought.  A sly smile appeared on his face.

Ah, Madame Gormosy was full of devilry this morning.

“Today we will work on the great science of “coquetry”.  Non, M. Garrett, do not laugh, for women have their own science.  Let the men work with fire and chemicals.  We women have our own fire and it is called “Les Passions!”

Garrett winced and hoped Mlle. Margot would forgive the bad prose of her patroness.  But Madame would press her case.

“Surely Mlle. Margot has higher aspirations than to be a housewife to her husband. It is a most contemptible and unfashionable position for any women of breeding, and has no social standing except for a parson’s wife or a lowly farmer’s.  Ah Dieu!  Mlle. is made by nature for much finer things!”

Garrett wondered if the word “God” did not burn the inside of Madame’s mouth, but since she was an old devil, he imagined she would have a mouth immune to heat.  Still, he had heard this speech before, but he could not remember when.  Perhaps it was another time in another century, while attending Madame under similar circumstances, that she had used these same words.  They seemed familiar to him in any case. He heard her drone on.

“Now, Mlle. Margot, advice today is seen as ridiculous to be given, and even more ridiculous to be taken, but your dear maman would want you to listen to me very closely. Alors!  She has given you into my hands for more than to fluff your beautiful hair and plump your fine bosom.  It is her choicest desire to prepare you for entrance into the best of society and this is the path to catch the eyes of a husband.  Have you read Madame d’Effine’s letters? Non?  Pity.  But I can supply you a copy of her book.  Or better yet, I can give you the benefit of my long experience.”

Garrett could not stop a smile creeping across his face.  Mlle Margot would have no idea just how long that experience really was.  Yes, Mlle Luciern, it goes back a long way.  Whether Madame could read his mind, which was standard fare amongst devils, or she caught a glimpse of his sly smile, she turned around suddenly and gave Garrett a jaundiced look.  His face went neutral and he closed his eyes in compliance.  He would not interrupt her behavior.  Besides, it was an entertaining morning’s visit.

“Now, Mlle.Margot.  Virtue is all very fine and good, but to get a husband, or any admirer, a woman must use what attributes she has and more.  A fine voice, the ability to cut to the heart of a man’s desire just with the cast of your eyes, the flutter of your fan, ah!  There is so much to learn, but we will persist.  Now, M.Garrett, please attend to Mlle. and lead her around the room, s’il vous plait.

Garrett stood and offered his arm to Mlle. Margot.  They walked around the large salon, Mlle. Margot only standing as high as his chest.  He was a tall and well- built man, with broad shoulders, and Mlle. petite next to him.  He observed her blush as she placed her hand on his and looked up into his face.

Entertaining as Madame was, he was beginning to have his doubts about her plans.  He believed this young woman to be innocent.  He rarely, now that he thought of it, came across a woman so – uncorrupted, and certainly not in Paris. The thought crossed his mind: Quelle dommage, as Madame liked to say.  Perhaps he would have his own plan for Mlle. Luciern.  What was a little competition between devils?  They had shared tender morsels before in their long history.

Eh bien! Attendezmoi!  John, give me the advantage of your eyes.  Tell me what you think are the best points of Mlle.’s figure.  Does that style of dress, the color suit her the best, mon ami?  Speak out loud what her beau would say, and let us see how Mlle. reacts to such praise!”

Ah, it was clear what Madame’s plan was now! Madame was a terrible devil this morning, and she would have her fun at the expense of the painful blushes of Mlle. He decided to turn the game to his own advantage, and perhaps spare Mlle some pain.

At that very moment, the old devil servant of Madame Gormosy slipped into the room and approaching quickly, whispered into the ear of his mistress.  Madame cocked her head towards his mouth, and though she did not take her eyes from John Garrett and Mlle. Luciern, Garrett saw they grew dark with concern. Muttering some curses low under her breath, she rose and went with her servant from the room, forgetting her two guests.

Garrett took the time of Madame’s absence to lead Mlle. Luciern to a chair and to sit down across from her.  He observed Mlle. sink gratefully into her seat, and with a motion beneath her skirts, kick off one shoe.

“Ah, Mlle, does your foot hurt?”

“M.Garrett, I can not get used to these narrow shoes Madame makes me wear.  I am not used to this fashion.  And if you would know further, I am not used to these headaches. They are from my hair pulled from my head and pinned so tightly. And I can breathe only a little. Madame demands my corset be laced tight.”  Mlle. blushed, but Garrett could hear in the distress in her voice.

“Ah! I sympathize.  Perhaps you think what Madame does here is far off the mark?”

“I don’t understand what you mean, Monsieur.” Another sharp kick under her skirts and off came the other shoe.

“Mlle Luciern.  Forgive my blunt words, but Madame is an “old fogey” as we say in England.  She means well, but she is generations behind in her thinking.”

How many generations Mlle could never guess.

Tears formed in Mlle. Luciern’s eyes, and she shook her head. Garrett could only sympathize.

“Here, Mlle. Let me do something for your comfort.  I will take all the blame, but tant pis!  I am an old friend of Madame’s and used to her ways.”

He stood and moved behind Mlle’s chair.  With practiced movements, he removed the pins from her hair and spread them from their high peaks down her back.  With gentle hands he massaged her temples and she groaned in relief.

“Ah! Bon Dieu, Monsieur.  That feels so good.  My poor head was about to explode. Madame means well, but she does not seem to suffer pain like the rest of us. I saw her put on a hat the other day and plunge a pin into her head. Mon Dieu!  She said she did not hit her skin but her hair, but to me, ah goodness!  To my eyes, it seemed to go through her head!”

Garrett smiled from behind Mlle’s chair. In fact, he had seen Madame do this before and other such things and had warned her if observed her game would be over.  Madame had laughed, she had been doing such tricks for centuries. Besides, the winds of Paris were strong and her hat would blow off if she didn’t get a good layer of skin beneath her long pin.

“Madame has a thick skull, Mlle. Luciern”, Garrett said with a droll tone. “ She is used to all sorts of torture for fashion.”

Garrett looked down Mlle. Luciern’s bosom and watch the gentle curves rise and fall with her breathing.  Too bad his plans for Mlle. did not include a seduction.  He would like to savor those two young mounds in his mouth.  But it would be a passing fancy and his plans for Mlle. Luciern’s future did not include this fleeting pleasure.  He had a more lasting pleasure to savor.

His good friend Louis would be the poorer for it.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2007, 2010

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4 Responses to ““Devil In Paris”, Chapter Three”

  1. Margie Says:

    She’s baaaack – and how delightful to see her again! I really like this storyline.

    I haven’t written in a while, but I have been reading – nice comments on your poems. Very well deserved, too.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Like

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Cuz!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    I love this holiday, perhaps more than any other. I love the colors, the founding sentiment, regardless the truth of the matter. I think it represents an ideal….that sitting down with the Injuns…..that can be forgiven.

    It harkens back to a period of our ‘civilization’ that we don’t think much about.

    And then there’s the food! Enuf said.

    Thank you for your reading the blog and leaving a comment. I love this poetry group, OneShotPoetry,
    and I am seeing so many fine poets there. It’s wonderful because it’s like a classroom and also a playground for the kids. LOL!

    Shashi in India posted a picture of a young girl, a beggar in Mumbai, that broke everyone’s heart who saw her. The poetry of River, Moon, Ben and so many others are excellent. It is truly an amazing place to read and learn. And these excellent poets write in different styles and meter.

    I am deeply moved by the support and encouragement I have received from this site in just one month.
    It’s pushed me onward in thinking about my own poetry.

    Devil in Paris: LOL! I LOVE Madame Gormosy! She has sprung full life..from the page. Perhaps part of her attraction fis that in a way…..she ‘completes’ me. This female/male switching back and forth is the REAL power in life!! LOL!

    Some one who had never visited the blog before wrote and said she had started reading “Devil-Paris” and wanted to read more. This was a member of OneShot….so, it’s not just for poetry there, and that is a wonderful thing for those of us who write longgg.

    You and your hubbie, and especially those two girls….have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Perhaps after the first of the year we will see each other.

    Love and Hugs, Margie,
    Jane

    Like

  3. Speed Math guy Says:

    Thank you…

    This is one of the better articles on this blog – thank you for sharing with us. I check every month to read and you never let us down you do a fantastic service for the readers, thumbs up keep it up….

    Like

  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hah! I hope there are better articles than this!

    LOL!…but glad you liked it.

    Lady Nyo

    Like

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